When creating your message within any medium, the longer you stick with something, the greater the opportunity for reward.
In order to move the needle, you have to keep on moving whilst others are still thinking or telling everyone that they are about to do something and light the world on fire. That way, when someone else eventually starts, you’ll already be two steps ahead.
This article is about a bit of reflection as a weekly email hits a small milestone.
Back To October 2013
The You Are The Media weekly email started in October 2013. It recently saw the 245th weekly email sent. It’s hit the five year milestone.
The email has been sent for five years and in that time I have missed 15 weeks (out of a total of 260 weeks). This is attributed to two weeks off over the five years, during Christmas from 2013 to 2017 and also five weeks off in 2018 after the end of the You Are The Media Conference when I had to have a bit of time to recharge. I was on my knees in May this year and don’t want to be in that place again.
Rather than this article being about a sense of self-gratification and saying to you ‘look what I have done, aren’t I clever?’ let me share what I have taken from this whole project, so far.
The message here is all about starting something, so you will always be a step ahead of those who are just about to start contemplating, not committing.
Whether that is finding your own writing rhythm, discovering a momentum for recording audio or video, the only way you can build an audience is if you are persistent with one thing, then it becomes easier in introducing new media channels.
For instance, by starting with a weekly email, it became easier to introduce offline events. The trust is made in one place, so it becomes easier to introduce new spaces when trust is established.
Let me share with you:
– What is different now there is a greater space to look back
– Why it is easier to be genuinely curious than have the answers
– How you can find your creation rhythm
Back Then To Now
Looking back over five years, I have always said that the toughest place to start is zero.
By zero I don’t mean the people you send to, but starting from week one of your endeavors and then keeping the momentum.
I don’t think it would have been a huge difference from sending a weekly email today than it would have been in 2013. The biggest challenge is relevance, keeping going and remaining committed.
However, the biggest difference if I started the You Are The Media weekly email today is permission.
Whilst the first email was sent to 334 people, in a pre GDPR world, these were people that were made up of clients, prospects and predominantly scraping lists. Out of the 334 people who received the first email, no one knew it was coming. Where we are today and from cleaning the database in May, there are currently 2,317 subscribers who receive the weekly email. The longer you progress, the smaller the drop off rate.
Every journey has to have a start, no matter how unprepared you are.
Let’s go back to the first email in October 2013 (it’s below).
It wasn’t very good.
– It was generic
– It wanted you to focus on everything, there was nothing to capture your attention as the main article
– There was too much to share with you
– It didn’t feel personal
– It felt corporate (big company logo at the top right)
– There was an image missing. I didn’t check.
On the other hand, it provided the basis to build upon.
If you are prepared to start something, you have to be 100% ok with being rubbish and stop using everyone else as a yardstick when you haven’t started something.
The only way you can build something is if you throw your hat in the ring and accept you are not going to be right, but it is better to document the journey, rather than wanting to be seen as the font of knowledge.
The Biggest Wins
Over the years I have managed to find some loops that have helped in not thinking about the need to create, but the rhythm that you stick with.
These are the biggest wins if you want to start something with the intention of longevity and not looking at what everyone else is doing:
– Common themes. What started as generic marketing topics, is now very much focused on how companies can build a loyal audience. It just so happens that it is the content you create becomes the glue for people to connect. This provides a focus. You need a reason for starting.
– Finding things that are topical. This allows you to bring recent proof into the overall conversation that depicts relevance. This is basically a scrapbook that you can always look back on. From Brexit to GDPR, to Pokemon Go, these have helped form learning and also to be applied on a wider basis, such as being used in talks and podcasts.
– Working to an additional calendar, every week. The weekly writing is treated separately from the main company work. For instance, the weekly email is put together on a Wednesday evening and the main article starts at the beginning of the week.
– Make it easy for someone to read/listen/watch. As the You Are The Media email is sent at 6.30am and the majority of the audience is within Europe, the email is viewed predominantly on email. This is why looking at it on a mobile screen I work on a 14 point size in Open Sans.
How You Can Find A Rhythm
I have to say that the biggest reason to keep going is fed by:
– The importance to learn and adapt
– Curiosity is central not looking to be seen as important
– Carving an independent voice that can stand on its own two feet
– Immersing in the world/community you are part of, not the agenda you have
– Always being on the lookout to be energised, not just finding inspiration
– Finding a way to say things simply, so that people will remember
– Encouragement of thinking for yourself, once you have an initial hook
On a personal level, by keeping going with something over the long term has helped feed my own confidence.
If I didn’t have a medium to share on a regular basis, I would be representative of many businesses who are happy to swim in the same waters as everyone else, where the only form of attention is by recommendation from someone else, a price that is lower than others and recognised for producing commodity work where the relationship is transactional.
What About You?
So, how can you get started with the momentum to create and distribute?
To step forward, you have to have an angle that says something that not everyone else has jumped on. What you then do is find a medium to propel that voice.
Here are some places to think about to get you going:
– Don’t watch as much TV and cut down on time checking social media
– Do things outside of work. Working with The Young Enterprise game me a clearer perspective on it’s better to explain things simply rather than think you know it all
– Find a reading path and see where it takes you
– Listen to podcasts when traveling
– Be ok with your own imperfections when you start
– If it feels uncomfortable, go with it
– Write your ideas in Evernote
When you are curious, this feeds the whole creating process.
Let’s Round Up
There is always going to be someone else who knows better, assumes they have achieved more and wanting to be seen as an expert in the eyes of others.
To find something that has longevity, where you can address others that aligns with what you do, you have to be aware of the world around you, the ability to be open and find comfort within the medium you are going to embrace.
The weekly You Are The Media email never had a time limit to it. It was a case of let’s keep going. As we now get settled within year six, the principals still remain. These are to be relevant, to bring in context from the wider world and to make everyone who gets the email, to feel a part of something.
To make others have a sense of belonging and a part of the whole process makes sure that nothing feels a chore. It’s a great place to be where you know there are people alongside you for the journey.