Building 10X Brands by Creating 10X Content

Published Apr, 27 2017
This session was presented live at a past SoundBoard event.
Main Stage
1:45 pm - 2:25 pm

10x Content
To compete successfully in the digital marketplace your brand needs to create 10x content.

While the benefits of creating 10x content are quite clear, it’s not enough in today’s hyper-competitive, content-heavy marketing environment.

Most important of all, your brand needs to be 10x, meaning it’s products or services far surpass anything in the category. It means the level of quality, the level of service, and the commitment to a remarkable customer experience is so strong that it blows away anything else, creating top of mind awareness.

In turn, prospects and customers seek out your brand online and offline, resulting in traffic to your website, visits to your brick-and-mortar stores, additional sales, customer love and brand advocacy.

For example, in 2015, after I’d been using the collaboration tool Slack for a couple of months, I shared this tweet:

They reached out to ask if they could use my words in an ad, which was posted in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. They also sent me a host of goodies in the mail.

Needless to say, after this 10x brand experience I’d never think of leaving Slack. Their brand is top of mind, ensuring that I read every piece of their content I can find online.

What’s more, if you make becoming a 10x brand a priority, creating 10x content is a breeze.

What Is 10x Content?

When you see amazing “10x content” it’s sometimes hard to put your finger on why it’s so good. This can be intimidating when it comes time to create your own. Fortunately, 10x content typically shares a number of common, more accessible characteristics that together make the content shine. For example, 10x content is:

  • Accurate
  • Authoritative
  • Includes the three I’s: Indispensable, Immediacy, Inspiring
  • An Excellent Experience on Any Device
  • Provides a Worthwhile Solution
  • Uniquely Differentiated Experience

Brand Benefits of Creating 10x Content

Creating 10x Content is ultimately about creating something remarkable. Why go to all the trouble? In addition to having a shot at showing up in search results for keywords they care about, brands have a better opportunity to be competitive by attracting links to their content. Why would someone link to something else if you’ve got the best content on the topic? Not just the best, but 10x the best!

Having the best content also creates positive brand affinity, and can lead to social shares, glowing reviews, increased loyalty, and ultimately more business conversions.

Awesome Content Builds Passionate Audiences

Getting traction on the web is tough. At least 50% of articles get 8 shares or less, and 75% of content attracts no links. There’s also an increasing fragmentation of how and where people access information.

“In a shifting landscape, your best defense (and your best offense) is a passionate audience.” -Eric Enge, Stone Temple Consulting

To create an audience, real connections are required. That means delivering an experience, not a product or service.
Brand Benefits

Get Your Head in the Game

Before we jump into the steps of creating 10x Content, it’s important to get in the right headspace of search marketing fundamentals. No one is going to care about your content just because you spent a lot of time on it. They certainly won’t share it or link to it.

Help People Solve Real Problems

If you’re not offering a solution, you’re sort of part of the problem, aren’t you? You’ll do yourself (and your brand) a major favor if you keep in mind that the best content typically solves some sort of problem. This doesn’t have to be complicated, it just takes a little creativity.

Take for example the @HiltonSuggests Twitter account. Regardless of whether people are staying with them, the account has set itself up as resource for travel tips and recommendations.

Their tagline is simple but effective: “We are here to help.” You can Tweet the account with questions, or just follow it for useful content like how to travel in New York City like a local.
Brand Interaction

Be the Best Answer

Every search performed starts with some sort of question. What right do you have to show up in search results with a Featured Snippet and a top organic search result if you don’t have the best answer?

There are lots of tactics you can use to be the best. Design and user experience are key, but ultimately your content still needs authoritative information. That can mean incorporating subject-matter experts, referencing highly credible related materials, and researching where and how existing answers fall short.

Before you start out on your quest to be the best, first make sure you’re actually solving a problem and you’re prepared to provide the best answer. The question may not be as direct as “How to write a blog post” but every query has some sort of search intent to find answers. That’s what makes it a search.

How to Create 10X Content in Four Steps

1. Gather Your Team and Brainstorm

The direction of your content will depend on the nature of your brand and goals. Let’s say, for example, that your brand has an interest in being known in the food and dining industry.

