One of the many, many courses I bought last year (and not only) was Thrive Themes’ “Audience from Scratch” course. I was becoming frustrated and disillusioned by how difficult it is to build an audience online. So what is the solution to all problems on the internet? Buying a course, of course!
Jokes aside, Shane Melaugh built a fantastic product with Thrive Themes and is the type of “not-a-guru-guru” that appeals to me. Someone that built his own audience the hard way and not based on fantastic looks, charisma or flashy items. So I figured…might as well throw some more money at the problem!
The course turned out to be excellent with a very interesting mental model of how audiences work. The most interesting part though was…Challenge 44.
So what is Challenge 44?
Challenge 44 is a protocol that has the goal to teach you how to create high-quality content quickly and efficiently.
Like anything in life, content creation is not something you learn overnight. The best bloggers, vloggers, Instagram influencers and any other content creator under the sun didn’t get to where they are the first time they picked up their phone or laptop. Creating high-quality content isn’t an exact science but it’s a skill that can be learned – with a lot of practice. That’s where Challenge 44 comes in.
The challenge lasts 90 days. In the first 30 days, you are to create a piece of content every day. That can be a blog post, a video, a podcast or whatever else. There are no limits, but you should stick to the same piece of content every day. There are only two rules. First, you have four hours per day to create your content. When that time is over you are done even if you have to finish mid-sentence. The second rule is that you have to publish your content, no matter how good or bad it might be.
In the next phase you are allowed 3 days per content piece for the next 30 days. In this phase, we’re aiming for an improvement in quality over quantity and the extra time is supposed to be invested in improving the quality of your content.
In the last phase, you get one week per content piece. At that point the goal is to start creating remarkable content. Content that moves the needle and that makes people stick with you and become your audience.
Why am I doing Challenge 44?
For three reasons. First, it’s challenging. Sitting down to write every day (and maybe at a later point also create video content as a part of a re-run) takes dedication and consistency, qualities that I need to improve. Even if the content turns out to be no bueno, you benefit from the satisfying feeling of having produced something.
Second, you create something lasting. After 30 days, there’s a clear track record of 30 blog posts. After the entire challenge, you put out 44 pieces of content. That stuff can fill an entire website and it’s a clear proof of your work and the effort you put in.
Third, and most importantly, you build up a useful skill (and ideally collect a few readers on the way). Content, or more abstractly media, is a way of leveraging a message or a skill you have. If you know how to create intriguing content, you have a way to leverage your other skills. The more better your content creation skill, the higher your leverage and the more powerful it becomes. The higher your leverage, the more financial and personal gain you get out of it. In short, being able to create remarkable content can allow you to work on your own terms, which is something that appeals greatly to me.
What am I going to write about as part of Challenge 44?
This is the beautiful thing about it – I’ve absolutely no clue yet!
I have a few ideas in my mind though. The posts will revolve around topics that I have a grasp of and that can actually be useful to the reader. Possible themes I will pick up on:
- Languages and learning languages
- Book reviews
- Life in Russia & topics related to Russia
- Betting & gambling
- Public Speaking
- Current affairs
But maybe also something else will show up or I’m going to do only one of those topics for the entirety of the challenge. Follow the challenge to find out!