"Scott has consistently been one of our top authors at the Content Marketing Institute. His posts are timely, fact-driven and almost always drive a high-level of discussion. Scott’s "21 Types of Content We Crave" infographic post on CMI was one of our most popular posts of the year!"
Joe Pulizzi, the founder of ContentMarketingInstitute.com - one of the leading thought leaders behind the content marketing and social media movement
Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 online marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies in the world. He was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations. Neil has also been awarded Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives.
Neil has accomplished some really amazing things.
But the reason I want to talk to you about him today is NOT because of his accomplishments.
It’s because of the content he creates.
You see, Neil creates powerful content. How powerful?
He creates HUGE blog posts (2,000 or more words) that brings in a flood of traffic (he had over 80,000 visitors in July), a ton of comments, and his posts are shared widely (many have 1,000 shares or more).
When I first came across Neil’s writing I was impressed by how much information he packs into each blog post.
He has a great, conversational writing style that really draws you in.
He also really knows his stuff.
But the longer I read his posts, the more I began to notice the ingenious content curation method that he uses to help him create powerful content marketing.
If you have heard of content curation, then you’ve probably heard that it is smart to include it as a part of your overall content marketing strategy.
You can see in this graphic below called The Content Marketing Pyramid (from Curata.com) that content curation is something that can be used more regularly, because it takes much less effort than creating original content.
He uses graphical information for three important reasons:
Because this provides information in a powerful form that his readers will like.
He doesn’t have to labor over creating these graphics.
He also uses them because they are powerful traffic generators.
In other words, he knows these will generate traffic to his site, because of these two truths about infographics:
If you use someone’s infographic, then the person or company that created the graphic will most likely share it.
If his readers like a particular graphic, then they will share the whole post that you’ve embeded the infographic in.
2) He mentions other people and businesses in all of his posts.
He doesn’t just use infographics. He also makes sure to mention many different people and/or businesses in each of his posts.
Take a second to look at the infographic below.
And when you do, pay special attention to #6 on the list…
(NOTE: This infographic above is based on an interview that Neil did with Zentrepreneurs, which is a Business Mastermind designed by Mindvalley Founder, Vishen Lakhiani. You can watch video of the interviewhere.)
Did you notice the quote that gives the reason WHY he mentions other people in blog posts?
He says, “Let people know when you’ve mentioned them in your posts. 20-30%+ will retweet and share.”
Neil mentions people in his posts, because a good amount of them will share those posts and link to them.
This is a really ingenious method!
In fact, I bet this is the same principlethat Reader’s Digest harnessed when they published the lengthier article at the end of each issue.
What do I mean?
I guarantee that if I was an author and my book was featured as that article at the end of Reader’s Digest, I’d promote it everywhere and anywhere!
3) He focuses on curating viral content.
Neil doesn’t just curate any old content. He focuses on curating popular content.
“The personal touch creates a unique bond between curator and reader that aggregators haven’t figured out how to humanize or duplicate yet.”
– Patrick Armitage
If it wasn’t for this “personalization factor”, then Neil’s content curation wouldn’t be as powerful or effective.
If you are going to use his method, then remember that personalizing your content is the key to it working powerfully.
4 Great Examples of People and Companies That Are Using Content Curation in a Similar Way
I don’t want you to think that Neil got lucky using this hybrid method or that he is an exception to the rule.
There are plenty of others who also use content curation and creation together and have also seen some great results.
Let me give you four examples (two individuals and two companies) of others using his methods. You can then check out their work and see how they implement this content curation method in their own unique ways:
Sujan uses a content curation and creation hybrid style that is very similar to Neil’s style. He creates great content while weaving in helpful curated content. But his content stands out in unique ways, because of his unique personality and the insights he adds.
theSkimm is an email newsletter that curates the news of the day. But they don’t just put together a list of news stories. That would be boring. Instead they add their personality to the curated content in order to make the content more interesting and exciting.
Many of you probably know Brian Clark fromCopybloggerorRainMaker.fm. But what you might not know is that Brian has created a whole new site called “Further” that he uses to harness the power of content creation and curation.
He has a newsletter at Further.netin which he sends out personal development articles on areas such as money, health, etc.
But he doesn’t create all of the content on his own. No. Instead he curates much of it from books and articles that he is reading and he adds his own personality and ideas to it.
Neil’s method (combining content creation and curation together with your personality and ideas) is being used by others companies and they are all seeing success with it.
And if they can use this method, then so can you.
