You Have to Have Something to Say

You Have to Have Something to Say

This question came from Adam

On January 3, 1996 Bill Gates wrote what has been summarized as Content is King (A copy is here). The beginning is the important point:

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.

The television revolution that began half a century ago spawned a number of industries, including the manufacturing of TV sets, but the long-term winners were those who used the medium to deliver information and entertainment.

When it comes to an interactive network such as the Internet, the definition of “content” becomes very wide. For example, computer software is a form of content-an extremely important one, and the one that for Microsoft will remain by far the most important.

But the broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small to participate.” Source.

The most important principle is to create great content – if your content isn’t worth reading, watching or listening to, why would you expect anyone to come or spend their time? In fact, you can ask yourself a variation on the dirty three questions (see our post on the same here (

1.  What are you going to offer that will attract people’s attention?

Robert Heinlein had five rules to be a successful author – the first rule was “You must write.” You must have something to say to your potential audience. I don’t care if it’s a grumpy cat, sub-Sahara history, or how the Unified Theory is related to the formation of warts – you must have something to write about.

2. Why will they pay attention to that subject rather than something else?

Once you have a subject, you need to identify why people will be interested in that subject rather than some other subject. If you are writing or speaking on the cultivation of hibiscus plants but everyone is following LeAnn Rimes’ inadvertent social media post of her butt, then you shouldn’t be surprised that you don’t have many followers.

3. Why will they pay attention to you rather than someone else?

There is tremendous competition on the internet – any blog post, YouTube video or iTunes podcast will have competition. For example, suppose you are writing about “Jewish influence in South Africa race relations” – there are 2.18 million results from Google. The question comes down to why would someone pick you out of the 2.18 million other options?

What it all comes down to is that you have to know your audience. It helps if you can identify that perfect audience member – who they are; what they read, listen to, watch; what time of the day are they looking; where are they looking; how are they searching; their age; gender; education; location – the list can go on and on. But do you know who you are trying to reach – well enough so that you know how to reach them?

So, to summarize – know your audience and deliver great content that they want.

A physicist by trade, author by choice, a born teacher, a retired veteran, and an adamant problem solver, Frank has helped the White House, federal agencies, military offices, historical museums, manufacturers, and over 250 technology startups get stuff done, communicate effectively, and find practical solutions that work for them. In his spare time, he makes sawdust and watches Godzilla movies.