Before we get started, I have an important piece of housekeeping to address -- Content Lab will now be coming to you on Fridays, instead of Wednesdays, at 11:30 a.m., Eastern.
Ladies, gentlemen, cats, dogs, otters, and squirrels -- it is 2019, and I am back, as is the Content Lab podcast! And man, I am excited.
For the vast majority of the past month, I've lived in a holiday-induced haze of drifting between eating pie and feeling shame about eating said pie while lifting at the gym. So, I am ready to shake off the cobwebs.
The best part about a new year is that it's a new beginning, clichéd as that may sound. I'm a big fan of fresh starts, so I want to spend this episode sharing with you what's on my mind for the coming year.
Both with content creation, and for the Content Lab.
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What Will Be My Content Obsessions in 2019?
First, I want to think with a more video-first mindset. Or at least with a mindset that embraces video as equally as I do writing.
The obvious reason being that, while there will always be space for the written word, video is one of the most effective (and quickest) ways to establish trust with an audience or an individual, and foster a more human-to-human connection.
(Also, I after spending more than a week editing Myriah Anderson's utterly inspiring Video for Sales getting started guide -- which just launched this week at impactplus.com/video-for-sales -- I kind of have video on the brain.)
So, one of my objectives for this year that I'm that I'm particularly excited about is ensuring IMPACT is a best-in-class example of how to use video in your content and marketing.
Next, I want to be more... open-minded about robots, and how AI will shape the future of what I do as a content creator.
I've always feared the moment when they would design an AI that could flawlessly mimic my writing style and endless devotion to the original Law & Order series. But after learning about what Forbes is doing with AI to empower their writers with a more bionic approach to robots, I'm intrigued.
Forbes now uses a CMS called Bertie. Bertie uses artificial intelligence to suggest headlines and propose topics for contributors based on their publication history.
OK, here's the "big deal" news. The team at Forbes is currently testing an AI-driven tool within Bertie that gives Forbes writers a very rough draft to build upon, instead of having them start a new article from scratch.
In addition to starting copy, this "rough draft" might include links to other resources -- both internally from Forbes, as well as other sites -- and images.
This is a big, big deal.
I mean, just imagine never having to be bossed around or mocked by a blank screen again. Never having to create something from nothing, because your new best robot friend had already curated some raw materials for the express purpose of empowering you to write something powerful and valuable.
It's this idea of content creation bionics -- of leveraging AI with a "How can we help humans?" approach, rather than a "How can replace humans?" one -- that I had never considered.
My only gripe when I first initially learned of this innovation, however, is that it seemed pretty much a luxury of those publishers and media giants with big budgets.
But yesterday, I was introduced to nDash.co's Content Brief, which is based off a similar model of providing an AI-researched brief on a search term input by a human, that they wish to write about:
I took it for a test drive with the term, "why website accessibility is important for businesses," and within minutes, I received an extensive set of resources in this content brief:
Unlike Bertie, which creates a rough draft, nDash's Content Brief is clearly a robot-aggregated set of statistics, summaries, and links.
That said, there's enough here for me to keep using it, because it brought together so many resources that I would have had to go out and independently mine for myself. Although, I'll still probably do a bit more research on my own, as well.
We're living in exciting times, content friends.
Third, I want to bring more order and focus to the idea of pillar content and topic cluster strategies.
I don't want to dive too deeply into what I mean by this at the moment, but for now, here is the problem I've identified. Search engines -- particularly Google -- favor websites with a limited number of focus areas. Preferably one.
While the topic cluster model brings some semblance of order to content strategies that were once completely arbitrary, we're still not too far away from organizations having... well, tons of random topic clusters floating around in cyberspace, disconnected from each other.
My goal this year is to solve for that in a way that brings even more order to the way we develop content strategies and helps us better network our content for search engine visibility.
So, stay tuned on that front.
Additionally, a goal I'm carrying over from last year is to continue to push the boundaries of what it means to create content that's as absurdly helpful as possible.
Our mission here at IMPACT is to be obsessed with leading those within our community -- readers, clients, whomever -- to success. To make your jobs easier every single day.
So, if I'm not pushing myself to give more, and do more, and show more, then I'm not doing my job.
That may sound overly simplistic, but we believe that is the core of what it means to be inbound. An innate sense of altruism, where you don't stress about hiding your secret sauce. Instead, you give it away for free.
I did that with my pillar on how to create a content style guide, and I was nervous. I literally gave away my whole process -- workshop guidelines, worksheets, templates, and all.
Then, I saw this message in IMPACT Elite, and I was blown away:
My goal is to create more moments like this for myself, and empower others inside and outside of IMPACT to do the same. That's what it's all about, folks.
Finally, I want to continue to innovate with Content Lab, so it is the most valuable podcast it can possibly be.
I've already spoken with a few of you and gotten invaluable feedback on what you love about the podcast already, and what is on your wishlist for Content Lab in the future.
Don't worry, you'll continue to hear interviews with some of the best content brains in the industry, and I'll still be sharing some of my favorite tips, tools, and tricks for being a rockstar content creator. My goal is to make sure I'm doing it in the most helpful way possible.
With that, happy 2019, everyone! I'm so excited to embark on this new year of content creation together.
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