I started this blog just about 2 years ago, in September 2017, which in the blogging world is absolutely nothing. It would be a gross understatement to say that I have a lot left to learn and improve on. It’s still really embarrassing for me EVERY TIME I put my writing in public.
and yet with that said, I’m planning to go even harder on content production going forward. WHY?
I’m starting to consider to regard content creation as the second best investment I know of. Books are still the first. I do not take this statement lightly at all.
It should be obvious I started this blog mostly out of narcissism. Only someone who is arrogant enough to think other people would care what he has to say could make a whole website to talk about himself….
Aside from my ego, I do actually really like to help people make money, and, I really like using this site to network. I’ve been fortunate to meet and talk with so many of you and it’s been amazing, and I know I’m lucky for that.
I didn’t start this blog to make money, it’s hard enough for me just to produce content regularly never mind add a business side of it as well. So I don’t really do an marketing or advertising because I have no real reason to invest in exposure because I have no sales funnel.
However even without really trying to, I’ve made money with this site, lots of it. Not through direct monetization but through meeting people and doing deals with the,m. That’s HUGE to me and it’s a very telling signal of what will be valuable in the future:
Before the internet if you wanted the world to know what you had to say you had to write a book, then get it published, then hope the distributors sold it well, and after all the dust settled most people sold very little and made very little. As technology changed there was opportunity in television and radio but only a VERY select few can please enough of the power brokers to rise to the tippity top. Today, unlike any time in the world prior, we have access to reach almost every living human on earth at the touch of our fingertips. It far surpasses the power of any medium before it and it’s brand new. The ability to have a voice on the internet provides almost unlimited opportunity. Sometimes it seems this opportunity is already a crowded field but the fact is: hardly anyone is taking advantage of this.
Let’s remember for a moment that every dollar you ever make in life will come from another human. Which means the more humans who know who you are, and what you’re doing, the more humans you can find to work with you towards aligned goals. As you social capital increases, so does your potential for success, it’s that simple
The barrier to entry for converting your cell phone into a digital media megaphone is both brand new to us and at the same time somehow it’s become so commonplace that we take it for granted. Admittedly I’m new to content production, starting this blog only in late 2017, but people have responded stronger than I ever imagined and as I get better at writing the outreach from people has been disproportionately bigger than the work I put in. This is far bigger and gone much faster than I had anticipated (and trust me it’s still small). Recently I added a low budget, low effort podcast to my content schedule. This was thrown together and recorded in haste as the point was for me to learn as I went, and yet it took only SIXTEEN episodes before the influx of positive user emails became noticeable.
Is it possible that some average nobody with a loud mouth and a bit of a rude streak is somehow the personality that people are craving to hear from? Probably not. Am I a natural talent at gaining media attention? Fuck no. My blog content is rough, my marketing is zilch, and my messaging is fuzzy at best. Yet I’ve made some good money and gained quality connections from putting forth the effort. How does this happen?
To me it seems that for the last 20 years people have been sitting at their TV and channel surfing looking for anything good to watch and they have had to suffer with the bottom of the barrel programming like “16 and pregnant”, “the real housewives”, and “Jersey Shore”. Now that they have a cell phone with zero restrictions for what they choose to engage in, they are desperately searching for the content that is best for them. Another thing I noticed was the recent announcement that “The Office” is leaving Netflix. This was a big deal because it’s their most popular show, but why is a show that ended 10 years ago the most watched show on Netflix in the first place? People are CLAMORING to find better quality content and when they don’t get it, they watch what they already know they like. The opportunity for you to grab some of that market share is massive and you only have to do this one simple thing: produce quality content consistently. I’m not seeing success in this sector because I’m good, I’m seeing it because there is a lot of low hanging fruit.
Let’s combine the high demand with another interesting fact. If you ask kids or teenagers from my generation what they want to be when they grow up, many would say “celebrity”. Now I think lots of people grow out of this as we age, but isn’t much of it just tempered expectations of life resultant of the opportunities we are presented with? Meaning, I grew up in Nowhere, Rhode Island. Even if I was cut out for fame there were no TV shows being recorded there and if I recorded my own videos where would I host them? So many people gave up on social exposure due to lack of resources, some people I know have moved to Hollywood and done well! They have nice resources geared to product fame in Hollywood though. So the question becomes, now that you have the means to create and tell stories on your phone, why aren’t you doing so?
