The importance and value of content creation for independent consultants have been proven time and time again. It is key to cultivating and demonstrating your expertise, increasing your visibility and reliability, and earning trust from prospects. What indie consultants often ask me is: How exactly should I do it?
I've written about this before in this post. Outsourcing or delegating content creation doesn't usually work for consultants. The main challenge is to put out quality content, and continue to do so when things get busy.
After working with +100 solo consultants and consulting firms, I've learned the answer is simple: commit to activities that you enjoy, and are a good fit for your unique talent and personality.
Doing something you enjoy greatly improves the probability that you will do these activities well, and keep doing them regardless of how busy your calendar is.
But I want to expand on this point. Over time, I noticed traits and similarities among independent consultants who transform content creation into a competitive advantage. They double down on their strengths and leverage their personality to make their work more meaningful and fun.
The Creation Quadrant For Indie Consultants
If we had to pick one proxy to measure the quality of your content, that would probably be "usefulness". You provide value by helping people solve problems they already have, further improving their lives, educating them on future risks they're exposed to.
Teaching is highly effective in marketing. 70% of professionals agree that educational content counts as thought leadership. (*) And it makes for a much better selling experience: there's a big difference between explaining to your prospect why they have - or soon will have - challenges than asking them what their challenges are so you can pitch your solution.
With that said, when we ignore the actual content and look at the creation process from a pragmatic perspective, we can find 2 main variables consultants use:
- Medium: This is how you communicate your expertise. The 3 main mediums are speaking, writing, and non-verbal communication.
- Channel: Where you communicate your expertise. It can be offline (in-person) or online (1:1 or one to many).
Honoring my consultant friends, I've created a 2x2 matrix to illustrate it:
The Three Profiles Of Indie Content Creators
There are two main rules to use the creation quadrant:
- Every consultant ideally engages in at least 2 of the 4 quadrants (but never all of them). Which of them you prioritize depends on a single factor: what you will actually tackle consistently.
- At least one of the quadrants must use online channels. Your digital presence can't be neglected anymore, due to its central importance in the buying cycle.
When you list every combination of two quadrants and exclude the pairs containing only offline ones, you get the following:
- Writing Offline + Writing Online (The Writer)
Writing Offline + Speaking Online Speaking Offline + Writing Online
- Speaking Offline + Speaking Online (The Performer)
- Speaking Online + Writing Online (Online Creator)
Two pairs were vetted out based on personal observation. I never met a consultant who deeply enjoyed writing offline, but would rather speak than write in an online setting. This makes sense, since people are naturally more talented and interested in communicating through a given medium and can adapt their style to different channels.
This gives us the three types of indie creators I usually find in the industry:
The Writer (Writing Offline + Writing Online):
- Tends to have a more analytic profile.
- Enjoys writing as a way to bring clarity to their work.
- Is more prone to document their IP in the form of frameworks, methodologies, or processes.
The Performer (Speaking Offline + Speaking Online):
- Highly sociable, can quickly build rapport with others.
- Knows how to create energy and emotion through storytelling.
- Tends to prefer one-on-one conversations, over asynchronous ones.
The Online Creator (Speaking Online + Writing Online):
- Feels comfortable engaging and building relationships in public.
- Is constantly experimenting with new online tools and technologies.
- Taps into existing online communities and influencers to build reach, influence, and a following.
These profiles might sound like they're oversimplified, but they have proven to be super useful for me when advising solo consultants. They allow me to present even better recommendations - ones that founders can and enjoy putting into action. And this leads to better marketing results.
What are the activities that you enjoy, and are a good fit for your unique talent and personality, that you can leverage to create more and better content?