3 of the Easiest Ways to Learn About Content Marketing

“There are two ways to look at the world.” He said.

“Depending on how you see it, you will either be an incredible marketer – or you won’t.”

That’s copywriting Caesar, John Carlton, speaking to me in a dream last night (I need to stop reading his stuff before bed).

Now, before he went on to reveal the rest of his lesson, he morphed into Professor Brian Cox. It was freaky … but weird stuff like that often happens in my dreams.

“All the greatest scientists are just interested in looking at things.Really looking at things. And figuring out how those things occur; how the grass grows, why the tide goes out, why the sky is blue …”

He morphed back into the beardy Calrton.

“You can either look at the world how you wish it was or believe it should be … or you can see it for what it actually is. That’s how Einstein approached the speed of light problem. And it’s how John Tyndall ended up contributing to a theory that linked microbes to disease.”

By the way, this wasn’t just a chunk of fantasy vomit from my waltzing sleepy brain. Both Carlton and Cox actually teach this stuff for real.

Carlton’s advice is here: http://www.john-carlton.com/2011/11/mid-life-crisis-5/
The Prof’s is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01jdgvx

I get what they’re saying – because I look at the world in this way when reading posts from other copywriters. I try to notice what works and what doesn’t.

Then I try to understand why.

I like to think of it as though I’m ‘plugging in’ to some kind of  Matrix world for content marketing.

By engaging with content, not just reading, you can plug in too. Before you know it, you’ll be in a thread of 50+ comments, learning much more than what the original piece offered.

“The comments are often more enlightening than my articles.” – Ramsay Taplin, Blog Tyrant

Try my three techniques to keep yourself reading and learning. Let me know how you get on:

Plug in (and set yourself up to look like a dick)

A few months back, Demian Farnworth told me about a book – The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. Demian’s the chief copywriter for Copyblogger and so yeah, I’m an embarrassing fan-boy.

But seriously, I respect this guy and learn a lot from him. If you’re looking for content writing advice that’s 100% meatier than what I’m giving you here, head straight to The Copybot now and forget the rest of my post.

If you’re sticking around – nice one.

Anyway, I told Demian I’d get a copy of the book and he jokingly replied:

“I’ll believe it when I see it.”

So, I ordered a paperback version from Amazon and it arrived a couple of weeks ago. I’m halfway through and it’s blowing my mind. I would never have spared the time to read it if I didn’t think so highly of The Chief.

The point: If you commit to doing something to somebody who you respect, then you’ll always make sure you follow through on that commitment,

,if for anything else, to avoid looking like a dick.

Unplug and learn in the real world

TV in the morning. Monitor in the day. TV in the evening. Laptop at night. Tablet and/or smartphone for every hour in between.

Friend – your eyeballs hate you.

Get away from the screen whenever you can.

  • Buy paperbacks
  • Download podcasts
  • Print your ebooks

“I’m unplugged. A new man, so to speak. Like you, apparently, free.”
– Agent Smith

The real world is far too awesome to experience through computers all the time. Take a blog to the park, listen to a downloaded G+ Hangout while you drive to the beach and learn in as many different ways as you can.

It’s more fun – and it’s more doable.

Never stop reading

Throughout university, I was always told the best way to learn how to write, was to read. Those of you who follow me on G+ might know about my previously poor attitude to that mantra.

I now understand why it exists.

“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.”
– George R.R. Martin

The next time you’re reading a post from somebody you enjoy, syringe everything you can from the content – not just the author’s main point(s).

I’m talking about the words they use, how they lay things out on the page and how they structure the piece. As a reader, you know what works and what doesn’t. Steal the things that worked.

But what do I know?

Not enough really.

As a copywriter, I still consider myself a n00b with a lot to get my head around. But I’m already noticing a difference after reading some of the MyCopyblogger ebooks.

Eventually, I’ll shift up to Authority in hope of ‘becoming a content marketing expert’. For now, I’ll keep dropping what I learn into this blog.

How are you learning? Let me know in the comments – we’ll get to the bottom of this content marketing jazz one day.

Player Profile: Stefan Richard

Stefan Ratchford

Stefan Ratchford was born in Wigan.  He began his rugby career in Salford City Reds’ Academy and made his breakthrough for the first team in 2005.  He came on as a sub in a pre-season friendly against Swinton.

He was recognised as the coach’s Player of the Year in 2007 for Salford’s Under 21 side.  He made his first grade competitive debut that year too, when he appeared in the Challenge Cup 4th round tie against Gateshead Thunder at the Willows.

He followed that with a Super League debut against St Helens, in which he played on the wing and scored his first try for the first team.  Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as St Helens won the tight contest 27-26.

