If you’re a content creator like me you’ve probably dealt with your share of rejection. How do you cope?
Here are 3 ways that might help you keep your eyes on the prize:
1. Understanding the Myth: “It’s not personal, it’s just business”
To say that this (new media) business — or any business — is not personal is bullsh*t. It IS personal. I don’t care how thick you say your skin is; rejection can take it’s toll on you and cause you to get stuck or give up. So maybe avoiding it or “not taking it personally” all these years is your defense mechanism? I get it. But we might need to reframe our perspective.
Everything you do — the friends and connections you make, your time, your money, your blood, sweat and tears — are personal. Deal with it. Embrace it. Maybe the reason why you can’t get traction is because you’re trying to do it alone.
Collaboration is the name of this game. Think about who you can team up with that is a “fire starter” to help ignite excitement and engagement around your content. Fire starters might include celebrities, super-tubers, brands, and other influencers with an existing audience in niche categories.
Seth Godin is probably the most famous new media rock star you’ve never heard of. Seth (literally) wrote the book on this stuff; he’s the Godfather (kiss the ring). In his new book “The Icarus Deception” he writes about content as art and how it’s personal:
“Art is frightening. Art isn’t pretty. Art isn’t painting. Art isn’t something you hang on the wall. Art is what we do when we’re truly alive. An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it (all of it, the work, the process, the feedback from those we seek to connect with) personally.”
2. No One Cares (as much as you)
Let’s face facts. There’s a lot of content out there and even more being uploaded by the minute. Is there any room for your (awesome) stuff? The answer is yes. Will you get the subs and views you’re looking for? It depends …
No one cares as much as you, so again, Godin takes us to school and says that if your stuff isn’t getting the attention you seek you a.) may have picked the wrong audience or b.) need to make better stuff worth sharing and talking about.
And at the end of the day, things still might not work out. But don’t give up. Take comfort in this advice from Seth: “Change is powerful, but change always comes with the possibility of failure as its partner. ‘This might not work’ isn’t merely something to be tolerated; it’s something you must seek out.”
3. Blame, Yes. Shame, No.
Whether you’re playing to the wrong audience or your content is falling flat, the key here is to not let what others do or don’t do get you discouraged. Taking the blame is good. It means you take responsibility for the quality of content you put out there and the result. But there’s no room for shame in this game.
Trust me, I’ve been there. Sometimes you work your butt off and no one seems to notice. Even worse, some people, usually those in power (the big studios, agents, publicists etc) will purposely try and shame you into giving up. Godin writes about this too in “Icarus” and is spot on. What does this shame look like? Let me know if any of this sounds familiar:
· You don’t have any experience. What right do you have to do this?
· Your content isn’t like the other content already established and popular …
· You don’t have enough fans or followers. Why should we care?
· You’re an imposter.
· You’re not worthy to hang in our circle
Godin: “But if we allow shame to be part of our vulnerability, we allow it to destroy our work. It’s impossible to do art with stakes that high. You can’t say, ‘If it works, fine, but if it fails, I’m shamed.’ No, the only way to be successfully vulnerable is to separate the results of your art from your instinct to feel shamed.” The thing is, shame is a choice. Shame can’t be forced on you; it must be accepted. The artist, then, combines courage with a fierce willingness to refuse to accept shame. Blame, sure. Shame, never. Where is the shame in using our best intent to make art for those we care about?”
About the author: Bryan Elliott is CEO of The GoodBrain Digital Studios, a production company focused on storytelling and original content with offices in L.A. and Orange County. Bryan is the writer/producer of several shows including the web series “Behind the Brand,” now in its 4th season.
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