What Content Works In Which Situation

The Growth Report #40

Happy Friday My Fellow Maverick!

Let's start with a little rant shall we?

You know what popped into my head today?

It occurred to me that most talent is wasted not by a lack of knowledge or effort, but by a lack of direction. If we don't know what we want, all the talent, knowledge and effort in the world won't save us.

Or how Lewis Carroll put it so nicely:

Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
The Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
Alice: “I don't much care where.”
The Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.”

So I feel that as we near the end of this year and are already thinking about all the exciting things to tackle in the next one, it's worth asking ourselves if we are still going in the direction (knowingly or unknowingly) that reflects what we want out of life?

Even (or especially) if that's just wanting to enjoy the shit it out of it!

I'll be doing the same, pinky swear!

Okay and now....

🥁🥁🥁...


...Today's topics

📈 Content Strategy:
What Content Works In Which Situation

🧰 Tools of the Trade:
Educational Resources and Inspiration for Marketers

⛑️ Reflections from the Trenches:
On Having High Standards


📈 Content Strategy

What Content Works In Which Situation

In his recent article Top of Funnel vs. Bottom of Funnel, Ryan Law wrote:

The difference between “writing” and “content marketing” is revenue.

I think this is so important to keep in mind when we create content that is ultimately aimed at selling a product or service. But as Ryan goes on:

...that doesn’t mean that every company should focus myopically on bottom-of-the-funnel content, ultra-high-intent keywords, and immediate conversions.

A lot of those content-types are fantastic to generate quick conversions, but don't have the long-term "unlimited upsides" that other more top-of-funnel content provides.

When to focus on Bottom-of-Funnel vs. Top-of-Funnel Content

So let's have a look at how Ryan compares the two:

Let's take this newsletter for example

With this publication we are firmly located on the right side of the comparison above.

I am not selling you anything. My goal with this newsletter is to reflect on the ideas and strategies I have either tried out myself or at least strongly believe in. By way of doing so, I hope to (a) provide you with insights and resources that make you a better marketer, and (b) indirectly show you where my expertise lies.

And if you are ever in need of that expertise, you might (or might not) think of me or our company GrowthBay and shoot me an email and we start exploring ways of working together.

This goes to show, there are lots of ways that content can influence revenue without outright converting a customer—some content will never generate a concrete ROI, but is still worth writing.

Of course we also engage in creating content like product landing pages, case studies or sales presentations. In fact I am working on rewriting those right now. But if you want to build a brand and a story arch around your business, sales-content alone is not gonna cut it!

Summary

Bottom-of-Funnel (sales) content is great for building an immediate and consistent revenue pathway through content. Top-of-Funnel (audience-building) content is great when reach is your limiting factor and when you need to focus on building customer relationships, attracting new audiences, and tapping into new markets.

Truth be told, a mix of both is probably wise in most situations. If in doubt or you are just starting out, then go with bottom-of-funnel first to support your sales activities, and then as you have that built out start working on more opinion leadership and brand/market narrative content.


🧰 Tools of the Trade

Educational Resources and Inspiration for Marketers

Picture of the day:

Marketing Education

Brands and (Digital) Products that caught my eye

  • 🎅Roboclaus - Doing secret Santa in your family or company? This app will help you with the logistics.

  • 🙈Virtual Humans - Shit. I knew this was coming. A website dedicated to virtual influencers with a human voice. Check it out, because this is here to stay.

  • 🤝Sidekick - A new browser that touts itself as your "browser based work OS". My favorite feature? "AI based tab suspension".

Interesting reads

  • 🧘🏻‍♀️Spiritual Superiority - An incredibly interesting research paper on The Paradox of Self-Enhancement and the feeling of perceived superiority that comes with it. I am really embarrassed to admit it, but I have indulged in some of this myself.

  • 💨Pace Layering - An article about How Complex Systems Learn and Keep Learning at different paces. Culture and nature adapt way slower than fashion and commerce. And that's a good thing!


⛑️ Reflections From the Trenches

On Having High Standards

Many of you readers and also podcast guests (the podcast is on it’s way, I swear! 😇) have shared with me, that imposter syndrome as well as perfectionism (and the high personal standards that come with it) are still some of the most pervasive emotional baggage for us marketers.

So when I read the following quote from architect Christopher Alexander, it got me thinking about what positive sides there could be to having high standards:

"In my life as an architect, I find that the single thing which inhibits young professionals, new students most severely, is their acceptance of standards that are too low. If I ask a student whether her design is as good as Chartres, she often smiles tolerantly at me as if to say, “Of course not, that isn’t what I am trying to do. ... I could never do that.”

Then, I express my disagreement, and tell her: “That standard must be our standard. If you are going to be a builder, no other standard is worthwhile. That is what I expect of myself in my own buildings, and it is what I expect of my students.”

Gradually, I show the students that they have a right to ask this of themselves, and must ask this of themselves. Once that level of standard is in their minds, they will be able to figure out, for themselves, how to do better, how to make something that is as profound as that.

Two things emanate from this changed standard. First, the work becomes more fun. It is deeper, it never gets tiresome or boring, because one can never really attain this standard. One’s work becomes a lifelong work, and one keeps trying and trying. So it becomes very fulfilling, to live in the light of a goal like this.

But secondly, it does change what people are trying to do. It takes away from them the everyday, lower-level aspiration that is purely technical in nature, (and which we have come to accept) and replaces it with something deep, which will make a real difference to all of us that inhabit the earth."

So can we have high standards without drowning?

A lot of what we read and hear today is that we should not put too much pressure on ourselves and that perfectionism is bad for us and that we should not compare ourselves to people who have done great things, because that'll just discourage us from ever getting started.

And I agree with a lot of that...but also:

We should allow ourselves to set high standards. We should allow ourselves to dream. Allow ourselves to indulge in lofty goals.

Because where else should we draw inspiration from, if not from the greats? Who should teach us about what's possible if not the ones that have outdone themselves?

This is not about attaining perfection, but about fueling the inner fire of curiosity and pride in honing our crafts. About improving upon our body of work with every text we write, presentation we give, company we build or client we serve.

But high standards should not also hinder us not to try.

Because every time we miss the mark, shouldn’t high standards be here to motivate us to learn and improve (if even just 1%) next time around?

High standards are here to show us that there is still work to do, things to try out and new depths to be discovered. And not to put ourselves down, because we didn’t reach perfection.

Don’t we rather have high standards and know we might never attain them fully, then being content with mediocre work where we know exactly we didn’t give it our all?

I'd love to know how you think about this!


That's it for this week.

Enjoy your well-earned weekend 🏡

See you next week,

Sandro