How Content Starts

September 24, 2020  •  Creating Content

Have you ever watched a TV show or come across a video in your social feed that was so good you wished you had made it? An act of creativity so compelling and original it fills you with equal parts inspiration, envy, and insecurity.

You could buy the same camera, download top-of-the-line editing software, and publish your content in a similar style. But it’s not just the tools, it’s the idea.

How does such a compelling piece of content get started?

The Myth of the Lone Creative

When you see an inspiring piece of content, it’s easy to imagine that its creator operates on an elevated plain of creativity. They press record and the brilliance comes as naturally as breathing.

Except, that’s not true at all. Walk the halls of your favorite TV show and what will you see? Writers. Rooms full of them, talking and toiling away at their ideas for weeks and months on end. Before the camera ever rolls, a team of people put pencils to paper (so to speak) and figures out how to bring the story to life.

Genius is Over-Rated

Your next brilliant idea won’t just fall out of you. It has to be nurtured from points A to B to Z. Content, in whatever form, requires work. It requires collaboration. Again, think about all those writers in the room. At some point, for the idea to get from your head to your audience, you have to write it down to start making sense of it.

Even if you work alone, your audience collaborates with you by providing real-time reactions to your latest ideas. Your work becomes a contract with the people who will receive it, and to deliver the goods, you have to prepare. Again, you have to write it down.

The same is true for podcasters, vloggers, and social media influencers.

New media feels fresh and spontaneous, but the reality is, your favorite podcast host or online creator doesn’t just hit record. They start with a plan. Like the writers in the TV studio, they first put their notes, questions, and talking points on paper.

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Great Content Starts with Writing.

The simple fact is, if you want to create content that connects with your audience, you need to write.

Here are six reasons why great content always starts with writing.

  1. Writing is easy. Literally. All you need is a pen and paper, laptop, phone, or the napkin at your table. Writing requires no special workspace or time of day. Anytime, anywhere is a good place to write.
  2. Writing is editable. Nothing is set in stone. The first draft gets your idea from your head into the world, but it is the edit that brings it to life.
  3. Writing is equal. There is no “secret sauce” when it comes to writing. This is the one tool that all creators have in common, from you to Seth Godin to Aaron Sorkin.
  4. Writing expands. This is the one tool in your content creation toolbox you can never outgrow or wear out. In fact, it gets better the more you use it.
  5. Writing is evergreen. Your best work is always available to repurpose for future books, podcasts, and more. The idea you write down today might be your best idea next year.
  6. Writing is effective. Want proof? Just turn on the TV.

That next idea you’re kicking around? Start with writing. Don’t worry about the quality—repetition will cultivate your craft. Just write. Again and again and again. That’s how content starts.

About John Meese

John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the founder of Cowork Columbia, co-founder of Notable, and regularly publishes interviews and insight at