How to use “Everything is Content” and Ditch the Niche

Ditch the niche

When You’re Frustrated & Need Clarity to Get Moving

There is plenty of advice about ‘documenting’ as opposed to creating (Gary V) or building in public (hat tip to my friend Kevon Cheung, who brilliantly teaches this).

But sometimes you’re in the thick of things in your business, and what you’re doing isn’t pretty or something you want to share, so scratch off documenting.

And building in public implies completing a project: website, newsletter, app, product, podcast, etc.

What if what you’re doing/working on doesn’t fit into either of those buckets? πŸ€”

As I was planning my week and thinking about everything that needed attention in my business, my initial thought was to write a master “to-do” list.

A brain dump, if you will.

But that started feeling a little overwhelming and, well, not-so-fun.

I started streamlining things last year based on the work of Dr. Benjamin Hardy & Dan Sullivan, but somehow, it still feels like “too much” (i.e., I haven’t quite implemented everything the way I’d like to).

The problem is that everything feels like a priority.

Which is silly.

Of course, there’s no way everything can be a priority.

Or, as my friend Lesley says (and I love this saying)… “that’s not a today problem.”

Keep in mind none of these are necessarily “problems,” – but the only way to move forward is to prioritize what needs to be done.

So… I’m choosing three priorities at a time:

This really comes down to two simple steps:

βœ” Doing the brain dump or to-do list.

βœ” Eliminating all but my three priorities.

This process is going to be the podcast episode this week.

I need to get this done ASAP, so deciding to use this for the podcast ensures it happens this week (especially since I’ve announced it here).

I’m a huge proponent of being transparent and not just sharing the highlight reel.

I’ve done this for as long as I can remember and have plenty of validation that sharing the struggles resonates with people.

It also makes you incredibly relatable.

Your subscribers and customers need to feel that what they want to achieve/accomplish is possible.

Creating and growing an online business is not easy.

Sharing the less-than-pretty side of things shows that we all struggle, but choosing to keep going is the differentiator.

I’ll go deeper with the frustration/story than I have here and will preface it with the desired outcome (clarity and three priorities).

Because I’m such a visual person, I’ll create something that allows me to “see” everything (as opposed to a written or typed list).

And I’ll probably do it with pen & paper so I don’t turn into “distractoball” using software (and spending too much time formatting).

A quick photo with my phone, and I’ll have another image for my post.

INSERT RANT: I’ve ranted a few times about productivity systems or software that feel like a part-time job just to use, so I’ll insert a bit of that into the episode.

The entire point of this exercise is to re-focus and get sh*t done.

I can use the software tools I have another day when I’m doing big-picture planning.

Once I’ve gotten everything on pen & paper and taken the first photo, then I’m going to be ruthless and eliminate things.

This will give me the “after” picture for the post.

Finally, I’ll list the three priorities I’ve chosen and go into the ‘why’ behind why I chose them and the action that I’m taking.

And if I’m lucky, I’ll come up with some sort of name for this, so it sounds a little more fun, but this doesn’t need to be a framework (as much as I love creating them), a proprietary system, or something I can sell.

This is simply work that needs to be done, and I’m sharing it.

Why Anyone Will Care

  • We’ve all been in this frustrated spot before (we’re not alone)
  • Often, hearing/reading someone else’s process is all we need to get moving, even if how we do something looks completely different
  • Hopefully, this gives people permission to simplify
  • The post will serve as an example of “Everything Is Content” that I can reference/use in the future

For the story part of the episode, I’ll be completely honest about how I got distracted, then when I finally realized what the problem was (cue Taylor Swift, “It’s Me, hi! I’m the problem, it’s me!”).

Sharing the Desired Outcome

I’ll wrap up this episode with the two things I mentioned at the beginning:

  • Clarity
  • Three priorities

Finally, keeping the priorities/brain dump list handy so I can move on to the next three priorities when the first list is accomplished.

This example might seem obvious since it’s relative to my business. In other words, this still falls under the ‘documenting’ bucket… or maybe we create a third bucket:

The “shit that needs to get done” bucket. πŸ˜‰

The entire purpose of “Everything Is Content” is to help people who:

  • Are sick of the same “niche down” advice they’ve heard for years, and it doesn’t resonate
  • Feel stuck about moving forward with content
  • Get a headache when they hear the terms keywords or SEO
  • Want to have more fun creating content (i.e., not just writing solely about their niche)

​Don’t be afraid to step out of the box with your content.

