Content Marketing

Awesome content is not enough

Awesome content is the baseline, it’s where you start.

But what is “awesome content”?

I was emailed to ask if I wanted to see an “awesome infographic” from a content provider. They looked to be a high-quality outfit and the email was nice and polite if a little dull and with no real benefit to me. So I wrote them a reply and thought I would share it with you.
I get these emails all the time and they are frighteningly similar. The thing is, it wouldn’t take much more effort to get a better response. I am sure their infographic was truly fab, although I tend to reserve awesome for things like the Grand Canyon or Rowes Cornish pasty.

Hi [name redacted].

Appreciate the opportunity to see your “awesome infographic”.

To be honest, I am swamped with requests to see “awesome” infographics all day long.
In fact, I think we are all drowning right now in awesome content.

Thing is, “awesome” is no longer enough, and what I mean by that is that how awesome your content is not relevant.

I need more than awesome.

You may already be familiar with the term, content shock.

What is needed is to add “relationship” to content marketing.

You and I currently have a relationship based on one email.
You see where I am going with this?

I am not aware that you have done anything for me and so feel no need to reciprocate. You have probably read Persuasion by Cialdini and his thesis on reciprocity.

I realise that the email you sent me is probably a cookie cutter email sent to a list of maybe thousands. And that is done because it does return something, but it’s not the best way to do things. And also, the fact that the email says, “we are about to enter 2018”, makes me think either your email responder is slow or you haven’t had the time or inclination to change the copy. It is after all the little things which make the difference.

Forming relationships with people, getting them to like and respect you is a longterm play and I realise that most agencies and most in-house outreach people do not go for the long term. But these types of relationships bring the most rewards.

It is interesting when most requests come in that there is not even a tweet or a retweet of my work, and yet that would be a free and easy way to get my attention, to give me something. At the very least this would help grease the wheels for your email, to enable it to have a more receptive consideration.

I think most are under the impression that creating great content and letting people know about it is enough, it’s not. They get by with the ease of brute force communication signalling, hitting as many contacts as possible.

Thing is, you probably only needed to persuade one person of high influence and let their tribe do the rest.

Hope you appreciate my comments.


3 Essential Elements of a Successful Blog Post

A successful blog post is one that achieves the task it was created for.

It could be to attract the attention and change the mind of just one person or it could be to excite millions of people to come together and perform one act of kindness.

Whatever the goal, I have identified three elements for success every blog post has.

  • One tree in a forest of trees
  • Social glue within the tribe
  • Delights the brain of a minimum, viable amount of readers

One tree in a forest of trees

First blog post in a brand new blog of a non-famous person will fail.

It is the first tree in what will be a forest of trees. Your tree will not be judged alone, it will be judged within the context of other trees. A person with a horde of fans and followers already has the forest built. When that first tree is planted, it is not alone.

This means a blogger must be willing to put the hours into growing her blog before that one blog post will become a blog post.

A blogger does not have a successful blog post in isolation, it is supported by the body of work which has gone before.

Each tree you plant, nurture and grow makes your forest bigger.

Social glue within the tribe

Human beings desire to connect, communicate and cooperate.

We are many tribes belonging to the one tribe of humanity. We go forward together. A blog must belong to a tribe of many. It cannot be successful if it is a tribe of one.

A blog is a communication tool, it communicates and to others in the tribe and hopefully persuades.

It is a transportation device for taking a thought from the blogger to the reader. The tribe the blog wants to be a part of is the recipient of these thoughts.

A blog post gives ideas, creativity, inspiration, and guidance to the tribe. It becomes the glue that helps hold the tribe together, to enable the tribe to achieve its goals.

A successful blog post adds to the library of the tribe, it is another notch on the communal totem.

Delights the brain of a minimum viable amount of readers

A change in the state of mind must occur in the reader, to allow the reader to know the blog post was worthy of her time.

The number of readers a successful blog post needs could be 1 or it could be 1,000,000. It depends on the specific objective of that blog post.

If you need to persuade one person to change their mind and perform a specific task for you and your blog post only existed for that purpose, then if that occurs the blog post is a success.

If your intention is to get 10,000 people to download an app that will change the world, and you do that, then your blog post is a success.

When you are starting out fresh, you have no readers. But you will. You write for those who seek to know you and desire to dig in deep.

It may be a future post attracts but the past blog posts change them from a reader to a fan.

Your forest of blog posts will enable you to create fans, not the one successful post.

Learn what delights, understand the number of people you need to attract. Focus on those who the blog post is for.

Are there other things which make a blog post successful?


But, I can’t think of any that belong to all successful blog posts.

it helps to be mindful of these three elements when creating your blog posts. We do tend to over complicate things, forgetting that simple truths are often what makes something work.

You could argue that “being useful”, is an essential element. But I would say it belongs to the element of “Social glue within the tribe”. Being useful helps the tribe, it improves your standing with the tribe.

There is much detail within these three elements worth exploring.

It is worth remembering though.

You grow your forest one tree at a time.

Content Marketing

An infographic to help your content strategy

Content marketing is not simply about building content. It’s about employing a specific strategy to employ content and social media marketing to improve the emotional response when people come into contact with your brand.

By using a mix of effective, proven content marketing techniques you can increase the way people feel about your brand, enabling positive reactions as they come into contact. Increasing the chances of building links and creating social media shares and mentions.

Content strategy


Emily Jarvis Christoph Sisson Jay Bear Douglas Holt Peter Noel Murray Joe Pulizzi

Content Marketing

What is the future of Content Marketing

Content marketing is war


Content marketing is street fighting, no holds barred, open warfare.

Content used to be cool.

