Watch the Recorded Broadcast of the Content Marketing Landscape 2013 Hangout with Lyndon Antcliff and myself here:
We discussed advanced content related stuff. Here are some of the topics:
- Tips for creating content for boring industries.
- How to increase your brand.
- How to build a network.
- How to do Link Baiting.
- How non-writers can create good quality content.
- Case Studies
A lot of cutting-edge stuff.
Enjoy your Watch!
Razvan: Hello everyone. This is Razvan from CognitiveSEO and today I have with me Lyndon Antcliff from cornwallseo and we are going to talk about content marketing, linkbait and anything related to this. I’ll let Lyndon introduce himself and we’ll be starting with the in-depth presentation about linkbait from him. Okay Lyndon.
Lyndon: Hello everyone my name is Lyndon and I came from cornwallseo.com as Razvan has said. What I am? Let me just share the screen and I will take you through a short presentation. I will call it a linkbaiter, or if you want you could call it content marketer or even just a content producer or link builder. The terms don’t really matter. They are really important when you define exactly what it is, what you do. So I’ve been building websites and getting people to go through them, since the last century, was in 98, I think it’s been about 15 years now. And it used to be very easy to get links, it used to be, you put up a few websites with a few pages, you just turn it to run naturally and then you had to build just a few links and of course everything now has changed. And the change started to come I think in 2007, in 2008 with more social media, I think content was important then, but you still have to worry about too much content and publishing the right content. And then obviously recently, 2 years ago, it really changed and it was really about creating content that really worked. So what I concentrate on is basically producing content that gets links, that works and pretty much what the definition of linkbait is…it is very simple actually. People tend to over complicate things, I try to make it sound more intelligent but, it’s really just about getting attention, getting the engagement and then getting the reaction and the intention obviously comes foreword something like a very good headline. But to get the headline you will probably see it on Tweeter, you might see it on Facebook and other social media, it might be in an email, somebody might say to you: did you see that content? But usually it’s the headline that gets the intention so the headlines become extremely important. In fact without the headline, the rest of the content is meaningless because the people will not gonna be attracted to it. The engagement part is absolutely important because people once they are at the content they have to be engaged emotionally, you have to reach the emotional level and I don’t mean by that the people have to stop weeping but it has to resonate with them, it has to connect with them, it has to be something that they’ve being thinking about, it has to be something that they care about, it has to be something which has direct effect on their lives, for example. And all these different reasons of how engagement works. For example if you want to solve a problem, if you suddenly got a leak in your house and you want to solve a plumbing problem, you are going to be engaged by a piece of website that says how to fix plumbing problems. If you are about to be sacked, you will be engaged by a content what tells you how to get another job and how to push your CV, etc. And the emotional part has really to do more like a psychological aspect on how content works and really ties it on how the brain works, I’ll talk about that a bit more later. The reaction part, obviously the whole reason we are doing this, is to get a reaction. When it comes down to it, it’s about persuasion. The reaction we want, in this context we want the reaction to be a link. We want that link to be from a high authority site, with great link equity. That really sends us some nice Google juice that helps us rise in the rankings. I mean with some links that we don’t want to and obviously we could get into the disavow thing, if you want to. But the reaction part has also to do connected with how we actually created the content for. And is always a mistake and many said this to me who you want to get links from and they say everyone. That’s a big mistake. You really want to narrow it down to as small amount of audience as possible. Ideally I would say narrow down to one person. Because if you don’t narrow it down to one person, you can do things like psychographic profile about that person. The more you create content for one person, more likely you are able to present them to what they want. And when it’s a broad amount of people, it’s just mass humanity. You have nothing really to latch on to, because it’s so vague. Now obviously we want lots of links from lots of people, but if the person that you are targeting is of high influence, take for example Steven Prime who I’m not sure if that traverses still the Atlantic but I think he is a great British writer, comedian, TV personality. And if he links to you from his blog and he tweets about you, then pretty much you will get back 100 links from that, a lot of re-tweets, it’s going to be great for you. So getting him to react is very good. I mean obviously there a quite a lot of people that have a lot of authority out there. So let’s talk about Tommy Flowers. I recently did a presentation at London Agency and I was surprised that nobody knew who Tommy Flowers was, I thought that at least one person would know. So Tommy Flowers was a telephone engineer for the post office in the 1930. And what he did was build the first electronic computer, it was called Colossus and it was used to crack the enigma codes that the Germans used to direct their U-boats and their own forces. He built this computer which was able to crack the enigma code and we pretty much knew what the Germans were doing. And in my opinion it kind of ended the War a few years earlier. And the reason why a lot of people don’t know him is because the information was classified, until only a few years ago, because in the same time it was used to spy on the Russians afterward. But most people don’t know who he is and yet if you think about the top 10 most important technological people of the 20th century, he’s probably one of them building the first electronic computer. So anyway he’s really important. The thing is who’s gonna get the most links. Who’s gonna get the most social signals. It’s gonna be Kim Kardashian who I probably don’t have to introduce or is it going to be