WARNING: Part 1 is mindset, Part 2 action. Don’t read the first half of this blog without the back half.
I love a great piece of content, don’t you?
There’s just something magical about seeing video or a blog post or meme that speaks to you. Maybe you are getting critical info or gaining a good laugh or confirming that you’re not crazy! Oh, that last one is gooooood… Nobody wants to be crazy.
There’s also something magical and perhaps enviable about the really awesome posts some people do. There’s hot editing, great music, funny story lines, epic stunts, and all sorts of things that make people go – Whoa! I know they get me going, too. If you step back and think about what you reacted to in those content posts you are likely to see that there was indeed some form of magic involved. What magic do I speak of? Well, it can be various…
- Inspired ideas
- Right place right time
- Years of work distilled into a poignant realization
- Perfectly executed comedy
- Dialed in how-to clarity
- Insanely powerful editing or the perfect song
Each of these seemingly magical things are real and can be obtained by the mere mortal. So, why not aim for these awesome moments of magic? The problem is not in aiming for these goals. The problem is in our personal expectation of achieving these lofty goals.
Let’s dissect the six magical bullets above.
First, how do you get inspired ideas? To the philosophers of old – and I mean really old, Plato and Aristotle – they believed that the greatest understanding came as you had the time or “leisure” to pursue understanding. Inspired ideas sometimes spark out of nowhere and maybe some people are prone to them but if you really want to have inspired ideas they most often come from what I call “the shake up”. In my own work I can be stagnant for ideas and to shake loose I have to do something different. At the computer too long? Take a long walk. On too many shoots in a row? Switch to read a book and then play with my kids. Do something different to get something different from your brain. Not only do I know this to be true but I know this to be deliberate, to be real work to accomplish and to be rare in opportunity for busy people. So, to get inspired ideas you need the space to change your brain space. Not easy for most of us.
Second, right place right time is impossible to create. Do you remember AFV (America’s Funniest Home Videos)? Many of those videos were freak moments of human suffering – Dad’s getting hit by children in the family jewels. OUCH! You can’t fake those easily if at all. They were right place right time. And, if you think about it, much of Facebook on a personal level is trying to recreate or participate in the magic of the proverbial crotch shot. Nothing ever really changes I guess…
Third, Years of work distilled into a simple idea. Someone famous once said something like, “I’m sorry I wrote you a long letter, I did not have the time to write you a short one” (many say it was Mark Twain who said it but I’ve seen alternate attributions). Not only is it terribly difficult to do the work of study of any one thing for years but then to distill key learnings into a short statement is a monumental task.
Fourth, perfect comedy. Since comedy is quite subjective we can be sure that perfection is hard to attain but even for a specific crowd, perfection of execution is terribly difficult to attain. Jerry Seinfeld in his Netflix documentary on himself lays out pages and pages of yellow legal pads where he has bits (comedy thoughts/stories) scribbled down. He works and works on his ideas until he can find the best of the ideas and organize them into a flow and then rework them until he has a show. Proof that comedy greats are dedicated if nothing else.
Fifth, How-to clarity is likely the easiest to do well but it often is the least magical of the list. To show someone how to do something is to list, in order, the steps to accomplish a task. Often there are stories and reasons for each step. The best how-to content picks the right depth of information to help others without under-informing them or over-informing them. It’s work to make this type of content clear.
Sixth, visual craftsman ship (editing and sound design). A great editor is a gift from God in this work. A great edit often takes days if not weeks to accomplish and that is after many years of work by the editor to grow into their skill sets.
The them of this is WORK.
Magic is made by those who Work.
The title of this blog post is “Don’t be awesome… Yet”. The reason for this is that many content creators start from a point of frustration that leads to their own self-cancellation. They are in despair because they desire awesomeness but they unjustly demand it now. It is very unfair to yourself (read: your business) to demand immediate magic. As you can see, it takes great work to achieve what others may call magic.
This is the good news: there is a formula for creating the materials for magic. That formula is:
Wo x T = Pd
You are capable of putting in the work. If you want to be awesome in content you can choose to find the time. And once you have the skill sets built, you can spread your proverbial pixie dust at will. Great. You CAN do this. Problem solved.
Alas, you can’t do this immediately and this the the other part of the good news. There is grace for those who are getting better at their craft. You are on a journey, maybe even at square 1. Your journey to being able to use the magic of great content at will begins now if you’re willing to accept that you cannot match someone else’s hard earned magical qualities. You just need to be you.
You are MAGICAL to someone
This is the last good news before I share an actionable tip to help you.
You see, you are on your journey already. You likely have done some work that is relevant to you becoming you – an expert. A funny person. A story teller. Something you have has value AND, this is where the best of the good news lies… Your abilities are magic to someone who has not achieved your level of “you-ness” yet. Someone wishes they could be as good as you. Someone wishes they could hire someone just like you. You are ready to be a content creator for someone’s attention and needs and desires so… what are you waiting for???? Oh, right… the tips… here ya go:
3 tips to start content creation TODAY.
