Creating topical content is easy when on your doorstep

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Today the UK “Leave” campaign for getting out of the EU started their tour with Boris Johnson, the ex mayor of London in Truro, just a few minutes from where I sit typing this up.

The UK referendum on whether or not to leave the EU is creating a huge amount of content in the political space and some is seeping into where I work, which is the commercial branding sector. It is a tricky thing to use because if you take a side you alienate the other side and if your business can’t afford the added attention from taking such a stance, best to keep out of it.

Although it does feel that when people shop it’s more about the price and quality of the thing they buy, than whether or not they are pro or anti EU.

When I heard that Boris was going to be setting off from Truro in a big red battle bus, made in Germany of course, I knew it represented a chance where I could grab some unique content.

Remain

Now as I am not a political blogger you are justified in thinking, “what’s the point”. But I was able to get quite a few, professional stills and a bit of video that is unique and where I hold the copyright. This means I can now use this content to get attention, build my brand, get links and social signals.

The content created becomes an asset that I can use quite a lot in the run up to the election, and every once in a while afterwards. I can use the assets in a number of ways.

  • Contacting pro/anti groups and giving them permission to use the content in exchange for a link.
  • Examples of real time content creating, just like I am doing with this Linkedin post.
    Open a dialogue with journalists, letting them use the assets in return for good will. It’s always good to help journalists along the way.
  • Selling the assets on the open marketing. I wont be doing this with these assets as there was more than enough content created by other media people who happened to be crammed into the other bus. Also, I would get far more value by elevating my own brand.

Most find creating content very hard, but there is usually something happening on the doorstep in real time that you can tap into, and if you are the only person there who is creating content about it, all the better.

In Cornwall we have a lot of auto events, for clients who are in this space I have gone to these events creating huge amounts of original content for them to use. Having something original that others want is a great place to start in your content creation. You don’t have to work as hard on the promotion side if you do this.

I will be taking bookings for this seasons content creation that happens in Cornwall. Get in touch if you want something cool creating.

If you need to learn more about these techniques, you may want to try out my Content Mastermind Group.

I have also published this on Linkedin

Why you should love content strategy and stop worrying about content

content strategy
I hate the content industry.

But isn’t that the industry you are in?

No, the industry I am in is communication and persuasion.

Sounds just as bad, so what’s up with “content”?

I was reading an article on adage.com and I had the warning, the word paradigm was used in the title. But what I focussed on was the bit about content…

At its core, it requires an understanding that audiences are not monolithic.” as if it were a revelation.

But surely everybody gets the fragmentation and micro segmentation of the audience nowadays.

It goes on,

Breakthrough content will be developed by agencies that were born and raised in the digital revolution. Agencies that have the ability to not only develop the content, but also the commitment to leveraging data in more complex ways than simply media targeting. It requires a commitment to creating both emotionally engaging content but also the more mundane tools that consumers need for frictionless experiences buying and using products. And, perhaps most critically, it requires the technical skills to build experiences that live within the consumer journey, not interrupt the journey.

Now, I am aware that it may be just the jargon that is winding me up, the use of friction and journey particularly. It’s this insistence that you have to be some can of yoofful, newdigital age, Facebook fugger to get it.

Bollocks, admen were creating emotionally engaging content back when cornflakes were first invented and even then way before that. And that tools and complexity is needed to create in the the pseudo medium (it’s not a real medium).

Crusted, old geezers can still pick it up faster than it takes a drop of watery mucus to fall from these snot nosed kids whose arses are more suited to bean bags than chairs.

Because it’s not complicated, it’s not new. Yes the tools are new, but they are simply mechanical devices invented to get the idea from one persons brain to another persons brain. To be honest the mechanical stuff is easy, pwning Snapchat, Instagram can be learned in an hour.

The information to suck into your brain in one swoosh of an internet surf hour resides in servers around the globe, just waiting for you to plug in and go. Do you have to be some man bearded, fixie bike riding metrosexual to and from the breakfast cereal cafe? No, of course you bleeding don’t, you muppet.

it’s relatively easy, it’s simple analysis and research. Remember, these systems are brand new, no one is really an expert in them.

Yes you have to have the right attitude, but to someone who is an expert in persuasion, it’s not hard to adapt to the current landscape.

How to tell a story is still the most important thing in branding or this “new paradigm” bollocks type branding. Which isn’t really new at all.

The story amplifies the culture. I am less calling in a brand these days, and think the term “culutre” is more accurate and rather than calling it an audience, lets call it a tribe.

Content production is increasing at an unprecedented rate because it’s cheap and it sometimes works. But the type of content that mostly gets built is garbage.