If you’d like a way to visualize this process, then check out this graphic fromSocialBites.com…
4 Tools You Can Use to Help You with Content Curation
As you saw above, Neil uses Google search for content curation and it’s a great place for you to begin too.
2. Create a list of “Go to” sites
Michael Brenner has created a list of sites that he regularly visits to find great information. These include sites such as: The New York Times, Hubspot, and other top sites. He then uses them as his source for important information he can write about or link to.
2 Key Ways to Use Content Curation in an Ethical Way
If you want to use content curation ethically, here are two things to keep in mind:
1. Make sure that you always give the original content creator credit.
You can do this in multiple ways: mention the name of the author of the original content, mention the title of the original content, or mention the site that the content is from.
Just make sure that no matter which one of these ways that you use that you alwaysprovide a link back to the original piece of content!
2. Never use all of their content in your post.
Using a snippet of their content is fine. Using their whole blog post with your name on it isn’t!
The purpose of content curation is not to steal content from others.
It’s to bring to the attention of your audience some valuable information that can help them.
(They can’t find it all on their own. There’s too much content out there! That’s how you as a content curator become an asset to them.)
The Problem with Formulas
In my book51 Content Marketing Hacks, in a chapter called The 12 Most Effective Ways to Create Irresistible Content (originally written for 12Most.com), I mention the problem with formulas such as the one I’ve revealed today.
I say, “There is a common problem with formulas. The problem is that people learn the elements of the formula, but they don’t learn the right implementation of the formula.”
Not only is that a problem, but the other problem is that people don’t practice any formula long enough to make it their own.
Later I say, “Keep practicing and perfecting the implementation of this formula. Make it your own. And who knows? Maybe one day someone will ask you to reveal your formula!”
I am showing you Neil’s method, so that you can learn from it and figure out ways to implement it in your own creative way.
Creativity is the key to standing out in anyniche.
You will want to take this idea, practice implementing it, and then tweak it and make it your own!
Speaking of creatively using content curation…
I used a curation method to produce my book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. You see, I took blog posts that I’d written on my own site and other sites and I curated them all together in this book under the “Content Marketing Hacks” theme.
If I can use content curation like this – utilizing my own content – then you are only limited by your own imagination.
By the way, if you want to see one final example of how to use Neil’s method, then read through this post again.
In case you didn’t notice, I implemented all four of his “tricks” in this post! (See if you can see where/how I implemented each of his methods.)
How many of the four “tricks” can you find in this post (and where are they)?
What other methods of Neil’s have you noticed him use? Have you tried any of his other techniques?
Leave your answers in the comments below.
My Latest Posts on RecessionSolution.com and Other Sites
Not only was he good at building things., but he wasalso good at fixing cars.
These things made my dad the ultimate handyman.
Well, I guess those types of things aren’t something that can be passed on from a parent to their kid, because the sad fact is I am am UNhandyman.
I am just not good at fixing things or building things.
But it’s not just that.
I don’t even like doing these things!
When something breaks around my house, I need to either hire someone or ask a friend to come help me fix something.
And whenever I watch these people fix things, I am always amazed at how effectively and efficiently they can get things done.
Do you know why they are so much better at fixing things than I am?
One of the reasons is, because they have different tools than I do.
And because they have different tools, then they can do more than I can.
But there’s another reason.
Even if they happen to use the same tool that I actually have, they are still more effective than I am.
Why?It’s because they know how to use the tool in a way I don’t.
They have more experience using it.
For these simple reasons, they’re able to accomplish more than I can and do those things much more effectively.
The Real Truth About Tools
I’ve been thinking about these things and I’ve come to realize a very important truth about tools.
The truth is this: A tool is only as effective as the person using it.
If the person understands the tool and has experience with it, then they can accomplish amazing things.
If the person doesn’t understand how the tool works best, or they don’t have any experience using it, then they can’t accomplish very much.
I call this “The Law of the Tool.”
The Law of the Tool: Why Some Struggle So Much with Content Marketing
Because of my inability to effectively use a drill I could declare to you, “Drills are horrible tools!“
But would you believe me and think that drills were horrible tools? No!
You would know that the problem doesn’t lie in the tool I am using.
The problem lies in the person trying to use it!
I think this is the reason that some businesses and companies struggle so much to see their content marketing produce any worthwhile results.
It’s not that anything is wrong with the tool itself.
The problem is with the person (or team) using it.
The problem is that they don’t really understand the tool and/or they don’t have enough experience with it.