- Pick 1 social media platform to tailor your content to. In all likelihood your target consumer has a preferred social platform or maybe a top 2. Take a guess and then make content to fit that platform. Do NOT take the bait and feel as if you have to hit them all. For this article’s sake, let’s assume your audience chooses a platform where you can use Text, Photos and Video independent of each other. (Facebook, LinkedIN and Twitter are the top sources for this). Choose 1 of these and move on to Tip 2.
- Now, think of the topics you wish to cover. They are likely broad – they define the top issues or needs within your niche. If you are a Leadership Coach then you likely want to cover big ideas such as Communication and Team Building. Those topics are HUGE and have many large sub topics. Write out all the sub topics you can think of and then write down the list of individual topics you might address to help people within those large sub-topics. This outline or thought-tree is going to be your guide for what to talk about online. 1 small, tight, compact idea at a time is the way to keep content flowing for the long term. People run out of content because they can only see the big picture and not the little details. Each detail is wonderful and instructive and fascinating if you allow it to be so.
- NOTE: If you are in entertainment and are doing something a kin to comedy – consider still what your “topic” might be. The show Black-ish is about being Black in America. Smart, funny and always relevant and on topic. George Carlin was always a kind of angry, politically woke speed talking with a crazy look. We knew what we’d get from him even though he was often very surprising within that lane of content. It is a good thing to find a lane because people will know you by that lane and we do need to be defined to be understood by a target. So… the note is this: take time to actually have a guiding topic.
- Now, you know where you’re posting and what you’re posting because you’ve chosen to have focus and clarity. The final tip is to pick some content from that tree that you’ve created and start to create. Procrastination, which in many ways is what this whole blog post is designed to destroy, ends when you take action. So, really, today is your day.
BONUS: an ACTUAL Plan!
Now that you have understanding that this is gonna take work but you’re already magical to someone. And, we know that we should start with 1 platform, outline our topics with clarity, and stick to them… AND we should not procrastinate and just go for it… how in the heck do we JUST GO FOR IT!?!?? Ok, lemme lay this out for you.
STEP 1. Go to PRINT A CALENDAR and print a calendar blank. https://print-a-calendar.com/
STEP 2. Take your list of topics and choose 1 topic per week for the next 4 weeks. Write the name of it in the far left margin of the page.
STEP 3: Write 1 text post about each topic and put “TEXT POST” on Each Monday Slot. Now you have planned 4 text posts.
STEP 4: Grab a book or object that fits with the posting info and take photos of either a page of text where there’s a relevant quote or maybe a part in a machine or an other relevant thing that will help you symbolize the topic for the week. This is easy when you look at ‘Leadership Coaching’ because all you do is grab a John Maxwell book from your shelf and put a finger on a good quote in a book and snap a cellphone photo of it. If you’re a plumber doing plumbing content – getting under your sink for a quick photo might be the ticket. If you’re an Astronaut – call me – you’re just cool and I wanna meet you. But you get my drift – find something for a photo post and then there’s a step 4.1 that you must observe. Write a text post to explain why you chose that photo. Now— write the name of that photo post on Wednesday.
STEP 5: Video yourself talking about this week’s content. You said some stuff in text and a photo – why? What should someone learn from this? Explain it. — I like Thursday’s for this if it’s business related and I like Fridays and Saturdays for more personal stuff. Why? Just my gut and experience in the biz. —
Ok, take stock… You have 1 month of 4 weeks at 3 posts planned. That’s 12 posts and you wrote, photo’ed and filmed it all. This could take an hour or maybe up to about 3 if you’re just getting into the groove.
STEP 6: Post the content using a post scheduling program. My current fav option is this one: www.postfity.com If you use Facebook or Instagram then use the Facebook Creator Studio for free and you’re good.
Phew! That was a lot, right??? I know. Content creation is a big undertaking but you have a rubric to follow now. 1 BIG mindset shift to “Own Your Magic”, 3 Tips and 6 Steps. Go in order. Send me a link to some of your content and let’s celebrate your steps!
About the Author:
Josh Pies is a video advertising & branding expert. He’s spent most of his life work-shopping ways to get attention – be it sales for his first business which he started at age 4, customers for his property services company at age 23, or laughs and viewership on his first National TV Show at age 26 where he was producer and head writer. He believes in getting attention and loves the power of modern content creation for what it can do for businesses and personal brands.
Josh is the executive producer of C47 Film Associates. C47 Films has produced one feature film which is available on Amazon Prime, three TV Series, eight documentaries, and TV and web ads for brands as various as Kodak, The John Maxwell Team, and the US Department of Labor. Josh Speaks at events on the topics of video branding, how to stand out as a professional, and the power of purpose. Josh lives in Orlando Florida where he, his wife Shannon nd their three amazing kids play on the beach or in magical castles as often as possible.