You know how gross your skin feels when it gets waterlogged?
Like you’re a specimen in a jar on some mad scientist’s shelf?
That’s what 4 days of nothing but rain in central Mississippi is starting to feel like.
Except it’s not just the squishy ground, flooded buildings, and washed out roads.
It’s a mood, too.
Like an oppressive cloud has decided to hover and block the sun and we’re all vitamin D deficient.
Is this what it feels like in Washington State?
We’re oversaturated, y’all.
There was a moment yesterday—it lasted about an hour, I think—when the rain stopped and the sun came out.
And it felt miraculous.
As if I’d forgotten what colors looked like without sunlight.
But then it disappeared and the rain returned and the muted, far less vibrant version of reality we’re stuck in resumed occupation.
How am I going to tie this to your content marketing? Or your newsletter?
BE THAT MOMENT OF SUNSHINE
One of my daughters has a shirt that says, “Be the sunshine.”
And your content’s job (or at least one of its jobs) is to feel like sunshine after a rain.
Look at what makes your target audience feel waterlogged.
What’s saturating their social feeds, their inboxes, their lives?
How could you create and distribute something they look at and think, “Yes! This is refreshing. I want more of this.”?
Don’t flood their feeds, DMs, and inboxes with the same thing your competitors create.
Stand out by delivering something they’ll truly appreciate.
The Case For Product-led Content
Agree or disagree? You should include product content in blogs (aka product-led content).
I’m going on record with a hard “agree.” It’s not—and shouldn’t be—faux pas to mention your product / service in your content, or even to devote entire pieces of content to it. If you don’t, you risk getting stuck in the content “friend zone:” a place where your ICP consumes your content but has no clue they could benefit from your product.
I’m not saying blast all product promos all the time and make people regret they clicked through or consumed your content wherever you distribute it. But I am saying that quality, helpful content should do 2 things: 1) actually help your ICP and earn their trust, and 2) help them understand what you sell and the problem you solve.
That can’t always be achieved with a brand mention buried in the last paragraph of your blog. Sometimes you’re going to need to weave the product organically into the content, and sometimes you should create content specifically for someone who needs to understand a use case for your product (how to achieve X with Y).
Need more convincing? Here are 3 instances of the ongoing conversation about whether it’s ok / not ok from marketers I respect:
Erin Balsa’s recent LinkedIn post acknowledged blogging about your product can be intimidating, and shared a few ways you can repurpose and redistribute product reports, including product blog examples in the comments.
When it comes to aligning product and content, Derek Flint knows it’s crucial to be strategic. In a recent issue of Ten Speed (sorry, I can’t find a way to link you to the archives), he offered 2 parts to consider:
- Use a product-led content wireframe based on features and
- Use types of content that are most conducive to including products (think funnel stages).
He also condensed the information in this LinkedIn post, which included 5 excellent examples:
- ToFu list article about their ICP’s challenges: Teamwork
- MoFu how-to content w/ product screenshots & video: Ahrefs
- MoFu best and alternative lists: Range
- BoFu “VS” or comparison page w/product specs: Screencastify
- Putting their product / connections in their content: Zapier
Lastly, this episode of Camille Trent’s Content Logistics Podcast featured Fio Dossetto, who defined what product-led content is and how it can actually be the best way to market your product without sounding like a sales pitch.
How Helpful Will Google’s Helpful Content Update Be?
Have you heard about Google’s Helpful Content Update yet? If not, basically it will reward sites providing “people-first” content as opposed to “search engine-first” content. It will also have a weighted site-wide ranking signal that will run continuously.
This issue of The Weekly SEO provides a more detailed breakdown and links to articles about the update, including what creators should know, predictions and hypotheses, and more.
Dr. Fio Dossetto (see her product-led content mention above) shared her excitement in this LinkedIn post: “Google's ‘helpful content update’ comes out next week and it’s music to the ears of all of us customer-first, product-led content creators.”
Will this change your approach to content creation?
Content Strategy Round Up
Some goodies I came across this week:
How to target keywords
Derek Flint suggests identifying target keywords you can use to generate content by following these 4 steps:
Step 1: Use Google. Step 2: Evaluate the Results. Step 3: Copy/Paste urls of articles on page 1 into Ahrefs. Step 4: Repeat.
He goes into more detail in the post.
This issue of MKT1 Newsletter discusses content roadmaps. Learn how content roadmapping will not only help organize your existing content, but also help you generate ideas for new content. Look for the sections on where to source content ideas: audience analysis, perceptions, SEO, funnel stages, and existing content.
The Pieces of a Content Team
Mary Ellen Slayter’s LinkedIn post defines content jobs to be done and offers advice on how to divide the roles up based on hiring budget (so good!). She explains what to keep in house and outsource at different growth stages.
Ross Simmonds squashes the misconception that “content=blog posts” and lists other content types and where they fit in your strategy in this Twitter thread.
Try This With Your SEO Tools
Are you using SEO tools wrong? Jessica Malnik has written over 1,000 blog posts and explains how SEO tools shouldn’t be used as a crutch, instead she advocates using them in your editing process after you’ve already written a draft with a unique point of view.
Be honest, how often do you scroll social media, take a “break”, or do literally anything else besides sit down and write? If you’re a procrastinator, this infographic by Hubspots’ Caroline Forsey could help you get back on track.
Discovered via theCLIKK.
Advice On Selling Your Newsletter
During the pandemic, Jackson Kelley built and sold a newsletter for 5 figures. In this article, he details how he did it from start to finish.
Discovered via Inbox Reads.
As we transition this newsletter from a primarily newsletter-focused newsletter, we’ll be phasing out Curated News. But, you can check out all past segments here to learn more about features and tips for using Curated.
New to Curated? Make a copy of this Getting Started with Curated Checklist to help launch your newsletter (public, private, or paid).
Opt In Challenge
Take A Lesson From Inkcap Journal
This week, your Opt In Challenge is to check out this article about how a nature newsletter is achieving a 70% open rate (by Alexandra Turner), and consider if you could use similar strategies.
TL;DR: They’re publishing something people can’t find elsewhere (focusing on local news and science and reports) AND reading and rounding up news stories so subscribers don’t have to (aka curating).
Discovered via American Press Institute.