“Stick a fork in it. Guest blogging is done.”… “Marriage isn’t for you.” … “Is PR dead?” …“Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy. Got your attention yet? And what does this have to do with content creation?
These article headlines created a stir among readers when they were published, primarily because they reveal a crystal clear point of view that inspires an immediate reaction. For many readers, these headlines led them to comment in outrage or support, share the article on their social channels, and take note of the writer.
The posts stood out among millions of other articles published on any given day. See how many blog posts are being published as you read this… it’s amazing.
So, as you begin a new year of content publishing and promoting, how can you create pieces that get noticed in the deluge of daily posts that pour into your target reader’s inbox and social feeds?
Bloggers are tackling that challenge every day.
In Orbit Media’s 3rd Annual Survey of 1000+ Bloggers, respondents reported that in an effort to get the best results from their content, they are publishing less frequently but spending 26% more time on articles and producing longer pieces – over 1000 words. It seems a focus on quality over quantity is emerging among dedicated bloggers.
For your brand to achieve momentum over time, however, you do need to publish frequently. Each new page of content is another opportunity for your readers – and the search engines, of course – to find you and engage. And the best blogs will include a mix of content, including:
- How-to’s that help readers solve problems (or highlight that they actually have one)
- Relevant company news and updates and what it means for readers
- Curated content and guest blogs from industry influencers
- Customer success stories that illustrate how your brand makes an impact
- Video, images, and infographics appeal to the variety of ways people like to consume content
But to truly make your content stand out, you need to publish pieces that take a stand on a topic. While it is fine to write articles that present best practices, share relevant information, or promote your latest offerings and upgrades, these posts do not allow you or your brand to shine as a thought leader, show personality, or invite engagement.
Why do these things matter?
They matter because the ultimate goal of your content is to build and maintain a strong relationship with your target audience. You just can’t do that by producing vanilla content that can be copied by any competitor. If your buyers can get the exact same information or insights from another brand, then you are not differentiating yourself.
When thinking about how to produce more memorable, meaningful articles that put forth an opinion, consider these strategies:
Choose topics that you feel passionate about.
One of our writers told me that she loves interviewing certain clients’ subject matter experts because they get so fired up about their specialties that the enthusiasm is contagious, and it makes creating strong content easier.
Consider subjects that will require a reader to say “I agree” or “I disagree” with this point of view.
The goal is that however they feel, they will share or respond to your content and come back for more.
Use your personal life to create more memorable professional content.
Your readers will build stronger connections with you and your brand if you reveal a bit about your hobbies, interests, or family life. Michael Katz is so good at this, and he has built a great following by showing who he is and having a strong point of view that inspires unique content.
Practice good judgment when thinking about truly controversial topics.
You may want to start small by sharing a passion related to your work. For example, our team recently had a hot, hilarious debate about the Oxford comma, and there were some very strong opinions that would make a great article for grammar geeks.
Crazy headlines are OK but avoid the bait and switch.
Few things are more annoying to a reader than clicking on a promising headline only to get to a wishy-washy article. Strong headlines demand strong content, so do your homework and fulfill your headline’s promise.
Prepare yourself for when you venture into bigger opinion pieces
Dive deeper into topics in your industry, business in general, or the world at large as the stakes get higher. Back up your opinions with facts where you can or with your reasoning for coming to your conclusion. And be ready for people to disagree.
Adding some “real you” into your content in 2017 is a surefire way to see stronger results. Your readers are waiting!
Author Bio: Maureen O’Grady Condon is a principal of Precision Marketing Group, LLC. For 25+ years, Maureen’s career has focused on strategically creating content that connects with the right audience, with the right message, at the right time. Her firm, a HubSpot Platinum Partner Agency, provides outsourced marketing services for privately held B2B organizations that are committed to adopting inbound marketing strategies.