For the past two weeks, I’ve had my arm in a sling. That’s because a week ago Thursday, I had rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder.
Apparently, this is pretty significant stuff, and so for the month or two leading up to the event, I was focused on the surgery itself.
Fortunately, all went well. But, as I soon learned, the procedure, at least from the patient’s perspective, is not the hard part – all I had to do was show up on time and go to sleep (insert your own Congress joke here).
No, the hard part has been figuring out all the ins and outs of what it takes to recover.
It began with the pain management of the first few days. Advil every four hours, Tylenol and Oxycontin every six hours, antibiotic four times a day, ice on and off every 30 minutes. We needed a spreadsheet (thanks for the suggestion, Dianne!) just to keep track.
Then there was the gear. A shoulder brace with clips, straps, and a ton of Velcro. Rechargeable calf compression sleeves to prevent blood clots. An inflatable ice pack, special socks, and a mountain of pillows to help with sleeping.
Finally, I’ve had to figure out how to get through each day with just one arm. How to use a keyboard, how to make coffee, how to wear a coat, how to drink beer with my left hand (hey, I’m not a monk over here).
So here’s my question for you: Am I now an expert in post-shoulder surgery recovery?
I hope you said no, because I am not.
But, the Me of today knows WAY more on this topic than the Me of two weeks ago.
So much so, that I would absolutely have paid close attention – if not paid actual money – to receive any tips, tricks, insights, or recommendations that the Me of today might have shared on the day I got home from the hospital.
What Do You Know That Would Be Useful?
I spend a lot of time helping clients figure out what topics to cover when developing content – mostly newsletters, sometimes presentations, courses, or webinars.
Like you, these people know a lot about their respective areas of expertise. Most have several decades of experience doing whatever it is they do.
So when it comes to choosing potential topics, I always start with the same question: What do you know that a person who looks like one of your preferred clients would also benefit from knowing/understanding?
#1. It’s got to be simple.
I don’t really care why my shoulder brace is designed the way it is or why blood clots are an area of concern post-surgery. I have no medical training or interest; I just want someone to help me get through the first few weeks at home.
So don’t aim so high in creating content. You are not talking to your industry peers … you are talking to people who just want the basics of whatever it is you do, so that they can live their lives or do their jobs better. It’s “Your Expertise 101” – not PhD-level stuff.
#2. Talk to your preferred clients.
Shoulder surgery is different than other types of surgeries. Yes, there are overlaps in terms of recovery. But my value to a newly-surgeried (not a real word) person drops off significantly if I start offering advice to people who have had any kind of surgery.
Likewise, you need to isolate and narrow to whom you are speaking. “Women aged 40-60;” “small to midsize companies;” “anybody whose money is green” … these are fine as starting points, but too broad for you to figure out what to write about and how to write it.
So think about what your perfect client looks like. Company size, industry, level of experience, common problems, personality, age, current understanding of your area of expertise.
If you want more of these people as clients, you need to be very specific
about who* you are talking to. That will make it easier for you to uncover relevant topics – i.e., topics that matter to them – generating more interest as a result.
*”Whom,” if you are talking to English majors.
#3. Stop waiting.
One thing that keeps people from creating and sharing content is a fear/belief that they “don’t know enough.”
Look, I’ve only been in the shoulder surgery business for two weeks and I could already be enormously helpful to someone who just started down this path. You know way more than that regarding your own work.
You don’t need to be the best on Earth – your readers, listeners, followers, and clients always arrive at square one. And they don’t go much further; they have other things to worry about. That’s why they hire you.
Share what you know and do your best to move past whatever imposter syndrome nonsense you have hanging around. We are all worried and occasionally faking it. It’s just that those of us who have been doing it for a while have gotten pretty good at hiding it.
See you next time. Until then, please send more beer.
- Have you ever had your arm in a sling?
- Which hand do you drink beer with? Extra credit if you use a glass.
- Whom is your preferred client?
Share your answers below…