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Confidence In An Appetite By Eating Your Own Dog Food


Overcoming doubt can become a skill in itself.

Or another way of looking at this article is becoming confident in an approach you stick with.

When you contribute to a cause you believe in, as opposed to having a primary drive of collecting money, things start to change.

However, with the complexity and detail that is in front of many of us, why should you start at 0, when you can dress something up into what you think it should be ie. a creative agency or SEO company now saying they are a content marketing agency?


The Stats That Show We Lost Confidence

According to Milward Brown Digital, WPPs global research agency, 86% of people believed (out of 400 marketers during 2015) that they don’t use data that is available to them with confidence.

Adobe’s Digital Distress: What’s Keeping Marketers Up At Night report, less than half of marketers (48%) felt comfortable in digital marketing, with the majority never having any formal training.

A cycle of trial and error (61% of people) seems to be popular approach for most companies, according to Adobe. With the majority of people acquiring knowledge from the experiences gained (85% of people). I get this; to many people the role of marketing today is in a different place than it was a few years ago.


Where We Have Come From In 16 Years

During the 2000s the focus was on the website and having an online presence. We all focused on the corporate website as the platform of choice and to look self important alongside any piece of printed collateral that we could get our hands on.

Then came along the prominence of search and being found by others, compiled by the ability to build a presence on social sites to drive traffic back to your website. We are now in the stage of utility and being relevant to others.

Consumers are changing, not just how they are reviewing, looking, selecting and purchasing but building value systems. In the words of Robert Rose and Carla Johnson in Experiences, “In this new era of marketing, unique, impactful, differentiating content driven experiences will become as important as product development. Successful marketers will adapt and change in a constantly evolving media operation that focuses on creating delightful experiences to inform, entertain, engage and evolve the customer.”


Life Has Been About Guarantees

To many this idea of informing, entertaining and engaging others is something that has not been instilled in us (have a read about the importance to entertain your audience). This hasn’t been described on a job spec before 2014.

This is because life has been about guarantees (and I don’t want to go all Seth Godin on you here!).

I hold my hands up; I had behaved for a number of years in a bubble where you do what you are told to do (carried over from my agency days). For instance, it gives me no pleasure to say that I can remember working on company brochures that entered into revisions that were in double figures.

This was in the belief that the more that you become obedient to a customer ie. the company paying the invoice (or invoicing more for more amends), then the longer they will ‘stick around,’ as you are doing what you are told to do.

Now we are in an age where the reward is to work with people who buy into what we believe in rather than the ability to take 50% off a quote.


Showing You The Proof In Confidence

In order for others to buy into what you believe in we have to build an asset bank where we leave ongoing deposits.

The more we create, the richer (in terms of outlook and confidence) we become, rather than ongoing withdrawals of reverting back to LinkedIn posts of thoughtless articles that sound like everyone else.

sam_westlakeTo build momentum you have to continually prove yourself.

Have a look at what Sam Westlake is doing. Sam is Project Director for mobile app company Base.

Sam has chosen Medium as his centre of gravity. I know… you are probably thinking, ‘but Medium is a space that someone else owns and you bang on about owned media.

What Sam is doing is building a thought process that is leading to a conversation with others and to understand his point of view.

Sam explains, “I wanted to focus on developing and refining my creative thinking and writing techniques, as well have these be challenged by others. Medium has been great for this, each piece generating dozens or hundreds of article ‘reads’, in turn starting conversations and debates that have evolved my thinking.”

“I aim to be transparent, open and respectful in all aspects of my life, so writing for me is no different. At this stage, I’m not concerned about retaining ownership of my content and am happy for it to be out there. Right now, I see the real value of Medium to me as getting conversations started, and in growing and co-creating new concepts and ideas.”

Sam is building real momentum with what he is doing, but admits, “It’s not easy to write every day! But sharing so regularly has loosened up my writing and got my brain into gear.”

“Sharing and working out loud has had some unexpected outcomes. I’ve been called names by folk who are usually entirely charming; been high-fived; discussed world politics with relative strangers; and created a Tumblr account for the more abstract ideas.”

More importantly, confidence goes hand in hand with a sense of enjoyment, rather than seeing as a bind, “I love writing way more than I thought I would before I got started.”

“The practice of it feels good: testing ideas both before and after committing them to the written word, constructing and revising the narrative of each piece, sharing on social media to drive engagement. I’ve found the impact of getting my words and ideas down in long-form really rewarding in loads of ways.”

“In short, it’s a great habit.”

Becoming confident in something allows us to express ourselves with clarity. We have to start at the bottom of the barrel as it provides a marker for where we want to get.


More Proof Of Building Confidence

-This just upped the ante.- They'll say

The sixth Once Upon A Time event comes back to Bournemouth on Tuesday 26th April (hey…is this becoming a native ad?). This is something that Matt Desmier and myself co-produce.

Where we were when we started in 2014 we had no idea about what we were doing, just the idea of having the ability to talk to someone in person, on a stage, as opposed to a crowded room. Now we can talk to someone on a stage in a crowded room, but the crowded room is quiet.

With the next afternoon on the horizon (why not come along, click here, or ask me for the special promo code), I am really looking forward to it. I am always nervous at the start, but I have become confident with how to present this and the whole belief that practice makes perfect.

It is something that I believe in by getting people on a stage with me who are doing good or are influencing others. Everyone takes at least one thing away with him or her to think about and perhaps apply to his or her business.

In another way it is demonstrating to businesses that a content marketing approach is not just about writing, but the ability to build an audience around a purpose and more importantly are receptive to your ‘why’ you are doing this.

I am finding that the role of a content marketing driven mindset is about continually committing to a community that cares (that’s a 4 c framework for another blog right there!).


Calling Out The Imposters

Continually proving yourself and sticking to your convictions, is in a completely different arena than attaching a label to your business.

Many businesses that say that they are a ‘content marketing agency’ are not. This is because they do not apply the whole principal of a committed mindset and deliver this on a consistent basis to a subscribed/continually-interested audience.

In the words of Andrew Davis in the latest issue of Chief Content Officer from the Content Marketing Institute, he stated, “If you truly believe in the power of content marketing, where is YOUR content.’


The Goal Of Habit

Confidence comes with application and building a momentum over time.

It’s about doing something that you enjoy. I podcast because I learn from Ian Rhodes every week, I email every Thursday because I take the role of a responsibility for others, I co-curate Once Upon A Time because it gives me clarity to how other businesses are making their stand and recognising what they believe in.

I know it might have selfish undertones, but this is all about creating a group-sharing environment and when you build intimacy with others is when you build courage to try new things out.

This only works with a commitment of time and having faith in yourself that you shouldn’t be targeting everyone but those who will come on board.

Try it yourself, put the House of Cards binge to one side or the networking morning that delivers absolutely nothing in terms of insight or relationship and find a platform that you can build on (similar to Sam).

In the space of three to six months you will start to have the foundations of a community of people who can become supportive and you begin to find a flow (in Sam’s case it is writing). I believe that confidence comes down to about accepting and taking responsibility.

Over time you are contributing to a community that you care about.


Lets Round Up

What holds you back can propel you.

A belief system in the guarantee of acknowledgement and conforming to others, masquerades a real identity. Taking things a step further with the ability to create helps find a voice that no one else can take away.

Over time the ability to express to an audience who are showing a commitment, goes beyond the pursuit of money but building longer term relationships that can become customers, advocates or just people who stand behind your flag and prepared to share with others.

What is stopping you creating and standing for something? You have the freedom to explore and the biggest investment is your time.

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