But that time is gone

it’s no longer art, it’s no longer elegant. Yes the good stuff still exists but it gets drowned out. No one seems prepared to sift through the bytes of shite that are vomited daily.

It’s a myth that good, “quality content” rises to the top. You don’t do content marketing if you love content. You do it if you love the sound of the screams of your competitor make as you rip their eyeballs out.

One of the problems that people have when talking about this subject is they use the past to try and determine what we should do now. Myself included.

What is going to happen in the next 10 years is going to be completely different to what has happened in the past 10 years.

I don’t know what will happen, but I know it will be different.

Therefore, focus on fundamentals.

  1. Help people.
  2. Care about people, and make bloody sure they know you care.
  3. Know your stuff, stay sharp and frosty.

Do those three things and everything else will fall into place.


Someone pointed out that they were confused about this post and that is mentions war and then “caring about people”. The war is of course metaphorical and directed at the other content your content is fighting against. I realise that using such aggressive terms whilst advising to use empathy may seem contradictory. I do not.

Indeed, when people go to war they care very much for the people they are fighting for. When you create a piece of content it helps to care about the people you are writing for and not such for the content you are compete against.

I think the idea that you are going to war against the competition is a valid one, perhaps I should have made this more clear. It is important to be able to use criticism as fuel to move forward.

I hope this makes things clearer.

Content Marketing

What are the foundations of content marketing?

Content marketing and what it is and what it isn’t.

  • Blogging is not content marketing.
  • Tweeting is not content marketing.
  • Facebook advertising is not content marketing.

Of course the tools above could be what you use to implement content marketing, they are still only tools.

Content marketing has a problem, if everyone follows the same strategy, using the same tools, creating the same content, connecting with the same followers then you will most likely fail.

It’s not that you simply “do” content marketing. But that you must do it better than your competitor.

Not only that, but you must persuade the audience you are communicating with that your content is worthy of their time and therefore their tweet, link, facebook like, brand connection…etc.

Which highlights the two foundations of content marketing.

Communication and persuasion.

  1. You must communicate the message, clearly and effectively. You need to transport your message into the brain of the person you are communicating with. If this does not happen, you have failed.
  2. You must persuade the person you are communicating with to perform a specific form of action which will meet the objectives of the project. If you do not manage to persuade the minimum amount of people. You have failed.

Everything else, blogging, tweeting, networking…etc is an enabler to allow communication and persuasion to work.

This is what the foundational elements of content marketing are, communication and persuasion.

So when you try to improve your content marketing, don’t just focus on the using the tools, focus on the actual things that make up content marketing.

It is by improving your communication and persuasion skills, and then picking the tool for the job, that you get good at content marketing.

Content Marketing

The Secret to ranking a website

Sapiens seo

I am currently reading, Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harariand quite early on he gives us his take on how the Homosapien became the dominant species on the Planet Earth.

It struck me that this reason is the same reason people get websites to rank.

Which is.

“The ability of getting vast numbers of humans to cooperate using the power of stories”.

Stories in the context of religion, nations, tribes, companies. All exist because we imagine them and we do it in cooperation with each other.

To rank a website you need other people to hold a story in their head. That story will help in them giving your website a link, a retweet, a Facebook like or whatever reaction you need.

To create a story that sticks, you need people to believe in it, and believe and trust in the messenger.

We may think it’s all about seo, social media, internet and shiny technology. But really the roots of how to rank a websites are buried deep within our human psyche and why about 70,000 years ago we became the dominant species on our planet.

You don’t just “do” content marketing, you use the very technique that makes us Human.

Content Marketing

How to beat Pokemon Go with content marketing

Morning thoughts
This is a cool photo from, a new dawn fits with the mood.

It’s 5.30 and i am sitting in my garden at dawn, under a half moon. It’s quiet apart from loud chatter from the garden birds. Easy to think at this time of the day. Another swig of freshly made coffee and I am ready to tap something out.

I was going to call this article, “How to beat the ass of Kim Kardashian,” but that does not scan right. Plus I have done Kim Kardashian’s ass before, which also does not scan right. Perhaps I should leave Kim Kardashian’s ass alone.

So I go with Pokemon Go, what can go wrong with that?

Today you are going to take Pokemon Go and beat it into the ground, at least you think you are.

Because you are going to publish a blog post, what was it called? “10 ways to blah blah blah”.

You have finally finished the article. You are happy, even though you know the blog post will fail. You are happy because you know it meets your primary goal, which is to get your dumb ass of a boss off your back.

It wont work of course because people are not interested in reading “10 Ways to blah blah blah”. But your dumb ass of a boss, the marketing manager doesn’t realise that.

As a blogger for hire, a word slave, you know that the end reader is not whom you should be pleasing. The person you need to please is your dumb ass boss, who always requires stuff to be done at the last minute, who has no thought for strategic planning or connecting up with what was produced last week. Plus each time he goes to a conference he comes back with a new technique, be it longer copy, every blog post being a list, infographics… etc.

Unfortunately no one yet has told him that content marketing is dead, that it’s more about building a better product these days. You are wedged between the ass of Kim Kardashian and Pokemon Go. Or at least your content is. In other words, no one will notice your blog post. But they will be hunting down an content to do with Pokemon Go.

The answer the marketing manager yells is “more promotion”. “Lets buy sackfuls of the stuff”. As if promotion can be bought off the shelves of the local Kwicky Mart.

“Your cousin once had a drink with that journalist on the Times,” the marketing manager yells at the social media intern. “Get him on the phone now, there’s a drink in it for you.”

But these days, unless the story is about Pokemon Go and physical injury, the journalist will not be interested.

