Isn’t it interesting how we, as human beings, think that changing the title of something actually changes the characteristics of that something? For instance, what used to be “cold calling” is now “reaching out.” We used to “explain” things, now we “unpack” them. We used to “have a point,” now we “have a through-line.” It seems like everything is getting fancier, but yet we’re still doing the same old stuff.
We used to have to “create” the content of our products and advertising, now we “curate” it instead. Seriously?! I would have loved to try that one in grade school. “Greg, did you copy Tim’s paper?” “No Ma’am. I curated it.” Something tells me that story would have ended in a note, a butt chewing, and a switch. So, why is it that we hear, “Do your own work,” all our lives, but when it comes to our business this life lesson need not apply?
I believe that it has something to with the fact that creating stuff is difficult and time consuming. It requires thought, research, experimentation, and (worst of all) work. I find it ironic that the older we get, the more we want to just buy a solution instead of creating one. We buy frozen meals to avoid cooking. We buy self cleaning ovens to keep from scrubbing. We buy overnight shipping to avoid waiting. We’re spending a small fortune just to have things the easy way. I shutter to think of the mess we would be in if we had to colonize and settle this country today.
The point I’m trying to make is that there once was a value and respect for hard work in this world. We used to prize ingenuity and inspiration. In the past, we truly believed that reward awaited the industrious person who built something by the sweat of his or her brow. There was a hope that genuine effort paid off and now we’re not so sure. Well, I’m sure. Busting your tail does pay off. Creating something new is better than just taking it from someone else. And I’ll prove it. Here are 10 reasons to create your website content instead of curate it.
1) Creating brings fresh information to the world. In fact, that is the very definition of creation. The Greek term used in the Bible to describe God’s creation of the world is ex nihilo meaning “out of nothing.” Creation, by its very nature, is the source of all things new. Somehow we’ve come to believe that some people are creative and some just aren’t. That’s funny, we didn’t believe that in school when we handed out writing assignments. Creativity might come more naturally to some than to others, but everyone is capable of creation. And it’s that creation that make this world a better place.
2) Creating brings a unique perspective to the world. Every person on the planet is unique. None of us are carbon copies. This means that our personalities and perspectives are entirely unique. No one sees the world exactly the same way you do, so when you create your own content, it is bound to be as unique as you are. Consider the fact that there are 7 billion people on the internet all over the world. Now think about how many times you comb through your LinkedIn account, you Facebook newsfeed, or your Pinterest boards and see the same things over and over. We are most definitely missing out on some unique perspectives, people.
3) Creating brings a completely unique set of experiences to the world. Just like your perspective, your experiences are unique. You are the only one who has lived life the way you have and the best content is born out of genuine experience. When you write or speak or make videos about your experiences, help other in a way that only you can. What if there are people in the world who will only learn and grow if they hear from you? It’s not that far-fetched. 7 billion is an awfully big number.
4) Creating offers another opportunity for people to relate to someone. Along the same lines as reason 3, your original creation may be exactly the what it takes for someone out there in that sea of 7 billion to relate to another person – you. We all know that not everyone connects with everyone else. True connection is something special. By creating your content, you can provide that unique connection for someone somewhere.
5) Creating sets your business apart from your competitors. We’ve already discussed how people don’t create things anymore. That means that, by doing so, you will automatically separate your company from your competitors. Working with businesses and their marketing gives me lots of opportunities to point out that there has to be something about each one that make it different from its competition. If there’s nothing different about you, then all the website and social media content in the world won’t help. Go back through your original business plan, your mission statement, and your guiding principles. Find that key difference and talk about it.
6) Creating keeps you focused on providing value to your customers. This is the part of the article where I lay down the cardinal rule of content creation. NEVER PUBLISH JUNK JUST TO PUBLISH SOMETHING! You should read that more than once – it’s critical. All content must provide actual value to your customers or you haven’t just wasted a post, you’ve actually harmed your relationship. As long as you adhere to that one major rule, you will remain focused on providing real value to your customers. Believe me, they’ll thank you for it.
7) Creating forces you to continually develop your company. Companies, like any groups of people, can quickly grow complacent and resign themselves to the same repetitive tasks day after day. When you push yourself to regularly create new content, you will find that, with that content, comes the necessary growth of people and processes. You’ll be evaluating and improving your systems, services, and products with every new idea born from creativity and customer feedback. This is where you get those “good problems to have.”
8) Creating leads to the sale of original products that increase revenue. One of the many beneficial byproducts of creating your own content is that you can package and sell it. I encourage all of my clients to publish regularly and, after six months, package their posted material into a digital information product and sell it. Sure, people could go back through your blog and read every entry for free, but they will often gladly pay to have it all in one downloadable resource. You can’t sell “curated” content.
9) Creating brings innovation to your market or industry. Creativity has a funny way of sparking more creativity. Something you write may stimulate others in your field to write. Before you know it, innovation happens and your industry progresses. You’ll also find that, when you inspire others in your market, there will be opportunities to cooperate on innovations in partnerships where you can actually help each other make money. Every major advancement in history began because someone created.
10) Creating provides others with the opportunity to curate your content and help you make money. Like in reason 5 above, we recognize that there will always be people who choose to “curate” instead of create. That’s fine. Let them “curate” your content, pass it around, promote your ideas, and make you money. If there will always be hunters and scavengers, wouldn’t you rather be the one who eats fresh instead of the one who pick at the carcass? I know I would.
Well, there you have it. 10 reasons to create your own content. Hopefully I’ve not only convinced you of the benefits, but perhaps I have inspired you to give it a try as well. I’ll be publishing several more articles in this series offering practical suggestions for kickstarting and maintaining your creative process. Now that Google has managed to plug enough loop holes in its system to effectively raise the quality standard of content throughout the web, a strong creation strategy is not only a good idea, but also a critical element of success.