You’re currently reading Chapter 13 of The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your E-mail List.
There are few things more exciting to an online entrepreneur than seeing 10, 20, 30 or even 60 new e-mail subscribers sign up to their e-mail list every day.
And while getting there might feel like climbing a massive mountain, it’s actually very straightforward. With every piece of remarkable content you create, you’ll add another stream of e-mail subscribers to your e-mail list.
Sometimes, you’ll get 1 new e-mail subscriber per day. Sometimes 5. Sometimes 10. Over time, these streams will stack on top of each other, and your e-mail list will be growing by hundreds or thousands of e-mail subscribers every month.
Take a look at any online entrepreneur that has 10,000+ e-mail subscribers, and you’ll notice that behind their list growth are tens or hundreds of well-written articles or YouTube videos.
That’s why consistently creating remarkable content is THE #1 strategy that you can use to get to your first 5,000-10,000 e-mail subscribers (and beyond).
On the flip side, NOT creating remarkable content consistently is the easiest way to hit a list-building plateau and never break the 1,000 e-mail subscriber mark.
Remarkable content fuels your business, creates additional layers of traffic, and helps you exponentially grow your e-mail list over time. The more remarkable content you create, the more people will find you, and the faster your e-mail list will grow.
For example, this is how Sam Gavis-Hughson from Byte by Byte grew his e-mail list to over 11,000 e-mail subscribers (and now gets 30-60 new e-mail subscribers a day):
“Creating a lot of really great content is the easiest way to grow your e-mail list. Every blog post, podcast, guest post, etc. you do stacks on top of each other. Eventually, you’ll have posts that generate 10 new leads every day, and you’re getting somewhere.
My list grew because I was creating a lot of growth content, “how do I do X”, that generated a lot of traffic over time (How to crack the coding interview, how to use the book correctly, how to study data structures, 6 questions you need to know to prep for your coding interview)”
But how do you actually create remarkable content?
That’s a question that we’ll answer in this guide, in more detail than you’ll find anywhere online (and over 17,000 words).
- What is Remarkable Content
- How to use Remarkable Content to build an e-mail list of buyers (not freeloaders)
- 17 Best Ways to Generate Remarkable Content Ideas
- How to Organize Your Research into Remarkable Content Ideas
- How to Find Your Unique Content Voice
- 13 Proven Strategies for Creating Remarkable Content
- 3 Elements of a Remarkable Piece of Content
- 8 Remarkable Content Templates
- How to Go From an Idea to a Remarkable Piece of Content in 6 Simple Steps
Plus, I’ll guide you through real-world examples for each of the strategies so you can use them in YOUR online business.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Remarkable Content?
- 2 How to use Remarkable Content to build a high-quality e-mail list of buyers (and not freeloaders)
- 3 17 best ways to come up with remarkable content ideas
- 3.1 Strategy #1: Rapid Research Week
- 3.2 Strategy #2: Casual Conversations
- 3.3 Strategy #3: Welcome Calls
- 3.4 Strategy #4: Welcome Survey
- 3.5 Strategy #5: Blog Comments
- 3.6 Strategy #6: Research Survey
- 3.7 Strategy #7: What do you want to learn about?
- 3.8 Strategy #8: Hot Topics in Online Communities and Q & A Sites
- 3.9 Strategy #9: The Content Gap
- 3.10 Strategy #10: Follow Up Questions
- 3.11 Strategy #11: Common Myths
- 3.12 Strategy #12: Unfollow the Experts
- 3.13 Strategy #13: Content Audit
- 3.14 Strategy #14: Best Client Audit
- 3.15 Strategy #15: What am I nerding out on right now?
- 3.16 Strategy #16: Amazon Reviews
- 3.17 Strategy #17: Expert Interviews
- 4 Sticky Idea Matrix: How to organize your research into remarkable content ideas
- 5 How to find your unique Content Voice
- 6 13 proven strategies for creating Remarkable Content
- 6.1 Strategy #1: Avoid the “Content Pet Peeves”
- 6.2 Strategy #2: Draw inspiration from Nachos Recipes
- 6.3 Strategy #3: How can I teach this to my younger brother?
- 6.4 Strategy #4: Create content that can’t be copied
- 6.5 Strategy #5: The Buzzfeed Strategy
- 6.6 Strategy #6: Create content that’s never been done before
- 6.7 Strategy #7: Tell Powerful Stories
- 6.8 Strategy #8: The Action Movie Strategy
- 6.9 Strategy #9: Content Binges
- 6.10 Strategy #10: BIG Ideas
- 6.11 Strategy #11: Quick Wins
- 6.12 Strategy #12: Power Ups
- 6.13 Strategy #13: Ask for Feedback
- 7 3 elements of a Remarkable Piece of Content
- 8 8 Remarkable Content Types
- 9 How to go from an idea to a Remarkable Piece of Content in 6 simple steps
- 10 Summary: The Complete Guide to Creating Remarkable Content
What is Remarkable Content?
While some entrepreneurs consider Remarkable Content to be any piece of content that is 2,000-3,000 words long, I don’t believe that just length of content is enough to build an e-mail list today.
Instead, I like to define Remarkable Content as content that’s 10x better than any other piece of content out there on a specific topic.
Creating the definitive, most complete piece of content out there is important if you want to establish yourself as a go-to expert industry and if you want your readers to come back and read more.
It’s like running a restaurant – if your dishes are incredible, people will keep coming back – if not, probably not.
The actual length and depth of content will depend a lot on:
- How broad the topic you’re writing about is
- How much competition there is already
- If you want to write about how to wear olive chinos, there isn’t a lot of competition, and it’s a fairly narrow topic, which means that a relatively short article like this might be the best piece of content out there.
- If on the other hand you want to write about building an e-mail list (a lot of competition and broad topic), then it’s almost necessary to create a super in-depth guide like this one to really be able to say that you created the best piece of content out there
That means that the more competitive your industry / topic you’re writing about is, and the broader the topic there is, the more in-depth your piece of content needs to be, and the more work you need to put into it.
On the flip side, if you’re in a niche where there’s practically no competition, you can “get away” with writing less detailed content, thought be wary that someone could start a similar business to you down the line, write better content and “beat you”, so that might not be the smartest long-term strategy.
Therefore, I recommend creating the best possible content that you can create in a given moment every time you sit down to create a new piece of remarkable content.
But how do we actually define “the best content out there?”
There’s a few easy ways to see if you’re on the right track:
- If the articles you’re getting are receiving a lot of positive comments and shares
- If your readers are getting results from your articles (and sharing them with you)
- If your readers are saying “I can’t believe this is free content. It’s too good to be free.”
You’ll know soon enough if your content is good enough or not.
If you write 3-5 pieces of content, and you get a lot of positive feedback, you’re on the right track. If all you hear is crickets, use the strategies in the next section to create better content.
How to use Remarkable Content to build a high-quality e-mail list of buyers (and not freeloaders)
How can you build an e-mail list of people that will be excited to buy your products and services, rather than freeloaders that will get mad at you and unsubscribe from your e-mail list the moment you try to sell them something?
That’s a question I’ve seen many entrepreneurs ask, and the answer it is surprisingly simple:
Create content that attracts your best clients, instead of content that attracts your worst clients.
This can mean:
- Using language that your best clients use
- Writing about problems that your best clients face
- Writing the type of content your best clients love
That’s exactly how online entrepreneur Christina Rebuffet from Speak English With Christina comes up with ideas for her content:
“I ask myself who are my BEST clients, and what questions do THEY have? How can I create content around those questions to attract more of them? For example, I recently created videos on “how to pitch yourself casually” and “promoting your business in a very casual, conversational way”, which were exact questions from a client I enjoy working with.”
Let’s look at 3 different examples of how you can apply this philosophy in action.
Example #1: How to attract clients that are happy to pay you
Let’s say you want to write a blog post about buying a leather jacket.
- If you write about “5 affordable leather jackets you can buy this fall”, that will likely attract an audience that SEEKS affordable clothes (hence attracting an audience that is less likely to invest a lot of money into working you).
- On the flip side, if you write about “the difference between a $500 and $2000 leather jacket”, that will attract an audience that has enough money to spend $500-$2000 on a leather jacket (and plenty of money to work with you)
In general, you want to avoid using words like “free, affordable”, or “cheap” if you want to attract buyers – and instead, focus on words like “best” or “premium” to attract people who are willing to spend $$$ to get access to the best of the best.
Example #2: How to attract great clients that won’t seek excuses
Different clients have different problems.
For example, if we think about entrepreneurs, we typically see 2 main groups – entrepreneurs who are “overwhelmed” all the time and find more reasons NOT to work on their business than to work on their business.
And then, we have “action takers” who don’t seek excuses and typically say “just tell me what to do and how to do it and I’ll go and do it”.
These 2 groups of entrepreneurs have completely different problems. If you write about problems of overwhelmed entrepreneurs, you’ll attract more overwhelmed entrepreneurs. If you write about problems of action takers, you’ll attract more action takers.
For example, let’s say I wanted to write a blog post about productivity for online entrepreneurs:
- If I wrote about “how to stop feeling so overwhelmed all the time”, I’d attract a lot of overwhelmed entrepreneurs that might not be great clients
- If instead I wrote about “how to build a business on the side of a successful career”, I’m attracting people who are already successful (and more likely to build a successful business as well)
You’ll see me rarely use words like “stuck” or “overwhelmed” in my content. That’s very intentional. I want to attract clients that are more interested in “how do I do X” (like “how do I grow my e-mail list”) than clients who feel stuck and overwhelmed.
Example #3: How to attract clients that are willing to put in the work
Finally, the type of content also determines the type of clients you attract. The more in-depth your content, the more serious clients you’ll usually attract:
- If I wrote a 500-word blog post about “5 quick tips for building your e-mail list”, a lot of people might read it or even share it. But how many people will actually implement it, build an e-mail list of thousands of e-mail subscribers and become my clients? Not many.
- If I instead write a 300-page guide, the readers that read my whole guide will be so much more likely to become my clients (and they’ll likely be willing to put a lot more work than people who just want a quick fix of information but aren’t willing to put in the work).
As I’m writing guides like these, I always get a few e-mails from people saying that “these are too long” and they “don’t have the time to read them”. And then I look at their websites, and they only have a handful of e-mail subscribers because they’re making all the mistakes they could avoid by reading the guide.
