Posts Tagged ‘Content Marketing’

8 tips to improve your social media content as a business

Here at BlueGlass, we really love social media. It’s enabled us to grow our agency, expand our network and showcase what we do every day to the wider public. However, during this modern era of regular, fast change, there are plenty of ways to improve the content that’s published on social media and the ways it can be reached. That’s why we’ve spent time researching effective tips on how to improve our social media content, and we want to share these with you too.

1) Boost your credibility

By posting content that illustrates your successes, achievements and press-worthiness, it enables you to boost your brand’s credibility online and helps to establish the brand as thought, service or product leaders within a specific industry to the public on social media.

Accompanied with a related hashtag, this content gets recognised by other industry professionals, who may then also join in the engagement.

We do this regularly here at BlueGlass, and this receives engagement and comments of congratulations, which we always love to see!

This is an important method of improving your social media content, because by boosting credibility, you’re boosting your reputation online. The Social Media Marketing Industry Report 2016 found that 90% of marketers believed social media was important for their business. It’s therefore more important than ever to be trusted in a competitive environment.

2) Invite conversation

Another way to improve your social media content is by being interactive with your audience and inviting them to converse with your brand.

Bhavin Parikh of Magoosh Inc. explains that the strongest form of content is one that directly addresses the audience to engage with the brand: “Many entrepreneurs use social media as a one-way platform to spread a message to those who follow them; however, the best will engage in conversations with their followers, responding to comments and being truly accessible”. So, it may be a good option to ask your followers how their day is going every now and then.

3) Know and target your audience

With different audiences using different social platforms, it’s incredibly important to research where your target audience spends their time on the web before you put together a social media strategy.

For example, a new retail study by Eptica found that UK retailers answered 59% of customer queries on Facebook, 55% via email, and only 45% on Twitter. This suggests that if you’re a retailer, your customers will be aiming to reach you predominantly on Facebook and through a personalised email account, which should be the primary focus of your social media strategy.

Using BlueGlass as an example, as a B2B SEO agency, the most impressions and engagements occur for us on LinkedIn, which means we’ll use LinkedIn as the priority social platform when sharing content.

Spend some time observing what content gets the most engagement and what groups of people are engaging – you can then target all your future content at them.

4) Share curated content

By just promoting your own brand or business, your followers will eventually start to find your page dull, weakening your brand reputation. Therefore, it’s important to engage with other members and experts in your industry on social media by sharing their content with your followers.

Chances are, your followers follow you for the brand and industry you represent. By re-tweeting and quote-tweeting on Twitter, sharing on Facebook, and sharing on LinkedIn, it keeps your audience engaged with content they want to see, but it isn’t all just predictable advertising for your brand.

Guy Kawasaki, the author of a new book called The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users, has spent many years using and analysing social media, particularly for entrepreneurs, and believes that sharing others’ content is one of the best ways to increase your own social presence.

In addition, doing this can boost your online reputation for both sharing another piece of content from another member within your industry (thus building a potential relationship) and for being helpful/enlightening to your audience, who’ll then perceive your account as positive and necessary to follow.

5) Have clear calls to action

Request people directly to:

  • Share your posts
  • Like your posts
  • Follow you

This engagement technique is relevant and can be applied across all social platforms. If you’re a B2B company primarily focused on LinkedIn, tell your network to engage in a particular conversation with you. If you’re a fashion brand on Twitter, you could post there asking people to send you pictures of them in their favourite seasonal outfits.

Researching 1.2 million posts from the top 10,000 most-liked Facebook pages, Dan Zarrella specifically examined those that included the words ‘like’, ‘comment’, or ‘share’. He found these posts tended to gather more of the specific action they referenced compared to posts without those words.

6) Use visuals

For arts, fashion and food, visuals are an important part of the marketing mix, which makes Instagram and Pinterest perfect for creative industries like these. Similar to targeting, it’s also about the best form of content for your brand. A long post on LinkedIn won’t be as well received for a fashion brand as a picture of an outfit related to a current trend, which would appeal to a mass audience and not just a professional network.

A recent report on New York Fashion Week by digital think tank L2 found that Instagram drove the most engagements (likes, comments and shares) on social media. Of the 13 million total interactions during NYFW Fall 2016, 97% took place on Instagram, with 2% on Facebook and 1% on Twitter.

