Master keyword research, remote marketing and the antidote to boring b2b blogging
The weekly newsletter for content marketers seeking exponential growth in their work and personal lives.
Wednesday is my one-year anniversary at Animalz, so I've been reflecting on the events that lead to joining the team. In the Winter of 2017, I went from newly-employed, to newly-unemployed, to working at a world-class remote content marketing agency. In this article, I'm sharing the process that made it happen.
"In the space of two weeks, I sent 56 job applications and queued up over two dozen more. I had phone conversations with 12 startups, and secured work from companies like Zapier and Reforge. I started the New Year with—miraculously—multiple job offers, including the company I work at today."
🔥 Why the Best Content Happens Fast [Animalz]
Jimmy Daly explains a phenomenon we see time and time again: when it comes to content performance, there is rarely a correlation between effort invested and results generated. There's a big takeaway here: spend more time on ideation than execution.
"There is no correlation between the time invested in content and the performance of that content. This is either the best thing about content marketing or the most frustrating. It just depends on how you look at it."
🔥 Master Keyword Research in 7 Days [Nick Eubanks]
Simply put, this is the most complete and exhaustive keyword research process I've ever seen committed to paper. Regardless of your existing SEO experience, you'll find something useful in this behemoth.
"This post was originally published as a paid product in 2015. At that time I sold this information as a PDF (selling over 3,500 copies) for $127 each — but now, as the information has gotten a bit outdated (but the process is still solid, I promise) I’m publishing it here, for free."
🔥 The Compounding Returns of Content Marketing [Tomasz Tunguz]
This perennially useful post is on my hit-list of "articles every marketer should read." In typically succinct fashion, Tom Tunguz introduces the concepts of evergreen and temporal content, and explores the simple, powerful mechanism that makes content the most powerful tool at a marketer's disposal.
"Content marketing campaigns that skew in favor of more evergreen content will grow faster and bigger than those which focus on temporal content."
🔥 100+ Google Sheets for Marketers [Sheets for Marketers]
Jimmy Daly's Swipe File drew my attention to this stellar compilation: over 100 free Google sheet templates covering every facet of marketing. As a die-hard advocate for process documentation, I wholeheartedly recommend this site as a starting point for developing your own processes.
"Learn how to get your hands around useful data, automate your work and up your marketing game, without ever leaving Google Sheets."
Keywords Everywhere is a free Chrome extension that puts, you guessed it, keywords everywhere! Augment your browsing experience and add hundreds of related keywords to Google, Amazon and YouTube searches alike.
The antidote to boring B2B blogging
Contrary to the ethos of many content marketers and bloggers, boring industries do exist.
For every Slack or HubSpot, there are a thousand B2B companies that are - objectively and unequivocally - boring as hell. I should know. I've written for many of them.
Here are just a handful of the businesses I've created content for:
Automated real-time intelligence software for call centres
Moisture-resistant adhesive for commercial flooring projects
Resource management software for digital agencies
Small business telecoms solutions
No-one will ever convince me that these industries aren't boring. I've spent too many hours sifting through meandering whitepapers and jargon-filled research reports to be told otherwise. I've written sprawling treatises on the evils of sub-floor moisture, created whole ebooks focused on sub-optimal resource allocation in call centres.
The subject matter is boring - but the content doesn't need to be.
Find the trigger. People buy moisture-resistant adhesive because they've just seen their new million-dollar carpet installation disintegrate in a puff of mildew and mold spores. They buy resource management software because the stress of their agency alternating wildly from feast to famine is triggering a bona fide mid-life crisis. Businesses, even boring ones, exist to solve painful, visceral problems. Find those problems, solve them with your content, and never worry about boring someone again.
Interview the experts. As content marketers, we are interlopers in these industries. And though we can never develop a true insider's experience of B2B telecoms or call centre management (and we wouldn't want to), thousands of people spend decades of their lives immersed in these alien industries. Find them and talk to them - understand the problems they face, the challenges they ponder each and every day. Then write about them.
Acknowledge the problem. If you think a topic is boring, there's a good chance your reader agrees. A small business founder can spend hundreds of hours immersed in telecoms research without ever enjoying the experience - it's just that the problem they're solving is so outrageously painful. Use humour and honesty to acknowledge your shared experience and build empathy. Don't shy away from saying "this topic sucks to write about, it sucks to read about, but I'll make this as easy as possible for you."
Boring industries exist - it's insincere and alienating to pretend otherwise - but that doesn't mean your content needs to be boring.
There's an effective middle-ground between terse, technical copywriting and happy-clappy, GIF-laden inanity, and that middle ground is empathy.
Find the trigger, interview the experts, and acknowledge the problem.