For the same reason there are endless get rich quick schemes and weight loss formulas, there are also many experts offering advice on how to “create great content.” These articles attract the reader who wants the quick fix.

“Do I really have to diet and exercise? Isn’t there just a pill I can take?”

Unlike having an athletic body, which really does require diet and exercise, there’s a chronic barrage of evidence that a quick fix for creating great content actually exists. Every day we see dozens if not hundreds of pieces of trending content from complete unknowns.  Since we see it daily, we think there must be a secret to doing this.

Therefore, in an effort to be the next successful nobody, we begin searching, “The secret to creating great content,” and organizations who want your content marketing business oblige by writing articles with that exact title and word combination. While those articles may offer formatting advice, they don’t actually provide the true secret to creating great content, which is:

THE SECRET TO GREAT CONTENT IS TO START PRODUCING CONTENT. And accept the fact that your first pieces will probably suck and very few people will look at it.

In other words, to create great content, you have to create bad content first.

That’s not a recommendation to intentionally create bad content, but it’s more of the need to understand you can’t be obsessive about perfection with your first pieces of content. For most, it takes experience to get to “great content.” Sometimes that process is like a wave where at certain moments there’s a peak of “great” and “successful” content, and sometimes you’re at the bottom and nothing happens. Given the hyper competitive fight for your eyeballs online, you can’t debate endlessly about what “great content” is, you need to adopt “The Hacker Way,” popularized by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and that “Way” is to “move fast and break stuff.”

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The Future Value of Rejection

on September 29, 2016

Every contractor loves to hear that they’re hired. You can pretty much guarantee the response will be positive. That’s not always the case when you tell them they’re not hired.

I say “no” to a lot of people I really like. It’s often just a case of it’s not the right time, or I’ve hired someone else. When I do say “no,” I learn how they handle themselves when things are not going their way.

We’ve all been on both sides of the rejection/acceptance equation. Most of us, minus Donald Trump, don’t get a visceral thrill out of dumping on people. Some people outright avoid telling candidates they haven’t been hired (a major problem with the hiring process) mostly for fear of conflict and in general because people don’t like delivering bad news.

Should you reject contractors?Rejection isn’t the end. I have rejected contractors before that I’ve called again for future projects. And I’ve recommended those I’ve rejected to others.

In a personal case, a woman I was dating rejected me after only a few dates, only later to recommend me to a friend, whom I also dated for a bit.

Learn how to handle rejection well.

While it’s never good to hear you didn’t win a bid or a date, it’s good to at least know definitively. I always thank a person for taking the time to let me know when our proposal wasn’t accepted. Their little effort saves me a lot of time of following up to find out the status of the proposal.

I’ve had two cases where I was close to hiring someone yet chose someone else, and it was their negative reaction to my rejecting them that reaffirmed I made the right decision.

One case was that of hiring a financial manager and the other an interior designer. In both cases I took the time to follow up and let each one know they weren’t chosen and why. I understood they put a lot of time into their pitches, so I let them know how much I appreciated that, and told them I would recommend them to others. Regardless, neither one handled the rejection well. The interior designer kept shouting at me “Why?” I repeated why. She wasn’t happy with my answer of liking the other designer’s suggestions and materials. She was so disappointed that she hung up on me. In the case of the financial manager I got the sense that because I called he thought I was going to say yes. He was taken aback when I said no, and was unable to mask his anger.

After I rejected them, I realized what a bad decision it would have been if I hired them.

For those people you never reject, you’ll never get that insight into their personality For a moment I did contemplate playing the “reject then accept” game, but realized that was just sadistic.

Whether you’re on the giving or receiving side, value rejection. It’s always good to handle rejection well. You’ll be surprised what will come out of it. As for that who woman dumped me, we ended up getting back together and got married.


Creative Commons photo credits to Sean MacEntee and Simon Lieschke.



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Before you produce your next corporate video, please do yourself and your company a favor, and watch this video.

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13 Annoying Communications that Must End in 2016

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I love to complain. And I love that you love to hear me complain. For the sixth year in a row, here’s my list of communication annoyances.

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