I never try to convince them to read my guides, because honestly, if they can’t read a guide that’s still shorter than a book about the topic that’s the life and blood of their business, they probably aren’t willing to put in the work to build a successful online business anyway.
On the flip side, my best clients happily devour what I write, put it into action and get results.
But how can you know who your “best clients” are?
If you don’t have any clients yet…
Just start paying attention.
Which of them put a lot of thought into the questions they ask you? Which of them take the advice from your blog posts, implement you and let you know about it? Which of them are action takers?
Start focusing on having more and more conversations with those readers, and writing remarkable content that attracts more readers like them.
If you already have a few (or more) clients…
You probably already know who they are.
You know which clients you enjoy working with the most, and which of them get the best results.
When you use the strategies from this chapter (like the Best Client Audit) for coming up with remarkable content ideas, focus specifically on the questions your Best Clients ask you, and answering them in your content.
On the flip side, resist the temptation of writing content for your worst clients (even if you get a lot of questions from them).
Create content that your best clients would love reading, and you’ll attract more of them.
It’s that simple.
17 best ways to come up with remarkable content ideas
Now that you know WHO to create your content for (your best clients), let’s look at a number of specific, proven ways with which you can generate remarkable content ideas.
I included 17 different strategies here that you can “pick and choose” and find ones that work best for you.
Think of it as a buffet dinner – pick the strategies that feel exciting to you, and don’t worry about the others.
My goal is to provide you with a handful of strategies that you can keep using to generate remarkable content ideas over and over again, and to always have a list of creative ways to generate more ideas to fall back on.
Strategy #1: Rapid Research Week
Instead of just coming up with ideas in your head, it’s wise to spend some time finding Problems Worth Solving from your audience.
Many of the strategies we’ll talk about in this section include some sort of customer research to find this Problems Worth Solving (from casual conversations with your e-mail subscribers to reading through communities and reading amazon reviews of popular books in your industry).
This research is instrumental to creating remarkable content, but there’s also a danger of unnecessarily spending TOO MUCH time in research and spinning you wheels.
I’ve found that the best way to combat this is to limit research to a short and intense period of time.
I call that approach The Rapid Research Week.
The idea is simple.
Instead of constantly doing research, you take 10-20 hours in one week and condense all of your research into it (you can apply the following strategies from this guide during this time period).
Then, after a week of intense research, you’ll have plenty of ideas for months and months of remarkable content, until you feel like you exhausted your list of ideas or start talking about a new topic.
At that point, you can simply go through the Rapid Research Week again to generate ideas for a few more months of content.
Strategy #2: Casual Conversations
In an earlier chapter of this guide about finding Problems Worth Solving, I mentioned that you should start “casual conversations” with your e-mail subscribers that respond to your welcome e-mails after they sign up to your e-mail list.
These casual conversations can be a gold mine of new ideas to write content about, as you can start creating remarkable content around questions from your audience.
That’s actually how I came up with the idea for this guide. I noticed that a lot of my e-mail subscribers were asking me how to build an e-mail list or how to grow their blog audience through conversations like this one:
And some of my readers kept sending me questions about list-building:
I kept track of all of those questions, and later on used them to create the outline for this guide.
If you don’t know where to start, the questions you receive from your e-mail subscribers as a response to your Welcome E-mail will provide you with an endless stream of new remarkable content ideas.
Strategy #3: Welcome Calls
The second strategy we covered in the chapter on finding Problems Worth Solving was doing Welcome Calls with your e-mail subscribers, to get to know them better.
Gabriela Pereira from DIY MFA did exactly that to come up with her first remarkable content ideas:
“Initially I just jumped on calls with new e-mail subscribers. I asked them what they were up to, what they were doing. I built a lot of great connections and got a lot of research done that way.”
Doing “things that don’t scale” and taking the time to meet your e-mail subscribers can be great for creating raving fans that help you spread the word about your business, while getting access to a massive bank of Problems Worth Solving that you can create remarkable content about.
If you want to learn more about Welcome Calls, make sure you read my article about Problems Worth Solving where I cover how to schedule these calls, and the exact questions to ask during them in a lot more detail.
Strategy #4: Welcome Survey
Once you start getting tens of e-mail subscribers every day and receiving more responses to your welcome e-mails than you can handle, you might consider switching the “what are you struggling with?” question with a welcome survey.
This is exactly what Rusty Gray from Rusty Animator does in his welcome e-mail:
He takes his readers to a survey:
And asks them the following questions:
- What animation level would you say you are at right now?
- What do you need the most help with in animation – right now?
- Why do you need the most help with it?
- What has your #1 challenge been in improving your animation skills?
This survey easily helps him extract the Problems Worth Solving from his audience that he can then create remarkable content around.
Strategy #5: Blog Comments
Once you start getting some comments on your blog on the content you publish, you can start using the questions from those comments as ideas for your remarkable content.
Here’s a recent example from my blog:
This question from my reader Laury is what sparked the idea for the first section of this very chapter of my guide.
Don’t worry if you’re not getting many comments on your blog once you’re still building up your website traffic.
Until then, you can use the other strategies to come up with remarkable content ideas – and once the comments do start coming in, you’ll just have an additional way of collecting ideas for your content.
Strategy #6: Research Survey
Every time I start talking about a new topic on my blog, one of the first things I do to gauge interest and get a solid foundation of Problems Worth Solving is send out a survey to my existing e-mail subscribers.
That’s exactly what I did to write this very guide.
I sent out this simple and short e-mail to my e-mail subscribers:
That included a link to this survey:
In the survey, I asked the following questions:
- How important is growing your e-mail list in your business on a scale of 1-10?
- How big is your e-mail list right now?
- Why is growing your e-mail list important for your business?
- What is the HARDEST thing about growing your e-mail list?
- How do you FEEL about growing your e-mail list right now?
- How did you try growing your e-mail list in the past? What worked and what didn’t?
- What kind of a resource would make growing your e-mail list 10x easier?
This is a very thorough survey, and I’m ok with trading less responses for higher quality and depth of responses.
If your e-mail list is smaller than 1,000 e-mail subscribers, I might opt for a shorter survey and just focus on 2-3 most relevant questions (I’d probably focus on questions 3,4 and 6 from the questions above).
Sending out a survey like this can get you a lot of detailed responses to help you come up with targeted remarkable content ideas around a single topic (as well as discover industry “myths” if you ask questions like “what worked and what didn’t work” and see patterns there).
Strategy #7: What do you want to learn about?
An incredible simple and effective strategy comes from Luke McIntosh from Become a Bassist:
“I went into reddit and production forums, and said “I’ve been playing bass guitar for 20 years, what do you want to learn?”. People LOVE telling you what they have a problem with.”
While places like reddit might not be ideal for promoting your content, they can be an amazing place to do customer research.
Asking a simple question like Luke did in online communities within your industry can be a phenomenal way of generating a flood of remarkable content ideas.
Strategy #8: Hot Topics in Online Communities and Q & A Sites
Another great thing you can do in online communities and Q & A sites like Facebook groups, forums, Reddit and Quora is to look for popular questions and “hot topics”, and create content around those.
In Reddit, there are often “there are no stupid questions” threads that you can search through for remarkable content ideas:
And you can create content around “Hot Topics” that create a big EMOTIONAL response from your readers. If there is a lot of confusion or frustration around a certain topic, that might be a great opportunity for you to create a new piece of remarkable content and take that frustration away.
A great example is a topic of “modes and scales” in learning bass guitar:
This is a hot, frustrating topic for many bass guitar players (if you search for similar threads on reddit, you’ll find a lot of confusion and frustration like “I can’t wrap my head around this topic!”), as well as lengthy discussions around these topics, which are great indicators of Hot Topics and Content Gaps.
Working through topics on Quora can be another great way to come up with questions to answer (here’s an example of recent questions about freelancing):
And as a nice added bonus, once you create remarkable content around a topic you found on Quora, you can go back to the question and promote it through a detailed answer (as mentioned in the content promotion chapter of this guide).
If you’re a part of Facebook groups or forums in your industry, you can always keep an eye for questions that get a lot of “I have that same problem too!” comments to find remarkable content ideas.
Strategy #9: The Content Gap
Sara Kirsch from Marketing is Not Selling does a lot of her research through Facebook groups, and uses them to come up with remarkable content ideas:
“I look at questions that are being asked, and people aren’t giving great answers to / there are a lot of conflicting answers. That’s where the content gap is.”
Finding the “Content Gap” of questions that aren’t getting great responses is a great way to come up with remarkable content ideas.
Another great way to find the Content Gap is to pay attention to what you think someone “should” create (and then go ahead and create it).
This is exactly what Karen Dudek-Brannan did to come up with her remarkable content ideas:
“I noticed that a lot of speech pathologists had trouble with teaching kids with language disorders like having a hard time with reading or spelling. It’s one of the areas where the advice was really confusing, there was no one way to do it, and everyone was saying a different thing. That’s what I wrote blog posts about.”
The more people that have the same question (and the less high-quality answers), the bigger the opportunity it is for you to create a piece of content that will help you attract more readers to your website.
Strategy #10: Follow Up Questions
Another thing Sara Kirsch does while she looks for questions through Facebook communities is that she follows up with the people who ask questions individually:
“I reach out to people personally who ask questions I can help with. I tell them that if they have any extra questions, to shoot me an e-mail and I’ll happily answer them for them.”
This can be another great way to start a Casual Conversation with new potential readers (or even an alternative way to schedule Welcome Calls with them).
There’s no better way of coming up with remarkable content ideas than to directly talk to people you’d love working with in the future and seeing which questions you can answer for them.
Strategy #11: Common Myths
As you’re looking through different online communities for popular questions, you might notice some questions where people give bad advice as their answers.
That’s how you can spot common “industry myths” that you can then address in your content.
For example, through my research for this guide I found that a lot of people say that “it doesn’t matter how detailed your lead magnet is” – and I debunked that myth in the chapter on creating an EPIC Lead Magnet. I could also write a dedicated post about “why a simple checklist isn’t a good enough lead magnet” on my website.
