Newsletter #6

Topic clusters, content refreshes and insights from 1,096 bloggers

The weekly newsletter for content marketers seeking exponential growth in their work and personal lives.

Links

🔥 10 factors that make great content great [Kevin Indig]

There are times - lots of times - when a blog post is just the wrong tool for the job. But as a great writer (which most content marketers are), it's easy to fall back on the medium we know best. This concept always brings to mind this quote"I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail."

"...thinking “content = text” is a costly equation. The optimal format depends on user intent. Sometimes, an image says more than a thousand words. Widgets, images, or small applications are much better suited in some cases and stand out."

🔥 When the Topic Cluster Model Doesn't Work [Siege Media]

On the topic of overusing our favorite tools: many niches aren't set-up to benefit from our beloved hub-and-spoke/pillar-and-cluster model. Thankfully, Siege Media have a few alternate strategies for structuring content: carefully chosen blog categories, hubs shaped around different content formats, and header-and-footer links for "priority content."

"...there are very few companies out there who can find true value from adopting this. Too often we have clients bring to us their new topic cluster idea — only to find that they’re forcing a model (popularized by a publishing powerhouse) to fit their more micro needs."

🔥 Lessons worth learning from remote workers [Quuu]

I'm coming up on my one year remote working anniversary, and while the experience suits me to a T, remote work isn't without its pitfalls. Whether you're a veteran of remote work or considering making the switch, this round-up of hard-won advice is worth reading.

"Having spent a considerable number of years as a remote worker, I feel that it is highly romanticized and that people often get blinded by the possibilities that this arrangement can offer."

🔥 21% More Traffic Without Any “New” Content [Gotch SEO]

Content refreshes - revitalizing existing articles, guides, you name it - have a huge impact on performance. Here, Nathan Gotch shares the step-by-step process he used to create a 21% traffic bump to an already high-performing article.

"The biggest takeaway I hope you’ll get from this is that there’s a much better ROI and return on time trying to improve existing successful assets."

🔥 The 2018 Survey of 1000+ Bloggers [Orbit Media]

I get the feeling I'll be unpacking this article for weeks to come. For the fifth year in a row, Andy Crestodina and the Orbit Media team surveyed a thousand content marketers to find out exactly how content marketing - its processes, tactics and best practices - is evolving.

"Millions of bloggers each spend hundreds of hours every year creating content. It’s a big job that a lot of us are trying to do well. And there’s only one way to find out what we’re all doing: ask a few questions, get some answers and look at the data."

Tools

🔨 Stencil

Remember that whole "content marketing isn't just writing" thing I mentioned earlier? Stencil is the beautifully intuitive graphic design tool that I use for all of my featured images, headers, social media images, podcast artwork, you name it. Set up a template, drag and drop photos, logos and text, and you're done.

Opinions

The "perfect" morning routine.
Inspired by Quuu's remote working article, I was going to write an epic treatise on all the life-changing hacks I've incorporated into my morning routine. And then I realized that doing so would make me an obnoxious hypocrite.

Sometimes I get up at 6AM to meditate and read. Other times I'll lay in and watch three episodes of The Office before I start work. I've practiced intermittent fasting for years. I also love (like, really really love) starting my day with a double-sausage-and-egg McMuffin and a gallon of black coffee. I have laser-focused days where I make incredible progress in the first 60-minutes of my morning. Other days I sit staring at the screen as the cogs of my mind slip endlessly over one another, refusing to bring anything into focus.

In fact, for all the hacks and habits I've tried out, my greatest takeaway is kinda antithetical to the "perfect morning routine" mindset: variety is key.

It's good to aspire to be better, faster, more productive. It's also essential to practice self-kindness, and allow yourself days where productivity is secondary to happiness. Self-improvement is a marathon, not a sprint. Sleeping in or eating McDonald's for breakfast isn't a failing of your routine - it's a strategy for sticking to it, a little pit-stop designed to get you back in the race, healthier and happier than before.

An old weightlifting adage applies here: the best routine is the one you can stick to the longest. Or to paraphrase: the best routine is the one that includes McMuffins.

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