1 min read

Earning the Right to Ask: Putting Constraints on Why You Create Content

Put constraints on why you create. These constraints will force the right behaviors. And the right behaviors fundamentally change the way that your market feels about your company.

1-minute read (+1:23 video)

Here’s a healthy guardrail for your next content brainstorming session:

Every idea that you come up with cannot have the intention of selling something today.

No CTA’s to “apply now” or “schedule a demo”.

No “we’re hiring”. (Good luck with that one recruiters.)

No “contact me to learn more”.

No special discount offers.

Zero selling.

The only action that you can drive is towards a contribution to your community.

These are some examples of what contribution can look like:

  • Inspiring people to think differently about a common problem or practice in your industry.
  • Offering the ability to join a conversation between industry experts.
  • Genuine “office hours” to talk shop and solve interesting problems—with no exchange of money.
  • Anything community building: coding challenges, niche support groups, show-and-tell’s.
  • Showing how and what your team is doing, building, making, and creating. (Pull back the curtain. Full transparency. Nobody is going to steal your stuff. Get over yourself. It’s not as cool as you think it is.)
  • The ongoing distribution of evolving thoughts on a topic(s): organic social posts, a podcast, a newsletter, a video blog, an interactive community.
  • Content collabs: influencers, industry peers, teammates.

These are some examples of what contribution is not:

  • An ebook. (Seriously, it’s 2022. Nobody reads ebooks. Record conversions discussing your insights and opinions on the topics in a podcast series.)
  • A demo. (I still can’t believe we’re doing demos this way. Self-driving, no rep. Is anyone listening?)
  • A job ad. (Although very valuable in other ways.)
  • A “conversation” that is really a sales pitch.
  • A free “consultation”.

Bottom line: Put constraints on why you create.

These constraints will force the right behaviors.

And the right behaviors fundamentally change the way that your market feels about your company.


Does this mean that you can't ever have an ask? No.

This just means that you have to earn the right to ask, first

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