Content: Creating and Sharing
Now I want to talk about content and I want to talk about how you use content to really drive your platform right so in a lot of ways the whole permission thing is a way to kind of it's the bucket right? So it's the thing that you're using to catch people but you actually have to communicate with them way touch on this a little bit we talked about you know, when we should email and some ideas about what should go in the email but I would really want to dive into this idea of content and the first thing I want to start talking about is the fact that you need content and you need to share it freely and you need to share it widely I need to share it widely and so when you have content um you need to create content in a way where lots of people can engage with it in a way where they can freely get ahold of it and it can spread. And the reason that you do this is that you want something that people can actually engage with and grabbed hold with in the real world and take apart of before the...
y give you permission to contact them or before they purchase one of your books and so we want to look at some ideas behind content and what we mean when we start talking about sharing it freely and sharing it widely so the first thing that having content out in the world does is it allows people to interact before committing, right? So it allows them to get to know who you are and the kind of content that you're producing without committing. And we've all done this, right? We watch trailers for movies, we pick up a book, and we flipped through it. We are always looking for ways to get a taste of something before we really commit, you know, I talked about with kindle, you know, you can download the sample of a book and you can read that before committing to a purchase, and I'll even do that before committing to a ninety nine cent purchase because really, I'm committing to like hours of my life spent reading this book, and if I actually buy a book, I feel like, man, I got to finish it, and so what we want to do is make should we put content out there in a way that people can interact with it before committee? We also I wanted to give content away because it gives something that people can share among themselves. So, you know, we talked about the pds and creating a pdf that people could download. Well, that is something that I can take and send the other people and again, how many times have we done this where we found something really cool online and we forward it to a friend and said, hey, you got to check this out, right? And if that content wasn't available in a way where you could actually share it, you wouldn't be able to do that interaction it would be trapped in a book or trapped in something that you couldn't share and so it really puts things in people's hands that they can share with each other and when I mean share I mean any way you can think of whether it's printing it out and handing it to somebody you know? So she and I were talking about this little e book that we've both used by charlie home and called the recession proof graduate and I have literally, like printed that peak that pdf out and like handed it to somebody in person, I've emailed them links to it it's something that I've been able to pass around and people have gotten to know charlie that wouldn't have ever heard of him before and we also mean things like social media right? Like, you know I can share stuff on social media confined some really cool cat videos and share it with people right? You know so so when you put your content out where it's freely available willl and make it widely available it allows it to spread it allows people to share it and it not only allows people to share it, it allowed sir changes to share it as well and this is where you know, putting content out whether it's block post, whether it's videos, any kind of content it starts allowing search engines to grab you know google grab it and people find it we all know this right that's where we go to search for stuff, and if you put all of that behind something that's not allowed to be searched, not freely and widely available, you're not going to get those people finding you so that content that you're sharing allows people to start entering your platform from all kinds of different directions, and this stuff travels in ways that you can never imagine. You know, I've heard from people literally all over the world that have downloaded my stuff for read my stuff somewhere and reached out to me and people that I could have never reached any other way. And so you don't want to just keep all of your content and wait for your book to be for sale before you start sharing it, so when I start talking about this idea of sharing stuff freely and widely, I get one question over and over and over and that is this can you share too much so you tell me, can you share too much? What is the fear behind putting your content out there in a way that people, um will now have a chance to interact with it? Yeah, so I think the first concern is am I going to give them something that that will preclude them from actually buying something in a minute, right? Yeah, um, you know, I was talking with somebody one time and they're like, well, you know, I listen to this all thrown npr talk about his book and he shared so much, I didn't even feel like I need to read it and I'll come back and talk about that in a minute, but like that's our fear, right? I know michelle, you have some fears I'm gonna make you share now ware talking about this over lunch, we were talking about the struggle between, you know, writing, which is a very kind of private and personal act and appearing and in public and being seen as you are in public, the struggle with a having a public persona for someone who might be more introverted by nature, and you know what? It feels vulnerable sometimes just sharing the