The Real Reason You Create Content
When you strip everything right back, the reason you create content is to help you achieve what you ultimately want.
When you’re setting out to build something that you’ll be able to keep going with, something that can grow and evolve, and achieve longevity, you have to have both a commercial and personal impetus behind it. The alternative is investing a huge amount of time and energy into something that is effectively a hobby (translating into zero tangible returns for you).
When it comes to you and your business, why do you send a newsletter? Why do you post on social media? Why do you post those videos on LinkedIn? Why did you set up that Facebook Group? Why do you have a podcast? Why do you blog each month? The answer has nothing to do with reach, views, shares, likes or engagement. It’s about using the media available to you as a tool to accomplish what you want.
So what do you want to achieve both commercially and personally? Can this be broken down into the reasons why you do it? That’s what we’ll be uncovering in this article.
From my side, the reason I send the You Are The Media newsletter every Thursday is not just to have an impact on others, but to help my own business endeavours along – be that through getting people to come along to events to learn or finding clients for the consultancy side of my business.
The Goals Aren’t About Mass Or Disappearing Down Rabbit Holes
Whatever you step forward with, needs to be aiming at something.
Your actions will lead you to your goal. For instance, a newsletter or video posted on social is your action, while the goal behind it might be building your reputation within a particular industry.
Wanting more subscribers, followers or viewers is not a goal. Your goal is the prize you want to reach by communicating with, and changing things for others. That prize could be as simple as having someone say ‘yes’ to hearing from you or fine-tuning the sort of clients you’re going to be looking to attract. The content you create brings you closer to your target audience, in terms of giving the right people the opportunity to see you, your message and your work.
I send the weekly You Are The Media newsletter to get closer to the audience that subscribes and so I can be with the people I want to spend time with.
If your goal is winning better clients or being more discerning about the sort of people you want to have buying from you, you need to figure out what it is that they will value. From that, you’ll be able to create the content that will attract them and get them to eventually buy from you.
A big mistake I made over the years was that I spent a lot of time going off-piste and working on one-off projects that had no ultimate goal, so I ended up drifting to places that had no relevance to my business goals. A stop/start and darting here and there approach helps no one because the time you waste, you can’t get back and it soon adds up.
The Reason You Create
According to You Are The Media Online Offline guest, Joe Pulizzi, the reason we create is to build trust. Joe says, “You need to have something that constantly builds trust every day.
The way to do that is through content creation and distribution. You don’t do that through interruption.”
When people trust you, they are going to be more committed to you. The reason I put a lot of time and energy into You Are The Media is that it’s become the engine that helps me achieve what I want, both professionally and personally.
Here’s a little exercise that demonstrates how I work things out:
Make two headings. One called, THE BUSINESS SIDE, the other, THE PERSONAL SIDE. Make a list of the goals that link to your content commitment on each side.
This is what mine looks like. And these are the reasons why You Are The Media is my ‘engine’.
THE BUSINESS SIDE
✍️ To convince people to buy, commit and come to YATM events
✍️ To commit to the deeper YATM shared learning space (higher ticket items)
✍️ To hire me for my consulting services (this is called We Are The Media)
✍️ To deliver workshops for business clients
✍️ To coach business owners (personal branding)
✍️ To get people to buy from me further down the line / put me on people’s radars
✍️ To build my reputation and professional credibility
✍️ To help people feel so much a part of something, that they won’t want to go anywhere else
THE PERSONAL SIDE
😀 To become trusted
😀 To build a community (and demonstrate to others how doing that works)
😀 To make something that is worthwhile that sees me collaborating with others
😀 To hang out with the people I want to be with and enjoy their company
😀 To see other people develop and grow through their efforts
😀 To clarify my thinking and become a better writer
😀 To focus on the people who want to hear from me
😀 To find others with a shared interest to build something and cement bonds / relationships together
😀 To reach out to others who are creating so they can build communities and I can learn from them in turn
😀 To build my own confidence and happiness
When someone asks ‘why do you send a newsletter?’ the answer comes back to all of these reasons which, taken together, are a fairly substantial driver of my activity.
You create and share on your own terms in order to build something that matters. Your blog, email, video, social posts are all the elements that make up your “content DNA” (hat tip to John Espirian) they’re not, in themselves, the goal. For instance, you start a podcast aware of your business goals, not as a business goal in itself.
It all comes down to knowing what you want out of your efforts. Not knowing is why so many people give up too soon. They start because they see others doing something, they want to do something similar but then run out steam when all they’re doing is following the crowd and not their own goals and ambitions.
You create work so you have an impact on others, and also on yourself too.
Blindly creating and pushing content that does not come back to a business or personal goal can sap your time, enthusiasm and enjoyment. If you can define your goals (and write them down) you have a place to come back to when things get tough – it’s something I wish I had done a lot sooner.
So, when you’re sending that next email or article, is it getting you closer to what you want? It pays to know what your audience is looking for, but you also need clarity on your own goals too. It doesn’t need to be complex, just a compass that keeps you on course. You’ll thank yourself further down the line.
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