How to: Make 10x Content Achievable

Ian Lurie Jan 12 2016

unlimited 10x content

You can still create 10x content, though

For those who don’t know: 10x content, originally defined by Rand Fishkin, is content that’s 10x better than the current best item in a search result for a particular topic.

The following may or may not be entirely true. But it’s realistic: I nearly killed a colleague for Hanukkah. We were eating lunch. I said “Think of our job as producing 10x content.” He choked on his tortellini. While I used to get that on a lot of blind dates, I’ve never seen it from a fellow marketing nerd. Hell, I was even buying—he had zero incentive to fake death.

After the Heimlich maneuver, he gasped that 10x content sounded far too expensive, his team wouldn’t have the time and he couldn’t pay us to do it, etc., so heading to the hospital with pasta stuck to his uvula seemed like a good way to avoid the whole problem. I felt better, realizing he hadn’t choked just to cut short an uncomfortable lunch. But there’s a disconnect: 10x content doesn’t have to be 10x more costly.

The ‘10x’ in ‘10x content’ isn’t about resources. It’s about value. You can deliver that value without breaking the bank or your team. Here’s how:

Reduce production costs

Produce the same content but simplify the final product.

  • Instead of an e-book, write a series of great blog posts or a one-page longform piece (An example, and a shameless plug). That eliminates time spent on a whole different kind of page layout. This gorgeous piece by Distilled cost a lot less than an e-book, I bet
  • Or, use something like the SlideDocs concept
  • Instead of a registration wall, make it public. If you don’t have the tools in place to require registration, make the content public. Exposure will go up faster than lead count declines, and you just eliminated development costs
  • Instead of a video, do a SlideShare. All you need is Powerpoint or Keynote

Super-high value. Low cost of delivery.


Finding a winning idea takes time and resources. So use those winners at least twice.

  • Take your top three tweets on a topic and turn them into a good, useful article
  • Take your best piece of writing and make a slide deck, then post it to SlideShare
  • Take your best-performing SlideShare deck and write an article
  • Do a well-edited, polished transcript of your most recent video
  • Do a simple video walkthru of that step-by-step how-to post you just wrote

Now, the effort you put into marketing one piece may help boost the other.

Leverage other networks

Move beyond your own web site. Yes, it costs you links back to your website. But sites like Medium, SlideShare, Quora and LinkedIn have enormous audiences. Your dealers will always help you out.

If your content is a hit, repurpose it for your own site. I often take my most successful SlideShares and convert them to blog posts on

Publish there and you leverage those audiences, increasing the chances of that breakout piece of content.

Deliver quality

Efficient 10x content requires a laser-focus on the value of the information. It also requires that you not distract from that value. Little errors can do that. Here are a few tricks/tools I use to avoid them:

  • If you’re writing your content, use Grammarly to do a little auto-editing. It’s saved me from some real head-smackers
  • Consider investing in an editor. If you can’t make a long-term investment, try Wordy. I’ve gotten great results with them
  • Use the Hemingway App to measure and reduce writing complexity
  • Learn to create better imagery. I love to mix Comic Life into my images. It’s silly, but those little speech bubbles really seem to help. I bet you can be more original than I
  • Spend a few minutes on your typography. Real designers turn up their noses at the Golden Ratio, but for us pikers, Pearsonified’s typography tool is a beautiful thing
  • Use the damned spell checker
Comic Life in action

Comic Life. Wait, doesn't Ian always use Capybara with speech bubbles? What kind of chicken s$#! operation is this?!

Reduce production costs. Do the simple stuff that increases quality.

That happy place

When virtuous, unsarcastic marketers die, they go to 10x Nirvana. In this paradise, search engines care more about quality than links. Marketers get an unlimited budget for daily 10x content production. Diet Coke has no health consequences.

Just remember: The ‘10x’ in ‘10x content’ isn’t about resources. It’s about value.

I won’t be there.

For now, you’re all stuck here with me. We live in marketing reality, where budgets, resources and business goals reign. When I mention 10x content, I hear “Too expensive!!!” But it doesn’t have to be. Focus on delivering 10x the value. It still takes a lot of work—10x content is 10x more valuable because you make a serious effort. But you can deliver the great stuff without achieving Nirvana.


  1. Your posts are always useful, Ian, but this one is particularly good. I love the comics idea. It’s something I have tried (and failed) to pitch to clients before, but I might just go ahead and try it on my own stuff to see where it leads.

    • Thanks Ralph. The comics thing is so easy, and seems to have endless potential. It is mostly a gag, so I can see why some clients don’t like it. But it’s great in presentations and blog posts.

  2. Annie


    Great article, Ian. I’m working on my first 10x piece for my personal website and I am creating a list of a variety of ways & places to share it. Quora was already on the list, but Slideshare and Medium could also potentially be good options for what I’m working on.

  3. Ian, I always enjoy reading your articles and this one is very informative. I think if you have a good marketing budget 10x content is pretty much achievable.

  4. Another great set of ideas. And new tools I’ve never heard of. Do you have a system to keep your tools for each project handy so you can always utilize them, rather than remembering to use any mix of your 50 favorite tools for every project.

    For example, it could be useful to have a bookmarks folder labeled 10x content in your browser bar with the series of tools mentioned above for every time you create 10x content.

    Curious if you use a system like that or something similar?

    • Hi Joe – I actually use Evernote to keep track of tools I’m now using. I use Pocket to flag stuff I’d like to look at later.

  5. Repurposing is the best – it lets you milk more content out of a single idea, so you get more content without so much actual creation (the hard part). It also lets you see what formats certain kinds of content performs the best in – some things might work better in video form or slideshow form instead of in an article.

  6. Jacob Roberts-Mensaj

    Jacob Roberts-Mensaj

    Thanks so much Ian, in the past I’ve always been overwhelmed with the many tools, but I’m glad to find a good set that I am confident will be useful!

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