So before you toss out this tool called “content marketing,” because you believe it’s worthless, I would encourage you to learn more about the real purpose for content marketing and the best mindset and methods for using it.
That might be all it takes for you to see completely different results compared to the ones you’ve been getting from it.
Speaking of understanding the real purpose and using the best techniques, I have come up a new way to think of content marketing that I believe can really help business to answer these questions:
Why isn’t content marketing working for my company?
What are we doing wrong with our content marketing?
What is content marketing really all about anyway?
This new way to think about content marketing is something I am calling “Question Directed Content Marketing”.
Question Directed Content Marketing
I’ve put together a free video 12 minute video that explains a new way of thinking about the basic core purpose for all of the content you create.
In this video, you’ll discover:
The common quest we all are on
How the internet has changed that quest
How this creates an unprecedented opportunity for businesses
Anew mindset and paradigm that will help you to begin using content marketing in a more effective way.
The 4 powerful things that will happen when you use it in this way
The common mistakes most businesses make with their content marketing
And finally you’ll discover how to begin creating content that will allow you to stand out from your competitors
If you’d like to watch this video, then all you have to do is sign-up below.
We recently had some friends visiting San Francisco from Washington, DC, so we went up to spend time with them.
We saw a lot of things I haven’t seen, even though I’d lived 30-40 minutes from San Francisco for most of my life.
One of the places we saw was the Boudin Bakery on Fisherman’s Wharf.
While we were there I learned some interesting things about the bakery that I didn’t know.
And in the process, I learned some important lessons that apply to content marketing.
Here are some of the things that I learned:
Boudin Bakery was started in 1849 by a French baker named Isadore Boudin.
He came to San Francisco and started his bakery in North Beach because of the Gold Rush population boom that had happened the year before.
It is the oldest bakery in the West.
It’s one of the oldest businesses in San Francisco.
He used a traditional European technique of capturing natural yeast found in the air for his “mother dough”.
They still use the same “mother dough” to this day!
The 166-Year-Old “Mother Dough”
Did you hear what I said?
Boudin still uses the same “Mother Dough” that they first used back in 1849.
Isidore captured the original yeast from the air 166 years ago and he was happy with it. It produced a flavor in the bread that was pleasing to him.
So instead of trying to capture the yeast again and trying to duplicate it, he did what bakers have done for thousands of years: he kept part of that original “mother dough” to use in the next batch.
That is how Boudin Bakery has continued to produce consistently delicious bread for all these years!
They don’t start completely from “scratch” with each new batch.
They always begin with a part of Isidore Boudin’s original dough.
The original dough is replenished daily with flour and water, so that the strains of yeast that he captured way back in the 1800s can continue to survive and can be used to make another loaf of bread today and tomorrow.
The Secret of Today’s Publishing Empires
Effective content marketing comes from two things.
It comes from using a powerful content marketing strategy and from utilizing great content.
What you need to realize is that people who produce great content and harness effective content marketing strategies hardly ever start from “scratch.”
They almost always have some sort of “mother dough” that they use as a “starter”.
They all began by using a portion of a content strategy “mother dough” that has been used for 214 years.
What is the strategy? It’s amazingly simple, but powerful
The basic strategy is made up of just two steps:
1. Create a content channel for your target market.
2. Invite leading authorities to create content for you.
(Want to learn more? I go intomuch more detail about this here and explain how I discovered this same strategy was used to establish a bookstore in France that began using the strategy way back in 1801.)
How to Unleash Your Content Marketing Creativity
But you need to understand that this doesn’t just apply to content marketing strategy.
It also applies to content marketing creativity.
That means that if you want to come up with new ideas for your content marketing,you don’t have to try to come up with them out of the blue.
Let me explain by sharing with you a practice that copywriters have been using for decades.
Years and years ago copywriters learned a powerful secret to creativity.
Instead of starting from scratch every time they wrote an new ad, they discovered that it was better to use a previously written successful ad and use it for inspiration and ideas.
They created what became known as a “swipe file,” which was a file of copywriting that had already proven to be effective.
They would look over the samples that they gathered in this swipe file and use them to unlock ideas and inspiration for any and all new copywriting ideas.
I have 3 sons between the ages of 9 – 14 years old. Last year, AMC aired all of the old Jurassic Park movies and so I let them watch them.
And, of course, they loved them. (Come on! Dinosaurs, guns, and killing? It’s a formula for a movie boys would love!)
When they saw that Jurassic World was coming out they all set their hearts on seeing it.
I, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure I wanted to see it. I was thinking, “Can there be anything else that they can possibly do with this film franchise that would make it interesting?”
Well, Monday I found out.
Spontaneously, I decided to take the boys to see it.
And to my surprise, it was a REALLY great movie!
(It was funny, action-packed and had a creative twist to the formula they used in their past movies.)
What I didn’t realize was going to happen was that I would discover that the movie was being used as powerful content marketing for Mercedes.
The Two Groups of People Who Will Especially Want to Read This Post
I think you’ll want to keep reading this, because what I am going to share with you will be especially helpful for two groups of people:
1. People who don’t have the time or talent to create content
If you have ever thought, “I (or we) don’t have any time or ability to make great content,” then you’ll like what you’re about to read.
2. Content creators who need more income
If you have the time and talent to create awesome content, but you’re stuck trying to figure out how to make more money from your skills, then you’ll definitely want to keep reading.
Why I Believe that Jurassic World is Content Marketing for Mercedes
I need to start by saying that Jurassic World is FULL of product placements. A few of the products you’ll see in the movie are: Beats by Dre headphones, Starbucks, Brookstone and even Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.
They even make a joke about all of the product placements in the movie itself!
As a Washington Post article pointed out, “The dinosaur park is strapped for funding and takes on corporate sponsors: Its star dinosaur exhibit becomes ‘Verizon Wireless Presents The Indominus Rex.’ A side character jokes they should have gone even further, naming a dinosaur ‘Pepsi-saurus.’”
But I think there is something different about the Mercedes relationship that goes BEYOND just regular product placement. Why?
Because it’s on the screen so much that it can almost be considered co-star.
In fact, they didn’t just feature one model of Mercedes car. I researched it and found out that ALL of the cars featured in the film were Mercedes cars!
Here are just two of the Mercedes models that they featured in the film:
The Mercedes GLE Coupe…
And they also featured the Mercedes-Benz AMG 6×6…
If you’re still doubting that Jurassic World is content marketing for Mercedes, then watch this video clip “Mercedes-Benz JURASSIC WORLD Making-Of”…
Did you catch what they said? The Mercedes GLE Coupe came out the same day as Jurassic World did!
The partnership continues the relationship between Universal and Mercedes-Benz, first forged in 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park, when Mercedes introduced the M‑Class vehicle.
“We are delighted to have been able to support this epic action-adventure with our vehicles,” said Dr. Jens Thiemer, Head of Marketing Communications forMercedes-Benz Cars. “Our wide range of SUVs in particular fit perfectly with JURASSIC WORLD’s various requirements, with the focus on our new trendsetter, the GLE Coupé.”
And listen to what the producer for Jurassic World said…
“Unveiling the new GLE Coupé in JURASSIC WORLD was a natural fit as we continue our relationship with Mercedes,” said producer Frank Marshall. “Audiences will find that the vehicles featured in the film lend themselves perfectly as the transportation of choice in the fully functioning international theme park we have created at JURASSIC WORLD.”
The Content Marketing Lessons We Can Learn from Jurassic World
There are two powerful lessons that we can learn from this and they help solve the problems of the two groups of people I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
1. If you don’t have the time or talent to create great content, then partner with someone who does.
There are many great content creators and content marketers who are out there these days.
They not only have the time and talent to create the content you need, they are ALREADY creating content that could be used for promoting your company or its products or services.
If you have been held back from using top content creators in the past, because you didn’t have the budget to hire them to be a full-time part of your company, then now you have a different paradigm to use.
You don’t have to hire them and make them a full-time part of your on your team. You can instead just pay them to feature your product or service in a particular piece of content or series of content.
The key is to find someone who has already gathered an audience made up of the people you’re trying to sell to.
2. If you need a better (or additional) source of income as a content creator or content marketer, then look for companies you can approach who need exposure to your audience.
In the same way that there are many content creators and content marketers out there, there are also many, many companies who need great content that they can use to spread the word about their products or services.
If you haven’t been able to find, or haven’t wanted, a full-time job creating content for a company, then now you have another option.
You don’t have to find, or choose, a full-time position. You can now look for companies that you can forge asymbiotic relationshipwith.
The key is to figure out who wants access the audience you have gathered enough that they would be willing to pay to be put in front of them.
If the work you do has been for others, and you haven’t gathered your own audience, don’t worry. It could still work. How?
The company might still be interested in working with you, if they have gathered their own audience.
