Content May Be King, But There’s an Uprising Afoot

Do you ever want to run out into the middle of the street and scream, “SHUT UP!!!!!!” at the top of your lungs?

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.

Sound familiar?

 

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.

 

If you’d like to listen to this blog post, you can!

Image Credit: AvidlyAbide

32 Responses to “Content May Be King, But There’s an Uprising Afoot”

  1. Hurrah! Oh, Jamie this is so fabulous! A rallying cry for all of us! And yes, I have been purging my email inbox, unfollowing blogs and taking time to listen to my own inner wisdom. I’ve also been creating more than ever before. Writing regularly, both online and off.

    And I LOVE the audio! It’s like having you right in the room with me, sharing your wisdom and reminding me to tap into my own.

    • Thanks so much, Erica. Good to know I’m not alone in my need to purge (it’s like an early spring cleaning!). I’m also so glad you enjoyed the audio. You know I love being right in the room with you! :)

      Happy to hear you’re creating more. Looking forward to your next video!

  2. Bravo, Jamie! My years of writing up studies of studies and studies of questions to which the answer seems to lie in obvious common sense has made me more wary of gurus and the next big thing. But in this still somewhat new (to me at least) environment of technology and online communication, it is harder to trust oneself.

    So well-said and, BTW, I listened to, rather than read this post. I’d follow your voice anywhere and I think you should vocalize your thoughts more often.

    • You make a great point, Judith.
      We definitely are more susceptible to the wiles of the guru when we are new to something and feeling especially unsure of ourselves. So often, however, when we finally start to feel like we’re getting a grip on whatever it is, we realize that it really is mostly common sense.

      Thank you for listening. I’m glad you enjoyed it and thank you for the encouragement. :)

  3. i swear i have developed actual antennae that can hear the war-cry of the interweb marketeer with no soul.
    plus, somewhat ironically, most of THEIR content is pretty samey.
    love this.

    • And sadly, Sas, many interweb marketers fall into the “soulless” category.

      Thanks for loving this. It makes me smile that you do. :) <– see!

      And I LOVE your site! (Just clicked over there to visit) … so inviting and full of quirky nooks and crannies. So glad you stopped by and I got to “meet” you.

      I wish I was closer – your Red Fox Retreat sounds wonderful!

  4. YES! Sing it. This is something I’ve been writing furiously about as of recent.

    It is time for a uprising. It’s time for a difference.

    Thank you for putting this out there in the open. We need more people like you.

    • Thank you so much, Ashley!
      I LOVE to “sing it!” :)

      It IS time for an uprising. We need to stop being sheep for so much of our lives. Sheep are nice, but, well … you know. We can do better than that. ;)

      Thanks for coming by and sharing the love.

  5. Hey Jamie,

    You know I’m 100% behind a movement to stop constantly consuming and start trusting yourself to create! YES! Get out of the social media vortex and go unsubscribe-crazy ;)

    I fell into the same trap you did early on, but now, like you, I’m telling everyone to just shut the hell up.

    And, man you have a great “radio” voice! I think you should consider going over to audible.com and seeing how much they pay for voice-over work.

    • Craig,

      You are such a sweetie. Thanks for the “radio voice” compliment. Ha! :)

      Yes – I know I’m singing your song. The more of us who take up the chorus, the better.

      Free yourself from the vortex! Love that.

      Thanks (as always) for coming by. See you soon around the web!

  6. Brilliant Jamie – absolutely brilliant.

    As much as everyone “poo-pood” my message of balance when I first began as a coach, I have a suspicion that the overload of information has taken its toll to the point where many are beginning to see that a nice break and move toward balance is exactly what we need to create sustainable businesses and dare I say it – happy lives.

    That said, I am still so grateful for all of the “content” I’ve invested in so far – and even more grateful that I’m integrating it with my own wisdom at my own pace.

    • Hello, Sabrina!

      Balance can seem an unattainable goal until you realize that it isn’t a destination but a way of making our way in the world. As I’ve heard some say, “Balance is a verb.” So true, so true.

      There is definitely a happy medium between consumption and creation, learning from without and relearning from within. I also think that the integration piece you bring up is SO important. “Synthesize” used to be the buzzword for this – the act of taking everything in and then “re-cooking” it into your own recipe. We get tripped up sometimes, though, when we just keep on taking everything in and we forget to make it into our own recipe!

      Thanks so much for sharing. Great stuff!

  7. Sometimes you have to do nothing more than stop and listen to your soul.

  8. THANK YOU for being the voice of reason… your advice is spot-on. Even though I love reading and absorbing as much information as possible about marketing, especially staying current on trends, the end result is that saturation (overload) happens all too often. I try to manage this by actually scheduling time in my schedule, an hour on Mondays, an hour on Fridays, sometime time in the middle of the week, to read industry news/blogs/emails/etc. Taken in small doses, it charges my batteries!