He was regularly brought on as a substitute in 2008 and by 2009 had established himself as a threat from the wing as well as being a solid utility player.  In the 2009 SL season Ratchford scored eight tries and 10 goals in 23 appearances, 2 of which came against St Helen’s again.

2010 wasn’t as productive for Ratchford.  He made fewer appearances and although most of his starts came from his favoured Stand-Off position, he failed to match his previous try record and featured as a sub in four of his 17 games.  He scored three tries.

Ratchford recognised his dip in form and there was some speculation over whether Salford would offer him a new contract for the 2011 season.  It was reported that Ratchford was willing to take a contract from another club if Salford didn’t want to extend his stay with the club where he started his career.  He stuck with Salford in the hope of finishing in the play-offs in the 2011 season.

Player Profile: Shaun Ainscough

Shaun Ainscough

Date of Birth: 27/11/1989
Position: Wing
Height:5ft 8in
Weight: 13st 3.18lb

Shaun Ainscough was born in Higher End, Greater Manchester.  He began playing rugby for his local amateur side Wigan St Judes ARLFC, where he stayed until 2006.  He received a scholarship to join Wigan Warriors Academy and took it without hesitation.  He made his debut against Leigh Centurions in the Junior Academy Championship and scored a try.

He was tested in various positions during his academy career – in the game against Leigh, he played on the wing but was switched to the centre for the repeat fixture seven weeks later (he still managed to score a try).  He featured at Fullback against Harlequins the game after and scored 2 tries.  The wing proved to be his most productive position though, as he scored his first competitive hat-trick against Widnes in a play-off tie, whilst playing on the left flank.  During his time at the academy in 2007, he played 2 games at senior level – once against Hull and once against Harlequins, he scored a try in the latter of the two fixtures.

His performances on the wing had not gone unnoticed, Wigan were keeping a close eye on Shaun but so too were the International coaches.  Inevitably Shaun was called up to represent his country at U17 level, when the England played the Australian Schoolboys who were touring the UK and France.  Ainscough scored a hat-trick in the second test of the series, in which England won 38-22.

2008 saw Ainscough make his debut for the Wigan Warriors first team in a pre-season friendly against Bradford Bulls.  Wigan scored five tries and went on to defeat the Bulls 28-16, 2 of those tries came from Shaun, who was just 18 at the time.  He was named in the squad for two more pre-season friendlies as a sub but he didn’t actually feature.  At the start of the season Shaun was promoted to the reserve team and scored a try in his reserved debut appearance.  Ironically, the try came against Leigh Centurions with who he scored against in his academy debut back in 2006.  He scored 5 more tries for the reserves that season, 3 of which came in another hat-trick, this time against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.  Shaun’s impressive record in the academy and reserve team saw him make 32 appearances in total, he scored 28 tries and was destined for first grade football.

2009 was the year he’d been waiting for as he made his Super League debut.  Just like his academy and reserve team debut, Ainscough marked the game with a try.  It came against Castleford Tigers in a 22-28 home defeat.  He made 11 SL appearances and scored a total of 13 tries in 2009.  Wakefield had already suffered to the hands of Ainscough at reserve level the year before but this time it was the Super League side which received a beating from the youngster – he scored 4 tries in a 40-26 victory over the Wildcats in round 11.  The irony being he wasn’t even named in the initial 19 man team sheet prior to the game but was called up late to replace George Carmont, who was out through tonsillitis.  Shaun also scored a hat-trick against Barrow Raiders in the 2009 Challenge Cup.

He played 11 SL matches in 2009 and scored 13 tries.  By round 16 he held the 2009 league record for most tries but after that 13th game against Celtic, Shaun wouldn’t play for the first team in the Super League again until 2010.

There was speculation over his omission for the remainder of the 2009 campaign.  It was rumoured he was left out due to his lack of defensive capabilities.  It was later reported however, that Shaun had sustained a wrist injury while playing for the reserves in August of that year.

2010 proved to be an uncomfortable year for Shaun in terms of which club he would play for.  Wigan signed a deal with Championship side Widnes Vikings, that would allow Ainscough to play for Widnes any time he wasn’t named in the Warriors squad (excluding Challenge Cup games).  He was recalled from Widnes though to go out on loan to Castleford Tigers.  He played 7 games for the Tigers and typically, scored a hat-trick on his debut against Hull KR.  He scored a try in the following game against Hull FC.  It was to be his last try of the SL season.  He played one more game for Wigan in round 12 against Harlequins.

He was named Man of the Tournament in the 2010 Headingley 9’s.

Shaun signed a one year deal with Bradford Bulls ahead of their 2011 campaign, with the hope of impressing coach Mick Potter and securing a first team place in the squad.