Content May Be King, But There’s an Uprising Afoot
No. Maybe that’s just me.
Content is king! Long live the king!
I’ve been living in this marketing realm for the better part of a couple decades now. In the course of those years, I have – thanks in part to slight OCD tendencies – consumed more than my share of content on the topics of marketing, branding, and writing: dozens of traditional books, hundreds of ebooks, thousands of blog posts plus webinars, podcasts, special reports, manifestos, videos, interviews, exclusive research, online trainings, Facebook conversations, and only the gods know how many tweets.
Even the king can be deposed.
Around every corner of the Internet is another sales guru, social media expert, or marketing messiah. Each one has The Cure for what ails you. All you need is their 12-step plan, 6-week course, or 3-part jam session. Once you sign up to “learn more,” the content from these businesses charges your inbox like an army of royal minions. It infiltrates your social media feeds and takes your blog reader prisoner. You are surrounded, deafened, and hypnotized.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of great information out there, and consuming quality content is a great way to get educated. However, if you’re not careful, you can quickly find yourself suffering from an extreme case of information overload. For your own sanity, survival, and productivity, you need to knock the king down a notch or two – stop constantly consuming and start trusting yourself to create.
At some point, you have to say, “Enough!”
You have to tell everyone to just shut the hell up.
You need to give yourself TIME TO THINK.
Beware the siren song of somebody else’s stuff.
It’s human nature to assume that someone else knows better than you do. Most of us spend a great deal of our lives short-changing our own instincts and skills. We constantly look to Other People for the answers. We happily swallow huge amounts of content and all kinds of craziness because it’s easier than working things out for ourselves.
I don’t say this to offend. I say it because it’s true. I’ve been there and done that.
When I first entered the land of marketing, I was all a-gog with wonder. I kowtowed at all the appropriate guru shrines and drank the Kool-Aid willingly. Now, however, it’s a different story. I’ve been around the block a few times. I can sense BS a mile off, and have no problem terminating access to my inbox. In fact, I’ve recently been gleefully unsubscribing from the blogs and newsletters of many people and companies.
I’m not the only one. It feels like there’s a revolution in progress.
“Purging” has become a common refrain among friends and colleagues. People are hitting a saturation point. They are tired of feeling like they are being shouted at and seduced all the time. They are fantasizing about isolation chambers, quiet, and uninterrupted time with their own thoughts. They are becoming super selective about who they give their time to.
It may seem easier to get the answers from someone else, but when we go overboard and start listening to EVERYbody else, we’re setting ourselves up for trouble.
Discover the power of silence.
Most of us already know enough. We have the information we need to get started, but we keep on looking for more. If you’re honest with yourself, I bet you’d admit that a lot of your “research” is really just a highly refined and easy-to-justify form of procrastination. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone does it.
BUT … just because everyone else is doing it, too, doesn’t mean you should continue to do it.
Give yourself some time. Give yourself some space. Give yourself the gift of blessed silence.
Turn off the noise. Lower the volume on all those outside voices so you can hear your own voice.
Stop for a minute. Breathe. Shrug off everything you’ve ever heard or read. (Don’t worry. The good bits will stay with you.)
Get comfortable with the quiet. Be ready for your brain to kick into creation mode instead of always being in processing mode.
You know more than you think you do.
Give yourself some credit. When it comes to marketing your business, you are the expert. Professional marketers, writers, and the rest – we’re just here to help you remember what you already know. Despite what some people will tell you, marketing is not rocket science. It boils down to some basic principles of human behavior, communication skills, and follow-through.
Sure, there will always be shiny new technologies, fancy new platforms, and complicated-sounding strategies; but those aren’t what make your marketing sing. You are your own secret marketing weapon. Trust your instincts. Don’t fall for the myth of best practices.
Read up on what other people are saying and doing, but spend as much time creating as consuming.
Consider the opinions and advice of others, but don’t let them override your thoughts and ideas.
Learn from other people’s experiences, but don’t assume that your journey will mirror theirs.
A good king serves more than he rules.
The bottom line is this: Don’t be a slave to someone else’s content.
Content may be king, but a good king serves more than he rules. If you find yourself consuming content out of habit or because everyone else is doing it or because you have an irrational fear that if you stop you’ll miss that silver bullet solution that you’ve been looking for, STOP. Don’t be driven by your need to consume. Pay attention to which content serves you. Which content inspires you? Which content delivers the details you need to move forward with your own creation? Which content connects you to the communities that support you?
Follow, friend, RSS, and subscribe to your heart’s content, but as soon as someone’s content stops serving you, bid them adieu and move on without a backward glance. You will free up the time, energy, and brain space you need to work on your own plans and creations. Most importantly, you will make it easier to hear your own ideas.
They are really good, you know. You should listen to yourself more often.
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Image Credit: AvidlyAbide