In the last few months, I’ve been thinking a lot more about the direction that I want my blog to go in; what my long-term goals are; how I can continue serving people; how I can even turn my blog into a sustainable source of income. Hence, I’ve been reading and watching a LOT of videos on these topics and I’m also aware that a large amount of my readers are bloggers too (or use social media to promote something like a side-hustle or business). So I want to share what I’m learning with you. Even if you aren’t doing any of these things, you might still learn something to share with someone else, so keep reading.
A concept that I’ve been experimenting with recently is creating vs documenting. I follow an entrepreneur called Gary Vaynerchuk aka Gary Vee online (look him up, his backstory is really cool!) and on his podcast he speaks a lot about this concept, so I decided to look more into it. I was pretty blown away when the penny finally dropped for me. Think about it… as a blogger, it’s quite natural to think that creation should be your number one priority. Create as much content as possible, distribute it across social media platforms and then watch your brand grow, right? Perhaps we’re wrong.
That formula has several problems, the first one being that content creation in this rigid format is extremely time consuming. Have you ever spent hours taking photos, trying to get the best lighting, then struggle even more to think of a witty caption to accompany it? Have you ever got frustrated with yourself for not being able to make “unique” content or have a seamlessly organised theme for your Instagram feed? Have you ever found yourself racking your brain to think of something “inspirational” or “motivational” to share with your audience daily? Have you ever decided not to post something that you genuinely like because frankly, it wasn’t perfect enough? I’ve been there. And it’s crippling, isn’t it?! Our quest for creating perfection is exhausting and this is why Gary Vee teaches that documenting is a much better form of content creation.
So how can we use documenting to create content and what does it entail? Documenting does exactly what it says on the tin. We’re all on some kind of journey as content creators/enthusiasts/business owners etc. and we each have a unique story to tell. Nowadays, social media is about personality more than it is about super high quality, and this is good news! Most people that follow you probably care more about how you got to where you are, the mistakes you’ve made and the lessons you’re learning along the way, than superficial things.
To give you a practical example, the difference between creating and documenting could be posting scenic photos from a recent photoshoot for your blog vs showing your followers the “behind the scenes” of the photoshoot – answering questions like how did you choose your location, who takes your pictures, what problems did you encounter when shooting? etc. The latter clearly documents your experience and provides way more relatable content for your audience to benefit from. Whereas the former is just the finished product.
There is definitely a balance which needs to be struck between creating and documenting. But for me personally, I’ve found that my audience (you guys!) engage with me so much more when I’m not pretending to be this professional put together, all-knowing Super Blogger. Being completely myself is also better for me because I can never “run out” of content ideas so long as I am actively living life and pursuing my dreams. Also, I am able to self reflect as I reread old entries of content I created at a particular stage in my journey and lastly, it just makes things more interesting for you guys.
Overall, I want to encourage us all that firstly, it’s so important to think about the bigger picture from now, start documenting your journey now in order to leave your legacy. And secondly, do not to place limits about the type of content we should be sharing. It squeezes the authenticity out of us and makes the whole process of content creation seem so forced. We never want to slip into becoming obsessed with things that just do not matter and forget our real goals, whether that be encouraging people, connecting with people, sharing our passions or driving sales etc.
I’m looking forward to using the rest of 2018 to document, document and document some more, and show you guys my journey of taking this blogging thing more seriously. So if you have any blogging-related questions for me, feel free to ask me anything.
How do you feel about creating vs documenting? Let me know in the comment section down below.
To learn more about Gary Vee’s creating vs documenting theory, here are some useful resources for you to check out:
- Book PDF download: “Why now is the time to CRUSH IT! Cash in on your passion” by Gary Vaynerchuk
- Blog post: “Document, don’t create: Creating content that builds your personal brand”
- Podcast: A Rant: Document vs Create (The GaryVee Audio Experience)
God bless you!
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. – Proverbs 4:7