Always Tell Creators *How* Their Content Helped You
Do the right thing
You’ve just listened to a podcast episode that made you change your mind about something. You’ve just read a book or an article that completely blew your mind. You’ve just watched a YouTube video that has helped you understand something you’ve always struggled to understand.
What do you do? Do you just walk away saying nothing?
That would be inconsiderate. If the creator put something out there that helped you, you should let them know. This is, at least, what I always do.
I go to the author’s website, find their email address and send them a couple of lines telling them how his book helped me. I do the same with podcasters, bloggers and YouTubers.
Sometimes they reply. Other times they don’t. But I never expect them to get back to me. In fact, my emails and comments are self-sufficient and require no reply.
I make it about the content, not the person. So I never write:
- “OMG. You are so intelligent!”
- “You are great. I loved this. Thanks so much!”
- “Great episode. You rock!”
As a creator myself, I’d rather not receive such comments because:
- Despite what my mom says, I honestly don’t think I’m great, extraordinarily intelligent, talented or special.
- These comments don’t give me any meaningful feedback. “Great stuff!” doesn’t mean anything. Why do you think it’s great? How did it help you? How did it make you feel? Talk about that.
- I would like to get feedback on the ideas I put out there, not the person I am.
- My brain doesn’t know what to make of a series of emoticons.
Comments and emails I write to creators:
- “I watched your video about this topic. I finally understood why/how blah blah blah. Thanks for helping me clarify this.”
- “I read your book. Your ideas resonated with me and inspired me to blah blah blah. Thanks so much for writing it.”
- “I’m so glad I came across this episode. I’ve been looking for an answer to blah blah blah. Your podcast provided that answer. Thank you!”
I only (but always) leave these types of comments if I find the content useful, interesting or helpful.
I do it because it’s the right thing to do.
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