Tommy Flowers. The thing is most of us will probably want someone like Tommy Flowers to be talked about, to create content about him and at least I would. But the reality it’s Kim Kardashian who is more likely to get linked, who is more likely to attract social signals so this is were you have to decide if you are going to be an addict or a dealer. Well an addict will simply want to push the thing that they like so if the thing that they like is Tommy Flowers biography, then they will never get much action, but they’re a dealer if they won’t get high on their supply and if they like to choose which thing it is they are going to create content around. What’s going to work, then they can choose from anything they really like and that’s kind of what newspapers do. Newspapers will pretty much choose the lowest common denominator to get action. So it’s very important not to get trapped into this very known tunnel vision that anything you want the content to be about is one specific thing and obviously business owners have that problem because they want their content to be about their business and they want the content to be about their sales as well, they want their linkbait to get sales. Problem is linkbait that is designed to get sales never works, so it’s not really what it’s about, it’s about links. You got to forget sales. The sales optionally come from your getting links from search engine result pages and then they target the traffic that comes from that. So let’s have less of Kim Kardashian. Now the methodology I approach to linkbait is more of a mind set, it’s more of an attitude than it’s knowledge. The reason I say this is because I noticed quite…
Attitude and knowledge. Basically the methodology I approach to this is one that… mind set is more important than the actual knowledge. The knowledge you can quite easily get up to speed on the mechanics of linkbait from blogs, but that doesn’t mean necessary that you’ll going to be very good at it. And I noticed a lot of, even 16 year olds, just come to the space quite out to the blue, and they are able to create really, really good content, really good linkbait. And the simple reason for that is because they have such a passion about what they want to do and they are so interested in showing other peoples stuff. I think sometimes when you get too much knowledge and you learn too much about these, it tends to get in your way. You tend to build a bit of a fear. The thing about new people and they will start doing this, they don’t really mind failure and failure is absolutely essential to be able to know what works and what doesn’t work, because it’s so complex when you actually define what works and what doesn’t work. There is a huge amount of variables, social and cultural variables within these. So the new guy who comes along and can build the great piece of content, they are not worried about failure, so they’ll do something that pushes it a bit further and there is that passion that carries it along. The thing is that you can actually learn how to do this. I mean I have been writing linkbait coaching, which is my coaching program to linkbait obviously about 5 or 6 years now. I’ve seen people come to it who didn’t really know how to do it. And they’ve practiced and they’ve used a system called discipline practice, which is about doing something really interesting but then being able to have direct critical feedback if it doesn’t work. And then doing it again. And just keep on trying. The way you are looking you have to spend sometimes thousand of hours to do, to get really good at this stuff. To be able to scale this, to build the efficiency you really have to build a publishing machine, because there are a lot of processes involved, it involves planning, involves building a network, it involves research so you’ll research in, what content is going to work, what are the target audiences, what other certain cultural aspects that work with that specific group and then researching that, but you have to research in a very deep way. It’s no use scheming this because the competition for the intention of people is absolutely phenomenal these days and I’m sure everybody knows how busy and easily distracted they can get by things and so we are constantly tying to focus in on things and when you consider you just got a piece of content that needs to burn throw all that distraction, then it’s extremely difficult to burn through that distraction, because of all the distraction other people are given so that’s one of the reasons why the headline is so important because it has to grab that attention. And people will know what grabs your attention, you will know what grabs your attention because if you want to be a good linkbaiter one thing you’ll gonna do is you will start analyzing every piece of content comes in front of you even though you noticed it or not. And if you don’t notice it, why didn’t you noticed it. That’s kind of difficult because if you didn’t notice it in those difficult times, you really have to see what didn’t really work, you have to know why doesn’t work. The stuff that does work, why did you click on that and link to it. And you have to be honest with yourself because sometimes it goes back to Kim Kardashian thing. I mean I included Kim Kardashian in one of my recent blog post and it happened to be one of the most read blog post of all my blog posts this year and it was about Kim Kardashian and yet I got a SEO blog, haven’t got a celebrity blog so what does that tell you? People are interested in nonsense. So the reason I like to focus in on publishing is that it really represents…it represents I think it’s the term to use when we are talking about stuff. I know people like to come up with a new fancy words like inbound marketing, or content marketing or even linkbait. At the end of the day it’s publishing, it’s about taking an idea, a concept from your head and putting it into the head or the brain of one person or many people. And that aspect of communication has not changed since Gutenberg started the printing press, but probably before that as well, way back into the cave paintings, from like 10 thousand years ago. So this form of visualization of data and we can talk about infographics as well later that, how infographics work or don’t work. But that aspect of publishing and it really put you in the right frame of mind, because your publishing information for people and not the Googlebot, which is basically a machine. Used to be, we would produce content for the machine, for the Googlebot, but now it’s far more efficient, it’s far more returning our investment by producing content for real people that they get excited