In this scenario, when the media has moved on (as it always does) from the craze of Pokemon Go, the marketing manager yells out, “We need Pokemon Go content here people, has any one thought of an infographic.”

If this sounds like your boss, I empathise.

Content marketing is not dead.

But your content marketing is dead, or never gets seen which is the same thing. Simply because there is too much competition for the attention of people out there and no amount of promotion is going to work.

It’s no longer about the content, it’s about the product.

“But I make content,” you explain.

No, what you are really making is a product. Great content should be seen as a stand alone product. It must earn it’s right to exist in the Universe. Everything else is filler, and as a blogger for hire you know all about that.

Content marketing is seen by some as marketing the product the company is selling. This is the wrong mindset, unfortunately the marketing manager wants the company product marketed and does not care about the content, but is told that content marketing is the way. But this leads to a failed content marketing campaign, because the content is never given enough investment in time and money to work.

The often cited example of content marketing is the Michelin Guide, but this is a stand alone product. It has always stood alone with no direct competition and is nothing to do with the selling of tires.

Do you really think that content marketing with blog posts is going to achieve a successful ROI?

Blog posts can support the buying process as a consumer searches for specific, narrow, product information. But as a stand alone product that changes your emotional relationship between the consumer and the brand, c’mon, forget about it.

The solution to this problem is simple:

  1. You find what the crowd hungers for.
  2. You produce that which they desire.
  3. You feed the crowd before the competition turns up.

The content you produce must:

  1. Earn its place in the Universe.
  2. Exist in a space with no or little competition.
  3. Be conceived of as a standalone product.

Very few will get this right, and this is good because those who do will get a very tasty ROI.

I fully accept the irony of the fact that this is a blog post, which in a way it has the purpose of marketing my content marketing services. But that’s not really true, I write this because the issue has been in my mind for a number of months. I help businesses with their communication and persuasion because I enjoy developing solutions to the problems that arise.

So even if no one reads this blog post it has at least enabled me to organise and justify my thoughts.

Thus it has earned it’s right to exist.

Content Marketing

What a Content Marketer needs to know about Pokemon Go

The new thing is Pokemon GO

Pokemon Go logo
As a content marketer it is something you need to know about, because so many people are playing it and seeking information online. It is creating a massive, rabid crowd that will devour content. Whenever these trends explode and reach critical mass there is huge opportunity for anyone who uses content creation to market their brand or business online.

What is Pokemon Go?

It’s an app you download to an iPhone or Android and uses augmented reality to direct you to places in the real world, via a map to collect stuff.

How much does it cost?

Pokemon Go is free

How does Nintendo make money from this?

It’s share price has risen during the first week of its release, increasing the value by $7.5 billion. It also has access to a huge amount of personal data.

Is it available in the UK?

No, as we publish there is no time soon that Nintendo is planning to launch in the UK. As of now, the app is only officially available in the US, Australia, and New Zealand

How popular is this?

Google trends show it’s as nearly as popular as sex. Interest in the keywords of Pokemon Go, sex, Tindr and Snapchat, over the past 30 days.

pokemon trends

When you type in “How popular…” Google suggests puts Pokemon first and Pokemon Go, 3rd.

Pokemon suggest

This from Forbes.

The data gets even more staggering. As of 48 hours ago,Pokemon GO was installed on 5.6% of all Android devices in the United States, and is installed on more Android phones than Tinder (insert “Pokemon is now more popular than sex” joke here). Not only that, but on average users are spending twice the amount of time engaged with Pokemon GO than they are on apps like Snapchat.

Can Pokemon create bad headlines?

Primal brain headlines have already been created such as “Pokemon Go player finds dead body in Wyoming river while searching for a Pokestop” Expect more of this as the media generates headlines to surf the wave of interest in this subject.

How nuts are people for this?

Anecdotal evidence suggests, “very”. Whilst your wife is giving birth to your child, a Pokemon shows up and you have to low key catch it….

pregnant pokemon player


Can local business take advantage of this?

This is big and not to be ignored because you think this is silly.
Whenever something such as this becomes this popular, if you are ahead of the curve you can create attention grabbing content and improve your brand.

pokemon stop


This may do little for passing trade but this image is being used by high authority news sites. Sometimes it’s not about what the thing actually does, but about the sizzle you can create around it.

Even museums can use Pokemon Go to help them, when this museum found Pokemon and Pokestops all over their location, they took screen shots to use in their content marketing.

Museum using pokemon go

Your business may become a Pokemon stop, if this is the case you can create a Lure module to attract other players, this lasts for 30 mins and can be advertised on your Facebook or other social media page.

pokemon lure


This aspect is a fast moving part of the game and more and more ways of local business taking advantage of Pokemon Go are coming to the surface as I type.

This is a fast moving story, as more people use it and they are already using it in number that are making Snapchat look, “megh”, it will be something which could potentially create massive returns for a clever content marketer.

Updates will be blogged about and sent out over the email list.

Get in contact if you need more ideas of how to use Pokemon Go to make your business message sizzle.

****UPDATE 1****

SEO consultant sacked in Singapore for complaining about the unavailability of the game in that region. Via Chris Gilchrist

Some people are so desperate to play this game they are employing a hack.
UK rollout of Pokémon Go delayed – here’s how to get it on iPhone and Android now – Guardian

Pokémon Go: armed robbers use mobile game to lure players into trap – Guardian

Intriguing response from a Dad: “I Don’t Understand Pokemon Go, But I Give It Five Stars For Getting My Dumb Son Out Of The House”

Although some of this may be made up, but even made up stuff is getting shares due to the intense interest of the story.

