It would be a mistake to imagine that your own self-doubt is unique, thinking that the people who share things publicly are more self-confident or less fragile. I've never measured it officially, but probably 15% of you are regularly sharing your insight publicly, and the other 85% would keep their thoughts private for one or more of the following reasons:
- I'm too busy solving client challenges and don't have time to build my firm's brand. Besides, it's not necessary—we're pretty darn busy.
- I'm happy to articulate some things, but I don't know what to write about. I don't feel like I have anything to add to the conversation.
- Write because you must. Because it's an urge like a drug addiction, and you won't be (temporarily) whole again until you get something out there. Just make it a (healthy) addiction and you'll never stop.
- You write for yourself, anyway, and not primarily for your audience. Yes, your business depends on attracting clients who want to work with your firm, but your primary commitment as a leader of this enterprise is to the enterprise, first. This notion that "our work is so good we haven't needed to look for work" is a gross misunderstanding of how the world works, and it's embarrassing. If you want to move upstream with your brain and not just your hands, you'll need to let them see inside that brain.
- But it's not necessarily about writing at all. Maybe that's not your thing, which is totally fine. Maybe it's a workshop where you apply a process collaboratively, or a series of videos that capture how excited you are about your role in changing how people think, or maybe it's a thoughtful strategy to slowly build a following on LinkedIn. But you are a creator, and creators must create or they just devolve into normal boring people. One of our biggest challenges as an industry is that we expend our best creative efforts on clients who probably don't even recognize the value, while not creating for ourselves.
- But back to writing. If you can't think of something to write, it could be that your positioning is so broad that everything you'd say has already been said a million times by some growth hustler who keeps wanting to do carousels on LinkedIn about the difference between branding and marketing (yawn). So fix your positioning, and there are many people that can help you with that. If you don't want to work with us, just let me know and I'll send you some other options.
- Build a central depository of content ideas, and I can promise that you'll start noticing things that relate to them. Throw each article or tweet or song into that folder so that you'll have some raw materials to work with when the spirit moves.
- Set up a regular cadence to build that discipline, but don't assign yourself a topic on a certain date. Whatever you write about needs to hit you in that moment, and content calendars are like forced participation at a really bad seminar.
- Quit killing your best work with personas, SEO, targeted length, and pithy titles. You can weave all that stuff in later, but it's just clutter when you're getting started, and you'd be better off to focus on the quality of your insight rather than on all of the "best practices" clutter.