So, if you’re in the creative industries, use visual-led social media platforms to your benefit.

7) Set a time for posting content

Create a schedule relevant to your goals. Scheduling is key to high engagement and keeping things on track. For example, retailers typically answer all customer queries between 9am and 5pm (as a normal working day), so people know exactly when to look out for their content.

Similarly, a B2B company is better of posting in the evening.

*LinkedIn hourly performance

This graph shows that posting content on LinkedIn receives more engagement between 7pm and 10pm. Thus, by setting a fixed schedule for your posts based on industry and social platform, you can reach a larger audience and aim to achieve more engagement.

8) Use infographics

Infographics are a great way to tell a story about a brand’s journey, tease upcoming content and reports, and present industry facts – pretty much anything quantifiable. You can post sections of infographics in Instagram posts, or even link people that follow you on Twitter to the infographic page. It’s a great way to cross-promote your social platforms.

Researchers found that coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people end up retaining 65% of the information three days later.

The team here at BlueGlass create infographics on a regular basis. We love them!

Stay up to date with BlueGlass’s social media activities on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

The "can't miss" content marketing strategy

Can't Miss Marketing

Content marketing is hard.

Actually, let me clarify that a bit…GREAT content marketing is hard!

One of the biggest reasons why it’s so hard nowadays is that there are just SO many choices. Every single day, I see blog posts, columns, tweets and updates telling me the million different things that I HAVE TO BE DOING…

  • “156 Content Marketing Strategies for 2016”
  • “315 Content Marketing Goals You Should Be Measuring”
  • “17,001 Content Marketing Tools You Need to Try”

Enough already!

Want to know our secret to GREAT content marketing? The key ingredient to all of our success? Okay, I’ll tell you but just keep it between us…

We keep it simple.

We focus.

We don’t just want to build an “audience”…

….we want a CAPTIVE audience.

But here’s the thing…

A captive audience isn’t something you can stumble upon – you have to find the initial readers and keep them engaged long-term.

And it’s never been more difficult.

Quality content isn’t enough on its own and anyone who tells you different is lying.

Even the best journalists need an audience, in order for people to appreciate their true value. When content really works, you have to understand that it starts with your audience.

When you’re struggling to reach new readers, one of your best assets will be your current ones — and how you connect with them.

The “Attention” Problem…

We live in a CROWDED online world. Almost every area of marketing has become extremely saturated. According to analytics company DOMO, there are over 245,000 tweets and almost 10,000 Pinterest pins created every minute.

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Add to that the stress of declining Facebook reach – hovering around 2% according to SocialTimes – and more companies using the same strategies as you, and it’s harder than ever to find new readers.

Take Buffer, a social tool company that brilliantly leveraged content marketing to grow their company. They “get it”…but they’ve also been losing social traffic as they’ve struggled to stay standing under the weight of what they call “the content crush.”

Why Most Marketers Are Making it Harder…For Themselves!

If you take a look at the biggest media publishers, you’ll notice that they all share one key thing in common.

Their biggest secret weapon is their publish button.

Take the Daily Mail as an example – love them or loathe them, if you’re able to promote your content to 3.4 million Facebook fans, 1.5 million Twitter followers and 200 million monthly visitors – you can start to see why their content is generating so much engagement, given that they know their audience so well and can leverage this for huge promotion.

If they started from scratch for each article they promoted, of course this would never achieve the same level of coverage. But they don’t. They keep building and growing their audience, so that each time they can leverage more and more people.

CombinedImage

The ONLY Thing You Need to Get Your Customers Talking

The number one way to get a reaction, such as sharing, out of your readers is to make them feel something.

It’s estimated that 90% of decisions are based on emotions rather than facts. Based on numbers alone, that’s one reason to write emotional content. The odds of sharing are in your favor and it makes sense

And it’s even more important building relationships with your audience.

But how do you appeal to your readers’ emotions?

To get your audience to feel something, create content that’s 100% about them – not about yourself at all.

Want to Scale Word-of-Mouth? Do THIS.

Let your customers do the talking for you. What good content achieves is scaling word of mouth. Luckily, we all live in an age where if you get this right, the amplification of content can be extremely powerful.