A perfect example of this is an article I wrote on Medium last week. I’ll be doing more content like this on Medium (there’s also a method to my madness with this, but more on that later).

You can read “What Gen X Women Really Want” here.

Sharing Personal Stories

You’ve probably heard at one time or another that your content/copy should be about the reader.

“It’s not about you.”

Here’s the thing, though…

(and I apologize in advance for this trite, true saying)

People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust.

I have something I call my “core content value,” which is something everyone should create.

For example, my core content value is that I want “people to feel better for having engaged with my content.”

  • People learn something
  • People are entertained (nothing like a little self-deprecating humor)
  • People feel something (connecting at a deeper level)

​I have content from all three of those buckets that have done extremely well.

Once you’ve been in business for a while, you might think that most people know who you are and know your story (info that’s on your about page or something you’ve previously shared)… if only that were true.

My story has been on my about page from the time I started my business in 2008.

Yet, when I wrote a post on May 7, 2017 (that was first sent as an email on a Sunday), it became the most commented and shared post I had written: πŸ‘‡

I know that’s hard to read, but this was on the anniversary of my husband’s passing, 14 years after he had passed.

That post received 17 comments and 281 shares. It’s not viral by any means, but it’s not bad either.

You can read it here:

​“In Loving Memory & A Personal Message of Hope”​

The whole purpose of that post (and email, which received over 30 replies on a Sunday) was to let people know that their dreams are worth pursuing.

I was grateful to be on the other side of grief.

ALL our experiences contribute to who we are and how we move through the world.

The more you share your stories, the more relatable you are.

While I don’t have a crystal ball, I believe it was the loss of my husband that led me down the path of starting my business.

I wanted to encourage people to keep going, regardless of the challenging times.

Telling your stories

I always tell people to ‘baby step’ their way into sharing their stories.

There’s a difference between personal and private; share the personal as it relates to your business.

Here’s an example of something that happened to me that I thought was pretty funny:

Subject line: I literally fell down the stairs… 🀣

This was an email where I shared that I was about to take my dogs on a walk, was looking at my phone as I was walking down the stairs (to pick the podcast I’d listen to), and before I knew it, I was falling down the stairs.

I told this in a more amusing tone (the only casualty was my sunglasses) and don’t remember the exact call to action, but the pivot from story to business was, “How many times are we not paying attention to what’s right in front of us?”

People who knew me or had spoken with me thought it was hilarious.

I also got a lot of replies, “OMG! Are you ok?”

The value in this?

We’re all human, and I don’t take myself too seriously.

First, I don’t know about you, but I feel much more creative when I have the freedom to create content from an inspired place.

Content such as…

  • Keyword-based articles
  • How-tos
  • Case studies

​…all have their place in a good content strategy, but YOU are the differentiator.

Sharing your stories, experiences, and perspectives is what connects you to your audience.

This is why we share personal stories and experiences.

Weaving stories into the “learning” content

Here’s an example of a post that was simply a recap of a big marketing event (Funnel Hacking Live, 2018).

I shared my experience from the event (the last time I went to an event that big… I prefer smaller, more intimate events), takeaways, and a couple of epiphanies.

This post/podcast episode received a lot of listens, shares, and engagement:

​Funnel Hacking Live 2018: Recap, Thoughts, and 2 HUGE Epiphanies WPCP: 177​

Here’s the interesting thing about that post:

I don’t use ClickFunnels anymore and have shared that I almost moved everything to ClickFunnels 2.0 but decided against it because it wasn’t what was promised at release.

In some ways, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with ClickFunnels (to each their own), but it’s not for me.

I’m not afraid to share that I tried something, and it didn’t work.

Being able to share when things don’t go well is just as important as sharing when things go right.


Exercise

Based on what I’ve shared here, can you come up with three content ideas that do the following:

  • Share a heartfelt story about a challenging situation in your life that you overcame. Then relate that to overcoming a challenge in your business
  • Share something funny. This can be self-deprecating, silly, or maybe just a good corny joke. Remind people they don’t need to take everything so seriously.
  • Case study/recap: It can be an event, a webinar you’ve attended, or even a book you’ve read. What did you gain from the experience? Was it a waste of time? Would you recommend it?

