What Does Fear Have To Do With Content Marketing?

I’ve written before about the real secret to content marketing: knowing your values. In the context of that post, I tried to explore the difference between trying to write for an audience (who is fickle and fleeting) and writing from a more essential part of your business—your core values. When you build a strategy out of your values, you protect yourself from trends, changes in leadership, and most importantly, fears.

I recently met up with a friend working with an early stage start up. They are working to onboard new users and prove their concept for investors. When asked why they weren’t leveraging content for user acquisition, he said something like, “We don’t have a fully-baked product.”

I stopped him right there. If he’s focused solely on the product and bringing the MVP to the market before they create content, then how are they able to attract new users? It’s a catch-22, you see. If you’re not creating content, you’re less likely to get users. If you’re not getting users, the likelihood that you’ll achieve proof of concept decreases by a matter of volume.

My friend’s reluctance to write at this phase illustrates a fundamental flaw in his perspective — one that is dictated by his fears and not by his values. If you start with your belief and values, you’ve elevated yourself above your product. You are no longer a commodity, but a manifestation of your values. And when you have a clear understanding of and commitment to your values, you hedge yourself from things like fad, indecision, and in this case, fear.

I worked with this company to uncover their brand values — Courage, Equality, Transparency, Generosity, and Optimism. We unpacked each of these values, writing more about what this means for the company. Take Courage for example: “May we always have the courage to pursue our best selves and never allow anyone or anything to chart our course or define our success.”

Or my favorite, Optimism: “If you have truth without hope you’re stuck in the dark side of life. We have a dream for what the workplace could look like — a place where teams are empowered and celebrated. Is this an uphill battle? Yes. Will there be obstacles, pushback, and even threats? Yes. But we’ve got our sunglasses on. The future is bright.”

Remember what was holding him back from creating content — fear. Can you see the misalignment? I don’t want to sound condescending. It’s very easy to lose sight of your values when you’re on the ground building your product. But this is why it’s so important to write them down. To remind yourself.

If you really understand your core differentiation—your belief and values—then nothing should hold you back from creating content, or whatever it is that you’re afraid to do in pursuit of your goals.

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