1. Be Controversial
If you have ever seen the movie “Private Parts”, then you may remember an exchange where Pig Vomit (played by Paul Giamatti) and a researcher (played by Peter Maloney) are discussing Howard Stern’s popularity:
Researcher: The average radio listener listens for 18 minutes. The average Howard Stern fan listens for – are you ready for this? – An hour and 20 minutes.
Pig Vomit: How can that be?
Researcher: Answer most commonly given? “I want to see what he’ll say next.”
Pig Vomit: OK, fine. But what about the people who hate Stern?
Researcher: Good point. The average Stern hater listens for two and a half hours a day.
Pig Vomit: But… if they hate him, why do they listen?
Researcher: Most common answer? “I want to see what he’ll say next.”
People love controversial topics, regardless of whether they agree with what you have to say. Just look at America’s fascination with Sarah Palin. She created controversy with just about everything she did. Some people love her, others hate her, but nonetheless, she’s stayed in the news.
Writing controversial content is a great way to get people to read your blog, share your posts, and comment on them, which drives social signals and activity. But you can’t just throw anything up on your blog.
Always support your claims with facts. If you make blanket statements with nothing to support them, your blogging efforts will backfire. Controversy and opinions can be tolerated if there’s something to back them up.
Additionally, make sure you pick a topic you’re familiar with. Lack of knowledge around a controversial subject will stick out like a sore thumb, and hurt your credibility. But most importantly, make sure any controversy that you get involved with adds value. It shouldn’t be hateful, spiteful or cheap. You want to get more loyal readers; not drive some quick traffic your way.
2. Top XX Lists
If you flip over to the NFL Network at any given time, there’s a good chance you’ll see one of their “top 10” shows. They have the top 10 quarterbacks, uniforms, undrafted players, draft busts, and many more.
The reason they air these so often is because people love lists. They’re easy to digest and don’t require a lot of thought. On the web, they’re easy to read as well if you format them with headings, ordered lists, or bold font subheaders.
Lists also attract links easier than other forms of content and are usually shared more often, leading to higher organic search engine rankings, visibility, and traffic.
3. Solve a Problem
Starting a headline with “How To” is one of the easiest ways to capture a reader’s attention. If they see that your content can solve their problem, you’re much more likely to hook them. They’ll come back to your blog time and time again for solutions if you’re able to provide them.
Find questions in your field or niche and come up with the best solution for them. Write them down in simple to follow directions, or use video.
Most businesses claim to be industry leaders, or experts. But people want proof; they want to be shown, not told. Being able to solve problems for your readers shows that you are an expert. And that builds trust.
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4. Take a Stand
Sometimes you have to cover current events in your blog. But just because everyone else is writing on the topic doesn’t mean you have to be as bland as they are. If you’re running a business, your blog can’t be a personal sounding board for opinions, but it can be strong.
The best way to get noticed is to take a stand. Write the article using objective facts but throw your opinion in the mix.
Not sure how to take a stand? Look at “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. He interjects his opinions into the news just as much as he is “reporting.” Dennis Miller was a master at this as well, and much more overt.
These days, blogs are everywhere; the content marketing trend is on the rise, and competition has become red hot. So, what are you doing to make your blog better than the rest?
Your blog should be your medium through which you build brand awareness, authority, credibility, and trust. It should drive traffic, leads, and sales. If it’s not doing that for you yet, it’s time to get strategic and competitive.
Outshine your competitors by simply being better than they are. Use these content tactics to achieve that.