We are living in a golden age of content, big and small. And the golden rule in this golden age of content creation seems to be "just add value."
This emphasis on value is important. It's how we should think as creators. Using empathy and curiosity to understand what matters to your audience. Creating for them. To help them, inspire them, educate them.
But the creative tenet of "adding value" imposes on creators, writers, filmmakers, song writers an interesting challenge - how do you stay authentic too?
Authenticity is, by its nature, subjective. But it's left me asking the question of myself - if I sit down to write about my authentic story, will that translate to value for you, the reader?
Of course, a compelling story that comes from the heart can be hugely valuable - inspiring, educational - to your audience.
But it also influences the very first decision you make when creating content.
Do I pick one of my interests/hats and choose a niche to write about - only entrepreneurship, only software, only youth affairs, only content - and build an audience around that?
Do I write about all of it? And create a more holistic picture of my life, without necessarily a specific audience or niche in mind?
I've struggled with this when working on my last podcast, How to be Curious. Each episode was about different people, from different industries, doing different things. The through-line was the presence of curiosity in their lives.
But from a listener's perspective, one episode with an entrepreneur might interest them, but the episode with an author might not. So how do you keep people engaged, and how do you keep giving them value?
Are authentic stories valuable in themselves?
As I write this very piece, I ask myself these questions. As you approach the bottom of this page, Was I authentic? Yes. Will it resonate with some people? Maybe. Others wouldn't have got this far.
Is your life any better? Did I add value? I don't know. But I hope I've created a space in your own mind while reading this for you to consider this too. Is your Instagram feed valuable or authentic? Is your family group chat valuable or authentic?
I'd like to think it's a question of and, not or.
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