One Trick Pony Content: 3 Blogs Succeed Without Being Boring
One trick pony content follows a consistent, rigid structure.
At its core, each article is the same.
No surprise—It uses an established template.
One trick pony content provides comfort in knowing exactly what you’re getting.
Routines make our lives more predictable.
Using the same content format can help you build your audience and amplify your content reach.
While it may not work for every content marketing plan or blog, one-trick pony content can be a viable content option that yields results.
One Trick Pony Content: Pros and Cons
To understand why you should use One Trick Pony Content, let’s examine the pros and cons.
3 Reasons To Use One Trick Pony Content:
- Tap into influencer relations. As a content creator or blogger, you don’t need to do all of the heavy lifting. Some forms of One Trick Pony Content reduce author work. (Although other content creation support is needed.)
- Instill creativity. While it sounds counter-intuitive, setting constraints on your craft can increase creativity. You’re forced to work within a specified framework.
- Create batch work. The proscribed nature of the content makes it quicker to plan and create multiple posts at the same time. This saves time due to focused effort.
3 Reasons Not To Use One Trick Pony Content:
- Yield imbalanced content offering. Like a meal with an appetizer, main and sides and dessert, we’re trained to want content variety. As a result, a single limited content format may not meet business needs or, worse, bore readers.
- Require pre-creation work. One trick pony content depends on research and influencer outreach for each piece of content. As influencer relations marketing grows, experienced employees, not interns, are needed.
- Involve additional backend support. Often one trick pony content entails non-writing content skills such as image creation and video or audio editing.
Relative to other forms of content, One Trick Pony content can serve your target audience information they want while streamlining content creation.
3 Successful Examples of Successful One Trick Pony Content
While one Trick Online Content blogs tend to be less common than multi-format blogs, they provide quality content for their audiences.
Here are 3 successful one trick pony content blogs
1. List 25
Started by Syed Balkhi in 2011, List 25 goes beyond the humdrum “Top 10 List”; each post has 25 items building up to the most important element.
In their words,
“List25 combines the pursuit of interesting and intriguing facts with the innate human desire to rank and list things. … [E]very list is designed to help you kill time in the most efficient manner, all while giving you something to either laugh at or think about!”
Balkhi extended List25 content to video, the white hot social media format. To-date List25 has amassed over 2.1 million YouTube subscribers, where even the latest videos get 10s of thousands of views.
Created for blog and video publication, each post subject is something the reader wants to know more about. It pulls you in to know or be educated. The titles are tweaked to maximize click-throughs and the content is highly visual.
List25 has expanded using YouTube video — Great example of One Trick Pony Content
How List25 stands out:
- Creates fun, easy-to-consume content that’s shareworthy. Readers think, “If I liked this content, so will my friends.” It makes readers and viewers look good by sharing. List25 tapped into trends like I Can Haz Cheez Burgers.
2. Entrepreneur On Fire
John Lee Dumas started podcasting Entrepreneur On Fire (or EOFire for short) 7 days a week in September, 2012. Each podcast interviews a different entrepreneur. He was fortunate to be able to connect with high profile entrepreneurs early including Tony Robbins.
Dumas uses a consistent script for his podcasts. The podcasts are posted on his website and iTunes along with the transcripts.
Dumas found a unique point of differentiation:
- Interview successful entrepreneurs everyday.
He continues to put out his daily dose of entrepreneurial information. To-date, Dumas’s created over 1,500 podcasts. This is long-term content creation and consistency matters.
Dumas reduces his work by using a consistent questionnaire that takes entrepreneurs and listeners through the founder’s journey. He focuses on:
- Worst moment and lessons learned. Everyone wants the gory details of other people’s failure.
- Ah-Ha moment. Listeners believe that there’s hope for them.
- Lightening round. Set of short answer questions.
How Entrepreneur On Fire stands out:
- Uses podcasting. Dumas started podcasting while it was still in its infancy.
- Creates his ideal listener, Jimmy. Dumas made his marketing persona real for him and his readers. Dumas created an animated video about Jimmy and posted it on his about page. It’s brilliant. As a reader you want to find about more. If you identify with Jimmy’s challenges, you’re ready to become an EOFire listener.
3. Which Test Won? (Now part of Behave.org)
Which Test Won is a weekly post at the core of Behave.org’s content offering. It spotlights other businesses’ A/B marketing tests, known as the test of the week.
The test is set up on two pages, increasing click-throughs and time-on-site.
On the first page, are:
- KPI: What’s being measured?
- Traffic source: Where do test readers come from?
- Images of Version A and Version B. Includes big buttons silently begging readers to choose the winner.
