June 1, 2019

Why Content Doesn’t Equal Value


Ever wonder what the phrase  “give value” or “provide value” actually means? We hear that thrown around a lot in the context of creating more and more content, but I want to challenge this idea and explain why this doesn’t make much sense. In the first part of this two-part series I talk about

  • Challenging the idea that more is more
  • Why creating more content doesn’t necessarily equal giving/providing value 
  • Why this concept of content = value is business owner-centric and doesn’t serve you or your audience
  • The definition of value
  • Introduction to the psychology of value 
  • The secret of what providing value is

In this episode, we will deep dive into this idea that we all bought into hook, line, and sinker but that doesn’t actually translate into more money in our bank accounts or impacting people in big ways.


Hi there and thank you so much for joining me on today’s episode of the Brands Built to Impact Podcast. I’m so excited to be diving into this two part series/conversation, all surrounding value. I know that this is something that is critical to us as business owners and entrepreneurs and I really wanted to do a deep dive on value, what it means and what it actually looks like in the context of your business. We hear the phrases of create value, provide value, make sure that you are giving value in your business to your audience a lot. And what I realized was that a lot of marketers and online course creators were giving people the wrong idea about what value actually meant and looked like. And on the flip side of that, there were a lot of entrepreneurs who are following this advice and doing all of these things, thinking that well, these exact steps worked for this course creator or this person.

And then realizing that they weren’t getting results. I got so many people asking me questions about, well I’ve been doing all of these things, I’m providing value and I’m not seeing any results from this. I’m not getting traction from doing this. And so I really started to question what was the issue? Was it that we had this wrong idea about value and what it means and what it actually looks like, or was it that we were implementing things the wrong way or are we not doing it the way that we were supposed to be or the way that it should be done to get results? What I realized was that it was both the fact that we believed the wrong things about value caused us to create value or provide value in a way that doesn’t actually get results. And so I really wanted to do this deep dive series on number one, really stripping it down to its basic core elements and talking about what value actually looks like, what it means, and how to start thinking about it and rewiring our brains to think about it in this way.

And then number two to give you a framework for how to consistently make sure that this is what you’re doing, that you are creating content or a program, a course, a service, anything that you’re creating in your business, that you’re creating it within this framework, within this context of value that really elevates how you’ll do business, how your audience will perceive your brand, all of those things that we’re looking for. Uh, you’ll be able to do by thinking about value and this different perspective. So this first episode will be the deconstruction of value and what that means in our current entrepreneurial digital marketing space. And the second episode will be all about the framework and really what I use to be able to create things within my own business and the businesses of my branding and marketing clients to be able to bring in consistent revenue and grow their audience and their trust with their audience and all of those really great things that we’re looking for in our businesses.

So without further ado, we are going to dive into the first part of the series. So I want to start off this part of the series by talking about the issues I see with how we are thinking about value in our businesses today. And then I want to get into the secret of value, which essentially is just me stripping down value to its essential core so that you can start to reframe it in your mind in this way. And I think once you’re able to do this, it will become something really powerful and something really easy for you to continue to implement in every aspect of your business time and time again, the biggest issue that I see that really encapsulates all of the other issues underneath it is this idea that value equals content. We’ve come to believe this idea that when we create and produce more content is when we are providing more value and that just isn’t true.

Creating content can be a form of providing value, but value does not equal content. Value does not equal information. When we start to think that value equals content or information, we fall into the trap of thinking that more is more when that’s not true, either value cannot be defined. It is perceived and when we think about value from that perspective of it not being defined but perceived, it puts the control and power in the hands of our ideal clients and to us as entrepreneurs, most of us people who are high achievers and people who want to check things off of a to do list or get things done or make progress, that’s a scary thought to think that someone else is going to determine whether whatever we’re creating is a value or not, but that is the essence of value. That’s what value is it something that someone else has to define for themselves, not us as entrepreneurs defining for our ideal audiences, so we reduced value down to something that we could control, content information.

