The most underrated content creation skill

July 21, 2020

I’ve missed you.

In fact, I’ve been missing people in general. And I think that has something to do with my absence from both this email list and my social media feeds.

You see, interacting with people is key to entrepreneurship and content creation alike.

Most of us on this list are entrepreneurs or solo marketers in a business with a touch of entrepreneurial spirit. And that means we all have something in common.

Our skills lay in understanding the zeitgeist.

The what now?

We understand the ‘spirit of the age’.

Or at least scramble to.

We watch, we learn, we listen.

We absorb what’s happening around us, and create things that alleviate pain.

We balance adapting to new things and fighting the urge to run after shiny bright lights.

We respond to need, through product or content.

On my first day of uni I learnt my absolute favourite wanky culture studies term: flanerie.

A flaneur, was a man (always a man) who wandered about 19th century French society, sitting in cafes and watching the street, observing thinking and writing. The French term is synonymous with the English ‘stroller’ or ‘saunterer’ but the flaneur was not just a man of leisure. His sole purpose was acute observation.

I say ‘always a man’ because to be a good observer, you need to be both part of society, and apart from society, at the same time. You needed money, agency and a level of invisibility.

A woman, of course, is never invisible. But I like to think times have changed and a bit of ‘flaneusing’ is more than possible.

To me, this knack for observation makes an excellent novelist.

It also makes a good content creator.

To write the kinds of things that make people say “do you have a recording device set up in my house?”, you need to observe impartially, note, question, and remember.

You need to be in your audience’s world just enough to see what they’re doing, but not so much that the minutiae of life seem insignificant. It’s the little moments in their day that really resonate.

So what happens to this magical skill when you don’t leave the house?

I’m learning that I have to find other ways of tapping into the zeitgeist, and tap other resources for cultural observation.

Social media. Chats in DMs. Joining groups. Research calls. Reading each and every comment.

As I’ve been working on a new free resource, I’ve been leaning heavily on my trusty little iPhone. Voice notes have been flying from Dubbo to Sydney and Canada and the UK and back again. I’ve been asking questions, and really listening to the answers.

Maybe that’s something you could do too.

I’m feeling that pull to be back out in the world listening and observing. But I’m also quite content to be chilling for a week at home, painting walls and fixing leaky taps. Knowing that when I next venture out, my mind will be clear and ready for a wealth of new information.

Keep reading

Stretch your vocabulary (but not in the way you’d expect)

Everyone’s a copywriter

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