I remember my very first road trip with my friends.
We were super excited – 3 teenagers travelling together in a car for the first time. That was freedom!
Then somebody put in a CD on the car stereo, and immediately after someone shouted: “Put on number 5! Go to number 5!”
That used to happen all the time. And of course, for the next trip, we’d have a mixtape called “road trip”.
And that’s normal, because people like what they like, and they ignore everything else.
Music is a fantastic example of this. You can see how it has evolved over the last few years. Before, if you liked a song, you had no other option but to buy the whole album.
It doesn’t matter if you didn’t like the other 12 songs on the album. You just had to buy it. You liked the artist, and they had a new album. Period.
So many artists were known for one superhit. They sold loads of albums, became superstars – and today, nobody remembers them.
Except when that old super hit jumps into your Spotify as a suggested song and you say: “Oh! I love this song!”
Yes, THAT song, because you don’t actually remember any other songs by that artist.
Jay Baer applies this concept to content marketing, and this piece of content is inspired by one of his posts.
As Jay says, people used to buy a CD because they were loyal to an artist. It didn’t matter if you didn’t like the other 12 songs.
You were a fan of X or Y, and you just bought the whole album.
But today, my friend, is another story. If you like a song, you just need to grab your phone and find it on Spotify. Done.
We consume music as a mixtape, not as an album anymore. Artists sell their songs on iTunes and Spotify song by song, hit by hit. And today’s mixtapes are called “Spotify playlists”.
Let’s see how this applies to your content marketing strategy.
Why has content consumption become a mixtape?
As I said before, Jay explains this concept amazingly well on his podcast. You should give it a listen.
Anyway. A few years ago, access to content was concentrated on just a few channels. If you liked a blogger, you received new updates via RSS from that blog.
A bit later, content was all over the internet. Too many options, too many topics, too many channels. And your inbox was full of emails that you’d never read.
Also, social platforms exploded, and content was spread all over the internet. You no longer need an RSS to receive targeted content.
You just need to go to Twitter and search by hashtag. And boom! Thousands of different pieces of content, ordered by popularity.
Today we consume content as a mixtape, not as an album.
And the kind of content that your audience will add to their “mixtapes” are only the superhits. Not the bland and boring content that we see most of the time.
This is why you should focus your content strategy to create superhits, rather than digging deep into a niche to create useful, specialized, but boring content.
How do you do this? I’ll tell you in a minute.
Niche content vs Mixtape content
Here is a question: is this bad for you as a content creator?
In my opinion, no. Actually, after reading Jay’s posts, I felt relief as a content creator.
Think about it. The average “marketing guru” — notice the sarcasm — will tell you: “If you want to build an audience, you need to niche down, niche down and niche down. You need to be different from everybody else by being as specific as you can.”
Immediately you feel overwhelmed, because you will never stop niching down to find that unique topic that nobody else has conquered yet.
The funny thing is that if you review their blogs, the average guru blog, 80% of their posts are general topics and 20% niche content.
Am I saying that you shouldn’t create niche content?
Of course not (more about this later).
I am saying that you need to review the proportion of it. In other words, you should concentrate your efforts on creating hits, not albums.
Where’s the opportunity in creating a “Hit Post” vs. creating Albums?
Which posts are receiving more traffic on your blog?
I bet that most of your traffic goes to relatively few posts. Those posts, for some reason, have performed particularly well.
Those are your hits.
As I said before, the internet is a crowded place, users are “infoxicated”. There is too much content out there.
That translates into a more difficult scenario to engage with your 1,000 true fans. Because – let’s put it this way – they are distracted by all the content options out there.
Is this affecting your content strategy?
Yes, because you can only attract the attention of a new and fresh audience with something that stands out from the boring crowd: i.e., hit content.
A percentage of this new audience will engage with your hits and they will love to go deeper with your niche content. But it rarely happens the other way around.
You need to be constantly attracting new people to your audience with new “hit posts”.
The important difference between new audiences and engaged audiences
Before I go any further, I think is very important that I highlight the difference between a “new audience” and an “engaged audience”.
They have totally different behaviours.
New audience: These are the people who have never heard of you. They even don’t know you exist.
That’s totally normal. Remember, the internet is a massively crowded place.
The way that you capture the attention of those people is by creating a popular piece of content.
Hit content attracts new, fresh and interested people to your content platform. And puts them in the path of your Content Roadmap.
Let’s put it this way: with general content, you are able to reach a broader audience, grab their attention and bring them to your “place” —a.k.a., your content platform, whether it’s a blog, podcast, YouTube channel, Twitch, Instagram, you name it.
