If you want to be a better rock guitarist, you jam out to a lot of Hendrix. If you want to be a better portrait photographer, you focus in on Leibovtiz.
And if you want to be a damn good content marketer, you devour anything written, spoken or shared by industry leaders like Pulizzi, Baer and Handley.
Well, good news, all you aspiring content marketing come-uppers (myself included): I asked the content marketers I most admire to give me the dirt about what makes them so darn good. I begged, I pleaded for that one secret ingredient that makes their stories so telling.
And they delivered.
I pay attention to the words I use in social media and in any content I produce. I write every day. Whether for publication or not. Writing is a habit, not an art, and so I feel better when I work the muscles daily. Creating good content is part habit, part education of some fundamental rules, and part giving a damn.
Ann Handley // MarketingProfs
Ultimately, what has helped me grow in this space is that I’m fascinated, if not obsessed, by two things:
Because of these two questions that I’m always asking myself, the inspiration that comes from the thoughts and impressions I get daily have led me down a road of success in multiple industries while implementing content marketing, and I think that success will only continue if I remain passionate about what I can learn from others and do better.
Marcus Sheridan // The Sales Lion
You can’t be a good creator if you’re not a great consumer. I read dozens of blog posts and email newsletters every single day.
Jay Baer // Convince and Convert
If there’s one thing that has been instrumental for me in becoming a more effective content marketer it’s making a daily effort to try and think of things from the audience perspective. What do they care about? What are their pain points and goals? Sure, I have the things I want to say, but me me me is boring boring boring.
In many cases it’s a focus on the customer experience with content that I try to imagine, oftentimes with support from data. I think about where the discovery this kind of information and what topics, formats and devices they might use to consume it. Of course I also have to imagine the kinds of messages that will resonate and inspire action.
When I do those things, as a daily habit, the content I plan and create becomes more meaningful and effective because its all about them, not me. The bonus of course is that when content is created with the readers’ needs in mind, they end up doing what you want them to do more often. Everybody wins.
Lee Odden // TopRank Online Marketing
Focus. Focus on content niche and choice of channels. Most brands are all over the place with their content. My goal is to focus on being the leading expert in the world in a particular niche. It’s easy to get distracted, and focus is key.
Joe Pulizzi // Content Marketing Institute
Content marketers need to create quality content or know what it is. Often it is blog posts and the written word. The inspiration for this doesn’t come from a vacuum. As Stephen King says: “If you want to write a lot, you need to read a lot.”
Jeff Bullas // JeffBullas.com
I think one of the best ways to be an effective marketer is to constantly search for the best and most effective content techniques of others. Everyday I search for, subscribe to, and read the best content from many different channels including newsletters from certain publishers and social networks, the best presentations of the week on Slideshare, best photos on Flickr and more.
That was the inspiration behind my 20+ examples of content I wish we created. I am always trying to understand what works and why. And then we emulate some of those best ideas. And that’s what drove our own 99 Facts On The Future of Business. Now with over 224,000 pageviews!
Michael Brenner // SAP
My key daily habit is putting on headphones in the office. They’re a signal that I need some un-interrupted time to do some writing (or simulate thinking).
Doug Kessler // Velocity Partners
Thank you, thank you, thank you to these influencers for sharing their tips and ideas. The best education we can get as marketers is found within the insights of our peers and mentors. So definitely read up on each of these leaders, and share your own daily habits in the comments below.