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content hacker launches

The Story Behind My New Brand, The Content Hacker™ (Video)

I’m so excited to reveal my new brand, Content Hacker™.

After a ton of work, it finally went live on Friday, June 28.

This was a project that came after eight years of hard work in content marketing, leading my content agency Express Writers, writing two books, teaching and leading two courses, not to mention writing over a thousand blog posts!

I couldn’t be more thrilled to share this adventure with you.

In today’s video, walk with me down memory lane a minute and listen as I share the full story behind this new brand I’m launching.

[email protected]_hackers is here! Watch and read the story behind @JuliaEMcCoy's new brand for growth-focused content marketers ⭐️ Click To Tweet

the story behind content hacker

The Story Behind The Content Hacker: Video

I remember taking one of my first ever reading comprehension tests, back when I was in homeschooling in the early 2000s.

It felt like so much fun, I thought I was playing a game the whole time.

I earned an A+ on that test. That was when my love for writing stories and narratives begin.

I’ll also never forget when I heard a dialup modem connect us to the internet when I was 7 years old.

I’ll never forget when I heard a dialup modem connect us to the internet when I was 7 years old. 📞 @JuliaEMcCoy shares the story behind @content_hackers launch Click To Tweet

I watched my mom connect to the internet, and saw her send an email to someone online for the first time. That person emailed her back in minutes. I was blown away at the power of the internet. Ever since then, I’ve pretty much loved the internet. I figured out how to make money online at 12 years old.

Today, finding an avenue to connect “making money online” to “writing content online” simply delights me.

It’s a wonder that I can get online, craft thoughtful words or teach others to, and make more in a month than my parents did in a year back in the ’90s.

Online content has been my favorite realm–a creativity outlet, and a full-time living–ever since I dropped out of college and a nursing degree back in 2011 at 19 years old to seek my passion.

My Competitive Edge in Content: How It Was My Only Financial Means Out of a Cult

Here’s the thing about how I learned to create content.

When I started diving into following my dreams and building my writing agency, Express Writers, at 19 years old, every single dollar I earned had to go towards paying my way. Otherwise, I was broke.

And in 2012, at 20 years old, I used those hard-earned dollars to help get out and escape my dad’s religious cult.

I escaped and finally built the life I always dreamed of by growing my company Express Writers to over $4.5 million in sales in the past 8 years.

(This is a story I’m telling in a book I just finished writing. I can’t wait to share when that comes out. If you follow me on social media, you’ll hear all about it!)

So, there’s no doubt.

I’m a hard-knocks, bottom-line focused, reality-checking content creator.

My success comes from the hard work I put in.

Nothing I do comes from luck.

I have zero time or patience for what doesn’t work, and I’m motivated by results.

I have zero time or patience for what doesn’t work, and I’m motivated by results. @JuliaEMcCoy on @content_hackers launch #story Click To Tweet

It helps that I have a passion for what I do. I love the science of the internet, and I love making magic with words.

Where Does ‘Content Hacker’ Come From?

When I first heard the term content hacker, it was from Garrett Moon at CoSchedule. He coined it in 2014, simply defining it as a ‘growth-focused content marketer’ and taking inspiration from Sean Ellis’ term, growth hacking, originally coined in 2010.

I can’t think of a better term than content hacking to describe my day-to-day content lifestyle.

Ever since I began my journey in content creation in 2011, I’ve worked hard to create and execute content in a lean way that directly relates to bottom-line growth.

We have over 16,000 organic keyword positions and a million yearly site visitors at Express Writers. Plus, the clients we’ve written for have also seen incredible success with our content.

But, here’s the thing.

My content wasn’t always successful.

In fact, many of my best life lessons have come from the “Ph.D. in Failure” university. But, as I’ve worked in content for the past eight years, I’ve noticed a truth.

There is a serious lack of true growth-focused content in the enormous efforts and investments by marketers and brands in content marketing today.

Backlinko did a study revealing that 94% of content doesn’t get noticed enough to earn even a single backlink.

I see a ton of same-old, same-old.

