Content Creation

Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore six multimedia marketing skills to make students, entrepreneurs, side hustlers, and intrapreneurs dangerous.

Skill #1 – Writing
Skill #2 – Photography
Skill #3 – Videography
Skill #4 – Graphic Design
Skill #5 – Creativity
Skill #6 – Organization

Before we begin this series, which can also be found in You Don’t Need This Book, let’s start by examining the impact of content creation. When it comes to marketing, content is the currency used to earn attention. As attention is earned, content becomes the instrument to share stories with people who care.

Telling your story is easy, but doing so without becoming too self-serving takes practice. If your voice always sounds the same, it will pave a one-way street. Instead of always pushing content, curiously pull from your audience. Be inversely charismatic and socratic by asking sincere questions and leaning into motivational interviewing habits. Actively listen and interact within these absorbing conversations.

Don’t be afraid to spread the word, but limit your storytelling until it flows into the discussion. When your stories add value within the context of an existing conversation, your narrative will be more appetizing.

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Listening, sharing, and learning from stories is how humans communicate, work together, and evolve. When applied to marketing, the narratives we share connect us to people who help us succeed.

In the information age, content is available and consumed in infinite ways. This makes attention scarce, so stories wrapped around remarkable work becomes more important. Consistency is huge, but adjust content for environments that work in your industry. Aligned, yet diversified content will optimize how the world hears your story. Formulating a combination of text, graphics, photos, audio, and video will give you an edge. Consider what content gets noticed and compare that to how hard it is to produce. No matter where content lives, make it clear why consumers should care.

As content creation continues, encourage organic engagement that can translate into repeatable conversions. In the connected era, the easiest way to do this is online. The nice thing about digital content is that it’s used in so many ways, yet it’s the easiest to create. Even if it’s taking small steps at first, it’s worth learning how to create your own content. Multimedia marketers can forge content that is quick to digest and made to share. This allows ideas to spread. You win if people share your story, so let’s make it easy.

UP NEXT: Skill #1 – Writing

#GiveFirst

The energy of accelerating others is unmatched.

When talking with others, forget potential transactions. Instead start by focusing on how you can help. People gravitate toward those who choose genuine selflessness over their own interests.

Showing you care can be as easy as a quick thought to help someone else take their next step. Perhaps there’s a helpful introduction you can make? It can even be as simple as showing you care enough to listen.

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Early in my career I was told that everything felt like a one-way street with me. From then on, I made an effort to listen first and talk less. This is difficult when all you want to do is invite people to your next event or sell whatever it may be. Be willing to show up, stand out, and follow up to seal the deal, but pave two-way streets that allow your relationships to flourish by pulling as much as you push.

However you choose to contribute, the trick is not expecting anything in return. This benevolent attitude has been encapsulated in the hashtag #GiveFirst. Here is a Techstars podcast that explores this mindset. Brad Feld also wrote this book to highlight the #GiveFirst philosophy.

Maintaining a #GiveFirst mentality will spawn meaningful discussions faster and more often. This happens because without ulterior motives, you’re able to explore anything without remorse. Over time, this allows more meaningful connections to evolve, versus contacts without context. When you play the long game of investing in the success of others, the real fun begins.

Concerned you’ll never achieve your goals if you’re always trying to help others? Don’t be. If you relentlessly #GiveFirst, you will earn the attention of people eager to return the favor. You’ll also get asked about your own work more often. That’s when you spark intrigue by saying it’s a secret, before shifting the discussion back to them. They’ll laugh, love it, and come back for more.

Stand Out

Being remarkable in a networking environment is not rocket science. Be friendly, vulnerable, funny, curious, and eager to help without getting stuck in one place.

As you continue to show up, you’ll learn from others and also learn more about yourself. You’ll be able to ask great questions and be adaptable to any conversation. You’ll need to share your work less, which will allow you to make more introductions. This will make you stand out as a connector.

Ready to shake things up? Avoid the temptation to ask the most common question at networking events: “So, what do you do?” Instead, consider more interesting ways to get people talking.

– How are you feeling?
– How do you like to spend your time?
– What does a day inside your office involve?
– What mindset inspires your best work?
– What’s a recent project you enjoyed working on?
– Are there any roadblocks you’re working through?
– Is there anything I can help you with right now?
– Would you do this work if money weren’t a factor?
– What did you do before your current role?

You only have a moment to make a good impression. It never hurts to throw in a specific topic to help people remember you. Avoid small talk like the weather. Also, family means everything to most people, but avoid going too far down that rabbit hole. Here are a few creative conversation starters to sprinkle in.

