Content Strategy → Document, Don't Create

August 11, 2020
Sandro Meyer
Content Marketing

Because I'm closely following quite a few people in the marketing space, I noticed that the ones I consider best at their craft not only deliver incredible value to their follower-base, but they also do so at incredible speed and consistency. But the reality is, whether you are working on your own brand, or you are looking to raise the profile of the company you work for, consistently creating new and original content is really demanding and time consuming work.

So how do they do it?

As I dug deeper, I started realizing that these uber-successful brands and creators are not necessarily "create" new content, but they document what they are already doing and adapt the content to the marketing channels they want to serve.

Think about it: you can ponder about the strategy behind every post and fabricate yourself into this “influential person or company”… or you can just be yourself. Because by being yourself you are uncopyable and the originality is baked in.

Gary Vaynerchuk is doing an incredible job at this and advices:

One of the biggest mistakes people make when creating content for their personal or company brand is trying to oversell themselves because they think that’s what’s going to get people’s attention. Whether you’re a B2C brand, or marketer or personal coach or artist, I think it’s much more fruitful to talk about your process than about the actual advice you “think” you should be giving them.

He goes on:

Documenting your journey versus creating an image of yourself or of your company is the difference between saying “You should…” versus “my intuition says…”. Get it? It changes everything. I believe that the people who are willing to discuss their journeys instead of trying to front themselves as the “next big thing” are going to win.

And don’t get confused—just because you’re “documenting” doesn’t mean you’re not creating content. It’s just a version of creating that is predicated more on practicality instead of having to think of stories or fantasy—something that’s very hard for most people (including myself).

I employ a similar mindset for this newsletter and the social posts on LinkedIn that I am doing. I already read and make notes of all the articles that I discuss in this newsletter, why not put in a little more work and share those notes with others? I already have a journal where I document what's going on in my life and my thoughts on building our company Growth Bay. Why not share these thoughts?

Jack Butcher calls this concept "selling sawdust". If you are a wood worker your main product may be a hand-crafted kitchen table, but there are a ton of people who pay good money for the sawdust too. Similarly, if you work on a product, a design, a strategy or anything else, you are inevitably doing research, assimilating ideas and producing value in some shape or form. Your main product may be the end result you are selling to your client or contribute to your companies' product, but other people who are in a similar situations are interested in your process and how you went about it.

In the words of Jack:

Content is what you produce while you perfect your product. Write about what's working, record what you're learning, showcase your client results, share their testimonials. Proof of work increases trust.

So if you are starting to document your process and share it with people, not only do you have an endless stream of low-effort content, but you are also building trust with your (potential) customers at the same time. Because you are not preaching the gospel from your ivory tower, but you are showing what you are actually doing and capable of. This proof of work, how Jack calls it, is the ultimate trust builder.

You can:

  • Talk about your process in a simple voice-memo form podcast (5-10min of you talking through an idea or concept)
  • Share images or illustrations of the flowcharts, website designs, product mockups and frameworks you are developing.
  • Make short videos of yourself or your team going over a recent product change, shift in strategy, market developments, behind-the-scenes etc.
  • Write a newsletter, blog post or LinkedIn post about an idea that you fleshed out and want to share with people and get feedback.

And finally, there is another huge benefit to this type of content strategy. The feedback you get is invaluable. You let your customers and leads participate in why and how you are building your product or service. This is compelling and invites the outside world to voice their opinion and offer advice.

Who wrote this essay?
Nice to meet you! We are Growth Bay, a growth marketing agency based in Zurich, Switzerland.
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