The #1 Way to Develop Context

I’m a huge fan of content. I’m obsessed with it. But now, content is in abundant supply, so we have a supply and demandissue. There is so much of

it out there that it’s no longer enough to just be great at it. There are too many people who just think that if you’re good, and you put it out there, that people will just buy it. Maybe that was the case five years ago.But now you have to, in my opinion, create context with the end user in order to break through. Five years ago there was only one Tim Ferriss and only one Seth Godin, but now there are tons of us. Now everybody has a platform, and so everybody has an opportunity. Additionally there are plenty of smart marketers who have had a few years to get the hang of these platforms. I mean I, myself, came out of nowhere doing a wine show of all things!

Now there is clearly a way to build context through good content; through the jabs that I’ve been talking about so much, but outside of that, obviously twitter is the tool, right? I’m not even capable of following what other people are doing on Twitter because over the past 6-7 years I’ve cultivated so much context and scale with my followers that I’m operating in pure counter-punch mode, trying to get back to everybody who tweets at me (which, I can’t always do, by the way). So I’m not using Twitter to consume information, I’m using it to consume engagement, which is the key to building context. I’m building this agency, consuming information through that process, and then giving it back as pure value to my followers as I engage with them.

Now that I think about it, I’m actually repeating the process I went through with Wine Library. After running it for ten years, it gave me the ammo and the content to storytell to other people through WLTV. Now that I’m spending time with 75+ Fortune 500 companies and being deep in the trenches, I’m learning so much that I can now share with all of you, whether it be in Tweets, Streams, or Editorial like this.

But I’m worried.

I really am. I’m worried, and what worries me is that kids think they can just fake it. They’ll think “just raise some money, and it’ll happen. It’s easy.” It’s super cliche, but there are just no shortcuts. I know it’s not a profound, or original statement, but boy to I ever believe in it. I mean there is just no way to create the context without straight-up DOING it. Something that speaks this concept perfectly to me is Malcolm Gladwell’s concept of 10,000 hrs. I tend to resist things like that, but when it first popped up and became kind of a marketing cliche, I thought to myself “yeah that actually makes perfect sense. That’s how I got here.” I’ve been thinking about all of these consumer behaviors since I was selling baseball cards as a kid: Where to put the table, what kind of cards, what kind of sign. How could I react, and what stories could I tell that nobody else was telling? So when I’m answering questions on Twitter, or recording a video on YouTube, there are years worth of context surrounding that content.

All of this is why business is so much fun. More so than anything else, you don’t have to be “discovered.” If you’re talented, and you’re smart, and you work your ass off, you have the very real option of breaking through.

This piece was originally posted on my LinkedIn account. If you’ve never seen it, you should really take a look!

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