In this second lesson in the Next Level 7 series, you will learn why creating tons of content is not the answer to attracting an audience.
And why it’s audience — not content — that’s king when it comes to building a powerful, high impact, and high revenue solo or very small business.
After you complete the lesson, go back to the email that sent you here. Complete the homework to get the next lesson right away (otherwise the next lesson will arrive in 24 hours).
Moving beyond content marketing
Moving beyond content marketing
Welcome to lesson two of Next Level 7, the audio course that reveals what’s working right now for attracting an audience, discovering what they want to buy, and building your perfect business. I’m Brian Clark … let’s dive right in.
Given that I started doing “content marketing in 1998, and teaching it in 2006 (two years before it had an accepted name), I’m considered a pioneer in the craft. Hey … yay for me.
So it may seem strange for a “content marketing pioneer to turn away from content marketing. But it’s not really turning away so much as it is a shift in how best to use content to achieve your goals.
Content marketing is about giving away valuable, engaging information that connects with your intended audience. Then, you’re in a position to expose that audience to a related offer, using messages that lead to the sale.
In other words, it’s a smart process that hits the three fundamentals of audience, offer, and copy. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way people have lost sight of the fundamentals, and spend all their time creating more and more content.
Content has never been king — audience is. You develop an audience by providing unique value to the “who you’ve decided to serve. A decade ago, creating lots of high value content was the way to do that.
Now, we have plenty of content, and even less capacity for attention. People are looking for trusted guides who will connect them with what’s good; what’s real instead of fake or poorly researched, and most of all, what’s important to them. And they want content selected by trusted humans, not algorithms.
And it’s not just content. People are looking to trusted sources for what to buy, what to watch, where to travel, and more. In an age of overwhelming information and choice, curators and editors now more easily command an audience.
That’s why all my new projects rely on various forms of curation more than original content. Curation is the selection, organization, and presentation of online content, and even products and services, to a specific audience.
And yes, curators become trusted experts as much (or more) than those who create original content. As someone who’s done both in vastly different niches, I’m enjoying the process of curation even more, while still developing subject matter authority in the process.
You may be thinking at this point … what about all these people selling courses on blogging, content marketing, and podcasting? Are they all shysters?
No, I don’t think so at all. I think these are (mostly) well-intentioned people who’ve built an audience in the past, and now teach people what’s worked for them. The problem is, things have changed — and often the last person to realize just how much things have changed is the person who is still enjoying the substantial fruits of their past labor.
You’ve heard of the “curse of knowledge, right? That’s where an expert in a certain topic doesn’t realize that things they know and take for granted are completely unknown to most other people.
In this case, we’re dealing with the “curse of the asset. The audience asset, that is. Once you build an audience by a certain (often new at the time) approach, that audience keeps providing huge benefits for a long, long time.
Here’s what I mean:
- Most people teaching blogging started blogging between 2004 and 2008.
- Most people teaching content marketing started between 2008 and 2012.
- Most people teaching podcasting started between 2010 and 2014.
Let’s look at it another way. The work I did in 2006 and 2007 to build the Copyblogger audience paid off to the tune of over $70 million dollars in highly profitable revenue over the next decade plus.
But let’s face it … that audience was built at the beginning of commercial blogging, and continued during what some call the Golden Age of social media. A time and an environment where great content of all types went viral all the time.
And when that content went viral, it attracted links. All those links combined with basic on-page SEO led to incredible search rankings in Google, many of which persist to this day.
That time is over. Plus, as important as building an audience is, it’s only one part of the equation. Finding the right products and services to sell is equally as important.
The web publishing software and hosting products we developed and launched pretty much every year up until 2016 was the real work that we did for our specific audience, but that audience kept thriving and growing without much personal attention from me.
Now, even after we sold our hosting and software business lines, the audience still numbers in the six figures. And yet, we’re in the process of reinventing Copyblogger with new products and services — because times have changed, and so must it.
So why did I start thinking in terms of curation back in 2015 for my side projects? Well, part of it was simple boredom with what I had been doing and teaching for so long. But it was also due to observing things other people were doing with curation, and more specifically, email newsletters.
I was fascinated, because it seemed like 1999 all over again — I got my start with online publishing and digital marketing through email newsletters. And once the fall out from the 2016 election became clear — with the manufactured news, devious data capture quizzes, and false narratives — people doing genuine curation looked like geniuses.
In the next lesson, we’ll take a closer look at the email aspect. Because there’s an important point here that every successful blogger, content marketer, and podcaster realizes at some point.
Now go back to the email that sent you here. Complete the homework to get the next lesson right away (otherwise the next lesson will arrive in 24 hours).