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Creation And Building Lessons Learnt From Others In 2018

Sharing the things we have done and what we learned is how we all make that step in the right direction.

Why not brings others in on the act and recognise that the challenges we face are not so isolating?

When it comes to building your audience, achieving the attention of others, creating work that engages so people stay with you and growing your businesses, the forks in the road can become someone else’s signpost.

This article is about reflection from some of those who are part of the You Are The Media community and what they have taken from their 2018 activity.

In a recent article, I highlighted that predictions for 2019 are pointless. Whilst I am all about setting goals, there is always a drive for the new, rather than a moment to reflect. Why predict something that hasn’t even happened when you can take from what you have done and know how the journey is going. This makes it easier to share with others.

Click to read why the 2019 marketing predictions are pointless.

Why take onboard a prediction article, video, audio where it is all about someone else’s own agenda? A prediction for next year being the year of live streaming from a company that specialises in video production? It serves no one apart from the person broadcasting.

Let’s be honest, all this is hard, but it is the challenge and the opportunity that drives us.

The best way to build audience and customers is through action. It is far too easy telling others what to do, it is far stronger to be doing and then share how it all went.

I approached people with whom I admire and respect and asked them what they have taken from 2018.

As you read, one thing that connects everything is the importance of your own intuition and to find the right people to make this big jigsaw puzzle easier to figure out.


Here We Go

John Espirian is the relentlessly helpful technical copywriter and also has his regular place on the LinkedIn Sofa on the You Are The Media Podcast.

We finally met this summer when John came down to Bournemouth and have huge respect for what he does by being present. Here are John’s two main lessons.

“Limit how much you listen to others. It is good to take advice from people who really understand your situation, but it is easy to be paralysed by too many voices offering advice. Take time to understand the basic concepts you are struggling with and then trust yourself to make good decisions. Unless someone else has walked a mile in your shoes, they probably don’t know what’s best for you.

“You don’t need to keep creating content at a feverish pace. The overall size and quality of your content bank matters more than your rate of production. It is possible to slow down after a few years at the coalface and focus on maintaining and improving what you’ve already got rather than frantically trying to create new content.”

Love this from John, we can’t be robots and be relentless just for the sake of creation. We need to be in tune with ourselves and not be swayed by the voices from all directions.

john espirian


Trevor Young is someone whom I first was in contact via Twitter in 2013 and since then we have built a solid relationship across the world. He is someone I look up to and respect greatly. His new book Content Marketing for PR is to be published in 2019. Trevor says, “The biggest thing I continue to learn is you can’t be effective on every social network and platform out there. Experimentation is great, I applaud people who get in and try different technologies, but at the same time, it’s important to focus on a few things, and do them well.” 

“I finished the year by uploading a series of videos to LinkedIn that performed well, with lots of positive feedback. While I have been doing videos from the get-go, this time I focused on consistency – the same look/feel/tone of voice for each video, plus I adhered to a regular publishing rhythm. Now to keep it up next year!”

What Trevor highlights here is that you have to build first before you move onto the next platform. The web and physical space provide you with an infinite marketplace, Why shoot for the moon when you haven’t even got the small things perfected?


Trisha Lewis is a communication coach and someone who has very much been a part of the You Are The Media community. She attends Lunch Clubs, You Are The Media Conference and was featured on the November, You Are The Media Podcast. She is on her own journey to align what she does to build her audience and is a very open person. Trisha says, “My journey in 2018 represents, re-framing, re-thinking and re-purposing!”

“Re-framing is the self-doubt ‘competitor’ comparison to curiosity filled ‘perspective’ thinking. I have been re-thinking projects and directions that do not feel aligned. I have also recognised the importance of re-purposing blogs and videos to utilise in a more linked up way to help with creation and also time.”



Simon Swan is someone with whom I have squeezed every ounce of presence and output from during 2018. What Simon has done at the Met Office represents a true owned media approach to find an uncontested space and have something to say that is different from the rest of the weather sources out there. He has spoken at the You Are The Media Conference, been a guest on the You Are The Media Podcast and a guest for the last You Are The Media Lunch Club of 2018. His lessons are on networks and individuality. Simon says:  

“As Oscar Wilde was quoted: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken” – Stop listening to the crowd and be true to who you (or your business) is/are and what you do.”

“If you like to provide different ideas, are a connector of people, create new markets, like to mentor not manage then embrace it. Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t like, what you find hard, what doesn’t get you motivated. We all have a role to play but more importantly, play the role of yourself.”

“Secondly, build your network. I am talking about a trusted network of people that you respect and can share thoughts, ideas, challenges, fears and opportunities. It is amazing how the power of a network you build over time (and for the right reasons where everyone contributes) can keep you going and support you.”


The Bullet Point Part

Let’s now go bitesize.

