Rocketship content strategy, salary negotiation, and 3 high-impact curation tactics
The weekly newsletter for content marketers seeking exponential growth in their work and personal lives.
In 2019, I'm doubling-down on my ambition to help fellow content marketers improve their skills and career prospects. To get started, I'm sharing the actual presentation I used to become the second marketing hire at the UK's fastest growing software company.
"These twelve short slides provide a useful framework for thinking about content strategy, and how best to present it to startup executives (in fact, I have a friend that based some of her own successful job application on these slides)."
🔥 Getting the Most out of Google Chrome for Technical SEO [Traffic Think Tank]
Care of this article, I've managed to ditch a bunch of tools and dramatically streamline my workflow. My favorite tip: changing your reported location to view SERPs for any country of your choosing - no VPN required.
"Google Chrome – the world’s most utilized web browser at the moment – has a whole host of Developer Tools built right in, perfect for technical SEO analysis and testing."
🔥 Salary Negotiation: Make More Money, Be More Valued [Patrick McKenzie]
This gargantuan treatise on salary negotiation is an absolute must-read for anyone, at any time in their career. Understand the unit economics of salaries, the information asymmetry and cognitive biases that impact negotiation, and wrap up with practical advice for actually making it happen.
"You generally can’t do a totally bang up job on any five minutes of work this year and have your boss give you an extra $5,000. You can trivially pick up $5,000 in salary negotiations just by sucking less."
Glen Allsopp shines a light into the murky waters of paid link building, buying, analyzing and reporting on the efficacy of links from one of the industry's biggest players. If you've ever considered shelling out for paid links, read this to understand what you're really buying.
"...do their links actually work? Are they risky? Are they truly ‘whitehat’ like they claim? Or are they just a front for a market so in need of something they’ll buy anything with the best promise?"
🔥 The Tyranny of Optimizing for Amplification [SparkToro]
Rand draws attention to the vocal minority of amplifiers that shape every sizable online community. Our relationship with these "Knights of the New" impacts how we consume content, and how we create it.
"The more I can see the results of the amplification I earn (and don’t), the more I’m trained by the algorithms and the Knights of New to produce (or to stay quiet) in very specific ways."
I suck at Photoshop, so a fast, free tool for stripping away the background of damn near any image feels almost heaven sent. Use it for social media images, artsy headshots, polished website graphics, you name it.
The underappreciated power of content curation
Content curation is an overlooked and under-used tool. From my experience, there are three - particularly powerful - benefits at its heart:
Develop the image of expertise. Sharing third-party content automatically puts you into a position of authority: you become the arbiter of quality and merit, the filter through which valuable information is uncovered. Curate content in a particular niche, and you build implicit authority in that niche; curate (and crucially, digest) enough content, and that illusory expertise becomes real.
Validate a hypothesis. To test a hypothesis - say, "people will pay for a copywriting course" - you could build a copywriting course; a huge, laborious undertaking with a real risk of no pay-off. Alternatively, you could use curation to dip your toe into the market, creating a newsletter of existing articles, tutorials and videos. This quick and dirty heuristic provides the motivation, knowledge and feedback (like subscriber growth, retention and comments) required to - eventually - create a better product.
Generate a bigger return from existing knowledge and skills. As our careers progress, we all build skills and expertise. Most of the benefit of that development manifests in our work: we write better articles, define more effective strategies, generate more lucrative deals. Curation provides a secondary mechanism for benefiting from your expertise, allowing you to efficiently funnel your expertise into more publicity, connections and career opportunities.
Reflecting on the last eight years of content marketing, many of my most lucrative marketing strategies have fallen under the umbrella of curation:
New business. Back when I was a freelance copywriter, I had a penchant for working with marketing agencies (lots of work, established processes, minimal account overhead). To drum-up qualified leads, I published the Top 50 UK Marketing Agency Blogs, a curated round-up of agencies with the "best" blogging strategies - a.k.a. any agency that engaged in content marketing, and might require a copywriter. From one low-effort bout of content curation, I generated three long-term customers.
New connections. I spend every day thinking, reading, writing and talking about content marketing, so creating this newsletter was a low-effort way to put that learning to a secondary use. I'm only 11 issues in, but already, I've improved my ability to critically evaluate and communicate content strategy, created a clear incentive to learn on a daily basis, and prompted conversations with similarly passionate marketers.
New niche. In 2015, I published a single blog post to an otherwise empty website: The 50 Best Post Apocalyptic Books. When I next logged in to WordPress a year later, the blog post was generating 3,000 visits each month. A few hours of work revealed an entire niche that was both interesting and potentially lucrative, prompting me to build out the site into a fully-fledged literary journal.
In short, content curation - be it newsletter, round-up article, micro-site, or some as-yet-untapped medium - offers a disproportionate return on your time and effort. If you're looking for a high-leverage strategy to kick-off 2019, it's a great place to start.