– What are your superpowers?
– Where did you travel to last?
– Have you ever been a mentor or an advisor?
– What are you reading or listening to right now?
– How would you describe the internet to a child?
– If you’re a pro wrestler, what’s your entrance song?
– Is there anything that may surprise me about you?
– What’s an interesting paradox you‘ve answered?
– How do you define success? How about happiness?
– Have you ever regretted not doing something?

When it’s time to move on, there is also an art to exiting a conversation. This is handy when conversations have gone on too long. One tactic is to bring more people into the conversation. Kindly introduce everyone to each other. You then have the option to stick around or excuse yourself. Even if you leave the chat, your energy will remain a part of that new conversation as you mingle elsewhere. If you’re at a networking event, another approach is to joke that it’s time for both of you to go meet more new people. This lighthearted suggestion eliminates any awkwardness.

If you’re the one holding conversations too long, you’ll know it when people try similar exiting tactics on you. To improve your relationship-building skills, stop draining the energy from each interaction. Be cognizant of how long you hold onto each conversation. Abandon the idea that everything must happen in one exchange. Even if it feels abrupt, don’t be afraid to move away from conversations before they feel complete. Ending interactions a bit early leaves room for more conversation next time. This creates a subconscious gap to fill and therefore more reasons to reconnect.

Show Up

Surrounding yourself with fellow students, entrepreneurs, and intrapreneurs will keep you motivated. The goal is to find a balanced collection of community events. Commit to those who complement your life while seeking out new groups that make you nervous. This combination will connect you with people who can support, but also expand, your world.

Once you lock in on a few groups that can push you to be your best, show up. It sounds easy, but consistently showing up takes dedication. When we commit to showing up, we are being generous with our time, and generosity leads to trust. As trust surges, more meaningful interactions occur. This will increase the value you give and get from the community, which makes it easier to show up.

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Whether it’s a tribe you trust or a brand new experience, don’t waste your time by attending an event just to say you were there.

When you arrive, say hello to everyone you know. After catching up, shift the focus to meeting new people. For a jump-start, ask a friend to introduce you to someone you don’t know. If that’s not an option, go mix it up alone.

Be bold enough to enter existing conversations without an invitation. One way to do this in style is find a small group of people talking. Wait until you’re noticed, then casually say, “Hey, folks, whatcha chattin’ about?” Be respectful and prepare to expand on whatever they’re talking about. The group will soon want to know why you decided to join their conversation. It’s tempting to use this moment to talk about yourself.

Instead, surprise them by not trying to take over the conversation. Ask a question or share an intriguing thought that relates to the current discussion. The objective is to deflect the focus back toward the group. This deflection will weave you into the fabric of the discussion. You’ve now become a part of the group’s conversation. This will provide a chance to share your story with a more natural flow. Even as you explain your work, remind yourself that everyone loves talking about themselves. By letting them do so, you’ll be less as an intruder and more of interested addition to any discussion.

Perhaps you’re in a group and someone decides to join you? Be quick to expand the circle and compliment their initiative. Get curious and allow your inclusive vibe to create yet another new connection.

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Saying “yes” leads to more adventure, as the universe rewards our ambition.

Lone Wolves

A common misconception is that you must have a team to be successful. There is a limit to your own capacity, but it is possible to build rewarding endeavors all by yourself. Solving complex problems may require co-founders and a larger team, but your passionate dedication is all you need to get started.

Lasting energy is required to forge this path, but without the need to answer to anyone, you can stay nimble and be more efficient by eliminating internal delays. To avoid burnout, you must stay mindful of your personal bandwidth. Self-awareness will help you avoid market disconnects, The Headline Trap, and relationship problems as well.

To coordinate new initiatives into your career portfolio, consider how the project connects to your current work. Clear overlaps can be good, but can also cause unwanted tension. A project less related to your existing work actually makes everything easier to shuffle. Even when projects affect different industries, it’s still you making things happen. The option to build into what motivates you in different ways will energize your work on all fronts. Action on one project will provide fresh momentum for others. Learn when to say yes and no, then wisely activate your time on each front.

As a lone wolf, it’s easy to go hard toward your own dream, but know when you need help. The freedom of working alone is within reach, but execution still requires collaboration. The world is full of friends, community allies, and contractors eager to help. Outside assistance may slow you down, but it won’t dilute equity, and it may be the key to a new reality.

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Need someone to bounce ideas off of? Let’s have coffee.

If you venture out alone, prepare for intoxicating highs and crushing loneliness. The consuming nature of building by yourself will incite grit, but don’t let it blind you. It’s easy to build too far into the wrong direction without a team. This is why community and customer discovery are even more important for lone wolves.