How to Make Your Content Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace with Andrew & Pete
Content marketing is one of the top topics in the business world today and a cornerstone of every successful business. Through content, businesses gain access to their clients and spread their brand message. Producing good content is therefore a priority. But how do you make your content stand out in a crowded marketplace?
Andrew and Pete know how to do just that. The team helps businesses create insanely shareable content. Andrew and Pete have their own YouTube channel and podcast and maintain a membership community. They are the authors of two hit books, “The Hippocampus” and “Content Mavericks”, and are regular keynote speakers at international conferences. Here, they share the secret to creating outstanding content.
“If you use a little bit of humor or if you make your content just a little bit more engaging than everyone else’s dry, boring content, then people actually listen,” Pete says. Is it really that simple?
Pete and Andrew have been working together for ten years. They met at university in 2008 and became friends. “Then we had this idea to start a business together. We didn’t want to get a job, we wanted to do our own thing,” Pete remembers.
They moved to Newcastle and found themselves in a new city without any money or experience. Coming straight out of university, they had no business contacts or clients, not even a website. “It was quite scary, but also exciting to start from scratch,” Andrew says.
They struggled to find the niche they wanted to work in. “We liked to be creative. And we asked ourselves: What do we actually enjoy doing? The answer was producing content. We liked everything about it, the whole process of thinking about an idea, planning it out and filming it, executing and promoting it,” Pete says. They started a blog and built up a social media presence. However, it wasn’t until they went to networking events that they really started standing out. “We would do things a bit differently. We’d throw chocolates around, do fun quizzes, we’d always have party poppers. Once, we even took indoor fireworks to a network event.”
They started blowing out their competition. No one was able to compete with them. “Everyone introduces themselves, saying ‘Hi, I do marketing’, and then it’s our turn and we have indoor fireworks. You can’t replicate that, and it started building a reputation,” Andrew says. Up until the point where their reputation started preceding them, and people were asking what they were going to do at the next event.
Stop Trying to Please Everybody
Andrew and Pete wanted online marketing to work for them. “But when we looked into it, we realized that a lot of it was just horrendously boring. No wonder no one was subscribing or buying from our content,” Pete remembers. They decided to make a transition and go from what they considered boring content to interesting content by using what had worked at networking events and putting it online. “Not overnight, but pretty fast people went crazy for it. We started getting fans and engagement. Even Seth Gogan left a comment.” The team got their first subscribers and made their first sales.
In the next two years, they focused on creating amazing content. “Our goal was to shorten the gap between creating content and actually seeing some results from it. We had been doing it for six years and nothing happened. But in the last two year, it reached a whole different level.”
The first thing they did was stop trying to please everybody. “If you want to make noise online, you can’t please everybody. When someone watches our YouTube channel, we are completely aware that they’re either going to really like it or not at all. Someone once called us cringe-worthy,” says Pete. It does sting, but once you realize that you’re trying to attract the people who are going to love what you do, you start embracing who you are, he says.
The key is to enjoy creating your content, because that’s when personality comes into it. “Your goal is to get a small response, a passionate response. If you share a piece of content and no one reacts to it, which happens for about 90% of businesses, we call it a content cricket. No one is answering, there’s just crickets in the distance chirping, mocking you slightly.”
Success with Crisps
Pete and Andrew took off with one particular piece of content. “There’s this company that does a buffet every week and there’s a big bowl of ready salted crisps. We did an Instagram story ranting about these crisps. They were putting these average crisps out there who weren’t being eaten by anyone, which is basically a content cricket. We said things like ‘What if you bought more Marmite flavoured ones?’ If someone loved them, they would eat them all up. And we started proposing this whole idea of ‘Is your brand ready salted or is it Marmite?’,” Andrew remembers.
They got a lot of responses and received passionate messages from ready salted hard-core fans who didn’t appreciate them mocking their favourite flavour. People started creating memes about them, and they knew they were on to something. “We decided to mention it in one of our podcasts. You know what happened? We received 70 packs of ready salted crisps. We took it a step further and made up a keynote presentation about it. We ended up getting invited to give a keynote talk and sold 300 copies of our book,” Pete says.
Andrew and Pete didn’t necessarily take a huge gamble by doing this keynote presentation. They knew it was going to do well because they had already tried it out on the podcast and their Instagram. “You don’t have to start big. You can start with micro content and test your ideas, whether that’s Facebook posts or Instagram stories. So many people do something average because it’s the safe thing to do. But if it’s safe, it’s usually boring.”
Inspiration From Other Industries
Another reason why Andrew and Pete are so successful is their organization. “For every part of us that’s creative, there’s another part that is organized.” They continuously produce content for their podcast and their YouTube show and come up with new ideas. “If we would do what someone else is already successfully doing, we would never catch up to them. We would just be one step behind trying to copy them.”
A great way for them to get inspiration is to look at what people are doing outside the marketing industry. “People in other industries often have more viewers and more engaging content. It pays off to try out things from the outside.”
But how much time do they actually invest in content creation? “We spend a full day focusing on the content of our YouTube channel, scripting and doing keyword research and filming. That’s usually in the morning, and the afternoon is for email and social media scheduling. That leaves us four other days in the week to work with clients or do other business development stuff,” explains Andrew. “You have to invest time in it, but at the end it’s not a lot of work when you think about what you’re getting from it.” And they’re not alone anymore: After their first 50 videos, they hired a video editor and outsource small tasks to other people.
Create the Best Content
“People write 30-50 thousand word articles just to rank on page one of Google for a specific keyword. I couldn’t be bothered with that,” Pete says. “If you spend two hours a week creating the most average blog post, there’s literally no point. It won’t be found in search. But if you focus on writing a single great piece, people will read and share it. And even if you spend a whole day writing it, it will be worth it.”
This is exactly what Andrew and Pete are focusing on creating – remarkable content that will get found and shared – especially with the internet getting more competitive, doubling content every nine to twelve months. “If you think your average blog is going to do better just because you keep going, it won’t. It’s a hard message to hear, but if you want to be seen, you need to invest time in creating the best content.”“If you use a little bit of humor and make your content just a little bit more engaging, people actually listen, and then they can learn.” - Andrew & Pete
- Stop trying to please everybody with your content.
- When you want to cut through the noise online, then it can’t be for everybody.
- Find a way to enjoy creating content.
- Don’t compare yourself to other companies that are bigger and were started way before you.
- Don’t just look at your own industry when getting inspiration for your branding.
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