Without exception I’m asked at least once a day what best tips I might have to get content shared, engaged in, distributed and talked about. You can imagine there’s a whole raft of things that are necessary. But one change really made the difference for me and it goes to the heart of generating great content as well as its all-essential distribution.
Stop giving a s***
Were you expecting that? Probably not, but I guarantee you’ll agree with me if you read the rest of this.
First off, I certainly don’t mean you need to stop caring about your audience and their interest in you – they are your oxygen and they need to get the best value possible if returns for your effort are to be expected. Nor do I mean that quality content doesn’t matter anymore. Actually, in 2018 it matters more than ever.
What I’m really talking about is your attitude towards probably the number one limiting factor in everything you produce for public consumption. You already know what it is; it’s what other people think of you.
You see as you get older you find that caring about other people’s negative opinions of you happens less and less. Getting over this hurdle is massive but it’s very achievable if you know how (I’ll explain below). But first let’s look at the wins for doing this…
Much like anyone else, I was brought up to think that perfection was the goal for everything. From an essay at school to even an article I might write like this one. The issue is that with too much perfection comes paralysis. In truth, it’s completion that really makes the difference. Of course being slapdash means you’re level of output is going to be low, so there’s an element of balance here. But in short, it’s about getting content completed and shared that matters, rather than taking so long that you’re missing the trend, producing too little or even fearing release of your hard work altogether.
“With too much perfection comes paralysis…in truth, it’s completion that really makes the difference.”
So lesson one is that while your message needs to be great, perfection will slow you down. No matter how good your content is, people will always pick holes in it, so embrace that fact and get it out there.
Another major benefit of not caring comes down to the type of content you generate. Look, in 2018 the world is seriously social but in addition, how your audience consumes content matters too. Authenticity and realness in your vibe, rather than being fake or showy matters so much nowadays, as people’s BS radar is highly tuned to someone trying to game or sell them.
So in your content, those that really get ahead are the ones that share themselves. “People buy people” as they say, so if your business has no face then it will struggle to win over the hearts of its audience. This is about personal branding and giving people an opportunity to engage with you or at least get to know you. Imagine Virgin without Branson; Tesla and SpaceX without Elon; Thrive without Arianna; even Nike in the 90’s without Jordan. These are brands that gained leverage through attention, built on great personalities. Arguably, without this, there would be less buy-in from those they were targeting. That means a lot to your bottom line.
What you’ve got to do is decide to place the importance of your content and the outcome of people engaging with you above your irrational fear of shooting that Instagram Story, or going live on Facebook, or writing a post that demonstrates your opinion rather than that of another.
The lesson here: expose yourself.
At the top of 2017, when Instagram’s Stories feature was very new, allowing me to post short 15 second videos (much like Snapchat had been offering), I pressed record for the first time and shared some value, documenting something cool my business was working on. That alone can be a little daunting, but as I wrote earlier, I knew that there would be people that didn’t dig what I was doing but there would always be more of my audience that did. Here’s the thing though – I recorded that first Story while I was walking across London Bridge in rush hour. Hundreds of people were walking past as I recorded it and the irrational part of my brain was screaming out “don’t do it! People will look at you and laugh!”. Guess what happened…
…absolutely nothing. Not a single person even looked at me. Why? Because nobody actually cares what you’re doing as you walk past them. And if they did, I had already told myself that I’d never see them again. Instead, the only people that would see that video were the followers on my account that had decided they liked what I had to say for myself.
Did I look a bit of a ‘douche’ walking along recording a video of myself? Maybe some people thought that, but the bigger picture is that in 2017-18, it’s a magnificent way to get traction from an audience that might buy my courses, pay for a consulting call or some of my other services. That benefit far outweighed feeling a little nervous.
Which brings me to the final part of not caring – distribution. In about 2005 I joined LinkedIn. Sharing my professional details like everyone else was like uploading a CV and that’s where it ended. And over the years, connections and friends have hooked up with me there, just like on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and so on. So to then post an article or content that might be read by old work colleagues, friends and family, as well as those I’m trying to actively target, might be pretty scary, right? Yep, it could be. But again, the major win is in not caring if they start eyeing me weirdly – my business wins through me doing this. So it needs to be done.
“Holding yourself back because you want to stick with the herd is probably the greatest way to remain distinctly average”
Holding yourself back because you want to stick with the herd is probably the greatest way to remain distinctly average. Putting yourself out there, exposed and with the possibility that you might be laughed at or joked about takes guts to begin with. But try it. Just a little at a time to start with; like I did on that bridge in the middle of busy London. You’ll find it’s exhilarating at first, then you’ll get used to it and can focus your energy on producing great content and enjoying the rewards rather than on unnecessary worry.