Humility And Having Something To Say

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You have a voice.

Having a voice or an opinion or an idea is nothing new. What’s new is your ability to publish that voice, opinion or idea in text, images, audio and video, instantly (and for free) for the world to see and hear. It’s not complicated to do (in fact, it’s simple) and if you’re not one for one-long form content, the better news is that you can publish this voice, opinion or idea of yours in as little as 140 characters of text.

What are you going to say?

Don’t waste it. The hard thing for Marketers to wrap their heads (and hands) around is that last sentence. What they (usually) wind up sharing isn’t really a voice, opinion or idea. More often than not, it’s a perception of what they think will be a buying trigger for their consumers. It’s marketing material thinly veiled as a voice, opinion or an idea. The main question that brands want answered is: "having spent x amount of dollars over six months ago on a Social Media strategy and executing on it, why isn’t our output converting into more sales?" On a B2B Blog that I was recently following, the answer was obvious. One post was about a webinar they were hosting, another was about a new product feature that they were launching and the one after that was an announcement about a senior executive appointment from within their organization. No offense to their highly successful company, but…

Who cares?

David Weinberger (co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto and author of Small Pieces Loosely Joined and Everything Is Miscellaneous) brings a unique perspective to this new publishing platform: publish everything… put it out there. He’s right. If you want to tweet about the pizza you’re eating, go for it. If you want to Blog about the conference you’re attending, type away. If you want to publish a video on YouTube about your corporate picnic, knock yourself out. But, have the humility to know that the feedback you get from the world is a good indication of if your voice, opinion or idea is something that people will share and be excited about. Social Media is a great humility check. If people don’t follow you on Twitter, retweet your content, encourage others to follow, that’s saying something. If your Blog doesn’t get shared, talked about or commented on, that’s saying something. If people don’t view, embed and rate your videos on YouTube, that’s saying something too. And, while the amount of views, comments and retweets isn’t what’s critical… it’s crucial that whatever amount of people do connect with the content feel like it was valuable and worth sharing within their social graph.

A challenge.

If you really think that you have a unique voice, opinion or an idea to share, why not test it out? Instead of publishing your ideas on your own corporate Blog, why not get it published on The Huffington Post (or another big Blog publishing platform)? If your content can stand up in a forum like HuffPo (and yes, this includes the comments and how people then share it in places like Twitter and Facebook), your content can stand up anywhere.

Why do this?

  • Do this to to test yourself.
  • Do this to see if your content resonates.
  • Do this to push yourself to think about the people you’re connecting to
  • Do this to see if you can do it without trying to sell another widget of your product.
  • Do this as an exercise to see how well you can critically think about a topic.
  • Do this to add humility to your business.
  • Do this to move beyond trying to leverage Social Media as a direct-response selling engine (it can be so much more).

Why don’t more businesses and marketers do this?


  1. Hi,
    In reading the article above I see this sentence in the second paragraph:
    “More often than note it’s a perception of what they think will be a buying trigger for their consumers.”
    Should it be:
    “More often than not…..”

  2. Great post, Mitch. I think fear is what stops us from standing for something publicly. Fear that we might upset some, and some won’t like us. But that’s the hallmark of leadership. Being true to yourself in the face of fear and criticism. Thanks for the challenge.

  3. In the time I have spent trying to create tweets or blog posts of value, I have found that it has benefited me too! I find my thinking is clearer, I’m looking more for trends and ideas and I’ve built some great professional relationships. So yes… I look at how it resonate externally, but I also have benefited internally.

  4. Great post. I completely agree with Al. It’s so hard to get wrapped up with fear. I worry about not communicating effectively or boring my fans/followers, or even making a typo. This is the perfect reminder to just let go and explore. Thank you!

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