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Why You’re Not in the Content Business (and Why That’s a Good Thing)

Posted By Darren Rowse 1st of November 2017 Mindset + Motivation 0 Comments

Create Transformation

Originally posted as a Facebook update from FinCon in Dallas (video below)

In my opening keynote at FinCon I challenged the attendees to think about how their blog, podcast and video content could potentially be changing people’s lives.

You see, many of us see ourselves as being in the ‘content business’. But I think it’s better if we start seeing ourselves as being in the ‘transformation business’.

Great content leaves a mark on people. It moves them from one place to another.

Transformation comes in many shapes and sizes

The the creators of that content do it in various ways – teaching, giving information (such as news), entertaining, providing motivation, and giving their audience a sense that they’re not the only ones and providing hope for a better future.

We can all probably think of content that’s changed our lives in some way. For example, I can personally think of podcasts that inspired me to eat better and exercise, and probably added years to my life.

Some content creators see the change they’re bringing to their audience in flashing lights. It’s obvious, like the example I just gave. But some of us think the changes we bring are smaller, or even insignificant.

For example, at Digital Photography School we teach people how to move from being stuck in Auto Mode with their cameras, and help them get creative control and take better photos. It’s a transformation, but it’s not on the scale of adding years to someone’s life.

Or is it?

Here’s the thing. While giving someone creative control over their camera doesn’t feel that ‘big’, it can actually have a far bigger impact than you might imagine.

Since starting that blog I’ve had emails and conversations with readers who have told me that by bringing about that transformation in photography they’ve:

  • found new creative outlets that have helped their mental health
  • built new skills that have led to promotions at work
  • developed confidence and overcome fears
  • grown new income streams
  • learnt how to take images they can use in meaningful ways as gifts to family and friends, and to serve their community groups.

The point is, you never quite know what impact your content will have on people. But when you create content that brings about change, it can potentially have ripple effects beyond the changes you’re aiming to bring.

The other thing to consider is that sometimes you create changes in your readers on a scale you could never imagine.

Another Example: How ProBlogger Transforms

ProBlogger, for example, is a blog all about helping bloggers start blogs and grow income from them. We attract a lot of bloggers at the beginning of their journey, and as a result hear a lot of great stories from them that reflect this stage of blogging.

It’s really satisfying to hear those stories from newer bloggers taking their early steps. What we don’t always hear are the stories of those who read ProBlogger in the early years of their journey and went on to do bigger things.

But just because we don’t hear the stories doesn’t mean it’s not happening. And the last few days here at FinCon and our Success Incubator event was testament to that fact as I bumped into some of these ProBlogger readers who went on to bigger things.

Without naming names, I met:

  • a person who credits an article I wrote on ProBlogger to saving her marriage, and helping her and her husband to build a business that earns several million dollars a month. (The article was nothing to do with marriage, by the way.)
  • another person who landed a job on our job board that led to a freelance writing career where he earns a seven-figure income each year.
  • yet another person who tells me that reading ProBlogger seven years ago, and later writing some guest posts for us, helped him build a business with a revenue at the mid-eight-figures level a year.
  • a person who found the first edition of the ProBlogger book in an airport bookstore back in 2008. She read it from cover to cover on a long-haul flight and started a blog the next day that helped her become a full-time author and speaker.

Each time I heard these stories I was taken aback, and even found myself getting emotional. Sometimes people take the content you create and the products and services you offer and run… or sprint with it. You may never know the end result, but you may have just played a part in changing someone’s life.

The Power of Identifying Your Transformation

So stop seeing yourself as being in the ‘content business’, and start thinking about what you do as ‘transformation’.

When you do, you’ll find it has a number of impacts.

  1. What you do will become more meaningful, and be more motivated to do it.
  2. The content you create will be different. You’ll stop writing ‘about topics’, and start writing ‘for people’.
  3. It will probably also become more empathetic and passionate (something your readers will notice).
  4. Your audience will become more willing to engage with you (and each other).
  5. Your content will be easier to promote (as people are attracted to content that gives them a win or a benefit).
  6. You’ll find your blog easier to monetise (particularly if you create products and services that also bring about transformation).