****UPDATE 2****

Content marketing blog posts about Pokemon GO

3 content marketing lessons from the success of Pokemon Go Author, Kyle Gaw Twitter

3 Pokémon GO Lessons For Social Media Marketers Author, Christian Brink Twitter

How Pokémon Go Is Disrupting Marketing as We Know It Author, Zach Brooke Twitter

Will Pokémon GO become a marketing platform for local businesses? Author, Al Roberts

Pokemon Go, A Marketer’s Dream Author, Jennifer Cario Twitter

How pokemon go might change marketing as we know it Author, Mike Lieberman Twitter

***UPDATE 3***

If you are actually playing it as a game, (as well of researching as a business opportunity of course) you may want to check out these tips on playing.

There are some who say not every business can benefit from using Pokemon Go in their content marketing. But this is about attitude and your mindset. To be effective in creating great content you need to be able to look everywhere, you also need to be able to understand what drives crazes like Pokemon Go and be able to present viable content ideas that protect the brand and yet attract large numbers of the right kind of people.

Content marketing ideas for Pokemon Go:

Tesco could create an article that advises it’s shoppers to play Pokemon Go with safety in mind when in their stores. Highlighting the fact that whilst Tesco wants you to have fun, they care about their shoppers.

Brewdog could produce a “No drinking whilst playing Pokemon Go beer”.

An insurance website could highlight the accidents that could happen whilst playing Pokemon Go. As with the Tesco idea, highlighting that the company cares about their users and making sure the core aspects of their products are being promoted (provision against accidents).

Recruitment websites could collate stories of people spending too much time playing Pokemon Go at work and people who have resigned just to play the game. A twist could be where an employer offers Pokemon Go playing time or even an office league.

Along with the correct mindset, it’s useful to consider what journalists need for their work and how you can help them. If you have an interesting story about Pokemon Go, a journalist could benefit from using it. You simply have to promote them with the right story, at the right time.

***UPDATE 4***

A pizza joint in New York,, has been getting a lot of press mentions by dropping a lure to attract Pokemon and claims sales are up 75%. It’s not the fact that sales are up, but the press attention is what is the real win. Create a sizzle and then create a narrative around that which highlights the original sizzle.

Pokémon Go is helping restaurants and bars make money
Pokémon Go Brings Real Money to Random Bars and Pizzerias
Gotta catch ’em all: Pokemon Go is boosting business for restaurants

Finding new ways to use Pokemon and then using it to get media mentions is an effective way to links and social mentions.

There are enough of these “how business is using Pokemon Go”, to increase brand and revenue for it to be happening everywhere. If the next phase in the roll out of the app is to focus on getting business to optimise their locations by dropping lures and other items which we don’t even know yet, then it makes a lot of sense to add this to the marketing toolbox.

We note in this article from Gizmodo that Nintendo are considering commercial tie ups with the likes of MacDonalds.

Fancy a new career as a PGO, Pokemon Go Optimiser?
it’s only a matter of time before a new job is created to help business to market using Pokemon Go and other augmented reality apps which are obviously now being talked about, could Hogworts be next. A petition for such a Harry Potter game has now been created.

More Pokemon Go links:
If You’re Ignoring Pokémon Go, You’re Making a Huge Business MistakeBusiness owners and marketers can’t afford

A useful map created by, of downtown Austin, Texas. Real estate websites should approach this as a bit of fun, but also consider that it can lead to real links – such as this one – and that although a business owner may not think they are in the Pokemon Go business, they should consider that this is how marketing works online. You create and interesting bit of content and now an SEO blog in Cornwall, UK is now linking to you, adding to your Google authority and possibly giving you a bump in the rankings.
Which is a good thing.
Pokemon Go in Austin: 13 of the Best Places to Catch ’em All

***UPDATE 5***

More useful advice from content marketing bloggers.
Pokémon GO Proof Participatory Content Is A Game Changer!
Pokemon Go?—?Content Marketing Lessons For All Of Us
How Pokemon Go Is Paving the Way for Business
And news of who is making money out of this.
‘Pokemon Go’ could generate billions for Apple
What Pokemon Go & Snapchat Have That Angry Birds Never Did?

Content Marketing Outreach

6 Essential tips to make your Outreach work

Outreach is for people

Implementing effective outreach is easy, but from the examples I see in my email inbox it seems that some find it difficult. Here are a few tips I have learned over the years.

Be a good human

Everything else is mechanical and about the process you use to implement the activity.

I do feel that this should not have to be explained, but it clearly does. We all know the feeling we get when what seems to be a cut and paste, cookie cutter type email lands in our inbox.

Use the persons name you are communicating with.

This is such obvious advice that I feel embarrassed to type it. But the temptation to go nuts with the many tools that are available and blast out a message at the push of a button, tempts the link builder to not have to bother with the social norms of communicating and hope that the scatter gun tactic works. Just as long as the trigger is pulled enough times.

Too much social chit chat and not enough results

The opposite of blasting out the message is one of building relationships with people, but this can also becomes less effective as people enjoy connecting and chatting, forgetting that the point of the exercise is to get the link. But building relationships with people can be very powerful, and the way to be efficient in your communication is to be self aware of when too much chat, is too much.

Show me is far more powerful than tell me

I sometimes note that people put the word “expert” in their Twitter bios. Without any other social proof all this really tells us is that they know how to spell the word “expert”. We base our opinion of someone on the activity they do and what others say about them. It’s the same with outreach, to be effective you must show you can be trusted and show that you care. And if you want to make an impression that you know what you are doing you must show that you are capable. Simply telling the people, “I am an expert in making tiramisu, does not make you an expert tiramisu expert.

