Looking for signs of life in your content creation

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So-called “vanity” metrics

I see a lot of people refer to the idea of “vanity metrics.” And while it’s true that some statistics may be more meaningful than others, I think —especially for beginner content creators— we need to acknowledge all the wins and not just the impressive sounding ones.

Hi, I’m John Lacey, and this is Build A Presentation Muscle, the podcast about showcasing your expertise through content creation.

Celebrating wins

I am in a number of Facebook groups that have weekly prompts for creators to celebrate their wins.

I’m going to level with you: I am not particularly good at celebrating wins. Each week I see these prompts and think, “The week was hard, I did the work, and not nearly enough people saw it.”

And all kinds of experts and gurus across different media will tell you that certain signals are meaningful and others are not.

It is true that certain platforms, like Apple Podcasts and YouTube, will give you a lot of data to pick through.

Protect your ‘inner creator’

This can be helpful, but it can also be painful.

If you are a beginner I would prioritise protecting your ‘inner creator’ over going deep into these numbers. And I realise that’s probably an unpopular take. But in a lot of ways I think you should prioritise anything that helps you to keep going.

When you build up more confidence then you can dig into that data and make some adjustments. But if knowing that on average people watched 2 seconds of your 45 second video will make you quit, resist the urge to dive on in.

The truth is when you start you won’t have an audience, and it may take some time before you start seeing traction.

Wins to celebrate

So, with that in mind, let’s talk about some of the things you can take comfort in, especially in those early days.

  • Views and downloads. Somebody cared enough to click through and check out your content. There are infinite things people could direct their attention to, but this time they chose you. That’s a big deal!
  • Subscribers and followers. Again, they may or may not come back, but they were interested enough to take action. There was some intent there.
  • Comments and feedback. Lately I’ve been receiving a lot of questions from people online and it has been great for me to know that people are finding the content, but it helps me shape the direction of future content as well.

It seems to be human nature to want to celebrate outliers. And every single medium has one or two people who have defied all of the odds to become incredibly popular. Marketers love telling this kind of Cinderella story, but it’s so unlikely to be replicated as to be useless. For goodness sake don’t compare yourself with these people.

Finally, I want to talk about another aspect of your content creation that can’t really be represented by numbers.

Are you proud of your output?

Are you proud of your output?

Nothing any of us creates will ever be ‘perfect’ (whatever that means), but are you proud of the thing you have created?

Because that stuff is really meaningful.

Some weeks I am resistant to showing up and doing the work, but when I get started it always feels worthwhile. Indeed while collecting my thoughts for this episode, I found myself in a state of flow that resulted in me losing track of time completely.

What small win could you celebrate?

So what sign of life, what small win, could you celebrate this week? Let me know.

For more information about today’s show, head over to JohnLacey.com

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