I recently (re)read “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon and it really got me thinking. If you are unfamiliar, it’s a cool short book whose basic premise is that to build a following as an artist, you should
- Do lots of “Work,” and
- Share what you are working on as you are working on it. That is, don’t wait until the final product is done, but rather share thoughts, ideas, snippets of the process you are working on.
So that’s what I am going to do.
Depending how long you have followed my content, you may or may not have realized that I have really slowed down my “content marketing” strategy. I went from a goal of one blog post a day to basically posting one every three months or so. This slowdown happened for three reasons:
- I didn’t really enjoy the habit of generating content that way.
- I often felt like I was being a bit preachy - every article was supposed to have a “call to action!” or “key takeaways!” or “value, value, value!” None of those things are bad, but it felt a little exhausting and I felt like I was constantly telling others what to do (when, come on, let’s face it, I am still figuring a loooooooot of things out myself…).
- I can’t say it was “working,” anyway. Not a lot of feedback, shares, likes, comments, etc. And I certainly couldn’t attribute much revenue to the content strategy.
So I stopped. Instead, I focused on developing material and doing direct sales outreach. And guess what? It worked. My business grew. Yay! I also had more time and enjoyed life more. Double yay!
But I felt like something was missing, and that I *should* (there’s a dirty word) be doing some content style marketing. But I had no desire to go back to what I was doing before.
Then I launched my new podcast which I am super proud of. It is pure entertainment, lots of fun, and I have big plans for it. I was (am) looking for ways to grow the audience for that, so my mind went back to “content marketing.” Maybe I could write articles and shoot videos and create social media content explaining how I do all this stuff and what the audience can take away and apply themselves, and, and, and…
I felt that same sinking dread I did back when I decided to move on from content marketing altogether.
Then I read “Do Your Work” by Austin Kleon (after watching this YouTube video where Ali Abdaal talks about it) and something clicked.
Yes! Stop working on “high value content articles that solves your audiences problems” and just
- Do the work and
- Show your work.
So that is what I am going to do. My “work” right now is:
- Working on material for my speaking and training programs
- Delivering presentations.
- Creating and developing ideas around improv performance and applied improvisation.
- Developing and improving the podcast performance (i.e. working on improv games and skills).
That’s primarily it. So my plan is to do that work and then share it with my audience. What exactly that looks like will vary, but a few ideas:
- Sharing my thought process about what I am doing and why
- Sharing results - good or bad - and lessons I learned from working on the craft.
- Snippets of content I am writing and / or clips of practice or performance.
- What I am reading/researching/watching to improve so you can check them out too.
Some of this may look like “Content Marketing,” and it very well may be (I don’t want to quibble over semantics). But it feels very different, at least in terms of my motivation. Instead of thinking, “let me write a blog post that will solve people’s problems and as a result maybe they will hire me,” I am thinking, “let me share what I am working on and maybe people can take something away from that, and that’s it.”
Small, subtle, but important difference.
There will still be value for you (I hope). If you agree, then I hope you will join me for this journey. If not, no worries, maybe we’ll reconnect in the future.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. I will be sharing my content on five platforms:
- This blog
- The blog on AvishAndMike.com, which is the website of my new podcast
- My Motivational Improv Facebook Group
- The “In a World Of...Improvised Movie Homages” Facebook group (the group for the podcast)
- My email list (Click here to use my "Audience Member Sign Up Form" to get on that list)
I encourage you to check out / subscribe to / join all of those. If that’s too much, start with the email list, as that will probably have a bit of a digest feel where I will have links to the other bits of content I created that week.