Whatever industry you’re in: marketing, B2B, sales, retail, tech or anything else everyone is screaming you need to incorporate content marketing. You’ve heard people say “content is king” and they’re right. The vast majority of the internet is still composed of the written word. So how do you get 20,000,000 to look at your content? Author Nicolas Cole shared his insights on how you can do just that.
Cole, is a 26-year-old author, thought leader, ghostwriter and speaker. He’s been named by Forbes as one of the Top 25 marketing influencers you need to watch in 2017. His work has been published in TIME, Huffington Post, Fortune and many other places. The best part? Over 20,000,000 people have viewed his content. Now he’s shared this information with the world.
Cole studied a creative writing degree, a degree that 99% of people assume would land you working in a coffee shop. The art of writing is arduous, but like all things is something that can be improved with practice and application. After graduating from college, Cole continued honing his craft by writing on Quora every day for an entire year. There, his work started getting republished to Inc. almost every week. His readership grew, his content grew and so did his influence.
This led Cole to being given a column with Inc.com, which is when things exploded. His work was being republished on Fox News, Chicago Tribune, Apple News and many more. Cole soon found that clients were coming to him for consulting, ghostwriting and speaking, all because of the quality of content he was sharing on a regular basis.
I sat down with Cole to ask how he was able to climb this ladder so fast, and what others could do to build their own influence online.
“It comes down to two very simple things,” he said. “You have to be willing to study who is already sharing the most helpful information in your space, and then pushing yourself to sharing even better information. And you have to be consistent. I have been writing a blog or column a day, often times more, every single day for close to four years.”
He went on to explain three major tips for new and aspiring writers and thought leaders looking to build an audience for themselves online. These are also the foundational points of the online course he just launched, teaching people how to do exactly what he’s done
1. Don’t start with a blog.
“Most people try to build an audience themselves by launching a personal blog. Take it from someone who has tried everything, a blog is the very last piece of the puzzle—not the first,” he said.
He explained that by starting with a blog, you aren’t giving yourself an opportunity to “practice in public.” Before you can really become a thought leader in your industry, you need to figure out what content resonates the most with your target audience. And the only way to do that is by getting feedback. But if nobody knows your blog exists, nobody will be able to comment or respond to what you are publishing.
“Start with a social media platform instead,” he said. “Quora, Medium, or LinkedIn. Those are the three I always recommend. But you could even use something like Instagram and micro-blog. I did that for a long time too. It doesn’t really matter where, just make sure it’s somewhere people already are.
2. Study your competition.
“People forget that building an audience online, or even digital marketing, is a competition. It’s a battle for who is posting the best content. People follow people who are leading the way and delivering the most value, so if you find yourself struggling to build an audience, it’s because you aren’t delivering enough value. And in order to do that, you need to first be aware of who is currently ‘winning’ so you can work to eventually deliver even better content than them,’ said Cole.
This sort of mentality very much speaks to Cole’s background as a professional gamer. When he was 17 years old, he was one of the highest ranked World of Warcraft players in North America, along with one of the most popular World of Warcraft bloggers on the Internet (back in 2007, before blogging was even a legitimate pursuit). He approaches online content writing with that same mentality, and his rise in the world of blogging and publishing proves he is very aware of what the competition is up to—and how he can forge a space of his own.
“I am constantly studying,” he said. “I look at thought leaders in so many different industries, and pay close attention to why they do what they do, and what they’re doing that is resonating with people. That’s how I have been able to find my own voice, is by being aware of what other voices already exist.”
3. Consistency is the key.
As mentioned above, Cole writes every single day—and truthfully, writes more in a week than most people do in an entire month.
“People don’t believe me when I tell them I write somewhere between 3-5 full-length articles a day,” he said. “And sometimes, that’s not even counting the ghostwriting I now do for high-profile thought leaders, serial entrepreneurs, C-suite executives, etc. There are some days where I write seven articles. But I also know that’s the result of ten years of practice. I’ve been writing online since 2007.”
This simple piece of advice is often the hardest one to follow: you have to write every day. As Cole explained, everybody wants to be a thought leader but very few have the patience or discipline to do what is required. Honestly, that’s why his demand for ghostwriting has been through the roof, because sitting down and writing something valuable on a daily basis is tough work.
However, Cole’s story is proof that it is not impossible. At 26 years old, he has been able to do what has left most successful authors, writers, and industry thought leaders completely lost in the dark. He has figured out how to successfully write and build an audience online. So much so, that he has had dozens upon dozens of articles go viral, accumulating anywhere from 100,000 to 1,000,000+ views each.
If you’d like to learn more from Cole about how you can start writing online, check out his new course.
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