Newsletter #9

Niche content, internal linking and the power of distribution-first thinking

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

Links

💥 The Power Law on Product Hunt

The newsletter just went live on Product Hunt. If you're enjoying the emails so far, a quick upvote would be hugely appreciated. I'm having a blast, and I'd love to help the newsletter reach more incredible content marketers.

🔥 5 Content Marketing Strategies for Niche B2B Industries [ConversionXL]

99% of my writing is published under someone else's name - this blog post falls into the 1%. If you've ever struggled to generate customers with "traditional" content marketing, this is the article for you.

"The “classic” idea of content marketing—cranking out SEO-focused articles, ranking for hundreds of keywords, generating visitors, leads, and paying customers—doesn’t work in all industries."

🔥 Internal Link Building on Steroids  [Kevin Indig]

Kevin takes a deep-dive into the internal linking process he's developed to help big sites proactively boost their search rankings. While many SEO strategies are largely out of our hands, internal linking is something we can - and should - control, and the processes covered here are useful for websites of all sizes.

"Internal linking = one of the strongest levers."

🔥 What to do before and after your biggest client leaves? [Wil Reynolds]

Sometimes, shit happens. Big, important customers up-and-leave, and you find yourself in a sudden existential crisis. As a former agency co-founder with first-hand experience in this area, I really appreciate Wil's honest, pragmatic take on dealing with the loss of a huge client.

"... running an agency isn’t easy, losing your largest client isn’t easy, and I hope that by sharing this, more agencies learn from what we’ve learned and more agencies feel OK sharing the struggle."

🔥 How to Create Your Content Strategy From Scratch [Contently]

Many of the newer content marketers I work with have a fantastic grasp of individual processes - writing, editing, keyword research - but struggle to thread it all together into a unified marketing strategy. If you find yourself in the same boat, check out the straightforward framework offered here.

"There is no grand solution that every brand can copy to triple their revenue. However, there are a few core tactics that will put you on the right path."

Tools

🔨 SessionBox

Ever needed to switch quickly between Gmail/Twitter/Airtable accounts? SessionBox is a lightweight Chrome extension that allows you to start a separate session in a new tab. Best of all, other browser extensions - like password managers and ad blockers - still work as normal.

Opinions

Great content marketing is just great distribution

Content marketing is just a distribution problem.

Write your magnum opus and publish it to a quiet domain in the backwaters of the internet, and nothing will happen. No-one will find it. No-one will read it.

But write a garbage article and nail the promotion process - saturating the news feeds and inboxes of thousands of relevant people - and, as many companies regularly demonstrate, you can still generate traffic, leads and customers.

Yet this is contrary to the process most marketers follow:

  • Develop an interesting concept

  • Execute to the best of our ability

  • "Distribute" by scheduling a Tweet or posting to GrowthHackers

90% of our energy and attention is directed towards the first two activities. As writers, we focus on our core skill set - writing. We believe, often subconsciously, that the higher the quality of our content, the better it will perform. It will reach the right audience through some vague form of merit-based osmosis.

It's our equivalent of the "great product" fallacy: believing that great SaaS products sell themselves.

We can summarize our process like this:

concept → execution → distribution

Effective content takes the opposite approach. It starts with a single intended distribution channel. It reverse-engineers it, and uncovers the characteristics that cause content to perform well. It builds those hallmarks into the fabric of the idea.

It looks like this:

distribution → concept → execution

Even when we take a distribution-first approach - we create "SEO content" for example - we rarely consider distribution in any kind of nuanced, detailed way. We stick to the big, obvious changes: our SEO content targets a single keyword; our social media content includes quotes from three influencers.

Instead, every article should be intimately and inextricably connected to a single distribution channel. Every fiber of its being should be designed to serve the singular purpose of reaching and engaging people on our chosen platform.

Take SEO content for example. Most marketers stick to a single distribution method:

  • primary keyword targeting

But there are dozens of other ways to tailor SEO content:

  • secondary keyword targeting

  • analyzing and matching search intent

  • discovering "content gaps" in the existing SERPs

  • referencing related articles for natural internal linking

  • leveraging relevant search features (image packs, featured snippets)

Content quality is important, but it is no substitute for effective distribution - and effective distribution starts at the very beginning of the ideation process.

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Newsletter #8