Return to site

The 3 Most Important Things I've Learned as a Successful Content Marketer

Tips and sanity-saving advice from your resident content aficionado.

· Content Marketing

Since I've been pummeling the internet with heaps of original content for several years now, I thought today would be a good day to share what I've learned so far. As you know, nothing teaches better than the "aha!" moments you have as you're learning how to master a craft.

1. There are 1,000,001 Ways to Spin a Topic

My keyboard has become my muse, my best friend and some days, my worst enemy. On the enemy days, I swear the connection between my brain and my fingers is broken and I'm never going to have another original idea. Like, ever again.

But I have two pieces of good news for you, fellow current and aspiring content creators:

  1. Your brain will start working again... eventually.
  2. You don't need a completely original idea.

Rather than toiling to try and come up with the greatest new idea ever thought, consider repurposing your awesome old ideas.

Remember that post from 6 months ago that got you major green up arrow metrics? Revisit it and consider other ways to approach the content that was such a home run the first go-round. Offer additional points of view, explain the opposite side of the concept presented or reconstruct your post in other formats - ala infographic, whitepaper, or Q&A with an industry expert. Voila! Brain beats blinky cursor.

broken image

Now, if that process doesn't have you jazzed, all hope is not lost. It's just time to seek inspiration elsewhere. I recommend scouring the web for excellent stuff that others have put out there and go through the same process. 

This should go without say, but be a good content creator and don't steal others work. Just use whatever great ideas or content you find to inspire your own stroke of genius. And if you do use a quote or two, cite and link to your sources!

Before you know it, you'll turn the stalemate between you and your keyboard into 15 more executable ideas. Clickety-clack!

2. People Still Love Lists - I Promise

Perhaps you've heard of a listicle, defined as an article on the Internet presented in the form of a numbered or bullet-pointed list. Despite the ridiculousness of its namesake, listicles took the internet by storm. Though made wildly popular by the creators at Buzzfeed, who created a billion posts featuring photos of absurd and nostalgic things (like the one seen below), listicles have actually become highly controversial.

broken image

Over the past several years, I've seen the lists are in, lists are out debate get bigger than the argument over which Kardashian is most ridiculous. (I vote KimYe. That's a thing now, right?).

The biggest sticking point is that there are too many lists - the internet is literally drowning in them, and it's no longer an original way to present content. Brazen articles tout that readers are over it and the listicle format is, as the Black Eyed Peas would say, so 2000 and late.

Well folks, that's just not true.

The bottom line is, lists are easy to read, easy to share and they provide readers with bite-sized takeaways. That's why I proudly position myself as a bullet-point-and-number-yielding list lover. And my blog stats with various employers in various industries back me up!

In all my time in the content space, I've seen list posts work wonders for traffic and sharing, proving that listicles are indeed alive and well. In large part because...

3. All Content Must Be Skimmer Proof

Guys, face it. We don't read. We just don't! Not really, anyway. We skim, skip around and look for the three sentences that are going to stick in our brains. In fact, I'm going to call you out right now. You can try to pretend that you've read every word of this post up to this point, but I simply don't believe you.

As a content creator, it can be frustrating to deal with people's short attention spans. I mean, you put so much work into creating a great post only to find people get distr...

...what was that? Oh right. I was writing a blog post.

Anyway... if you learn to embrace our collective inability to concentrate and cater your content to the gold-fishiest of readers, you'll be handsomely rewarded with better reader engagement.

How? Use lists, take advantage of bullet points, incorporate headers when you switch topics, let your readers choose their own adventure with your content... and be ok with it.

broken image

Also, know your audience. Let their wants, needs and preferences dictate your tone, vocabulary, and formatting. Doing so is absolutely critical to making your content digestible, skimmable, and shareworthy.

I hope you learned something useful and enjoyed my list. (See what I did there?) Happy creating!