How to Compete with Kim Kardashian’s Ass

kardashian

The competition for your website content is not only content from other websites in the same niche.

You are also competing with:

  • Buzzfeed.com
  • Netflix
  • Twitter
  • Angry Birds
  • Facebook
  • World of Warcraft
  • Email
  • Lunch
  • Plants Vs Zombies
  • Huffingtonpost.com
  • and last but not least, Kim Kardashian’s Ass

The point is, don’t just think about the very small space that is your target website niche. Any niche is small compared to all the content that people are bombarded daily with and all this content is competing for the attention of your target. More content than a target may be interested in is being produced each day, this is what you are competing with when creating content.

When I was growing up – it was not that different to this Hovis advert – we had three TV channels to choose from, and to buy a newspaper, book or magazine you actually had to go outside and visit the shop, facing the problems of actually having to interact with people.

Effort and energy on the part of the reader had to be expended to be exposed to the content they wanted, this may have meant having to be in front of the TV at a specific time, or walk into town to buy the latest 2000AD.

Content creators back then (were not called “content creators”) had a lot less to compete with. The effort of publishing and actually getting the content in front of your target in the form of a magazine or TV program was usually enough. You didn’t really need to think about marketing that content like you do now, because the barrier to shipping was huge.

Now the barrier to shipping is a few mouse clicks.

To get traffic to a website you simply need to curate a blog post around Kim Kardashian’s Ass. Not that I am recommending that, but I want to highlight how easy it is to create content that people will be interested in and that TV, Tablets, Movies, etc. are also competing for the attention of your target.

90% of your content is useless. I make this claim after years of looking at clients and prospective clients websites and being asked to provide content marketing consultation. Most content is created by dead eyed copywriters, chained to the desk between 9 – 5, who care little about the words flowing from their keyboard and more about hitting the required word count.

Most content is without:

Passion
Usefulness

Most content does not have a chance, even if you only compare it with the daily output within that particular website’s niche, let alone competing with all the other great content attracting your target audience.

Beware those who say, “content is king”. They just don’t understand the space.

That was great in a time where Kings were rare, nowadays the Kings outnumber the peasants.

The solution is to have a Content Marketing Strategy.

It’s a fancy term isn’t it, one that is designed to wow and impress. What it means is that all your content shares one specific aim, which is tied up with your business model, your brand strategy and all sorts of other management speak guff. It’s something that goes down to the bones of what your business is about.

I know this kind of stuff is hard for a lot of website owners and business people to get their head around, I go through this each time I consult with clients on this matter.

It’s all about the Strategic Plan and using a combined forces mentality to build a machine that will compete with the posterior of any reality TV show star.

In a future post I will detail what a strategic content plan should look like.

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9 Keys to Effective Content Marketing

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1. Content has to have passion

2. Content should have a compounding interest effect

3. Content should be seen as a long term asset

4. Content should inform the reader of how to feel about your brand

5. Content creation should involve building a network of fans

6. Content should deliver a measurable and effective ROI

7. Content should be unique

8. Content should resonate with the targeted reader

9. All content should be part of a strategic content plan

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Create Linkbait like you are Channeling Elmore Leonard, adding Hookers and Xbox along the way

This week one of my favourite writers, Elmore Leonard died.

His work makes for a great read. His stories flowed like an electric eel going down the Alton Towers log flume. Along with James Ellroy and other American writers he really helped me nail my writing and ultimately my linkbait.

What these guys do is reach down deep into the brain and bring it to the open and do it with wit and intelligence.

I wrote a story back in 2008, some of you will remember it, some of you may not have heard about it.

It got a lot of attention.

ralph3

Some people did not like what I did and even went to the extreme of saying I should go to prison for it.
Matt Cutts even made me the subject of a Keynote talk about such marketing tactics.
All for few hundred words of pure fiction.

What I learned from that time is the power of the written (OK typed, but written sounds better) word and how it can be used to get people to react.

I don’t know if it was the biggest linkbait ever, it got 10K links and mentions in every mainstream media I can think of. But it’s certainly one that people don’t forget.

One of the puritanical nutters who at the time were saying that such work is the spawn of Satan just reminded me of it.

The story is quite simple.I had a short story knocking around my head that I had not used when I was in my creative writing, poverty induced period. I had a client that wanted some linkbait so I wrote it as spoof news and posted it. With zero indication that it wasn’t actual news, it was blatant and beautiful hoax.

