I came up with Everything Is Content back in 2016.
I turned it into a hashtag: #everythingiscontent, and now you can find that hashtag used across social media. Was I the original creator of that hashtag? Who knows, but when I started using it, you couldn’t search it.
I created it because I discovered how incredibly true it was.
This was after I had been writing as The WordPress Chick for eight years and knew I was moving towards pivoting to my personal brand.
Two primary factors contributed to growing my personal brand, even before I made it official. Both were because of writing:
I’m going to go more in-depth with both, so sit tight.
I’ve said this before, and it’s a hill I’m willing to die on 👇:
The BEST thing you can do to grow and scale your business online is to learn how to write and do it as often as possible.
You don’t have to want to become a writer, but if you’re going to create the type of business that supports you without trading time for money, you need to create assets that work for you when you’re not working.
In other words, content, courses, ads, etc.
Even if you only want to produce audio or video content, you still need to know how to write compelling copy to attract the right people.
Off the top of my head, here is where good writing comes into play online:
- Content (your website)
- Social content
- Website copy
- Sales page copy
- Email sequences
- Podcast posts (show notes)
- Video headlines and descriptions
End of story.
And if you’re listening to this and feeling resistance (i.e., maybe you’re feeling a bit pissy?), then it’s time to do a little entrepreneurial adulting and get really honest with yourself.
How badly do you want this?
In other words, are you willing to do the work?
I’m not preaching hustle here; that’s not what I’m talking about.
I mean, are you willing to get comfortable with being uncomfortable?
I have yet to meet a single creator/entrepreneur who doesn’t experience fear.
It’s part of the journey.
I also haven’t met one who doesn’t have to write (even if you have a ghostwriter or your content is primarily audio and/or video, you still have to write headlines, captions, descriptions, etc.).
When I was getting started, I had plenty of fear but was so ignorant of the entire online marketing space that it was much easier to stay out of my head. I wasn’t terribly worried about other people’s thoughts because I didn’t know many people online.
Ignorance was bliss.
As my business and brand grew, I worried a little more, but it wasn’t until I felt like I had to “niche” down that I started really getting in my head.
I ranted quite a bit about this in episode 121, where I referenced Dan Koe’s video “The Most Profitable Niche Is You.
So, instead of ranting more here (as fun as that can be), I want to give you a more straightforward guide on how to get started with “Everything Is Content, 2.0.”
A quick backstory on Everything Is Content
I actually taught a workshop on this (it was a paid workshop, and yes, I’m doing a brand new and completely updated version of this in January 2024) because I was so passionate about it.
I had begun using the Everything Is Content hashtag because of my ‘almost daily emails’ (I called them almost because I didn’t always send emails on the weekends).
My ‘almost daily emails‘ was something I decided to do after having been a subscriber of Ben Settle’s for a year and watching how he did it (and because of that, I became a customer of his Email Players physical newsletter).
I committed myself to figuring out email marketing regardless of the results. It’s the only thing I regret not starting sooner in my business.
These were story-based emails with one call to action.
The first month, it was crickets.
In the second month, people started replying.
In the third month, I realized I had tripled affiliate income for a product I used, talked about, and recommended.
All through email.
The funny thing is I had always considered myself a decent writer. I could write a paper in school and get an “A.”
But learning how to write in your own voice (not many papers in college or even high school required the same skillset as writing online in your own voice) was a whole new ballgame.
What made the almost daily emails easier to step into was that I had been writing my podcast posts for a few years at that point.
Interview posts were written after the fact, but because of the way I do my solo shows (going off script quite a bit), I knew that I needed to write the post out first and then use it as a guide (not a script, I never read this).
Then, once I started using Grammarly, it became clear to me that I never paid attention to grammar in school (and to this day, I wonder how the bucket I ever got an ‘A’ on any paper 🤣).
Sidenote: I have probably learned more about grammar writing online with the help of Grammarly than I ever did when I was in school. Every ounce of my being believes it’s because I enjoy what I’m doing and constantly want to improve my craft.
Back to my podcast posts.
Writing the podcast post out before recording helps me clarify what I’m trying to convey.
Sometimes, I start with one idea, and through the writing, it pivots into something else entirely. I’m learning to edit my content to ensure that I’m not simply treating the podcast like a personal diary (which I’ll admit, I do pretty frequently and have been told that people enjoy).
Learning to edit your own thoughts is a little tricky.
Sometimes, I ignore Grammarly’s suggestions because even though it suggests a more concise way to say something, it’s not how I would talk if I were talking in person to someone.
What’s most important to me when I write online is that it sounds like me.
This is why I hate templates that suggest I speak in platitudes or definitive ideas that don’t resonate with me.
And quick rant (I know, I said I wasn’t going to rant), but you absolutely, 100% HAVE to consider the creator of ‘said templates.’
I’ve purchased way too many templates and frameworks from creator bro’s who grew a brand on Twitter with this type of writing.
They’re probably 25 years younger than me, targeting a different audience, have different desires, and have a completely different perspective.
None of which is right or wrong, good or bad.
But it’s like forcing a square peg into a round hole.
It’s NOT going to work.
