content maverick review

Churning out the same boring predictable content?

A review of Content Mavericks by Andrew and Pete

Somehow I just got stuck in a rut.

Fortunately, reading Content Mavericks by Andrew and Pete has given me a bit of a wake-up call.

It’s easy to keep churning out the same old predictable content. It is like a comfortable pair of tracky bottoms. You can still get them on and feel pretty good about yourself for getting dressed this morning. You’ve done the bare minimum.

But, like that Adidas popper relaunch, you are only fooling yourself that this is a good strategy.

How Content Mavericks can help

Much like their first book, The Hippo Campus, Content Mavericks is practical. You can actually apply it to your business and start to make significant changes before you’ve finished the book. Andrew and Pete tackle the big, most important question, “when do I get to make money?” which many people thinking about marketing, or business, actively avoid.

If you know nothing about content or a conversion funnel then this is a great place to start. “Stand Out Content” is about getting the attention of your audience (personas) and then inciting them to act (whatever your objective is). There is a great summary diagram on page 25.

Good content reaps long-term rewards such as loyalty and referrals but also helps to harness conversions in the short-term. But you have to do it, rather than simply amassing a large collection of books about the strategies and tactics.

Best bits

  1. Focus on problems – when you develop a good persona/avatar you should be doing this. What I like is how Content Mavericks brought this point right to the front of the book. Their example is “I might not want to buy into a de-stressing coaching programme, but I want to be able to chill the f*ck out at work”. For me this is the equivalent of “I don’t want to pay for Instagram training, but I do what to know what the hell unique account means in my statistics”. Or it might be “I sure don’t want to pay for a wanky Financial Adviser, but I do want to have some money left at the end of the month”. The content mission statement they provide is brilliant for those who need a mindset change.
  2. Voice characteristics table – Tone of voice can be bamboozling for your average business owner. What is it? How do I know how to find it?
    The table provided by Andrew and Pete helps you break yours down. I found it easier to start off with what I didn’t want after looking at competitors (or arch-nemesis). The most important thing is to think about what will resonate with your target audience as well as being true to yourself. I was surprised to learn that people love it when I try and translate English idioms into French or try and use French ones (incorrectly). There is no point pretending I am French when I am actually from Hartlepool. It is better to embrace our differences and to think about how this can actually help us stand out in our marketing.
  3. Content stamp discovery table – So maybe I do have a thing for tables. But that is for a good reason. They are awesome at grouping together information and also you are somehow compelled to fill in all the boxes. This particular table is completed through-out the book so if you draw up yours and complete it alongside your chapters you will have something beautiful (and hopefully legible) at the end. The use of examples helps those struggling to identify with the concepts get some clarity.

Anything else good in there?

Yes. There are loads of other good things. But you won’t read it if I put everything in here.

There is also a handy acronym: BEACH.

Using BEACH helps you focus on the 5 fundamental reasons that people share content; Brand Advocacy, Emotion, Appearance, Causes (and Beliefs) and High Value.

Acronyms are always tricky and this one isn’t bad. High Value is one of the most important points. Don’t just hammer out some blogs because that is what you think you should be doing. Think about your audience, what their problems are and how you can deliver something of value to them.

Room for improvement?

Maybe. I’d have liked to have got a bit deeper into the psychology of human behaviour, but am I the target audience? Nope.

I had a look to see what other reviews were saying and Alexis Rodrigo points out the number of mentions of Atomic. Yep, there are a few, but do I think there are more than Ryan Holiday‘s mentions of his workplaces or Peter Thiels? Not really. Jason Freid talks about Basecamp non-stop in Rework. It seems reasonable to contextualise the advice you are giving based on your current experience.

Conclusion time

I liked the book. It was short and simple which meant I didn’t keep getting distracted. One of the biggest challenges, when you work with the same clients for a number of years, is keeping your ideas as fresh as the first time you meet them. I am going to challenge everything I’ve done using Content Mavericks as a framework to help myself step back and see if I have accidentally become my own arch-nemesis in tracky bottoms.

Photo by Cesira Alvarado on Unsplash

About Good Words Online

This blog was designed to be a home for all the content I’ve created over the years. It is a mix of book reviews, personal reflections and business learnings. There is no definitive way to live or work, we all make our own choices. I in no way think I am right about any particular subject. This is simply about sharing what I’ve learnt and creating an online reminder for myself.

The name, good words, has no religious references. We can’t be good all the time. Each of us will make mistakes. All we can do is try to learn from them and try and attempt to be a little better next time.

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