Another great place to spot industry myths is in surveys you send out to your audience. By asking a question like “what have you tried doing to solve this problem in the past, what worked and what didn’t?”, you can spot additional myths (and find proof for them) that you can create remarkable content around.
For example, when I surveyed my e-mail subscribers around how they tried growing their e-mail list in the past, I got plenty of responses like this:
Having been on many podcast myself, I know that podcasting CAN be very hit or miss, and that there are nuances to finding podcasts that will actually help you grow your e-mail list.
That’s something I could address in a future chapter of this guide about using podcasts to grow your e-mail list.
You can also spend some time thinking about common myths and misconceptions you’ve heard in your industry (or myths you believed in, but later realized were just myths) – like “you can’t lose fat if you eat a lot of carbs / fat in the fitness world).
Debunking myths can be a great way to create remarkable content, as we’ll discover later on in this guide when we talk about different types of remarkable content.
Strategy #12: Unfollow the Experts
If you’re trying to create unique, original content, closely following the other experts in your industry can be one of the biggest traps in your way.
That’s exactly what happened to Peter Nguyen from Essential Man:
“I used to read about what everyone else is doing, follow them on Instagram, etc. The problem is that instead of creating original content I wrote about stuff everyone was writing. Instead I unsubscribed from their newsletters and social media. I looked at the unsolved problems of my audience / content gaps.”
Browsing and consuming what other people are saying won’t help you come up with unique, original content.
Instead, focus on finding the “content gaps” in what the experts are NOT saying (and that your potential customers are struggling with). Spend more time talking to your potential readers, analyzing your research notes, and taking long walks to find and fill new content gaps.
Strategy #13: Content Audit
Once you already created 10-20 pieces of content, you can do an audit of all the content on your blog or YouTube channel to find out which content performed best, and how you can create more of it.
For example, Luke McIntosh does this regularly:
“I regularly do a channel audit on my YouTube channel: I check my videos for most views, top retention, and longest watch times to analyze what’s working best. I do the same for my blog – I look at blog posts with most traffic, most time on page, and highest converting opt-ins.”
You can look through your existing content to find:
- Hot Topics: Do some topics attract more readers than others? If yes, how could you create more content around them?
- Hot Formats: Do certain types of content do better than others? For example, do guides do better than blog posts, or does a specific type of a YouTube video work best?
It makes sense to do a content audit every quarter or so to get closer and closer to knowing what REALLY makes your audience tick.
Strategy #14: Best Client Audit
An amazing strategy I learned from my friend Marc Aarons is creating content that will attract more of your best clients.
A great way to generate new remarkable content ideas, especially once you’re already working with your clients regularly, is to do a “Client Audit” for your best clients.
You can create a list of all the questions they ever asked you through:
- E-mail exchanges
- Facebook messenger or Whatsapp
- Online courses
- Coaching calls
- Customer Research Calls
To get a clear idea of what kind of content to attract to get more clients like them.
For example, I run a 6-month coaching program for 5-6 figure entrepreneurs called The Top Performer, and I love working with my clients in the program.
For each of the weekly calls, we have an “agenda” document where my clients write down their burning questions they have that week.
To create a new content strategy for my business, I simply went through a few months of agendas and collected a vault of questions from my best clients.
You can do the same in your business – pick a few of your best clients, review your past interactions with them, and use these to create new ideas for your remarkable content.
Strategy #15: What am I nerding out on right now?
When I talked to Christina Rebuffet from Speak English With Christina about how she keeps coming up with content ideas that she loves creating YouTube videos about, she said:
“I’m a big language and culture geek, never get bored with topics”
While a lot of the strategies that we shared in this chapter focus on our audience and their questions, it sometimes sense to talk about things you are extremely interested in.
If you obsessively read 20 books about a subject that interested you, if there’s something you have a unique perspective on, or if there’s something you just can’t stop talking about with your clients, you can turn that into your next remarkable piece of content.
Strategy #16: Amazon Reviews
Nagina Abdullah from Masala Body did a lot of her initial research to come up with remarkable content ideas by reading through Amazon reviews of popular books in her industry:
“I looked at amazon reviews of weight loss books, and healthy recipes. I paid attention to what people LIKED, what they wanted MORE of. I noticed that women needed STRUCTURE, telling them WHAT TO DO.”
This helped her choose a format for her remarkable content that her audience loved (super step-by-step posts and recipes that told her audience exactly what to do).
Which could help him create content that teaches you HOW to think during the coding interviews (rather than just WHAT to think).
Amazon Reviews can be great ways to identify Content Gaps in your industry – so take the time to go through a few popular books and see what else you could talk about that other experts aren’t talking about yet, or how you can talk about it differently / better than everyone else.
Strategy #17: Expert Interviews
The final strategy I’d like to share in this section of the guide is the very strategy I used to write this guide.
As you might have noticed, this guide is insanely detailed, well-researched and filled with different real-life examples of everything from content research techniques to lead magnets to opt-in copy.
I collected the majority of the research for this guide by interviewing 20 entrepreneurs with sizable e-mail lists, taking notes during their interviews (and transcribing some of them), and compiling all of their advice into this guide.
Not only did this allow me to create this guide (that’ll probably be as long as 20-30 long blog posts), it also gives me plenty of research for a year of writing about list-building (if I choose to do that).
Whenever you’d like to immerse yourself into a new topic and get more data, stories to back up your claims or sticky ideas to include in your content, you can reach out to experts in your industry, ask to interview them about a certain topic, and promise to feature them in your content.
Here’s how I did that for this guide.
First, I sent the experts I wanted to interview a quick e-mail asking them if they’d be up for the interview (I already knew many of them personally through years of building relationships):
And then, if they responded positively to this e-mail, I sent them additional details around the interview process:
This is a great strategy to pursue if you already have a sizable network of experts in your industry (or, you could even use this strategy to get on the radar or build relationships with experts you’d like to connect with).
Sticky Idea Matrix: How to organize your research into remarkable content ideas
If you use even a handful of the strategies from the previous section, you’ll likely end up with tens (or hundreds) of content ideas.
As you initially collect your ideas, I recommend just throwing them in a massive notebook / Evernote or Google Document. It will be messy, but at least you’ll have all of your ideas in one place.
Alternatively, you could have one big notebook with different notes for each of the research techniques.
That’s exactly what I did for my Ultimate Guide to Growing Your E-mail List. I created a dedicated notebook for the guide where I created a dedicated note for each of the interviews (or other research methods I used):
These notes are rather messy. They’re pages and pages long, and look something like this:
As you can see, I mainly pulled interesting quotes / points from the interviews I did, knowing they would become Building Blocks for my guide.
This step of organizing research is typically fairly easy – as it just involves correcting information.
The next step is trickier – and could make your head hurt a bit (I know I had quite a few headaches putting this guide together, mainly due to the hundreds of pages of research). The good news is that once you go through the next step, you’ll have your ideas neatly organized and you can use them to create remarkable content for months, or even a whole year.
As a next step to really organize my research, I like to:
- Organize my ideas by topic
- Turn them into sticky ideas
- Connect them to Problems Worth Solving
I like to do that by going through all of my research notes and organizing them into one massive spreadsheet, which I call the Sticky Idea Matrix.
Here’s what a Sticky Idea Matrix looks like:
You’ll notice that each row is organized into:
- The Sticky Idea: A simple “name” for the idea (the name here isn’t final)
- “What it is”: This is where I copy paste the research / quotes from my notes
- Problem it solves: Here, I’ll write specific Problems Worth Solving
- Credit: This is optional – but it allows me to quickly pull notes if I need more context on these ideas
Finally, I’ll organize these ideas by topics:
For example, in my spreadsheet:
- Rows 3-40 were “Business Idea Validation”
- Rows 41-57 were “Moments of Traction”
- Rows 58-79 were “Customer Research”
As you can see, these align pretty well with the chapters of this guide – so when I was writing a specific chapter, I would just pull the ideas from this matrix to combine them into a detailed outline for the chapter.
I’ve found that this system worked extremely well for me, though you could use a different system as well:
- Paper notebooks
- Paper Mind Maps
There are a million different systems out there for organizing research out there. I suggest trying a few of them and creating a custom system for yourself that works for YOU.
What’s important is that:
- You create Sticky Ideas for your remarkable content: This will help your readers remember and share your content
- You connect your Sticky Ideas with Problems Worth Solving: This will help you create content that connects with your audience.
Here’s a simple example:
- Problem Worth Solving: “How do I organize my research notes?”
- Sticky Idea: Sticky Idea Matrix
And voila, this chapter of this guide was born (which could just as well be a separate piece of content).
How to find your unique Content Voice
There’s no “one proven way” to create Remarkable Content.
That’s because we’re all so different, have different strengths and interests, different industries… And an approach that might work for me might not work for you.
- I love writing 50,000+ word guides like this one as I love the challenge (but you might hate the idea of writing as much content)
- James Altucher is amazing at sharing vulnerable stories in his content (that many people would never dare sharing)
- Jenni Waldrop uses a lot of dramatic and entertaining storytelling in her content, which makes her content stand out from everything else in her industry
The general rule for finding your “content voice” is:
- Find out which content is in your Genius Zone: Try out the following strategies and see which of them you’re good at and you really enjoy doing
- Create an amplified version of yourself: If you tend to make jokes, go over the top with how many jokes you make. If you like writing long stuff, go to the extremes and write REALLY long guides like this one
We love following extremes that stand out from the crowd, so when you find your “thing”, try to use it as much as possible in your content.
Another great example of finding a unique angle is Nagina Abdullah, who uses spices as her way to differentiate herself from all other weight-loss bloggers:
“I got to the idea of spices by putting my message in the world and experimenting. I heavily guest posted in the beginning, from articles to smaller blogs to larger publications, and pitched an article to Mind Body Green about “These 5 spices helped me lose 40lbs”.. After they accepted it, I got 1500 new e-mail subscribers in 48 hours. After I worked so hard for 10-20 subscribers with every post I wrote, this finally paid off.
That’s when i had a lightbulb moment, that this was an interesting topic. People LOVED the spice idea – I later got featured in FOX news, and everyone started talking about spices which were really interesting to people. It was just PART of my method before, not the HIGHLIGHT of the method. After this happened, I started talking about spices more and more and more.
