An article from 2017 about original content. And in 2020 (going into 2021), original content still works.
2017 has arrived. If you’ve never done it before, let this be the year you start to create original content. Gone are the days of cookie-cutter corporate-speak. People see right through it, and won’t trust you unless you can give them something genuine. These days, people don’t want to be told, and they don’t want to be sold. They want to be educated, so they can make up their own minds about whether to work with you. So how do you create the engaging, original content you need? Here are three ideas to keep in mind:
1.Tell Your Story
Over the past year, I read the autobiographies of three well-known people: Steve Jobs, Phil Knight, and Elon Musk. In each case, I was struck by how much of what I thought I knew about the person was wrong. A major reason why each book was written was because the subject of the book wanted the correct story told. Now, if you have any kind of public presence at all, you can bet there are people out there saying things that are wrong about you, too.
Perception is everything. The way people talk about you and think about you will influence whether they want to do business with you—even if it’s completely wrong. Obviously, you don’t want anyone to dislike you over something that’s not even true, but positive misunderstandings can hurt you, too. Imagine meeting someone for lunch who has the wrong idea about what you can do. Figure an hour and a half for lunch, plus driving, plus the interruption to your flow and you might lose half your workday, all to talk to someone who is looking for something you can’t do, anyway!
Who do you want to tell your story? Do you want to leave your reputation up to a bunch of people who don’t even know you? Or do you want to get out in front of the truth?
2.Target the Right Audience
Not everyone is going to like your content. Frankly, what you have to say is going to bore some people—but most of them will not be the people you need to talk to, anyway. This is where knowing your target readership is key. These are the people you understand, the people you want to work with, the people who ask the questions that you can answer. When you create your content, speak directly to them. You can’t please everybody, but if you identify your niche and focus your writing there, the people you need to reach will read your content and eventually come to talk with you.
3.Grow Thick Skin
As I said earlier, some people will not like what you have to say. In some ways, creating original content will be the hardest thing you do, because you are putting yourself out there, knowing that you will turn people off. But that’s where thick skin comes in. Toughening up is easier said than done, but if you surround yourself with people who believe in what you are doing, you will be able to stand the criticism much better. I am not talking about yes-people—you will need constructive criticism. But believing in what you do, and having people around you believe in what you do, is critical.
Let 2017 Be the Year of Original Content
Content is your way to enter the public conversation in your field. It’s your way to get your name out there. And it is your way to have a voice in creating your own story.
I’m not saying you need to document your whole life—far from it. But you have unique insights and ideas, and these should be documented and shared. Something you write (or share via a podcast) could really help someone. And, more than likely, over time (yes, this does take time) you will develop a following, people who like your content and your stories and who get to know you through your writing. And maybe, just maybe, because they know you, they will want to do business with you. Or work for you. Or learn from you. Or simply talk to you.