Hope you're having a great week. Here are a few things I've been reading, writing and pondering lately. Enjoy!
1. How to Use Templated Content and Cross-Cutting to Grow Your Blog Quickly
Teardowns, list posts, case studies, experiments—some of the best blog content originates from handy, well-worn templates.
Templated content can be one of the easiest and fastest ways to grow traffic to a blog. Paired with cross-cutting—a technique to expand on patterns you find—you can build a comprehensive and interesting blog in a few months.
2. Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company
I loved this article from Gumroad founder Sahil Lavingia. It’s raw, it’s real and it’s inspiring.
I was basically alone. I didn’t have a team, nor an office. And San Francisco was full of startups raising gobs more money, building amazing teams, and shipping great products. Some of my friends became billionaires. Meanwhile, I had to run a “measly” lifestyle business. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but I had to keep the ship from sinking.
3. How Jeff Bezos Turned Narrative into Amazon's Competitive Advantage
Here’s a great post from my coworker Ben Bashaw. Great writing really is a competitive advantage, and Ben explains exactly why.
At Amazon, instead of asking his senior leaders to brainstorm great ideas for the company, Bezos asks them to submit six-page, dense, narratively structured memos.
Writing memos forces his team to think through their ideas in high-resolution detail. Instead of wasting time with impromptu brainstorming sessions, writing memos ensures that group discussion is based on the critical review of the relevant ideas, not on hypotheticals.
4. Chrome Extension of the Week: Toby
I found this is the excellent Product Hunt newsletter. It’s one of the first browser extensions that made my life easier with no effort at all.
5. Random Links
- Animalz is now offering content audits. Learn more here.
- Here’s a great post from Buffer’s Alfred Lua: How I Plan and Create SEO Topic Clusters
- As an avid skier and resident of a small mountain town, I highly endorse this: Why Can’t Rich People Save Winter?
- There seem to be thousands of John Mayer covers on Youtube—and they are awesome.
- And if you want one more great cover, check our Sturgill Simpson’s excellent version of Long White Line.
Have a great weekend!
PS - I finally relaunched my content marketing course, 5 Days to Better Content Marketing. Join 300+ people that taken and enjoyed it.
PPS - I’m looking to partner with a few great businesses to sponsor this newsletter. It reaches a bunch of smart folks from places like Google, Apple, Spotify, New York Times, Marriott and Harvard. Shoot me an email if you're interested in working together.
PPPS - I'm now an official Ghost partner. I've been using Ghost to run my blog for years and I absolutely love it. If you signup for Ghost with my link I do get a commission, but you get an incredibly powerful and simple way to manage your website. Markdown ftw!