Just like Nagina, you can experiment with different approaches and angles until you find one that catches traction, and then stick with it.
13 proven strategies for creating Remarkable Content
Now, let’s look at 13 strategies for creating remarkable content that you can experiment with.
Strategy #1: Avoid the “Content Pet Peeves”
When I talked to Will Darling from EDMtips about how he creates his YouTube videos that helped him get to over 10,000 e-mail subscribers, he shared a brilliant strategy for creating remarkable content with me:
“I would look at other YouTube videos with lots of views, look at the comments, and take notes how to make my videos on the same topic better. I would answer any unanswered questions, but make my answers short and concise.
I would cut out all the fluff from my videos because I noticed a lot of people on reddit / YouTube say “the content starts at 1 minute”, “this guy rambles too much”, etc. – that told me to be concise in the videos. I would speed edit and reduce rambling to a minimum. I just focused on great content. “How can you give people the MOST value in 5 minutes?”
Based on my research, the biggest pet peeves were that “people just ramble and beat around the bush, and don’t get to the point quick enough”. This lead me to fast edits and cutting out the unnecessary time between phrases. Keep in mind that an audience of 20 year olds loves “action movie” type YouTube videos, but if your audience is in the 60s they might be more chill, so you’ll have to listen to their feedback.”
Places like YouTube comments and blog comments can be great places to study the existing comments, while places like Reddit or even asking your e-mail list are great places to ask questions like “what are your biggest pet peeves when it comes to electronic music tutorials?”. The “amazon reviews” strategy from the previous section of this guide is also a great way to find the pet peeves of your audience.
For example, this thread on Reddit has 800+ comments about what people hate on YouTube, and it’s well worth reading for anyone that wants to build their e-mail list through YouTube.
Take note of the biggest pet peeves, and then create content in a way that addresses the pet peeves.
If people hate short content without examples, add in a lot of examples into your content. If they hate rambling, religiously edit your content to cut out all the rambling (and just keep the “action-packed” parts).
Strategy #2: Draw inspiration from Nachos Recipes
Peter Nguyen draws his inspiration for creating remarkable content from well-written recipes:
“I noticed that many experts in my industry aren’t necessarily great teachers. I decided to get better at teaching to gain an advantage. I use great recipes for cooking as an inspiration for my content, as they give me ideas how to teach well.”
Studying great teachers and applying their methods to creating your content can be a great way to learn how to write better content.
For example, I love this nachos recipe as it addresses questions like “how to avoid soggy nachos” and “which chips are best for nachos”, which most recipes typically don’t address.
I also really liked this poached eggs recipe that breaks down all the common approaches for making poached eggs, common mistakes people usually make, definitively answers questions like “should I put vinegar in the water”, and tells you what REALLY matters (like having fresh eggs from a farm).
Take a look at some of your favorite teachers (it could be bloggers, authors, public speakers, YouTubers… ), study how they teach, and apply their teaching methods to your content to make it remarkable.
Strategy #3: How can I teach this to my younger brother?
Another proven strategy for creating remarkable content is to think about how you would explain your idea to your younger brother (like Peter Nguyen from Essential Man):
“There are a lot of articles in my industry even I can’t understand as a stylist. If I can explain my content to my younger brother I’m already winning.”
Or by thinking about how you could teach a certain subject in 4 days (like Danny Margulies from Freelance to Win):
“If a family member asked me “teach me how to write copy in 4 days”, how would I do it? What would I tell them? I write out the exact steps, and turn them into a blog post. When someone approaches me with a new problem, I think about how to solve this problem, and write it down.”
Thinking about how to teach your content in the most granular, easy to understand way will give you a huge advantage over experts that just “share their knowledge” in articles full of jargon, that few people can understand.
The more people that understand your content, the more people can benefit from it, and the more likely they are to share it with their friends.
Strategy #4: Create content that can’t be copied
Another great way to create remarkable content is by creating content that’s so good and unique that it can’t be copied.
A great example of such content is Peter Nguyen’s blog post about what a mean should wear on a first date, which is one of the most popular posts on his website:
“What worked best for me for list-building is posts that were long and epic AND had a narrative or a story that couldn’t be copied. An example is my dating post. I talked to women at a party about what they thought a man should wear on a first date, and got a great response. I then surveyed 100+ of my friends and readers about what they thought and wrote a post about it. The winning combination seems to be STORY + QUALITY + DEPTH.”
If you ever get a crazy idea (like “I should interview 20 experts to write a guide about list-building”, or “I should interview 100 womens about what a man should wear on a first date”), make it happen!
Content that’s unique, different, and requires a lot of effort will perform better than an article that you put together in just a few hours.
If you think about a piece of content and think to yourself “wow, this would be super interesting, but would require a ton of work to do it right”… you’re on the right track to creating a truly remarkable piece of content.
Strategy #5: The Buzzfeed Strategy
Another great content creation strategy from Peter Nguyen is The Buzzfeed Strategy:
“When I want to create interesting content, I start looking for clickbait. For example, Buzzfeed creates great videos that capture your attention, and while their headlines are “clickbait”, they always deliver on the promise. For example, I saw an accent coach for films break down 42 accents from actors, and explain why some of the accents work and why others don’t. Then I thought about how to apply that to my content.”
This is a great strategy to come up with interesting content. I personally love their “Worth it” videos that compare things like $1 sushi with $133 sushi. Now that’s interesting.
You could think about how to apply similar ideas to your content:
- If you’re a skiing coach, you can compare $200 skis with $1,000 skis
- If you’re a stylist, you can compare a $500 leather jacket with a $2,000 leather jacket
- If you’re a guitar coach, you can compare a $200 guitar with a $2,000 guitar
… and those are just ideas based on ONE type of Buzzfeed’s videos.
Be warned as you use this strategy though – there is a danger of going down the rabbit hole and binging on their content for hours and hours on end… So this might be a strategy best employed AFTER you’ve done your work for the day ;).
Strategy #6: Create content that’s never been done before
Danny Margulies shared another interesting content creation strategy with me:
“A lot of people in my industry are just copying each other, if I read the top 5 blog posts on the subject, they all sound the same. When I create my content, I use my imagination and ask myself, how can I do things in a way that hasn’t been done before?”
This is the exact strategy I used to write this guide.
When I looked at existing content on list-building, I saw a lot of content that shared “5 steps to growing your e-mail list” or “how to get to 1,000 e-mail subscribers”. These articles were typically super broad / surface level, and I knew that they weren’t enough to really get the results they promise (most people that read the articles probably won’t actually succeed in building an e-mail list).
I saw a lot of articles that talked about lead magnets and opt-in copy and why “they’re important and you should have them”, but very few of them actually went into a lot of detail on HOW to write great opt-in copy or create a killer lead magnet. If there were examples, nobody really explained WHY they worked and the principles behind them.
Finally, there were articles about “73 ways to grow your e-mail list”, which I thought were cute. Sure, there were a lot of “ideas” in the articles, but there was practically zero implementation instructions. “Go on Instagram” or “Go on Pinterest” isn’t exactly advice that will help you build an e-mail list of 10,000+ e-mail subscribers.
Even though there is a lot of content out there on list-building, I didn’t think that much of it would actually work. I couldn’t find even one piece of content that:
- Would talk about EVERY key step of list-building (including finding a profitable business idea, which is something that everyone seems to be ignore, but is a foundational step of building your e-mail list)
- Would go DEEP on each of the subjects (like how to create an epic lead magnet or write opt-in copy)
- Would be backed on REAL data and examples of online entrepreneurs (rather than just “ideas” for list-building)
That’s why I decided to interview 20 entrepreneurs about list-building for 60 minutes each, spent 2 months collecting and organizing research, and another 2 months writing this guide – so I could create the absolute best research that’s backed by data, insanely comprehensive, and by far the most useful piece of content on list-building out there.
Of course you don’t have to approach your content with the same rigour as I do – but you should always think about ways in which you can present the same content in a different, better way than everyone else.
For example, you can look at:
- Danny Margulies’s blog post about “top 8 Upwork mistakes”: It’s filled with screenshots, scripts and examples
- Peter Nguyen’s Essential Fall Style Guide: It includes outfit ideas, exact clothing items to wear, and detailed explanations behind why you should wear cashmere sweaters
- Nagina Abdullah’s healthy frozen meals for weight loss: Even the topic of this blog post is different than most fitness blogs – but the way Nagina delivers on it is even better – she works through each of the meals, gives specific brand recommendations, and breaks down the nutrition facts behind each of the meals
There’s no “one rule” for creating content that’s unique and different – and no wrong way of doing it. Whenever you get an idea for writing something different, test it out and see how your audience resonates with it. If they like it, write more of it!
Strategy #7: Tell Powerful Stories
Another great strategy for creating remarkable content comes from Vickie Gould is to create content that moves your readers:
“Whenever I write something for my audience, I focus on EDUCATION + MOTIVATION + INSPIRATION. I give people something for their head (useful frameworks) and for their heart (powerful stories).”
When you create content for your readers, focus on more than just the “how to”. The content that will really move your readers and connect them with you is content that will make them FEEL something and trigger emotions in them.
Specifically, when you create your content, focus on:
- The Tangible Outcomes for your readers (and their dreams and aspirations)
- The Problems Worth Solving (and the pain surrounding them)
The best way you can do that is through telling powerful stories. It could be your own stories, stories from your clients, or other stories you’ve heard.
If you share a powerful story with your audience, they won’t just learn a new framework, they’ll also have a reason to implement it.
Here’s a great example from Peter Nguyen’s article about what to wear on a first date:
As you read his story about his first date with his girlfriend, you can’t help yourself but think “I want that too!” and start feeling all warm and fuzzy.
Especially if you consider yourself a great storyteller (or people tell you that you are one), you should sprinkle your stories throughout your content to make it resonate better with your readers.
Strategy #8: The Action Movie Strategy
Another great strategy we briefly touched on earlier is the “Action Movie Strategy” from Will Darling:
I would cut out all the fluff from my videos because I noticed a lot of people on reddit / YouTube say “the content starts at 1 minute”, “this guy rambles too much”, etc. – that told me to be concise in the videos. I would speed edit and reduce rambling to a minimum. I just focused on great content. “How can you give people the MOST value in 5 minutes?”. My videos then became almost like action movies.”