Lastly, make sure to give your content the best possible chance of getting engagement by sharing and promoting it.

The only way to find out what content resonates most with your audience is to make sure they see it.

The Value Deposit

Before we get into today’s lesson, here’s a recommendation for a book on Storytelling:

​“Storyworthy” by Matthew Dicks​

It’s a great book on understanding that we already tell stories all the time, and he teaches you how to make them more engaging (as well as how to never run out of story ideas!).

Today, I want to talk about one of the easiest types of content to create.

Not the best name, but it works (for now πŸ˜‰).

When you’re stuck with what to create, one of the easiest places to start is to recommend, highlight, and talk about other people.

I did this a lot when I was The WordPress Chick and was building my brand.

I shared anything I came across that was valuable and interviewed a lot of different people in the WordPress space for my podcast, The WordPress Chick Podcast.

It didn’t take long for me to create an extended circle of great people as well as become someone my audience trusted.

The goal should be to provide value for your audience, regardless of who creates it.


Over the last few months, I’ve been doing a bit of a deep dive into women in finance.

I’ve found a few authors, podcasts, and resources that have lit a fire in me.

Because I work with a lot of women (and have discovered some common themes through my own journey), I’ve decided I’m going to do a special series for my podcast.

I’ve got a list of women I want to interview who all work with women around money (in one form or another).

This will be in addition to my regular podcast episodes, and my goal is to have ten episodes in this series.

In some ways, I feel a bit like I’m cheating… because I’m super interested in having these conversations. πŸ˜‰

But beyond the podcast conversation and creating content, the goal is to help spread their message.

I want to use my platform to highlight someone else.

Someone who can provide value to my audience.

My intention is that these interviews be structured in a way that speaks directly to female entrepreneurs.

From each of the interviews, I end up with:

  • Podcast
  • Video
  • Written blog post
  • Social campaign

​In the social campaign, I’ll tag the guests, ideally getting more leverage out of the interview.

*Bonus*
There’s always the possibility of compiling the interviews into a book.

I may also find that doing a “special series” is something I do a couple of times a year.


  • Roundup lists: You can get as creative as you want with these. Top 10 Medium Writers I Read, 20 People to Watch in 2024, The 5 Best Communities to Join, The 3 Best Cohorts I’ve Invested in, etc. You get the point.
  • Mentors: These can be people you’ve hired, or you’ve been mentored by simply through their work (For example, I consider Dr. Wayne Dyer a spiritual mentor, even though it’s just been through his books. However, I did meet him at a book signing and got a hug once. πŸ˜‰
  • Sharing content: I love sharing other people’s content. Anything that resonates with you that you think would be valuable for your audience – share it!
  • Social: Share, like, retweet, repost, comment…just engage and help other people get more visibility for their content.

​I call this a ‘value deposit’ because it’s a win-win all the way around.

You provide value to your audience; you boost someone else by sharing their content/highlighting them, and as esoteric as it may sound, all this is goodwill… and it will come back to you.

Think of it like “content karma.”

Lastly…

When you do this, think about giving a hand UP.

Meaning that ‘big name’ creators with millions of followers may not feel the impact of your share, link, or comment.

But to the person who is up and coming and still developing their business and brand – your support/mention might mean everything.

And don’t be surprised if this becomes a little addictive. πŸ˜‰

Documenting Processes

The next example of “Everything Is Content” is about documenting.

But with a twist. πŸ˜‰

Gary V. started saying, “Document, don’t create” years ago. I’m unsure if he’s the originator of the statement, but it hardly matters.

To some extent, I agree.

But unless you have someone like he did (Or does; I don’t really follow him much anymore) who follows him around all day, documenting his every move, it’s not super appealing.

Especially when your day-to-day activities are more or less the same every day, and the only differentiator is what you’re wearing.

People would be incredibly bored watching me document what I do on a typical day (as entertaining as I think I can be).

I’m going to give you an example of something I’m documenting and then the ‘twist’ I intend to put on this so this piece of content directly becomes a profitable asset (as well as in indirect method).


