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How To Transform Generic Content To A Source Of Empowerment

If your work inspires, uplifts and guides people, it’s doing its job. The days of merely sharing information have passed.

Anyone can churn out facts and figures with a few keystrokes, it’s time to become a beacon of empowerment. 

The world doesn’t need more commodity and ‘how to’ content, it’s what we’ve all done for decades. It’s up to us to show others the way with our ideas and how we’ve put them into practice and share them with the right audience. 

Commodity content is content no one else cares about, but we’re all great at drowning others in facts, data, self-importance and opinion. We’re now in an era of disposable knowledge, where the work we share is easily replaceable.

In this article, let’s understand how you can produce work that not only informs but empowers people, where you show the way. It’s our job today to encourage, promote self-sufficiency and strive for the importance of leading by bringing our work to life that drives meaningful change.

We Live In The Greatest Time To Be Forgettable

Commodity content is what we are all now experts in. This is the work that caters to easily answered questions that everyone can achieve. If you want to share advice on how to prepare for an interview, the best time to post on LinkedIn and tech trends for 2024, you can have 1,000+ word articles in seconds.

However, what starts to happen is that individual perspectives and distinct voices get lost in the barrage of information. Just because you can now create articles on any topic in seconds, doesn’t mean to say that anyone is interested. The generic content we can produce instantly might provide a momentary solution, such as how to write a CV, but it’s never intended to create a lasting, meaningful relationship with your audience. 

What we sometimes forget is that the work we create and share provides an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with others. It’s good for someone else to know that the angle you come from isn’t the same as everyone else. When people know they are not part of a transaction but involved in connection it puts you in a unique place. 

Every piece of content that is intended to provide a quick solution takes away the opportunity to find a better connection with your audience. Each standard blog post or generic podcast interview dilutes the unique angle you stand for and the perspective you approach from. The more you resemble what can be found anywhere else, the less compelling your content becomes.  

The Goal When It’s Not About Sharing Information 

The goal of your work is to help your audience see possibilities beyond what they immediately thought was the industry standard. What starts to happen is that the goal becomes content to encourage lasting relationships and stronger engagement. 

This is where you make that step beyond transactional content. It’s not just about providing answers, but carving alternative approaches and inspiring change. 

You swap commodity content for lean-in content. 

Here is an example of looking to approach a format differently. 

Ten people from the You Are The Media community recently took part in the collection of panels for a Careers Day at Bournemouth & Poole College.

What I wanted to deliver was something away from the norm. The usual approach would have been a presentation to a room of students where it is one voice sharing information. What we did was create a collective voice with a host of experiences from a range of industries.

This is what I mean in the context of this article from what people expect to push the needle.

Commodity content – a presentation telling students how to be successful to achieve a fulfilling career

Lean in content – a group of professional people sharing their experiences of work as a collective that pulls in topics of hope, challenges, hardship, achievement and reflection. 

If the whole delivery followed the commodity content route, it would have been asking ChatGPT to ‘deliver a talk on being successful after a college education.’ What we leaned into was experiences and encouraging the theatre (at the college) to be in the moment. 

The value is in helping your audience recognise what’s possible, rather than just being an answer and moving on.

What You Can Do Your Side

So, how can you transition from being a provider of information to igniting change and enablement? Here is what works.

Have That Connection With Your Audience 

To be memorable, your name and work must be linked to a specific idea. It helps when you establish an association between your work and a particular concept. For instance, you could be a legal firm that steps aside from the usual industry rhetoric but takes a stance with accountability. You could be a charity, that has foundations in a sense of togetherness and community. You could be a marketer for small businesses where personal branding is your belief that becomes synonymous with your area of knowledge.

The more your audience associates your name and insights, the more they’ll look to you as an authority.

Your Personal Insights Become Your Differentiator

The more confident you become in sharing ideas based on your own experiences, it starts to set you apart. You provide distinctive insights.

Looking back now, sharing stories of failure that were opposite to what people read elsewhere has now become a proud scrapbook to look back on. It’s these personal anecdotes where you have experienced challenges that helps to humanise your content. For most of us, when we look around, everyone else is sharing their stories of success. It’s only over time that you realise that the stories of insecurity and problems are you working out the answer in front of everyone. By this, you become relatable to others. What you are going through is what others feel too. 

People often connect more with content that is rooted in personal experiences over easily answered industry questions.

Share Insights As Though You’re Talking To A Friend

One of the biggest mistakes I have made over the years is to make the simple sound complicated. Have a read here of It’s Tough To Be Clear, Easy To Be Clever.

You have to take the approach as though you are sharing ideas with a friend. What starts to happen is that you loosen up and provide ideas that people can implement. Look at ways you can speak directly to an audience’s challenges and aspirations. For instance, a lot of what I share is how people can build their own audience away from being over-reliant on social media. This approach makes your content practical to your audience, particularly if you start to narrow it down. 

Build Repetition Of An Idea To Explore

Repetition builds familiarity, which people find comforting. If all you do is jump from one piece of commodity content to the other, you serve no one.

It helps to consistently explore and expand upon a single idea or concept. For instance, the recruitment company that just shares how to write a CV or to how to dress for an interview starts to lean more into capability and confidence for candidates and their next career move. 

By repetition, this doesn’t mean being monotonous but revisiting important themes and ideas. It helps to reinforce key messages, making them easier for your core audience to remember.

You Figure Out And Adapt Over Time 

It takes time to uplift and inspire others based on your own insights, but what you are doing is continually building and refining your skill sets. 

Finding your voice doesn’t happen with a decision, it takes time. To make that step from commodity content to work that has your stamp and perspective comes through constant testing. What happens is that it instills loyalty among your audience.

To encourage persistence and shaping ideas, create a schedule and stick to it. What it does is reinforce your presence and also keep you relevant.

This is how you make that shift from mere information sharing to inspiring action from others. 

Let’s Round-Up

With AI at our fingertips, we stand at a crossroads. We can choose to take the easy route of forgettable, commodity content that people ignore or we can choose to empower others. 

There is such an opportunity to be memorable and for people to come to your side, whilst many decide to take the easy route. You have the power to shift focus from sharing information to inspiring action.

Content creation doesn’t just have to be about providing answers, but encouraging participation, involvement and promoting the benefit of time spent together. 

No one wants to be a passive consumer of information, which leads to a one-dimensional approach where everyone is a transaction. It is so much more empowering to bring ideas to life and to ultimately make a difference, not just for others, but for ourselves too.

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