When you build in public, you’ll eventually arrive at a point where it feels hard to be original.
Here’s the solution: give yourself permission to repeat yourself. Sometimes, you are most effective when you stick to your message.
“Won’t that get boring?” I hear you ask. Yes, but it doesn’t have to be. Like with anything in life, the dose makes the poison. An ad needs to be seen seven times before someone buys. Why should it be any different for your thoughts and ideas?
There are several under-appreciated benefits to repeating yourself as a strategic approach to audience-building. Repetition helps overcome situational, experiential, and relational timing problems: it can help distracted readers, give people the correct information at the right time, and allow new audience members of yours to get the most of their relationship with you.
Let’s dive into these three points one by one before we look at the risks of repetition and how to confront them.
Let’s start with the most common reason you need to repeat yourself: your audience is only half-listening. They’re caught in the infinite scroll, swiping up for hours on their phones, waiting for a good tweet to stop for. A lot of swift judgment happens along with those swipes, and your tweets might not make the cut — for one reason or another.
Often, this has very little to do with your own messages and much more with the context in which they appear on someone’s feed. Maybe they were just reading a long thread, and your one-liner was scrolled over. Perhaps, they glanced at your content and decided they weren’t in the right mood.
Or, most likely, your tweet didn’t even show up on their timeline. Around one in ten of your followers ever get to see your tweet, and that means a nine out of ten chance that your message didn’t come through for any given person in your audience. These odds alone should cause you to repeat what you’re saying more often. Between people not paying attention and them not seeing the content you spent so much time on, there is no reason anyone should be happy with a sub-10% chance of being noticed.
It’s not just about when your followers might read a tweet: it’s also about when it’s the right time for them to read it. Entrepreneurship is a journey with many stages, and we all are at a uniquely different point of ours. The excellent guide on dealing with enterprise sales conversations might be totally lost on your follower who just started reading up on side hustles. But who knows, in a year or so, your guide might be exactly what they need. Why not retweet it every month or so, allowing your content to be right at the top of their minds when it’s time to do the proper research?
Also, consider how we grow our capacity to understand over time. Maybe your message would resonate much better with someone if you used a less academic tone — or perhaps using more complicated and specific vocabulary will do the trick. By providing multiple perspectives on the same idea — different entryways into your thoughts, you allow people to pick the one that works best for them, ultimately increasing your impact as a thinker and spreader of ideas.
Repetition isn’t just about saying things very loudly and frequently for a week. If your ideas are good, they’re worth being repeated consistently for years.
Consider how you gather followers around your personal brand: one at a time, day after day. The content you posted yesterday is of no use to your follower of tomorrow — unless you show it to them again. Consider that each of your followers is on a follower journey that began when they first noticed one random piece of your content: a good tweet, a kind gesture, a helpful reply. They went to your profile, checked out a few tweets, and then followed you. Why would you ever NOT share your most interesting content with them again? Why should they miss out on something just because they are slightly late to the party?
There are a few ways of repeating content that allow you to make full use of your creative output over time:
- Retweet it within a short time after posting.
- Retweet it much later. Your evergreen messages are great candidates to be retweeted every few months. Tools like Hypefury can do that automatically for you. This might be one of the most win-win examples of Twitter automation.
- Repeat it verbatim. If it’s been a while — a few months — then your well-performing content can be re-used completely. This can be considered lazy, so consider rewording it a little, at least.
- Rephrase it as new content. Subtle rewording can often make a difference between being understood and being scrolled over.
- Resurface it as new content. With further experience comes new insight. Take your well-received content and add a new layer and some particular perspective. This will re-engage the people who have read it before and blow away those who haven’t.
So, whenever you wonder if it’s worth repeating content, consider that:
- Some of your followers might be distracted or not see your work.
- Some of your followers might be at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey.
- Your followers are at various stages of their audience journey.
Your originality lies in your thoughts and ideas, not in the way you disseminate them.
So repeat yourself.
Say things again.
Replicate your tweets.
Copy your content.
And one day, it’ll sink in.