I believe there are many answers, but like any great actor will tell you: it takes practice, and that alone knocks out 99% of the competition.
Excuses you might make to avoid trying
Unlimited upside potential with zero downside risk
In economics this is sometimes called “optionality”. You get the upside reward if you become a hit and it costs you absolutely nothing to go for it. You can’t lose by creating content and you have everything to gain. It’s understandable not to want to start a business with high capital costs or a high barrier to entry with a lot of risk, content production is the complete opposite.
We are at the beginning, the value will increase with time
Do you think the internet is a fad? The internet didn’t exist 30 years ago, and now people have their hands on it 24/7. Youtube has been around for a few years but it’s still BRAND new, it doesn’t even have many competitors yet. Do you think that everyone who is ever going to make money on Youtube has already started? Blogger/podcaster/youtuber market shares will increase as more and more people get smartphones, content production as a brand strategy is in its infancy.
It’s pretty much free to get started
If you have a smartphone then you have a multitude of ways to tell your story already.
- WordPress (where this website is hosted) will host your blog for FREE and you can type right on your phone.
- Anchor.fm will let you record a podcast with your phone, then upload it, then it’ll even distribute it! All for free.
- Youtube will host your video content and let you edit it for free. Your smart phone has a great camera and you’re already holding it.
Content production is a great investment during times of economic volatility
When prices are high, margins are tight, and we are at the end of the market cycle it can feel difficult to find great deals. When business gets slow you can do one of two things, buy riskier deals or invest in asset an asset class with better margins. As I said about I’m sure that social exposure is going to continue to increase in value and that makes it a perfect approach for me as a run up to any potential downturn in the economy. It allows me to reinvest into myself and my brand and has no chance to lose money.
Excuses you might make to avoid trying
I missed it
“Alex, blogging has been around for a long time now, YouTube is HUGE and a difficult platform to get noticed on, podcasting is already dominated by guys like Joe Rogan and a small few others. What’s the point of starting now when all the market share has been taken.” Does this sound like a reasonable excuse to you? Becuase to me it sounds dumb as fuck.
The premise of this argument is that because it’s already big that you can’t grab any audience. This is such a limited viewpoint because it leaves out two things: First, the people who own the largest market share have it because they are good, but often it’s simply because they have been consistent for a long time. Secondly, each of these mediums is still BRAND new in relative history. Podcasting is going to grow, written word will always be in demand, and YouTube is so new it doesn’t even have competitors yet. If you use the excuse that you missed the opportunity, then maybe you really mean that you missed the EASY opportunity. Sure it would be better to have started grinding YouTube in 2009, but you didn’t and if your position is that you won’t start now what makes you think you’ll jump on the next opportunity when it appears? This excuse is just a cover for saying “I don’t want to compete, I just want to do what’s easy”.
I don’t have a great story
Someone told me the other day that I’ve done well with content because I have a great story. I was actually quite infuriated about it because that’s a lame excuses. My story is incredibly average in fact, but what I’m good at it storytelling, which is not a natural talent, it’s a practiced skill like most others..
Everyone has a great story, you just need to learn how to tell it. Also, it’s not up to the content creator to decide if they have a great story, it’s up to the consumer. Get out there, tell your story or provide value to your fans and you’ll get better. Telling the story as it happens is the highest value of all. This blog isn’t a historical flashback of all the great things I’ve done, it’s a documentary of all the things I’m currently doing. That in itself is the value, which neutralizes and validity of the original argument. If you wait until you’re a superstar to start producing content creation then you’ll be so far behind in practice that you’ll have even less confidence to try
I don’t have good equipment
Neither do I? You need a keyboard to written word, which everyone has and you need a cell phone for podcasting or YouTube. You don’t need more than that. You can always get better equipment, but a shiny camera with a shitty story is just a waste of money.