Content often follows no strategy apart from the SEO dept telling the content creators, “this week we need to rank for “Kim Kardashians ass“, and so every bit of content then produced is about Kim Kardashian’s ass and there is a lot to write about.

But that is not the way it should be done. SEO should follow the content, not drive. OMG, did I just commit SEO heresy?

A strategy, which reflects the culture of the brand should be developed and crafted. The story framed to highlight and focus on certain aspects. The content is simply the mechanical distributor of the story you want to tell. You need content to tell the story, but it is not the thing that really matters itself.

To be able to develop such a strategy you need to understand the culture of the organisation you are there to help. You also need to understand pop culture and the zeitgeist of the time, as content needs to catch the right current that is going to propel it a little faster than all the other boats that are sailing that day.

The tribes you wish to appeal too also matter, you must learn about them and be able to communicate with them.

The point being is you don’t have to be a new, shiny shiny agency to do all this, crusted and dusty agencies with saggy ball bags and a hacking, morning cough can also compete in this new arena.

The fact is, the older agencies have always had to adapt and have the minds with the ability to do this.

What content is really about

Human Experience

A Thought provoking piece by Rand over at Moz.com, but there is something he left out.

I always like the bear chasing story when educating about content, you have probably heard it but for those who haven’t.

Bear wants to kill two men.
One man quickly puts on his running shoes.
Other man says, “There is no point in putting on your running shoes. You will never outrun a bear.
Other guy says, “I don’t need to out run the bear, I just need to put on my running shoes and outrun you.”

It’s always been that way in SEO, you just have to get in front of the guy that’s in front of you and keep the guy behind you, behind you.

But things are a little different these days.

Actually things are a lot different these days.

There is too much emphasis on producing “killer content”.

Yes, you need to produce the best content than the other guy, but it’s the wrong focus.
You shouldn’t be focussing on building 10x content.

You need to build a brand that is 10x.

10x Content no longer cuts it in this town, baby. Let alone the “good content”, the average agency pumps out into the Universe.

Which is why Rand is wrong, the focus should not be on the content in the first place, the focus should be on, “How the hell do I want people to feel about my brand?”

Content should not be created simply by schleping over to buzzsumo.com and checking out a few search terms. It’s a dimensional shift from a keyword tool mouse click.

This stuff needs to be in your blood.

You need to be 10x passionate about your brand and get others excited about it too.

Of course you need content to get people excited, but that is only the symptom of your raging passion.

You need more than a tool, you need to know more, get up earlier, write more, meet more people, think longer, think harder than the other guy who is by now a high protein snack for the Grizzly bear.

People want to buy their stuff from people who are 10x living it. Who not only solve their problems, but provide insights into the future and a fantastic human experience.

People are hungry for experience.

Presenting a solution to a problem is becoming, megh. So what? Problems have become solvable at the click of a mouse, their value has been reduced.

But the value of the human experience has increased.

One thing I do think Rand Fishkin does very well, is that he has created a magnetic brand that is focused on tasty, human experience, which people find highly attractive. The 10x content Moz.com produces is simply a by product of that space.

But content is not about content.

It’s about the human experience, and how people feel when connecting to your brand.

How to create content for a credit card blog

Building a blog around the credit card niche can be highly lucrative when it comes to affiliate income. It may seem like a no brainer niche to make money in, but the problem is anyone who can stop playing Minecraft or Candycrush for 5 mins can knock up a blog, grab a bunch of keywords, look at where other sites are getting links from and build another credit card blog.

The biggest problem in such niches is standing out from the crowd. If 100 blogs write the same article and publish at the same time, people are still going to read only one and they will chose the one that stands out, that engages.

The deficit is in the ability of the creator to devise a narrative that attracts and engages.

Sure you can use some numpty content creation tool to throw up random ideas, or you can use your own creative skill to make something more powerful.

Take this story for example, from the Telegraph about a Russian man and a credit card company.

Credit card scam

The story was also reported in numerous news outlets including:

Huffington Post
Independent
Business Insider
and many more.

The point isn’t to create story like this (although I know many who do), the goal is to ride on the wave of interest that this story creates.

Desire information

The point is to tap into the desire for people to know more information. Some journalists who missed the boat on the first story will be on the look out for juicy research to create a follow story. Want to know how to influence journalists? Do part of their job for them, help them write their articles by digging up some tasty info.

There are a number of ways to create content around this news story, or rather around the desire for more information around the news story. Most make the mistake that they are creating content, you are not. You are fulfilling the need for people to get more information, and it is that desire that you need to focus on, remember this is about people, not about content.

The first thing that people will do after reading a story like this is to Google the details, so make sure you focus on those story keywords, the original news story may not even be focussing on the right keywords.

If you are able to soak up the second wave of traffic from a story like this, you will be able to give more depth or take a different quirk on the story. Even just by collecting similar stories from the past few years you are creating useful information.

