2020 has us binging all the Netflix and Hulu our brains can consume. So, of course, as holidays approach, it’s not visions of sugar plums in our heads. Rather, North Pole elves who have their woodworking tools at hyperspeed as chess sets fly off of the shelves due to Netflix’s super popular “The Queen’s Gambit.”
We can’t get enough of this redhead chess genius. But aside from how to deliver a mean staredown, what else can we learn from Beth Harmon’s ruthless climb to Grand Master?
Ready to “Beth Harmon” the sh*t out of your website content? Here’s how…
1. Read everything you can to master the openings.
“I’m going to stay awake as long as I can, reading my book, learning the Sicilian Defense…I’m going to memorize them, and play through them all in my mind.”
From the moment she’s handed her first copy of “Modern Chess Openings,” Beth hardly stops reading throughout her journey to World Champion. Beth dedicates herself to studying the game, playing it out in her mind, and memorizing the openings.
The Ruy Lopez, the Italian, the Sicilian Defense, the French Defence, the Queen’s Gambit… an opening is the first few moves that lay the foundation for every chess game.
Top book recommendations for the foundations of content strategy? You’ve gotta read Kirstina Halvorson’s Content Strategy for the Web for the basics foundation, and then smash the norms with Garrett Moon’s 10x Marketing Formula and hone in on what he calls your “competition-free content.”
2. Look for your competitor’s weak spots and attack them.
In the game of chess, you aim for the center four squares where you can have the most influence. To get there, look for your competitor’s weak spots and then strategize how to improve your position.
So how does this work in content strategy? Your competitor’s weakness isn’t so much about what they do poorly, but rather what you can do better. This is an SEO play that involves a lot of keyword research to inform your content strategy. But we’re trying to get at the center of what you do well so you can crush the competition with content.
Here’s how it works – make a list of the 3-5 products or services that your business offers. Now look at your top competitors. Do they sell the same products or services? Probably so. But narrow in on how you do it differently, or how you do it better, or the specifics about how you offer it.
For example, you aren’t going to beat the big dogs in the SEO game of beer. But maybe your game is small batch IPAs in South Houston. Another example? Instead of “jewelry store in Houston,” hone in on the pieces that you do well and uniquely from your competitors. And you might find that you are ‘custom engagement ring design in South Houston.’
Now that you know the specifics of what you do well, “keyword integrate” it into your website. For instance, custom engagement rings should be listed as its own page under products or services.
Next, you’ll want to attack with blog articles and social media posts. Write down every possible blog article you can think about on this topic. And make a list of every “story” you can tell about this – write an article (and include a picture) about every custom engagement ring you made. One post and pic from every party where your small batch IPA was flowing. You get the idea.
The more posts or blog articles you have about this specific topic, or target keyword, as we like to call it – the quicker you will solidify your credibility on the topic and set yourself apart as king.
3. When you’re ready to make big moves, play the gambit.
In chess, a gambit is an opening move where a player sacrifices something, usually a pawn, to get a better position in the long run.
In the content strategy game, let’s call this guest blogging. Come up with a really great article idea. Don’t hold back. Come up with your best ideas. And then sacrifice them to another blog for a bigger win.
Here’s what I mean. A backlink is a link on another website, pointing to your website. Google says that another website linking to you is like a “vote” that gives your site credibility. An “easy” way to get a backlink is to write a guest article for another blog or website.
I say “easy” because it still requires a lot of work to get your article picked up. But here’s what you do… Find a website or blog that:
A) has a larger following or readership than your own; and
B) also has readers similar to your audience OR readers who are interested in your topic or product. Then…
C) Pitch them your best article idea.
It’s a gambit because your gut feeling is to keep your best article for your own website. But, the larger readership will, in turn, give you big cred with Google, and can help increase your SEO ranking in the long run.
Now that you know how to “Queen’s Gambit” the sh*t out of your website, do it like it Beth would. Lay the baseline. Develop your pieces while attacking. Get offensive. And force your opponent to respond.