about, that they share and they pass around. I still feel there is a bit of lag through a lot of the SEO community that they are very resistant to this. And there are some blackhats that still make a lot of money by churning out thousands of websites. But I think that the person who’s producing content for real people is always going to win in the end. It’s really a blackhats short term game. So websites do not link to websites. But the reality is, and it’s something that I think we get sometimes trapped in because we are looking at websites, we see a link, we see that website to link to that website. And we use language all the time and language influences thought. But it’s people who are doing the linking it’s real people who have made the decision: I’m going to drop a link to that piece of content and they have been motivated in whatever reason to do it and it’s important to focus on the fact that it’s people that you are getting that link from, I’m not a website and that’s what you need to be trying to persuade. And we obviously want natural links because that’s what Google loves and that’s what works these days, so it really is simple. People see content, they get excited about the content and then link to it. And all the complexity is really about how to get at that point. Now I’ve got something named P.O.M.P which you know everybody loves to create an acronym well my acronym is P.O.M.P. I’m sure it’s gonna catch on. Stands for Psychographic Online Mass Publishing. This really encapsulates a lot of my methodology.
So Psychographic…well we want to be able to psychographically profile. What do we mean about that, we take things down to a psychological level. We start to understand why that target linker is going to be linking in a piece of content. And once we find all the reasons why they will link to a piece of content, it’s simply a case of building that content that does that. Now that doesn’t necessary mean that they are going to link to the content but it gives it a very good chance.
Mass Publishing obviously the more links we get, the better, so before I said we focus on just one person, oh yes, but that’s person is very influential and triggers a lot of mass linking. And to do the mass publishing part, we have to be thinking like a tabloid. We have to be thinking about daily mail, in the states like New York posts. And that’s what helps to scale linkbait by being a very tabloid mind set. We can very effectively communicate complex things in a simple meaner. And the simple meaner is very important because is able to get the intention of people quick. If you have to think to much about it, about a piece of content, the headline then it turns to pass you by.
So we want to focus on tabloid. We are not trying to recreate the Encyclopedia Britannica, we are not trying to show people how cool or great we are. We are just concentrating on publishing. And a lot of times some stuff that really works gets slight off a lot on Twitter. People would go to Twitter, complain about content, they complain about infographics, the infographics don’t really work, when really what they are doing is complaining about the fact that they are bad infographics out there, there are bad films out there. You don’t stop making films because there are bad film out there. So likewise for infographics. I feel it’s still a technique we can use to a great effect.
Let’s quickly talk about the Human Mind in 3 minutes which is big also. The brain is made of 3 section: the primal brain which is kind of an ancient brain, the mid level brain or sometimes called the sub-conscious or the high brain or conscious brain.
The Primal Brain is the ancient part of the brain, it’s wired to keeping you alive. It responds to very simple, basic, powerful urges like sex, death, greed, fear, etc. And it controls the adrenal gland and the hormonal system so when you get excited by a piece of a content, sometimes it’s because primal brain is gearing on and it’s getting you excited about and that’s why imagery or content has a high sexuality content they have a high sexuality component because it’s what the primal brain wants. We won’t tend to admit that, but for example the Kim Kardashian post that I did, it got a lot of action, probably because of the primal brain and of course the primal brain loves a great headline so it will be quite easy to attract it to certain things. The problem is of course when you attract people to a piece of content you got to give them something to engage with. So that kind when the subconscious comes in. That’s why the body of the content goes to work, and the subconscious, the interesting about the subconscious, a little data, is that it can perform 11 million process at once, so when you walking across the road, when you are driving a car, that’s subconscious brain that is actually doing that. And they are incredibly complex actions to perform and now the conscious brain can only perform 40 processes at once. So what actually happens is the subconscious is the one that makes a lot of the decisions so it is the one that chooses whether to link or not. And it can be rational or it’s mostly rational and your brain can connect with the way we link, the way we buy, and sometimes we buy things that just don’t make sense or it’s something that we don’t really need and linking can be like that. An easy example it is when you look at tribal linking. You look at people who are connected with certain online tribe. For instance the most tribe, if land linking, if everybody will link to it, but there is lots of other content out there also to link to. But the reason they linking to is that they got an emotional attachment to the brand of SEO mass and so they are not necessary linking to it, because it’s the best thing to link to, because there are some other stuff to link to, even though it usually is good stuff. But they have a connection with the tribe and there is a certain fan following that occurs and nobody like, not a lot of people try to admit this because they like to think everything they do is rational and makes sense but unfortunately it has been proven that most people don’t do this. Then the conscious brain which mainly deals with auditory and visual input, that’s why sometimes we can’t concentrate when you multiple things, because the conscious brain is very small and can’t really do that much and it does do the most important decision making process, but we like to think that it does. We like to think that’s the part of the brain that we actually use. That is our mind, the conscious brain that’s what we think, but really that’s all these stuff underneath. How I’m doing Razvan? I’m doing okay?