If you think content is about YOU, you’re missing the point. When people share content, they share it about themselves not you…

When creating content, you have to look at it from the perspective of the user first. What are they going to think and feel about this. By thinking in advance about the likely reaction this will receive, you can turn good content into great campaigns to earn authority coverage, social engagement and links – SEO should always be the by-product, not the goal.

To get your audience talking about you, you need to create perfectly relevant content, provided in the right context. Stuff that your readers will love so much they need to share it with someone else to talk about it with.

6 Ways to Create Shareable “Hooks” With Your Content

You’ll want to tap into your audience’s full range of emotions – from happiness and pride to frustration and confusion. Here’s how you can do this…

  • Solve frustrations by empathizing and providing solutions to your readers’ main problems. For example, Lowe’s uses Vine to give incredibly useful household and DIY tips, like quicker ways to clean shower doors.

httpss://vine.co/v/iWDJeXK11XD

  • Appeal to a customer’s pride by sharing their story or validating and praising their ideas. Apple’s gallery of iPhone 6s photos highlights great photographers and shows other viewers what they can aspire to and motivates them to take their own photos.
  • Clear up confusion by explaining important topics clearly in ways readers can relate to and encourage them to share socially.
  • Tug on heartstrings by sharing real stories that include contagious happiness, like British Airways’ video about nostalgia and bringing families together.

httpss://www.youtube.com/embed/WPcfJuk1t8s

  • Understand how you make people feel by tapping into your audience’s emotions this can be much more powerful and reach/connect with significantly more people. Dove proved that you don’t have to promote yourself:

httpss://www.youtube.com/embed/XpaOjMXyJGk

  • Make readers feel like something was created just for them and it will be natural for them to react. If you write as if you are only talking to one person, you’re much more likely to stay focused on the key points and provide more real value. And if it resonates with them, chances are you’ll find other people with exactly the same interest too.

Just think of the viral quizzes all over your Facebook timeline. The results are hyper personalized and relevant to the reader, so accurate it feels weird to keep it to yourself.

Look at the level of engagement and audience the likes of Buzzfeed and PlayBuzz specifically for quizzes have built up:

image04

(Image from BuzzSumo – buzz is clearly a popular, eh, buzzword…)

Combining quizzes + animals + Facebook audience = genius. I mean, who doesn’t want to know what dog breed you are?!

You do this once. And then a few more times. Then consistently until you’re a go-to resource for your audience.

The Trouble With Playing It Safe…

When creating content, do these thoughts run through your mind?

  • I don’t want to look stupid…
  • Why would I share all of this information if people can then copy it…
  • What if everyone knows this already…
  • My competitors will know everything if I share this…

What people don’t get, is that the biggest risk is not doing it!

I strongly believe that fear of failure is often a big factor holding back marketing success, “Of course we always want to win, but sometimes having the attitude of we’ve never tried this before, but wonder what would happen if we did this… might land you your biggest success yet.

3 Questions You Need to Answer Before STARTING Any Campaign

At BlueGlass in January, we all read the Simon Sinek book Start With Why (watch his TED talk if you haven’t seen it or read the book yet). The reason for this, is because often you can get carried away with exciting ideas, because if it doesn’t have a clear goal or reason for being created, which ties in with your brand – it’s unlikely to ever hit the real business goals you want to achieve.

httpss://www.youtube.com/embed/IPYeCltXpxw

Try asking yourself:

  • Why will people want to visit your site & subscribe to your content?
  • How will you target customers & key personas with content they want to see, read and share?
  • What great content can you create to educate, inform, engage and keep the interest of our target personas to build a real audience?

Balancing Short-Term Wins vs. Long-Term Success

We can get lost in KPIs at times. I prefer to call them “I”’s – at best they’re indicators that you’re on the right track. Key performance metrics ultimately should come down to business goals and objectives.

Every brand will have different goals and indicators of success, but before you get excited about that first campaign – really try to understand what you’re trying to achieve over the medium and long-term, not just the short-term.

These are common examples of where this may fit into your plan:

By looking ahead, and visualising what success looks like in 1 year, 2 years or 5-10 years time, you can start to understand where everything fits into your wider plans.

