It’s April 2020, and everyone seems to be living online. Undoubtedly, COVID has generated a need for more content. There are more people who create content, and there is certainly an upsurge in the number of consumers.
Such an environment raises a logical question: what is my position in this situation? 🤔 Am I a creator? Or am I a consumer?
Now self-exposure is a personal choice for everyone and I certainly don’t know what makes you tick but today I will share with you what motivates me to create. Maybe, some of those arguments will resonate and you will arrive at the same conclusions. In the worst-case scenario, this short article will serve as food for thought.
So here we go. The 3 reasons why I choose to be a content creator.
#1. Content creation is a self-development tool.
The first reason why I think everyone should create content is that I consider a content creation a self-development tool.
In the future, and you can be 100% sure there will be such a moment of time, we will be looking back at our self-isolation phase contemplating whether we had spent our time productively.
Right now every single one of us is at home. And to our own disappointment, many of us have discovered that “I don’t have time” excuse doesn’t work anymore.
You do have time for anything you want to pursue. If you don’t come out of this lockdown with new skills, something had been fundamentally wrong with the way you chose to allocate your attention.
Right now you have all the time in the world to focus on upscaling yourself.
Read books, study languages, start that side-hustle you always wanted.
And among all these options, content creation remains one of the most natural ways to develop and acquire skills that become increasingly valuable in the distraction economy.
And it is indeed the economy of distractions.
Everyone out there is fighting for your attention, which makes the following statement pretty well-founded:
Being able to capture people’s attention is an ability that increasingly appreciates.
I am talking about Digital Marketing
Social media marketing, Email Marketing, Graphic Design — you name it. Any hard skill that is directly related to content creation and personal branding pushes you out of your comfort zone. You learn new things and hence you grow.
I’d like to focus on two particular skills.
Skill 1. Writing/Copywriting
This is what professor Jordan Peterson says about writing:
The most necessary skill for students and future leaders is the ability to write. There is little difference between writing and thinking (at least verbal thinking) — so, to write is to think. To think is to avoid obstacles and capitalize on the opportunity at hand. To think is to set things straight. To think is to convince and explain.
What you write, you remember. What you merely recognize, you are merely familiar with. Multiple-choice tests generally reward recognition memory, which is much shallower than recall memory (which writing facilitates). If you write something, then you know it well enough to talk about it, so you can then speak about it — even publicly.
~ Jordan Peterson
In my book, I look closely into the value of writing. I write for many reasons but the #1 motivation for me to write has always been the following:
Writing makes you a better thinker.
Writing expands your vocabulary and hence increases your capacity to formulate your thoughts pushing the thought process itself to evolve greater complexity.
Brian Tracy speaks about the same thing in his lectures. There is one common trait that unifies many successful entrepreneurs — rich vocabulary. And that makes perfect sense, the quality of words defines the quality of thoughts. Reading those who write well and making attempts to reach their level — that is the path of the mastery that not only helps to develop financial confidence but also to attain a higher sense of meaning.
Skill 2. Video-content creation
Video-content creation is a whole different beast. If you have ever recorded yourself on camera, you know what I am talking about.
All that uncomfortable internal movements of the mind— feeling awkward on camera, shaky voice, impostor syndrome, accepting your physical body, cringing at your facial expressions and occasional stammer — dealing with all these symptoms is inevitable but that is exactly what you have to process if you have decided to be on a quest for confidence. Creating video-content literally pushes you to become a better — more confident, more assertive, more refined, and more well-spoken version of yourself. These traits are highly desired by many, yet few choose to embrace the discomfort of the Struggle Phase.
For writing and the things alike, I like to apply the hashtag (and the mindset it represents) that Fanny Dunagan coined on LinkedIn:
Here is the deal, we have to do things that are good for us even we are being intimidated by them. That’s the only way up.
#2. Content creation as a networking tool
Another quote by Fanny Dunagan that I love:
Here is one great thing about content creation.
People know you before they meet you.
~ Fanny Dunagan.
By creating content online you can display your expertise in your industry. You can brand yourself as a person who knows his stuff and who is passionate about what he does. People start to find you, people start to follow.
By increasing your exposure online, you are increasing the chance of being discovered by someone whose attention you seek. And of course, there is always a room for serendipity — sometimes great things find you just because once you made a choice to make yourself discoverable.
One great thing about content creation is that once you create content, it keeps working for you. It keeps generating traffic to your persona.
For instance, I get approached by amazing professionals who have stumbled upon an article from 3 years ago.
My opinions have changed, I have learned more about life, I have matured — but a piece of content that I have planted out there a long time still brings me fruits — it keeps connecting me to people.
But why bother? Do I even need the have all those connections?
The definition of Career Capital is simple.
Your career capital is an accumulation of your rare and valuable skills, that you have acquired during your career which can be eventually “cashed in” to secure your dream job on your own terms.
James Altucher summarized the guidance from the book beautifully:
The more experienced, the more skillful you are — the higher is your value on the job market and the more control of your career you have. A sense of control over your career and work-life is one of those fundamental things that again define a sense of fulfillment and higher meaning.
While having valuable connections may not go under the definition of Career Capital, the skills that allow you to accumulate those connections certainly fall in the category of rare and valuable. Business networking, building initial rapport, maintaining online relationships, being able to carry on those relationships into the real world — these are skills that contribute to your career capital if you develop them.
Also, in a sense, building quality connections online is an insurance policy. Your network will serve as a safety net should something unpredictable happen.
Lastly, there is one more great reason to create content online.
#3. Your content has the potential to evolve into an income stream.
Kevin Kelly the founder of Wired magazine and an amazing thought leader has proposed an idea of 1,000 true fans on his blog back in 2008. The concept of 1,000 true fans is very straightforward.
You will be able to sustain yourself financially if you can accumulate a fan base of 1,000 true fans who are willing to pay for your creations.
Simple math. If every true fan of those 1000 pays you 50–100$, it is 50,000–100,000$ a year. That’s a solid income, and should never be discarded as an opportunity.
Of course, a personal brand can also be leveraged from multiple different angles:
- It can be used to sell your services/products.
- It can help you to enforce the brand of the company you are working for.
- It opens doors to affiliate marketing.
So content creation is all good stuff, however, there is one caveat.
Content creation is not for everyone and not everyone must be a content creator.
While online, you must not “say things for the sake of saying”. You have to make sure that your work is thorough and conscientious, it should contain valid information that can deliver qualitative change, not fluff that wastes other people’s time.
Think value. Think service. You have the ability to speak up and hone your voice over time. Use it to say something worthwhile, don’t just add up to the noise.
I wrote this article for those who can create but still hesitate. I know how it feels because I hesitated way too long.
I think that the conundrum of the impostor syndrome that walks hand in hand with any creative process was summarized beautifully by Charles Bukowski:
“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”
~ Charles Bukowski
A cognitive bias that carries the name Dunning-Kruger effect — that is the problem. The smarter you are, the more sophisticated and hence convincing your justification is of why your next great idea will fail.
We can’t control what slips the pens of the “stupid ones”, but we can focus on bringing our A-game in our content, grow ourselves on the way and elevate others.
Regardless of the form your creativity seeks to manifest itself, once you realize that you are capable of creating something of value, it becomes your responsibility to do so.
You may disagree with me, and that’s ok. There are plenty of those who don’t. And to them, I write:
Let’s create something good in this world, shall we?
Thank you for reading this essay.
If you would like to learn more about my work, here is my book “Meditations of the Millennial”.
If you want to support me on my mission, please, share this book with someone you love. Maybe they will find what they seek on its pages.