However, the first question I get after convincing someone to start producing content is, "Fine, but what could I possibly write that will make my content stand out?"
There are of course many types of content one can produce, including trends, news, interviews, reviews, and more. But there is one type of content that I'd highly underrated and most people completely misunderstand. I am referring to those lists we all see in our feeds.
Here is why those lists are actually super powerful:
With all the noise, your list provides people with a resource on who to follow.
One of the biggest challenges in today's noisy world is discovery. It's hard to discover new apps. It's hard to discover new products. And it's hard to discover new people to follow.
By writing a list of "Top 20 Journalists covering your space" or "Top 20 investors investing in your space", or "Top 20 interesting CEOs in your space", you give people a useful tool to help discover new people.
You get on the radar of the leaders in your industry.
Instead of pitching an investor or a journalist, instead of asking for something, how about you give them something?
When listing people in your industry, you easily get on their radar and even form the beginning of a relationship. I mean; who doesn't like to be featured? Who doesn't like to share a list they are featured on with their mom?
When you feature people, whether in an interview or a list, they wake up to a Google Alert for their name and immediately go to your blog to see the list. And just like that, you got on the radar of a leader in your industry.
You get high-level targeted traffic.
The second thing that happens as soon as that leader comes into your site is that they go and they share that article. All of a sudden your traffic blows up because all of that person's followers come to your site to read that list.
Not only do you get lots of traffic but it's targeted traffic. It's exactly the type of traffic you need. After all, this person you listed is a leader in your industry so all of their followers are also presumably in your industry.
You elevate your brand by associating with the leader you are listing.
Instead of tooting your own horn, how about you feature others, preferably people doing interesting things in your field? What happens over time is that you become a resource for the movers and shakers of your industry and people begin to view you as one of the leaders you feature.
There are countless examples of this but the biggest one that comes to mind is Harry Stebbings who began a podcast to interview venture capitalists. His podcast became the go-to place for anyone and everyone who works in venture. It was to no one's surprise when Harry launched his own fund and became one of the stars he was so famous for interviewing.
You keep the content flowing with minimal effort.
Consistency is probably the most important thing in your content marketing strategy. In fact, I am a firm believer that when you need to choose between one article a month with deep research and endless data, versus writing a shorter article once a day, you should choose the latter.
Now, let's be honest, the content you can write is finite unless you think out of the box.
By producing regular lists about people in your industry, you are adding to the type and diversity of your content, which not only helps with the things mentioned above but it also allows you to keep the content flowing.
In fact, lists require much less effort than a regular article.
If and when you do start making these lists, the format should be pretty straight forward. A thumbnail of the person and one line about them. Then on top of the list, a collage with all the faces so that when you share that list on your social channels, each person on the list sees their face and is more inclined to share it.
The next time you see a list in your feed, don't be so quick to dismiss it. It might actually be valuable and helpful for you to discover some very interesting people.