I’ll bet you’ve dreamed of a huge audience who hangs on your every word. You want a taste of the success other entrepreneurs are having with their blog, Medium articles, YouTube videos, email newsletters, and podcasts. There’s probably a twinge of jealousy each time you see that guy’s name pop up on LinkedIn with a new post. You know exactly who I’m talking about when I say that guy because we all have one.
Are you the only one that sees through his shallow posts and awful humor? How is that guy getting so many likes and comments? Your jealousy may have even lead to a few blog posts. Enough was enough so you decided it was time to dip your pen in some ink and show that guy what’s up.
Let me guess, those grand posts didn’t explode into the viral sensations you hoped so you threw in the towel on your internet stardom. The floodgates opened on excuses.
“I don’t have the time.”
“We don’t have the resources to write for clients and ourselves.”
“We’re too late to the game and our niche is too competitive.”
Or, are those just excuses hiding the real reason? If you’re like me, you shied away from content marketing out of fear of putting yourself out there to be judged. Those first couple of posts crushed your confidence.
That’s understandable. It’s tough to risk embarrassment, criticism and worst of all…silence. Your good intentions were brutally murdered by that ruthless band of what-ifs.
“What if nobody likes my post?”
“What if people don’t watch my video?”
“What if nobody subscribes to my email?”
We all have what-ifs floating through our heads. It’s natural. What-ifs kill most marketing efforts before they’ve ever lived. But what if you flipped your what-ifs?
“What if my blog post goes viral?”
“What if my video changes someone’s life?”
“What if people subscribe and look forward to my emails?”
It’s important to measure your efforts and pick the right opportunities, but you can’t only look at the negative side. Bring a little balance to your internal dialogue. Start by asking yourself,
“What’s the worst that can happen?”
Be honest and thorough. List the worst-case scenario horrors. It’s usually not as bad as you think once you get it on paper. Is it really the end of the world if people don’t like your post, watch your video, or subscribe to your email? What harm has been done? You probably learned how to better vocalize one of your areas of expertise if nothing else.
Now that you’ve got a grasp of the worst-case, it’s time to look at the often-ignored best-case scenario. Turn around and ask yourself,
“What’s the best that can happen?”
Many of us never even give the best-case scenario a chance to play out (in our heads or reality). The what-ifs scare us out of thinking about the idea at all.
You can’t do anything remarkable without putting yourself out there and owning your expertise. Brands aren’t built in isolation. People can’t buy from you if they don’t know your company exists.
No, not everyone will like what you do. That’s ok, it’s not for them. Offend the wrong people to connect with the right people. Putting yourself out there is how you build a brand that stands for something. It’s how you grow a dedicated community that sticks with you, looks forward to your content and buys from you when the time is right.
Launching my little email newsletter has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my 15-year career. That’s the honest truth. Each week, I get notes from people who appreciate what I send and benefit from my advice.
And sometimes, I get clients.
Companies reach out when they have a problem I can solve. I don’t bludgeon them into submission. I simply share what I’ve learned. These people would have never hired me had I not put myself out there to be judged. Take my word for it, producing content to power your marketing is worth the risk of embarrassment.
Just imagine how sweet it will be when that guy sees your post trending on LinkedIn.
I send a digestible dose of marketing wisdom every Friday to entrepreneurs from New York to New Guinea. Climb aboard if you want to get better at marketing this week.