Content DNA nuggets

The relentlessly helpful® blog by John Espirian

1 September 2019
Content DNA nuggets

In a nutshell.

Content DNA is about defining the “shape” of your brand and then creating content that helps your business to be noticed, remembered and preferred.

🟦🟩🟧 Get the long list of brand values I mention in chapter 9.

Audio samples.

Listen to the audiobook on Audible: UKUSA

Here are some tasters from the book.

Identify your brand building blocks.


Writing your brand values down can help you see a bigger vision for your business. Avoid the fluffy and obvious.

You need 4–5 clear and differentiated building blocks, plus an anchor value to tie them all together.

Create a tone of voice (ToV) guide.


This is something you should think about creating as soon as you start hiring people.

Such a guide should contain practical language examples: “we say this” and “we don’t say that”.

Act consistently with your ToV guide.


You can’t write a friendly tone of voice guide and then send people stern email notices about account actions.

Your customers aren’t stupid and will see the joins.

Reflect snippets of your customers’ language back at them.


Learn how your customers actually talk and insert phrases in your content that will show them you understand that.

People will identify with those who look, sound and feel the same as them.

Make someone your brand guardian.


Businesses need someone to oversee all communications. A brand guardian isn’t just there for the visuals.

Words matter at all levels of business.

Create a “poison portrait”.

BitmoJohn with a snake

Identify the opposite of your ideal customer: the person you don’t want to serve.

This helps you make space for the people you do want to serve. I call my poison portrait the “salesy douche canoe”.

I want to do everything I can to keep him from contacting me and wasting my time.

Long-form content still works.

BitmoJohn looking bored at a desk

The average length of a blog post has increased by almost 40% in the past 4 years.

Consumers are bingeing on content more than ever. Short attention spans are a myth and are often used as an excuse.

People aren’t bored of long content: they’re bored of crap content.

Deliver memorable peak moments.


Going out of your way for people has rewards you can’t measure right now.

It’s much easier and more powerful to nurture relationships with existing clients than it is to hunt for new buyers.

Make sure your current clients and advocates feel loved, always.

We need pattern interrupts.


Consistency matters and doing the right thing in a repeatable way is important. But leave some room for surprise and delight.

A splash of pink goes well with all that white paint.

People trust 4.2–4.5 star ratings more than a perfect five.


Nobody trusts things that are too polished and perfect.

Leading with flaws and authenticity can increase trust and shorten buying cycles.

Copycats aren’t influential.


Creating your own content is much more effective than trying to Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V your way to influence.

Sharing your own thoughts – even if they’re inevitably inspired by others – will keep you a step ahead.

The money is in the silent watchers.


Most new clients will come from the 70%–90% of “lurkers” who consume your content but never reveal themselves on social media.

It can be easy to think that no one is watching when you first start creating content.

It can take 30 months or more to become known in your space. Don’t give up.

Interview snippet.

Here’s a quick bit of one of the interviews from chapter 31, with independent educator and social media star, Professor Ai Addyson-Zhang.

That’s the starter done. Fancy the main course?


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John Espirian

I’m the relentlessly helpful®️ LinkedIn nerd and author of Content DNA

I teach business owners how to be noticed, remembered and preferred.

Espresso+ is a safe space to learn how to ethically promote your business online and get better results on LinkedIn.

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