We can do that. We can go out there and create 50 podcasts episodes. We can go out there and put out three Instagram posts a day and we took that to mean that we were providing value when that was not really the case and a lot of entrepreneurs and marketers who have become successful really reduced it to that as well. Even though they weren’t specifically seeing those things, they were giving us definitions of what value was, value equals content value equals a specific medium. For instance, Gary Vee really loves Instagram and is a huge advocate of creating video content consistently. Whether that’s at on Youtube, on Instagram or even through like doing a podcast, but he believes that consistently showing up with any sort of content is the way that you are providing value to your audience. And there are other entrepreneurs who also feel that same way, that providing content, giving information is really the way that you’re providing value to your audience.

And so it, it really birthed this movement of Freebie guides and downloads. People creating tens and tens and tens of Instagram posts consistently posting four or five times a day at one point. Um, that’s kind of died away a little bit now, being on stories, creating videos, being on 17 different platforms. All of these things were birthed out of this idea that value equals content and information. And there are several things wrong with this point of view. Number one is that it’s a very business owner centric perspective as opposed to an audience centric perspective. We are thinking about things from the perspective of us as entrepreneurs. We’re the ones creating the content. And so we’re going out and telling people, well, I created this freebie guide and download and I was able to get 1000 email subscribers. Hence you now have to also do that as well.

And it birthed this idea and this movement of people just going out there into Facebook groups, looking at questions and things that people were asking and then turning around and creating some sort of content or information around that via specific media. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that content and information is bad. I actually love it. I am an information junkie. I love to read, I love to listen to you all the podcasts, watch youtube videos, so I am very appreciative of those things that people create. However, what I have an issue with is getting things out there and doing more and more and more and more hoping that that’s value for the audience when really for the person who’s going to be a potential client or customer, it’s confusing, it’s overwhelming, it doesn’t lend it to giving them any sort of transformation or results and we’re just throwing things at them.

Think about the last time you downloaded a Freebie Guide, a pdf, workbook, whatever the case may be outside of a paid course that was free that you exchange your email address for. How many times have you used that? How many times have you went back and looked at it? Did you even open it after you downloaded it or was it just this thing that “I need this right now to solve this problem” and you download it and you don’t even look at it or you do and it’s doesn’t really give you the answer or the transformation that you’re looking for? See how business owners centric that is that we as business owners thought that by providing all of these free guides and downloads, we were solving problems when in fact all we were doing was overwhelming our audience and causing them to not really get results.

And sometimes value comes in the form of a paid product or service. It does not have to be something that you just give away, that it means that it’s valuable because it’s been given away. And so because of that we’ve spurred this entire industry of content, content, content. I want to create as much content as humanly possible and that’s not a bad strategy. That’s not a strategy that doesn’t work, but it’s a strategy that isn’t thinking in the longterm and focuses more on information over results and that’s really what we’ve reduced value down to is value equals content which equals information which then equals money, not this idea that value equals results which then equals money and that’s really what we need to be focusing on as opposed to how much information we’re putting out there into the world in the form of guides, downloads and all of these other things.

So far we’ve come to understand that value equaling content and information is not the right context in which to think about value. That really leads to this downward spiral of information overload creating subpar content because that’s exactly what happens when we are just trying to push out more and more and more thinking that that’s what value equals. And it’s also this very business owners centric perspective as opposed to an audience centric perspective. I know that looking in a Facebook group for questions that come up a lot and creating something that along those lines that help answer those questions is really helpful and beneficial to some people. But when we are just doing it, just to follow someone who said, go create a free guide, a free download, a free workbook, a free video series and put that out into the world. That’s not really creating value.

That’s just following a step by step process that worked for someone else for your business and not really thinking about what value actually means and what that would look like for you to individually assess that in your own business and then go from there. So then we create a bunch of people doing all of the same things, all of the same strategies. And guess what happens when we do that? They stop working, they stop working because we get hip to all the new marketing strategies. A lot of us are B to B businesses where we market to other businesses and we know when someone else is marketing to us. We know when someone is coming to us with a free guide and download, we know exactly what comes after that. Every time I sign up for a free guide or download, I will sign up and I know exactly what emails are coming next, what’s gonna happen three to four emails from now.