I’m bad at content
You’re bad at everything you don’t practice at. Go to the first blog entry on my website and see how far I’ve come. I was terrible at content production (still pretty awful) and I just sucked it up and tried …and now you’re reading this……fkn magic! No one judges me on where I started, they judge me on where I am today. No one cares if you’re lousy at content production when you start…..in fact no will care even if you’re good, the key is to produce good content consistently which can never happen if you never get started. Being bad at something is always a bad excuse not to try, we are all bad at all things until we try.
I’m insecure when it comes to putting myself out there
Admission is the first step to recovery. I’m insecure about it too, all the time actually. You know what helps? Facing my shortcomings and doing it anyway. You know what’s NEVER happened? Someone reads my content, hates it, then emails me to make me feel bad about it. I’ve had almost zero negative response from my content production and I think the reason why is that people who don’t respond positively to your ideas just move on. So there is an artificial feedback loop in your favor. People who like your content will tell you, you’ll feel good about it and empowered to produce more, and the people who don’t like it just keep it moving. EASY!
Insecurity about content production is the same insecurity we will for all things in life. At its root it’s just a form of ‘fear of the unknown’ and everyone will overcome it. Content production is a little unique in that many things in life we can practice in our quiet privacy, but the content isn’t for you it’s for everyone else, so there is no option to practice without putting something on the line. I’m not saying it’s not hard, I’m saying it’s worth the discomfort.
Your digital resume
Have you ever been in a situation where you need to exchange business cards and you don’t have any? It’s not the end of the world, but it would have been nice for you to have some at the time right? One day you’re going to meet a potential vendor or partner and they will ask for your website name and all you’ll have to give them is instagram …that’s someone else’s platform in case you forgot.
Instagram isn’t likely to last another 15 years, Facebook might not either, so what are you going to do then? It’s not ideal to be constantly creating a digital presence on someone else’s platform, it’s much better for you to create your own and use social media as a funnel.
Another thing to consider is our new found ability, and desire, to cyber stalk people. I don’t mean this in the creepy way but the natural way people can research who you are and what you’re about in today’s marketplace. So if you want to know what I do and who I am, my hope is that you don’t have enough time to look through all my content to figure it out. Meaning, I have a dense historical record of putting my story online. This doesn’t matter now, but it will in 5 years, and it will in 10 years, and it REALLY will in 20 years. You can go around and try telling people you’re a reliable, and credible, and do good business, but that’s no different than providing a resume at a job interview. The problem is that it’s just one page and lots of people distort their truth. With your own website your credibility compounds over time as you produce content. Someone can come to www.lifeandlens.media and find out I’m a REAL ESTATE INVESTOR with my own unique personality, I obviously work hard to help other people invest with success, and I’m putting in massive effort to propel yourself forward. You don’t need me to tell you this is true, you can see it through the efforts of my labor. So if you want to prove someone you’re credible, and committed to your craft, and you want to give them a dense history of material to prove it so, you’ll need to start producing content. The 1 page resume of yesteryear just won’t cut it anymore.
The opportunity is ours to take
In the grand scheme of things if I could become a tiny BLIP on the social exposure radar that would be an improvement. I’m not good at marketing myself, all my outreach is organic, I haven’t read any books or spent any time learning storytelling, I don’t know any of the social media algorithms either. I’m just putting my thoughts out on this website and doing it consistently, nothing more.
And yet, it’s growing. It’s not big, but it’s growing and that’s how I know it’s working.
After all, YOU’RE HERE READING THIS…..
The metrics are growing slowly but the feedback I get from people is starting to become much more impactful. Again I don’t think this is because I have anything special to say and as I just mentioned, I’m not trying to market myself in any way so what could be the cause? I believe it stems simply because so few people are making an effort here and we don’t realize how high the demand is. Most people use social media to share memes or other people’s thoughts instead of really working to share their own personal thoughts in a productive way. For the lazy, it’s much easier to use Facebook than to create your own website, but it’s far less effective. Sure it may seem like there are an unlimited amount of bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers out there, but that’s not the case, it’s not even close. The overwhelming majority of people don’t produce any original content and never will. This leaves a massive opportunity on the table for those who are willing to grab it. I’m going to start committing hard to more content production and I guarantee it’s going to produce results, if you want to compete with me you’re going to have to do the same, and you have to start immediately