Make them an offer they cannot refuse

We don’t have to invoke the horse’s head reference here to make the point. But unless you have something for the person you are trying to influence, why do you think they will do what you want? It is common in the outreach emails I get for people to use cheap psychological sales trick that even a second hand car salesmen would blush at. Such as:

“I have an amazing opportunity for you to inform your readers of our awesome product launch”.
“We are super excited to share the awesome news that you can now blog about our amazing service”.

And on and on it goes, you can fill a whole blog post with examples of this kind of nonsense. And I have to resist coming back to the sender with some snarky remark as I know they are being told to do this by their PR boss who has just nipped out for another two hour lunch with a client.

Offer something real, if it’s a guest post offer, show them the links and social success that your last offering got and make sure that you will not only Tweet about your own guest post but their next few blog posts. Be nice, be generous.

What does amaze me is that people are so stingy with their social shares as if people lose something, in reality it’s the opposite. People respond positively to those who are seen to share.

You have to grind it out and pre-pay for the boredom

Outreach is simple, but it must be done right and it must be done a lot. This means that a highly capable person must be employed to implement. Especially if communication is going back and forth with the person you are trying to influence. I occasionally reply for further information when being outreached to and am shocked at the inept replies I get back.

This is usually because the initial outreach was templated and sent out blindly and the reply is being dealt with by a poorly trained worker. This is why outreach is boring, because you have to have intelligent, socially aware, trained experts to reply to further communication.

Rarely does the initial outreach result in a win. Which is why you need a follow up plan. Of course if your plan is to mass blast as many as possible and go for the numbers, this is not important. But for brands of value this is not an option.

I have being doing outreach, before it was called outreach. The earliest I can think of was in 1999, when I ran a celebrity stock marketing game online and was building links to it with a picture I took of Julia Roberts. She was making the movie, Notting Hill at the time and my street was in it so I created a lot of original content.

The key is communication and persuasion, if you get that right, success will follow.

I offer an outreach service to promote content, I also offer training to help your team become better. Get in touch if you want to get more results.

Content Marketing

Are you losing money over-complicating content marketing?


You have a finite marketing budget and every penny has to work if you are going to compete effectively. The problem is thepeople you want to reach, are greeted with a huge amount of digital noise each day and for your content to reach them it needs to do quite a lot of work.

To get your message to connect to these people, you must find some way to get their attention, get them to come to your website and get them to buy your stuff. Nothing complicated about that. One way to to achieve this is to employ a content marketing strategy.

Sounds sexy doesn’t it?

These days adding the term, “strategic” makes anything sound more powerful. “Kids, we are going to initiate a strategic, ice cream acquisition methodology that will have an intrinsic, synergistic outcome with the soda we are about to drink.”

It’s natural for any digital marketing person to overcomplicate things, this is mostly because we tend to think about the stuff way too much than is normal. We forget the simplicity and elegance that is effective content marketing.


Because at it’s most fundamental, content marketing is about only two things.

  • Communication
  • Persuasion

Everything else is fluff.

When buying content from anywhere, ask these two questions.
“How is this piece of content going to be communicated?”
“How is this piece of content going to persuade anyone?”

If the answer is overly long, or difficult to understand, then it probably wont work. For something to be effectively communicated it must be able to reach the person it is aimed at. It must cut through all the digital noise and distraction and be able to get in front of the gaze of whom it is for.

A content marketing professional will tell you that the content will be “promoted”, but what does that actually mean? How is your digital agency actually going to promote your content to the people it is designed to reach.

The truth is that content promotion should begin even before the content is conceived. Most regard promotion as a thing that happens after the content is created, however if you design the content promotion before the content creation you can make sure the content is extremely effective at achieving its promotional goals.

For example, the people who will be interested in such content, or in the problem that the content is addressing will already know what will attract them – because really it’s not about the content is it? It’s about the solution that the content solves with regards to a specific problem, such as, “Which is the best Hotel I can stay in Rome, for the least amount of money?”.

And so if you ask the people whom you are going to promote the content to, “What content are you actually interested in?”. Then you immediately know that this is what they want and not only that the person is probably going to be interested in seeing the content when it comes out.

This is a very good technique with journalists, simply asking them, “What content are you interested in seeing next week that will help you with your own work?” Is the perfect question for a deadline focused, overworked journalist.

When it comes down to it, getting your content to be properly communicated is a simple process of using techniques that are common sense and conducive to the positive interaction with your fellow human beings.

If your answer to, “How should we communicate this content?” Is simply to shout about it blindly over your social media network, it is going to be drowned out when up against content that has already been promoted to highly influential people in the creation phase.

The relationship with the individual the content is being promoted to is crucial, and should be deemed as an asset to be invested in.

But in this world of push button marketing the human relationship is often neglected and yet it is essential to the effective communication of any content.

Persuasion is where things get interesting.

First you must know what the point of your content is, what is its objective? Your content must justify its reason to exist in the Universe. It has to earn its keep. It must impact on the reader and be able to persuade them to perform a specific action, such as a retweet, or to allow them to think about something differently. For example develop a stronger emotional attachment to your brand, so next time they are thinking of buying they are more likely to buy.

Content marketing is rarely used for direct sales, although it can be. It tends to be more effective in positioning the brand in the mind of the consumer in a positive light.

This is more akin to seduction, even to romance. It is subtle and it is nuanced, but it does not have to be complicated. There are distinct steps towards a piece of content being able to persuade.

