Focus more time and creativity on making “insanely sharable” content … but not for all the channels. Here’s why.
Feel like you’re constantly creating content for social media and your blog but aren’t really getting anywhere with it?
Like you’re wasting your time on content that really doesn’t get seen or shared but aren’t sure what else to do?
You’re not the only one who feels like that.
A whopping 83% of businesses report an urgent need to improve their content production in the next 12 months, according to the Future of B2B Content 2019 report. But like you, these business owners don’t want to just create content for content’s sake. They want to create remarkable content that helps their business stand out online.
In this article, we’re going to going to talk about how to create that “insanely shareable” content, with tips and examples from our second episode of Agorapulse’s Live show Social Pulse Weekly.
I was joined by Andrew and Pete, authors of the book “Content Mavericks: How to Grow Your Business with Insanely Shareable Content,” at Content Marketing World for this episode.
These founders of ATOMIC, business partners, and speakers shared amazing tips on how we can use the 90/10 rule to spend less time creating content that makes a greater impact.
Overcome Content Overwhelm by Following the 90/10 Rule
Whether you have a small business or larger corporation, you can easily become overwhelmed with needing to constantly produce new content.
You may feel like you have to be everywhere, do all the things, and be creative while you’re doing it. But this approach just isn’t sustainable.
Andrew and Pete wanted to help business owners become more creative but also recognized that wanting to be creative wasn’t the problem.
The problem was the lack of time to create new content.
And even when time wasn’t an issue, they realized getting traction and growing an audience through creating a bunch of average content just wasn’t working.
So, Andrew and Pete came up with the 90/10 rule.
Instead of trying to be everywhere and creating a ton of mediocre content for every platform, Andrew and Pete realized that focusing on spending 90% of their time creating remarkable content for one platform was far more productive.
When they looked at the most successful content marketing stories, they realized those businesses weren’t “doing all the things.” They were doing one thing really well then spreading out from there.
So, Andrew and Pete’s big message is: Scale back, and create remarkable content that has the potential to grow.
But which type of content (podcast, live show, YouTube videos, infographics, etc.) should you focus on? (That’s the million-dollar question.)
A big part of choosing content to produce is simply knowing where your audience is and which platforms you’re comfortable working with, according to Andrew and Pete.
Content creation is also about what you enjoy. That might sound a little bit selfish, but you’re more likely to keep at it if you enjoy it. And in the end, you’ll be more successful with it.
Andrew and Pete also stress the importance of consistency. Just creating one remarkable piece of content then never doing it again will not work. You have to be active and engaged, and have fun. (If you don’t like the platform you’re using, you’ll have an ongoing struggle to create content.)
Case Studies: Entrepreneurs Reaching More People With Less Content
Visualizing the 90/10 rule in action can be hard.
Fortunately, Andrew and Pete shared examples of incredible entrepreneurs focusing on doing one thing really well—and getting amazing results.
Brian Dean of Backlinko
Brian Dean of Backlinko is doing an amazing job of creating insanely shareable content. Of course, he’s in SEO, one of the most competitive, self-selecting industries out there. (If you’re looking for an SEO company, you’re not going to the 10th page of Google!)
So, Brian had to figure out how he could stand out. He started studying his competition, who were writing blog posts up to twice per week. A one-man show, he knew he couldn’t keep up that pace.
Instead, he decided to invest four to six weeks in writing each new epic blog post. (Even though the posts may be as long as 10,000 words, Andrew and Pete couldn’t stop reading them. They were that good.)
He hired a graphic designer and started to embed video into the posts as well.
Another part of Dean’s strategy was writing a ton of guest blog posts linking back to each post on his site.
To this day, he only has 51 blog posts on his site. And yet he has a whopping 180,000 inbound links.
His success isn’t from creating a lot of content. His success comes from those 51 posts that are so in-depth and insanely shareable that everyone is linking to them, sharing them, and subscribing to his list.
Mari Smith, Facebook Marketing Expert
Another example of someone remarkable at content marketing is Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith. She does really high-level Facebook Lives but doesn’t do them frequently or consistently.
Instead, she does a Live when news breaks at Facebook. She wants to create content when she actually has something important to talk about, rather than just going live for the sake of going live.
Sometimes, she might go live every day for a few days in a row … but then not again for an entire month.
This approach may not seem consistent in terms of frequency, in Andrew and Pete’s view, but it’s still consistent. The quality is consistent, and the advice is consistent, so people know they will get useful and timely content when she does post.
Marie Forleo of MarieTV
Life coach, business coach, and founder of MarieTV, Marie Forleo originally focused on writing blog posts as her main content strategy.
The problem was that writing wasn’t her passion.
She was struggling and wasn’t finding content creation fun. Getting her enthusiasm and personality into her writing was difficult, which led her to find the whole process frustrating.
Then one day, Marie tried video. She started a YouTube channel, where she committed to posting a show every single Tuesday. And eight years later, she’s still doing it! All because she found it fun.
In fact, her mantra is, “If it ain’t fun, it won’t get done.”
You don’t need to be doing everything. You just need to do what you love and create something worthwhile while doing it.
Joe Wicks, The Body Coach
Back in the day, Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, just created regular content. Joe was taught that if you’re a physical trainer, you put out some exercise tips and some inspirational posts … and that was it.
Then one day, he decided to do something different—and he started creating 15-second recipe videos for Instagram. They were cheeky and fun! And in just 15 seconds, he would show viewers how to follow an entire recipe.
