Why you need to stop building “Quality Content” and start solving problems

Quality content

A huge amount is written about content, which is all fine and dandy.

But your job is not to produce content.

“Hold on, yes it is. I am a content creator.” You may say.

That may be technically correct and it may be what it says on your Linkedin Page.

But what you really are is a communicator, an influencer, a persuader.

The content is merely a container to carry your thoughts into the mind of the reader and get them to think a certain way or to perform a specific action.

This is very important to understand because it underpins how you create your content and also how you promote it. Before the initial idea you need to think about the person that you want to influence and understand what drives them.

This is why “Everyone”, should not be who you are creating content for and that the more you narrow down your focus the easier it will be to create content that will influence.

For example, lets say we wanted Stephen Fry to tweet our content or even link to it.
Well, Mr Fry has a thing for gadgets and he has a thing for Apple.
But that is not nearly enough, as there are huge amounts of content about gadgets and Apple.
Content needs to be unique to get noticed.
But Mr. Fry has also played Oscar Wilde and has a thirst for interesting literary characters.
So we combine the two.

  • 10 Gadgets Oscar Wilde would love
  • Why Oscar Wilde would be a Mac Man
  • What Oscar Wilde would do with Twitter

Having trouble creating content? Just think of one person you know, and if you don’t know anyone invent a character who represents people in the space you operate in and create content that excites them, that fulfils a need. And that need can simply be a list of cool things to buy that solves a specific problem. You don’t need so called “quality content” or even amazing content, you simply need to solve a specific problem that an individual is having at that moment in time.

To influence and persuade, that is the purpose.

What Rand Fishkin Missed out about Good Content

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.

The most useful thing about the phrase “Content is King”

I love it when people spout off, “Content is King”.

It allows me to know how much brain power they have devoted to the problem of producing content that works to get people to your website and persuade them to feel good about you and your brand.

Anyone with half a brain can see that content is not King, and yet people still use the phrase.

I doubt that Millennials use it much, they know too well the value of content.

The truth is, people are king, not content.

As proved by this chart which I just made.

King

Joking aside, it’s clear that it’s people you need to focus on, simply churning out stuff does not work. Whenever people lay out their case for “Content is King”, they always pick out the best content as an example, but most content being produced right now is going to have viewing figures in the single digits.

It’s only the content that is crafted for people, rather than it’s own existence is ever going to have a positive effect.

Think about the people you want to consume your content and then create the content

Is your SEO Cheeky Nandos?

Let me make one thing clear, I probably only understand about 20% of what the term “cheeky Nandos”, actually means. And that is exactly how it should be as I only need to know enough to be able know if it fits my publishing strategy.

It’s a brand new term that is tearing up the UK social media pipes.

This chart depicts searches for KFC vs cheeky Nandos over 30 days in the UK.

Cheeky Nandos Stats

Cheeky Nandos Stats

As you can see from the data it briefly overtook searched for the US Corporation, although now we see it dropping as the mainstream get in on the act and the tabs cover it.

Metro

But what does a “Cheeky Nandos” mean?

Lincolnshire Echo

The main point of slang is to create an us and them. You are not supposed to get it if you are not in the tribe. And it’s probably something to tut at as you buy your Moroccan Houmous from Waitrose, (another phrase that you may not fully understand the cultural implications of.

But that’s OK, we don’t need to fully understand some terms to make hay with it. We are publishers not readers, we are dealers not junkies. When stuff like this happens we need to be on it and see if it fits in with our publishing strategy.

Those people who tweet, “WTF is cheeky nandos”. They are not in our tribe and will distract you from your goal of content marketing Nirvana. But those who plug the term in Google Trends, search on Twitter for it, measure and asses the cultural capital of the term and question if it reaches our demographic. Now there is someone you need to pay attention to.

How to create new Content ideas for Blog articles, SEO Viral content…

I’ve never found coming up with content ideas a problem.

But I know others do, and this is not because I am more intelligent than them, it’s because these people have their skill set focused on another areas, such as web design, programming, seo… etc.

It’s also because their heads are full of the successful stuff they have just seen, but you can’t just copy and get away with it. You have to add another element, you have to take nothing, and create something.

A lot is talked about creating content, but very little on the process of coming up with new, fresh, vibrant ideas. This is probably because very few can do it, very few can teach it and most of those who can do it cannot explain it.

These are the simple steps you need to take to create content ideas

ingest

Ingest means first creating a state of mind that allows you to suck in as much content as possible and then deconstruct it to its constituent components. Figuring out exactly why it works.

Daydream, means to allow the mind to wander amongst its vast library of memories, create “what if’s”, or “what would they think if I did that?”. all the while underpinned by the knowledge about what excites people and why.

Go wild, means to have no barriers. Freedom of thinking and criticism. To know where the line is you first need to cross it. You wont be able to cross it if you are sitting in an office, at a desk, under fluorescent light, wondering how come the boss can afford a Porsche and not buy decent coffee for the office. You need the ability and permission to roam the desert, searching for the shamen who will give you the answers.

Write, means you have to do the work. You have to stare at the blank page of nothingness and engage. If you have a problem with this, start to write whatever is in your head. If you can’t do that you need to either train in the craft or change careers or take up something easy like SEO 😉

You need the knowledge and you need the process. This creates the state of mine, the 1,000 yard stare any content idea creator develops after a while in the trenches.

Some people think coming up with ideas is easy, but unless you are actually pushing the ideas out into the world, then they will only ever stay an idea in your head.