In some cases short-burst campaigns may be ok, but if that’s all you’re doing perhaps you’re not on the track you need to be on – so this can help to force you to be more selective with where you place your time, effort and money for future content.

6 Keys to Turning New Visitors Into Loyal Fans

You don’t want to be fighting (or advertising!) for every last visit to each piece of content. Once you generate visitors to your content, you want to turn them from first-time readers into second-time readers, then third and forth – to the point that they just love coming back…

Think about the user journey of a content reader:

audience-building

  1. Identify – who is your target audience and where can you find them?
  2. Acquire – whether your marketing channels are through organic search, email marketing, referral traffic from digital PR coverage, social media or paid social/content distribution – acquiring traffic to your content.
  3. Nurture – provide content they love and have a clear destination, ideally as a blog or content hub on your own site, where you can control the environment in which they read your content.
  4. Engage – by providing consistently great content, your goal should be to continually create outstanding content which readers love to engage with.
  5. Capture – provide useful content upgrades such as tools, insight reports, ebooks, free downloads, competitions etc to capture their details and build your audience, so that they want to come back to read more and more.
  6. Grow – this is where you can start to create real business value. At this stage you start to build real loyalty and advocacy with your readers, which can have a huge benefit in to the increase in word of mouth referrals. It’s also a stage in which you can start to provide in-context offers to your audience.

Content’s Role In Converting Readers Into Customers

You want a relationship where, when a connection needs help, they remember a blog post of yours that will be useful. Where they think sharing it on social media makes them look good.

And especially so you’re the first company they think of when they’re shopping around for your product – you’ve already gained their trust at the inspiration phase of the journey, so now you can transition from a reader to a prospect once they move into consideration.

The goal of your content marketing is never to make the sale, it’s role is to buy you a seat at the table. It may not always be enough to get the sale over the line, after all your product has to convince the buyer of that – but if you can get in front of the right audience, then you’ve always got a chance of turning that potential into a customer. If they don’t know who you are, you’ve got no chance!

The “Secret” to Getting Compound Returns From Your Content Marketing Efforts

Like any marketing activity, it’s important to understand the value of your effort and to set clear/realistic expectations over the level and timeframe of results that can be achieved.

If you’re focused on a the next one-off content campaign, you might find the results are hit and miss. But if you can treat content marketing as a longer-term investment in your audience, that way you’re much more likely to realise compounding returns:

image06

The difference with investing in your audience, is that you’re thinking of the longer-term and the collective results you’re building up to take you to the next level. It’s not just about the one-off hit.

What steps do you take to get the best from your content marketing strategy?

Was Michelangelo the greatest content marketer of all time?

I recently spent a long weekend in Rome. While I was there, I was surrounded by art, by masterpieces. Creativity was everywhere.

From the painters I walked by in the promenade, to the Sistine Chapel and Coliseum, to the artful way dishes are put together. You could tell everything was created with such passion, precision, and focus.

We don’t have time anymore to produce work of that quality.

Sistine Chapel(image via Flickr)

We live in such a fast-paced world of meetings, emails, notifications and various other tasks that we simply can’t find the time to sit down and really focus. All these tools designed to help us work, actually do everything but.

On top of this, there’s other day-to-day pressures. You’re below targets, your boss is unhappy, they wanted results yesterday, and so on, and so on…

At least that’s the perception. What we say as an excuse.

But those painters in the promenade, they sit in a crowded area and are able to focus on nothing but their work. No people watching, no phone checking, no incoming emails.

It’s still possible to create a masterpiece. It just requires patience and focus a lot of us don’t want to deal with.

Michelangelo didn’t finish Pope Julius II’s tomb until 40 years after he started, needing to start over or pivot several times. He worked on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling for 3 years, enduring several difficulties and grueling day-to-day work.

That kind of dedication doesn’t mesh with today’s content culture, where there are 1,400 new blog posts published each minute.

But in order to create masterpiece content, you need to work like a master.

Michelangelo: world-class content marketer

The works Michelangelo produced were truly world-class masterpieces. The level of detail put into the Sistine Chapel is unbelievable.

“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” – Robert Greene

This clearly wasn’t done by just any artist…it was done by a master. Someone who put in the time and experience to learn the hard lessons and figure out what to do right. They’ve already made mistakes and can spend their lives creating perfection.

