Betting On Content

Organic, not algorithmic.

February 11, 2019

The more I post on social media about the Closet Assistant’s success, the more scummy and boastful I feel.

It’s doing great, don’t get me wrong. But when every post I do is an update about how many free trials I got, or how the revenue has grown, I’m not actually contributing any value to the Indiehackers community.

That, and when I post updates about the monetary success of the assistant, people get envious and focus on the ‘profit’ and think it all happened overnight.

The profit doesn’t really matter unless I’m not profitable. It took 3 years of learning and one year of executing to get to the point I am at now. If you don’t care about the process then you have no business getting envious about the results.

Content That Matters

I’m not out here to boast about my success. It’s not even my success. I stand on the shoulders of the people that came before me. I’m well supported, well loved, and have an excellent life. None of this is an accident, I didn’t find some magic bullet. I just found something I liked to do and stuck with it.

Posting about how much money I’m making shouldn’t be what people are drawn to - and yet they are. Every time I posted on Twitter about how much the Closet Assistant brought in last month, my comments are flooded with ‘Great job!’ and ‘Amazing!’. But when I post about the things I did to get there, there’s no response. People don’t care about the process.

The funny thing is, that’s the content that matters. It’s the process. It’s the daily ins-and-outs, the ups-and-downs, and the gritty details that truly help give context behind the metrics and numbers.

It was my intentions to share those things on social media. To try an break through the noise of the maker bubble. But I failed. In the end, I resorted to simply updating people about the numbers, and not the things that generated the numbers.

I don’t feel good about that. I don’t want to make people envious. I want to help them do the same (if that’s what they’re into).

No More Social Media

This is an interesting topic for me.

I sometimes refer to myself as a growth hacker. I know the ins-and-outs of building an online brand - exploiting tactics and tricks to grow quickly on social media.

But in the end, nothing changes. It’s still a rat race to the bottom. And the worst thing about a rat race is, you’re a rat.

Social media is explicitly designed to be addictive. It’s designed to suck you in. To make you envious. To confuse the social nature of your brain into thinking this is social interaction. It dumbs down the internet in a way that makes it so the information fed to you is an algorithm designed to extract money from you.

I’m currently reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport - and though his message never changes, it’s ringing truer than ever for me.

Its core premise is that social media and our digital lives are intruding on our fundamental functions as humans, and it’s making an impact on us as a society. We’re addicted to the dopamine hits, and these apps are delivering them digitally by the minute.

It’s time to reflect on what we’re trying to achieve on social media. Is it just a vanity metric? Are we genuinely trying to help people? Are we just trying to make money from people? Be honest.

No matter what your reason, I guarantee there’s a better, more sustainable, less intrusive way to reach an audience than social media.

For this reason, and because I couldn’t really come up with a good reason to post on social media, I’m stopping all social media traffic (personal and business related).

SEO and Email Lists

You can talk all you want about building audiences, marketing tactics, and paid traffic. SEO and email lists are the number one way to build an audience in 2019. It was true 10 years ago. It’s true today.

Google traffic is intent filled, hyper-focused and ready to do exactly what they searched. Your email list knows who you are, what you offer, and why you’re emailing them. It’s the best way to talk to people, sell to people, and give people things they actually need/want.

I don’t have to go too far to convince you this is the way to go. Take a look at James Clear, or Cal Newport, or Brian Dean (the list goes on). They’ve built massive audiences through making awesome blog content, and building an email list in an honest way.

They don’t have to convince people to sign up for their email lists, people do because the value they provide is extraordinary. The free content they put out is almost surely better than any book you could read at the moment.

That’s where I want to be.

I don’t want to put out small, irrelevant pieces of content that don’t provide value. I want to provide people with rich insights and methods to replicate the things I’ve done to have the success I’ve experienced.

I don’t need social media. I don’t need complex funnels and email marketing automation (though simple ones are very powerful). It just needs to be an exchange of value. I provide incredible value up-front, and in the end, the user pays me (through attention, buying something I make, or by supporting me).

That’s it. That’s the secret sauce. It’s not hard to understand - but it’s hard to implement. You have to put in the work to provide other people with the value before anyone starts paying you.

Replacing Time

So, I’m replacing the time I would have normally spent mindlessly browsing Twitter with something much more valuable - writing content that matters and will make an impact on other people.

I’ll be writing guides, making courses, showing people how to create value and then charge money for it (honestly, not the scummy way ‘online marketers’ tell you how to do it).

I’m in this for the long-haul. I don’t want to do anything other than creating profitable online businesses. I don’t want to trade my authenticity for a few more clicks on social media. This is me, I believe in SEO, I believe in email lists, and that’s what I am sticking to.