What can Don Draper teach us about Creating Content

Yes, I was a Mad Men fan. Everything that needs to be said about the show has already been said, by people with larger expense accounts than mine.

Seeing a distilled wisdom presented in the infographic below, I realise how much it told us about the creative process and you can easily apply this to modern content creation. Not only that but I like how it takes apart the process.

The thing that resonates with me, is “get in the frame of mind”. Storytelling is a natural, innate skill that most humans have buried just beneath the surface. It’s not so much mechanical as it is printed in our DNA, we simply need to feel it.

Of course, language is mechanical and rule based, but too many rules stifle the creativity. If Don Draper taught us anything it was that if you never break the rules, you will never fulfil your creativity.

Building Links with Quality Content

People talk about “quality” all the time. Quality links, quality content etc., without really defining what they actually mean when they talk about quality content.

Mostly it’s just blather.

My definition of quality content, is that it contains the specific elements which together, creates something that is magnetic to a viewers attention. It’s not about how the piece looks, it’s about the positive reaction of the viewer.

I’ve seen companies stacked to the rafters with seemingly intelligent people spend over £10k for a piece of content that is nice and shiny, only to attract 15 people. The content usually put together by a trendy young thing from Hoxton who rides a single geared bike and spends over £50 a month on hair products.

The rules of great content is still old school, human interest does not change because it lives online. The primal brain still sits in the driving seat.

So if you sell plumbing supplies online and get into content marketing, you become a publisher. You need to think like a publisher, you cannot think like someone who sells plumbing supplies.

It’s the main thrust of what I teach over at Linkbait Coaching, the trick is mostly about getting the mind set. Some are already in the mode, others have the claw their way to it. But it can be taught.

Everyone can learn how to linkbait.

Look at this great piece of content, David Cameron with Pasties. The idea is simple, the execution without fuss and yet it’s pulled in some great links with very little input. This is because the creator gets it, and I have to say that they are indeed a member of Linkbait Coaching and killing it.

It may seem simple to come up with these ideas, but only if you are in the right frame of mind And I have to say that being in the right frame of mind means you sometimes have to act in a counter intuitive way when it comes to e-commerce.

You can have commercial messages to be alongside a piece of linkbait but it does not help and often hinders the progress of a piece of content.

It’s not just about publishing something shocking or scandalous, it must be carefully crafted and go through a set of processes that lead you to linkbaiting success.

Topical, news focussed content can get a lot of links relative to the amount of effort. Right now we are going deep with the Olympics and ramping up the US Election, which looks to be a good one linkbaiting wise. If only Michelle Bachmann becomes Mitts’ running mate. Heaven!

If you can’t afford the huge fees of Linkbait Coaching membership, follow the Twitter feed, usually one or two ideas are published each day.

May your links be many and aged.

Content Marketing Inspiration on the sofa No.1

Gillian Anderson in a Manky Wedding Dress

It helps to let the mind wonder and randomly roam in search of inspiring content. Whilst sitting on my leather sofa with my iPad whilst watching the Gillian Anderson in a manky wedding dress, as one is want to do at Christmas.

I came across a few bits of content which I thought interesting, downloaded a drawing App and scrawled thoughts all over them. Tweeting them I realised this may be useful for people looking for a kick start and may make it a regular thing.

Content idea 1
Content idea 1
Content Idea 2
Content Idea 1
I did have a moment of, “why didn’t I think of this”. The problem with stuff like this is how to monetise it. Getting the eyeballs and the links if the easy part.

Although I am amazed at some of the fake stuff that did get linked to this year, mostly by newspapers. Shame I can’t share.

Image Credit BBC

Why Stumbleupon is not Dead

A quick look around the blogosphere and there are a number of posts about Stumbleupon being dead. When what they really mean to say is, “I can’t get Stumbleupon to do what I want it to do so it must be dead.”

There is of course an overuse of the “Dead”, when it comes to describe something they think no longer works. For me dead equates the end, finality, nothing left, no coming back.

When perhaps what they mean to say is, Stumbleupon has got a slight head cold.

Here are some quick stats on Stumble traffic from a site I look after.

Stumble traffic
Stumble traffic

Now of course, Stumble traffic isn’t the same s all traffic, in fact most traffic from one place tends to have it’s own unique flavour.

Stumble traffic tends to decide more quickly if they want to leave or not, you have less time to grab them. A lot of people simply complain about this saying that Stumbleupon traffic is just surfing through and does not monetise. But that’s the wrong way of looking at it. More useful to say, OK, I accept that I need to craft content to appeal to the stumbler.

Don’t blame the traffic, blame the content.

Stumble traffic is human as any other, if you give them a tickle they are going to smile like any other humans. They laugh, they cry, they fart and they spend money.

So try not to come up with excuses about why you can’t and try to develop ways in which you can sate the desires of this fast moving, but very alive bunch.

Target your Linkbait Audience

Rather than produce your content first and then go look for an audience for it, why not find what the audience wants and produce content for that audience?

It’s amazingly obvious and so simple that it shocks me to see that the majority of people blogging, producing web content and even linkbait do not seem to do it.

I understand why this is. I have done it myself, I still do it. It’s because we think we know what people want us to write. It comes down to the ego. And there is nothing more egotistical than a blogger.

Here’s the thing. It’s not what you think you know that is important. It’s what you know. Most times your knowledge will not live up to your desired results.

You have to go out into the woods and sniff the trees.

It may be that you have spent so much time in your space you have built enough instinct and experience into your mind set you can just crack one off whenever you want. An article that is.

When faced with writing for a subject I know little of I spend hours and hours researching, you have to burn bytes to be able know what you are talking about, or at least convince people you know what you are talking about.

Most people do not invest the time in their subject or their target market to produce a piece of content which will get links. Which is great, because all we have to do to rise to the top is to simply read, read and read some more.

Soak in that information like a sponge. Suck it in and digest.

Your target market for a piece of linkbait should by studied, observed, examined, scrutinised, watched – to enable you to kno their desires, prejudices, proclivities, ambitions etc.

What are they fond of, what fascinates and excites them? What is it that motivates them to click through to a story, to link to a web page, to even take out their credit card from their leather wallet to buy your home made Gooseberry Jam you have started to sell online.

It’s simple, but I constantly see content where the target audience has been given the attention of a gnat on sugar coated crack.

Know your target audience.