As the piece was written in a ” too good to be true, this is nuts mode”, I expected people to quickly figure out it was not proper news and just a bit of fun. This did not happen, you see the article what designed to engage with the primal brain, it was littered with psychological hooks that would keep people reading and keep people thinking long after.

And it worked.

Back in the day, getting a front page digg was all you needed to do to launch a bit of linkbait, nowadays it’s a bit more fractured, but still doable.

A mainstream journalist picked it up and of course did not check the story, rewrote it and put it in their newspaper. With of course no accreditation to where it came from.

And then it kind of went mental.

It was picked up by as many people as I could even think of and I had people contacting me from places like Greece, saying they heard it on the radio.

The results were huge.

And then, just as that was dying down, Matt Cutts hinted that Google was not going to allow websites to benefit from stories that are not true. And of course things went mental again, with a good write up about this from Lisa Barone.

Which was bigger news than the original story.

The debate over if this kind of marketing was ethical or not raged for weeks, with a number of people foaming at the mouth doing their “burn the witch” routine.

Planting an untrue story in the media is, I agree unethical. But when it’s crafted as a funny story that hurts no one, does not sell a product and includes Texan’s of restricted growth trying to get laid, Hookers and pizza delivery, less so. It’s completely missing the point to start thinking along the ethical/unethical argument.

What is far more interesting is how the human brain craves a good story and how newspapers create not-exactly-true stories. And Google loves this, it gives these newspapers huge authority, to the point where SEO agencies have to buy links in the online version of the newspaper, planting a story that promotes their client.

Here is Fox news doing a piece on the story.

And Simon Mayo did a bit on Radio 1


I don’t talk about this stuff publicly anymore, not because I am ashamed and think it unethical, I am extremely proud of the work, and as for it being unethical, well that’s just silly.

I don’t talk about this because it’s a technique that most cannot do well. Some can and a lot of people have contacted me privately to tell me of how they created a completely faked story that got traction in the news media.

Something like this is extremely sophisticated and hard to pull off, although it happens more than you realise it and yes, I have done a few of these since.

Now I mostly consult with companies how to utilise content marketing for their websites and create content that gets publicity. You note I did not say links, because its people you need to target, not links. The links come after you attract the people, not the other way round.

I do sometimes talk about this marketing event on Linkbaitcoaching.com as I am able to teach the technique in a more detailed way. A number of people I have coached have gone on to create thousands of links using it.

In conclusion, if you are going to create linkbait. You may as well write it about a 13 year old boy coming back from a World of Warcraft tournament who wants to score chicks and play Xbox.

And if you want to know more about this, Google it, go read all about it, good and bad and then join linkbaitcoaching.com to learn how to implement such techniques into your content.

Why Linkbait and Content Marketing are Basically the same thing

A recent post on Mashable on entitled, “Stop Linkbait Before it Ruins Content Marketing” by Sam Slaughter.

linbait-v-contentmarketing

OMG, you mean Content Marketing can be ruined?

I have two positive things to say about this. First, what a cool name, “Sam Slaughter”. A quick whiz around the intertubes reveals quite a few Sam Slaughters though. The part of me that looks out of the window to stare into the distance yearns for one of them to be working in an abattoir whilst secretly writing crime fiction.

Second positive thing, it’s a great headline. Ironically baiting those who wave both the Linkbaiting flag and the Content Marketing flag. People usually get excited about such stuff when it is relative to the amount of food they can throw on the table after a day hunting on the Internet hinterland.

I love how it suggests that Linkbait should or even can be stopped, as if it’s a rampaging, well hung bull smashing through the delicate china of the content marketing shop.

And ruining “content marketing”, that’s very interesting. No, I am not being sarcastic, I really mean it. Because it is setting up a very interesting narrative in the brain. What the headline is actually doing is pandering to opposing prejudices and then exciting them in different ways. Very clever stuff.

If you are a content marketing flag waver you will feel indignant that the backstreet ruffian, Linkbait is going to ruin the Golden Goose that is content marketing. If you are a Linkbaiter you will feel indignant that any will stop Linkbait working and that the deity of media communications will throw the switch and make Linkbait work no more.

But are you thinking what I am thinking?

This article is a piece of very good linkbait, the kind of which Mashable has been built on.

Sam poses the question.

How do we create standards that ensure the quality of content stays high?

It’s quite simple Mr. Slaughter, we don’t.

