Content that works = funny, useful, beautiful, or inspiring.

Research among some 5,000 consumers and their perception of brands indicated that there are just four kinds of emotionally compelling content that will get people to pay attention to you online: content that is funny, useful, beautiful or inspiring.

Source: The Four Kinds of Content that Move Us | Scott Monty

Quick idea for turning this into an exercise:

  1. Create a matrix/table.
  2. Four columns along the top: Funny, Useful, Beautiful, Inspiring.
  3. Four row labels: Reach, Teach, Sell, Support.
  4. In each box, write down content ideas that match both criteria.

What you’ll end up with:

  • Reach & Funny: Get in front of people with humour. Funny stuff that people want to share. Good for Facebook.
  • Reach & Useful: Get in front of people with things that they can immediately use. Answer questions on Quora and Facebook groups and in original YouTube videos.
  • Reach & Beautiful: Get in front of people with something visually captivating. Good for Pinterest and Instagram.

And so on.

Obviously some pairings are better for certain businesses than others, but forcing yourself out of your comfort zone will be helpful for finding new, creative content ideas.

Lead with what’s interesting.

I have always lead, first, with what I find interesting and/or helpful, and I assume, if I write about it well enough, the people who find me and my work interesting/helpful might find it interesting/helpful, too.

Source: How I put my weekly newsletter together

Sharing is caring, and I dig that Austin Kleon shares something new every week with the reliability of a well-crafted wristwatch.

I tend to hoard my recommended links across Todoist lists and Google Keep notes. Or I’ll clip an excerpt to my blog of something I’ve read recently or a while ago. (I’ve got a queue of post drafts to get through.)

Reach, Attract, Convert, Educate

Reach: get our messaging in front of the right audience
Attract: get that audience to visit our site and become leads
Convert: convince leads to signup and become customers
Educate: help customers get increasing value and love our product

I like Intercom’s model because the acronym is RACE and that’s pretty nifty. 😉

It reminds me of my own Reach Teach Sell model because at the core of it we’re talking about the same thing:

Show up where your people are; build rapport; and help them take action.

Whatever mental model you use to think about this flow, whatever labels you want to apply… it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is to implement it.

How does your success improve the lives of others?

I’ve found the best way to select metrics isn’t to start with numbers, but rather to start with a plain-language statement about what a successful outcome would look like in human terms. In other words, how will people’s lives be improved if your efforts are successful?

via How do you set metrics?

When I’m working on a content strategy (high level) or a content brief (low level), I try to capture some essence of this by asking one of these two questions:

  1. What’s the impact for the reader/viewer of this content?
  2. What’s the takeaway – the thing they’ll learn, or be able to do, from the content?

Otherwise it’s too easy to get caught up in thinking about success as determined by our business, whether that’s quantitative or qualitative. That success is usually tied to things like revenue generated or leads captured or what have you, things that the reader/viewer is far less likely to care about.

To put it another way: As customers we judge the quality of a restaurant by the experience, which encompasses the food and the service and the ambiance. Good reviews and steady revenue isn’t (shouldn’t?) be the goal of the restauranteur – instead, those should be the byproduct of creating a great experience.

And so it goes for content, whether that’s a company blog or a YouTube channel or an in-person event series.

Guest post: What’s an SSL certificate?

I’ve got a new guest post out in the wild, this time covering SSL certificates.


Starting in July 2018, the Google Chrome browser will mark all HTTP websites as insecure. This is a big deal for businesses. Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. If you don’t have an HTTPS-enabled website, your customers are likely to see that warning. So how do you get an HTTPS-enabled website? By acquiring an SSL certificate.

Kudos to Degroot Design for the opportunity.

So what’s the deal with all these guest posts?

My guest post hustling started back in November as part of hitting my personal goals for 2017.

I’ve kept it up on a (mostly) weekly basis so far, missing one or two weeks in 2018. It’ll scale back to one per month starting in April.

It’s been a great experience.

It’s given me a greater appreciation for how long things actually take versus how long I think it’ll take.

Now I need to pivot and start working on my own blog posts… 🙂