Summary of The Content Marketing Playbook w/ Steph Smith from The Hustle and Trends

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00:00:00 - 00:55:00

In this section, Steph Smith emphasizes the importance of understanding the goal of one's content marketing strategy and aligning it with the overall business objective. She also suggests focusing on a specific metric that directly impacts business success, such as revenue, leads generated, or customer retention. It is also essential to have a content distribution plan and identify the channels that work best for the target audience. Smith suggests testing and experimenting with different channels, such as social media platforms, newsletters, and guest posts, to see what resonates with the audience. Lastly, she emphasizes the need to track and analyze the results regularly and adjust the strategy accordingly.

  • 00:00:00 shifted in the era of the internet, and with it, the competition for attention has increased. As a result, it is crucial to differentiate oneself and create a personal monopoly in a crowded market of online content creators. While barriers to entry are lower than ever, standing out from the crowd and becoming an innovator is key to gaining a foothold in this attention economy. Additionally, one must understand the new ways people consume and distribute content and the power law, which means that only the best content gets significant attention.
  • 00:05:00 In this section, Steph Smith from The Hustle and Trends explains that the supply of content has increased exponentially over the past two decades due to advancements in technology that have made it much easier for anyone to put content online. As a result, standing out in the content creation space is crucial. Instead of focusing on finding something completely new to write about, Smith suggests finding a topic that already exists and doing it better. Moreover, saturation is not just the number of people in a space, but rather your ability to out-innovate what already exists. Smith offers the examples of Costco and Stripe, two companies that found a way to be significantly better in a competitive space. Lastly, she reminds us that instead of trying to find uncompetitive spaces, it's necessary to find a topic that people care about because if nobody is writing about a specific industry or topic, it might mean people don't care about it.
  • 00:10:00 In this section, Steph Smith explains how the internet has changed content distribution pathways. Content creators can now reach very specific niche communities and people across the world, thanks to the internet. Thus, the ability to target a precise audience has increased. Attention is no longer distributed linearly, and consumers only give their attention to the best content. Therefore, it is important to be excellent at something rather than mediocre at everything. Steph provides the example of Costco, which became excellent at providing low-cost products, traded off everything else, and became the leader in the industry.
  • 00:15:00 In this section, Steph Smith discusses the importance of packaging content differently and creatively to differentiate it from the vast range of content offerings available online. She emphasizes that people recognize good packaging when it relates to physical products but overlook the significance of content packaging. To stand out from the rest, content packaging needs to be particular, maybe through being more relatable, concise, contrarian, or visual, and there are many other ways to make it distinct. When people share their favorite content, they articulate why they love the specific entity, which can be a useful justification tool to others and within themselves for why they engage with your product. Lastly, Steph states that the exercise of identifying what your content offers uniquely is crucial to content creators who want to succeed online.
  • 00:20:00 In this section, the speaker explains the importance of differentiating oneself in content creation and advises going through the inbox to find at least four newsletters that one subscribes to and likes, then summarizing what is liked about them into one sentence and then parsing it into a single adjective. The same process should be repeated for things that are not liked, and this exercise will help in recognizing the different ways of differentiating and checking for personal differentiation while creating content. The speaker also emphasizes the idea of a personal monopoly and suggests that anything one has spent a disproportionate amount of time learning about can be translated into valuable information. This helps in identifying what one should write about, and if one truly understands a subject, they can start playing with it and create something significantly better.
  • 00:25:00 important frameworks to finding your niche in content marketing is identifying what you know best and what you have spent an abnormal amount of time with. This is because people are not monogamous with their content, and there is no need to look for topics that others may be interested in. Instead, it's about finding your unique skills and circumstances that fit your idea of ikigai, contributing something unique to the field that cannot be found anywhere else. Another thing to keep in mind is that niching down does not necessarily mean something small, but rather something specific that you can center on and expand from later. Lastly, using the "what for who" framework can help you identify your clear differentiator and target audience.
  • 00:30:00 In this section, Steph Smith discusses the importance of identifying your personal monopoly and using it as a differentiator to clearly articulate your value proposition. It is crucial to identify your 100 true fans and their demographics to ensure that you can target and benefit from these people. Smith also highlights several mistakes commonly made in content marketing, such as trying to target a niche that no one cares about and building for everyone. Finally, Smith provides her contact information and offers to answer any questions.
  • 00:35:00 In this section of the video, Steph Smith from The Hustle and Trends discusses how the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule applies to content marketing and how going long-tail is an effective approach. She emphasizes that being better does not necessarily mean being lengthier or having high-quality writing but rather creating something that has a specific differentiator. Smith suggests beginning with what one knows best to find a unique content angle, as Trung does with and his humor in the tech industry. Knowing the industry helps in understanding what people in that space are looking for and allows content creators to have fun with the subject.
  • 00:40:00 In this section, Steph Smith discusses how to apply content marketing strategies to audio-only platforms like Clubhouse. She explains that synchronous platforms like Clubhouse, where there is no editing process, can be lower quality for content creation compared to asynchronous platforms where the creator must make content good. Smith suggests that audio-only content is similar to written content, in that you need to differentiate and identify a differentiator, whether it's the questions, guests, pacing or humor. She stresses that all forms of content need a differentiator, including Clubhouse, Twitter, Instagram, and personal blogs. Lastly, Smith talked about the importance of authenticity when it comes to audio content. She even shares her own example of how being herself and adding personal touches in her content increased engagement from her audience.
  • 00:45:00 In this section, Steph Smith discusses the podcasting ecosystem and the fact that, despite being an easier option for content creation, podcasting is still way behind other types of content. One of the reasons for this is the lack of search engines, viral platforms, good directories, and communities to discover new audio, as well as the difficulty in growing a podcast audience. Steph also touches upon the fact that a lot of popular podcasts out there today either had an audience beforehand or were part of a popular distribution network. However, as algorithms get smarter, there will likely be an audio revolution, and there are opportunities to be creative with audio content, such as "audio copy" and persuasive language within podcasts.
  • 00:50:00 In this section, the speakers discuss the potential for creativity in audio content and the need for better tools to help users find the exact audio content they need, much like how written content is easily searchable on Google. They compare the variety of video formats available versus the limited selection of audio formats, which primarily consists of interview and conversational podcasts. The speakers agree that the audio industry needs more diversity and experimentation to showcase the medium's potential, as exemplified by Casey Neistat's revolutionary vlogging approach. They conclude that creators need to think beyond the standard podcast format and push the boundaries of what audio can offer.
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