There is already a mechanism for the ensuring the quality of content stays high and that is if the techniques work or not. I am in the business of training people to create content which is attractive, engaging and gets a reaction. If it does not fulfill this basic criteria then it fails.

We can label a piece of media communications linkbait, content marketing, spin or whatever, but what we call these labels are mostly for selling books, membership sites, and for the writing of Mashable headlines. Even Sam points out that such labels are vague:

The problem is that “content,” in this context, is so ill-defined and poorly understood that unscrupulous content creators flood the web with low-quality schlock meant to appeal to base online instincts. Or, as I heard someone ask recently:

The problem is that “content,” in this context, is so ill-defined and poorly understood that unscrupulous content creators flood the web with low-quality schlock meant to appeal to base online instincts. Or, as I heard someone ask recently, “Does content marketing have a side-boob problem?”

Lets ignore the fact I have no idea what a “side-boob problem” is and confirms that I do not run with the uber hip neoglogistic crowd. No professional Linkbaiter of Content marketer is interested in  ” low-quality schlock”, because it simply does not work long term and it’s the long term where the big payoff lays

These articles are useful as they force us to question what the labels actually mean and discover what is working when it comes to persuasion communication.

Persuasion Communication, is the fundamental term we should be using, but it doesn’t scan and it isn’t fluffy. The term sits under the aim of nearly all media that we see every say.  We write and create media to persuade the reader on a number of levels.

I must say though, the mashable article did raise the ire of some of the linkbaiters on Linkbait Coaching. Which created a great learning opportunity.

It’s all about the Comments

I find the comments of blog posts a very interesting place to understand the mind set of people in the space.  The comments on this post reveal a savvy audience.

Mxx points out:

Linkbaiting..you mean like today Mashable’s:

15 Young Adult Books Every Adult Should Read
14 Tips to Nail Down Demographics
11 Words We Learned on the Wienermobile
10 TMI Parent Moments on Facebook
11 Musical Vine Videos That’ll Get Stuck in Your Head
10 Mom Blogs Full of Inspiring Advice

and Andre Dubreuil says:

I find it highly ironic to read an article decrying link baiting on Mashable and I’m sure I’m not the only one. There’s hardly any room for real articles on this site among all the insignificant top x lists and Google+ is a ghost town kind of rehashed nonsense that is found in here at the best of time

Which gives me hope that the crowd gets the concepts behind this post and understands the fundamentals at work here.

Although I must confess I am regarded more as a linkbaiter, than a content marketer, I find the terms interchangeable and which one I use depends more upon the person I am speaking to and their mind set.

Is it me or have the articles on Mashable got better recently, or perhaps I only notice the stuff I want to notice. It’s still a great place to go and learn a few things and whilst engaging writers like Sam Slaughter are hanging out there I will be reading.

 

Nissan Datsun Newsjacking alert

Example 1 of a Newsjacking alert from the forthcoming Newsjacking Alert service

The niche is the automotive industry, but could be used for any niche if you have the right angle. We find content works best when it’s a similar niche, but if now relevant news is around you can still get a great bit of content created that is triggered by something that is outside your niche.

This piece of news from the BBC website:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23313271

It was one of the marques that helped Japanese carmakers establish themselves in Europe and the US.In the 1970s, the fuel efficient Datsun became the car of choice for the everyday motorist fed up with unreliable gas-guzzlers.

Now, more than 30 years after Nissan decided to kill off the brand, the Datsun has been reborn.

On Monday, a new model was unveiled in India aimed at first-timers keen to get on the car-owning ladder.

The new 1.2-litre five-seat hatchback will go on sale in India next year for under 400,000 rupees ($6,670; £4,500). It will also be sold in Indonesia and Russia.

The Nissan Datsun used to be the favourite of minicab driver back in the day.

You can see the attached screenshot for Google trends and the increased interest.

datsun

Cotnent deas:

  • 10 Reasons the Nissan Datsun was the best car to steal
  • 10 Why you could never get a girl whilst driving a Datsun
  • 10 Ways the New Nissan Datsun will make a great limo.

Note: The idea is to get the keywords into the title so that the freshly indexed content will soak up some of the increased searches. You want to give an added element to the story to allow further media content to pick up your story and refer to you.

Further ideas:
Try to find the oldest man ever to own a Datsun
People who have been born in a Datsun
Celebrity owners

Further links:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2…d-india-russia
http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/News/Se…-new-city-car/
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-0…hatchback.html
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/07/15/d…india-w-video/
http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intel…of-the-datsun/