I see marketers trying a few tricks here and there, hoping to tape-and-glue it — and content efforts failing, time and time again.

I see content falling flat. Budgets fizzling out. No profits earned.

But here’s the thing.

I believe our broken content marketing is fixable.

Because it is.

Content marketing, done right, is magical.

Seriously.

And that’s why it’s time for Content Hacker.

Elite, proven, working content marketing methodologies are needed — more than ever.

Our standards in marketing, both as practitioners and in the education arena, need to be guided to a new level.

I’m thankful and honored to know more than a few brands, marketers, and agencies that are breaking the mold.

But there are far too many today that still aren’t.

And that’s why Content Hacker™ is here.

What Content Hacker Will Be All About

My new brand serves several purposes.

First, Content Hacker is a resource for elite content marketing education. From our graduates in high school considering a marketing degree, to the marketer, agency, or freelancer that desperately needs this kind of help, to the entrepreneur growing their brand from scratch — this education will be offered to all who need it.

Secondly, Content Hacker is the community I never had when I was a hard-knocks content creator, learning to build strong content the hard way. I want to inspire and bring in others besides myself who will help shine the light on the way forward. And that’s why I’ve invited over 20 leading marketers to be interviewed in a special blog category we’re showcasing, Content Hacker Spotlights, telling the stories of those truly making a difference in marketing. I cannot wait to unveil and share who we have that’s said an emphatic “yes” to these upcoming blog interviews. Prepare to have your mind blown. 🎉

Thirdly, Content Hacker is my new “personal brand.” This will be a resource-heavy, inspiration-heavy site, first and foremost: never built to simply spam or sell you. But, alongside a schedule that includes over 50 amazing content pieces launching in the first six months, I’ve put together some great offerings with this brand, bringing you the best of my training, offerings, mentoring, consulting, and books within fingertips’ reach.

Did you get your FREE copy of my launch freebie, The Content Hacker Starter Kit? If not, go grab it on our beautiful new site now (credits to Jill Lynn Design for such an amazing site!).

And, don’t forget to leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the new brand.

I can’t wait to hear what you think!

– Julia

content hacker

Content Hacking: The Future of Content Marketing

If you’ve spent any amount of time on the internet, you’ve probably heard terms like “hack” and “hacking.”

In the blog-o-sphere, these terms have been used to mean “clever solutions to tricky problems” or “tricks to make your life easier.” If you Google “hacks,” you can see this clearly – the results are all about clever, interesting, or creative solutions to life’s dilemmas. 💡

Hacking is typically a good thing.

Now, what about hacking for marketing? Scary and bad – or good and effective?

The term ‘hacking’ was used in the marketing industry in 2010, when Sean Ellis, co-author of Hacking Growth and CEO of GrowthHackers, coined the term growth hacking in his blog, Find a Growth Hacker for Your Startup. Ellis says: “A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth.”

With content hacking, the definition is just this – hands-on creativity and can-do, growth-focused attitude – but applied to content creation.

True content hacking is about getting tough, heavy content marketing tasks done in a smart way.

Making life easier.

Getting to the rewards faster, without sacrificing quality or principles along the way.

When applied to content, content hacking is about making your content marketing better, using BETTER, smarter methods.

Growth-focused methods.

Join me on an adventure where we dive into the traits, skillsets and brain of a modern-day content hacker. You might relate to a large percentage of these traits yourself. (Let me know in the comments if you do.) Ready?

content hacking

The Content Hacker: Origins of Content Hacking

Full disclosure: I didn’t come up with the term “content hacker” itself.

The hat-tip for that goes to Garrett Moon of CoSchedule.

He coined the phrase by smashing together the concepts of growth hacking and content marketing.

  • As we already mentioned above, growth hacking is a term Sean Ellis, the CEO of GrowthHackers, originated. It’s the process of driving breakout business growth using “a high-velocity testing/learning process.”
  • It’s about being quick, agile, and nimble on your feet. If a process doesn’t work, you need to be able to pivot, adapt, and try something else.
  • At the end of the day, sustainable growth is the bottom line, not quick fixes. You have to learn what works and what doesn’t — fast.