more interesting the details that you have to share, the more personal they might be and, um and that feels risky somehow, yep. Anything else about sharing too much way have dream life, who is timing online, says I bet we don't want to share too much because we're really interested in the bottom line in the cash, because it's, like, once you share everything, you have to come up with something new to share and to sell sell jesus is saying something similar, saying, I don't think you can share too much is about having a plan of what and when to share on lala I think done this actually speaks very pertinently lot of saying the fear is I'm going to run out of things to say, yeah, that's another one, mark uh, also, if you send out too much and you're afraid that someone's going to take it, that might be a better marker than you might be smarter a certain things and take your things and and, uh, make it their own, and you get lost or fall behind that's a good point. We'll come back to that one, too, because that's actually not something I was playing I'm talking about, but it's important, so we're going to come back to that, too. And so it is this question of, like, am I giving away too much? And this is the fear I'm giving away too much and putting myself out there too much I'm goingto people aren't gonna want to buy my book or they're going to finally realize I'm crazy and don't know what I'm talking about, you know? I'm so afraid of giving away too much and what I found for most writers, for almost every writer, this is the phantom fear this is the fear of something that doesn't exist. This is the fear of the monster under the bed that was never actually they're the real thing you should be terrified of, scared of and hope never, ever happens to you is a writer, and you should be fighting with everything inside of you is this obscurity? If you save all of your content and you hold it all back until you're ready to sell it, you're going to try to sell it to people that are not there, and you're going to drown and obscurity and we've all seen the riders like this, and we've actually probably read books like this where we read a book more like, why don't people up more people know about this book and there's this really great quote by a new author named cory doctorow and he said it's, impossible to monetize obscurity and now more than ever, it's impossible to monetize obscurity and the way that you fight obscurity as to share your content freely and widely because it gives something that people can grab ahold of and share. And so let me touch on mark what you had to say, so there's an author named hugh macleod and he wrote a fantastic book called ignore everybody, and he wrote that book after years and years of doing these little sketches and cartoons, and we're going to have tom come up and talk a little bit about cartoony and sharing content a few minutes, and so he would do these little cartoons and he would do when he did it for hours, he would do he go into his crappy add job, and then at night he going to bars any dude on the back of business cards and he starts sharing him online. And the way that he thought about this is that he loves to do this like this is like he didn't want to do anything else except sit in bars and do on the back and business cards, and they put him on line to share like he just absolutely loved it. And if he's like, if somebody wants to come along, try to steal my stuff and then, like, turn it for quick. Buck somehow he's like that is a miserable life like the fact that one they're doing it just to copy me which doesn't make any sense they'll never do it as good as me because I love it and they actually hate it and if they try to do copy me and put it out into the world it's going to be something that it will never be totally successful to themselves because they know they're stealing it and so what you know it's this idea of like I'm doing something I love and the reasons it's successful in the reason I keep doing it day after day after day is because I love it and if we're writers we right because we love it because we all know there's easier ways to make money right and you know we instead of slaving over something thing for fifteen months hoping that's maybe somebody will buy it right and so when it comes to sharing there's a few observations I made around this that I want to share with you about why it's so important to share widely and freely so the first is the authors that share the most content build the fastest followings and this really makes sense if you start thinking about how this works the more content you put out the more stuff that it allows people to grab ahold of it allows them to share and so by not being afraid of sharing too much it allows you to grow faster following because it gives more people more things for people to grab a hold of giving away your work is a direct path to building a lot of connections with readers, and this is goes back to what I was talking about is this stuff goes into places you could never imagine, you know, even your books will go into places you never imagined. I got an email from this famous venture capitalists that probably lots of people here in san francisco have heard of talking about my book, some guy that I would never have had access to out of the fact that I put some content in the world and somebody sent it to somebody who sent it to somebody finally landed on his desk, right? And that cannot happen if there's nothing to be sent to be sent to be sent. And so when we talk about podcasting or webinars where we talk about a blawg and we talked about all these things, there are delivery methods for content that's going to show up in different places. And, you know, I have friends that are doing podcast because they love doing podcasts and it's a really easy, natural way for them to create content that goes out into the world and spreads