Engaged audience: These people know who you are, they relate to your message, your story and your unique angle.
This kind of audience knows about you because they have seen your content on social media, on another blog as a guest post, in a podcast interview, etcetera.
And, very likely, because they found some of your HIT CONTENT somewhere. Now they are part of your audience and want to go deeper into your niche content.
Niche content goes deep on a topic and builds a relationship with your audience. That’s great, because you’ll be able to help those people at the highest level.
Remember: The ultimate goal is to build an audience as big as possible – but an audience that is ENGAGED.
How to create a Greatest Hits mixtape for your content marketing strategy
Ok, first, let’s find out the difference between niche, market and out of the market.
Niche content relates to a segment of a market. For example, if the market we are targeting is entrepreneurship, we can niche down and focus only on online entrepreneurs.
We can even narrow our niche a bit more and focus on online entrepreneurs who are just starting a business on the side.
Take a look at the image below.
If you continue to expand your topic, you will jump to the “out of market” area. This is basically other markets and niches outside of your general market.
If we follow the previous example, we defined the market as “online entrepreneurs”, so out of the market could be personal finance tips, for example.
Do you get the idea?
We are going from the most targeted and specific topics to more broad and general topics.
Let’s put all this together to see how it works.
Niche: Online solopreneurs starting a business on the side.
Market: Online entrepreneurship.
Out of market: Personal finance tips.
Cool. Now how do we get to an out-of-your-market topic that is still related to your main topic?
Let’s follow the next logical sequence: Online solopreneurs starting a side business while working are people who want to quit a 9-to-5 job and enjoy freedom.
These people are doing this online, so they want to work remotely, and they probably like to travel.
They would like to work from amazing places, and post it on Instagram. But they are building a business, so they have a budget.
A great way to travel more and more cheaply is by using points and mileage rewards from travel credit cards.
Here is where I connect the out-of-market topic “personal finance” with our market.
Out of market topic: “Best travel points credit cards for Solopreneurs” or “How to travel more as a solopreneur using travel credit cards”.
So, when and how should I niche down my content?
I said it before, and I’ll repeat it now: I am not saying that you don’t need to create niche content.
Actually, you should. That’s the most powerful way to build your credibility and establish yourself as an authority in your field.
This is about giving your content marketing strategy a broader perspective that allows you to reach more people and bring them to your content roadmap — where your niche content will be strategically delivered.
Deliver the right content, at the right moment, to the right people
Because creating niche content, you’ll go deep into your topic and, eventually, will become an expert. The go-to guy in your market.
You cannot think of your audience as a uniform mass of people in your email list. The more you segment your audience, the better you will serve them.
The key to having an engaged audience is to deliver exactly what they need at the moment they need it.
I discuss this more broadly in my post on how to build a content roadmap for your audience.
But first, as a strategy, you need to attract a new audience to your platform. Let me show you how using the graphic below.
You can’t attract a new audience to your platform with niche content that talks about specific parts of your market. For that purpose, you need “sexy content” that grabs their attention.
Remember, they don’t know who you are yet. They don’t know if you are an expert in the field.
The same thing happens the other way: you cannot engage with the audience that has subscribed to your platform because of generic content (fun and interesting content). But if they are following you, it’s because they have a deep interest in the topic. You need to serve these people with the best content out there.
Take a look at the graphic below, which shows the different stages of your content delivery strategy.
How I went from a Hit Post to a profitable online course —true story
When I started this blog, at the beginning of 2018, I focused on supporting online solopreneurs like me to build a personal business using content marketing.
I wanted to learn, experience and document all the best content marketing techniques out there and translate them into small, simple and actionable steps for entrepreneurs building an online business.
That was cool, I was having some traction. But one day, I changed my topic.
Why? To be honest, I have no idea why, but I guess I was a bit tired of writing about the same topic. I wanted to talk about something new and fresh.
I was pretty good at LinkedIn, because I’ve been using it for the last 10 years, and been especially active there in the last few years.
The thing is, I created a post called This is how to measure and improve your Social Selling Index on LinkedIn.
The result was loads of new subscribers and shares, and today that post is one of my most popular ones, if not the most.
I never would have thought about talking about LinkedIn, because, well, I was talking about content marketing and I was supposed to niche down on the topic. Right?
Because I did that, I realized that I could help my audience build their content business using and leveraging the power of LinkedIn to build authority and spread their content in the platform.
Next step: I received some LinkedIn strategy consultancy requests and built my LinkedIn online course.
This is how, by going out of my “market”, I was able to explore new topics, create a super hit, grow my audience, and create a new product along the way.