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Thinkers, Tinkerers, and Doers: Three Stages of Digital Content Creation

Most people who work in the content business find themselves daydreaming of scalable products—digital courses, online assessments, or interactive videos. But while these ideas come quickly, surprisingly few thought leaders build these products. And fewer actually generate revenue from them.

I’m reminded of my friend who has had the same “project” sports car for almost twenty years. Initially, the engine required a few weekends of repair work to get it running properly. But, my friend was an entrepreneur, a father, and an active member of his community. And so, year after year, the canary yellow convertible’s must-repair list gets longer. It sits untouched in the garage, rather than whipping around curves.

Thought leadership is the business of ideas and content. These ideas spread faster and further when they’re embedded within digital product.

Imagine your thought leadership ideas as a car’s engine. They need to be housed in a chassis. If you’re spending your days as a professional speaker, business book author, or expert consultant, you’re the vehicle for your ideas. However, digital product creates a whole new chassis — one that won’t require you to get on planes and attend meetings. The results can be game changing.

However, few thought leaders get to experience these rewards. That’s because, much like my friend, most thought leaders approach digital product like a “project car.” They spend a lot of time thinking about how great it would be to have digital products. Occasionally, they’ll spend a weekend tinkering. Maybe they scratch out some notes or shoot some videos in a home studio. But soon, life calls. There’s a speech in Chicago next week; a book chapter needs to get written; a client expects recommendations. Today’s work as a speaker, author, or consultant gets in the way of building digital. Time passes, and your project car never gets finished.

Here are three tips if you want to move beyond the “thinking and tinkering” stages:

  • Talk to Your Clients: Only work on projects people want to buy. Share your ideas with your clients early. Don’t waste time on products that don’t get buyer attention.
  • Set Aside Time: If you treat the project as a weekend hobby, it’ll never get done.
  • Enlist Other Experts: You’ll move faster when you’re not the only one working. Additionally, digital projects often take a wide set of skills that exceed the capacity of any one individual.

The people who have built successful digital content for the B2B space treat such projects as a priority — making sure they have the right resources and the right team to get the job done. They’re the doers who stand out among the many thinkers and tinkerers.

Bill Sherman works with thought leaders to launch big ideas within well-known brands. He is the COO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Bill on Twitter

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