People consume. This is a universal truth. And with technology creating a growing cognitive surplus, a posture of consumption is becoming more and more predominant. But every channel people consume from is a firehose of content, and there are a million channels.

No matter how thirsty you are, you can’t drink from a million firehoses. This causes people to prioritize what they’re consuming. This prioritization revolves around perceived value. The more value somebody feels they’re getting from a piece of content, the more comfortable they are consuming that content and giving it their full attention. If they don’t perceive value right away, they’ll be skeptical...or they’ll be gone.

There is one really easy way that anyone can provide value to others. Share your knowledge. Teach something. Impart new information.

I was speaking recently to a coffee retailer about how they can optimize their Instagram content to increase their bean sales. Instagram is a tough sales platform because it doesn’t prioritize calls to action (CTAs). But it’s a good marketing tool that allows you to build brand equity. The most useful tip I gave them on that call was to start using their Instagram to educate people about coffee. Because if you’re educating someone, you’re providing them value. And if you become the source of their coffee knowledge, you’ll gain the credibility to be the source of their coffee.

Lots of people love coffee and want to know more about it. Most of those people can learn a ton from a few simple lessons about terminology and flavor notes. Content that is teaching these things is going to consistently outperform content that is just showing off product.

Engagement is going to increase. Brand equity is going to increase. And sales are going to increase because people are wired to reciprocate value. When you give them something at no cost, they will be much more likely to give you something in return.

Sit down and brainstorm what you know that other people don’t. I guarantee there is a laundry list of value you can contribute to various communities. Don’t feel like you need to be an entertainer all the time. Be an educator. There will always be someone more entertaining than you, but no one else has the unique knowledge that you have in your head. And that is a gift you can give to the world.