Lyndon: Okay. I’ll keep on going. So when we linkbait, we wanna linkbait the brain. We wanna think about how the brain works and understand it. Understand how the subconscious works how all these psychological aspects work. So we wanna look at the primal brain creating the headline, we wanna think about the body content for the subconscious. So gently introduce concepts and words in the body content that trigger certain emotional reactions. And by this I mean, if you try to get people excited and you are doing some full x content, you want people to get excited about making money, you wanna talk about success, you want to talk about money, you talk about all the other stuff that just arrived in, etc. Obviously if you are going to be targeted towards food bloggers and you want to talk about food, you want to talk about worm tones and smell things and how food creates a memory, etc. Each one should have its own local profile and very good content creates as a good writer and knows how to do this without any problem. Think like the Economist, create like the SUN. So, a lot of people think tabloids are stupid, like the SUN newspaper in UK, a detailed email, but really the people create them quite intelligent and what they do is take very complex effects and simplify the headlines, simplify the actual message that they are sending so the message can arrive very easily to the person and you know that’s why we like to read tabloids if we just want something to be cooking easy because the information is in. But these facts are quite complex. We want to be able to have the effect to our content very easily and be very quickly digestible by people. Now it might be that you have a huge amount of complex content but we still need to ease it into that and maybe break it up a little and so they can move in and out quite quickly. So linkbait the news. Newsjacking is a new term based on such an old technique. There’s always being news, there’s always being businesses and people who have used the news to promote some message. Obviously our message is come to our website, read our content, link to out content. That’s the message. And a great thing to do is to take some aspect to the news and somehow add a round spin on it, create content around that and then send it out into the world and hope it will work. There’s lots of reasons why this works, because people tend to inject quite a lot about the news, they tend to like to talk about and link about and think about what people are talking about. And it was quite interesting.
Yesterday there was a story about a fat French man who was refused entering in the euro star train. I guess it’s tragic, but it is a sense of humor about that and it’s certain interesting human story. One of the interesting things is when you go to the BBC website, it is a link on the sidebar where says the most read story. Now the most read stories, the most shared stories tend to be quarkier stories, rather than the top headlines that people get, so it kinda gives you an idea into what stories will actually work and what it’s useful to newsjack, or used as a news hook. It’s obviously a set of topics that you really want to stay away from: natural disasters, people getting hurt, where is really not a happy story, where you really want to stay away from it, it’s very important, because first of all it’s ethical moral, but secondly it can really get blow back your brand quite well. I mean if you want to give more questions about the newsjacking I think I’m going to end the presentation there Razvan.
Razvan: Let’s get some questions, regarding the presentation, so everyone you can ask questions directly on the Google+ event page or on the blog post directly in the comments area. I was wandering what matrix do you use to track the content?
Lyndon: To track the content…well to be honest that’s not my biggest worry first of all. If it works then I’ll know about it. I’m not really worried about the specific number by number, second by second action, but it’s quite easy to do. Google leads for the headline, you can usually track if you put the content out using a bit link or a short link, you can usually track that link, you can track how many people are going there. If you want to have the time and you are a bit bored, you can set up the Google live on your Google Analytics. I quite do that a lot. When I put something on Twitter, I like to do to Google Live and see how many people are coming in second by second, it gives me a very good idea of how many people are coming in. Obviously it is likely important so we know if it worked or not. Usually you see it worked by the number of links you have, but obviously linkbait is good for social signals.
Razvan: How do you see the linkbait? I mean how do you see the content you are writing?
Lyndon: There is a number of ways to do it. The best way to do it is first you need to start building a network. You need to start having some friends who you know they gonna help re-tweet this stuff, share this stuff on Facebook or social media etc. So you kinda need that. And there is also places you can go to build that. But one of the most effective techniques to use is to contact the person that you want to get the link from and show them something that you’ve already created and say look: I want to create something that you are interested in, what’s good right now. And if they come back to you and say: well I think you should be doing a content post on the wine business then you know: okay I’m go away and create an infographic or piece of content on the wine business and then you take it back to them. Now that person is usually a journalist or someone a side like techcrunch which we really should be developing relationship with. That’s how I would see that. In a way it’s kinda like the old fashion PR people who would wine and dine journalists but hopefully what we are going to do is taste them with good content.
