Many blocks to creating content can be dissolved with one shift:
Make your content for just one person at a time.
Don’t write for “the world”.
Don’t make videos for “your audience.”
For many of us, the one-to-many approach can cause performance anxiety, which blocks authentic creativity and showing up consistently.
(Yet even if you’re the type that enjoys performing before crowds, what’s shared here might help you perform more authentically.)
Imagine instead that you are talking to just one person… someone you feel really comfortable talking to, someone who loves your ideas.
Some of us might do the opposite and we don’t even realize it: we might be thinking of someone we feel judged by, a family member or stern authority figure. Or we imagine trolls that will criticize us. Feeling blocked from our authentic expression often comes from the fear of judgment.
Bring to your mind and heart an ideal client, a kind friend, a supportive colleague, or a true fan… someone who can’t wait to hear from you. This is your ideal reader or viewer.
What might they want to know about your area of expertise?
Create a piece of content with only them in mind.
(Just make sure that you don’t mention any personal details about them.)
After you’ve created the content, share it with them: “I was thinking of our conversation, and made this… let me know if you find it helpful or have any questions!” The usual response is that they’ll feel honored and cared for.
If they find it helpful, ask them if they would feel OK if you shared it more widely — since you didn’t include any of their personal details.
Assuming you get their permission, go ahead now and post the content on social media. It will help others who have similar challenges as them!
The benefits of this method:
1. You’ll reduce your performance anxiety by being in conversation with only one person, someone who already likes and enjoys your authentic presence.
2. That one person feels special that you made content with them in mind.
3. If you share it on social media, that piece of content will resonate with (many) others who are like them. This will grow your ideal audience.
Do you already work with clients? Start practicing this — carve out five minutes after each client session to jot down a quick note. What was the client’s core problem or question? Did they have an “aha!” moment in the session? These are content ideas that could be relevant to your audience too!
Do you get questions via email? Email a thoughtful response to your client. If they find it helpful, transform that into a blog post!
Video instead of email. Try this: instead of writing, record a short video response (without mentioning their name). You can start the video saying, “So the question is XYZ and here are my thoughts about it….” (so that you keep their name out of the video). See if your client finds it helpful. If so, ask them if it feels appropriate for you to share the answer publicly so that others can benefit.
No clients yet? Then make some time to talk with a friend and have them ask you questions about your work and your core message. If you’re both comfortable, record that conversation so you can speak without having to take notes. Your answers can be turned into one (or more) new pieces of content!
I enjoyed this public speaking book — Be Heard Now by Lee Glickstein — especially the audiobook version, where the author reads with his compassionate voice.
The advice from the book that I remember most: when speaking on stage, don’t look at the “overall” audience, trying to take them all in. Instead, find one welcoming face in the audience and look at them, talking as if only to them for 15 seconds. Then, find another welcoming face and talk to them for another 15 seconds. And so forth, connecting with one person at a time.
Of course, those individuals you connect with will feel appreciative that the speaker is looking at them. They’ll brighten up, which positively affects those around them. It uplifts the speaker too.
What’s magical is that the whole room will feel the connection you are having to that one person. The fact is that you are more resonant when you are talking heart to heart, mind to mind, being in relationship with just one being. You’re natural, conversational, and authentic.
I also heard that this is how Tim Ferris wrote The Four Hour Workweek. At first, he wrote it as a “book”, but disliked the formality, and ultimately he deleted the draft! Then, he wrote another version as if writing an email to a specific friend… and that became the book that spent four years on The New York Times Best Seller List, was translated into 40 languages, and sold more than 2 million copies.
When I first shared this a few years ago, one of my readers commented:
“I recall the exact advice given to me some years ago when I had the pleasure of presenting live Jazz programs on radio. Our trainer emphasized ‘speaking to one familiar person, not everyone out there in Radio Land’. It worked. My thought patterns changed and my voice came over as more personal. Many audience members would meet me in the street and say that they felt they knew me well.” –Trevor Sutton
So make your content for just one caring person at a time.
Then share it publicly so others just like them can benefit!