the people love to write. So they write a blawg and that is what gets shared another great thing is the heat brothers dannon ship heat they wrote they were made to stick and switch and their latest is decisive and they don't bog they're not on social media but they create these really great free resource is around each of their books and they put him out and anybody can download them after signing up for their email lists and so they take this content that's really great valuable content and they put it into the world so that it can spread making your content widely and freely available is the most consistent surefire our way of building your platform again it gives people something to connect with and so creating content and so when it comes to questions like I'm afraid I'm going to run out of things to say I have that same fear you know I had that fear and creating this class it's like okay, I have eight sessions of ninety minutes each that's twelve hours of content holy crap that's a lot of content and then as I put it together I'm like man, I'm going to run out of time you know, like if this is something you're truly passionate about if this is something that you really care about your going toe you're going to realize that the well is never going to run dry you know there's this great story in the bible about the profit I think was elijah, and he went into this town and he helped this lady, and he said, go around and grab all of the pots thatyou congrats you can find and she was a widow, so she didn't have any money, and then I'm going to give you a bottle of oil and you can pour it out into all of these things, and so she starts pouring it in, and this one bottle filled up hundreds of pots of oil that she was then able to sell, and she was able to take care of her son, right? So this thing that should have run dry after pouring it out once I found that it was never ending, that she could pour it out over and over and over, and it never ran dry. And if you're creating something that you're passionate about, if you're writing about things that you care about your fight, going to find the same way, you're going to think this is the last thing I have to say there's, this really great cartoon on the oatmeal dot com, where he talks about this where he's like after the first cartoon he ever wrote he's like, well, that's it. That's all I've got and after the hundred cartoon, he created site well, that's it that's all I've got, you know, and you'll find that if this is something you're truly helping people with and you want to make a difference in the world, you're well, we'll never run dry. And so, um, I want to move into the go ahead before we move on quick question from addie, which I think is a great one. How soon before a launch do you begin to share content? They say my releases october fifteenth, and I've only shared the first scene in back of bourke book blurb thought people get frustrated that it wasn't available yet. So, do you have any thoughts on timing of content? So there's there's two different things to think about here, so there's, um, sharing content toe, build your platform and they're sharing content to actually launch a product and they're similar, but I think about them in separate ways, and so this what were mainly talking about is building your platform so that when you're ready to launch a book, you actually have people ready to buy it, right? That's what? I talked about it from the time you pin the first word you have people ready to buy it, so in that sense, you want to share content you want to start yesterday and then never stop right? Because it's a continual building your platform getting people on your email list building your permission so then when you come out with a book you're ready to actually promote it when it comes time to actually launch a book we're going to in the last session tomorrow we're going to talk about how to launch a book how to actually use this platform to launch a book and so what I would say from that particular question is I have found don't start promoting a book prior to two months before it comes out because people in general aren't going to buy it if it's that early or what kind of lose track of what's going on so that's a very technical I've tried to promote a book like four months and and nobody cares that it's it's going to be available four months because again we talked about a book it's a fifteen dollars commitment you know it's not like you know your pre ordering something that you can't wait to come. So for most people I start six to eight weeks before the book comes out to promote it um but as far as wind to start doing it it's start now and never stop you're building something that will not only support your next book is going to support everything that you do, so I've talked about how important it is to share content freely and widely, and hopefully talked you into the fact that it is important, and it is how you build your platform and gives people to grab something to grab a hold on. But of course, the next question is, well, how do I do this? But how do I do it? As far as like, how do I come up with ideas to talk about and also like, you know what? I have kids and a job and other writing assignments and clients, and how do I actually have time to come up with content? And so we're going to talk about both of those but the overarching thing that I think about and I use this myself, and I recommended to pretty much everything I talk about the overarching thing is this quote by human cloud treat it like an adventure, an adventure we're sharing, treat your life as a writer as an adventure, and you're blawg your email list your podcast. However you're delivering the content you are sharing your adventure as a writer, and you may tell yourself a tte this point, my life is boring, there is nothing to share, and I've been telling you, if you can change