How two people reach millions with their ideas

“Why do we read this garbage? I mean, these articles that entice you to click with ’10 best ways to clean your windows’…?” a friend lamented recently.

It’s laughable, but true. This is the virtual reality we find ourselves in, often: Wading in a cheap plastic pool of flashy, surface-deep pixels and catch-phrases that are easy to consume, easy to forget. What good does this kind of content do the businesses, nonprofits, or the social and environmental movements that have invested in this norm in hopes of attracting a bigger slice of the masses? Not a lot.

The truth is that impactful content doesn’t particularly require a big budget, cleverness, or even genius writers or designers. It requires one simple thing. It requires time.

This truth was driven home for me during a recent interview with Douglas and Laura Gayeton of the Lexicon of Sustainability project, an endeavor that has reached millions through its images, videos, books, and more. (Read about the Lexicon of Sustainability’s content-creation process in the full article.)

The time investment in a well-researched feature-length article may be obvious, but less obvious is the proportionately large amount of time it takes to craft a short, memorable pieces like this.

Food Miles by Lexicon of Sustainability
Food Miles by Lexicon of Sustainability

On the flip side, time spent on content makes no difference if you’re not clear on your business’ or movement’s unique proposition to specific people. So spend time focusing your enterprise’s vision, first.