I know the funnel, I know the system. I know that when I go on someone’s website, the immediate thing I see on Facebook is their ad and I know it. I’m like, oh, I shouldn’t have gone on this website because now I’m gonna see all of these ads. So we get hip to the marketing real quick and that’s the same with people who are also B to C businesses where your audience starts to see through all of this value that we’re providing them without really thinking through the value that we’re providing them. The other issue that this idea that value equals content brings up is that it needs to be free content for us to feel validated in selling or for us to feel good about selling that we have, we need to have created lots and lots of free content for our audience, for us to be able to eventually sell to them or to be seen as an expert.

It just needs to have this huge, we just need to have this huge body of work behind us and I’m not saying that creating content or free content is a bad thing. Creating consistent content that allows you to connect with your audience and get to know them and they get to know you and your expertise in how you teach and how you provide information is really valuable, but that’s not value. Value is not defined as the amount of content and information you’re creating or the medium with which you are creating this content and how much of it is free does not also translate into how valuable your product or service then becomes later on for them to purchase. This idea that all of this free content will then lead to a sale has been debunked by a lot of people who’ve created a lot of free content and had people who didn’t buy a single one of their products or services and then they were crushed by this because they believed that all of this value and content creating will then lead to lots of money on the back end of this.

And the reason that this happens so often is that we believe the lie that the things we are putting out there are free and they’re not. Nothing is free. Nothing is free to create and nothing is free to consume. When you create something, when we think about free, which thinking about monetarily, but value doesn’t discriminate based on how much something costs or doesn’t cost value actually doesn’t include price at all. Price becomes irrelevant when something is very, very valuable and sometimes price is irrelevant in the context of certain things. And so because of that, we think that we’re giving away for free when we’re not. In actuality, it took us a lot of time, energy and effort to create and sometimes money to create something for our audience. And our audience had to spend their time, energy consuming, whatever it is that we’ve created for them.

And that is not free. Their time and their attention cost something, it cost their time and their attention. And sometimes that’s more valuable than the money they would have paid you to purchase that piece of content from you. Because when you have their time and their attention, you build trust, which then leads to money, time and attention can be obtained in many different ways. And one of those ways is creating “free”, I say that with air quotes, content, but it’s also created in other ways that you show up and provide value to your audience without it having to be free content. Now, this conversation is not to put down people who create free content. It is not to put down creating free content. I’m starting a podcast here that we’ll be putting out content every single week. Um, and it won’t cost people a monetary investment, but it will cost them their time and attention and energy to listen to.

And so when we are wrapped up in this idea of value equals content or wrapped up into so many different ideas that actually don’t make sense. When you look at value from the perspective of economics and business, value is not content. Value is not information. Value is not more, more, more. Value is not a specific medium of content creation like video and blogging and social media posts. Value is not something that is just monetarily free or doesn’t cost the other person anything to obtain it, that’s none of those things are value. All of those things are things that we’ve been taught to be able to help us create funnels and specific step by step strategies that we needed to follow to achieve a certain result. These ideas about value and content were not created to be able to help us build sustainable, profitable businesses that are here for the long term.

Value is actually measured by the results and transformation you get for someone, not the medium or the form of content or the amount of content you produce and when you can reframe value in that perspective, your whole world shifts. You’re no longer coming from a place of scarcity and not enough because you have to be creating all of the time, all of these things to be able to justify your selling. That’s not what value is. I’m going to give you the dictionary definition of value, the regard that something is held to deserve the importance, worth or usefulness of something. Nowhere in there does it talk about content information, free content, free information. It doesn’t talk about any of those things. When we think about value equals content, we’re really thinking about it from just one type of business perspective. However, that doesn’t always work and also it may lead to burnout in some of these business owners because they feel like they have to always be giving and giving and giving of information all of the time and there comes a point when that’s not really moving the needle.

It’s just a way to be able to be consistent in your business and isn’t really providing value. So that definition, that value is the importance worth or usefulness of something really opens up the world in terms of what things you can create in your business by allowing you to get creative, by allowing you to think outside the box. Basically value is what your audience is getting from you versus what they have to give up. Your audience determines the value attached to whatever it is that you’re giving to them. Whether that’s a guide, a checklist, a video series, a course, whatever that looks like. They have attached a certain value to that and then they’ve attached a certain value to what they have to give up to get whatever it is you’re giving them and what you’re giving them has to outweigh whatever it will cost them to get it.