Now don’t get stuck thinking, “But I’m not a movie studio! How can this work for me? I am just a content marketer,” or “I’m not a car maker! I don’t have a product people will want to promote in their content.”
This content marketing relationship that Universal Pictures has with Mercedes is a model that has been used in many ways and in many forms.
MentalFloss.com even hasan articlethat shows how the classic kids’ book series Little Golden Booksused this same basic model with a book called Doctor Dan the Bandage Man and Johnson & Johnson Band-Aids.
If an animator, a chef, a band, and a book publisher can all use this model, then so can you.
You see, John is smart enough to realize that when it comes to content marketing the more hooks (or poles) in the water, the more fish!
The Content Marketing Principle John Uses: The more pieces of content that you put into the water, the more “fish” you have a chance to catch!
Why don’t more businesses think this way?
How Many Content Marketing “Hooks” Do You Have in the Water?
Somehow many businesses post up one blog post, one white paper, etc. and then expect that one piece of content to bring in all the prospects and customers that they’ll ever need.
And then, when they don’t see any results, they think content marketing is useless!
That’s like betting all your money on catching two fish on one hook.
Yeah, that’s not likely to happen.
Instead business owners need to think like a fisherman and like John Lee Dumas does. Many poles in the water increase the chance you’ll catch more (or at least some) fish.
How You Can Apply This “Many Poles in the Water” Principle
Now I am sure that by now some of you are thinking, “Well I don’t have time to podcast (blog, etc.) 7 days a week! I have a business to run!”
There are ways for you to follow this principle without having to write 7 days a week.
Here are two ways you can follow this principle without focusing all of your (or your staff’s) time on creating content.
1. Same bait different ponds
You need to realize that there are different sites that you can post your same content on. For example, a few months after you (or your team) post a blog post on your site, you can post the same post on LinkedIn.
That will allow a new group of people to get exposure to it. (I post old blog posts on LinkedIn and have gotten great exposure this way.)
Another thing you can do is have you (or your team) write a new post, but this time get it posted on some other website. Where? There are plenty of sites that are looking for content. You just need to look around.
Check your local newspaper websites and see if they’d like to republish one of your posts or have you (or your staff) write a new blog post for their site
Another thing you could do is search for other local businesses that have blogs. Look for businesses that sell to the same prospects, but offer non-competitive products or services. Then approach them and see if they’d like to republish one of your posts or have you (or your staff) write a new blog post for their site.
(NOTE: Your content needs to be good for any of this to work, but I am assuming that it is. Otherwise none of your content marketing will work anyway!)
2. Same pond different bait
You need to realize that some people are readers and others hate to read. Some people love to watch videos and others would rather read that same information.
Some people love podcasts and others don’t know what they are. That means that if you only provide your content in one format, then you are limiting who will consume it.
The people who hate reading will usually not read your blog posts. The people that prefer reading probably won’t watch your videos.
How do you create content for each of these types of people without taking too much of your time away from running your business?
One of the best ways to do that is by re-purposing content. You’ve heard of recycling right? Well, you can think of re-purposing content as recycling your content.
Here are some ideas for re-purposing your content:
Take a white paper and record a video about the same ideas.
Or you can take your white paper and use it to create an app. (You just take the knowledge you shared in your white paper and create a “how-to” app.)
(BONUS TIP: It’s best to add to, or change, your re-purposed content some. Why? So that the people who consume content in more than one format will still enjoy it, even if they consumed it in the original form.)
The Only Way to Build Momentum
To see momentum in any area of life takes repeated action.
To try something once is not much better than never trying it at all.
How many of you have seen any major results in your life from only doing something once?
You’re only going to see results from the things you focus on and keep doing!
It’s the same with content marketing.
I am not going to pretend that you aren’t going to have to create at least some additional content to see this principle really work. You will!
But if you apply the ideas I’ve given you in this post, then you’ll be able to maximize the content you do create and multiply its impact.
This will enable you to harness this principle without having to create as much content as other businesses.
But the truth is, once you start reeling in some more fish from harnessing this principle, you’ll be excited to put more poles in the water! You’llfinally understand the wisdom of John Lee Dumas’ 7-day-a-week podcasts.
Final Warning: Every top fisherman knows that if you don’t use the right bait, then you’ll never catch the fish you are hoping for.
This principle I’ve shared with you is based on the assumption that you understand the content your prospects are hungry for. You must know this in order for any of this to work!
(NOTE: This isn’t the only thing that John has done that’s helped him achieve such great success. But it is one of the key principles that he’s tapped into.)