Here’s a great example of one of his videos on “How to rearrange your music in under 5 minutes” – he focuses on keeping the most important information in his video while cutting out everything else.
You’ll notice that a lot of popular YouTubers use this strategy to create YouTube videos that are interesting from the first to the very last second. They edit out all the fluff and just leave in the most interesting parts (often with a lot of overexaggerations and interruptions that keep you paying attention).
If you’re using YouTube to create your content and you target a younger audience, this fast-paced type of content will be a great content type to try out.
Be warned though – while creating shorter and punchier content might be good for YouTube, there is a lot more short blog posts written – so you might have a lot of competition there.
You should also think about your Zone of Genius here – are you better at creating succinct or ultra-deep content? Pick the type that works better for you (for me, it’s 100x easier to write a 50,000+ word guide than a 500-word “to the point artile”).
Strategy #9: Content Binges
Another great way to create remarkable content is to create content that you audience can “binge” on, like Luke McIntosh:
“I like creating grouped content of series people will binge on, so they keep watching it for hours and hours”.
For example, you’ll notice that Luke organizes his content into playlists on his YouTube channel:
He has different content around improvisation, music theory, bass lines… So anyone that’s interested in any of those topics can “binge” on 10+ videos to deepen their understanding of a specific topic, rather than binging on Game of Thrones.
Another great example of binge-worthy content are Jenni Waldrop’s “six-minute makeovers” of Etsy Shops:
Jenni created tens of 6-minute videos that each teach her followers a lesson on growing their Etsy shop (together with a “real-world” example of an Etsy Shop).
As you’re thinking about creating remarkable content, think about different “content binges” you could create for your audience that they’ll love watching and reading for hours on end.
You can also combine this strategy with the “Buzzfeed Strategy”, and look at Buzzfeed’s binge-worthy series (there are plenty of them):
Strategy #10: BIG Ideas
Sam Gavis-Hughson likes to build his content around big ideas:
“Every time I create an e-book or an online product, I try to come up with one core IDEA. For example, my e-book about dynamic programming includes the “FAST” framework which I reference all the time”.
Here’s an example of his FAST framework:
When you’re creating content, don’t just share “advice” or “solutions” – you’ll be missing out on ways for people to remember you and your ideas, and share your content content with their friends.
Instead, go the extra mile and include Sticky Ideas in your content (you should always have at least one sticky idea in every piece of content you create if possible).
Strategy #11: Quick Wins
One of the best ways to create remarkable content that people share with others is to create content that gets your readers results, like Danny Margulies:
“I want people to read a blog post and get a WIN. It could be inspiration, confidence, a result, or knowing how to do something.”
If you can bring your audience Tangible Results with your content, they’ll happily keep coming back (and will more likely buy your products or services).
A great example that comes to mind are Ramit Sethi’s scripts for negotiating credit card fees – you can get on the phone with a bank and save yourself hundreds of dollars within minutes by just following his advice from free blog posts.
If you include scripts, tips or techniques in your content that can bring your readers tangible results within a few minutes (or a reasonably short period of time), you’ll quickly build rapport with your new readers and turn them into Raving Fans as they’ll think “wow, this really works! What else can I learn from him/her?”.
Strategy #12: Power Ups
We can take the idea of Quick Wins even further through the concept of “Power Ups”.
If you ever played super mario kart (or any arcade racing video game), you might be familiar with Power Ups you can pick up throughout the tracks and make your racer stronger:
In Mario Kart’s example, this might be anything from bananas you can place on the floor to make your opponents spin to mushrooms you can pick up to make you go faster.
The idea behind these power ups is simple. They make your racer more powerful.
You can apply the idea of Power Ups to your content as well, and make your content 10x better.
You can do that by making sure you attach a Power Up to every lesson that you teach in your blog post or YouTube video.
A Power Up could be a:
- Video tutorial
- Case Study
- …or something else
- Don’t just write about negotiation. Include a negotiation script.
- Don’t just talk about what kind of leather jacket to buy. Include a shopping list.
- Don’t just shoot a video about principles of editing music. Record yourself editing a song.
Whenever you’re not sure how to make a piece of content 10x better, including a Power Up for every lesson you teach is a bulletproof way to make your content more remarkable.
Strategy #13: Ask for Feedback
If you exhausted all the strategies above and still can’t think of ways to make a specific piece of content better, you can ask your readers for feedback.
You could do that by sending your readers an e-mail about a piece of content you recently published like I did about this guide:
Or by asking your readers / friends / clients in your target audience to jump on a Skype call with you, where you can show them your piece of content, ask them to read it, and then ask them to share ways in which you could improve it.
Asking for feedback is a great strategy to make your content better, especially when you’re not really sure HOW to make it better.
3 elements of a Remarkable Piece of Content
Before we take a deep dive into how to write (or record, if you’re planning on creating YouTube videos) a remarkable piece of content, let’s first talk about how to structure your content.
If we look at any remarkable piece of content out there that’s optimized to help you maximally grow your e-mail list, we’ll see that it has 3 key elements:
- The hook
- The meat
- The CTA*
*CTA = “call to action”
The hook are the first few words / paragraphs of your content. The sole purpose of the hook is to “hook” your readers and entice them to go through your content (rather than closing the page).
I recommend you start out with one of the two simple types of hooks:
- The Story Hook
- The SEO Hook
These two hooks are fairly simple to write, and over time, you can find out which types of hooks you prefer using.
The Story Hook is a bit more creative and fun, but can also be harder to write if you don’t have a lot of experience with storytelling.
The SEO Hook is more formulaic (and potentially better for SEO, which might benefit you down the line), but can feel a bit dryer to write.
The Story Hook
The Story Hook boils down to sharing a short story (either your personal story, a story of one of your clients, an anecdote, or even a story behind certain research…) that’s related to the content you’ll be writing.
For example, here’s a story hook from Peter Nguyen’s article about what to wear on the first date that we already saw earlier:
This one is easy – it’s a story from Peter’s first date, in an article about what to wear at a first date.
Danny Margulies takes a more difficult approach in his blog post about “8 upwork proposal mistakes”:
Instead of talking about a story when he made a horrible mistake in his proposal (which would be a perfectly fine approach), he starts off with a story of a competitive hot-dog eater, and makes a case for “working smarter, not harder”, which is a theme he maintains throughout his article.
The final example comes from Nagina Abdullah’s article about “best coffee creamer for weight loss”, where she shares a personal story about a French vanilla coffee creamer, and then ties it into weight loss:
Nagina often uses short personal stories that are just 1-2 paragraphs long to connect with her readers in her blog posts, and you can use a similar approach to hook your readers as well.
“But how do you tell a great story?”
The main purpose of a great story is to make your readers feel like they’re there with you.
And while storytelling is something that takes years to master, here are 6 quick questions you can use to tell better stories.
When you think of a specific story you want to tell, think about…
- What did you say
- What you thought
- How you felt
- What you saw
- What you smelled
- What you heard
For example, instead of just saying “I used to drink creamers in my coffee”, Nagina said:
“I used to worship my French vanilla coffee creamer. It was an experience of sweetness and comfort, a feeling of satisfaction and decadence that I got to indulge in every single morning.”
Notice how she talks about her memories, the taste, and the feeling surrounding the coffee creamers (that many of her readers can resonate with).
If you feel like you aren’t a great storyteller, that shouldn’t be a reason not to use story hooks in your content. They might not be perfect from the start, but the only way you can get better is with practice.
The SEO Hook
The SEO Hook is a type of a hook that will benefit you in the future if you choose to use SEO as a growth strategy for your e-mail list.
While you don’t really need to learn about SEO until you have 5,000-10,000 e-mail subscribers, writing this type of a hook won’t require any sort of in-depth SEO knowledge.
Writing the SEO Hook can actually be easier to write than to write a Story Hook.
So how do you write your SEO Hook? You can use Brian Dean’s APP Method:
The APP Method stands for:
- Agree: Talk about the Problem Worth Solving your reader has (that they’ll agree with)
- Promise: Promise to help them solve the Problem Worth Solving with your content
- Preview: Tell your readers exactly what they can expect from the piece of content
We can find a great example of this method in practice in Nagina Abdullah’s article about best frozen meals for weight loss.
First, Nagina gets her readers to agree with her about the Problem Worth Solving (we don’t have food available, therefore we binge on unhealthy food):
Later on in her SEO Hook, she promises to share “the most flavorsome frozen ready meals that will support your health and weight loss goals”:
Finally, she wraps up with a preview of what her readers can expect to find in her article:
Now while you COULD use advanced SEO techniques to figure out exactly how to phrase your SEO Hook, you don’t actually need to do that if you only have a few hundred (or thousand) e-mail subscribers and don’t want to spend months learning about SEO.
Instead, you can simply plug and play your Problems Worth Solving into the first paragraph of the SEO Hook.
For example, if I wrote an article about how to speak at a TEDx event, I could write the SEO Hook like this:
“You’re here because you want to speak at a TEDx event. Maybe you want to do that to promote your book, to share your ideas with thousands of people, or simply because you love speaking and that’s a new stage you’d like to conquer.
Either way – I can help. In this post, I’ll teach you exactly how I landed 3 TEDx speeches to date, as well as “secrets” I learned from 3 years of organizing my own TEDx event
-The one mistake that 99% of rejected TEDx candidates make (and how to EASILY avoid it
-The 5-step application process for TEDx events (and a secret shortcut you can use to get accepted as a speaker within 1-2 weeks
-How far in advance you should apply for TEDx events (and who you should reach out to with your application)”
If you read my guide on writing opt-in copy, you’ll notice that you can use your opt-in copy writing skills to write your “preview” part of the SEO Hook as well ;).
You don’t have to follow this script word by word, so feel free to change things up, add a paragraph, remove a paragraph…
You could even mix the SEO Hook and Story Hook together (like Nagina Abdullah does in many of her articles – she uses a Story Hook as the “Agree” part of her SEO Hook).
Unlike with sales pages, the hook isn’t the most important part of your content – your meat is.
So don’t worry about WHICH hook to use, or about getting it perfect, or even how long your hooks are (though I’d recommend keeping them under 1 page long). Instead, focus on practice, and getting the structure of your hooks right.
If you use a Story Hook or a SEO Hook to open your articles or videos, you can’t really go wrong.
