Do you have your social media strategy all squared away for 2021?
Are you on all the hot new platforms?
Have you experimented with all the latest features and stickers and filters?
Do you have all your content scheduled and recycled at random intervals to appear spontaneous and organic?
No? Me neither.
Last week, a friend asked what I thought about Clubhouse. If you’re unfamiliar, Clubhouse is a new iOS-only, invite-only, audio-only (not in any way accessible) social platform. The “only” here is purposeful. As best as I can tell, this platform is designed to keep people out.
My response basically amounted to “Clubhouse? I don’t care.”
I don’t have time for FOMO when it comes to Clubhouse—or Reels or TikTok or whatever new app is frittering away our attention.
I don’t have time for consuming or creating clickbait, derivative nonsense, or transactional media.
I don’t have the energy for playing at being an influencer or gaming the algorithms to “earn” more followers in an anti-social system.
I am focusing on remarkable content.
This year, my core strategy for reaching more of the right people is to simply create (and consume) remarkable content.
That doesn’t mean that I’m abandoning social media or that I’m eschewing Web 2.0 for handwritten, delicate prose that I’ll distribute via carrier pigeon.
It means I’m focused on ideas and conversations instead of platforms or tactics or algorithms. Great ideas and conversations live on every platform—including Clubhouse, I’m sure. But the platform isn’t my focus—the remarkable content is.
I want every episode of the What Works podcast to be remarkable. I want this newsletter to be remarkable. I want anything I share on Instagram or Twitter to be remarkable.
I want the content that I’m filling my brain with to be remarkable.
I’m focused on crafting ideas that you can’t help but remark over and using the tools at my disposal to share those idas with you.
So how am I defining remarkable content?
So glad you asked.
Remarkable content is anything that sticks in your brain and body begging you to engage with it over and over again.
It could be an interview, an article, a book, a video, a tweet, or an Instagram post. I’ve found remarkable content on every platform I frequent.
Remarkable content isn’t determined by how complex it is, how long it is, or how many followers the creator has. Remarkable content doesn’t play nice with algorithms—it’s certainly not optimized for likes—but sometimes remarkable content goes viral anyhow.
Remarkable content doesn’t hit you over the head, it invites you in. It makes you feel like you belong in the conversation instead of separate from it as a reader, listener, or viewer.
Remarkable content is deeply personal in the most unexpected and unconventional ways.
Remarkable content changes you.
Now, just because I’m focused on creating remarkable content doesn’t mean I’ll always get it right. It doesn’t mean that everything I write or every interview I do will feel remarkable to you (remarkable is in the eye of the beholder).
And just because I’m also focused on consuming remarkable content doesn’t mean I won’t find myself mindlessly scrolling through my feeds from time to time or that I won’t watch Good Mythical Morning after work (although yesterday’s exploration of the most painful place to pluck hair on your body was remarkable in its own way).
My goal is to create the space for remarkable content to flow into me, through me, and out of me.
Here’s the thing: I believe you want to create remarkable things, too. Whether your aspiration is toward remarkable images or audio stories or articles or novels or illustrations, I believe you want to put things into the world that really impact people—even in small ways.
But the vast majority of media channels are designed to get us to create content that doesn’t offend, content that doesn’t challenge, content that doesn’t make us think. We end up optimizing for mediocrity instead of daring to risk remarkability.
Every time I’ve let the algorithms determine my content or social media strategy, I’ve lost followers, subscribers, and—most importantly—the trust of people like you. Every time I’ve taken a risk by taking my time to say something that’s really important to me—whether that’s about marketing, money, business models, mindset, or social justice—I’m rewarded.
If not with more followers or sales, then I’m rewarded by my satisfaction and the relationships that I’m able to deepen along the way.
And that’s the only social media strategy I need.
Alright, what does that look like in practice? Here’s how I’m doing it:
1. Swap my scroll time for book time during coffee and breakfast—highlight, write notes, dig in. I mostly read personal essays & cultural critique—so not business books but they inform the way I think about business.
2. Fill my feeds with people who I trust to produce (mostly) remarkable content so that when I am scrolling, I’m more likely to come across stuff that makes me want to engage. Unfollow or mute anyone who is posting for the algorithm instead of people.
3. Spend time writing (even 5 minutes) every day. It ain’t all going to be good, so I better produce a lot so I can cut the crap out!
4. Consider how I can share my best work across multiple platforms in creative ways when it makes sense. A newsletter can be an article, an idea visualization & mini-essay on Instagram, and a post on Medium, for instance.
5. Practice not obsessing over every like, share, or email reply. To be honest, I’m really bad at this. But I just don’t have time for it—and it kills my inspiration for remarkable content. I want to be in conversation—not in optimization.
6. Invest in help with advertising (and neither advertising nor help was an easy decision to make) so that I really can just focus on making remarkable things for you instead of spending a ton of time promoting what I do create.
This is a work-in-progress. It’s a practice. But 6 weeks or so into it and I’m feeling really good about what I’m consuming and what I’m creating.
And who is going to argue with that?
I know not everyone has the resources to do everything on this list–and I’m in no way suggesting that you should.
But if you can take a few minutes to consider how creating remarkable content would change how you approach your social media, articles, images, videos, etc… I think you’ll be able to find a habit or method to shift to create a little more space for the remarkable.