The infographic is the Salvador Dalí of content marketing. By far the most interesting person at the cocktail party.
Who can compete with the thin, longhorn mustache decorated with forget-me-nots? The anteater curled at his feet?
His closest peer, the video, dozes near the crackling fire … slippered feet propped up, face buried in a white beard.
The podcasts, hovering in the shadows, laugh at all his jokes in between sips of sparkling wine.
And the blog posts? Yeah. The blog posts go home to weep themselves to sleep.
The infographic holds court. He is the darling of the content marketing world. For good reason.
If you are going to run a company around a slogan like “Tell Great Stories,” or rally your troops by adopting the Native American proverb “Those who tell the stories rule the world,” then it pays to build an environment that fosters great writing.
Large photographs of your favorite writers covering one wall is appropriate. As is a collection of your favorite books along another wall.
And that’s just the environment Shane Snow has created for the employees of his company.
Shane is the co-founder of Contently, a high-end brand publishing firm. In fewer than five years, Contently has courted the likes of Coca-Cola, GE, Walmart, and Google as clients, providing both software and creative talent to help satisfy media objectives.
Jack Ungulate is a strange bird.
When he drinks beer, he licks his index and middle finger, swipes the bottle opening, and then pauses, with the bottle raised to his mouth, before turning it upside down.
Each time, every time.
He also has a routine with his steel-toe boots. The left one must go on first, then the right. But he takes them off in reverse.
And then there’s his ritual when buying large ticket items like a car: he sends his wife to the lot while he sits in the garage, waiting for her to call.
When people talk to him about saving for his children’s college fund, he quickly cuts them off to inform them there is no fund because he’d prefer to cultivate a sense of ownership by encouraging them to pay their own way through school.
He enjoys the scowls that appear on their faces.
As he methodically replaces a defective steam gauge on a heating system, he thinks about his father and why they never talk. Then he contemplates how he’s going to break it to his own son that he won’t be able to make it to his kayak competition that evening because he has to cover a co-worker’s night shift.
The overtime, however, will go towards their trip to Cancun in April. That should ease the sting.
Clearly, Jack is not so much strange as he is just complex. Like most humans. And all of your customers.
If you’re an entrepreneur, does any of this sound familiar to you?
- You’re trapped in Outlook for up to seven hours each day.
- You want to launch a podcast, but you have no clue when you’ll be able to edit it.
- You only have time for a fraction of the marketing you need to do to promote your new blog posts.
- You are afraid to customize your website design since there is a chance you’ll mess something up with the code (and spend the weekend fixing it).
- Conversions on your product landing page are dropping — and you desperately need to optimize it.
- You can’t remember the last time you didn’t work on Sunday.
Fewer than three years ago, this reality was all too real for blogger, podcaster, and business owner Chris Ducker.
He worked 14-hour days chasing his tail around to make a living while becoming a complete stranger to his family — until he found a smarter way to run his business.
The number of blog posts published every day is absurd.
Let’s just say it exceeds the population of the four largest countries in the world and be done with it.
Maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t. The point is — and we all know it — the volume of written content online is overwhelming.
And let’s not forget about other media: videos, podcasts, Google+ Hangouts, photographs, et cetera.
Shock is one way to describe our reaction to the tonnage dumped each day.
Despair is another — especially for content producers who want to find an audience.
The conventional advice is to find a viable niche, the territory competitors have overlooked. Once you occupy that ground, you will stand out — you will rise above the noise.
That plan leaves us jockeying for the content gap, looking for a way in. Miss your opportunity, however, and you are just another contributor to the landfill that is the World Wide Web.
But you can do better than that.