How badly do you want something?
It’s very interesting to think about the things we want and lay them against the things we have. Take a long hard look at what you have. How did you get it? Did you get it because it just showed up? Was it given to you? Odds are it was neither of those things. You did something about it. You committed yourself to it. You didn’t stop until you had it. You wanted it bad enough to truly (and deeply) commit yourself to the tasks that needed to happen for the stars to align.
Even if we tossed aside asking "why" a brand would want any of these things (let’s assume it fits perfectly into their marketing strategy), the truth is that wanting any of those things are nice and easy to say. What’s hard is committing to making it happen. After a recent speaking engagement, one of the audience members approached me and asked for my opinion about their Blog. They had been Blogging for a few years but didn’t feel like the Blog was getting the attention and recognition that it deserved. My first question was: "why do you Blog?" Their answer back was (and I’m paraphrasing here): "Because if I Blog and my posts get picked up, people will know who I am and… if everything goes well… they will buy from me." I then asked them how often they Blog? The answer: "it’s not a huge priority for me and stuff always gets in the way – from my work to family life, but it’s important to me and I try to get to it as often as I can."
Are you feeling this?
I did a quick audit of this person’s Blog. Here are my top-level notes:
- Erratic posting schedule. Sometimes the Blog is updated multiple times during one day, then there are weeks of nothing and then the odd post here and there.
- Random topics. While there is a thread of context that lines the post, the majority of content is random thoughts that brain-dumped into a post.
- Lack of flow. The Blog posts feel rushed and not all that thought-out.
The truth? This person is not committed to making their Blog successful. They may be trying in earnest, but if they really wanted it to be successful, they would do everything they could (post more regularly, choose a line of thinking and attack it, spend the time with each post to construct a salient point, etc…) to make it happen. The same is true about Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or whatever. For the most part, brands want to be successful in these channels but they lack the commitment. A lot of this happens because they see the channels as either trends or campaigns (things that will have a beginning, middle and end… in a timely fashion), but the truth is a little different.
It’s a platform. Not a campaign.
This Blog (and my Twitter feed, Facebook page, etc…) is a continually humbling experience. I can easily look at my web analytics and know exactly what is resonating (and what is not). On top of that, I’m able to benchmark my work (or my commitment) against others. I know where I stand. I can walk the streets shaking my head, not understanding why more people are following me on Twitter, or I can take a cold hard look at the screen and admit that I don’t tweet often and when I do, it’s mostly a prompt for people to come and see what I’m up to here, on this Blog. See, if I really wanted more followers on Twitter, I know exactly what to do. Clearly, it’s just not as important to me as other opportunities.
Humility and wanting.
Marketers aren’t known for their humility. I’m doing my best to be humble. To be honest. To be open to thinking about (and sharing) why some stuff works and why other stuff does not. In the end, the majority of the answer is not about the talent or the ability to pull a thought together, it’s about the commitment. The blank screen does not care… it’s agnostic. If you write, good for you. If you don’t, good for you. That being said, if you keep at it… If you use these platforms to think deeply about what you’re about and why you think your industry is the way it is, then slowly over time you’ll find your groove and your talent will shine.
Sadly, most people want it fast and easy. That’s good news for those who are truly committed to it, because they’re the ones who actually get what they want.