  • Desire
  • Trust
  • Resonate
  • Motivation
  • Action

People must hunger for information that will give them the ability to solve the problem in their head.
Your voice must be trusted, no reason to doubt your message should exist. You build trust by showing you know your subject, by caring about the people you are communicating with.
An individual must relate emotionally to the message, this is because a change in the state of mind must occur for things to move in the direction of motivation and an action.
Sometimes the objective is to achieve a positive social signal, get a link or some other overt action. These should be seen as physical acts which the reader has to be motivated to perform, a click of a mouse, a few clicks of a keyboard. You need to be able to motivate the reader to action.
If there is no action have you really persuaded. This is the point of the whole exercise, to initiate change. To make something happen, even if it is something internal, which cannot be seen such as a change in attitude.

Content marketing can be deep with regards to implementation and as a whole can have a lot of moving parts which have to work smoothly together. But fundamentally the technique is simple and straight forward. There is no need to overcomplicate things, unless of course your motivation is that you need to hide something.

Content Marketing

A Content Marketing Mastermind group

Mastermind group

Our content marketing, mastermind group is now taking applications for membership. You can read more on what a mastermind group is here, here and here.

I say applications because we are only inviting experienced content marketers to join and will reject applications if we think the group is not suitable for you. I realise that some people need more basic training, which will be addressed by future product launches.

Myself (Lyndon Antcliff) and Andrew Burnett have been in many such groups. I ran a content coaching group for many years with great success. We noticed there wasn’t currently anything like this available and quite a few people wanted our help but didn’t desire to book us for solo time, which can work out very expensive.

Sure there are free Facebook groups you can join, but the problem is the noise to signal ratio is very high and they tend to have members who whilst keen, are not experienced enough to help you and yet seem to spend masses of time on Facebook. Because our mastermind group is a paid group, we automatically increase the commitment of the members. Nobody is interested in just killing time.

Between us, Andrew and I have at least a couple of decades of experience in the space, working with and for a number of prestigious agencies, along with helping some of the biggest companies out there craft content and develop strategy. We also have spent lots of time helping and training others, learning about how to solve the different problems people in the space have.

You probably have a number of issues to deal with that are sensitive and cannot be talked about in an open forum, it may even be something you don’t want to talk about with your work colleagues. Having a place where you can go and talk to a trusted bunch of people with a proven track record, who care about solving your problems is of huge benefit.

And then there is trust. Something not talked about enough but of huge importance. You need to be able to have confidence in those who you share your problems with. You absolutely need to trust people with certain issues and sometimes you may not want to share everything with your work colleagues and it is good to have a place you can go to get honest and useful feedback.

People who I have trained in the past, know the power of such a group and the high ROI it can achieve. Many have gone to build highly profitable agencies and digital properties. I would love to help you do the same.
So, should you join or should you not?

As long as you fit the profile, that is up to you to decide.

If you know me, you already know how useful something like this is, go read more information on what it is we can offer you and let me know.

Blogging Content Marketing

What is content marketing? An old school look at the technique

Stream of consciousness

They say you shouldn’t write blog posts as a stream of consciousness, that they should be planned, crafted, pounded into a listicle, or a two thousand word bit of evergreen content that Neil Patel and his army of munchkin content writers crank out.

I do actually say the say thing, but sometimes you have to go old school, clear out the old noggin and do a brain dump. Forget for a minute your tribe and do one for you, which is what this post is. I snap awake at 5.59 with a head crammed full of thoughts and just need to get them out.

This of course is what blogging used to be like, and it was fun.

You got to really know the blogger as you would get warts and all, sure it’s indulgent, but it was a clunky depiction of the human condition and as there wasn’t any Twitter, Insagram, Linkedin, Facebook… Ect, in those days you had little place to go, time to gather your thoughts, play a little with the language.

Thinking along these lines I realise there is way too much content being produced right now, most of it will never even be read or consumed. I am reading a lot about content shock lately, but the problem I see is for those businesses online who are trying to reach people, to turn them into paying customers.

I hate jargon.

Or maybe not, because I do use it. But what I hate is those who use jargon to mask their like of knowledge or talk about an old, ancient thing with a new phrase which comes over like they just invented it. “Influencer marketing”, is one that seems to be replicating itself, Ebola virus like across the blogosphere (is that term even used anymore, grandad?). As if “influence” is a new thing that bloggers just came across.

Socrates I am sure would disagree.

But this is the nature of online publishing, you can complain like a cynical old git, or you can join in.

But I think there is a third way.

You see, people constantly over complicate things.

Content marketing is only about two things, communcation and persuasion.
Your content must do both to acheive its objective.

All you are doing is taking a thought that is in your brain, and allowing a piece of content to carry it to another human being’s brain.

Thus content is merely a mechanical device used to transport thoughts.

This is taking things down to the fundamentals.

Which is useful because that’s where the good stuff can happen.

Not following made up jargon like “inbound marketing”, “influencer marketing”, content marketing”, and all the others. That is what my friend, Andrew Burnett calls, bollocks. We had a good chat yesterday on the nature of marketing and the judicious use of the term “bollocks” in a presentation. I was for sparing use, if at all, as things are special, magical words only to be used to highlight the most intense of things.

But then Andrew is a tad intense, which is a good thing.

As this bit of writing is a stream of consciousness, it wont be edited. No, that’s against the rules. Plus it wont have a crafted ending with a call to action that invites you to sign me up as a creative content consultant, to help out your agency team that seems to be drying up for ideas, or if you;re a small business to get you to sign up to my social media management service.

No, blog posts like this just seem to drift away.

The deep blue sky of dawn is turning to a grey sky of daylight.
Seagulls are given a last cry before the sounds of the Megacity that is Truro drowns them out.
And children are getting up to read Bin Weavils comics before school.
Time to finish this blog post and get the porridge on.
I hope you enjoyed this one
Have a fantastic day.
Blogging SEO Creativity SEO Discussion

How big should blog posts be to rank on Google?


