Size Doesn’t Matter: Great Content by Teams of One

The content we all want - unicorn content

This is the sixth part of the series whereby I am turning the wonderful talks into actionable takeaways you can implement in your business. Yesterday’s article was about How to build a SEO-intent based framework for any business. This article is looking at Size Doesn’t Matter Great Content by Teams of One by Ian Lurie and how no matter the size of your team you can still generate great content ideas.

Recently we looked at How you can use Reddit to help boost your content idea’s which is one great method to generate content ideas – now we are going to take this a step further.

Unicorn Content

The content we all want - unicorn content

Ian starts off by saying while clients and bosses want unicorn content creating, in reality, they don’t have unicorn budgets and this is true across all industries and business sizes. It’s only really the largest of the large companies which might have these budgets.

Everyone else is working on budgets more like this.

the content we all get

Be a badger

Ian argues it’s unlikely you will get Unicorn sized budgets so stop trying to be a unicorn and instead act more like a badger, I know not as sexy right, but bear me with.

Badgers are:

  • Efficient
  • Adapts
  • Gets shit done
  • Thrive independently
    • As an SEO it can be a lonely world, you just gotta get on with it. Usually, in-house you will be working on your own. Most SEO teams consist of one.

From my experience of working both in house and agency side, clients/bosses just want to see results as quickly as possible. So if you can just get shit done then you will have a happy boss/client.

Content Calendar

How many times have you spent hours creating the perfect content calendar, everything nearly laid out, coded up, you know what content is going to be produced on what date. Blog posts which back up other blog posts, which ones will contain video’s only for your boss/client to change strategy and it all goes out of the window or a product is a delay, or government policy changes meaning it can’t be done.

This is fairly common and I used to be guilty of this – spending hours creating the perfect calendar but by the time it’s completed the business has moved on, legal gets involved, brand guys have their say etc. You’re now beautifully created content calendar doesn’t deliver and your boss isn’t happy.

However, a badger would just adapt and realise structure is way more important than planning.

Instead of looking at specific blog articles, look at content types:

Different content types

Green circle:

These are blog articles, Facebook posts, tweets anything you can produce regularly more than once a week. Video’s series like Whiteboard Friday at Moz.

Blue Square:

These are pieces of content whereby you can only produce these once a month. Longer form blog articles with more research, more in depth video analysis, surveying customers, building infographics.

Black Diamond:

This is content whereby you can only produce once a quarter / 6 months. This content requires a lot more internal resources, interactive widgets on the website, annual surveys, full in depth blog articles with contributors.

Now instead of creating the perfect calendar, you’re creating the perfect structure.

Week 1, we will have 3 green circles.

Week 2 – 2 green circles and a blue square

Week 3 – 4 green circles

Week 4 – Black Diamond and 1 green circle.

Instead of having blog titles you have concepts. We will produce a green circle about ‘product range x” and if you can tie this into the SEO framework we covered yesterday you will be able to match up the KPIs.

Different levels of Branded content:

Lightly Branded content

These are content pieces which don’t have any company branding in them or very light branding. Usually just the normal site headers and footers. These aren’t over promotional pieces and in theory, could sit on any site.

Example – “How to cook radish” the article would just be about cooking the radish.

How to cook radish - lightly branded content

Moderately Branded Content

So this would still be an article sitting on your website, but this time would focus on how your products or services can solve the user’s question.

Example – still how to cook radish but this time which of our cookers can you use to cook the radish.

How to cook radishes using our radish cooker - moderate branded content

Heavily Branded Content

This is where it’s basically a full advertisement for the products you sell. It’s the sales pitch of content.

Example – “Our Radish Cooker rocks”

Now you have your content types and levels of Brand – this is how to build the content calendar.

Our radish cooker rocks - highly branded content

content types and frequency

As you can see from the example above you can say this is how much lightly branded content, heavily branded and moderately branded content we are going to produce over a specific time period.

You’re always going to have more heavily branded content as you will have to write product descriptions, service pages etc and content pages which drive sales.

After all your / your client’s website needs to convert and drive business in order to survive. It’s not 1999 where websites we’re being given huge funding just to create a website. Websites now need to convert.

Content Idea’s

Now you have your content ideas and your boss/ client has signed these off, you know need to know what you are writing about.

While we have covered this before, we have a whiteboard room to brainstorm idea’s but Ian argues you have enough ideas already, you’re swimming in too many ideas just picked one and get on writing them.

I can say I have been guilty of this, trying to come up with the perfect idea instead of just creating some of the good ideas I have had.

Creating Idea’s on your own

Popular posts

Look on the current articles, see what’s getting traffic and comments and write content around this.

Customer Service Team

Speak with the customer service team – they are speaking with customers every day and probably get asked the same questions very frequently if these questions are being asked over the phone, it’s pretty safe to say there are being asked online. Answer them as well as driving more potential customers, you are more likely to get a boost in conversions too.

Stack Overflow

Head to stack overflow for your niche and see what’s popular again write articles to answer the most popular questions.

White papers

Take sections out of the whitepapers and turn these into content for the site, people aren’t that likely to read the whole white paper or be put off reading them, just repurpose this content and get it in front of potential customers.

You may also get more people to download the full whitepaper.


Some of the content types are simple tweets or Facebook posts – you don’t need to re-write brand new ones each time, just take quotes from blog articles and use these. If possible link back to the original article so that if the user wants more information than they can read the full post.

Finding new idea’s can be great and if you do get a new unique idea, I am not saying don’t do it, just don’t spend hours trying to think of these ideas, instead spend hours producing the content.

You don’t need a full content team to think of ideas – just use the resources available to you to think of ideas.

Produce the content

So you have what type of content you want to produce, you know how heavily branded you want it to be and you also know what you’re writing about. Well, it’s now time to start producing it.


If your client side, you might be able to get resources a bit more easily but will still likely need the client to actually implement it, if you work in-house you’re going to need to speak with designers, IT, legal etc to get the content produced. If you are trying to get this amazing new fresh content produced it’s going to take time and resources and if you’re working in a large business you might need to produce a business case, get it signed off and then join the waiting list.

Instead, use the resources and tools you have now what you want. You might want to include a new fancy interactive infographic as this is the new “cool” way of doing an infographic, but this could take IT months to build the capabilities to do this, instead work with what you have, Make it static if you can or find a work around.

I have found it’s much easier to get something out and 75% how you want it and when your boss is congratulating say something like


“Yeah the result were good, but if I had this resource from IT (or whatever department) we could have done double the results (or whatever you think it would have done)”

You have already proved you can deliver content which performs – now you boss has more confidence in you and is more likely to back your next time.

The important thing is getting the content produced.

use what you have, not what you wish you had


Stop trying to produce “unicorn content” and amazing content calendars. Instead, work out how often you’re going to produce content and then start producing this content. Finally, don’t let other departments stop you from producing this content. Use what resources you do have and just get the content live. This will also mean that you free up IT and other resources for some of your other bigger pieces.


Please remember these are my takings from the conference and not those of Katie, while I have used his presentation as inspiration and quoted her a few times the words are my own.

Please check back tomorrow to see The Tie That Binds: Why Email is Key to Maximizing Marketing ROI by Justine Jordan or check out the full series here.

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