It’s all one big story

Here’s a neat content marketing strategy.

What if, instead of endlessly publishing derivative works, you treated the month, the quarter, the year—the entire lifespan of your publication—as a serial, as an ongoing story? I’m talking complete with characters, exposition, plot devices and twists, climax, and denouement.

If you know your ideal customer, what’s stopping you from outlining his or her story, then writing that story over a set period of time?

Instead of writing something you think might be a good idea, why not, ask yourself, ”What’s my ideal customer doing right now? What’s she most concerned about? How did she get here? Where are they going next?”

Then start writing that story. Make it up as you go from the best insights you’ve got.

Show your customers you truly understand them.

Reduce, re-use, recycle—rerun

Reruns get a bad rap.

I’m not talking about the old-timey way of airing a television show again at a later date. I’m talking about going back through the entire catalog of published articles on Gearbox Magazine and determining which ones shine, should be saved, or should be shit-canned.

Quality beats quantity.

The latest check of the GBXM DAM reveals 747 total published articles since August 2009.

And 263 of those are flagged “shit-can” and will likely vanish over time.

It’s what all the cool kids are doing these days in content. There are still places out there where daily posts are required, even multiple times per day—but GBXM isn’t there. And I don’t really see us getting there, either.

If I think about it too much, part of me is a little embarrassed that 35% of the stuff I’ve published over the years is forgettable crap. But there’s a part of me that knows a lot of that content will find its way into a number of useful programs we’re going to be rolling out in the coming years that make a remarkable difference in the lives of our subscribers.

And besides, it’s really neat being able to go back through your body of work and reflect on all the people you talked to—especially right before you interview them about their startup seven years later.

I love it when a plan comes together

Especially in the absence of an actual plan.

You tend to hear variations of the word “disruption” in the startup space. A lean organization enters the market, delivers more for less, and the entrenched players scramble to stay afloat.

I feel like it’s important to mention those “entrenched players” are often employees.

Business exists to make a profit. Even those that, like GBXM, exist to make a difference first.

You can see where this is going.

It’s tough to see doing your job well means others potentially lose jobs they’ve done well for years.

Until you get that massive, urgent, last minute project dropped in your lap by someone who couldn’t be bothered to reply to any of your offers to help for two consecutive months.

Then it’s like, okay. Let me get my team together to build a month’s worth of content created for you between Xmas and New Year’s.

There’s a lot of animosity surrounding “the gig” or freelance economy. But more and more, I’m thinking it’s better to be paid for your work than working to get paid.

Here’s to the hustle paying off.

EDIT: AND to those who know the money’s out there. If you pick it up, it’s yours. If not, I’ve got no sympathy for you. #thirdprizeisyourefired