That’s why so many people listen to podcasts while they’re in the car driving. The cost of that is really low. They’re not doing anything other than driving. And so they’re listening to their podcast at the same time, kind of feels like an equal exchange. I’m not doing anything right now and I’m going to learn something valuable that is worth more than just sitting in the car and not doing anything right? But there’s very few people who listened to podcasts during the time that they’re playing with their children or spending time with their loved ones or family members because what they have to give up in order to get, get that information doesn’t match up. There’s actually an equation for this. Um, and its value equals benefit over costs. That means that the benefits of whatever it is that they’re getting has to be greater than the cost, has to be greater than whatever it is that they will have to give up.

This also applies to you as a business owner in terms of creation. Whatever you’re going to create in your business, the benefit of that to your business has to be greater than what it will cost you to create it. So many times we’re in this hamster wheel of creating content and putting more and more and more and more things out there without thinking about the costs and what it will cost us long term in the moment in terms of energy, resources, finances just to create it and then it doesn’t become so valuable to you anymore either. How many times have you created things in your business that you thought was going to be so valuable to your audience and it took you hours, you spent hours on this video in this email sequence for this masterclass or this course that you created and then no one signed up for it and you didn’t even charge for it and people didn’t sign up for it and you’re sitting there going, this wasn’t valuable to me because I didn’t get any signups from it.

That would help move the needle in terms of the number of people I need on my email list. And it wasn’t valuable to the people who I pitched it to because no one signed up. And so this concept of thinking about value equals the benefit over the cost of something really frees you up as a business owner in terms of in terms of creation as well. So what is value after talking about the current state of providing value in the digital marketing space and what that looks like and what all is wrong with that, and talking about the definition of value in the equation of value, what does it really look like? What does it even mean? I’m going to tell you the secret of value right here. Value is about how well you communicate the needs, desires, transformation and results that your audience is looking for as opposed to what you create, how you created, where you created, and how much of it you create.

Isn’t that concept and idea? So freeing, isn’t it so freeing to know that the value your business provides is not directly attached to the amount of content or the type of content that you’re producing for your audience? Isn’t it so freeing to know that you are not in competition or in a race with entrepreneurs who have a large team that allow them to create 17 videos in one day or people who will edit their YouTube videos and put it up for them and all they had to do is record. This is really freeing even for the people who do have large teams and who have people who can do this for them who just don’t feel right about creating all of this content, all of these and showing up on all of these different types of mediums to be considered an expert or to be considered someone who’s giving value.

Value is all about messaging. It is all about how you communicate the elements of value, which I’ll talk about in next week’s episode so that your audience understands how your product or service creates a transformation or results in their business and in their life. Whether it’s a free guide that you’re giving in exchange for their email address or a video you’re asking them to watch an exchange for their time. The key piece of understanding what providing value looks like is messaging and the elements of value or the psychology of value, and we’re going to talk all about that and how to bake that in to every single thing that you do in your business so that you’re not creating more, but creating more effectively. And we’ll talk all about that in next week’s episode. I cannot wait to share all about the elements of value and give you all of the good details on how to bake this into your business every single time so that you can run your business with more ease and be able to provide your audience with impactful things that create results as opposed to just subpar content that you’re throwing out there to get out more and more and more.

Whoa, I hope I snatched some wigs with that one. I know that was a lot, but I hope that it was able to help you see what giving him, providing value in your business looks like and how you can reframe that in a new way that doesn’t involve creating more and more and more because that’s not what we need. We don’t need more information and more content. What we need is people providing information, content in a way that’s impactful and actually gets results.

Thank you so much for sticking around to the end of the episode. I am so, so grateful for you. If you haven’t had a chance to do so yet, go ahead and subscribe to this podcast so that you get a notification every time a new episode drops. If you’re so inclined, feel free to leave a review. I would be forever grateful. Thanks again, and I’ll catch you in the next episode.

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