As for content marketing, we all know and love it.

  • Content marketing is the process of creating useful content that builds trust and turns traffic into leads and customers.

Thus, growth hacking + content marketing = content hacker (noun): a growth-focused content marketer.

(No, that doesn’t mean cheap or overnight fast-track tricks.)

Content hackers climb over roadblocks to reach our goals on the content marketing horizon. They don’t add to the noise. They create beauty online. A real brand reputation that relies on content that works.

If you’re on-board for all of the above, then congratulations: You’re a content hacker, too. 👋

Growth hacking + content marketing = content hacker (noun): a growth-focused content marketer. Learn more about a #contenthacker Click To Tweet The term content hacker takes inspiration from the original creator of 'growth hacking', @SeanEllis. #contenthacking 💡 Click To Tweet 'A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth.' - @SeanEllis #contenthacking Click To Tweet Content hackers climb over roadblocks to reach our goals on the content marketing horizon. This is white-hat hacking or growth hacking for content. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet True 'content hacking' is about getting tough, heavy content marketing tasks done in a smart way. @JuliaEMcCoy 🧠💡 #contenthacking Click To Tweet

What a Content Hacker is NOT

Let’s be clear: Content hacking is NOT about “overnight success” or “scary-quick results.”

It’s NOT about fast fixes or putting band-aids on content marketing problems.

Instead, a content hacker is laser-focused on growth – any kind of growth, whether that means converting three new leads to customers, getting 100 more people to visit your blog, or earning 1,000 new email subscribers.

No matter how small, growth is something you can build on. Growth is something you can leverage.

As long as it’s consistent and sustainable…

As long as the process to get there is repeatable…

As long as the content serves the user’s wants/needs/pain points, that’s the kind of growth a content hacker is all about.

Content hacking is NOT about fast fixes or putting band-aids on content marketing problems. More about a growth-driven #contentmarketer Click To Tweet

Why Does Content Hacking Matter Now and in The Future of Content Marketing?

In 2019, content by itself won’t do much. I hate to break it to you.

There’s too much noise out there on the web. You won’t stand out unless you approach content in a radically different way.

Nearly 4 million blog posts are written every day. That means, in a single year, over 1.46 billion individual posts are published.

The internet is bursting at the seams with content. Even worse, much of it is useless.

Worse than that?

Most of the content that IS useful is same-old, same-old. (How many times have you seen this headline: ‘# Ways to Start a Blog’?)

So, we’re left looking at a big, stinking pile of crap content. Let’s call it “Crap Content Mountain.”

If this scenario makes you feel bleak, here’s a ray of light.

Crappy, same-old, ugly content is exactly what a content hacker rails against.

Content hackers don’t create useless content. They don’t create content because it’s the “thing to do.”

Instead, they are always locked-in on their audience and hell-bent on producing content that those people will gobble up.

They’re constantly researching their audience, researching topics and keywords, testing new ideas, updating their knowledge, and trying new content marketing tactics.

Content hackers are the future of content marketing because, in the end, they are the ones working to make the internet better. Content hackers STOP producing more crap to add to the content trash pile.

We’re on a mission to create content that matters to users, and builds trust and connections between audiences and brands.

💥Content hackers are the ones AGAINST adding more crap to add to the content trash pile. They're on a mission to create content that matters to users and builds trust and connection. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

In fact, this has been my goal with content from the very beginning, back in 2011 when I started Express Writers. Needless to say, it works. Our numbers prove that: 90,000 visitors/month in organic traffic, and 14-16% of those visitors convert through our content.

Analysis of a Modern-Day Content Hacker

To be called a true content hacker, you need a certain set of skills. You don’t necessarily have to be the James Bond of content marketing, but a little creativity, agility, and ingenuity in your wheelhouse won’t hurt.

