Slow Stories: Introducing the Slow Stories Column

Phoebe Cheong for The Style Line

Phoebe Cheong for The Style Line

They say that time flies when you're having fun (and getting a lot done in the process), but as I look back on the years of building The Style Line from a Tumblr blog to a website to a boutique content company, I've only just started to realize how fast my life accelerated as a result of this path. And even with all of the boxes I've checked over the years, sometimes it's hard to shake off the feeling that things just aren't growing or moving quickly enough.

As a small business owner, I know that I'm not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the constant inundation of articles, content, and expectations set forth for female founders to "make moves" (and move quickly) in the workplace. For a while, I understood this as something that's just part of the game and I followed the unwritten rules of modern entrepreneurship. I networked, I applied for the accolades and awards lists, I secured press, I built my personal brand, I hired and evolved my team, and I created SO MUCH content for both The Style Line and our CONNECT(ED)ITORIAL agency clients. For all intents and purposes, I was busy — but even as I continued to fill the "slower" periods with projects or events to demonstrate the company's continued momentum, I sacrificed the energy and resources that I needed to truly implement sustainable systems and expectations for my business long-term. And as a content business, this obviously played a role in thinking about how to continue approaching storytelling in a deeply meaningful way.

If you're familiar with The Style Line, you know that we pride ourselves on producing thoughtful, original content. Inevitably, the stories we publish on the site catalyzed us to pivot the company into a service-based business with the introduction of our agency CONNECT(ED)ITORIAL. Since we started the agency in October 2015, we've been discerning about working with brands who value quality, longevity, and creativity in their storytelling — all things that are part of what is now being called the slow content movement. This idea is something that we've taken a position on here at CONNECT(ED)ITORIAL through our client work and also internally with the introduction of our new podcast Slow Stories which deep dives into this movement through candid conversations with brand builders and founders.

With all of that said, I'm so thrilled to be able to bring this important topic to the Create & Cultivate community in Slow Stories' namesake column here on the C&C blog. Each month, we're going to be assessing slow content's important role in our constantly changing business climate along with exclusive insights from industry innovators who share their take on "slow content," exclusive snippets of our Slow Stories podcast, and much more. It is my hope that these stories equip you with the tools and guidance you need to create content with longevity. Because if I've learned anything from adopting this thoughtful approach, it's that slowing down our content doesn't mean we're missing out on opportunities, but instead, creating the space we need for creativity, innovation, and happiness to help us tell the stories that matter.

Ahead of our next article, here are a few things to look at when thinking about what slow content means to you and your business.

1. Establish What Slow Content Means to You

Terms like "slow" or "sustainable" don't necessarily have a uniform definition, and are often put into practice in unique ways depending on individual circumstances. We'll explore this idea more in our upcoming stories, but in this context, it's good to think about how to incorporate slow content into your marketing strategy so that you don't overextend yourself and your company's resources. If you're unsure where to start, ask yourself questions such as: Is it about slowing down and creating a realistic posting schedule that your brand's current team can handle? Is it a matter of only sharing content that fits within a particular theme, color palette, or medium? Thinking about these things can help identify the critical pillars around the kind of content that aligns best with your brand, which in turn, can shape a content strategy that is thoughtful, consistent, and focused for the long haul.

2. Plan a Content Calendar

Once you've established the above details, logistically one of the most effective ways to slow and streamline your day-to-day content tasks is to plan ahead. Implementing a content calendar three, six, and even twelve months in advance can help create a bigger picture around what you're trying to say through your content and storytelling efforts. Having this framework mapped out will also allow you to make more informed decisions about what resources you'll need to bring that content to life. By doing this, you and your team now have a sustainable system in place which creates more time and energy to create the content itself with clearly defined goals and timelines.

3. Create a Content Budget

Finally, when talking about slow content in the past, the idea of quality vs. quantity has arisen more times than I count. So, when considering the above two points, one other important factor in crafting a slow content strategy is to think about the production and creative costs associated with creating "quality" content. Implementing this will ultimately force you and your team to be strategic when it comes to budgeting for these resources — and if anything, engaging in this is an exercise in slowing down and thinking big picture in itself. Stay tuned for more on all of this in next month's article!

Rachel Schwartzmann is the Founder and CEO of The Style Line LLC. She created The Style Line in late January 2011 via Tumblr and has fostered The Style Line’s brand in its growth since then. Rachel has been featured in esteemed sources including Forbes, Refinery29, and MyDomaine and has also spoken at Create & Cultivate and Columbia University on establishing a unique brand point of view and entrepreneurship. On October 1, 2015, Rachel took The Style Line in a new direction as a boutique content company with the introduction of its slow content agency CONNECT(ED)ITORIAL.