An opinion means nothing unless it is backed up by experience and fact.
We are part of a world where your voice is becoming social currency and for many is being spent frivolously. Anyone can stand up and give their opinion. Who cares what your opinion is? Where are the facts? Where is the experience to share?
Opinion or fact? What is the approach to adopt to be regarded as a credible source within your industry?
You Want The Proof?
You have to stand beside something with conviction and proof rather than just giving an opinion.
When looking through the Twitter timeline and seeing links to whether you should use YouTube or podcast to broadcast, at least show that you have invested in both and acknowledged what worked best.
Better stop, otherwise this will turn into a rant.
I highlight in The Content Revolution that you have to have a bias (by sharing what is from the heart and a point of view that is unique to you). If you stand for nothing at some point someone is going to trample over you.
Having a belief helps create an audience and other people to take notice.
What is happening now in the world of content creation is that brands that once broadcasted how good they are are being replaced by people who claiming they know best.
The problem with an opinion is that everyone has one.
The problem with every social network is that everyone is on it.
The solar system of noise is getting louder by the day.
Let me give you an example from the past week. I have a friend who has an idea for a new business venture, to all friends and family it is a great business concept (I hasten to add that friends and family do not represent a valid focus group to pass judgement on a new business).
Everyone providing his or her opinion is not going to lead my friend in the right direction. Without the facts or knowledge from the chosen industry, there is no real guidance or credibility.
This is what facts do; they provide validity and help people.
For people to take note of you, you have to look beyond the rant and prove that you are worthwhile.
Facts sell and reaffirm a point.
Facts are grounded in reality.
This is where people and brands need to make that step up from just dictating an opinion to solidifying a point of view. To rely on a constant tirade of opinion is walking the tightrope, to deliver the facts provides the safety net.
As humans we are constantly looking for evidence, rather than relying on someone to pluck something from thin air and claim it as their own.
Who Are You? The Professor Or The Preacher?
You now have to be in a position to show how an approach works.
If you are a cleaning company, prove that your products work or spaces become cleaner for longer. If you are a financial advisor, prove that there are better ways to plan for a retirement.
If all you are is providing an opinion you become nothing more than a glorified motivational speaker.
What side of the fence do you belong to when it comes to creating content? Are you the professor or the preacher?
The professor represents the person who can speak openly on a topic, but can back up with deeper knowledge on a subject area. They are able to interpret information and share with an audience. The audience acknowledges what is being said and helps build credibility and assurance that the professor is a trusted source to learn from.
The preacher is the person who confidently stands up and shouts for everyone to believe. When I lived in London there was a man called Philip Howard who would stand at Oxford Circus tube station and deliver sermons from a PA system with his famous phrases, ‘don’t be a sinner, be a winner’ and ‘don’t be a shopaholic robot.’ He became a London landmark, but represents everything about having a point of view and ramming down whoever is within earshot.
Are you the preacher or the professor?
Living It Is Not A Badge
Just because you have lived something and believe in a point of view, doesn’t mean someone else has to.
To deliver an opinion has to be supported by two key areas, real life experience and the facts.
To build your audience and people buying into you will only become more noticeable when you have the experiences to share and bring the wider facts into context of what you believe in.
What you create becomes specific to you and how a distinct voice is created. A fact is used to illustrate a point and is then brought to life via an experience to validate an argument.
Let me explain by putting things into context of my team AFC Bournemouth.
FACT: AFC Bournemouth won the Championship last season
EXPERIENCE: People go to games, more exposure ie. Match Of The Day. Fans now watch a Premier League football team
OPINION: taking in the fact that the team won the league, watching matches this season on a regular basis you can form an opinion that fits with you on whether the club will stay in the Premier League or crumble with the amount of injuries we currently have.
Let me explain what this means.
We all interpret things differently. A fact is undisputed (we won the league), the experiences that we have (watching the team play football) helps create an opinion (if the club will stay in the Premier League).
This is exactly the same for our businesses and the content that you create. You can happily spout an opinion, or you can base an opinion on the experiences that you have been part of and then introduce the facts.
On a personal level, I am finding that I am introducing evidence more than ever before. This is what makes an argument more compelling and why the Content Revolution Workshops have proof from others that an owned media way of working is delivering results.
Fans, Loyal Fans, And True Fans
Back to the football analogy and this role of fact, experience and opinion. There are new fans, there are loyal fans and there are true fans.
NEW FAN – able to express an opinion (watched a game on Sky)
LOYAL FAN – able to express opinion and share from experience (has been a fan since childhood)
TRUE FAN – able to express opinion, share experience, has knowledge (the years have seen the low points with visits to the likes of Carlisle and Accrington Stanley as well as the good years)
Who do you want to call on when it comes to questioning and bringing this to a debating scenario? Is it the person who has watched a few games on Sky or the true fan who has accumulated experiences over the years and able to talk with passion and conviction?
It is arrogant to think that an experience is regarded as fact, what it does is increase your knowledge base.
Lets Round Up
To stand for something, it is time to let your competition carry on pouring an opinion onto everyone else. To build an audience is related to having a voice that can draw on experience and the facts.
This is how you differentiate, rather than be a part of a generic bubble. It’s time to reaffirm your voice and draw on what’s around you.
Image at the top of the page courtesy of Steve