An integral part of creating great media is consuming great media.
There has to be a balance.
Spend too much time looking at other people’s work, and you’ll end up neglecting your own work, and possibly even suppressing your own creativity.
Then again, if you work in a bubble without seeing what else is out there, you’re likely to be too out of touch to produce content that actually connects with real people in the current market.
Consuming media is often overlooked as an important step in building a marketing plan.
Used effectively, though, the practice of media consumption can be the component that gives you a competitive edge.
Creation vs Consumption
The more content you create, the more important it is for you to stay on top of trends, hone your skills, and seek inspiration.
Creation is, in most cases, an essential activity for you to get results. It’s actual work.
Consumption, on the other hand, is a supporting activity. It’s important, but it doesn’t actually produce anything by itself.
Focusing exclusively on creating media is a recipe for stagnation and burnout, while focusing on “market research” and over-consuming media takes your attention away from the core tasks of your business.
Finding the right balance between focusing on your own content and following others is more of an art than a science.
There’s no one formula that works for everyone.
Some marketers, especially those that work in a variety of industries and topics, find that they are most productive when they use media from other companies to spark their creative juices before getting to work.
Others follow a specific set of content creators for regular inspiration.
Here’s the point:
The correct balance is the point where you are active within the market, current on the latest trends, but not stifled or overwhelmed by other people’s media.
Finding Your Balance
To determine if your balance is good, give yourself a checkup in these four areas:
Connectedness – do you feel like you’re in touch with the larger community?
Productivity – are you getting your work done?
Modernity – are you up to date and current with the latest trends and techniques?
Results – are your marketing materials getting good results?
Your intuition and the state of your business are the two best indicators to determine whether or not your media consumption and production are in balance.
Sometimes, you just need to stop and think for a minute, and you’ll know what to do.