This is one of a series of essays originally published in book form as The Content Marketing Hurricane. If you’re interested in a well-rounded content marketing strategy designed specifically for SMBs and solopreneurs, here’s a table of contents to the whole series.
You might notice that I used the term “knowledge base” for this chapter rather than “education”, and there’s an important reason for making that distinction.
I don’t feel that your level of education has much if any impact on your potential success in content marketing.
Granted, if you can’t read or write, you’re going to struggle, and you’ll probably fail. That’s just life. Sorry if that seems harsh, but it’s a fact. (My only saving grace is that if you can’t read, you’re not being offended by this right now, because it’s in print.)
But, beyond the bare minimum basics of reading, writing, arithmetic and life skills, no degree is going to give you a leg up in reaching content marketing success.
But, your knowledge base — what you’ve learned through study, through trial and error, and through passive experience — is a completely different story.
Most people tend to downplay their knowledge. After all, if you seem to know too much, you’re stuck up. Of course, if you know too little, you’re stupid.
We feel pretty safe in the middle: “I know enough to get by, but that’s about it.”
But the fact is, there are probably a few subjects in which you truly excel. These are the topics your friends and family always call you about because they know you’ll know the answer. These are the categories you run through in Jeopardy to the frustrated stares of your spouse. These are those “secret guilty pleasures” you actually occasionally Google just for the fun of it because you enjoy keeping up with the topic.
And there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
How does this affect your content marketing?
The fact is, deep knowledge in one or more fields can be gold to a content marketer, because it means you won’t need to dig so hard for valuable information to share with others who want to learn about that subject.
Now, of course, it’s not realistic to assume that whatever you know a lot about is going to be the exact niche you’re going to make a killing in when your Content Marketing Hurricane makes landfall. There are only so many books and videos you can make about Hungarian Clog dancing, after all.
But, the real question is this: how can what you already know be used strategically to make your content more interesting, more appealing, or more exciting?
Is there a gimmick there? A metaphor you can use? A natural connection you can exploit to bring your subject into the conversation and really give people something to think about?
(Hint: I’ve always been fascinated by the weather. Not enough to actually become a meteorologist, mind you, but just enough to realize that a hurricane made a fantastic metaphor for carrying out a killer content marketing strategy. See where I’m going here?)
So don’t downplay your knowledge. On the contrary, play it up. Make it work for you.
Exercise #6 — Brainstorming — Your Knowledge Base
Think about what subjects you already know like the back of your hand, and write as extensive a list of these as you can.
Once you finish the list, go back and immediately cross off anything that irritates you. (We all know more than we’d like about some things.)
If it doesn’t immediately annoy you, leave it. We’ll come back to it later.
Read the next chapter.