We can all agree that producing useful content on a consistent basis is key to building an audience and platform. When we produce content on a consistent basis, we elevate our authority in the eyes of Google, our clients, and our peers.
Producing useful and valuable content on a consistent basis takes having a consistent stream of inspiration, right?
Jerod and Jonny want to change the way you approach inspiration and content creation, and we aim to do that with this episode.
Before we start, we want to thank Dan Martell for the inspiration, education, and framework used in this conversation.
In this episode, Jerod and Jonny discuss:
- The 7-part “Create Anything” Framework
- Why using a structure enhances creativity
- The value of getting meta in your creation
- Using the situation, struggle, and solution
Listen, learn, enjoy …
The Show Notes
- If you’re ready to see for yourself why over 201,344 website owners trust StudioPress — the industry standard for premium WordPress themes and plugins — just go to StudioPress.com
- Follow Jerod on Twitter: @jerodmorris
- Follow Jonny on Twitter: @jonnastor
- Showrunner FM
No. 092 The ‘Create Anything’ Framework
Voiceover: Rainmaker FM.
Jerod Morris: This is Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at RainmakerPlatform.com.
Welcome to The Showrunner, where we have one goal: teach you how to develop, launch, and run a remarkable show. Ready?
Welcome back to The Showrunner. This is episode No. 92. I am your host Jerod Morris, VP of marketing for Rainmaker Digital. I will be joined momentarily, as I always am, by my hack-happy co-host, Jonny Nastor, the host of Hack the Entrepreneur.
We mentioned there at the very top of the show about Rainmaker, and of course, Rainmaker.FM is brought to you by the Rainmaker Platform. But the Rainmaker Platform may not be right for you at this very time. If that is the case, The Showrunner is actually brought to you by the all-new StudioPress Sites. The Rainmaker Platform, StudioPress Sites — two excellent choices for your web platform needs.
StudioPress Sites is a turnkey solution that combines the ease of an all-in-one website builder with the flexible power of WordPress, which a lot of people are looking for. It’s perfect for bloggers, affiliate marketers, and of course podcasters, as well as those selling physical products, digital downloads, and membership programs. If you’re ready to take your WordPress site to the next level, see for yourself why over 200,000 website owners trust StudioPress. To do that, go to Rainmaker.FM/StudioPress right now.
All right, Jonny, you have prepared an excellent episode for us this week. I am excited to dive into it because I love to create, and I believe that you are going to teach us how to create better and more consistently, yes?
Jonny Nastor: I’m going to teach you how to create anything.
Jerod Morris: Anything?
Jonny Nastor: Anything.
Jerod Morris: Wow.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah. Well, anything content-based.
Jerod Morris: Okay.
Jonny Nastor: Let’s say that.
Jerod Morris: Hey, let’s do it.
Jonny Nastor: You couldn’t build a house from this probably.
Jerod Morris: Are you sure?
Jonny Nastor: I’m thinking about it now. Maybe.
Jerod Morris: All right, learn how to build a house, next on The Showrunner.
Why Using a Structure Enhances Creativity
Jerod Morris: Okay, so let’s jump into this. I love frameworks. The great thing about a framework is that you can rely on it. When you’re in maybe a moment where you don’t know exactly where to turn, a framework actually gives you steps that you can take. You can get that security from the framework, which a lot of times, as content creators, we need.
Sometimes creating content is as easy as turning the mic on. You start talking and it flows, and it’s about stuff that you’ve been thinking about and that you know well. It all just happens really easy. And other times, it’s a little bit harder. No matter how experienced you are, no matter how much content you’ve created in the past. Let’s talk about this framework.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah. I’ve used this mostly, actually for writing more so because Hack the Entrepreneur is based around an interview. I don’t necessarily have to follow this. I have also been injecting it into The Showrunner as well. It really helps with the writing. As we know, and we’ve talked about lots, writing — to be able to guest blog and such — is a great way to take your podcast to, I guess you could call it, that next level.
The first six months of Hack the Entrepreneur, I didn’t write for anybody, and I grew my show to where it could grow without getting that exponential growth by reaching out to other people’s audience in a text-based format and bringing them back to my show. But that takes producing useful and consistent content.
We, I think, can all agree that producing that consistent content is the key to building an audience and a platform, a platform to build and grow your show from. It’s really the reason, content is the reason that Jerod and I are even here speaking to you. We’ve produced enough of it to get noticed and then to get brought into this position where we are.
