13 Top Thought Leaders and Business Owners Reveal the Type of Content That Helped Them Succeed

Have you ever wondered how the go-to people and experts built a name for themselves? You know…before Seth Godin was Seth or John Lee Dumas was JLD?

Well, I can certainly tell you it happened by way of content! Whether it was video, written, audio, or live content, these business owners and thought leaders had to find a way to get their messages to the right people.

With so many forms of content available to you as a business owner, you might be asking yourself, what type of content works best?

I decided to reach out to fellow entrepreneurs and ask this single question:

“What is your favorite type of content for content marketing that has helped you become a go-to person in your industry?”

After reading their answers, I’m happy to report that their content marketing efforts varied widely. What I found most fascinating is that each person found a form of content that resonated with their unique style–and then delivered valuable information, consistently, to their audience.

Check out what these 13 experts had to say!

When I guest blog, I get traffic from the other person’s website back over to check out my site. Additional “eyeballs” on your site helps you to get new visitors and new subscribers. And the best thing of all is that when you get several guest posts in a row, it helps you become the go-to person in your industry because people suddenly see you all over the place. That type of content marketing is the best kind of all!

Sue Dunlevie, Successful Blogging

The content marketing that’s best helped establish my authority is providing high-value information that will be cited in many roundups on popular blogs. Getting a mention and link creates tons of quality back links from great sites — and you don’t even have to write guest posts to get them!
For instance, I do a long list of paying markets for my core audience of freelance writers that gets linked in many other bloggers’ posts of paying markets. “Proof” posts with transparency on how you’re earning money, or on exactly how to do something vital to your readers, also tend to do well this way, too. These back links send traffic for months and years to come, and expose you to new audiences.
Ask yourself what sort of post you could write that top bloggers in your niche would want to link to and mention, and you’ll create content that will build your authority, and lead to requests for expert quotes and info in other roundup posts — like this one!

Carol Tice, Small Blog Big Income

What has worked well for me for many years is in-depth storytelling. I’ve always preferred to sit down and really reveal a process and teach a lesson by sharing an experience in my life. These posts tend to push up towards 2,000 to 3,000 words, which means a lot of people find them too big to read, but those who do read them really form a bond with me.
I believe it’s that strong bond — that connection — with just a small group that matters a lot more than getting a lot of views from people who don’t truly connect with your work.
Go deep with your content is my advice. If you can change someone’s life with one article you are definitely on the right track!

Yaro Starak, Entrepreneurs Journey

One of the ways that I make my content valuable is that I write about things that are relevant in people’s life today, and are going to be relevant years from now. I wrote my article on “What Causes Anger?” several years ago and it is still helping people today.
This ensures that the work I put into writing will still be getting traffic years later. Blog posts about political or social events won’t get you that traffic a month from now.
The second element you have to have are insights of a deeper understanding that will help a reader step out of a stuck mindset. The depth of your insight is often what gets you credibility and therefore links and traffic. I generally do this by providing root cause beliefs they may not have considered. I also include hidden related beliefs that keep the negative behavior happening, or a layer of resistance to change. Once they see these other false beliefs that keep a negative pattern in place they can unwind that layer and make progress. It is also necessary to provide them with a practical method of change as opposed to some trite suggestion.

Gary van Warmerdam, Pathway To Happiness

My favorite type of content to write is blog posts. Writing in-depth blog posts has helped me connect with thousands of readers. I think the reason people resonate with my blog posts is because they come from a place of deep honesty. Every post I write is intended to help my readers with something that matters to them, and my posts are also personal and contain nuggets of my own story and personality.

Daniela Uslan, Daniela Uslan

My favorite type of content is what I call ‘fist pump content’. It’s the type of content that people give a little fist pump to when they find it because it answers a question that they have or solves a need or problem that they’ve struggled with. A simple example of this is a recent post on ProBlogger on How to Start a Blog in 5 Steps.
It’s a post that I know every day takes people through a process that many find overwhelming. Those that go through it come away having done something that changed their lives in some way which opens up an ongoing relationship.

Darren Rowse, ProBlogger

The “written personalized free business content offer type” can help you become the go-to person in your industry. Rarely do people auto-magically find your content or even discover your blog posts, without you optimizing the content posted on your website. Giving away a free and personalized content offer instantly allows you to target the right leads and attract their attention, converting more of them from your existing site traffic.

Enock Machodi, Fishbowl Marketing Solutions

Young Upstarts is a small business and entrepreneurship site that curates contributions by thought leaders from diverse fields who provide new ideas and insights to help other people and their businesses change the world for the better. We’ve found that the best content comes when such subject matter experts apply their knowledge to articles that have meaning and relevance to readers; when that happens our credibility — and readership — grows as well.

Daniel Goh, Young Upstarts

Actionable nugget: This is content that provides a process of action steps and proof of the result. For example, writing the answer to a question your audience has or a How-To guide that shows the action steps you did for a specific task your audience needs help with.
Why? This is providing value which is the reason content marketing works to attract your target audience.
How? There are multiple formats you can write actionable nuggets, just use what fits you personally. It could be something you tested from your own experience, interview a person on their process or even a round up post of multiple people. My nugget is to make sure you can include images of the process to show proof of action steps and the result with a bonus upgrade resource to capture people who are interested.
If you would like to see actionable nuggets that are proven to work in Building your Business, you can check out our website.

Kevin Kirchner, Entrepreneur Model

For me, the type matters not but the energy behind my creation means EVERYTHING. Now my fave approach is video but it’s been 7,000 word posts, podcasts, and shorter posts. All depends on what feels fun to me as when I follow my fun I never go wrong.

RB Biddulph, Blogging From Paradise

For the last 4 years I’ve hosted a quick 30 minute webinar every week for free and it’s become a staple in my content marketing strategy. It’s easy to create and helps me stay current with what my audience is looking for because they suggest the topics and ask questions. I also re-purpose the material to feed the rest of my marketing channels. Not only has it helped me attract and build trust with potential clients, it also helps my previous clients stay connected and keeps me top of mind. It’s a win win all around!

Holly Chantal, The Land Of Brand

I love interviews. I use them to create content for myself, interview clients for profile pieces, and I use interviews to create books for clients. I really enjoy the process, as I feel like I have the best seat in the house, getting to hear and learn more about the subjects I interview. It is also a very effective method for content creation; the result can be very informative and compelling, as it combines both storytelling as well as direct and clear responses to the questions your prospects and customers are already thinking.

Jane Tabachnick, Jane Tabachnick

I’ve built my influence through writing–I’ve written over 200 articles for Forbes, TechCrunch, Mashable, Entrepreneur, Inc., and other pubs. I also write on my own blog and guest post regularly as well. I’m very much a fan of writing, but I’m also quite bullish on video and it’s the main thing I’m working on doing more of this year on Snapchat, YouTube, and Periscope.

Joshua Steimle, MWI