  9. How are ya, darlin’? Too familiar? This was a BRILLIANT piece of writing. The fact that it reads as well out loud is a real testament to your writing ability.

    This stuff hit home.

    Personally there are very few blogs I still visit primarily because I have to focus on building business now. Research is a big deal to me so maybe I am hiding. Maybe not. I said this to another blogger this week explaining that if one takes a sensible approach to consumption then all things will be good in the world.

    I am very happy to have you in my network. This blog post is a prime example of why. Cheers miss.

    • Never too familiar, sweetheart! ;)

      Thank you for the generous compliments.
      I had a lot of fun putting this together … even though it was a bit of a late night rant.

      Sensible is always key. Everything in moderation, right?

      Happy to BE in your network and to have you in mine. Always a pleasure, sir.

  10. Loved this. Thanks. Echoing my own thoughts.

  11. Hi Jamie

    Sent over here by Craig. Very good post and how we have all fallen for the fluff and the magic bullet. Only to find there is none. It is either put your money down or create and work hard. Most of us don’t have the money so we have to do the alternative. No shortcuts. And yes, I have been unsubscribing to a lot of emails lately.

    Great post. What we all want to scream.

    Mary

    • Thanks, Mary.
      So glad you came by to visit. Always happy to meet another “fan” of Craig’s. :)

      “No shortcuts.” That’s a topic for another whole post! It’s so true. We need to get in there and do the work. We need to go through all the stages of figuring things out.

      Happy unsubscribing & good luck with your projects!

  12. As usual, your refreshing and brilliant voice comes through, saying when many of us want to say in exactly the way we want to say it!
    I took a break from it all in December. It was wonderful. I didn’t realize how overwhelming it all was until I stepped away from it for awhile. I find myself being more selective this year and less stressed from content overload!

    • Hello, Laura! :)

      I envy you your break. I took a mini vacation from everything the week between Christmas and New Year’s. It was a brief breather, but whet my appetite for a saner approach.

      Being more selective is the key. I think I feel another post brewing!

  13. I heard you over at Jon Buscall’s; you have a natural power to your delivery that commands attention. Even the pro himself says so!

    This is such a great post and I’m so proud and envious of you for doing it!

    Good on ya!

    • Thanks, Jayme. I don’t feel like I have the ability to command attention, but if I can at least pique interest, I feel like my job is done. ;)

      And, hey! Don’t be envious – give it a whirl. Perhaps we could do a little sumthin’-sumthin’ together … you never know!

  14. I’m game…always up for more challenges! More fun to do a podcast together to feed off one another…We could the The Two Jaymies…heh. whose spelling would we take?

    Who’s older? LOL. I’m dying over here.

  15. 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.

    Love this, just awesome and true.

  16. The wild fire proliferation of snake oil and magic beans bears witness to the profound insecurity, desperation and endless ambition of our times. Theoretically, if one went to a four year college, they should understand that information does not necessarily constitute knowledge, facilitate comprehension, nor empower. But that’s not always the case. The scholars do not aspire to gather mountains of data, they aspire to informed, coherent and organized opinions that contribute to knowledge, understanding and power. Hopefully, for good. But not always.

    If content, any content, is king, that’s a king that wears no clothes and he roams the wilderness with the beasts. In exile.

    I’m glad your making a stand against the barbarian kings at the gates. I only fear that the gates have fallen during our sleep.

    • It sometimes feels like our culture has become as concerned with hoarding information as we have been at hoarding material goods. I imagine it is, like most of our illogical behaviors, an attempt to ensure some kind of security.

      Luckily, most of us come to our senses before we drown in the tidal wave of content.

      I’m finding that selectivity is the best approach. I taste lots of different things, but only go back for seconds of the ones that make a real difference.

      … more on that soon! :)

      Thanks for coming by.

  17. Well said!!!!!! I,like everyone else, spend a great deal of time researching as much information as I can on a daily basis. But there comes a time where your not doing anything but managing information over load, rather then using it.You almost become addicted to it…..but when I stop,look out my window at this beautiful world we live in,I am reminded to stop……take a break……go walk…..& just breathe…….

    • “… managing information overload.”

      That is SO true. Sometimes I feel like my content consumption and curation habits are a full-time job. It may not be quite an addiction for me (she said hopefully), but it’s definitely a compulsion.

      Stopping, unplugging, and slowing down are my best defense against being sucked into the vortex. I try to do just that each weekend. There is nothing like being in the real world (especially in nature) to give us perspective and refresh our creativity. Each time I walk in the woods or along the shore my inspiration is rekindled and my mind clears so I can find my own thoughts.

      Thanks for stopping by and for the thoughtful comment.

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