Joe’s videos weren’t immediately successful. But he kept creating his videos and making them cheekier and crazier. He started to throw in funny catchphrases (like instead of broccoli, he’d say, “midget trees”), sing, and do crazy stuff.
People thought the videos were funny and started reacting to them. So Joe did more and more videos and upped his personality based on what people were reacting to.
And this is when his videos exploded!
The lesson here: Keep switching things up until you start to see engagement.
If you don’t see anyone reacting to your content, this is not a good sign! But if you have even a few people telling you they enjoyed it and want to see more of it, keep pushing and tweaking.
We’re often told that content marketing is a long-term strategy. But you also need to keep a close eye on what’s working and what’s not. If you’re not getting any response to your content, don’t keep doing it just to tick it off your to-do list.
Adapt and refine your content then watch closely to see what kind of response you get.
Some content creators may think “done is better than perfect.” Yes, you need to get your content out there, even if it’s not perfect. But you also don’t want to crank out content every single week and get getting nothing from it.
Four Strategies for Creating Insanely Shareable Content
Use these strategies to hop off the content marketing hamster wheel and start creating content both you and your audience will love.
1. Seek inspiration
Check on the competition
Andrew, Pete, and I had the pleasure of hearing Mindy Kaling speak at Content Marketing World. During the Q&A, an attendee asked her what she does when she hits a creative roadblock.
When she hits that wall, her strategy is to consume content ad do some research. Sometimes, when she’s stuck, she’ll go see a new movie everyone is talking about.
She also said that “research has set her free creatively.” She finds researching her competitors can boost her creativity, as it really winds her up. She sees what they’re doing, and if it’s not good, she thinks, “I can do this better!” Or if it’s really good, she is inspired and motivated to take things up a notch.
Go outside your industry
Inspiration for content can definitely be found outside your own industry, according to Andrew and Pete.
One way Andrew and Pete get inspired is by listening to the radio on the drive home from work. The shows they listen to are fun and upbeat, and provide a ton of inspiration for their own content.
They’ve rarely found inspiration from sitting down and watching their competitors’ videos. Though many content-creators do that, Andrew and Pete find doing so this can lead to creating boring, dispassionate content because they’re basically just copying what someone else has already done. This content just ends up following the same themes and the same paths as everyone else. For them, this approach doesn’t usually lead to remarkable content.
Instead, you want to be passionate about your brand marketing.
Don’t overthink it
Andrew and Pete script their main points, but then let things flow naturally. They talk to each other as they would at the office and record it almost without thinking about what’s happening.
Unfortunately, however, many of us tend to overthink content when we create it. For instance, we write some content, and as we write, we constantly reread and reword it. But sometimes simple is just better.
In a writing workshop I recently took with Laura Robinson, she said, “Just write. Don’t think.” Prepare, then write, then edit.
When you need to write, write. Later, you can fix your typos and edit your work. But don’t try to do everything at once.
2. Know your brand thoroughly and be authentic
We can’t be everything to everybody.
Not everyone will like your content, and that’s OK.
People are at various stages of life and in different cultures. Everyone has different experiences and preferences. So, we shouldn’t be surprised when people have different tastes in content.
Ask yourself instead what do you like, creatively speaking, and do more of that.
3. Set aside sufficient time to create your content
Many content creators set aside an hour or two every week or every month to create their content.
But sometimes an hour or two just isn’t enough. For example, you may find yourself getting distracted by checking your email or Instagram … Your hour of writing can easily turn into 45 minutes of writing (if that).
Instead, Andrew and Pete recommend regularly setting aside at least a half-day to a full day to create your content.
They started out with a half-day every Tuesday but quickly found this just wasn’t enough. Now, they set aside certain Tuesdays where all they do is create content. You can’t book them or hire them at all on those days. And this approach gives them the time and space they need to create remarkable content.
4. Slow down to speed up
We need to slow down and focus not on creating more and more content, but on having more one-on-one conversations, according to Ann Handley, CCO at MarketingProfs. (This was one of our biggest takeaways at Content Marketing World.)
We’re all trying to automate everything and get everyone through our funnels as quickly as possible. However, when we do this, we miss out on really connecting with our audience and figuring out their problems and pain points.
What many business owners do is guesstimate then automate. They’ll guess at what their audience’s pain points are and what they think will entice them to buy, then the business owners will build a webinar or other automation out of that.
But what if instead of doing this, we had conversations then automation? What if we actually talked one-on-one to our customers, not with the intention to sell to them but to learn from them and to connect with them?
Go a little slower, and see what works.
Andrew and Pete shared that they have been using this strategy and have recently had their biggest sales month ever. They were able to find the right customers then have the right conversations with them.
They looked at the most engaged subscribers on their email list and then reached out to them to speak one-on-one to find out what they were struggling with and what they needed.
Whether you have 100 or 100,000 subscribers, you need to know how to start having better conversations with your subscribers. This is the key to cultivating those relationships and to creating remarkable content your audience loves.
Social Pulse Weekly: Andrew and Pete
Watch the entire video to hear more about Andrew and Pete’s tips for creating insanely shareable content:
Social Pulse Weekly feat. Andrew & Pete
Does your marketing team follow the 90:10 rule? Join us LIVE from Content Marketing World as we talk to the brilliant and award winning Andrew and Pete about improving your content marketing strategy, the biggest takeaways from the conference and more!
Posted by Agorapulse on Friday, September 6, 2019
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