If we must whittle down the ideal content hacker to a few traits, we think these are the most important ones. If you want to hack your way to mega-growth with content, take note – here we see the average specimen as they might look in the wild.

content hacker

See an analysis and the leading traits of of today's smart, growth-focused content marketer in @JuliaEMcCoy's #contenthacker guide 👨🏼‍🎤👩‍🎤 Click To Tweet

Mind: Tactical, Growth-Minded Thinker

A content hacker intrinsically understands content marketing’s worth. By 2021, the industry is expected to reach $412.88 billion. The content hacker is at the forefront of this valuable industry, the one brainstorming ways to tap into that growth for their own niche, and searching for new tactics to make it happen.

Ears: Constantly Listening/Learning

A good content hacker always has their ears open. They’re constantly listening, measuring results, learning what works and what doesn’t, and pivoting as needed to stay on the path of content marketing growth.

Mouth: Clever Communicator

Communication is key for the content hacker. They use every form of it – words, videos, social media, email, and more – on the right platforms, from Instagram Stories to Facebook Live and beyond, to speak to the heart of the matter. They customize communication to the brand they’re creating content for, and exist where their audience lives.

Feet: Agile and Flexible

Watch out – a content hacker is fast. They learn quickly, rebound from mistakes, and are ready to try another strategy, tactic, or idea within the next minute. If one road or method isn’t working, they’ll cut through the brush to find another path that will help their brand grow.

Heart: Audience-Focused

Above all, the users matter most to a content hacker. Understanding the user’s needs, wants, desires, and problems (not the brand or client’s) is pivotal to producing useful content that converts.

Cardiovascular: Patience & Strong Work Ethic

Patience is a must for the content hacker. Most content marketing ROI doesn’t come in until 12-24 months after as a matter of fact. Without a strong work ethic and the patience to see their content tactics and growth hacks through to the finish line, a content hacker would never get anywhere.

Veins: Storytelling and Writing Chops

Most content hackers find their way to the field through their love of storytelling. The ideal content hacker understands the value of stories and knows how to write. They spend much of their time telling them through amazing content creation. Plenty of marketers are catching on, too. Content creation spend has seen the highest increase over the last 12 months over any other content marketing area, according to CMI’s Budgets, Benchmarks, and Trends report.

Blood: Caffeinated

Let’s face it: The content hacker needs a daily dose of joe (or tea) to fuel those early mornings and late nights of content hacking – or to power through the dreaded 3 p.m. slump.

Tools: Skilled Researcher

Researching is an essential skill for the content hacker. They’re always researching and looking for useful data, whether that means finding out everything they can about their audience or discovering profitable keywords that tie to user search intent. Tools today’s content hacker uses include Moz, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Mangools’ KWFinder, and BuzzSumo.

To sum up the skillsets and traits of a successful content hacker…

  • They’re agile, independent thinkers whose major focus is brand growth through the creation of user-satisfying content.
  • They’re ready to hack through the internet jungle at moment’s notice to reach the growth and results they crave.
  • If one way is blocked, they’re experts at finding a clear path to ROI.

These smart, strategic content marketers have a wide playing field open to them.

Question: Why put all the trouble into making sure you learn the skill sets involved in content hacking?

Well, according to a study by Fractl and Moz, content marketing job growth increased by nearly 350% between 2011 – 2015.

content strategy job growth

This is a trend that has continued into 2019. That’s pretty epic.

And I think we can continue to see this increasing in the future, as the industry of content marketing rises as a whole.

ContentHacker.com – Launching Soon!

As you can tell, my heart is invested in this topic 1000%.

That’s why I’m moving forward and launching a brand this June that is wholly dedicated to growth-focused content marketers. You guessed it — it’s called Content Hacker.

content hacker

This will be my personal brand, but it will also serve as a resource center, education platform, and publication for every single person who believes in the content hacker way of life.

Because anything short of growth and results (both for us AND our real, living, human audience) would be cruddy, am I right?

I’m super excited to share this new venture with you.

And, chances are, if you’ve read this far, you’re interested in joining me as this new launch happens. To stay up-to-date on all things content hacking, sign up for the list.

See you soon, fellow content hackers!

content shop