Tesla car in space.
The images speak for themselves.
Not understanding the fundamentals and over complicating the process
You don’t need a third, the above is enough. Now I have saved you time, go make some money.
But let’s look at this in more detail.
A specific mistake may be that a beginner looks at all the content that is being produced, notes that certain types of content are more common and think that is the type of content to create.
The flipside of that mistake is when a content type is perceived to be ineffective because it is so common. The listicle is a prime example.
Not creating content that works, because the creator has a personal prejudice against that type of content. An example is our friend, “the listicle”. If you work in creating content with a view to drive traffic, you will learn to loath the listicle. But the hard truth is
NO ONE CARES WHAT YOU THINK
It may be that in your experience you think this type of content is not effective, but that is a different process than thinking, “urgh, I hate listicles, they’re grody to the max.”
The best content creator, in my experience is the one who likes getting under the skin of others, the one who likes to get a rise out of people, the one who needs a reaction to validate their existence. Good content creators are troubled people.
Having a tool means you don’t have to work as hard, it has the promise of saving you time. This is why the idea of the “tool” is very attractive. A blog post that details a list of tools will always work as a type pf content, the more comprehensive the list the better, even if most of the list is not read.
This is because each tool highlighted, each description is a little promise that it will save you time and any content that saves you time gets shared, bookmarked and linked to, more than one that doesn’t.
Which is probably why we see so much content detailing the many tools available to us, such as 12 Free SEO Tools. A blog post I did recently and which drove a nice bit of traffic to this blog.
But you don’t need any tools to do good SEO.
You don’t need tools to create great content.
Yes of course a tool is useful as a mechanical aid to perform a specific task, but excitement over tools is similar to when the DIY nut goes to the store and ends up spending hours going through the specs of the drills, when all she needed was a hole.
It’s really about what happens in the brain of the reader at the time they consume the content
We are wired to compare things, to sort things. The SEO mindset puts this on hyperdrive and so when asked to create content will head to the tools. Therefore if you want to attract the SEO to your blog, create plenty of listicles.
The most simple tool and probably the most effective when it comes to creating content is pen and paper.
But that just sounds boring, doesn’t it?
I often come to a point where I have used up all the obvious ideas for content to create.
The solution to the creative process is the one that works for you. It’s about trying a few out before you find one that fits. This is such a common problem with writers and creative artists that there are many ideas out there about how to get to the point there you have a pile of workable ideas.
My personal solution to this problem is this
Whatever works is what works. If the ideas are not flowing, pick a solution you have never used before and see how it works. With a mind to developing your own personal box of solutions.
There are are many mistakes that will be made when a beginner, and don’t let them slow you down when it comes to creating content. Mistakes are there as aids to learning, if no mistakes are being made you are probably not trying hard enough.
At least as a beginner you wont have a huge amount of people watching what you do and picking it apart.
People share content, love content, devour content because of the emotional reaction they get from it. It’s why polished, visually correct fails all the time. The key to content that works is when it crawls right down inside the brain and awakens something primeval.
I’m going to be writing more on this subject and how to use empathic focus when creating content for marketing.
Install the smartphone, picture filter app, try them all out and see what happens.
I took a picture of a sunrise in Cornwall and put it through my filter software to see what came out and the results are interesting.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The story was also reported in numerous news outlets including:
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.
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:
And the story is pretty much created for you, you simply do more research and curation.
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:
Once you get in the right frame of mind ideas will flow, albeit as long as you are consuming excellent 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
This is a 60 second website review for the Raw Chocolate Company
I’m taking quick, video snapshots of website design, usability and brand building of websites I think are worthy of sharing. This is intended to be a series that will help to give an overview of numerous great websites and highlight the good stuff they do. I can give your website a video review and add it to the review section of Cornwallseo.com for a low introductory offer. Click here for more information.
The website is the therawchocolatecompany.com, it sells snacks based on the raw food concept and follows an ethical path, sourcing foods from Fairtrade suppliers.
* Clarity of purpose
* Fresh design
* Strong brand image and ethos
* Aspirational tribe, strong lifestyle image
Products – Raw chocolate bar
The design of this website is clear, fresh and tells me exactly what it wants me to do. It wants me to buy one of it’s products and love the brand.
How it all started
The founder gives insight into lifestyle and ethos, and the desire to create an ethical and aspirational brand, which builds emotional attachment to the brand as we respond to personal information in a positive way.
The design is vibrant and reflects the products in its design without being cliched, cynical or too obvious.
Our story Brand ambassador – Kjersti Buaas
The “our story”, section, allows us to experience the journey the founder has taken and a look at the lifestyle of evangelist, Kjersti Buaas, as we are taken on a journey of snowboarding and wild Icelandic fjords.
The website supports charities and causes, listing them on the site, and you get the feeling this is not just marketing, but they actually mean it, giving you a further reason to love the brand.
How could the site improve:
The blog could do with some work. For example a 12 minute interview with the founder was linked to, this should have been embedded into the site with further thoughts from the founder given.
Most sites fail to give clarity of purpose and instead present you with a confusing amount of options, which leads to cognitive confusion. This can induce a negative emotional response, which is then associated to the brand.
This connection with life style re-enforces the themes of the tribe of health, living life to the full and having great experiences. This is the emotional image that the target tribe aspires to. Without concentrating on the fact that the food may well be eaten in an office cubicle under fluorescent lighting, whilst thinking of the hellish commute which awaits.
The biggest asset to the brand is the founder, Linus Gorpe and the website reveals enough of him to want you wanting more. I expect a book and possibly a TV show to follow. But I would like to see “A day in the life of….” stories on the blog. I would also like to see some of the rabid fans (which I am sure exists) interviewed on the blog.
Businesses such as this have the tendency to stop when they get to the objective of giving the founders a specific lifestyle. But you get the feeling that the people behind this business and website are evangelists and such will build a strong brand and tribe.
This site achieves its objectives very well. It is more about building a tribe and brand, rather than worrying too much about Google and in this social media world that can only be a good thing.
No Raw chocolate Goji berries were exchanged for this review. Although if I am sent some I will be very happy.
This Tribal Website review was given as an example of the content reviews Cornwallseo.com offers, learn how to give your website a 60 Second Video Review right now.
When creating a piece of content repeat the concept in as many flavours as possible. This will sharpen the parts that work and reveal fresh and unique aspects of the idea.
In the video we have Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan playing with the idea of the announcement of a television drama with Trevor Eve. What is interesting is how many times it is repeated just a little be differently to find that sweet spot. We should approach web content the same way.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
But what does a “Cheeky Nandos” mean?
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.
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 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.