Razvan: Do you know the latest Volvo commercial with Van Damme?
Lyndon: I haven’t seen that.
Razvan: It’s a great commercial. It went viral on YouTube and I think in 2 days or so it got like 20 mil views. It’s kinda amazing. Let me see if I can put it here. Now they have 43 mil views. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7FIvfx5J10. This YouTube video got a lot of links. I didn’t check it but the velocity of the views is amazing. I mean it’s just one week or so and they got 43 mil views so it’s kind of amazing.
Lyndon: The problem is that probably was done on a huge budget, so how could we smaller marketers take that aspect. Obviously YouTube is full of examples where people created content for YouTube channel. Which I kinda think is mainly more about branding and brand recognition and not necessarily about SEO or ranking.
Razvan: Let me see if we have some questions from our viewers. We have Sandra asking: Being honest with people and market as a sponsor post (example: in a blog vs. camouflage). What’s the way to go?
Lyndon: Honesty in a way is irrelevant because most of the stuff that we see isn’t necessarily honest and it’s not necessarily truthful. It’s communicating the narrative, it’s the narrative, it’s the story, it’s the emotion that is the honest part of the content. So whether something is a sponsored post, I mean the reality it really depends where you draw the line personally. Because if you are going to pay for a piece of content to be somewhere, I’m not saying it’s gonna be paid. It’s really up to you. I’ve never did that. Didn’t ever need to. But it’s up to you more ethical point to use.
Razvan: Google obviously tries to identify those sponsored posts.
Lyndon: Google tries to re-frame ethical or moral issues within its own corporate goals. I think it has broken allegedly its ethical rules a number of times so we are very wrong to use an American corporation or any country’s corporation, as your moral and ethical arbiter. Really it should be something that’s more community based than that.
Razvan: So the idea mainly with content is that you practically don’t focus directly on the search engine. You focus directly on the actual person that is reading the content.
Lyndon: I mean unfortunately if you say that honesty is the only thing that works, you’ll probably wouldn’t have a newspaper industry. Most of the newspaper industry is based on dishonest. I’m not saying I do love dishonest stuff, I’m not saying that, but you got to be realistic. You can’t leave in a fantasy world where you think everybody is playing by the same rules, because they are not.
Razvan: It’s the way the world works. You say that linkbait and content marketing is practically used to build the brand and you can also use it to build a network. Can you please detail a bit more on this concept? How can you use content marketing to build the brand and how can you use it to also build a network a loyal buyers, readers, etc.
Lyndon: First of all it depends on how you actually define your content marketing. And as I said a lot of people get to hang up on these post words and ways of working. I would advise anybody thinking like that to kinda step back from it. To look at exactly what it is you are trying to do, which is really to communicate an idea, communicate a concept. That’s what you are trying to do. You are trying to make other people see that idea, that concept, understand it and then have a connection with you, to build your network. You see people get obsessed by the mechanical aspects of what we do. Of content marketing, internet, which blog theme to use, is it Facebook or is it Twitter? They are just mechanisms for communicating the ideas. The ideas, that’s what fundamentally will build your network. That’s why for example Stephen Fry which we talked about it earlier. That’s why he has a massive network. Because the ideas and concepts he puts foreword has something that resonates with people, so they follow him. The reason that he is become so popular is because the idea and concepts that he put forward, people really like it and really benefit from that. So you really gonna look at it at the fundamental level and not kinda think how can content marketing do it, because it’s kind of a dead end in a way. You got to think about: It’s not when people ask writers which pencil do they use or which software do they write with.
Razvan: That’s irrelevant.
Lyndon: Yes it’s irrelevant. It’s the story. It’s how do you communicate the story. How do you make people laugh. How do you make people cry. So I would say take it backwards. That’s why I always say to people read some poetry, listen to music, read comic books, read pieces of really, really great high quality communication, that really excites you. And see what’s in there, take from that and then put it online. Because you wanna be bringing something fresh into the space, you don’t want to be redoing what other people are redoing. That’s kinda why the infographics thing always people come up and say it’s there. Because people are producing 90% of infographics are rubbish and don’t really get any action. So they cost 10% to do and they really work.
