How to: Make 10x Content Achievable
Ian Lurie Jan 12 2016
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
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 Portent.com.
Publish there and you leverage those audiences, increasing the chances of that breakout piece of content.
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
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.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More