The “meat” of your content is where you’ll help your audience solve their Problems Worth Solving with your lessons and advice.
The “meat” will vary based on the type of content you’re creating:
- If you’re writing a “myth busting” article where you bust the myth that you “can’t negotiate an internship salary”, you might share where the myth comes from, why you CAN negotiate the salary, examples and stories to support your claim, and specific strategies for negotiating the salary
- If you’re writing a “how-to” article about how to answer recursion questions at a coding interview, you might cover a list of typical questions you might get at an interview, strategies for solving the questions, and sample answers
- If you’re writing a “surprising mistakes” article about upwork proposals, you might talk about 8 surprising mistakes your readers make, and what to do instead
We’ll look at the different content types and blog post templates later on in this guide, where you’ll be able to see different ways in which you can create the “meat” of your content in action.
If we look at what ALL the different types of remarkable content have in common, we’ll notice that they:
- Have a set number of sections (for example, 8 sections for 8 common upwork proposal mistakes)
- Each of the sections has their own power up (a concept we covered earlier in this chapter)
If there’s ONE thing you want to include in your “meat”, it’s power ups. If you make sure that every section of your content (whether it has 3 sections or 30) has a power up with a sticky name, your content will already have more depth than most content out there.
Now if you really want to go the extra mile and make your content better than all other content out there, a great way to do is to address subtle questions and concerns.
These are questions and concerns that a lot of people have, but few bloggers answer.
A great example is or beloved nachos recipe which we looked over earlier.
Most nachos recipes just tell you how to make nachos.
But this nachos recipe goes into A LOT more depth by answering questions like which toppings are best for nachos:
Which are the best chips for nachos:
How to avoid soggy nachos:
And even shares a brief history of nachos:
There are thousands of nacho recipes out there – but this one stands out from all the noise and answers subtle questions and concerns which most other recipes ignore.
Going the extra mile and collecting, thinking about and addressing the common questions your audience might have around their Problems Worth Solving is a great way to add more depth to your content, make it easier for your readers to take action, and make your content more remarkable.
The Call to Action
After the “meat”, you might want to include a quick summary of the article (like I do in this guide), especially if it’s a length article. This part is optional, but it’s a nice touch to make your content more memorable.
After that, it’s time for the final part of your content, which is the most important for converting your readers into e-mail subscribers: The Call to Action (or CTA).
Before you write your CTA, make sure you have a Relevant Lead Magnet that you can offer to your readers as a next logical step after going through your content.
For example, if I ran a cooking blog and wrote a recipe about Nachos, I might encourage my readers to download my “10 Delicious Comfort Food Recipes for Your Next House Party” (if I knew that a lot of my readers searched for party foods online).
In your Call to Action, you should bridge the gap between your content and your Relevant Lead Magnet, and tell your audience why they can’t miss out on this amazing resource you created for them.
Here’s an example from my Ultimate Guide to Creating Content That Sticks:
With this guide, I created a dedicated lead magnet (a checklist for coming up with sticky ideas) to walk my readers step by step through creating their sticky ideas.
Here’s another example of a much shorter CTA, from Nagina Abdullah’s article about coffee creamers:
Nagina’s CTA is to download a “Sweet Spice Cheat Sheet” for a way to make your coffee less sugary – but still sweet (which is a great logical next step for her readers).
It matters less HOW you write your CTA and how long it is than it does to:
- HAVE a clear CTA at the end of your content
- Have a relevant lead magnet to offer with it
As long as you get those two right, you’ll be on the right track to attracting thousands of new e-mail subscribers through the content you create.
8 Remarkable Content Types
Now that we covered the typical STRUCTURE of remarkable content, let’s talk about different TYPES of content you could create.
Whenever you’re creating a new piece of remarkable content, you can use these content templates to come up with a proven structure for your posts, and put a different spin on them.
Over time, you’ll find that you enjoy creating some content types more than others, and that some of them resonate with your audience more than others.
Like I always say, do more of what works, and ignore what doesn’t.
I included a thorough list of 8 different types of content I’ve seen do well which should get you started, and if you’d like to brainstorm additional content types, you can use the Buzzfeed Strategy to do that.
Content Type #1: Myth Busting
To create content that gets a lot of “buzz”, you can debunk common industry myths (which you might have uncovered during your research, or through years of experience working in your field).
The more common and the more counterintuitive the myth, the better it will likely do.
You could write content about a specific myth (like “you can’t charge premium rates without years of experience as a freelancer”), or you could write a “top myths” post like Danny Margulies’s blog post about 8 Common Upwork Myths (by the way, this one has a cool Story Hook you can check out).
Either way works, and you could even take things a step further, create separate pieces of content around different myths like:
- “Why you don’t need years of experience to make money on Upwork”
- “There’s too much competition on Upwork”
- “Take any job you can get when you’re getting started with Upwork”
And THEN create a “top 8 myths” post that rounds up all the common myths.
Content Type #2: Back to Basics
When I talked to Peter Nguyen about the biggest mistakes he made while building his e-mail list, he said:
“I learned that I should create content around basic things (like “how to buy a suit”) rather than writing about trendy, hot topics.”
Writing about trending topics like “top 3 trendy things you should wear this summer” got Peter some traction, but he found that focusing on the basics would bring him hundreds of e-mail subscribers for years to come.
Now, he spends a lot more time writing about evergreen topics like how to wear olive chinos, business casual style for men, and how your shorts should fit. These might be more “boring”, but will work far better in the long run than the “next big thing” that will be “out of style” next month.
As you’re implementing this technique, make sure that you’re only writing content around Content Gaps – unfilled gaps of content where there’s no good content around a certain subject.
For example, it might not make sense to write a blog post about “counting calories”, as there are plenty of decent articles out there. But there might be other “basic” questions that your readers or clients have that don’t have great answers.
These are all fairly basic topics, but definitely burning questions that Nagina’s readers have that they can’t solve by Googling (as they get a lot of surface level, generic advice).
The key with creating “back to basics” content is to have a clear idea how you’ll make your content 10x better than all the existing content (including power ups is a great way to do that).
A phenomenal example is Peter’s business casual style guide for men – there’s a lot of articles out there on “business casual style” out there, but Peter’s is by far most detailed and useful – it provides clear explanations, outfit ideas, and a lot more that most content out there just doesn’t offer.
Content Type #3: Experiments
When Jenni Waldrop from Fuzzy and Birch thinks of new Remarkable Content ideas, she thinks of experiments that would be fascinating to her and her audience:
“I want to see how many sales I can make this month, then write about it (“I made 100 sales in 3 weeks on etsy”), that’s fascinating.”
A great example is Jenni’s blog post about how she made $4,000 on Etsy in 30 days.
Another great example that fits into this category is Peter Nguyen’s post about how he interviewed 101 women about what a man should wear on a first date.
If there’s something fascinating or interesting you’ve done that your readers would be interested in, go ahead and write a fascinating piece of content around it!
It could be anything from an experiment you personally try, to a survey you send out to people, to an experiment you run with your clients.
As long as it’s fascinating, it counts.
Content Type #4: “How to” Content
Perhaps the simplest proven content type is classic “how to” content, that simply answers the questions of your audience in the best possible way.
That’s the main type of content that Sam Gavis-Hughson used to build his e-mail list to over 11,000 e-mail subscribers:
“My list grew because I was creating growth content, “how do I do X”, that generated a lot of traffic over time (How to crack the coding interview, how to use the book correctly, how to study data structures, 6 questions you need to know to prep for your coding interview)”
You don’t need to get fancy with your Content Types. If you find a Content Gap around a common Problem Worth Solving, you can always write a “how to” article about it.
This is as formulaic as writing an article about “How to [SOLVE PROBLEM WORTH SOLVING]”.
For example, if I ran a blog about speaking at TEDx events, I would definitely write “how to” content around questions like:
- How to speak at tedx events
- What makes a great tedx talk
- What is the tedx application process like
The key to making this type of content Remarkable is to study other content that talks about the same topic, think about how you can make your content better, then fill it with power ups and answers to subtle questions and concerns, which we talked about earlier.
Content Type #5: Surprising Mistakes
While you could definitely create content around “common mistakes”, an even better approach is talking about surprising mistakes, like Danny Margulies does in his post about “8 surprising upwork mistakes I see every day”.
This is how Danny wrote this blog post:
“Upwork proposals are a big problem. It’s where the rubber meets the road. A lot of people write 10 proposals, but hear nothing back. I could write how to write proposals, but that would be a 200 page book. It wasn’t the best format. Instead I wrote about the 8-9 counterintuitive mistakes (like charging too little). I didn’t teach people how to write proposals from scratch, but with these tips they can write a lot better proposals than they are writing right now.”
When you’re using the “surprising mistakes” content type, you should keep three things in mind.
First, you should write about BIG Problems Worth Solving.
Notice how Danny mentioned that Upwork proposals are a big problem for his audience (which is why his blog post got over 330 comments).
If he instead wrote an article about a less common or smaller problem that people don’t care about as much (like 8 common mistakes you can make when e-mailing your upwork clients), he wouldn’t get such a response because there wouldn’t be any major fear or anxiety associated with the problem.
You should write “surprising mistakes” posts about big problems and high stakes situations of your audience when they won’t want to mess up (like negotiating for a job, sending an upwork proposal or performing at a competition).
Second, your mistakes should be counterintuitive and surprising
When someone sees your content, it should blow their mind and help them see the world in a new way.
It’s not enough to just share obvious mistakes that everyone knows about already. You should talk about mistakes that most people miss, but are clear to you as the expert.
For example, Danny talks about surprising mistakes like:
- “Thinking you can’t charge higher than the client’s budget”
- “Focusing on years of experience”
- “Bidding too cheap”
To someone who’s just getting started with freelancing (and is probably thinking that they should “start small, charge low, and take any job they can get”), these mistakes open their eyes and help them see the Upwork game in a way they haven’t seen before.
Third, you should offer practical solutions to these mistakes
Knowing you’re making a mistake is good. Knowing how to fix it is even better.
In his article, Danny shares specific guidelines and solutions to mistakes, and includes screenshots and examples (Power ups!):
And even an audio file of one of his clients explaining why he hired Danny for $135/hr:
While “surprising mistakes” content won’t make up the majority of your Content Portfolio, it’s definitely worth creating content like this around high-stakes situations and major Problems Worth Solving where your clients typically make big mistakes.
