Nick Armstrong

Content Overload: Stop Consuming and Start Creating

By: Nick Armstrong | June 2, 2014 | 
48

contentBy Nick Armstrong

I’m sick to death of free webinars. Aren’t you?

(Yes, I know my gracious hosts at Spin Sucks hold free webinars. Even so, I’m guest posting here so they can deal with it. Love you, Spin Sucks staffers!)

Call it content overload. Free webinars this. Free downloads that.

Even your mom has an opt-in offer for her knitting blog.

Honestly, when was the last time you attended anything and got more than your money’s worth? Everybody and their brother is sharing free content these days.

Content Overload: Break Free!

The number of people who claim to know how to teach you a five figure launch plan or how to gain your first billion subscribers or how to crowd fund your way to a permanent vacation on a faraway beach is growing daily.

I don’t want yet another free download. My Dropbox has a hilariously dusty digital folder titled “Self Study” with 350 free (and not-so-free) e-learning programs I’ve downloaded in the last five years – that’s 70 per year if you were paying attention. Most languish unread.

I don’t want yet another no-commitment e-course from some guru, maven, ninja, or otherwise titled nincompoop.

(I’d use stronger words, but was told that harsh language makes you get all bleary-eyed and clicky.)

I don’t want your tw0-page long manifesto, mantra, chant, ancient witchdoctor script, or miracle elixir in a digital bottle. I can barely remember to call my family on their birthdays, so what makes you think I’ll find marketing inner peace with – let alone remember to read – your mantra?

What is all this Free Content Really Doing for Us?

Can I get real with you? All this feel-good, self-gratifying, webinar-attending, free-ebook downloading, manifesto researching, blog-after-blog-after-blog-after-blog-reading activity that we do?

It might enable us to hold our own at the bar at SXSW or at a Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, but by Thor’s Hammer it sure isn’t growing our bottom lines, our customer base, our time with the family we like, or our ability to vacation on some faraway beach.

Is it?

I mean, you wouldn’t be sitting here reading this if you were where you wanted to be. I bet you’re procrastinating right now. I can see it in your eyes and those tiny beads of sweat starting to gather on your forehead.

Is that a to-do list on your desk? How many tasks is that? Did you even keep count past 100? We’re 328 words in and you just got three more Gmail notifications, five new Facebook notifications, four new Twitter notifications, 20 Google+ notifications, and your iPhone is ringing.

Stop. It. You deserve better than this. I might be sick of free webinars, but you know what I’m really sick of?

I’m sick of people like you – brilliant, smart, funny, talented, and nice as you are – wasting their precious time sitting on the sidelines.

Thinking you’re not good enough.

Thinking you need just a little bit more knowledge, a little more free content to really take it to the next step.

Thinking you could really feel good if you ran your idea past one more so-called expert.

Thinking you really ought to know what that guru knows because if your list were just a little larger, you’d…

You’d what?

Be more successful? More liked? Validated that your blog isn’t awful, your business is successful, and the work you do matters?

Time to Make a Change

Do me a favor: I want you to look at your hilariously-far-from-inbox zero email (because I know you have it open right now) and I want you to pick five newsletters or expert dispatches or blogs delivered to your email that you’ve deleted week-after-week-after-week thinking, “Maybe next week, they’ll write the perfect answer for my problem.”

I want you to take your shaking mouse hand and do the mean, horrifying, anti-social, brow-sweat inducing thing and UN-SUB-SCRIBE. And when you click that mouse button down like the champ you are, I want you to hear a stadium full of people chanting that.

UN.

SUB.

SCRIBE.

And then I want you to hear that stadium of people going nuts for you like you just threw the winning touchdown pass.

Newsflash, you lovely, flawed, goofball of a human being: That kind of warm fuzzy feeling has to come from inside.

You’re not accountable to your parents, anymore. Or your teachers. Or even your boss (if you still have one). You know who you’re accountable to?

You.

And that’s a terrifyingly beautiful thing. It means you get to set the expectations. And it means you can either expect yourself to be a great businessperson and work yourself hard on things that really matter to you.

Or you can expect yourself to be a mediocre, somewhat successful businessperson, who often got distracted by webinars, living for other people’s approval, and mile-long to-do lists that had less than five tasks you genuinely cared about.

Your fate is entirely in your hands.

Act like it. You deserve it.

Stop consuming. Start creating. Do it today.

About Nick Armstrong


Nick Armstrong is unapologetically awesome at making marketing FUN for small business owners. He rocks at explaining difficult-to-grasp marketing and web technology concepts, making them much less scary. Nick’s small business marketing firm WTF Marketing has made marketing fun again for a large number of happy clients, including four distinct $2 million businesses and businesses of all sizes in his hometown of Fort Collins, Colo., and beyond. He leverages a decade of hands-on marketing experience in building community and helping businesses tell stories, alongside more than 15 years of web design experience. In short: He's one kick-butt marketer.