In this age of content marketing, the demand that is placed upon creators to come up with stuff to say is both real and challenging.
At The Story Shop, we like to challenge our clients to think of themselves as channels and then encourage them to think of meaningful things to say to their customers. When we do, we are sometimes met with a quizzical look of surprise and uncertainty. It’s as though the “aw shucks” gene kicks in and folks suddenly seem to think so very little of themselves – as if they have nothing to say.
When you think of it, no successful business is successful by accident and there isn’t enough sheer luck in the world to breed longterm success across businesses and industries – from banana distributors to dog shampoo manufacturers – over and over and over again. The simple fact of the matter is, successful businesses have something to say to the world because the people who run them know a thing or two about what it takes to succeed.
And that’s why you need to speak up!
Oh, if only it were that simple.
I can’t tell you how many times I have given up before I started. I’ve defeated myself inside of my head long before any would-be critic has been given the opportunity to crucify me publicly. It’s like I’m doing them a favor by taking myself out of the game. But if I’m being honest, it’s a false takedown. I’m not really gone; I’m in hiding. I’m avoiding persecution. I’m protecting my ego by never risking anything in the first place. After all, how can they hate me if they don’t know me?
In that way, sometimes my humility is actually selfish – as if my “not good enough” is a smokescreen of self-preservation. But on other days, I’m just legitimately stumped about what to say. In either case, there isn’t some villain “out there” who is keeping me from my goal of content creation. I am my worst enemy – my own obstacle.
So here are a few ideas to help you get out of your own way, beat the block, and get busy sharing your mind.
1 – Get over yourself. Spend a few intentional moments focusing on your motivations and hang-ups. Ask yourself what you’re unsure about or scared of. Stop accepting the same old tired excuses and commit to giving it a real shot. Take some risk and open yourself up to the outside world.
2 – Invite some trusted friends to keep you on task. More than one is best (because our friends are busy and each will occasionally drop the ball). It’s all-too-easy to let ourselves off the hook when it’s up to us. Asking a group of friends to demand something of you will protect you from giving up without a fight.
3 – Ask some of your trusted customers what (if anything) they have learned from you over the years. It’s possible that you are so used to your own expertise that you can’t see it anymore.
4 – Don’t assume that you always have to tell an audience something. Some of the best content out there is little more than smart questions or observations. You don’t always have to have the answer. Sometimes, it’s enough to just be honest about the questions.
5 – Talk about what other folks are doing that you love. It doesn’t always have to be your big idea or agenda that you are promoting. The world can always use more folks who love on each other and, let’s be honest, when was the last time you faulted someone for being kind?
These are only a few ideas that may help to kick you in the pants and get you on your way. With some real focus and intention on your part, I have no doubt you will be able to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and start saying what we all need to hear.