Content Type #6: Ultimate Guides
As you could guess by reading this 70,000+ word guide, Ultimate Guides are my absolute favorite Content Type.
That’s because they are one of the most effective ways to build your e-mail list, get thousands of website visitors to your website every month, and rank on the first page of Google.
They’re also a great way to make your readers fall in love with your content and become excited to work with you through your products and services.
By Ultimate Guides, I mean the most comprehensive pieces of content around a certain topic online.
No, a regular 2,000 word article isn’t an Ultimate Guide. A guide like this is an Ultimate Guide, or my shorter (but still thorough) Ultimate Guide to Creating Content That Sticks.
What I love about Ultimate Guides is that their depth automatically makes them remarkable. By writing something that’s more detailed and comprehensive than any other piece of content on a similar topic out there, you’re doing remarkable work.
Plus, Ultimate Guides make AMAZING Lead Magnets, so you’re often hitting two birds with one stone.
Many entrepreneurs I interviewed created their own Ultimate Guides and attracted hundreds or thousands of e-mail subscribers to their websites:
- Peter Nguyen recently published his Ultimate Guide to Business Casual Style for Men
- Danny Margulies wrote a detailed Ultimate Guide to Finding Your First (or Next) Freelance Job
- Rusty Gray wrote an Ultimate Guide to Best Animation Schools
Ultimate Guides are a subject that I could talk about for hours on and, and I wrote an insanely detailed guide about, which you can check out to see my step-by-step process for creating guides like these.
Content Type #7: Valuable Listicles
While I’m not a big fan of creating “listicles”, like “top 5 ways to lose weight this summer!” as most of them tend to be short and useless (as they aren’t detailed enough for people to actually take action), there ARE ways in which you can incorporate listicles into your Content Strategy.
The way you can do that is by creating “Valuable Listicles”, which share a series of tips / mistakes / phrases / example, accompanied by power ups.
A great example is Danny Margulies’s post about specific phrases that ruin Upwork proposals (with a GREAT Story Hook):
In his article, he talks about specific phrases that ruin Upwork proposals, like:
- “I am motivated / creative / organized / dedicated / other adjective.”
- “I meet deadlines / my work is 100% original / etc.”
- “Feel free to check out my portfolio.”
And then he breaks down WHY those phrases ruin Upwork proposals, and what to do instead:
When you’re writing a Valuable Listicle, make sure that:
- It’s about a BIG Problem Worth Solving (remember how we said upwork proposals were a major sticking point for Danny’s audience)
- Every item on the list has their own power up that makes it useful and easy to implement
- (BONUS POINTS): There’s something counterintuitive about it (so you can change the way people see the world)
Content Type #8: Touchy Subjects
The final Content Type we’ll cover in this post is talking about touchy subjects.
This might not be your cup of tea, but if you’re up for it, talking about Problems Worth Solving that your audience has and revolve around touchy subjects and taboos can be a great way to fill Content Gaps.
You can think about touchy subjects, taboos, or problems that many people experience but no other experts talk about (like “what to do when you get fired from your Upwork client”, or “how do deal with refunds for your online courses”) and create content around them.
How to go from an idea to a Remarkable Piece of Content in 6 simple steps
Now that we covered the different content types, there’s just one more thing for us to go over: how to actually write a remarkable piece of content from start to finish.
In this section, I’ll share with you my exact process that you can use to create any piece of Remarkable Content – from a 2,000 word blog post to a 50,000+ word guide like this.
Step #1: Idea
When you’re just starting out with content creation, don’t worry about having a rigid content strategy to get started. Instead, just create the content you want to create, and worry about content strategy later (we’ll cover that in the next chapter of this guide).
Most entrepreneurs that I interviewed didn’t have a clear content strategy when they were starting out.
Sam Gavis-Hughson just focused on creating content people actually wanted:
“I wasn’t very strategic with it. I just created a TON of content that people actually WANTED”
Geraldine Lepere also didn’t have a fleshed out content strategy:
“I had no content strategy for YouTube – I just made videos. It was more important to just create new videos every week.”
Pick any idea from your sticky idea matrix that you’d like to create a piece of content (you should have a clear Problem Worth Solving in mind).
For example, for this guide, the idea was simple: I’ll write The Ultimate Guide to List-Building.
Step #2: Bulletproof Outline
After you have a clear Problem Worth Solving in mind, create a Bulletproof Outline for your idea. The outline will help you stop staring at a blank page, organize your thoughts and ideas in a nice flow, and save you a lot of editing time down the line.
The length of an outline might vary – for a simple blog post or a short YouTube video, the outline might be just a few lines long.
For example, for this section of this guide, I have a quick & dirty outline written:
For a longer piece of content, like a 50,000+ word Ultimate Guide, you might want to create a more detailed outline.
For this whole guide, I had 42-page outline that helped me organize the flow of the guide:
Below, I’ll share with you my step-by-step system for bulletproof outlining that will make your remarkable content insanely easy to create.
You might implement some or all of your steps, depending on:
- How long, detailed and research-backed your content is
- How much of an outline you NEED to be able to create content
Some entrepreneurs need to create ultra-rigid outlines to write well – others put together a quick and dirty outline and create their content from it.
So how do you know when you’ve done ENOUGH outlining?
I’ve found that when I:
- Feel like I’m not making significant progress on my outline
- Start procrastinating on the outline
- Feel the urge to just start writing
I’ve done enough outlining to move on to writing. That seems to be a good rule to follow. For a quick blog post, I might create an outline in a few minutes, while for a detailed guide like this it took me about a week to put it together as I worked through 400+ sticky ideas.
Here’s how you can create your Bulletproof Outline in 6 simple steps:
- Shitty First Draft: I ALWAYS start with a shitty first draft of my outline. I just do a brain dump of what I want to teach, without worrying about flow, grammar, or anything else.
- Research: Then, I combine my SFD with research from my Sticky Idea Matrix (I add any relevant examples, stories and data to my outline).
- Clarity: Next, I make my outline CLEAR and easy to understand. This means organizing it into a flow that makes sense and using language that my audience would understand.
- Feedback: If I’m working on a super deep piece of content and I want to make sure it’s the best piece of content I can create, I ask my readers or clients for feedback on the outline (to see if I’m missing something or if something is confusing).
- Power Ups: I then go through each of the sections and add power ups to my content to make it remarkable.
- Copy: Finally, I come up with catchy headlines and titles for my content, as well as sticky names for my power ups.
I don’t always go through all the steps (for most of the content I write, I don’t ask for feedback), and sometimes, I go through the power ups and copy steps as I’m writing.
I always go through the steps 1 (SFD) and 3 (clarity) to create a “quick and dirty” outline, and with content that requires a lot of research, I go through step 2 (research) as well.
If you’re ever stuck staring at a blank page, don’t feel like your content is flowing well or find yourself over-editing your content, better outlining will help you out.
Step #3: Shitty First Draft
Once I have an outline writing, I just start writing, and I let myself write shittily. I’m not shooting perfection, I just want to get the words onto paper and finish the content as soon as I can.
This seems to be the best solution to writer’s block (which usually comes from overthinking or trying to make my first draft perfect).
As I write, I like to stick with the zero editing rule.
I don’t let myself pull additional research, examples, screenshots, exact data, links or photos as I’m writing.
Instead, I treat writing and editing as separate, sequential processes.
That’s because I notice that if I DO try to pull a link or a screenshot while I’m writing:
- I often break my flow, and have to remember what I was thinking when I pick up the writing
- I sometimes get frustrated if I can’t find what I’m looking for, and break my writing momentum
- I might get distracted while looking for links or screenshots
That’s why I save the editing for AFTER I’m done with writing my SFD.
To make sure I remember to include the photos, screenshots, examples or data during the editing phase, I simply write something like this:
TODO – INSERT PHOTO FAST METHOD SAM
Which helps me remember what I need to add in (in this care, it would be a screen shot of Sam’s FAST framework which I referenced a few times throughout this guide).
Once you have an outline done, just WRITE (or, if you’re recording YouTube videos, just shoot the video), finish creating the piece of content as soon as you can, and edit it later.
Step #4: Editing
Here’s what you DON’T worry about while editing:
- Grammar & Typos (you can use a tool like Grammarly, but you really don’t need more than that. If you create amazing content, your buyers won’t really care about a typo here and there)
- Rewriting (the easiest way to get stuck in the “editing spiral of doom” is to try and rewrite 3 paragraphs into 2 paragraphs, or say something in a better way. You’ll waste hours doing that, but unfortunately you won’t get any more e-mail subscribers)
I don’t recommend spending time on grammar, typos and rewriting while creating content because you won’t build an e-mail list by creating grammatically correct (or perfect) content.
You’ll build an e-mail list by consistently creating a lot of remarkable content that your readers actually want.
Anything that doesn’t help you produce content faster or make it 10x more remarkable should be cut from your writing process.
You’ll build an e-mail list much faster if you write 4 great pieces of content a month than by writing 1 grammatically perfect piece of content.
So when it comes to editing, what SHOULD you actually edit?
With most of your content, it will be as simple as filling the blanks. You can go through your TODOs, add in all the links, screenshots and examples, and finish your piece of content.
As you’re doing this, make sure you touch things once. This means that you only do one editing pass where you go through all of your TODOs, wrap up the editing phase, and publish your content.
Over time, you might want to employ some advanced editing techniques, like:
- Proof: If your content is unrealistic and lacks proof to back up your claims, add in the proof
- Confusion: If there’s something that’s super confusing, rewrite it to make it clearer what you’re trying to say
- Boredom: If there’s a part that’s just dry and boring, add in interesting stories or examples to make it interesting
NOTE: I wouldn’t worry about using these techniques when you’re just starting out, as it’s a lot more efficient to create a lot of content, and you really don’t want to get stuck in editing.
Then, once you have the skill of creating remarkable content quickly, feel free to sprinkle in more editing to make your content more polished.
Step #5: Title
Once you have your article written and edited, the last step before publishing is picking a great title for your content.
Here, make sure you don’t get stuck in the fancy titles trap – and using fancy language like “5 ways to start living your best life”, which none of readers would ever ask a question about.