Like I mentioned before, Pope Julius II’s tomb was almost a failure. In fact, it failed several times, only to be picked back up. And the finished product 40 years later was nothing like the original plan. He made mistakes along the way, then pivoted to fix and improve them. But the finished project was a masterpiece.

Michelangelo's Tomb of Pope Julius II, San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome

(image via Flickr)

And Michelangelo wasn’t just a master in his own time. Even now, over 500 years later, it’s just as spectacular, if not even more so. Because you don’t see masterpieces like this being created anymore. This is content which has passed the test of time.

It’s just like evergreen content, pieces that stay relevant and valuable over time. And evergreen content can continue to bring in traffic way after it’s published, accumulating SEO, subscribers, and social media shares along the way.

How many ebooks, whitepapers, and infographics created today would be just as impressive in a few centuries? It hurts to admit, but most of them are outdated by today’s standards within a year. Part of it’s our attention spans, but it’s also about the longevity and quality of our content.

How to create Michelangelo-level content

Create evergreen pieces

As I mentioned earlier, evergreen content has long-term value. But only when it’s high quality. Putting in the extra time and effort is an equal trade off for creating something that will stay relevant for years to come.

Eliminate distractions

Michelangelo had a clear vision for what he wanted to produce, and focused completely on achieving it.

He didn’t worry about achieving inbox zero, missing something on social media, or the constant “bzzz bzzz” of smartphone notifications. He just got on with what he needed to do – creating a masterpiece.

He didn’t have the benefits of technology, but he didn’t have the distractions of it either. What if content marketers had that mindset?

Focus on content, not failure

“Things that have to work rarely do anymore – Seth Godin, Purple Cow”

I wrote last year about how the fear of failure is ironically the most likely reason most people will fail. A self-fulfilling prophecy at its finest.

What could you achieve if you took that fear away and were free to produce what you really wanted to?

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” – Michelangelo

Follow your passion

Remove everything else from the equation. Forget about budgets, deadlines, meetings, resources, and guidelines. Just focus on creating something outstanding.

What would you create? With 100% creative freedom to follow your inspiration. To choose the idea you think you can do best and run with it all the way.

Given his “Renaissance man” status as a painter, sculptor, and architect, Michelangelo really wasn’t limited by anything. Not budgets, word count, brand guidelines, or even medium.

This is where marketers can really win big.

Following your passion and inspiration, and focusing on the work it creates – that’s where quality content comes from.

This is the mindset we need. To follow your passion to great content.

Imagine coming up with a crazy content idea, but you see the potential in it. And you could just drop everything and grab the resources you need to go get it done. Unlimited time and money. Any idea you choose.

Invest time and effort for quality

Michelangelo worked on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling for four years. Four physically taxing, grueling years. David took three. That’s no content farm.

Florence - Marble David in Piazza della Signoria

(image via Flickr)

Instead of trying to quickly create 10 articles and moving on to the next batch, why don’t you create one outstanding one? Then spend more time promoting it to the people it’s perfect for – those who will really benefit from and engage with it.

Being good hasn’t been good enough for a long time.

The quality vs. quantity argument might never have a clear winner – especially when it’s so circumstantial. But the trends show that over time, people care more about experiences, not stuff, quality of food vs. all-you-can-eat buffets, etc. So I think we’ve found a winner for now.

The same is true with content. Good isn’t good enough – you need to create your Sistine Chapel.

To do that, you have to go the extra mile – you need to create 10X content and really be 10 times better than your competitors – otherwise, you’re just playing catch-up.

Ask these 2 questions to think like Michelangelo

It takes guts to think big, and you need to be prepared to fail along the way.

Start by asking yourself, “Do I want to keep everyone happy, play it safe and produce lots of content? Or do I want to be the Michelangelo of content marketing and create a masterpiece which will be talked about in years, decades and centuries to come?”

The right answer seems pretty clear.

