What a Break from Content Marketing Taught Me

At my past startup, I headed up content marketing. I’ll be honest and say I was pretty awful at it.

Since then I’ve been diving into the world of web development.

JavaScript, Node, Jade, APIs, Express, Arduinos. It’s been a pretty wild, confusing, exciting road.

As I’ve been developing, I’ve had a better understanding of the content I’ll read (and what I think is total crap).

I see why marketers have such a tough time of it. It’s so easy to have a clouded head when you’re doing it day in day out.

So here’s what I’ve learned since taking it easy with writing and promoting content.

1. Listicles are actually good

In my mission to assert my content marketing authority, I claimed listicles are the worst thing a content marketer can do.

That’s actually not true. I was wrong.

I was wrong because as much as I hate myself for doing so, I click on the 3 best ways to become productive, 5 things founders are doing and you should be doing too, and 10 SaaS metrics to keep an eye on.

And y’know what — they’re great.

I know how many sections there will be, roughly how long it’ll take me to read them, and I can skip out numbers if I don’t agree.

So please, feel free to create these listicles. In fact, create more. I love soakin’ up my info in lists.

I totally just noticed this a listical. It was an accident. Ha!

2. Personal stories capture my interest

I read a lot about other founders’ journeys. Not because I intend to copy them, but because I find the path from $0 to $100,000 interesting.

  • Did they take funding?
  • Where were the company based?
  • How did they get their very first customer?
  • Did they do anything interesting before finding their own way?
  • Does this story seem scripted (i.e. Have I heard it in the exact same way somewhere else?)?

There’s a pattern in these ‘success’ articles. They skip out the years before when the founder thought about giving up. When they had hardly any bucks to their name.

It took Steward Butterfield a long damn time of doing something slightly off course to found the idea of Slack. Now that’s popular, y’all forget about the years of struggle.

Anyway, a well put together interview grabs my attention. The team at First Round do a darn good job of this in their Review by digging in deep about what the person does, their unique techniques, and a little personal background into their lives.

3. I only find articles on Medium & email

Don’t have a Medium publication or a link through to my email? I probably won’t read your stuff.

Despite Facebook, Twitter, and the plethora of other social networks — I actually only click on links on Medium and email.

I’m a particular fan of email digests with helpful links. I’m a sucker for Hiten’s SaaS Weekly, Jake’s StartingUp Digest, and Startup Curated.

That’s all I really need to get my fix of startup related articles for the week.

The daily Medium digest is just a little boost for articles about web development and trending topics.

Whilst I’d still recommend sharing your stuff out on social media, I don’t think it’ll allow you to reach people like me so much unless you tag me.


I’m writing about something that interests me every day for a year. This is day 79 of 365. ✌️