People don’t ask questions like “how do I live my best life” or “how do I get my guitar to the next level” – they say things like “how do I stop being distracted by Facebook while working” or “I don’t understand modes and scales for bass guitar”.
Focus on making your titles clear and real before making them fancy.
You don’t NEED fancy content titles to build an e-mail list of 10,000+ e-mail subscribers. Let me prove it to you. Here are some titles from Christina Rebuffet’s most popular YouTube videos, who has tens of thousands of e-mail subscribers:
Most of her titles are incredibly simple, like:
- How to start a conversation in English with anyone
- How to order food in an American restaurant
- Understanding the cashier at the supermarket
- How to introduce yourself
- How to answer “how are you?” in English
As you create your titles, make sure that every title you come up with:
- Is short and simple (you don’t want it to be a mouthful)
- Includes REAL language of your audience (something they would actually say or ask you)
- Talks about a Problem Worth Solving (how to talk to a cashier, how to get through customs…)
In most cases, you could just copy paste the Problems Worth Solving from your research, and use the “How-To Content” to come up with a great title for your article.
“How to answer recursion questions at a coding interview” or “How to ace your Google interview” are clear enough titles to be clicked by people who have those problems.
Once you create your first 10-20 pieces of content and use clear & simple titles, you might want to start experimenting with fancier titles – but make sure all of your titles still stay simple and clear.
To learn how to do that, here are a few advanced strategies from Jenni Waldrop from Fuzzy and Birch, who is amazing at coming up with sexy titles like:
- How to find Etsy Tags that sell like hotcakes
- Copy and paste Etsy Convo scripts to save your sanity
- Mistakes that TANK etsy shops
Notice how these are still clear, short and simple, and talk about Problems Worth Solving (etsy tags, etsy convos, etc.), they just include a little bit of extra flair (hotcakes, save your sanity).
Here’s how Jenni comes up with her titles:
- What’s Fascinating? “I want to see how many sales I can make this month, then write about it (“I made 100 sales in 3 weeks on etsy”), that’s fascinating.”
- Copy Paste: “I use THEIR worlds exactly (just copy paste them!)”
- The Buzzfeed Strategy: “I search for popular content on Pinterest and YouTube, see what are others saying, and think about how can I say this for my content.”
- Crowdsource: “I make a post in my Facebook Group and ask my clients how they would describe this / title this / what would they want to see? Like what do you guys want to know about running an e-mail list on etsy? Then I use their responses to create my headlines”
You can experiment with some of these techniques to make your titles more fun, as long as you always keep them simple, clear, real, and around Problems Worth Solving.
Step #6: Publish & Promote
Once you’ve chosen your title, it’s time to hit that publish button and promote your content to your existing e-mail subscribers, as well as new audiences.
With every piece of content you publish, you’ll want to:
- E-mail your existing e-mail subscribers about it
- Update any old content and HUB pages with links to your new content
- Promote your content to new audiences through sharing on social media, in online communities, etc.
The basic rule of thumb is: The more time you spent creating the content and the better you are at promoting it, the more time you should spend promoting it.
For example, I might share a simple article that I wrote in a few hours with my e-mail list and update my HUB pages and old content.
But with a guide like this that I spent well over 100 hours creating, I’ll also e-mail it to everyone in my network, and go the extra mile to talk about it in podcast and guest posts, create partnerships around it, etc.
If you haven’t yet, you should definitely read my guide on content promotion that will give you an in-depth overview into all the different ways in which you can promote your content.
Summary: The Complete Guide to Creating Remarkable Content
Since this was a LONG guide, here’s a quick summary of what you need to know, and what we covered.
First, we defined Remarkable Content by saying that a piece of Remarkable Content is the best piece of content in your industry around a specific topic.
The broader the topic, the most in-depth the content typically has to be.
Then, we talked about signs that tell you that your content is remarkable:
- If the articles you’re getting are receiving a lot of positive comments and shares
- If your readers are getting results from your articles (and sharing them with you)
- If your readers are saying “I can’t believe this is free content. It’s too good to be free.”
And that to build an e-mail list of buyers (rather than freeloaders), you need to create the content that attracts your best clients.
To attract more of your best clients, you should:
- Use language that your best clients use
- Write about problems that your best clients face
- Write the type of content your best clients love
We then went over 17 different strategies for coming up with Remarkable Content Ideas:
- Rapid Research Week: Condense all of your research into one intense week
- Casual Conversations: Talk to your brand new (and old) e-mail subscribers via e-mail after they respond to your Welcome E-mail
- Welcome Calls: Find new Problems Worth Solving through Skype calls with your subscribers
- Welcome Survey: Once you have more welcome e-mail responses than you can handle, switch to a Welcome Survey
- Blog Comments: Once you start receiving comments on your blog, use them to discover new subtle questions and concerns to create content around
- Research Survey: Send out a survey about a specific topic to your existing subscribers
- What do you want to learn about?: Ask people in online communities what they’d like to learn from you about your topic of expertise
- Hot Topics in Online Communities and Q & A Sites: Pay close attention to topics that get a lot of attention
- The Content Gap: Find gaps in existing content where a lot of people have a certain question, but there is no good content out there to answer it
- Follow Up Questions: Follow up with people from online communities to find additional Problems Worth Solving
- Common Myths: Find questions that get a lot of “bad advice” in online communities to discover common industry myths
- Unfollow the Experts: To avoid saying the same thing everyone else is saying, unfollow the experts in your industry on Facebook, e-mail and Instagram – and create your own original content instead
- Content Audit: Take a look at your best-performing content (or best-performing content of other people in your industry) to find hot topics or good ways of creating remarkable content
- Best Client Audit: Go over all the questions your best clients ever asked you and create content around them
- What am I nerding out on right now?: Create content that you’ve spent hours and horus learning about and researching
- Amazon Reviews: Find content gaps by reading Amazon reviews of popular books in your industry
- Expert Interviews: Interview experts in your industry about a specific topic to create in-depth content like Ultimate Guides
To help you organize all of your research and ideas, I shared with you my Sticky Idea Matrix which you can use together with my Ultimate Guide to Creating Content That Sticks.
We then touched on how to find your unique content voice (find your “Genius Zone” and then use an amplified version of yourself in your content).
And went over 13 proven strategies for creating remarkable content:
- Avoid the “Content Pet Peeves”: Find out what NOT to do by studying comments on YouTube, blogs, Amazon Reviews or asking questions in online communities
- Draw inspiration from Nachos Recipes: Use food recipes to learn how to teach well, and answer subtle questions and concerns of your audience
- How can I teach this to my younger brother? Use this question to create your content in a simple, easy to understand way
- Create content that can’t be copied: Go the extra mile to create your content (interview 20 experts about list-building, ask 101 women what a man should wear on a first date)
- The Buzzfeed Strategy: Study how Buzzfeed and similar sites create Clickbait content that delivers – and use their formats as inspiration for your content
- Create content that’s never been done before: Think about how to create content in a new, unique, more helpful way that nobody else did yet
- Tell Powerful Stories: Use personal stories, stories of your clients, or stories from your research to make your content more interesting
- The Action Movie Strategy: Especially if you’re creating your content via YouTube, cut out all the fluff and rambling and “fast edit” your content to make it feel like an Action Movie
- Content Binges: Create series that your audience can binge on, instead of watching Netflix (like six minute makeovers or bass improvisation series)
- BIG Ideas: Build every piece of content around one big, sticky idea that your audience will remember
- Quick Wins: Help your audience get quick wins through implementing your advice (so they’ll keep coming back to you)
- Power Ups: Use techniques, examples, spreadsheets, tutorials, graphics, and other power ups in every section of your content to make it 10x better
- Ask for Feedback: If you’re not sure how to make your content better, ask your readers what’s confusing, what’s missing, or how you could make it 10x better
We then looked at the 3 elements of every piece of remarkable content, and how to create them:
- The Hook: Use the SEO Hook or Story Hook in the beginning of your content to “hook” your audience and keep their attention
- The Meat: Split your content into sections, attach a “power up” to each of the section, and make sure you answer subtle questions and concerns in your content
- The CTA: Use a Call to Action at the end of your content to show your audience why downloading your EPIC Lead Magnet is the logical next step
We went over 8 different templates that you can use to create Remarkable Content:
- Myth Busting: Debunk the common myths in your industry
- Back to Basics: Fill the content gaps around basic, evergreen questions (rather than talking about hot trends)
- Experiments: Document your experiments and share them with your audience
- “How to” Content: Teach your audience how to solve their Problems Worth Solving
- Surprising Mistakes: Share counterintuitive mistakes (and how to fix them) around BIG Problems Worth Solving
- Ultimate Guides: Create the most detailed and comprehensive pieces of content around different Problems Worth Solving
- Valuable Listicles: If you want to create listicles (like “top 8 phrases to avoid in Upwork proposals”), make them valuable by filling them with power ups
- Touchy Subjects: Talk about touchy subjects and taboos in your industry that other experts aren’t willing to touch
Finally, we talked about how to go from an idea to a Remarkable Piece of Content in 6 easy steps:
- Idea: Pick an idea you’re excited to create content around (don’t worry about content strategy yet)
- Bulletproof Outline: Stop staring at a blank page and organize your content by creating your outline (shitty first draft -> research -> clarity -> feedback -> power ups -> copy)
- Shitty First Draft: Allow yourself to write “shittily”, and separate writing from editing by using TODO
- Editing: Fill in the blanks (TODOs) in your content, and don’t worry about rewriting to avoid getting stuck in the editing spiral of doom
- Title: Pick a title that’s simple and clear, talks about a Problem Worth Solving, and uses real language of your audience
- Publish & Promote: Hit that publish button and use different content promotion strategies to spread the word about your content
That’s it! Now you know everything you need to know about HOW to create Remarkable Content.
In the next chapter, I’ll go over how you can create remarkable content consistently (even when you don’t feel like creating it, or your life gets in the way).
Continue to Chapter 14: How to CONSISTENTLY Create Remarkable Content
Your Turn: What’s your favorite way of creating remarkable content?
Download The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your E-mail List
Download the full 447-page PDF version of this list-building guide (all 17 chapters in one EPIC PDF).