Hyper publishing is the best way to build a modern business.
Technology has redefined the business environment. It has accelerated information flow by removing geographic constraints. Competition has increased too. Lower barriers to entry have made it easier than ever to start a business but harder than ever to scale one. In response, companies must find new ways to prove their legitimacy.
Content creation is the best way to build trust at scale. It’s essential. Trust and attention are the fundamental pillars of successful modern businesses — best achieved with transparency. The consistent, continuous production of original, evergreen content —hyper publishing — is vital.
If I acknowledge that content production is essential for my business, how can I begin?
Creating content poses a dilemma.
We’re all overworked and pressed for time. Like a sponge filled with water, our attention is saturated. Accountable for tsunamis of overflowing to-do lists, we are drowning in work, with no bandwidth for any new projects.
In short, we as business managers, entrepreneurs, and founders want to produce content but don’t have time to do it.
We need a new system for writing; a system that’s nimble and networked, more powerful than any individual, including ourselves.
Fortunately, the good news is that the internet makes a nimble and networked system possible.
Building the Network
“The internet is changing everything, and most intellectuals (and also businesspeople) still are underestimating the import of this reality. That’s bad for me as a consumer, but it gives me an edge as a producer, namely the competition is limited.” – Tyler Cowen, economist
As any economist would confirm, the best opportunities to pursue are those where supply is low, and demand is high. As technology progresses, new market opportunities open up faster than people can respond to them.
Businesses are reluctant to pursue uncertain opportunities, even profitable ones. They’re afraid to invest if they are not 100% certain that there will be a positive return. Instead, businesses directors prefer strategies that have stood the test of time.
However, as technology develops faster and faster, this timid business strategy is the fast track towards death. By the time an innovation has become widely accepted, the upside of adopting it has usually fizzled away. In the modern age, businesses have to experiment. Experimentation is much less expansive in the digital world of bits than in the physical world of atoms. As a result, experimentation is the new normal.
The Experimentation Age
Right now, high-level, thought-provoking content creation is still considered risky.
But creating such content can have significant upside. On the internet, every piece of content can spread globally. The number of creators is scaling linearly, while content consumption is scaling exponentially. It follows that demand for high-quality information still outpaces its supply. Sharing ideas allows businesses and individuals to scale conversations in a way that wasn’t possible before. The upside of doing so will get bigger and bigger as the number of internet users increases.
Since the written word is still the most efficient way to consume content, we’ll focus on blogging as a communication strategy for the rest of this post. The benefits are clear and straightforward.
This strategy of creating content works in the majority of industries. For example, in the financial world, my clients complain that it’s become increasingly difficult for investment firms to differentiate themselves. We’ve discovered that without a strategy for connecting with current and prospective clients, even the most well-known financial enterprises will struggle to find the right customers, investors, and operating partners. Without an inherent shift in their digital communications practices, companies will struggle to connect with high net-worth millennials.
In a digital world, we build trust differently.
As Morgan Housel once observed: Millennials build trust differently from the preceding generation of Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers acquired trust through personal encounters — by meeting somebody face-to-face, looking them in the eye, and shaking their hand. Millennials are different. They’ve grown up with a world of information at their fingertips. As a result, millennials are the first generation to acquire trust digitally. They build trust through virtual interactions. Their interactions with companies go beyond buying products. They want to establish an emotional connection with their favorite companies and consume their content.
Companies looking to establish trust and connect with millennials audiences ages, 20 to 35, should create public content.
Lessons from the Software Industry
What’s the best way to use content to grow your business?
The new model for content creation resembles the process of developing software. Engineers are masters of efficiency. By borrowing their approach to software creation, we can maximize efficiency and increase content creation speed. Their method is simple, and after a perspective shift, it is easy to implement.
Like written content, software is expensive to produce but cheap to reproduce. Software engineers follow a two-step process: First, they create broadly useful software that allows them to achieve basic, ubiquitous tasks such as sorting tables or multiplying numbers. This basic software is designed to be simple, standardized, flexible, and modular.
Second, engineers re-use these functions. They stitch together existing functions to create new ones. This process happens frictionlessly and at scale. These basic functions double as the foundation for more advanced software, which is built by combining various sets of software.
Value is created in small chunks and reassembled at the end. Engineers create new applications by mixing and matching existing software functions together, akin to how children mix and match Lego pieces to design original structures. The sum is greater than its individual parts.
Modular Writing and the Collection of Ideas
Through modular creation, we can exponentially increase our pace of content production. Like software engineers, we can publish blog posts by recombining existing notes, ideas, and information.
Start by storing the best ideas in a digital note-taking app. It doesn’t matter which one. Text (as opposed to standard audio or video content) is low cost, searchable, and easy-to-manage. By saving and storing information as retrievable text, the bottleneck of content creation moves from generating new ideas to re-packaging existing ones. The best part: most of these ideas will originate from routine work such as reading articles, meetings with co-workers and writing emails. With this system, creation begins after all your research is complete.
Same effort; double the productivity.
The SEO (Search Engine Optimization) benefits of content creation are clear and proven. As opposed to email marketing or social media, SEO requires little marginal effort. Search engines drive over half of all web traffic. Better yet, people who like your content will visit a website directly instead of starting with a Google search. In turn, unique visitors will become permanent residents.
This is the magic of SEO: Google sends extra traffic to quality content — for free, day after day, month after month, over and over again.
It’s simple — if you get ranked on Google, you win.
Network Approach to Writing
“Present a single idea, one at a time, and let others build upon it.” — Derek Sivers
In the internet age, marketing is entertainment and entertainment is marketing. They’re one in the same. Having people visit your website to experience your content is like picking a theme, hosting a party, and inviting curious people from around the world to discuss what’s on your mind. It’s a global gala, and you’re the star of the show.
You can be immune to competition since you cannot be replaced at the center of your network. Over time, you become a linchpin. An audience emerges, and a community develops around you and your mission.
This system of hyper-publishing creates a network effect. Your work in any one area publicizes what you’re doing in the others. Each additional node doubles as a lever to promote your ideas. Each new piece of knowledge adds value to the entire network. As a result, the potential for content production scales exponentially. By capturing and recycling your best knowledge, you steadily accumulate an ever-expanding library of intellectual capital.
Quality and quantity cease to be opposing forces. You can create a virtuous cycle: content inspires feedback, which motivates learning; this cycle speeds up as it spins around and around. This cycle is also self-energizing and productive. Dynamic and intelligent.
Productivity skyrockets. You create additional value without additional work. This skill — this new way of seeing — is applicable far beyond the blogosphere. It applies to nearly all aspects of online creation.
Like a party with loud music, others sense positive energy and are eager to join. Word-of-mouth spreads like wildfire, propelled by robust nodes with strong social capital. This system of frictionless creation has massive compounding leverage — it works day and night.
Measured by value created, not by hours worked, hyper-publishing is almost automatic.
Floating upon streams of information, you move and skip between lily pads of insight. Production skyrockets with little extra effort. You can catch your breath. You can surf the waves instead of fighting the tides. Rivers of information descend within an ocean of ideas and possibilities.
Hyper-publishing is how you boost your productivity 100x.
Sources and Inspiration:
- Multitasking to Multiplexing, Tiago Forte
- Morgan Housel Interview
- My Personal Moonshot, Tyler Cowen
- 1 Idea, Derek Sivers