When we produce content on this consistent basis, we elevate our authority in three ways that I see. In Google’s or search engines, so search engine optimization. Our clients or customers, whoever it is we’re trying to attract. But then also in our peers’ eyes — so people within our marketplace that are other authorities will start to elevate the way they see you if you consistently are producing good content. It’s the way authority is created. Yet we need a way to do this.
Jerod Morris: I would actually add a fourth one there, which is really easy to overlook. I would say that it actually helps elevate us in our own eyes, too. The confidence that you get, and even just the internal authority that you get, from consistently producing content that you believe in and that you believe is good helps you build the momentum that you need as a showrunner to lead a conversation.
Jonny Nastor: Wow. That’s actually almost a whole episode.
Jerod Morris: It is.
Jonny Nastor: It really is. Now that you’re mentioning this, this framework … producing useful and valuable content on a consistent basis typically takes having this consistent stream of inspiration, which gets hard. When we lose that inspiration … which I did over last summer. I felt like I lost that inspiration. But then you’re right, and I can’t believe I missed this. From that stumbled into losing the confidence in yourself as a creator. As soon as that goes, you’re screwed.
It was interesting because I had stopped writing for the places that I was supposed to be writing for. I had stopped doing other interviews for shows. It all fell apart on me in that sense — because I lost the confidence in myself to create. Then I moved. I came to Toronto. Luckily a week after I got here, I got to attend a little conference by a guy named Dan Martell. A brilliant, brilliant entrepreneur from Canada came here. He’s built and sold now three software companies.
After his last one, he decided he wanted to build himself up as an authority, start creating and teaching this stuff. He started posting a YouTube video a day, which he records. Every quarter he goes in for three days and records all the episodes. It’s really fascinating how he does this, with blog posts to go with it.
Jerod Morris: By the way, that’s definitely the way to do it as opposed to getting up every day and recording a new video, which I tried for a while. That is a relentless and difficult schedule. Doing it that way is much better.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah. He hires this small team to do it with him. He plans it all out, and he follows this framework. Then he taught this framework. He said, “Take this framework, and teach it to anybody else that wants to learn from it.” I’ve been using this framework consistently to … which, again, I can’t believe I missed the fact that I have rebuilt my confidence in my creation process based on this. And then talking to other people who produce content a ton, it’s fascinating how everyone actually uses a framework very, very similar to this. And that’s how they produce the content.
When you start seeing that, hearing that, knowing that, and then reading or consuming other people’s content on a consistent basis, you can see the structure. The structure is what removes the need for constant streams of inspiration, which are hard to come by. Not necessarily on a daily basis. You can be inspired maybe having a coffee or hanging out with your kids, whatever it might be. But when it comes to sit down and create what you need to create, it’s hard to just have inspiration on demand.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, you still need knowledge. You still need experience. You need the raw materials to produce good content. But there is a big difference between inspiration and those things. I believe, and correct me if I’m wrong, this framework will help us take the knowledge and experience that we have and pull it out into useful content without always having to have a eureka moment on a walk and sprint back to our house because we’re inspired to create a piece of content. This is much more systematic, much more trustworthy than just waiting for the spark of inspiration.
Jonny Nastor: Exactly, which probably won’t come when you need it to come.
The 7-Part “Create Anything” Framework
Jonny Nastor: All right — so the “Create Anything” Framework. It’s a seven-step framework that we’ll walk through right now where you can literally … it’s been used to create videos, podcasts, articles, books, anything you really are needing to create right now, no matter how small or how large, can fit into this framework. Seven steps.
Step number one, start with the opportunity. The opportunity is … really, it’s the article. If you’re writing an article, thinking about, as the lede, what’s going to catch the person? The opportunity is, if they listen to or read through this article, what is it, the benefit or the opportunity, that the reader or listener will benefit from, from this content?
It’s really the lede. It’s catching the person. We all know that if you don’t catch them right at the beginning, they’re not going to follow through because it’s not going to be of any benefit to them. It’s the opportunity and really hitting home that end result where there’s that transformation that we go through when listening to a show, reading a book, reading an article, or watching a video. We have to somehow be entertained, inspired, or educated. That transformation is the opportunity.
The opportunity is the end result. We need to sell that to them at the very beginning, or they won’t follow through with the piece of content.
Jerod Morris: So there’s an opportunity for the audience that we’re looking to teach them how to take advantage of. That is also our opportunity for creating this piece of content. Does it work on both levels like that?
