How To Make Valuable Content Without Being The “Industry Leader”

how to create valuable content

I’ll give you the biggest tip when it comes to content creation: Document. Don’t create.

– Gary V.

Ever feel like, “Who am I to share this piece of content?”

It’s interesting. We have this notion that we need to be at the top to create valuable content.

When starting my entrepreneurial journey, I’d cringe before pushing the submit button.

I felt like I was bragging and trying to give advice when I haven’t earned people’s attention.

Trying to position yourself as the top leader in your field may feel inauthentic… especially if you’re just beginning to climb the mountain.

It’s true. You may not be the top leader in your industry. 

But who cares? We all start somewhere.

I’ve learned that great content is in the delivery.

How are you positioning yourself as a leader?

  • Are you an authoritative leader that has all the answers?
  • Or are you a collaborative leader that brings your audience on a journey with you?

From my experience, documenting your process is more valuable than trying to showcase that you’re the best.

I’ve found that my content gets better engagement when I document in this way.

In the words of Gary V.:

“Documenting your journey versus creating an image of yourself is the difference between saying “You should…” versus “my intuition says…”. Get it? It changes everything. I believe that the people who are willing to discuss their journeys instead of trying to front themselves as the ‘next big thing’ are going to win.”

It’s not helpful to compare yourself to others (and then condemn yourself for where you’re at in your process).

Quite the opposite.

Accept where you’re at in the process towards your goals. Document. And make it transparent to your audience.

And you’ll notice that you’ll:

  • Gain more attention and momentum
  • Create more compelling content
  • Be more relatable

Documenting gets you out of this “imposter syndrome” paradigm. You’re no longer judging yourself for where you’re at.

You embrace it.

This gives your content more power and charisma because now you’re confident about your process.

What kind of leader does your content portray to your audience?

I Wish My Younger Self Knew This…

Right before quarantine lock-downs started, I was in LA for a business coaching event.

I expected to get the most value from the conference itself. But oddly enough, I didn’t…

The night before the event started, there was a business mixer to network and meet new people.

And I ended up meeting a very interesting woman.

She was a guest of someone attending the event and we chatted for at least an hour.

Professionally, she had done well for herself. And I could tell she was an affluent woman.

After talking for a bit, she says:

“You’re being fake right now.”

It caught me off guard.

At first, it was a punch to my ego.

“What do you mean I’m being fake??”

But since I was there to grow and didn’t want to come off as defensive, I tried being open-minded to what she had to say next.

She continued sharing that the future leaders of organizations aren’t going to be these stone-walled, stoic individuals. Those are the old days of business.

And then she said something that has stuck with me since:

“The leaders of the future will be individuals who can be transparent and vulnerable.”

As 2020 has carried on… I’ve slowly started to understand what she meant.

She wasn’t trying to hurt my feelings. She was being brutally honest with me. And looking back, I’m very grateful for it.

You see, I was putting on a front at that event. I was excited and nervous all at the same time (and probably a bit intimidated).

So I tried to conceal these feelings.

And as a result, I tried putting up a front and became inauthentic.

Many Of Us Do This With Our Content And Marketing

We put on a front because we think it’s what our audience wants to see (or we’re afraid of being vulnerable).

But this results in content that’s inauthentic. There’s a better way.

Yes, we should create content that our audience finds valuable.

But this should NOT be at the expense of being inauthentic.

Being A Self-Aware Role Model

How do children learn and develop?

If you observe them, you’ll notice that they observe others.

And if consistently exposed to a set of behaviors, there’s a high probability that a child will adopt these behaviors.

There are interesting theories that explain this, such as the discovery of mirror neurons.

But this idea has been shared within entrepreneurial circles for years.   You’ve probably heard the Jim Rohn quote, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

But given the nature of social networks, you’re influenced by much more than these five people.

Learning by modeling others doesn’t stop when we become adults. This is why people join masterminds, get coaches, expand their network, etc.

Perhaps you’ve benefited from adding a new relationship into your life.

I Once Heard Eben Pagan Talk About This Idea Of Being A “Self-Aware Role Model.”

The basic idea is that your life becomes your marketing.

In essence, you ask the question: “Who do I need to become so that my ideal customers are drawn to me?”

Rather than try to put on a front, you ARE that person. No need to “fake it until you make it.”

And here’s the key.

You make this transparent through your content and marketing.

This creates authenticity.

A common objection to this is, “But what if I haven’t become that person yet?”

This goes back to Gary Vaynerchuck’s recommendation for creating content: document your process.

By sharing your insights and learnings within YOUR process, you can create true fans for the long term.

Sharing your process is valuable.

This is an effective strategy when you’re not the leader in your given industry. And even if you were, you’d still benefit from this approach. 

I mean, look at Gary V.  He’s at the top and swears by this method.

You don’t need to be Tony Robbins, Amy Porterfield, Tai Lopez, or anyone else who you perceive as being near the “top” in your niche.

But similar to what that affluent woman shared with me: This approach requires vulnerability and honesty about where you’re at in your process.

Putting on a front may bring some people into your funnel, but it’s short-term thinking.

What happens when you can’t keep up that front?

And from my experience, it’s way less fulfilling and motivating.

How can you start becoming a self-aware role model through your content?

Rocketship Content: Are You Going Places?

So how can we begin creating content that’s authentic and valuable even if you’re not the industry leader?

We’ve all seen content that makes us cringe.  Perhaps it’s the person on your feed who’s always sharing motivational quotes about “hustling.”  

Or perhaps it’s the person that’s talking about the same health shake or nutritional product (making it clear that they’re an affiliate for the business).

If this is you, I don’t mean to be harsh.  

You might need to hear this message more than anything else right now.

What makes this type of content different from authentic content that documents your process?

The answer is found in the following question:

Are you a rocketship or driftwood?

A rocketship has a clear purpose and is embarking on an ambitious endeavor. Maybe it’s going to the moon.  But it may not be on the moon yet.

If it’s moving “in-process” towards the moon, then it’s good enough.

Now driftwood has opposite characteristics.  It floats around and doesn’t go anywhere. It’s stagnant.

So if you’re a rocketship, you have a clear vision and purpose.  You’re ambitious.

If you’re driftwood, perhaps you’re stagnant.  You’d lack a vision and may find yourself creating content that you think your audience wants without aligning it to your goals.

The distinction between the two is that being a “rocketship” implies that you have a higher purpose for your content.  

And notice earlier how I said, “it may not be on the moon yet.”

You don’t need to be the top industry leader to create valuable content.

Once you’re clear on your vision for your content, the next step is to begin moving towards that goal.

Now you’re on your mission.

And finally, all you need to do is make this process transparent to your audience by documenting it.  That’s your marketing.

You don’t need to be on the moon to have valuable content to share.

What If You Had A Catalog Of Valuable Content?

Imagine Steve Jobs documented his journey.  Yes, you can read his story or watch a movie about his life.

But imagine he personally documented more of his journey.

More of the ups. The downs.  The triumphs. The losses.  And the lessons and insights learned through all of it.

How cool would it be to consume that content? To see his development and process.

Here’s the thing…

That’s who you could be.

You may not be where you want to be right now.

But imagine when you get there and have this catalog of awesome content.

And as you pick up momentum, you’ll begin gathering tiny wins and successes.

Allow your audience to experience your story.


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