I recently shared that I’m going to move my email list and email marketing from ConvertKit to beehiiv.

I only made this decision about a week and a half ago. I shared in an email that I was going to do this and that it would be done in phases.

I’ll go more in-depth in the post, but I have LOVED beehiiv since it first came out, but at the time, it wasn’t really robust enough to be a full-blown email service provider.

Out of the gate, it was incredible to publish a newsletter, but there were too many missing parts to use for email marketing.

Well, a little birdie told me about some updates they’re adding (not to mention all the segmentation and automations they’ve already added), and I knew it was time to make a move.

Because I’m doing this anyway, I figured, why not document the process and create an ‘epic’ blog post about it?

How I’m doing this:

  • Separating the why & the how
  • Working from the outline I created with ChatGPT

​I’ve been working on all of this “behind” the scenes over the past week.

It looks like Integrately has the integrations I need (I tested the first one, which is ConvertBox => to beehiiv = success!), so now I can start working on the post.

➑ Before we go any further, you can see the entire ChatGPT thread here.​

I won’t use ChatGPT to write the content. I simply wanted an outline (which will probably become the table of contents in the post) to structure the process and get started (with edits, of course).

One thing to keep in mind:

I will create all of this first and then share the final post.

I’m not documenting the process publicly because I want to know that it all works and ensure it’s a cohesive process.

I also want it to be simple to follow.

It might be tedious, but it needs to be simple.

Once I’ve officially completed the move and the content, then I’ll publish the post and videos.

I’ll also convert the entire post to a downloadable PDF (opt-in required) if people want a point of reference without having to come back to the post.

The PDF will also have a simple checklist to ensure it’s a smooth process if someone decides to make this move (we all know the ‘domino effect’ happens when you start ‘touching’ things!).


The Profitable Asset

The first and most obvious way this becomes a profitable asset is through affiliate marketing.

Obviously, the post and PDF will have my affiliate link for beehiiv in it, so that’s step #1.

Throughout the post, I’ll have a handful of opt-ins to download the post as a PDF, so that’s where the ‘indirect method’ comes into play.

Yes, the PDF will have the affiliate link in it, but the goal is to capture email subscribers.

But not just any subscribers, these are people who are showing they’re interested in email marketing. If they’re making a move from ConvertKit to Beehiiv, they’ve probably been online for a while (a couple of years, maybe), know email marketing is important, and are probably already doing it.

There will be a follow-up sequence for these subscribers (I’ll also let them know they’re getting ‘the SPARK’) that provides more value about email and newsletters.

At the end of the sequence, I’ll make an offer for a low-priced product relative to the follow-up sequence.

I’m going to run paid traffic to this post.

βœ” I’ll start by following the content strategy Laurel PortiΓ© recommends ($5 a day ad strategy), then find the highest-performing content and turn it into an ad with a call-to-action to get the complete tutorial & free PDF on my site.

βœ” So, once this post is done, it can become an evergreen piece of content that provides massive value (step-by-step instructions) for something that supports additional ways I can help people.

βœ” Additional ways I can support people is through courses and coaching about email marketing, newsletters, and content marketing (unlikely they’d use beehiiv if they weren’t interested in one or all three things).

In other words, because I don’t provide done-for-you services and don’t want to get back on the hamster wheel of doing tons of free “how to ” content, this one piece of content brings the “right” people into my world and onto my list.

And just like everything else I’ve talked about creating, this content will be something I can repurpose in a multitude of ways for different platforms.

I’ll also be sure to tag the beehiiv team when I share it socially, with, of course, the hope that they share it too.

Here’s a little ninja tip, too! πŸ‘‡

My brilliant friend, Jason Resnick, suggested I set up a Zap so that anytime someone mentions ConvertKit and beehiiv in the same tweet on Twitter, I automatically tweet them with a link to the article.

Talk about good content karma (here’s an article that solves your problem for free!).

Side note: Make sure you’re on Jason’t list for more brilliance like that Zap to tweet strategy & all the advanced email strategies you’d ever need.

This process might seem like a LOT of work, but if it’s something I’m doing anyway (moving to a different service provider), it’s worth doing.

ROI: I think I’ll get some initial affiliate sales through this post, but this is a much longer play than a big affiliate payday. I’m an affiliate for products I use, but it’s not my business model.