The time when it was all about targeted keyword rich, short form content,  crank out a few hundred words, has long gone. Creating long form, well researched content is expensive, time consuming and hard work.

But what is the evidence that we should create long form content? How do we answer the question, “What size of content will help me rank in Google?”

Brian Dean

Evidence that Longform content is best recently did a massive study of 1 million Google search results, published on January 21st, 2016

It’s findings regarding size of content were:

” Based on SERP data from SEMRush, we found that longer content tends to rank higher in Google’s search results. The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.”


Steve Rayson over at bloggged, “Content, Share and Links: Insights from analyzing 1 million articles”, you can download his 31 page pdf here

Steve Rayson
The analysis was the result of teaming up with

Deep research and opinions matter :

“There are, however, specific content types that do have a strong positive correlation of shares and links. This includes research backed content and opinion forming journalism. We found these content formats achieve both higher shares and significantly more links.”

On the length of content with regards to social sharing:

“…long form content of over 1,000 words consistently receives more shares and links than shorter form content.”

On the type of content shared

 “List posts and videos achieve much higher shares on average than other content formats. However, in terms of achieving links, list posts and why posts achieve a higher number of referring domain links than other content formats on average. While we may love to hate them, list posts remain a powerful content format.”

It seems the much hated listicle is not only getting the shares, but the links too. Gathering anecdotal evidence for this article, people would role their eyes at the idea that listicles get the most attention. This may be due to that fact that people who are in the web publishing business see more of them and are not in “reader mode”, but are in publishing mode. It may also be pure snobbery, the fact that we want people to think we are more sophisticated than we actually are.

The article goes on to say that most content receives few social shares and even fewer links. This would indicate that content is being dumped on a massive scale into a vase and empty space with no one reading, sharing or linking to it.

The research indicates that longer form content in excess of 2k is more likely to be successful. Thus time spent creating 3 x blog posts 1,000 words long could be wasted, whilst time spent creating 1 blog post 3,000 words long returns rewards.

The study goes on to look at the type of content that is being shared and linked to, analysing around 70k webpages with articles from , The Atlantic, New Republic, the and indicates that it is well researched opinion pieces that are most popular.


How Important is Content Length? Why Data-Driven SEO Trumps Guru Opinions
Analysis was performed of the top 10 results in Google in 2012, using 20,000 keywords and discovered a direct correlation of long content to higher results in Google.


“As you can see, there is a drop in content length as we move from first to tenth position. On average, 10th position pages have 400 less words on the page than first position pages. This does point to the trend that higher ranked sites have more content, but keep in mind that this graph is not segmented in any way – this is just a graph of all of the SERPs we’ve analyzed.”

More evidence from

In another study from Moz, by John Doherty, it “found a direct correlation between the number of back links…and the overall length of the content itself.”

Below is a chart of 500 posts on the x-axis and the number of words on the y-axis

Moz graphic

If we take the chart above and overlay with the number of links each post acquired has been recorded, we can clearly see a correlation between length of post and number of links the post gets.
John Doherty states, ” if we visualize the links that these posts have gained, there seems to be a correlation between longer content and links:”

moz graphic 2

OKSUMO and Buzzsumo research
Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us

“We’ve analyzed the social share counts of over 100 million articles in the past 8 months.”

“If you look at the chart below, the longer the content, the more shares it gets, with 3000-10000 word pieces getting the most average shares (8859 total average shares). Not surprisingly, there was a lot more short-form content being written. How much more? There were 16 times more content with less than 1000 words than there were content with 2000+ words.”


It is quite clear from this graph that you are more likely to have your content shared on Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, Twitter, and Google+ if you content is over 3,000 words, rather than 1,000 words or less.

This flies in the face of common thought that we are only motivated to share, short, snacksized bits of content. It is not what the data is telling us.

“As you can see in the graph, 3000+ word articles get more social shares on Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, Twitter and Google+.”
The Backlinking Strategy That Works
Patt Flynn has also noticed a relationship between shares and content length.



5 Things That Will Change Your Mind About Long Form Content Marketing

In Garrett Moon’s research for he found that content with a higher number of words ranked higher in Google.


“Yes, it’s true. Long-form content ranks higher on average than shorter pages. In my results, the pages in the top five (1-5) averaged more than 2,000 words per page. In the bottom half (6-10), the posts only averaged 1,400 words. Long-form content was absolutely weighted to the top of the list.”


Neil Patel
Neil Patel of Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg likes to get data driven answers in this blog post investigating the merits of long form content, Why you need to create evergreen, long form content

Neil Patel

“I took the 327 blog posts I have written on Quick Sprout and broke them down into two buckets. The first bucket contained blog posts that were fewer than 1,500 words, and the second contained posts that were greater than 1,500 words. I then analyzed how many tweets and Facebook likes each post got.

Posts that were under 1,500 words, on average received 174.6 tweets and 59.3 Facebook likes. Posts that were over 1,500 words, on average received 293.5 tweets and 72.7 Facebook likes.”



A word about causation. We are not stating that long content causes more links and higher ranking, but we are suggesting that there is a correlation between the two, it has been my belief that this has been for case for a number of years.

However, we have a number of factors at work here, the main one is the person who actually reads the content and then reacts. Something is happening to cause them to be more likely to socially share the content or link, size of the content may be a factor, but the content must be coherent and resonate with the reader. It must engage.

Semantic footprint vs the keyword

Spock and Bones

Google introduced a new algorithm called, Hummingbird in 2013. Danny Sullivan of said,

“Google said that Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.”