your perspective on your life is a writer, you can change your perspective on what you're doing. Then you will start seeing your adventure is everywhere, and and your platform becomes your journal, your way of sharing it with other people and the reason I'm so sure for that you have something interesting to talk about is because I have never met a writer that doesn't were not people that I'm going to just get stereotypical here, right? We're not just working some nine to five shit job at, you know, home depot just so we can go home and drown our sorrows in alcohol, in television till we fall asleep and do it all again, right? There's plenty of people doing that, they're not in this course there not in this room writers or people that, as we've said or trying to make the world a better place, you're doing stuff, you're learning stuff, you're going places, even if you're sitting in your home, you're going places in your mind, you're telling stories you're creating entire worlds. We've all we talked about some of the books that created these worlds that don't actually exist, but when the books over, I'm still thinking about the characters because it was so real to me, right? So if you can start seeing your world what you do as a writer whether you are a consultant, whether you're a researcher, whether a fiction writer whether you're you know, writing about being a mother you are on an adventure and the way that you come up with content as you share that content you share that adventure with other people so when I say that when I say that what comes to mind what do you think that means? What comes to mind when I say treat it like an adventure you know, if I was to say, you know mark and I'm going to say it right now mark, what have you done over the last month? What have you learned over the last month that you think people that are falling what you're doing would be interested in hearing about um specifically things happen all the time every day I can feel like a new thing arises in me that I can share with people who im in the fitness side of things and I see something I experienced something and I feel that that would be awesome for them toe feel that too, and to get deeper into it they're doing so yeah just continues to I think you said it was an adventure it feels like an adventure adventures are always create itself every moment and so it just changes your perception least mine that have life comes at me yeah and we're learning something new every day, right? You know what, something new that you've learned in the past month I think I've been learning more about being authentic, so just because I have a medical practice doesn't mean it's all ah fun and games and it's all you know, very lighthearted it can be very stressful and it can be very hard work so when I'm writing my book teaching women how to go from, you know, graduating to launching a private practice it's not just about how fine it can be or how easy it is actually writing about the struggles of it and sharing that authentic part of the struggles and not just the happy times and new struggles come up yeah, right, you know, I've been like I said, you know, I've worked with over one hundred authors and I still get asked questions that I'm like, you know, never thought of that yet I got it, I got to come up with something new, I read something new that, like, strikes me in a way that I never thought of, you know, and it's funny I was talking teo, I was talking to derek halpern, who did a class with creative live was talking in a couple weeks ago and I was like, I was asking all you're gonna laugh so get ready left so I was asking all these questions I'm like I really need to grow this side of my business and you know did it up what should I do? He's like team you got to grow your email list and I'm like that's a good point I wish I had that advice that I would give some other people sometimes you know and so it's like so we're learning something new constantly and you know, I gave the example earlier of the author that you know, he writes he's really great books based on research and when I told him you know, you need to be writing content stuff he's like I got nothing to share, but as soon as I asked him something interesting, he learned he could spout it off and that's what you know you need to remember when you're creating content, you're creating a platform, a community around what you are interested in, right? So you've got to remember like, this isn't just for everybody it's about for people that are interested in what I'm interested in that want to see the world the way I see it you know, I mentioned tim farriss earlier there are people that hate him paris and hate everything that he stands for and will never read anything or buy anything he ever comes out with but there are people that no matter what he comes out with they'll buy it because they love him and they love his worldview and they love everything he's talking about, right? And so what you've got to remember is that you want people that air into the same things you're into, so if you're learning something new, they're probably going to be interested in that, too. And so always looking for ways that day today, as you go through your adventure as a writer, you're looking for ways to share that adventure with other people. Yeah, I'm going for dive in here to my kind. You asked for this, but we did get a message from bold books, he says, hey, I work for home depot, I do it to earn a living so I can write, but I know he's only joking story to all the home depot employees out there are horrible jobs are available now I'm not seeing him depose a horrible job. I'm just saying there are lots of people that don't do what we do that aren't trying to create, they're just trying to exist. So you know, as people that air creating this content and looking at it as an adventure, how do we actually turn the