Jonny Nastor: No. The opportunity is for the audience. This is the lede — how are you going to capture them? If the person listening to us right now is struggling to create good content on a consistent basis, we hit them at the beginning with how this will solve that problem for them if they listen through — “If you follow this framework that we give you, then you’ll be able to produce content consistently and grow your audience in Google’s clients’, in your peers’, and in your own eyes.” That’s the opportunity. Does that make sense?
Jerod Morris: Yes.
Jonny Nastor: It’s selling the transformation before we give them the transformation, to catch people and make them want to spend the time.
Jerod Morris: To hook them, yeah. So you’re trying to sell them on why this is a great opportunity for them to learn something that will be important and why they need to take this opportunity to consume this content.
Jonny Nastor: Exactly.
Jerod Morris: Got it.
Jonny Nastor: Number two, the myth or the challenge? The myth or the challenge is going to be the first thing that comes to your audience’s mind when you talk about the opportunity. The first myth or challenge that they think holds them back from achieving that opportunity, that goal, or that transformation.
If it’s starting a podcast, it could be that their market is too small, their voice is no good, or they don’t already have an audience. Within your market, you know what those myths are. By saying it to your audience at the time and then also overcoming it, in their mind, you’re elevating yourself and helping them solve their own problems and answer their own questions. Now you’ve grabbed them even more.
As we read stuff, we’re always thinking that it’s not going to help us, or false, or not true, or it’s good for you but not for me. If we can overcome that really quickly — following the opportunity up with the one big challenge that’s going to come to their head, overcome it, and then move on — everybody puts their guard down and then is more open to consuming your content in a way that will actually effect change with them, which is obviously the goal of the content.
Jerod Morris: So for the meta example of this episode, the challenge is, “Hey, creating consistent content is really hard because if you’re just waiting around for inspiration, inspiration doesn’t come always when you need it.” The opportunity is about this framework to create content and do it consistently. Is that the challenge, the way that we approached it here?
Jonny Nastor: Interesting, yeah. You said the meta-thing. We haven’t explained this yet. This framework was actually used to create this piece of content, this show. Yeah, we’re getting meta on it. The opportunity is creating consistent content, building that audience, building your authority within it, but producing useful and consistent content is hard without that steady stream of inspiration.
Jerod Morris: Cool. Okay.
Jonny Nastor: This is exactly it. Because that’s the first thing that should come to someone’s mind if they are our target market. That’s what they’re thinking, and we overcome it with this.
Jerod Morris: Hey, you know what else, if someone’s in our target market, that they should be thinking about? That’s checking out StudioPress Sites. They can do that at Rainmaker.FM/StudioPress. As I mentioned before, StudioPress Sites is this turnkey solution that gives you the ease of an all-in-one website builder with the flexible power of WordPress. Whether you’re blogging, whether you’re doing written content, whether you’re podcasting, lots of different content.
Even if you’re selling products on your site, StudioPress Sites actually has two really interesting options that you should check out and see if it’s for you. Like any other hosting solution or platform, you want to try it out, obviously. You’re not going to know if it’s the right one for you until you try it out, play around with it a little bit, and see if it’s the right fit. That’s what we encourage you to do.
To do that, go to Rainmaker.FM/StudioPress. Check out the two options. See if one of them makes sense for you. Give it a try, and see what it has to offer. If it works for you, you can build your new site there. You can migrate a site over there. Either one, you can do whichever works for you. Go to Rainmaker.FM/StudioPress. Check it out, and see if it’s right for you.
All right, how’d you like that segue?
Jonny Nastor: That was good. Okay. This is weird because we’re admitting to the meta-ness of this. It’s feeling awkward. But we can do this. We can push through.
Jerod Morris: By the way, I did jump the gun on exposing the meta-ness, but that’s just how I was thinking about it. I was wondering if the audience would benefit from seeing it as we go instead of just reflecting on it.
Jonny Nastor: Fair enough. The Create Anything Framework — step three is expert story positioning. This sounds complicated, but it’s not. We call it the three S’s, is the way to think about it. The situation that the expert was in … whether that’s you or you’re using an example, a case study, whatever it happens to be. The situation, then the struggle, what that struggle is that was agitated, then what the solution was. Situation, struggle, solution becomes your expert story positioning.
Jerod Morris: Yeah. People may have heard of the Problem, Agitate, Solve Framework. Demian Farnworth used to write a lot about that on Copyblogger, kind of the same thing.
Jonny Nastor: That’s exactly it, yeah. This is the dumbed-down version, so we have three S’s. This is how I can remember it, so bear with me. At the beginning, I was writing for people. It was growing my show. I fell off a little bit because I didn’t have a framework. I was just trying to create inspiration all the time.