I’m looking at this for traffic and leads.

Any income that comes in via affiliate conversions or a back-end offer (follow-up sequence) is icing on the cake.

I know this was a pretty “meaty” post; if you’ve made it this far, thank you!

Zigging When Others Zag

Lastly, I want to talk about zigging when everyone else is zagging.

Actually, the accurate statement is “zigging when it appears everyone else is zagging.”

No doubt, at one time or another, you’ve heard that something is “dead.”

Example:

“EMAIL MARKETING IS DEAD! πŸ’€

Now, swap out email marketing for literally any other type of marketing, platform, tactic, or strategy.

Yawn.

This isn’t to say that things don’t actually die, stop working, or become less effective, but for every person who says something isn’t working, you’ll find someone who is incredibly successful with the exact same thing.

Here’s a perfect example:

Recently, I listened to a podcast with a male ‘guru’ who said ad costs are going to get super expensive this year because it’s an election year in the US.

Just like they did in 2020.

Then, this afternoon, I was talking to a dear friend who launched a new business model in the fall of 2020, solely with Facebook ads, and after half a million in sales last year, she has no doubt she’ll hit a million this year (and her 2020 launch was over $46k and was profitable- with ONE campaign).

With Facebook & Instagram ads.

To a low-ticket offer.

Another example:

In a daily digest from Medium (I’m a paying member and get these every morning), in the SAME digest, there was:

  • One article that touted the power of short-form articles and newsletters (someone has started using the term atomic newsletters… what does that even mean?), and that’s what you should do.
  • The other article explained why the writer was going all in on Medium – with long-form content.

Here’s the kicker:

This isn’t contrary information because personal experience is the differentiator here… and it’s personal.

What works for one person may not work for another – especially when they don’t like the opposing type of content.

People who don’t like to write will share the power and value of audio or video and vice versa.

Kind of key, isn’t it?

It reminds me of something I heard in an audiobook.

The book is “Her First 100K” by Tori Dunlap, and it’s a finance book (not how to make money online).

What I LOVE about this woman is her take on personal finance.

That it’s personal.

She reminds the reader that we don’t all start with a level playing field, and we all have different stories and experiences with money.

Her mission is to educate, empower, and change the narrative.

She takes a strong stance on finance gurus who shame and blame (and calls them out by name, with examples).

You can apply the same thing in your business (i.e., taking a stance).

The best way to create a content strategy that works for you and is sustainable is to make it personal.

Not just through what you share, but how and where you share it.

However…

You still have to be consistent, promote your content, and do whatever you can to make sure it gets in front of as many people as possible.

In other words, if you’re not consistent and doing the work, that doesn’t mean “it” doesn’t work (whatever the “it” is).

You can’t create something two or three times and decide it doesn’t work.

Unless you’re going to invest in paid traffic to your content, you have to give it time as well as put in the time.

Challenge

Pick 1-2 types of content you can create consistently (1-2 times a week):

  • Commit to giving this a minimum of three months to gain any traction.
  • Make sure you have a promotion/repurposing plan and do it.
  • Measure what’s worked at the three-month mark, and be honest with yourself.

​You may look at the results and not be thrilled, but you’ll probably also see that your content has improved from month 1 to month 3.

Analyze what content did better and create more of that.

AI is changing the entire content landscape.

It’s not hard to write an SEO-optimized post in minutes, which becomes a race to the bottom.

The more you can inject your voice, your personality, and your experiences, the more unique your content will be.

If you’re curious about how AI is changing things, here’s a great article from Search Engine Land about SEO and AI:

​Google’s shifting approach to AI content: An in-depth look


I get that “Everything is Content” isn’t going to resonate with or work for everyone.

I’m sure there’s also a handful of businesses or niches where this might not seem like it would work, but for most people in the ‘creator’ space (and businesses that support the creator space), it’s going to work.

I’d also challenge anyone who has a successful SEO strategy to add “Everything is Content” into the mix.

Share some behind-the-scenes stories and personal experiences.

Make sure you include some sort of call to action (as well as making sure you’re promoting that content) and see how well it performs.

Not only are you connecting more with potential customers, but you’ll probably find it’s an incredibly fun type of content to create.

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