content into something we can share you know, how do we turn this into something that we can create an ongoing basis that can be part of our life? That is not this whole separate full time job it can actually be part of our writing process. Creating content for a platform could be part of what we do. So I want to talk about just some highlights of some ideas of how you can start working, creating content into your life and making it in a group part of what you do on a regular basis and the first one is reimagining content and I pulled this phrase from a fantastic book called content rules by an hanley and cc chapman and I highly recommend it and what they talk about is it's not about reusing content so it's not like you take content and you just re use it over and over it's about looking at the content you're already producing and how can you put that out in different ways? So let me give a couple examples so um steve you've created when you were doing interviews for your book you were doing audio interviews that were recorded right and so okay and so you were doing all these interviews and so your book ended up being a couple hundred pages and great content, but you have literally terabytes right of audio files and so what one of the things you started doing recently was putting them on your website, putting some of this stuff on your website because it was content that you already had, and I might as well put it out, right is that yeah, it was two hundred fifty pages, exactly two hundred forty page, because I happen to know, yeah, there were seventy three actually there's more than that under one hundred interviews, but he's ones over an hour s o the first pass at that was blood posts, we're just taking a piece, you know, that the super bowl comes and goes, so what am I going to write about? What I'm going to go grab my interview with bob parsons at go? Daddy? Yeah, and I'm going to add his latest press release, where he says sales are at an all time all time high, even though adweek hates the creative right because that happens every year. Yeah, but now, you know, so block post block, post block post cutting in slicing and dicing between them and finding new insights where one guy's talking about something that other guy said now what I'm doing is I'm going back to the original source material and I'm sending into a transcription house because I hate to try transcribed, thanks myself, and I'm coming out with twenty page documents which you know I had it down for for, you know, readability, but I mean, I'm just sort of offering up verbatim, slightly abridged transcripts from people that you don't get long copy interviews from and I'm hoping that works well but here's, the thing is like, so I created this content by doing these interviews out of that content I created a book, then out of that content I created blocked purse and out of that content I'm creating pds that I can put on my web site this driving people to my permission asset my email list I created content back here and I'm putting it out in different ways to let people interact with it in different ways. One thing that we did for a client is they came out with a pdf with ten tips and we took that pdf had intro ten tips in altro we took that pdf we turned into a kindle single and we put that up on amazon so that we could take advantage of amazon and having it on their search engine and all the search results that coming through there then we took each of those and we did a video with the author on the intro and each of those ten tips and an al true and we released those on youtube so now we're taking advantage of youtube, then we're taking his blawg and we were putting each of those videos up is an individual blawg post on his on his block, so he's not out, creating brand new content every time he sits down to put something on his plan form he's taking something and putting it out in different ways. And a lot of times, people worry about this are like, well, you know, people are going to get annoyed that, you know, that I'm putting the same content out in different ways and a couple of things to remember here, you know, back to the drunk surfers thing like people aren't paying that close of attention to what you do, right? You know, it's, like we go through pixel by pixel and worry about our website and worry about our copy and make sure it's perfect and get it online and somebody else is gonna die they're kids billing coffee, trying to get work done while quickly surfing the web site and also gives people away that it allows him, you know, if I'm like toe listen, the podcast, but I don't read as much online I can get is his audio, or I could get it his video, so it gives me ways to interact with the content and again will spread to different types of people, so looking at content you're already creating and reimagining it in new ways. So another thing that I like to think of his dvd extras, right? So if you think of dvds and there's all that extra content, right, like the special features section of the of the content, and if you look at that a lot of times, it's stuff that was created pretty easily because everybody was already there. So it's alternate endings that got cut its cut scenes or it's interviews with the director or some of the actors and it's just kind of this behind the scenes stuff that while they were creating the movie, they were just taking the opportunities to create this extra stuff, right? And so again, back to the idea of interviews, if you're doing interviews for one of your books, you can release tidbits of those interviews on your platform while you're writing the book, right? Because you know that our long interviews going to end up being three paragraphs in the final book, and so you have all of this extra content, and so look for ways as you're writing the book as you're creating the book that you're creating, you're creating all