That caused me to lose confidence in my creation process, which then caused me to not be writing for anybody anymore. Then I found this framework. I started implementing it, and now, actually as of today, my first article goes live on Entrepreneur.com — the first one in seven months.
Jerod Morris: Hey, hey. Okay.
Jonny Nastor: Literally today, which is kind of cool, and it’s following this, so it helps. That’s the expert story positioning. I set you up with my situation. Then there was my struggle. Then I found the solution. The solution happens to be in step four of the Create Anything Framework, which is framework.
Jerod Morris: Now we’re getting real meta.
The Value of Getting Meta in Your Creation
Jonny Nastor: Now we’re getting real meta. And this is just a great way to create content. Most of our shows, in the sense of our framework that we’ve started I think in the last, I’m going to say, six months or maybe it’s been a year, Jerod, we do the three, three, and three framework. Three subheadings under the topic, and then three sub-subheadings under each of those, which allows it to be a really structured framework for people to follow.
It’s easier for us to teach, to understand, and to cover all the bases and help with that transformation. It’s also easier for the listener, the reader, or the consumer to consume the content in a way that helps them achieve that breakthrough. So it’s having a framework.
The Create Anything Framework in seven steps allows you to write these down and literally fill in the blanks each time you need to create content. If I just tried to tell you how to create anything by throwing all these ideas at you but not putting them into a framework, you wouldn’t be able to utilize it as well. So create a framework.
If you want, follow the seven-step process, or else do as Jerod and I do, which is the three, three, and three framework. Whatever one works best for you, use it. Really, no matter how I went so hard against frameworks because I thought it lacked the creativity, it actually allows you to be more creative within the framework because you’re not worrying about structure. You’re just worrying about creating within an already existing framework.
Jerod Morris: You’re worrying about what actually matters — the ideas, not the structure. It’s the scaffolding that enables the creativity, the framework.
Jonny Nastor: Exactly.
Jerod Morris: I think our best episodes have been the ones where we went three, three, three. You can always tell. The end of those episodes is always really sharp because we’re reviewing the three, three, three. Putting that bow on it and that important recap at the end where listeners are almost quizzing themselves in their mind as we’re going through it is really helpful.
Jonny Nastor: You’re pre-metaing me. I’m not even sure what that would be, but yeah.
Step number five in the Create Anything Framework is the number one challenge. Now this is you’ve created the opportunity. You set the myth. You overcame it. You set up the situation, struggle, solution with expert story positioning. Then you laid out the framework for making this transformation. Now, there’s going to be one thing in your reader’s or audience’s mind. You need to state that and overcome it.
The reason why we’re actually doing this episode … it’s last minute. I was trying to do it around a book I’ve been reading, that I’m fascinated about, but I couldn’t get a good episode together quick enough. I was staring at that blank page thinking, “I need an episode in the next 45 minutes.” So I went back to, “Okay, I need the Create Anything Framework to do this.” Then I was like, “Wait a minute. Why don’t I actually just teach the framework based on the framework?”
It’s so much easier when I could literally copy and paste the seven steps of the framework onto the page. The page is no longer blank. Then I just started filling it in. This, to me, is the biggest benefit of it because you never stare at that blank page again. You just fill in the answers to each of the seven, and you’re good to go.
Now step six, which we’ve alluded to, is the review.
Jerod Morris: This is where I’ve pre-meta’d you.
Jonny Nastor: This is where you’ve pre-meta’d me. The review is literally going back over it, which as Jerod said, we do in all of our three, three, and three episodes. It helps reemphasize the point and make sure that transformation happens.
So the Create Anything Framework was one, set the opportunity. Then two, you bring up the myth, challenge and then overcome it. Three is a really short, expert story positioning based on the three S’s of situation, struggle, or solution. Then four is create a framework to teach what you’re needing to teach to make that transformation. Follow the seven steps, or else follow the three, three, three framework, whichever you want, but use that consistently to help teach it.
Then five, bring up that number one challenge, such as the blank page, and then how you overcome it. Then at step six, you review what you’ve taught them and help reemphasize the points and bring them closer to that opportunity at the beginning.
Then finally at the seven, it’s kind of an addition, but it’s such a necessary one. Like we’ve talked about so much that you can’t really, or shouldn’t, have an episode or anything you create without the call to action. The call to action can obviously be anything relating to your business, your show, the opportunity, whatever it is, however it ties in.
That’s the real reason why you’re creating these pieces of content is to be useful, is to help, is to educate, is to inspire. But then also to have that call to action to get your audience to take the next step that you want them to take.
