Creating Great Content is Hard (there, I said it)

I love how the web is changing the way that we publish, empowering both creators and consumers in a myriad of ways.

Two trends concern me though:

  • The idea that great content is easy to create.
  • The idea that you can become an expert quickly.

I’ve paid a lot of attention to online training programs over the past year, where experts teach a group of people tips and strategies via online tools such as webcasts, forums, etc. Some of these programs get great reviews, such as Teaching Sells.

As these types of programs proliferate, I’m noticing more people whose expertise is based on a single experience, and who promise that creating and leveraging great content online is easy.

For instance: “Here is the 1 Amazing Tip to Catapult You to YouTube Stardom.”

But the reality is, creating great content is often very difficult. It takes years of practice, and a fair amount of luck. Even the best directors, writers and musicians struggle to follow up one hit with a second hit. Many who have early success spend decades living off the halo effect of that initial effort, unable to recreate that magic.

Gary Vaynerchuck makes this clear in his book Crush It. He talks about using social media to reach your goals, but he tells you that you will need to be waking up at 5am and going to bed at 2am. The story of what he has created is inspiring, but he is careful to not sell it as a quick fix for your life.

This is why traditional media will continue to be valuable, and the experts within that field can do so much to succeed on the web. Editors, journalists, writers, photographers, musicians and creators of all kinds.

Yes, the revenue models have changed. But their knowledge and ability to create something from nothing will be valuable on any platform, at any time.

So the real question is: will you be one of those creators? Someone who looks past traditional revenue models, to jump into the online world and try new things – to take skills you have developed through your entire career, and use them in new ways?