I regret to inform you that Santa Clause is gone.
The days of copy paste, dry, humorless content are no more.
It is no longer good enough to be great, now you must be so good, you’ll be sorely missed when you are gone.
If your content isn’t compelling enough to make your readers miss it if it disappeared, you aren’t doing a good enough job.
Children wait eagerly all year round for Santa Clause to come around. If your readers aren’t waiting around for your next piece of content, if your content can’t influence naughty kids to be nice, what was the point of it in the first place.
I used to believe that making money was the goal. I used to believe that having a core belief or mission was a manipulative way to get employees to work harder and nothing more.
Now I realize that your beliefs and who you are is what compels your content forward. If YOU AREN’T at the heart of your content, how can you expect to connect with your readers?
If You Want Be An Authority, First You Must Convince Me To Trust You.
Let’s be honest, there is enough B.S. on the internet about marketing and driving traffic that it’s almost impossible to know who to trust. See how that sentence ended. You can know everything in the world about your topic…
You can be an expert, guru, ninja, superhero…
You can be a specialist who knows more and more about less and less until you know absolutely everything about practically nothing.
BUT… If people don’t trust you, nothing else matters.
This is the single most important detail about marketing, especially content marketing or even sales or any personal relationship for that matter. It has to start with TRUST, and once you establish trust, than the world is yours for the taking.
How do you build trust? Well, the first step is what I call the Nuclear Warhead Affect.
Think about it. Why should anyone trust you? We have all been burned enough times to know be skeptical of every encounter with a new entity. Dan Kennedy always says, “Never Underestimate The Skepticism of your prospects.” Every possible objection they could think of, they will. This is why its so important to expose your weaknesses in your sales copy and address them. Many are afraid to put negative thoughts in your prospects heads, but in reality you are just costing yourself the opportunity to address a concern that will likely occur to them anyway. More importantly, making a painful confession will lead to more trust, which will lead to more sales.
So, whats the nuclear warhead affect?
It’s the idea of mutually assured destruction. It’s the idea that making yourself vulnerable and exposing yourself disarms others. Why won’t Russia send a nuclear bomb our way? Because they know we’ll destroy them with our own Nukes the moment they press the red button.
The same thing goes for trust in relationships.
If I put myself in a situation where you can destroy me. If I expose myself in a way that you have the upper hand. If I make myself vulnerable, I essentially just armed you with a nuclear warhead. Now that I exposed myself, why would I risk hurting you? why would I risk taking advantage of you? You have LEVERAGE over me. You have the upper hand.
Why wouldn’t you start to trust me when I arm you with a Nuclear Warhead before asking you to trust me? You literally have nuclear warheads aimed at me… what possible stupidity could drive me to take advantage of you?
You want to know why your content isn’t gaining traction? Well, it’s because you aren’t making yourself vulnerable with your content.
You aren’t giving me a reason to connect with you, an excuse to trust you. This is why the most successful bloggers out there, like Shoemoney, do so well. They don’t report the news, they share their real life experiences. Their failures, their shortcomings, their weaknesses. They share their frustrations, and anger. They open themselves up to you. So now, when they share their successes and their tips and strategies you trust them. Why wouldn’t you trust someone who is willing to make embarrassing admissions about themselves and their past?
I learned this lessons the hard way at Authority Intensive 2014.
You see, I am shy at conferences and often hide behind my smartphone to avoid meeting new people.
This time I really wanted to meet people, but knew I would get shy the moment I was in a room surrounded by legends like Seth Godin, Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, Lee Odden, and others. So, I published openly to all attendees of the conference that I am shy, but want to meet them. I wrote that maybe by writing this, I would force myself out of my shell. I set goals to meet 23 new people. I ended up meeting twice as many. I also landed a new client from the conference…just by being open, honest, and vulnerable.
What happened next was amazing. First, dozens of people came over to me saying my post was inspiring. They appreciated me putting myself out there in the open. Exposed. Vulnerable.
The rest of the conference was amazing. I successfully found a way to talk to anyone at the conference or anywhere with a simple ice breaker.
Probably the best lesson I learned aside from it being worthwhile to make yourself vulnerable is…
This is so, so important. 70% of web traffic online is from people viewing images. Shoemoney’s most visited page is his picture of his adsense check.