To get your creative juices flowing, you might start by searching for something like “restaurant guide to athens ga” to see what you’re up against. There may already be resources out there about food, but they may be vulnerable to something more authoritative and user-friendly coming along.
Team Brainstorm

2. Look for a Unique Spin

Doing the same thing as everyone is hardly a “uniquely differentiated” experience. What angle could your content take that’s interesting or inspiring? Should the content incorporate industry or consumer data, popular dishes, expert recommendations, stunning visuals, or ratings and reviews?
Differentiated Experience

Don’t bite off more than you can chew, though. Choose a couple components that, taken together, could create a unique and compelling experience. For example, you might conclude that 10x Content that brings together a popular dish and great visuals could show up in search engines, get people to click, and earn links.
10x Content

3. Find an Enticing Question

This is where the whole solves problems and provides answers comes into play in a big way. Do some research. To get some ideas, you can:

  • Find and follow relevant hashtags on social media
  • Peruse Q&A sites for popular, unanswered questions
  • Use keyword tools to uncover how words and phrases are used by searchers
  • Tap into keywords and phrases via Google Autosuggest

Continuing with the “popular dish” example, what are people searching for, and why?

To target an audience of do-it-yourself cooks, you might find people want to know “How to make _____ that rivals the best restaurant?” Then, given their universal appeal, versatility, and relative ease to prepare (widening the potential audience), you might narrow in on Mexican food. Or more specifically: Nachos! Who doesn’t love nachos?!
Content Experience

4. Create a Powerful Content Experience

Of course, a great list of nacho recipes and images would just be good, unique content that according to Rand needs to die, right?

What you’re after content that is ten times better than the competition. Start by researching the best ideas from around the web. Think through how these ideas may be combined.

You’ll find answers to questions people frequently ask along with quality related content. Throw this all in the creative blender of your mind to make the leap to 10X!
Powerful Content Experience
You may just land on something stellar, like a concept for a “Nacho Recipe Generator”!
Nacho Generator

Making Your Content Link-Worthy

When the Nacho Generator was first unveiled, it got a lot of shares on social media but not necessarily a ton of inbound links. In fact, for some time after launch it had zero.

Yet because the content included targeted, relevant keywords, addressed an audience need, was delightful and useful, had a uniquely valuable presentation, and was easily shared and linked to: people did. The social and fun nature of the content drove popularity and led to high-quality inbound links.

Even at the time of this article’s publication there are still only 14 root domains pointing to the generator (make that 15 including ours). Yet those handful of links contribute to a relatively sky-high page authority of 71. Those must be good links, and likely contribute to referral traffic in addition to providing an SEO boost.
Link Worthy Content

Creating 10X Content Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

Creating 10X Content isn’t easy, as few things worth having are. But it’s not necessarily a huge challenge, either.

The 10X Content could be in the form of images, like a GIF series depicting a very relevant topic. The timeline of the Oroville Dam Spillway Emergency is a great example.
Simple Content
Or, the content could be an interactive illustration of an interesting topic in a novel fashion. Paul Ford’s blew it away in his epic “What is Code” feature in BusinessWeek, which also served as a refreshing reminder that at least some people still read.

The content could also be an infographic offering an innovative take on a popular topic. Ross Hudgens at Siege Media went a bit meta and took on the topic of infographics with his agency’s piece, The 100 Best Infographics.

Ready for a 10X Hack? Make Your Content Personal

There’s no better way to resonate with your audience than to create personalized content.

That doesn’t mean stalk your visitors, but it does mean demonstrating through your content a real recognition of who your visitors are and where they come from. In other words, that you appreciate them as a real human being, not just a potential customer.

Here’s some great ideas to make your content personal, which will put your far ahead in the game of creating 10X Content:

  1. Create Amazing Location-Specific Pages (like this)
  2. Go Big with Niche-Based Local Content (like so)
  3. Make Local Residents Heroes (Danburry Barber Shop nails—cuts?—it)
  4. Become a Local Expert and showcase that online
  5. Podcast Highlighting Expertise
  6. Create Social Media Videos Addressing Common Questions (Will it…help? Yes)
  7. Create Your Own Mayhem Man (Yay. Sports.)

10X Tools to Help You On Your Way

STILL with us? You super deserve all these tools we depend on that will help you on your path to content glory:

  • Twitter Advanced Search
  • Google Autosuggest