On the second page, you see how your guess stacked up and the winning choice. Further, you’re encouraged to share your results via Twitter with 2 big buttons.
The content is set up the way you were taught to do science labs in high school.
- Actionable Takeaways
How Which Test Won stands out:
- Provide interactive content. As I must admit this newsletter is a guilty pleasure. Like its other readers, I get to test my knowledge. It’s a total winner. What marketer doesn’t want to see if they know the winning results? It’s begs for engagement.
- Offer real life case studies with data. Most businesses fail when it comes to case studies. The content lacks sufficient data to be reliable.
- Give spotlight to companies that test marketing. It’s a great way for marketing and advertising agencies to get noticed in a credible, non-PR way.
Which Test Won was started by Anne Holland, a good marketer who believed in testing to improve results.
BTW—Holland was a One Trick Pony content expert prior to starting Which Test Won. She founded MarketingSherpa, a content site based on marketing case studies. (BTW—MarketingSherpa is also worth your reading time.)
What Sets One Trick Pony Content Blogs Apart?
Each blog has a consistent, set content formula that has succeeded in building and keeping an audience.
3 reasons why one trick pony content works:
- Each article feels unique despite the rigid format. For List 25, it’s the article focus that strikes a cord with readers, for Entrepreneur on Fire, it’s a new entrepreneur with his or her personal journey, and for Which Test Won, it’s an A/B test for a specific piece of marketing for a defined audience.
- Each article fulfills an audience need. Readers want the content and look forward to receiving it. It’s part of their regular content consumption diet.
- Each article is shareable. Readers want to share it. The act of sharing this content makes them look good.
What is NOT One Trick Pony Content
One Trick Pony content requires consistent servings of information using a pre-set format.
A blog carefully focused on a narrow niche such as JonLoomer.com ISN’T one trick pony content.
Jon Loomer laser-focuses on advanced Facebook marketing techniques. This enabled him to break into the Facebook marketing elite,
Loomer’s website and blog are consistently branded, almost to the point of being visually boring. But that works for him!
You know Loomer’s content regardless of the format, presentation or platform. His orange palette and photo say Jon Loomer.
But his content uses a variety of different techniques and hooks such as tests, podcasts and webinars.
Actionable Content Marketing Takeaway:
- Go more niche to stake out your content subject. Do your homework to understand how to define your content differently from your peers/competitors. Just because your blog posts have your name and branding isn’t sufficient to be distinct in today’s information-stuffed world.
How To Apply One Trick Pony Content To Your Marketing
While creating a quality, break-through one trick pony blog is difficult, these techniques can improve your content offering significantly.
The best way for content marketers and bloggers to use one trick pony content is to create a consistent weekly column.
As one out of two or more columns per week, one trick pony content provides publishing consistency. This is key for bloggers that need to create audience content expectations.
Actionable Content Marketing Take-aways:
Use one of these 3 types of weekly columns:
- Interviews. Borrow a page from the John Lee Dumas playbook. Determine whom your audience would like to hear from as well as the questions that interest them. Actionable Marketing Guide runs a weekly author interview series. Don’t limit yourself to influencers. Consider customers and employees.
- Other content formats. Many blogs incorporate podcasting into their content array. (Here’s the podcasting and audio content data.) Social Media Examiner’ Mike Stelzner is long-time podcasting fan with a regular Friday slot. By contrast, Moz’s Rand Fishkin has a White Board Friday that includes visuals, text and video.
- Content curation. Use your editorial skills to select the best of other people’s content and add your commentary to make it relevant to your audience. A number of blogs use curated content on a weekly basis such as Contently and GE Reports. Alternatively use an email newsletter like Scott Monty and Chris Penn. (Here’s the low down on content curation.)
The One Trick Pony Content Bottom Line
These 3 examples of one trick pony content work due to their niche, audience and content topic selection. They’ve gained mega-traction that most content marketers and bloggers only dream about.
If you can find an untapped niche with a strong point of differentiation, you have a chance of creating a one trick pony blog and making it work.
To this end you must know your audience and your competitors. You must be honest with yourself or you’re likely to be disappointed.
Examine not only your peers and competitors but also the big guys since they’ve got the audience and skills to go into adjacent categories. For example, Jon Loomer is expanding into entrepreneurship.
Then you must find a type of content that this audience needs that doesn’t exist elsewhere. Like John Lee Dumas, create your Jimmy.
If you can’t find a niche where you can use One Trick Pony content, fret not!
Instead, adapt the one trick pony approach to a weekly blog post or content article.
Incorporate weekly interviews, podcasts (or other content format) and content curation to your editorial calendar.
Make one trick pony content work for your audience and your business.
You can develop a weekly column, especially where other people do the heavy content creating.
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