Razvan: It’s the same with content because when people start to do something everyone starts to do it and that doesn’t mean necessarily that everything is high quality so you have a lot of low quality content, a lot of low quality infographics or anything else that becomes so scalable, and then you have very few articles that will get a lot of shares, a lot of links and so like the video with Volvo. How many of them got actually 40 mil views in a week? You can probably number them like 10-20 something like that and you have millions of videos on YouTube. It’s as you said about the story, how you do it, how you implement the story. It can be a infographic, it can be a video, it can be written content, it can be a live stream, it can be anything.
Lyndon: Absolutely. The mechanism isn’t completely irrelevant but it’s not what you should be focusing on. It should be focusing on what excites people. Get them excited.
Razvan: We have some questions here from some of our viewers, so Robert is asking: Could you share some of your tips for creating content for boring industries?
Lyndon: That’s a very good question because it’s what I get asked a lot. Personally I don’t think any industry is boring. It’s how the industries communicate is boring.
Razvan: The Volvo video is a great example, I think.
Lyndon: Transporting stuff from one place to another. And it’s a truck. Who gets excited about trucks? I mean I do, and some people do but not 40 mil people. Everybody got excited about that so what is about that video that actually makes you excited? This is why I talk about when you need to analyze stuff, you need to think about. Why did you watch that? And it becomes a human aspect of the cultural connotation with Van Damme, because lots of us watched Van Damme films. I have. We know what Van Damme is about and there’s a certain cultural connotation to that. When I said there are so many variables, we got to think about because of the people of some generation, the different relationship with Van Damme. So with boring industries there are…There are industries that some people are not interested in. But then there are other industries that are very exciting for other people, so what I would do: The easiest way to do this is basically you conflate the narrative, so you take something like a carpet cleaning website. I think it’s pretty much as dull as it can get, you know carpet cleaning. You conflate that with something that’s on the news so for example: last week it was about supermarkets throwing away lots of food and how much waste that is. So let’s conflate on how much food gets wasted by spilling it on carpets. And then which food they spill on carpets, you can’t get the stains out and you have to use on carpet certain technique to remove that. You introduce now elements into the story. What I usually try to do is introduce 3 elements: so you have the original carpet cleaning story, and you take the news aspect of throwing away food and then you have another one… think on a holiday. That’s on top on my head. So you would try to create a story around those 3 aspects which might be: how many times do you have to clean the carpet because food has been wasted on the carpet and suddenly you have a narrative there. It’s made on the way. I didn’t prepared that. Just mix the stories up, I mean look at the insurance industries. They don’t talk about death. They talk about life insurance. They talk about life. It’s interesting the re-framing the argument, and then maybe they’ll talk about all the positive things in life, how we can extend life. They’ll never talk about death. They’ll never talk about death is really horrible and buy some life insurance. Or sex it up a bit. You can do things about casino carpets for example. That’s interesting. What kind of carpets the banks use. When you start rolling, you need to create a process in place. I am sure a lot of viewers are SEO types so maybe they don’t consider themselves creative but the reality is that creativity is a process, you come to it and you have, but when you look at Leonardo Da Vinci, the way he created things, was he would do a, b, c, d, and e and it will get to where you wanted to go. So it’s something that anybody could do, that kind of creativity. I hope I answered the question.
Razvan: I think you did. We have another question here from Hiff: do you have any fresh ideas on what we can do in the automotive industries to help our content marketing?
Lyndon: Fresh ideas. An idea that has never been used in the history of automobiles. The interesting thing is there are no fresh ideas. Every idea is pretty much an idea that’s already been used. Every story have you seen in the movies, is already been used. There’s no new stories. There aren’t really any fresh ideas. What they are, is the same ideas re-hatched or like I said about conflation take in a new spin of things. The story says about Tesla cars for example. Tesla, electric cars it’s a futuristic thing, it’s a new thing. No it’s not, because that Tesla car still does the same thing as one of the Henry Ford’s cars from the 30′s. So the content is still really the same and when you talk about a Tesla car you might talk about how it catches on fire when you drive it and you might die. That story is an old story about danger and driving a car. So there aren’t any fresh ideas. Maybe there’s fresh spins on stories. So for example you can take the story about the big dreamliner that got stuck on a very small airport. You can take that story and then maybe conflate that with a automotive story about there are cars too big that they get stuck in places. I’m sure you can quite easily go online and find probably 50 or 100 images of cars that are stuck in certain places. And in a way that’s using a little bit of newsjacking, you use in a news hook there, to introduce a new element into the story. So I hope that solves his automotive content problems. It’s a continuous problem because people… they want the new story that’s on the block and we are constantly looking for new stuff. And it’s hard in areas like automotive and mobile phones and gadgets and finance. So much content has already being produced. I mean how you gonna excite people with that again?
