Making Honest Content with Pure Intentions
So this is not going to be a guide to better marketing or SEO or any of that, frankly, because I am still trying to grasp those topics myself. What I would like to talk about however, is making content and how we as creatives should go about it. These are my own thoughts and observations fueled by listening to those more successful than myself.
In a saturated market of other creatives, finding a personal identity and brand for your content is often harder than creating the content itself. We all want to be influencers, inspiring others to get out and be their best creative selves. We all have our favorite artists that we follow and aspire to be like and that is because of their ability to present honest content.
But with an oversaturated market of other creatives, what tends to happen is the trade off of honest intent for content fetishism. What!? What's this phrase I seemed to have made up you ask? Well it is simple, it's anytime you see an Instagram account, enjoy what you see then go to a suggested account and it's literally the same feed. Deja Vu am I right?? Often it will be something easily reproducible and recognizable like nature, portraits, or street photography for example. Now do not misconstrued this, this is not to say there cannot be multiple wedding, lifestyle, or adventure based artists. We can all see the same things but how we see differs. the problem comes by the way the content is presented. It's formulaic rather than intentional curation of content.
What does that all really mean? I have seen hundreds of wedding-elopement-adventure creative accounts as well as every other category. But they all have a distinct look, theme, or something that sets them apart. Here is where the honesty comes in. Gary Vaynerchuk makes a very solid point in a video he made with Tony Robbins;
"...As long as the work you're doing creatively is not just a gateway just to get clients just because of that. They will come naturally as they become more aware of you. Speak your truths, have pure intent, work hard."
Often, these content fetishisms serve nothing more as a way to attract followers, clients, and people in general for the sake of having the attention. Rather than digging deeper into what makes a creative excited, they go for something easily obtainable and then base their success on the new wave of attention that they gain. We all see the same things, but how we see differs.
So two things happen here. Firstly, your content becomes repetitive. There needs to be a balance between consistency and having spark. Secondly, you will slowly lose the ability to find joy in your work because it becomes less about content and more of a popularity contest. From here, a pseudo inspiring, pithy, or try hard vibe can develop in your work which hurts you down the line because you're no longer speaking your truths.
I'm probably not that great at analogies but think about the story of the boy who cried wolf, after a while people stopped listening. Replace the wolf with your content and eventually the qaulity engagement will dwindle and your only real hope is to increase your follower count to offset the lack of active engagement.
But more followers is not always better, it is active following and engagement that increases reach and potential clients. Your audience wants to know you believe in what you are creating. When you take photos of pretty things with no desire to stand out you will lose credibility. Standing out is hard work, but the more you create that's honest and exciting to you, the more you will attract quality clients and have meaningful engagement. You will also have increased satisfaction in your work because passion is driving you.
Look, we all have similar interests and often fall into trends but there is something in everyone that uniquely excites them and gives them a reason to create and produce content. If there is any advice I could give as a relatively non-Instafamous creative, it would be to stop overloading yourself with what other people are doing and comparing yourself to them. Keep your head down and seclude yourself from the noise. Find a few artists that really resonate with you, whatever category or market that might be and just dissect why they stand out to you. From there dissect yourself and find out what gives you that creative spark.