You don’t need me to tell you that a picture is worth a thousand words, but perhaps you might not realize that images are what drive web engagement online.
There were lots of lessons learned at the Authority Intensive conference…
Seth Godin explained that you can’t be both a freelancer and an entrepreneur because if you are both, as an entrepreneur you will end up hiring the cheapest labor possible. Who is the cheapest labor possible? You Are! If you want to succeed at building something larger than yourself, than… You need to hire someone to Do everything you can get someone else to do. Your job is not to do the work, your job is to build a business. It’s ok to be a freelancer. Stephen King is a freelancer. But to be an entrepreneur, you need to give up doing things others can do for you.
My favorite, and most actionable insight I took from the conference is that content is like Coffee in a Mug.
Content is an idea. You can hold that idea in a mug, in a styrofoam cup, in a bowl, in pot, you can contain your content in any format you want.
Once you create content. Once you develop your idea, you can…and SHOULD turn it into as many different types of media as possible so it can have the furthest reach.
Start by turning a blog post into a slideshare presentation. I did that with an article I wrote on my blog about how you need to think about ppc.
Here is the slideshare Presentation.
See how easy that was? It took me about 20 minutes to convert the post into that slideshow.
Screw it… I’ll be back in 20 minutes, I am going right now to turn THIS blog post into a slideshare presentation. I will use Canva.com which is a magical design tool I learned about at… guess where? Authority Intensive 2014!
Ok, I’m Back… Here it is!
Now that its visual, I can even turn it into an infographic, or a videographic.
Remember, each of these media types have websites you can submit it to. There are a dozen websites for hosting presentations, another several dozen for videos, another dozen for infographics. I am not going to mention the SEO value of links and the potential for all these pieces of content to rank well in search because I think search should be an after thought when you create content, but needless to say, it all helps.
Fred Wilson, on his popular venture capital blog AVC.com even has his blog posts recorded by a voice over actor. Its a service and probably only cost a few bucks per post. You can even host it on soundcloud and reach a larger audience.
Moz.com has their whiteboard fridays transcribed below the video.
Repurposing your content or even someone elses is probably the biggest untapped opportunity online today.
When I was at Authority Intensive, I wasn’t very comfortable in the main room. It was packed. But, they have tons of large screen tv’s in side rooms playing live video feeds of the conference. It was awesome. This just goes to show how important it is to deliver your content in any and all formats your audience wants them in. Give people the power to choose how they consume your content and you will reach a much wider audience. (This is also why it is so important to be mobile responsive. Lots of web traffic is mobile and you need to make it as easy as possible to consume your content.
This was actually a big lesson from the conference from Lee Odden, “Be the best answer wherever your prospects might be.” Whether it is social, or search or even offline like print. You want to be the best answer for their questions. Here is Lee’s slideshare presentation from the conference.
One idea, one blog post, one piece of content and you can turn it into…
1. PDF Whitepaper.
2. Slideshare Presntation.
3. Audio transcription
4. Slideshow video
5. Voice Over video
8. Summarize it into quotes on quote websites.
and I’m sure many more…
There is one BIG CAVEAT THOUGH….
It won’t be easy to turn it into other media formats if you don’t follow TWO SIMPLE RULES…
First, use great visuals.
Second, Have your content tell a story. A self guided visual. This will make it easy to translate into other media types.
The story should flow from frame to frame, slide to slide, paragraph to paragraph and even post to post.
Finally, and most importantly… Make Yourself Vulnerable. Open Yourself Up.
Content is about building trust. You may not be able to quantify it, but I guarantee Trust is what pays the bills, not clicks, not opt ins, not even leads… TRUST IS WHAT DRIVES COMMERCE…
As Simon Sinek says, “People Don’t Buy What You Do, They Buy Why You Do It.”
Seth Godin Similarly Said, Prospects Act by thinking, “People Like Me Do Something Like This…”
You need to connect on a deeper, unquantifiable level if you ever want to achieve breakthrough success.
and REMEMBER… Make a lasting impression, like Santa Clause and Be So Awesome That PEOPLE WILL MISS YOU WHEN YOU ARE GONE!