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Yo! Welcome to the next episode of The Content Strategy Reeder where 6,143 creators get better at content strategy and creation in 5 minutes or less.
My face scrunched.
Like I had just bitten into a cookie filled with salt instead of sugar.
“Where’d you hear that?” I asked.
“On LinkedIn… from [so-and-so].”
My lips pursed. I nodded.
I was chatting with a young sales professional who'd just relayed some cold email advice that was as questionable as gas station sushi.
To pile it on, she heard it from someone who I knew for a fact does NOT do cold emailing.
I wasn’t surprised that bad advice was being shared on the internet. We all know it’s there. You’ve seen it too.
Yet here I was at the intersection of where bad internet advice joins reality, and it would have went into practice if unchecked.
Usually we talk about content creation in this newsletter, but this episode is about your content consumption. And the best advice I can give you is this:
Don’t take advice from people who haven’t played the game.
In other words, don’t listen to people who don’t have first-hand experience.
I wrote about this on LinkedIn earlier this week:
If we allow people without credibility to influence our decisions and thought process, then we open up ourselves to make avoidable mistakes. It makes un vulnerable.
But here’s the thing: it’s not just young professionals who fall victim to this.
Anyone can take less-than-legit advice from the interwebs and label it as truth then follow it (myself included).
Shoot, if you scroll social media for 5 minutes there’s enough advice to feel like we’re behind and everyone else has it all figured out — so we better listen to catch up!
Not so fast.
Improving yourself isn’t about getting as much input as possible — it’s about getting the most reliable, trustworthy advice as possible.
You want potent, high impact guidance that's going to change your perspective for the better, not watered down regurgitated nonsense from someone who copied and pasted from someone else who copied and pasted from someone else who copied and…
I'm convicted about this because your attention is extremely valuable, so we should be intentional about where we spend it.
Put another way, you want to invest your attention where you’ll get a return.
I don’t draw this hard line in the sand to be harsh or to write off people without experience.
Everyone has something of value to contribute (ie, their Niche Knowledge).
But I would much rather take advice from Steph Curry about how to improve my three point shot than an analyst who never suited up but watched the game for 10 years.
Sure, there’s value in research and analyzing something. But that should be in addition to real life experience if you want to coach others.
It's worth mentioning that Steph Curry’s shooting coach, Bruce Fraser, never played in the pros.
BUT he played in D1 college at University of Arizona (for non sports folks, this is the highest level of college basketball in the States.) He played the game, became a student, and now coaches at the highest level. That's undeniable credibility.
This is also how you explain world class coaches like Greg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs) and Bill Belichick (New England Patriots). Neither played in the pros but both played in college then learned the game — or for our careers, craft — better than anyone else.
How to avoid unreliable advice
Being ruthless with who you listen to and take advice from will make you more focused, in control of your success, and accelerate your growth in whatever topic you’re refining because you’re going to cut out noise and replace it with high quality, potent information that'll make you better.
Think of it like a Brita water filter. Don’t just let anything into your body – remove the shite first :)
Here are three quick ways you can protect your attention and ensure you’re following accurate and helpful input:
1 . Become hyper aware
Before you internalize advice or put it into action, do a quick background check on this person.
Look at their LinkedIn experience or Twitter bio – have they done the job? Is there any confirmation you can find that this person knows what they’re talking about and simply isn’t regurgitating info? Is their advice based on personal experience, or analysis?
2. Practice intentionality and clean up your feed
It’s tough to do on LinkedIn because it’s built for networking, not really content curation at the moment. But it's still worth doing.
I’ve also done this on Twitter recently where my following is much smaller, and as a result it’s quickly become a phenomenal source for ideas, inspiration, and meeting smart people. (PS - If you’re on twitter, holler at me!)
3. Move outside of the scroll
Rely on newsletters (like this one!) and other long form channels where you can go deeper with a trustworthy expert.
Simply having a newsletter is a sign that the author takes the topic seriously (though some wanna be coaches have newsletters too, so revert to #1).
If you leave this episode with one thing, let it be this…
Your attention is a highly valuable resource. Invest it intentionally and only listen to advice from trusted resources if you want to better yourself.
Good advice has the potential to accelerate your career trajectory and significantly improve your life.
Bad advice has the potential to throw you off course and drastically slow down your progress (often without you even knowing why).
Take advice accordingly.
Holler at you next Saturday,
PS: Did you like this week's episode? If so, you’d make me sing “So Fresh, So Clean” by Outkast if you shared this link with your friends or on LinkedIn. Here’s an example from James Crisp for inspiration.
Digital resources for creating prolific content
- Catch up on previous newsletters here (scroll down to ‘Here’s what you missed’)
- Follow me on Linkedin for edu-taining content on sales and marketing tactics
- Check out my video course Content Strategy for LinkedIn if you want to elevate your LinkedIn personal brand. Be sure to use discount code “CSR” for 22% off