Do you yearn for your content to be well-loved, shared widely, and deeply impactful for your ideal audience?
Here is the path to content quality...
1. Publish more content (e.g. write articles, post on social media, or upload videos.)
2. Notice which pieces of your content get shared & loved.
3. Bring those success factors into your future content.
Repeat this cycle as frequently as possible, and your content will become more engaging, loved by your audience, and naturally shared, without you having to ask them to do it.
In this blog post, I offer you my encouragement for applying yourself to this worthwhile path, as well as specific tips on how to create better content.
The Two Fantasies of Content Creators
I've noticed 2 kinds of illusions that content creators suffer...
1. Delusion of Content Grandeur: This happens whenever we are baffled why more people don't love our content as much as we do.
2. Forgetfulness of The Path: This is when we have great taste, but know that our content falls far below that ideal standard, and thus we don't publish more content.
Which of these 2 problems do you experience?
I personally experience both, at different times. My advice to you (and me) is to follow the path to content quality that I shared at the top of this post.
When suffering under the Delusion of Content Grandeur, there are 2 possibilities:
You aren't in-touch with your audience's sense of taste, and therefore, you need to create more content and observe what your audience likes.
The other possibility is that you aren't talking to your ideal audience yet! If you're not sure, then ask yourself who is buying (or most likely to buy, or most likely to refer) your services/products? Those are the people it makes sense to create your content for. That is your ideal audience.
If you don't have anyone buying your products/services yet, then you need to share your content to different audiences and see who responds the best to you. Then, it's time to diligently (with joy!) follow the path to quality content.
Sometimes you'll also experience the second illusion I mentioned above: the Forgetfulness of The Path. You'll know you're experiencing this if you keep procrastinating on making & publishing content. You're waiting until you make the perfect thing before you share it.
You forgot that it takes a lot of practice and observation of feedback (which requires you to publish more!) in order to become better at content creation.
The Parable of the Ceramics Class...
When you need inspiration to stop procrastinating and create content, read this…
The book “Art & Fear” has a wonderful story about a ceramics course — it can teach all of us about how to become great at what we do.
At the beginning of the week, a ceramics teacher divided her class in two groups of students.
The teacher instructed Group A to create a large number of pots. This group of students will be graded solely on the quantity of pots they produce. They don't have to worry about quality.
Each one simply has to make as many pots as time allows.
The students in Group B, on the other hand, were instructed to create the perfect pot. Each student in that group would be graded solely on the quality of the one pot he or she made.
At the end of the week, both groups of students were instructed to put all their pots in one place. The teacher, without knowing which pots came from which group, put the pots in order of their quality.
Interestingly, all the best pots were made by students in Group A — that is, the group instructed to make as many pots as possible.
Because their goal was quantity, they had a lot of experience with the process itself. They really learned how to work with the materials and the tools. They had practiced turning their ideas into reality...
...at first poorly, then better and better, more and more aligned to their ideal vision.
Due to their experimentation, they had become more skilled by the day.
While Group A was busy creating, Group B — the ones instructed to make just the perfect pot — was busy planning and designing the ideal thing… they were thinking a lot, but not really creating. A lot of them had become paralyzed by the task… afraid of producing anything less than perfect.
(I feel badly for Group B … I hope the teacher helped them get out of analysis paralysis!)
Learn this well:
Through quantity, you’ll come to quality. Make lots of content, keep experimenting. Publish a lot. As you create & share many pieces, some of them you’ll be especially proud of, and a few of them will be loved by your audience.
The problem is: you won't know which pieces your audience will find engaging. So the answer is to publish more.
Over the last few years of publishing content, I've become a content agnostic: I cannot predict with accuracy which of my pieces will do well. I'm "too close" to my own content. All I can do is humbly present my work and let my audience tell me what they love.
If you'd like further encouragement, below you'll find a video that shares a powerful lesson by one of the top content creators of our time, Ira Glass of This American Life.
Ira Glass re: "Taste"
One more encouragement, from another highly successful content creator: Seth Godin. He has been blogging every single day (yes, a new post everyday!) for more than 7 years continuously. He practices what he preaches: don't assume what you make is amazing. Make and publish more stuff and notice what your audience loves.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for Counselors, Coaches, Speakers, and Authors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.