That Google is using the “meaning” of the whole article rather than a specific searched for keyword means that more semantically relevant content is going to help Google determine the relevance of that search term for your content.

It’s not as simple as “more is better”. It’s that more relevant, useful content is better.

If we look at it simplistically, what does a 500 word post have that a 3,000 word post does not? The answer is ease of consumption, it’s quick for the reader. But speed of reading is not the objective of the publisher, we want to produce a reaction. If a reader’s objective is to read and consume a blog post quickly, then they are quickly on to the next thing.

The problem is, most publishers see their content in isolation rather than a sequence of content from numerous other publishers.

Each piece of content consumed by the reader is battling for time in the consciousness, ready for downloading into the subconscious.

Which brand do you think is going to stick more, the brand of the content that took 2 mins to read or the brand which had the content that took two 15 minute sessions to get through?

The thing is, it’s hard to create long content. We get distracted, Netflix, Facebook, Linkedin upates, yada yada yada. And when you create something great at 1,000 words that PUBLISH button starts pulsing. Right now I’m at 809 words and I think I have something interesting for people.

But there are a few other points I want to cover on this issue, and hopefully it takes this particular piece of content from good to great, but that is your call not mine.

We now know content has to be big and thus requires more investment


A blog post is not a forest


You write a number of articles which have a common thread, a linear pattern which leads to a conclusion, builds a thesis. You put the articles together and you have a book.

A book is a product, it is not content.

You create a blog post, it exists on a linear time line with other blog posts. But the other blog posts are not read, just the one.

This is not a product, this is content.

Can a single blog post connect? Or is its purpose simply to draw you towards the other pieces of content, like hooks in velcro. A single one has the weight of morning dew, but together they become a powerful tidal wave.

But that blog post does not exist on its own. It is a tree that resides in the forest with trees that are exactly like it.

Much better noticed, if the tree stands alone in a meadow.

Content Marketing Social media marketing

Is Instagram worth adding to my content marketing mix?

Upate, I started actively promoting my Instagram account 4 weeks ago and it now has over 1,500 real followers. Read more about it in my Essentials for Instagram marketing, post.

According to Forrester, when it comes to brands, Instagram gets an engagement rate which is 58 times better than Facebook. From a marketing perspective, we should really be looking at building an Instagram presence. Check out our current offer pricing for social media management.


I wanted to know if Instagram is worth paying attention to, as I keep being told about people and businesses that are using it to great success. So I started building my Instagram account to see what the results were,

My philosophy when it comes to new platforms is to go where the hungry people are and ignore the hype that the gurus are shoveling.

What I have found out on Instagram is very tasty, there are a lot of hungry people.

With this in mind I started to test the platform and look for ways to make using the platform more efficient, or in other words game the system.

Currently I have 649 followers, I follow 496 and my posts get around a 100 likes on average.

There are some tricks of the trade I have quickly found out.

#hashtags work, but the trick is not to put them in the post, but in a comment. This way you don’t look too spammy and after a few comments your #hashtag mambo gets buried.

Your #hastags should reflect the business you are in. I see chancers cramming and spamming with little effect.


Your content must be fantastic. No duh, you still can’t put lipstick on a pig. There is major competition for eyeballs.

You can use Instagram for any niche. YES YOU CAN! I note a laundry business and a dentist who are killing it. If you don’t think they can it simply means you lack the imagination and creativity to make this platform work for you. Instagram is simply a delivery system to trigger thoughts in the brain which lead to emotional associations and actions.

It takes a lot of work. I have been using and abusing social media platforms as soon as they were invented. My first post on Instagram was 245 weeks ago and you can see that I started out as a family/look how cool I am, type of feed that most users post, “ooooh a pic of a cup of coffee, how original”. But back then I didn’t see it as something to really get excited about, but now I do.


I started this experiment with 177 followers and so have built around 400 in 10 days quite easily. What is the value of an Instagram follower? I think it’s quite low, I wouldn’t think it gets exciting until way past the 10k follower mark. But in 3 – 6 months I hope to tap that.

How can I make money out of Instagram. It’s all very well having a funky social platform to share pics of coffee and quotes, but at some point you must make money. I have already made money from it. I created a pdf, a quick and easy to read download for my productised service,, called, “5 Killer tips for idea creation”. I then hooked it up to my email list and put the link to the report in my Instagram profile. Now at this point the SEO will be brushing the Dorito dust off his new Ben Sherman shirt and asking if it’s a dofollow link.
No, of course not, it is not a link for a bot to slurp at, it is a link for a human being to follow to then sign up to the email list, ready the report and increase the emotional connection to the brand of
This is content marketing.
From my current Instagram activity I get about 2-3 sign ups a day, which I am happy with.


What type of content works on Instagram? I have gone for a “positive quotes” vibe. I am good with words, so I stick to what I am good at. If I were a 24 year old, hot surfer with abs of steel (hard to imagine but work with me) and golden locks of hair cascade onto my tanned shoulders (steady on). I would probably focus on something else. Great photography also excels on Instagram and living in Cornwall makes it a great option. It’s best to establish and stick with a style and theme.

But here’s the thing.

If you are a business person who does not have an digital marketing agency, or a few savvy people waiting around to be utilised, don’t invest time in this but hire someone who can. There are quite a few people out there who offer reasonable packages and I am taking on a few clients of my own, although I have limited space.


What is the future of Instagram? My experience is positive, I am finding that my own sayings actually perform better than the quotes of famous people. This may be due to the fact that people crave authenticity. I wouldn’t go the quote route for everyone, there is a lot that people can do with infographics and if you already produce infographics it’s a no brainer to chop them up and post them.

Contact me if you want to learn how I can further help you with an Instagram strategy.