Razvan: How do you scale the creativity process? I mean creativity is not something that you can do on daily bases, so very, very few people can be so creative and get very fresh ideas on a daily basis or a weekly basis or when they want them. The process is a complex process I think. You can create a great piece of content once or twice per year for one company but is that enough? How do you scale that? How do you create that content on monthly basis for example? I find this tough.
Lyndon: I think most people’s initial inclinations is to get on a plane and go to a small village in India and get them all work on computer chairs and that stuff and obviously that’s not really gonna work. The way to really do it is: first of all you make the idea or the concept the best it can be, and then you treat that as an asset of that idea or that concept. Then you produce as many different types of content. It’s amazing to me, people would spend thousands of pounds, 3000 or 5000 dollars on an infographic and then they won’t chop it up or put it on slideshare.net. I mean they won’t cut up the infographics and make it into a presentation and put it on slide share and get an instant link, they won’t make it into a YouTube video, adding some music content. You can actually get the fever to put music to it. They don’t turn it into audio or mp3 and run it to a broadcast. I think instead of necessarily scaling the power of creativity, it’s about trying to squeeze the most out of that idea, out of that concept that you did. So for example, we did an infographic on Elon Musk, the Tesla guy. We take that information and then we add infographic commission and the thing is the research for an infographic or a piece of content is quite a lot and you should be spending, probably one person should spend at least 3 to 5 days on the research. Because you need it to be very deep, to be able to get out the fresh ideas. That’s interesting because that could be a fresh thing that you can apply because you want to be able to produce a piece of the ideal concept that you produced. Should be the definitive content that is online, so there is no other place that you could get such an idea, such an in-depth analysis.
Razvan: It gives the uniqueness of that idea, practically the research that was done and the information that was aggregated from several sources and the thing that you did it the first.
Lyndon: You are giving people no other reason to go anywhere else for that content. You basically beat to death the other content. You just crush them with the amount of the amazing unique information that you have. And really that’s how you scale things. You don’t scale things like in the old days where you spin the article a hundred times and then use a piece of software that puts the article rewrite sites. The good old days. You have to put the effort, the resources, you have to go into the ideas and the research and it goes without saying that the content has to be of a quality and professionalism that beats every other content and also it matters how the context and the linkbait is presented. So if you have a web page and huge amount of adverts and branding and by this around it, that content is not gonna work as well as if it was on a more simple page.
Razvan: Another question from Andrew: what is the biggest challenge in content marketing?
Lyndon: Getting people not to use its own content marketing I guess. The biggest challenge: I think getting noticed is probably the biggest.
Razvan: The first time you have been noticed for that piece of content.
Lyndon: Yes, getting people to notice that content. And getting new people to know people outside of your network. That is the hardest thing because there is so much competition for that persons’ attention so you have to get their attention and not somebody else. So I would say getting people’s attention is the hardest. Once you have that attention, then you can kindly leave them down and I guess what you would tell them is a sales phenomenon. People use sales phenomenon, which I ‘m sure most people are familiar with, but in the same way you take them down that content, you are getting the reaction and the reaction is the link.
Razvan: Another question. We have here Alexandra who asks: how to introduce our SEO customers the new topic of content marketing so practically how do we educate the SEO customer and introduce him to this new work concept let’s say. The reporting has changed in the last year, mostly in the last months because let’s say Google stripped out the keyword data so you are not able to report, how you used to report until now, in terms of the keywords that are sending traffic to you. You may do rank tracking and estimate traffic from there but it’s a more complex process. Things are changing so how do we introduce the customer to the content marketing?
Lyndon: The first thing I say to a customer is: we are gonna be doing something that’s been used for quite a lot time. The average people don’t really know what content marketing is. They can get lost in it. So basically you are going to publish a piece of information that’s gonna benefit that business. In this specific instance it’s getting a link so if they want examples of what is content marketing, I wouldn’t show them the modern stuff, I’d show them the old stuff. So for instance when Coca-Cola was trying to market its product, it used Santa Claus to market. So in the 1930’s, Santa Clause was kinda the logo for Coca-Cola. Now because Coca-Cola brand was red, Santa Claus became red and at that time there was lots of green, yellow Santa Clauses it wasn’t defined that he was red, but because of the branding of Coca-Cola you now see Santa Claus always in a red suite. That is powerful content marketing. It’s called branding as well, but that’s the thing it’s not really about a very definable thing like for instance SEO is more definable than content marketing. Other time people don’t know the parameters of content marketing and they forget that there is all these stuff that was already gone before about how brands and companies used publishing and communication to get what they wanted because remember we are not in the content marketing world industry, we are in the persuasion industry. What we do is we persuade people to come to our websites. We do that by getting into Google and we do that by persuading people to link to our content. So it’s more fundamental than that.
Razvan: Do you think that a negative content can harm a brand?
Razvan: It can be a great linkbait.