Using the Situation, Struggle, and Solution
Jerod Morris: I’m excited about this, to try this. As we talked about before, anybody who’s been in the position of creating consistent content — not just that you sit down and write a piece of content when you’re inspired, but you’re on a schedule. You’re really trying to build an audience. What’s the third pillar in creating a remarkable audience?
You’ve got authenticity. You’ve got usefulness, sustainability. You’ve got to show up. You’ve got to show up reliably, and you’ve got to show up reliably over time. You can build a small audience, you can do some things, if you’re only creating content when you’re inspired. But you truly build an audience, build trust, and really start to get that snowball going when you actually do it sustainably, reliably, and over time.
Anybody who’s done that has had, at some point — and probably at many points — that moment when it’s like, “Oh, crap. It’s time to get this week’s episode, I don’t know what I’m going to say. It’s time to do this week’s blog post, I don’t know what I’m going to say. It time to send this week’s email newsletter, I don’t know what I’m going to say.”
This framework can help give you the confidence to still fight through those moments. That’s what it takes to build that long-term trust with an audience. It’s so important. Whether this framework works for you or not, but having something. It may be a few different ones. There may be a time when you need to sit down and create a piece of content and you’re not even inspired by the Create Anything Framework. It doesn’t even help you in that moment.
Maybe you have some other things to fall back on. Having at least one and maybe a few of these kind of proven frameworks, which ultimately are all guiding you in the same direction, it’s unbelievably helpful in enabling you and empowering you to be consistent. That is so important.
We talked about before how a lot of times succeeding online is more about attitude even than it is about aptitude. It’s more about your willingness to get up and be there every single week than just the fact that you have these few brilliant things to say. If you have the right attitude, this framework will really be helpful in allowing you to just keep getting the important work done.
Jonny Nastor: Exactly. Well done, Jerod.
Jerod Morris: Now we need to flow into our CTA.
Jonny Nastor: Without saying flow into our CTA.
Jerod Morris: I’m sorry. You put it on the script. I’m just going to read it.
Jonny Nastor: I thought you were just going to flow into the call to action. This is step seven of the meta-episode.
Jerod Morris: Exactly, and we’re flowing into it right now. I’m stepping to the side and letting you call us to action.
Jonny Nastor: What could happen if you launch a podcast in the next 30 days? Jerod and I created the Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Remarkable Podcast. It’s a simple, no frills nine-step plan to get your podcast off the ground. In it, you’ll learn how to define your audience of one and pick your format. You’re going to learn the six paths to podcast monetization that Jerod and I have used, each of them very, very thoroughly, and we’re going to teach them to you within this report.
Plus, you’re going to learn the behind the scenes, the exact equipment Jerod and I use to run our podcast on a daily basis. To get your free nine-step Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Podcast today, go to Showrunner.FM/Report. Sign up. All it takes is an email, and you’ll get the free nine-step guide sent immediately to your inbox.
Jerod Morris: I’ll tell you exactly what’ll happen if you decide to launch a podcast in the next 30 days. At some point, you’re going to be racked with self-doubt, with confusion, with uncertainty over what content to create next. It will happen. We know this. You’ll have that first initial wave, you’ll get through it, and then you’re going to be facing that blank page, that microphone that’s just waiting for your brilliant words. And it’s going to scare the heck out of you and you’re not going to know what to say.
That’s where a framework like Create Anything will help. Add that to the useful tips for podcasters who want to start a podcast and create something remarkable.
Jonny Nastor: That was like a call to mumbling. A mumble to action. This is our MTA right now, folks. It’s been fun. This is cool. This framework, though, is really something … as a quick, quick, quick aside, it’s actually really, really similar to what Sean D’Souza, who’s like a content creation master … I’ve been talking to him on Skype. We’ve just been chatting back and forth a lot. He was like, “My framework’s really, really easy. Listen to one of my podcasts. You might get it. But then listen to two, and you’ll have it. They follow the exact same framework every time.”
I listened, and I was walking and just typing onto my phone. I was like, “Okay, here’s this. Then here’s the review at the end. Here’s the … ” He was just like, “There you go. You nailed it. That’s how to create every single one I create.” It was almost this framework exactly, which is really cool.
This framework, like Jerod said, is the starting point. Create a framework for yourself. Mold it however you need to, to work best for your situation, but make sure you do push to get one. Have it, use it, and never stare at that blank page again.
Jerod Morris: Love it. Join us next week.
Jonny Nastor: It’s been fun.
Jerod Morris: Yeah. We’ll be back with another brand-new episode of The Showrunner.