In conclusion, the benefits from following up a tasty story like this are many:

  • Traffic
  • Links
  • Connecting with journalists
  • Fresh content
  • Demonstrating that you are on the ball.

And the story is pretty much created for you, you simply do more research and curation.

If you find any of this tricky, you can sign up to my training and coaching program or hire me to advise on content creation (digital agencies love this)

 

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How to learn to create content by reading about Tinder and Almonds

Tinder and almonds

Companies hire me to help them create content that is different and stands out from the crowd. Most realise creating one piece of great content is achievable, as you are tapping a lifetime of experience and ideas. But once that creative reservoir is drained, you realise it’s quite hard to crank out kick ass content day after day.

Which brings me to sex and almonds. hardly ever do I read blogs about Tinder during my daily surf of the web (although I mostly read industry websites), this may be because the English are too embarrassed about it, the Americans are too puritanical about it, whilst the French are too busy having sex to write a blog post about it.

And yet it’s probably the one of the single biggest drivers of web traffic, so whilst we wait for Rand Fishkin to write a blog called, “How getting jiggy with it gets you web traffic”, let’s consider two articles I came across this week.

First adjust your frame of mind.

When we are looking for content ideas, we are looking to create them rather than consume them.
This is an important point as you need to be a dealer, not an addict.

If you are the person in your organisation responsible for cranking out content, you need to be in a frame of mind which is constantly looking for ideas. Coming across a well written article should trigger at least twenty solid content ideas. This frame of mind of being the dealer is something worth adopting if your desire is to maximise the creative process.

As someone who has always written, my mind is constantly in search mode for new content ideas from the media I consume. And so when I read the Vanity Fair article of the month about dating apps and the effect they are having on users moist brains, it triggered a huge amount of ideas and not just for the dating niche. Tinder and the Dawn of the “Dating Apocalypse”

I encourage you to read the Vanity Fair article to see if you come up with a bagful of content ideas, if you do not and your job is to come up with content ideas, ping me and let me help you.

You don’t even need to try hard to come up with ideas for so called “hard to blog niches”.

I came up with a bunch of ideas for the insurance niche:

  • How a Tinder user can insure themselves against a bad date.
  • Can a bar owner insure themselves against a lawsuit from Tinder users who hook up with the wrong person in their bar
  • 10 ways to insure your Smartphone whilst on a Tinder date
  • Quick and easy ways to find out if the guy you met 30 mins ago is an axe murderer.

Etc.

Once you get in the right frame of mind ideas will flow, albeit as long as you are consuming excellent content.

Almond content

You may have noticed that almonds have become the fashion food of the month, although as far as I understand the science almonds have a proven health benefit.

As someone who intends to eat healthy (most of us intend to eat healthy, creating a large hungry crowd, ahem, for such information) I am always on the look out for a way to hack my diet (to “hack” is of course the buzzword of the year, probably a few months left before it’s considered old and knackered) as are large numbers of other web users. And so this article about almonds not only caught my eye, it drew me in and allowed itself to be consumed. Read it here, What America’s nutty demand for almonds is doing to California.

The article takes a counterintuitive stance regarding the almond craze, which can be very powerful, as our brains naturally look for danger after learning good news.

Thus an “Almonds are bad” story will get more attention after a reader has read an “Almonds are hood” story. You may think, “no duh”, as the reader may be in a frame of mind to learn more. But, that’s the point, as a content creator you find out where the interests and needs of the mob are and then provide the content which satisfies their lust.

Which is why I always tell people to be a dealer and not an addict. You’re aim is not to promote your own thoughts and opinions but to provide the content which will allow the reader to get their fix.

So if everyone is talking, tweeting and thinking about almonds you need to be creating content which fulfils that need. You don’t have to write specifically about almonds, but you need to be able to tap the hunger of the brain that is currently starving for more data about almonds.

For example, this article has almonds in the title, I did this for the specific reason that some people may be attracted to blog posts that touch on the subject, sex of course needs no explanation for why it is used, although I hope it needs no explanation. These keywords also trigger curiosity and whenever “sex” is mentioned the primal brain gets pinged.

Your content does not need to be about the thing that attracts, although it does need to be contextual else people feel cheated. As this blog is about how to create great context, the idea that it produces an article about how to use the subject of almonds is within context and I doubt that people came expecting information that cleansed their arteries.

I hope this article has shown you that you never need to be stuck for content ideas, you simply need to find out what people want, give it a twist and creates something that atracts and engages.

If you require help with your content strategy or help with coming up with content ideas, I have created a number of ways I can help you:
Creative Content Boost for Digital Agencies
Content Marketing Training
Content Marketing Consulting for Digital Agencies

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