Lyndon: I have got a very good timely example to show you. Pepsi Sweden – Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo. What happened is in Sweden, whoever was running the Pepsi campaign, decided to take the Swedish… Sweden was playing with Portugal football, Cristiano Ronaldo plays for Portugal, it’s a very famous soccer player. And so what the Swedish Pepsi people decided to do, was make lots of fun out of Cristiano Ronaldo. So they created voodoo dolls of him and put it a smashed can of Pepsi in his face, stuck pins into him, put him on a train track as you can see here.
Razvan: Really, really aggressive marketing.
Lyndon: This is Ronaldo on a train track. So, of course, the Portuguese bloggers: what’s going on here? So they all started producing anti Pepsi means and they put out all stuff about Pepsi, about why you shouldn’t drink Pepsi so that’s when it went negative. I’m not quite sure how it got away from Pepsi, because usually they kinda Google these kind of stuff, if you research that a bit further. That’s one way that it can go wrong.
Razvan: Interesting. So you need to be really careful.
Lyndon: I think a lot of it is common sense. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of ego bate or a bit of taking a puppet, someone how is quite famous and pompous. But you got to be very careful when you are playing around with stuff like that, you don’t get too far.
Razvan: Let’s see some other question: How would you define great content? Content that gets shared, linked, wrapped, etc.
Lyndon: I would define it as content that excites. Content that triggers an emotion. Gives you an emotional reaction. Stuff that excites you, so for example, people who are into Apple products, when the new iPhone comes out, a piece of content about the review of something that nobody ask about the iPhone will get you excited, it will get you interested and so that’s how I would define what good content is. How it affects the emotional outcome of the reader.
Razvan: That intensive links and the actual shares do you think that it might be great content that doesn’t get shared the way it should be or linked the way it should be?
Lyndon: I don’t quite understand the question.
Razvan: Let’s say you write a piece of content, you really think it’s going to be a great hit, but you realize that because of bad seeding of the content, so you didn’t send it to the right people, the right influencers…
Lyndon: Absolutely yes. I’m sure we all created fantastic content, that never happens because it never gets seeded properly. That’s why I say getting the attention of the person is the most important thing. Because if it doesn’t get seen, then it’s nothing, it could be the best thing ever. So yes it’s incredibly important.
Razvan: It’s like a great product that’s not used by anyone. It’s the same thing.
Lyndon: Haven’t we watched the movie? How they gonna know if it’s any good? It’s the crucial part of the process.
Razvan: So to end this hangout, I’d like to ask you if you have any tips for our viewers in terms of how they should improve their marketing strategies? The 3 most important tips that you can recommend them.
Lyndon: They can hire me for a consultation. I’m kidding. So 3 tips that you can improve. Become highly critical of content and trying to be a constant magnet for good content. When you are walking on the street for example, you see a billboard, or a shop sign that’s in a certain way, that all you can think: that’s interesting, that’s funny how they do that shop design. Photograph it, file it, use that, create what’s called a swipe file, great ideas and you just build up a great file of ideas. Maybe even a few years down the line, you can use that idea again. So that’s one tip. And become very critical, very analytical about what you think it’s working and what’s not working. So tip number 2: I would say learn about people, if you find that you’re just like the computers, you just like to sit with the computer, try and get out of it, try and become more personal, try and connect more online, not just because you want to increase your followers, but because you want to have a conversation, you want to exchange ideas. And the great thing about the internet is no matter what person site you are, there’s always gonna be a tribe for you to join and to share with.
That’s really important because you need to get feedback, you need to get critical feedback from people that you trust, so I’d say be more of a people person. I know sometimes that’s hard in the industry that we are working in, because sometimes we are working quite isolated situations and we just see the screens and you forget that oh it’s real people beyond that. The 3rd thing: I would say go outside of your cultural goldfish bowl. So if you want to be a good content marketer, I would say go outside content marketing. Start looking at what other industries or other even mediums are using to create great content. And that’s what I said early about poetry, music and paintings because all of these are communications and all these are things that can get exciting. And the reason why that’s important is because everybody else is gonna be creating like an infographic, or a content a certain way. But if you are bringing it something that is on the back of a cereal packet, and it works very well on that back of the cereal packet, and it is a lot of things going out there that you can use, when nobody else is gonna be using it. So be original and I guess that’s the 3rd thing. Try and be as original as possible and don’t go with the crowd and to do that, look the other stuff that people are looking at. If that makes sense.
Razvan: Okay, perfect sense. So it was a pleasure to have you here Lyndon. Thank you for joining us and I’m sure that our viewers had a lot to learn from your experiences and our discussion. Thank you and I wish you a great weekend.
Lyndon: You too. Bye everybody.