of these experiences around it. You're creating all of this stuff around it that you can use your platform to share and not just let it sit on the cutting room floor somewhere. So another great example is q and a's and I use this for, um, you know, brent weeks, I talked about how, you know, as a fiction writer, he write about, you know, how he became a writer and how he creates worlds and all of this kind of stuff and the reason he knew that people would be interested in that because he was getting so many questions about it, right? And so when you put q and a's on your website a lot of times, it's great, because you're probably if you've gotten the question other places, you know, somebody he's going to be interested in it, and you've probably already created the answer because you've answered the question so many times, right? And so by putting q and a's on your site or just basically doing blawg posts or podcast episodes or creating content around answers to common questions, you don't have to come up with new content. You just look for what people are interested in, what kind of questions they're coming back to you. So another is twenty percent extra this idea of twenty percent extra, and this goes back to the reimagining content because what do you already have that if you put a little bit of work into it could be something else like steve was talking about I have these interviews, I send them off to the transcription service, I edit him a little bit in their lives, so all of a sudden I have ten and fifteen page pdf so that I didn't have to create from scratch I just did a little bit of extra work and now it's something I can share, right? I talked about the heat brothers with their content a lot of times this stuff that they're putting out is this content is stuff that they found while researching the book it just didn't make sense for this particular book. I was working with a client who is writing a book about the science behind fatherhood and he's writing this great book about like all the research behind why father's matter and what they matter and what happens when fathers aren't in the home and all of this kind of stuff and so he's going to he's going to write a book about that I was like, you know what you should do to release content on the site is you should write a book you should do some content around your book for single dads your book for widowers your book for homosexual father is your book for, you know, stepfather's you know we're coming into like so taking the content in creating it in different ways for different people to interact with it that maybe doesn't make sense in the main book, but is definitely ways that you can bring people in and get them excited about the book. Another thing is flagship content, and I like to think of this is like you putting your pole in the ground, you putting your stake in the ground? You kind of saying, this is what I stand for? And a really great example of this is a guy named chris gil abo um, who wrote a book called the art of non conformity, and the hundred dollars start up. And when he started his platform, he released this pdf that was basically like a few pages talking about how he sees the world. This is what I think you khun b this is the art of nonconformity. That's what the name of the blob was, and it was this great pdf that he put out he wrote once, and was basically his manifesto. This is how I see the world. This is how I'm going to teach you to do things. This is how I think your life should look and it became something that people could grab onto and get to know him, and it was this thing that is timeless and that's what we would talk about it, we want things that are evergreen, we want things we want to really focus on creating things that are timeless that that stand the test of time so that we're not on this hamster wheel of creating brand new content constantly right? We're not a news organization were not a celebrity gossip blawg right? Like we're not keeping up with the latest and greatest things that's a hamster wheel that will never end but if we're looking for ways to create content that will stand the test of time and really put our flag in the ground it gives us something that we can breathe a little bit we don't have to turn out content every day we can take our time and do it right and put it out and then promote that content and again back to the heat brothers they do this really well right? So they create these great resource is around each of their books so back when they came out with made to stick they created these resource is and released it and those air still available on their website so years later three books later that content they created several years ago is still driving people to their website and driving people to their email list and so what we want to do is get away from this idea because a lot of times again I think it becomes from like seeing certain types of people that people like what you have to be like them and get away from this idea of like, wolf, we have of log, we gotta block every day or if we have an email list, we gotta email every day or I've got a you know, put twelve things on twitter every day, and I've got to constantly create this new stuff and keep up with the times and instead start looking for ways to create content. That's going to stand the test of time that we can build over a series of time and kind of make our body of work that people can interact with. So I've kind of run through a lot of stuff here, and I've done that on purpose. I want to really kind of give you some ideas, and then tom fishman is going to come up in just a minute and he's going to share some specific things about content as well. And then at the end, you're going to have timeto do a q and a with both of us. And so tom fishburne is the creator of market to nist, and we started working together about three years ago.