Which is best?
3 min read

Which is best?

Yo! Welcome to the next episode of The Content Strategy Reeder where 5,254 creators get better at content strategy and creation in less than 5 minutes.

I have been called many things, but patient is not one of them.

And raising a toddler — despite how cute, loving, and genuinely wonderful she is — will test said lack of patience.

Which is a good thing because I want to be patient. My goal is Super Dad. Not a perfect dad, but an improving dad who does his best.

Last week after telling Rumi NOT to do something for the I-swear-to-God-I-can't-even-remember-how many times, I realized my approach was wasn’t working.

I felt crazy: Does she even hear me?? Something had to change, and it clearly wasn’t going to be my three foot mini me.

So I called Google for backup…

(Desperate, I know. But that’s what makes it funny?)

I know that SEO content is hit or (mostly) miss, but I wanted something, anything to help me out.

Two headlines caught my attention:

Always one for a good listicle, I clicked the first article.

It wasn’t bad, but it started with things I already knew: Call your child by their name (duh?), get down on your child’s level (yup, been there, ain’t workin’), and make eye contact (duh, again?).

Before bouncing, I skimmed the rest of the list in a couple seconds and finally found some OK tips.

But I didn’t feel like my Super Dad-ness had unlocked a new super power because while there were multiple suggestions, none of them made my eyebrows move. It was a list of B-level advice, and I needed more.

So I went to article number two, Do you want your toddler to listen? Stop telling them this.

Pretty sweet title. Yes, I want that. OK tell me the ONE thing to stop doing.

It was helpful that the article opened up with why toddlers don’t listen.

Then they hit me with the “aha!” moment:

If you want your toddler to listen, tell them what to do instead of what not to do.

They wrote, “Turn ‘Get off the table’ to ‘Put your feet on the ground.’ Turn ‘Stop hitting your sister’ to ‘Give your sister a kiss.’

Ahhhh. Stop saying “don’t” and “stop.” Very counterintuitive, and exactly what wasn't working with Rumi.

I put it into action immediately.

“Don’t stand on the chair” became “We sit on chairs.”
“Stop hitting Cudi” became “Be gentle with Cudi.”
“Don't step on daddy's new sneakers” became “It makes Daddy sad when you scuff his limited edition Jordans."

This article was a home run because it was insightful, relevant, and actionable.

And even better, it worked! Rumi listens significantly more often because I’m communicating with her in an effective way she can comprehend.

Super Dad: 1

Rumi: 2,423,552

(Yea she’s kicking my ass, but I’m on the board! 😁)

TL,DR (Toddler Lessons by Devin Reed)

If you’re going to create a listicle…

  • Lead with the most insightful tip to hook your reader
  • Prioritize quality over quantity. Better to have 5 great tips than 10 meh tips
  • Write a title that includes emotion and benefits (“empower” and “improve toddler listening”)

To create memorable, high-impact content…

  • Follow the formula for engaging content: insightful, relevant, actionable
  • Provide (at least) one new way to solve an existing problem using a reframe/counterintuitive method
  • Create a title that teases the “aha!” moment in your article (“Stop telling them this”)

Holler at you next Saturday,

Did you enjoy this episode of CSR? If so, you’d make me sing “Nikes on My Feet” by Mac Miller if you shared this link with your friends or on LinkedIn. Here’s an example from Dan Holly for inspiration.

More digital resources to boost your content game

  1. Catch up on previous newsletters here (scroll down to ‘Here’s what you missed’)
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