School is back in session, which can only mean one thing: SPORTS!
Everywhere you look, high school kids are outside: running, jumping, kicking, hitting, throwing … and driving on my lawn, but that’s a different topic.
And, as it always does, watching today’s young athletes reminds me of my own illustrious – assuming “illustrious” means “unremarkable” – high school career.
Because while it’s true that I did manage to earn a spot on the varsity basketball team, I averaged a scant two minutes per game.
I played only during what was mockingly known as “garbage time,” the point at which the outcome has been decided and the objective of all participants is to somehow score a point, so that your name appears in the newspaper box scores the next day.
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All in all, though, it wasn’t a bad experience.
I got to practice every day with the best players; they gave me a brand new pair of top of the line sneakers; and I had a reserved, front row seat for watching the games.
And, I confess, the cheerleaders.
One thing I noticed then and continue to notice now, decades later, is that all the cheerleaders for all the teams, pretty much yell the same things:
“Say it loud because we’re proud!!”
“Leave us alone creep. Go back and sit on the bench!!!”
(Hey, I gave it a shot.)
And that’s perfectly fine.
The key to cheering has always been in the enthusiasm and the moves, not the originality of the content; I can’t imagine that any cheering squad ever hesitated to participate because they couldn’t come up with something to say that hadn’t been said before.
And yet, that concern is exactly what keeps so many professionals from creating and distributing content, whether in the form of newsletters, blogs, public presentations, or whatever:
“It’s not a new insight, why would anybody care about this?”
- It’s new to them. You’re immersed in the issues and insights of your chosen profession. Your readers are not (that’s why they read your newsletter).
They’re eternal beginners, always sitting at square one, perpetually wrestling with questions that to you are both simple and obvious.
It doesn’t matter if the information is already “out there;” they don’t pay close attention to what’s going on in your area of expertise.
- Repetition is a good thing. It takes time for people to learn things. That’s why your doctor, your personal trainer and your long-suffering spouse keep offering the same advice, over and over again.
Repetition in the content you create works the same way. Not only should you not be concerned about stating a point of view that someone else may share, you need not worry about repeating yourself.
On the contrary, you want people to associate you with a particular style and point of view and that takes time – and repetition – to build.
- It’s not about the objective information anyway. When it comes to furthering the selfish interests of your business (i.e., getting more great clients), the point of creating content is to connect.
You want people to like you, to trust you, to believe that your world view matches up with theirs. It’s not about facts – it’s not even really about knowledge – it’s about connection.
That’s why stories, humor, voice, authenticity and perspective matter so much. When you can wrap that around the objective information that all your competitors share in equal measure, now you have a chance at standing out and being remembered.
Here’s the bottom line. If the bar you need to get over in creating content is, “Nobody’s ever said this before,” you’ve got one, maybe two things to talk about and then you’re done. You certainly don’t have ten.
The good news is, that’s not what we’re doing here.
Content creation, and the positioning of you as the Likeable Expert that you are, has a lot more to do with how you show up than with the information itself.
When you look at it that way, you’ve got a bottomless supply of cheer worth spreading. Go team!
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Everyone loves a montage.
How else would a community center get fixed up in just 3 minutes in every 80’s movie ever made.
Great stuff Michael!
You beat me, Michael. I didn’t make the summer basketball team in high school, and I didn’t have the chutzpah to chat up any cheerleaders. That would be fun(ny) to do if I could go back in time!
You practice what you preach Michael. This topic of not needing to be original has been written before, yet you put your own story into it. Well done. Lately I’ve been recycling my newsletter content with a few edits here and there to update it for the season. Looking forward to more of your writing.
Are you suggesting that my topic of not being original is not original? Either way, Judy, I think you are right! Thanks for writing!!