So don’t just create content. Create a transformation!

(Un-mute to listen!)

Image Credit: Dan Gold

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

  • We have no idea Darren how we impact people’s lives, in many ways. Loving this message. This is the reason why I give freely. I do not hold back. No; I do not give from desperation or panic or by pushing the pedal down until I burn out. I give for giving’s sake – largely – and make my day about serving generously, being abundant.

    Doing so helps me help folks, which moved me away from the content business a long time ago. I help people retire to a life of island hopping through pro blogging, specifically. That’s my niche. Yet when I attended a wedding last week I spoke to high school buddies with full time jobs who noted how my Facebook Live videos and interviews and podcasts and blog posts inspired them in their lives. None of these folks aspire to travel non stop as I do yet my help inspired them to improve their life in some way.

    This is why it behooves you to give freely; the more you help people, the more folks will filter and use your help to improve their lives in many different ways, some way different than you intended.

    Rocking share Darren.

    Ryan

    • Couldn’t agree more. There is a line written by a great poet Alfred Lord Tennyson-“All in the valley of death rode the six hundred”.I would like to share this because content transformation as you say can bring both positive and negative state to the business. If you are able to target the correct audience then you are a star else all the hard work done to write the content goes down the drain.

  • Rajesh Chandra Pandey

    @Darren
    There is nothing more meaningful than creating something for others. In ABOU BEN ADHEM Abou says,”I pray thee, then, Write me as one that loves his fellow men.” And then his name leads all the rest in the list of those who love the Lord.
    thanks Darren for this great piece.

  • Amazing information. searching for many times, finally got Really awesome and a practical post which resonated with me.

  • OMventure

    Yes…my focus is really on meaningful connection and helping one another. I’m not the expert. Just sharing, so others know they are not alone in this life we share in common.

    I also think it’s amazing and responsible business when companies (who create products I adore) kindly share their gratitude (via commission). It will never influence my opinion of their product…I’m just grateful when I find a good one.

  • Said Ramahi

    This stuff is hot, I just love the way this post has completely changed my perception about content marketing. I’ll be re-visiting everything I’ve written to try to see it with my new eyes.

    Thanks Darren for this amazing post.

  • Trudy

    In the mid 1980s, I took a “self-help” course out in California (I live in Toronto, Canada) and one of the exercises at the end of it required you to look around (there were about 45 of us) and choose 5 people you thought you made an impact on and 5 who impacted you. Then you went up to the 5 who had an impact on you. Surprise! The people you thought you affected were NOT the people who you did.

    That taught me then that you never know who you impact, why, or what you said or did. And that lesson is one I’ve used all these years ESPECIALLY when I write – words have SO much power, don’t they …

  • Hi Darren,

    I agree with this phenomenon of focusing on transformation rather than the creating content. What I’ve seen is that we always strive to find the most significant topics and keywords to play around.
    The exciting part is I’ve noticed that the content that genuinely made an impact on readers’ lives performed well overall. But most of us try to find great topics to talk about on the blog instead of the ideas that could change someone’s life.

    Thank you for giving a reminder.

    All the best.

  • Darren,
    Thanks for sharing this great post! You put words to what I have been experiencing with my blog of late. I really enjoy connecting with my readers in this way. You really do never know what someone will take away from something you share. Deepens the meaning of why I do what I do!

    Super input! Thanks again!

  • Great reminder, Darren! Although I never used to see myself as a salesperson (and vehemently resisted that image), I eventually came to grips with the fact all writers are in the business of selling. One thing I learned about sales and marketing is that we ought to sell the RESULT not the product. And a result is all about transformation!

  • Thanks Darren, pretty motivated

  • Lucas Smith

    You gave me a roller coaster of emotions with that Title and then the article Darren. lol
    Though thank you for sharing this. It was really an inspiring content. Though I am still waiting for that transformation, I guessing, with ProBlogger’s help, it’ll come soon enough.

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