Matt Desmier is someone who single-handedly raised the profile of Bournemouth and Dorset as a digital centre within the UK. He has been speaking over the globe in 2018 and good to call him a friend. Here are Matt’s takeaways from this year:

1 Humble is alright, but you’re also allowed to be proud

2 It is OK to be wrong, as long as you recognise when that is

3 What you actually do, what you think you do and what others think you do are sometimes wildly different

4 When you find the right team, do more with them

5 Stopping something can be as satisfying as starting something


Heather Brown has taken responsibility for the Dorset Foodie Family and has been a year of progress her side. Here is what Heather has learnt:

1 Work out what your priorities in life are and then making major work decisions. This is much healthier than making work decisions because of what you think people want from you and then planning your whole life around that

2 Saying ‘yes’ to exciting side projects can lead to really cool adventures. However, saying ‘no’ can avoid totally unnecessary extra stress

3 Going out of your way to encourage someone or to be kind is actually really fun


Matt Lawrence, from Urban Guild has found his rhythm in 2018 by producing video. Here is what Matt says.
“It has been a big year for me, it was my 40th and so I set myself some meaty challenges and in doing so I have learned loads. Here’s what I would sum the year up with:
– Fear of failure and what might happen are almost always worse than the reality
– You’re never too old to learn, never be too proud to try
– Don’t listen to people who tell you, you can’t do things
– Value yourself, don’t be selfish, but DO put worth in what you bring
– Being on camera isn’t that scary”


Richard Burn is a very close ally from Dorset Growth Hub. It was Richard’s idea to introduce and deliver the You Are The Media Summer Tour and now the winter tour in February 2019. I have loved working with Richard this year and recognise that the participation of others is how you can grow. Richard says:

1 Partnership working is far more powerful than being the lone ranger

2 Listening more and being interested in others pursuits is way more interesting 

3 Listening to your own instincts and gut more really can pay off!

4 Choose who you want to work more with. Great minds that are on the same page can create greatness

5 Bringing people together to learn from each other is more advantageous than listening to “the knowledge expert at the front”

6 Understanding peoples learning styles can be a game changer to driving change!


Closing InTo The End

Two final bitesize points.

Lauren McMenemy is a fantastic journalist and I admire her work. Read Lauren’s article for Skyword on building a multichannel marketing community. Lauren’s says, “My 2018 has been a steep learning curve, but even the pain has taught me important things. Namely: I am only human, and can only do so much. What you say no to is just as important as what you say yes to. Define what you stand for and what you want to achieve, and forget the distractions. At least, that’s what I’m aiming for in 2019!”

Finally, Gordon Fong has been a You Are The Media member since the very early days. I also turn to Gordon, respect his opinion and someone where I have formed a very strong bond with over the past few years. 2018 has very much been about doing, actioning and creating, particularly with his SoBo project. Gordon says, “What I’ve found from this year is not to be awestruck and believe that you won’t be as good as the guru voices or end up stifling yourself from too many opinions. This has been the year of F*ck it, just do it. The supporters will help you get better, the detractors are not worth your energy.”

Everything that you read here can be broken down into:

– Trusting your instinct

– Stop thinking that everyone else knows best

– Recognise what it takes to get others on board

– You don’t have to be good at every media platform

-Being surrounded by the right people is better than being a friend to everyone

-You don’t have to be relentlessly creating content to build familiarity


From A Personal Perspective 

Let me finish off with my biggest thing I have taken from 2018.

The most significant lesson from this year is that when you find momentum (and growth), you can’t do it all yourself.

In the build-up to the You Are The Media Conference, I was broken mentally and physically. There was the weekly writing, the weekly podcast, the monthly Lunch Club and the conference on the horizon. It was just not sustainable.

To do something good you have to reach out to others and give responsibility to people you trust and who genuinely get it.

As we end 2018, the You Are The Media podcast is a team effort, with Chris Huskins. Kerrie Reeves has taken the mantle of being my event wing-lady and 2019 is already planned. Richard Burn and the Dorset Growth Hub have been a facility to take the You Are The Media message to a wider audience. You move better when you move as a team. I now look at everyone playing their role and taking something of value that helps them. This can be learning, taking on board something to move with or discovering a new contact.

I seem to have built this ability to write and do it every week, that way I have at least one thing that becomes the glue (the You Are The Media weekly email). However, it is also important to take a step back from all this and breath it in.

I’ll let Lee Taylor from Steele Raymond have the last word, “We all work long, hard hours and can sometimes miss the little things that make you smile.”


Let’s Round Up

If there is one thing that 2018 has taught us all is that we are not machines creating for masses, we can build businesses around wanting more for others. This is by standing for something. If you don’t you’ll find nobody and nobody against you.

The contributions to this article highlight the ability to not relentlessly look to the future, but to nurture what is in front of you. Ideas and delivery can create genuine connections with people, so they recognise something they value and ready to be a part of in the coming year.

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