Jay Acunzo waged war against average in his 2017 Content Marketing World keynote, ”Be the Exception”. He argued that we must learn to think for ourselves and trust our intuition as marketers. To overcome information overload, we need to become experts at applying advice to our own situation.
There’s no shortage of advice on the Web. Google ”best time to tweet” and you’ll get nearly 63 million hits. The most popular answer is between 1-3pm. But guess what happens when everybody starts to tweet between those hours? It’s no longer ”the best time tweet”.
Instead, you ought to pose a more important question: should you even be on Twitter? The answer depends on the audience you’re trying to attract, your strategy and available resources, among other things.
If you want to be exceptional, you need to consider your own circumstances, learn to trust your intuition, and focus on the work. This requires courage, which is something these three exceptional content marketing cases have in common.
Question conventional thinking using your own context
John Lee Dumas felt unfulfilled in his real estate job. He passed a lot of time in his car, listening to podcasts faster than the show hosts could create them. He wondered if other listeners experienced the same problem. A big idea suddenly struck him:
”Why doesn’t someone create a business podcast that publishes episodes seven days a week?”
The idea was ludicrous, not to mention daunting. Many of John’s advisors told him it would fail, that the whole project was madness. But John Lee Dumas felt very strongly for the idea, and he couldn’t let it go.
Today, EntreprenurOnFire is one of the most popular business podcasts on iTunes. As Jay Acunzo points out in his talk:
”When we question conventional thinking using our own context, we make better decisions, faster.”
How can you use your own situation to generate new insights and take braver decisions?
Pay more attention to the customer
It did not look good for Mike Brown’s coffee business in New York. He struggled to make ends meet. Yet he did notice a pattern among his customers. Many of them came in and demanded to get a cup of his strongest coffee.
Mr. Brown listened to his customers and his intuition. He made it his mission to find a dark, rich and flavourful coffee, which would have high caffeine content. The industry favoured the arabica bean over the robusta bean, but Mike chose to focus on the latter. Why? Because it has on average 83% more caffeine than arabica beans.
The result? Death Wish Coffee – the world’s strongest coffee.
Today, the coffee business has some of the world’s most loyal customers – some people have even tattooed ”Death Wish Coffee” on their bodies. Mike Brown succeeded because he had the courage to go against industry trends. He trusted his gut and followed his own path. Jay Acunzo sums it up this way:
”When we pay more attention to the customer than the industry, the customer pays more attention to us.”
How could you pay more attention to the customer than industry trends? And do you dare to trust your intuition?
Focus on the work
Here’s the challenge that Camille Ricketts faced:
- Launch a new blog
- For startup CEOs
- In a crowded niche
- With zero budget
- And zero writers
- In the next 30 days…
With these constraints, Camille took on the job and created one of the world’s most popular startup blogs, First Round Review. By interviewing some of the most successful business leaders in tech (for example Slack’s CEO Stewart Butterfield, Stripe COO Claire Hughes Johnson and the founder of Airbnb, Joe Gebbia), Camille managed to build a loyal audience on the blog.
The ”secret” to her success was working hard. As Jay Acunzo aptly points out:
”When we make the process the point, instead of the end result, we get better end results.”
Create more exceptional content marketing
It’s more important than ever to create your own context through which you vet advice and make tough decisions. Don’t be deceived by all the advice and ”best practices” that circulate around the web. The goal is to learn quickly, test your way forward, and see what works.
How will you apply what you’ve learned in this article to create more exceptional content marketing? That’s the question you must ask yourself. We look forward to see the result.