How do you make your content stand out in a sea of words? The blogosphere is expanding at an exponential rate. And content can be a great tool for marketing – but you need people to see it. And what’s more – you need people to take the time to read it and appreciate it.
To do this, you have to produce what is now widely referred to as “epic content.” This was coined by Corbett Barr when he called on people to write epic shit.
But “epic” sounds so…epic.
Luckily creating something epic doesn’t have to be complicated. And the fact that there is so much content floating around doesn’t necessarily make it harder to stand out. A lot of the content being created really is epic shit (and not in a good sense).
The following exercise should help you create some great, epic content and really connect with readers on a whole new level. Then you just need to get it noticed.
The Premise to Being Epic
I’ve mentioned in a previous post that businesses exist to solve problems. And using content to market your business affords you the ability to show potential customers that you are the right choice for them because you can solve their problems.
So the basis for writing content that is seen as “epic” is problem-solving. If you can address the reader’s problem, and show them how to solve it, you’re in.
That means that the first step is actually identifying the pain points and problems that your readers and potential customers are facing. Then you can address them and suggest a solution.
Solve the Problem
Once you have identified what your customers are struggling with, give them a solution. A real solution. A solution that will work.
This will make you stand out. Keep publishing problem-solving content and you will quickly see that people look to you for more. And more demand means more income if you position yourself properly.
But what if you could go one step further?
“Useful” Isn’t Epic
Creating problem-solving content will likely leave you with a few happy readers. Most likely even a few repeat visitors. And that would be considered “epic” content by some. But is that really “epic?”
Something described as “epic” should borderline heroic and legendary. Can content really be heroic or legendary? You decide.
But it can definitely feel like it. And you can make it feel that way.
You can turn your content from “useful” to “epic” with one simple question: “why?”
“Why?” helps you go deeper to create content that is the knock-out punch; content that doesn’t just get you visitors, but loyal followers. It helps you connect with your readers because they feel like you are in their head – because you are getting to the root of the problem, not just patching a leak.
Now Go Deeper…
Asking “why?” is the basis of Root Cause Analysis: a problem-solving technique aiming to get to the real root of the problem.
Just focusing on quickly solving problems may be good enough in the short term – but that doesn’t keep real problems from coming back. Ibuprofen isn’t good enough if your headache is caused by depression.
If you have a leaky pipe causing a puddle on the floor, mopping it up is a short term solution. It “solves” the problem – but the puddle will be back tomorrow. Asking “why?” helps you go deeper…into the root cause…to the real problem.
Why is there a puddle on the floor? Because the pipe is leaking.
Why is the pipe leaking? Because the pressure is too high.
Why is the pressure to high? Because the pressure gauge is broken.
Now we have discovered the root cause of the problem! Now we won’t have to mop the floor every day.
Get to the Root
The simple exercise of root cause analysis, of simply asking “why?”, can help improve your business. But it can also help improve your content marketing by making your content epic!
Your readers will feel an instant connection with you because you “get them” – and because you’ve really solved their problems, not just mopped up a leak.
Epic = Why? and I agree with that, being EPIC is something that is hard to explain but in plain simple words it just defines the whole picture of it and how the content help to share valuable information to its readers.
helpful and valuable = epic, and “why” helps you get there. Thanks for stopping by Arwin!
I’m sure you’ve watched this TED video with Simon Sinek, “How great leaders inspire action”..
I keep having to ask myself why I’m doing what I’m doing, and what problem am I solving?
Betsy, that’s bang on. I read Simon’s book too! Lots of great stuff in there too. Applying it! Now there’s the challenge, huh?
Application is always the hardest part
Yes, I saw it…and I love it. And it also goes to show you the power of stories and storytelling.
[...] How to Create Epic Content with One Simple Question - Really good starting place for writing great content. [...]
Once again, we’re reminded of the enormous creative and growth potential that comes from thinking like a kid. Never be afraid to ask why, and keep digging. It’s how to excavate — using a phrase from the past — a gem of an idea. As for “epic”, that’s one of those words that have lost their true meaning and impact due to current overuse. I could happily live another decade without hearing or reading the word.
Thanks for the comment Susan. I really think that we can take a lot of example from children and the way they think. As we grow older we tend to put up mental barriers. But magical things can happen when you keep an open mind. I shared this on the CSH Facebook page, and I think this is the perfect example of how thinking like a kid can accomplish greatness: http://cainesarcade.com/.
As far as the use of the word “epic,” I do agree. That’s why I pose the question at the beginning of this post. But if we’re going to be using that word around the blogosphere then I might as well describe how to do it – although I do think that we’re changing the meaning of the word.
Great post Eugene!
Why….it’s such a simple question.
My kids know it….almost to the point of exhaustion some days :0)
Thanks for your insight behind the epic why :0)
Thanks for the comment AJ. I’m always amazed at how smart, insightful and especially curious kids can be. It’s a shame we leave some of that behind as w grow older.