9 ways to create engaging content in challenging industries

Here are nine take aways from creating content for what are typically considered challenging or boring industries…

1. Find a PG angle for your content

Within the gambling industry, it’s difficult to find a positive angle publishers are happy to promote. So, BlueGlass focused in on the angle of poker being a sport. Like any sport, there are talents which players must develop in order to improve their game.  For Poker these include maths skills, logic, risk assessment and more. BlueGlass decided the concept of bluffing was an area the general public would be interested in learning more about, as lying is a skill everyone would like to be better at detecting in others or maybe even improving their own ability to lie.

2. Get professional researchers involved

We partnered with academic researchers to develop cutting edge research in the area of bluffing, this gave the project legitimacy and the ability to stand up to journalist demand for research integrity. The research finds were originally published on the gambling brand’s website so they were able to act as the original source. Later down the line, this article presenting the findings would be used as the research resource for the infographic to link to.

3. Publishers are partners, involving them means they buy into your content

When it comes to agreeing to publish an infographic with a publisher, it’s important to get publishers involved. But first – you need to establish a publisher as a contact. So we identified target publishers, and started ringing targeted editors and journalists pitching the research and asking if they’d like to partner with us to create  dynamic content piece. Blueglass was able to secure a partnership with Mashable, and developed a stunning infographic which delivered the research in a creative way accessible to the masses. As the content was being developed, BlueGlass made sure to involve Mashable in rounds of editions, so that they played a role in driving the piece forward as a partnership.  This involvement helps to ensure the publisher will not back out further down the line because they’ve bought into the idea.

As the result of this approach, the article published received over 12,500 organic social shares on Mashable. In addition, over 500 links were published from 65 unique domains pointing back to the original research piece on the gambling website.

4. Turn internal staff into valued experts

In the second example, BlueGlass worked with a B2B events company.  We focused on developing internal staff as experts in the events management space, and encouraged them to write articles and update their professional social media profiles online. This is a great way to get internal buy-in for future marketing efforts, it keeps teams engaged, and develops their professional profiles online – everybody wins!

5. Develop the blog as a resource which can be linked to

BlueGlass first oversaw the development of content on the B2B event company’s blog. Articles on the blog were data driven and focused on content the target market would learn from or want to share in a professional capacity.

For this brand, focusing on the blog made sense because like many B2B organisations they weren’t able to provide a personable voice sharing knowledge on the main website (they needed to keep it professional).  Hence, the blog is a great place to lend a more human angle to any B2B organisation.

6. Promote staff as the content creators for other websites

For this B2B events company, BlueGlass targeted publications focused on management themes, events, and business.  We pitched the internal experts on their staff (who we’d been working with to update their social profiles and write blog content) to lend their expertise to other publishers.

Through this process, BlueGlass was able to secure placements on sites with Moz Domain Authority scores in the 80s, and MajesticSEO CitationFlow and TrustFlow scores ranging from 48 to 71.

7. Locate offline experts hungry to expand their opportunities

For a brand in the nutrition space, BlueGlass sourced nutritionists with limited online visibility, and developed their digital profiles across social media and as writers on the brand’s website. Simultaneously, these nutritionists developed content for the brand’s new content hub utilising their outstanding knowledge acquired of years of study.

By utilising independent nutritionists to discuss topics which the brand couldn’t mention on their own website, BlueGlass established a work around to overcome  legal sensitivities regarding what can be said about nutrition under UK and European law.

8. Separate your transactional content from informational content

There are three types of content online, which can be summarised as “Do, Know, Go.”

  • Do – transactional content
  • Know – informationa content
  • Go – navigational content

It’s important to separate these fields out, as many e-commerce sites try to create informational content to mix in the products their selling.  This will never work, because search engines understand that retailers have biased opinions to promote their products and any informational content coming from them won’t be neutral.

For this nutrition client, we focused on dividing their transitional content from their informational content by placing informational content on a separate subdomain.  Now the brand is able to rank for both transactional and informational content.

9. Develop offline experts into online experts

BlueGlass then utilised the nutrition experts and the content hub as a base from which to promote the brand. This has lead to a number of high quality placements in both digital publications and off-line magazines like Cosmo. On the digital side, our PR efforts have lead to features on sites with Moz Domain Authority scores in the 60s to 80s, and MajesticSEO CitationFlow and TrustFlow scores between 50 and 70. From an SEO perspective, this has supported a vast array of rankings for information lead searches driving new potential consumers to the site.

What other tips have you built up from your experience creating content?


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