There are three words that ensure even the best content is never seen.
Your sweating palms are sticking to the keyboard, your hungry stomach is starting to gurgle, and you’ve desperately needed to pee for the last hour. You haven’t dared move from your perch for fear that it will sever the connection with your creative flow.
Creating content is a challenge. You might argue that a mentor—or even me—has an uncommon immunity to the discomfort of a blank page, but you’d be wrong. I’ve talked with a menagerie of people over the years and there is one simple truth:
Those most successful are those who’ve become comfortable with their discomfort.
I’ve been writing daily for the last 57 days and, while the experience has dramatically shortened the time it takes me to get in flow, it still took seven attempts before I was happy with the opening paragraphs of this email. Discomfort is not the enemy, it’s that annoying co-worker you need to learn to tolerate — it’s not going anywhere.
Creativity is a perpetual challenge, but those who fight through the discomfort long enough are rewarded glorious celebrations only a cup stacking teenager could rival.
I hate to be the barer of bad news, but finishing the content doesn’t mean you’ve finished the creative process. Most, if not all, creators are guilty of the same crime.
With the thoughts newly excommunicated from your mind you feel as though people will magically gravitate into it with nothing more than a link and a “check this out.” Those three words are the bane of my existence — they lack relevancy.
As Gary Vaynerchuk once said, “Content is King, but context is God.”
The process with which you market your content should be no less creative than the one that it took you to create it. Relevancy shows an investment into your audience just as much as it does in a personal conversation. If you want people to consume and share your content, don’t ask — just make it relevant and let it happen.
- “I remembered that conversation we had on X and thought of you when I made Y because of Z. I’m curious to hear your thoughts about Y and Z connecting.”
- “The comment you made about X and how he made you rethink Y prompted an article about Z. I don’t know if it will help, but I’m confident you’ll find love.”
- “I wrote about X and included a story about Y which was entirely inspired by the time you and I did Z. I made sure to leave out where you got arrested.”
A handful of personal emails will generate far more engagement with your content than a blanket “check this out” or it’s ugly cousin “look at this.” The same can be said for any public message — be it a tweet or post on Facebook. The more relevant you can make it to those in the audience, the more deeply they’ll engage.
This is the same logic that drives experienced marketers to favor the creation of multiple niche audiences over those with broad reach. Just because your content is relevant to the masses doesn’t mean it’s going to be relevant in the same ways.
The Syndication Mindset is the fastest way to destroy the value of the content you’ve worked so diligently to create. Here are a few ways you can avoid it in the future.
- Question the origins of the ideas that inspired the content and connect, on an emotional level, to those facing similar challenges. Seek to help those people.
- Reflect back on previous conversations with peers where this topic arose and make reference to those interactions as a continuation of the discussion.
- Start conversations with references to their life and what they’re doing before you tell them what you’ve made and how it will be of interest to them.
No matter what, never ever say “check this out” as it shines a spotlight on the blatant lack of fucks you have for the other person’s time or interests.
Be brave, search your email… when was the last time you typed those three words?