Every time I tried to use these templates, I cringed.
And this isn’t to say that templates aren’t a great starting point – they absolutely are.
But consider the source.
And more importantly, take the time to decide if the structure of the templates resonates with you. If it doesn’t, no amount of trying to put your own spin on it will work.
Just do the work for yourself in the first place, or find someone who has templates that feel more like you.
OK, let’s move on.
How to Get Started with Everything Is Content, 2.0
First, I’m going to predict something for 2024.
We’re going to see many more creators sharing personal stories, journeys, challenges, and triumphs that have nothing to do with their businesses (directly, anyway).
To quote Dr. Seuss:
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”Dr. Seuss
As the old marketing saying goes, people want to do business with people they know, like, and trust.
There’s much less trust in gurus who sell $2k+ courses while never showing up once, outside of occasionally gracing you with their presence in a Facebook group or a once-in-a-lifetime call.
I also think it’s crystal clear that there is no “one way” to do anything.
There are far too many people who have built successful (i.e., profitable, not just status/influencer) businesses in a way that works for them:
- no social media
- only podcasting
- only YouTube
- only writing
- one product
- email only
You get the point.
You do you.
Back to Everything Is Content.
- Embrace the Freedom of Content Creation: Seriously. Don’t start out (or restart) with some dialed-in strategy when you don’t know what people want or what works. You have to test and try things. There are so many places to create and publish online. Break free from traditional norms and explore various topics, especially if it’s a personal brand. Craft your own niche.
- Share Personal Journeys and Stories: This led me to create #everythingiscontent. The more I shared my personal journey, the more my audience grew. It creates genuine engagement, conversations, and authentic connections.
- Practice in Public: We’ve all heard the term “Build in Public” – and it’s great. But not everyone wants to commit to “building” something. We could split hairs here and say there’s not a big difference between practicing and building (aren’t you building an audience, a brand, etc. while you’re practicing?) – but using the word practice, specifically around content, implies two things:
It takes some of the pressure off of the work you’re doing, needing to have a specific end result. Focus on getting better at your craft. This also reinforces that building a business online based on your created assets takes time.
- Inspiration, Strategy, and Actionable Advice: While figuring out what works, make sure your content combines each of these. You don’t want to do a bunch of “how to” content (unless your business model is affiliate marketing) for free because that can lead to an audience of freebie seekers. Create content based on the psychographics of your ideal customer/subscriber/client.
For example: The qualities (psychographics), I look for are people who take responsibility, are willing to do the work, and want to have fun. They’re someone who wants to create their ideal life and live on their own terms. They’re willing to show up and be vulnerable.
- Linking Passion and Purpose: Don’t worry if you don’t have a “passion.” Think of passion as something you have to create what you want. I was passionate about starting an online business in 2008, even though I didn’t know what that would look like, because I wanted freedom. I never wanted to commute, work for someone else, and have my schedule dictated by a corporation.
An easier way to think about this is to clarify your values.
And side note: the more you “practice in public,” the sooner you’ll find what really lights you up. You’ll never know if you don’t start.
- Authenticity & Community Building: Personal brands, and dare I say small businesses (agencies, small teams), have to show up genuinely and authentically. We all feel like the word authentic is overused and possibly a little trite, but that doesn’t mean it’s invalid. It’s also vital that your community feels like they matter.
- Implement and Iterate: Taking action is key. Start by applying what resonates with you from the guide. It’s not about perfection; it’s about progress. Whether sharing a personal story, experimenting with different content formats, or engaging with your community, the focus should be consistent action. This step is about moving from theory to practice, embracing the learnings from each attempt, and continuously evolving your content strategy to better align with your goals and audience.
So, there you have it.
Some of that might feel like it’s a bit ‘intangible,’ but I assure you it’s not.
Have you ever watched a YouTube video or listened to a podcast and the host or guest is saying something you’ve been thinking about, feeling, or even talking about for years?
The only difference is they’ve published the thought or idea.
Stop holding yourself back from saying and creating the things you want to create because you think it’s all been done, who am I do this, I’m not as good as ‘x’, etc.
And if you’re concerned that Everything Is Content won’t work for your business or audience, let me ask you this:
How’s the whole “niche” thing working for you right now? 🤔
Do you feel inspired to create? Do you like creating content for the search engines? Do you have an email list of engaged subscribers who want to do business with you?
I didn’t think so.
One size does NOT fit all.
And even though I doubt this needs repeating, I’ll say it anyway.
Everything Is Content is not about thinking of as many random things as possible and seeing what works. It’s about pulling all of you into your business and expressing that through your content.
As you start practicing this, you’ll find the intersection of where things overlap. Here’s a diagram of what my content topics are:
So, the four primary topics of content are:
- Digital marketing
- Energy & spirituality
- Money/ Finance
- Sharing what I’m learning, mindset around money
- Highlighting women I’m learning from
- Continue amplifying women
- Sharing personal stories
There will be more under each of these areas, but I’m going to start testing more and see what works.
In many ways, I’ve been talking about a lot of this stuff for years, but in more of an indirect way.
It’s time to take my own advice and #JustShowUP!