Want to Produce Content! Here’s How in 5 Easy Steps?
- You have 1 note on something. This is the beginning of content production, producer.
- Determine the formal level that the content deserves. There are 3 formal levels you can apply to the content. 1. High is a short story or essay. 2. Middle is a blog post or article. 3. Low is anything on social media. This is the cultural state of things. I would prefer that content which normally deserves a middle form was appropriate on social media, but it is seen as culturally inappropriate. Doing something inappropriate is bad for business. Statistics show that the locked-boundaries of low form is and is going to change as social media continually reveals itself as the public forum of discourse. Right now, it is only appropriate to advertise middle forms on social media. Culturally, social media is used for announcing, directing, informing, leading, guiding. I try and continue to try to push mid-level content into low forms and high-level content into middle forms. This is not experimentation, but my way of acting as if things were how I believe they ought to be. What I do not believe works is placing high-level content into low forms. I have tried it and the content does not fit the form (the text of a short story does not belong on social media: it is a disservice to the reader and to the content).
- Now that you have determined what form the 1 note deserves, counterpoint that 1 note with another note you have. In high forms, this might be 2 story premises. In middle forms, it might be 2 arguments for a main theory. In low forms, it might be 2 contrasted images in a status update (My baby vomited today. I still love her. #momlife) This counterpoint of 2 notes is the fertilization of the seed. You cannot give birth to a short story with 1 premise. You must have 2 premises—and when these 2 premises come together, you will find that they will want you to adopt other premises you have so that the 2 can be further connected. If the 2 premises are not interested in adoption, they will give birth to all the points between them that connect them in love.
- You write a full-bodied outline of how the 2 premises are related. This is a chain of causality. Call it an outline of therefores, if you want to make it clear to yourself. This is the place of invention. If ever you are going to invent new content, this is where it is going to happen in a desperate attempt to connect the 2 premises. This is the place where your greatest errors are revealed and your greatest creations. The purpose of outlining is 2-fold: 1. to expel the errors before writing and 2. to invent the content itself. Everything before this moment was merely a note on the content invented through the outline.
- You exhaust all the content you believe is in you to give to that 1 piece. You hold nothing back. You lean into the production of content with your entire body. There is no note or premise you have hidden away that ought not be considered in bringing form to the outline. You work with everything you have and hope that with that one work you say everything you feel you can say. You might ask where editing comes in, if you are bringing in everything. The answer is that this is only step where editing is actually appropriate. Doing the right things in an appropriate fashion is the key to success with content. Editing should not take place in steps 1 to 4. Editing is inherent to the 5th step of content production. When you bring everything in, you must give all of that content form. To give the content form is to give it everything it requires and the content requires all that you can give it. Content is vapid only when its producer did not completely exhaust himself over giving it form. Exhaustion is fundamental to the 5th step. Steps 1 to 4 are the easiest and most delightful, but the 5th step is defined by its exhaustion. To say that you give it your all here means 2 things. 1. It means you give every 1 thing you have to give. 2. It means you do a lot of heavy lifting in the editing process. We like the term “densifying” in our office: make the content dense. Or, as we say, densify it. The 1st part of exhaustion is quantitative and the 2nd is qualitative, but they go together. Where these 2 parts of exhaustion are wed, there you produce content, producer.