Content Creation

10 Tips for Building Solid Relationships With Your Content

Anyone can create content today. Tools are easy to use, publishing platforms wildly accessible, research materials plenty. Even the expectation of quality isn’t as high as it used to be. And so business after business jump on the content marketing craze, hoping to gain from this new marketing phenomena.

But most of them fail. Miserably.

No reader visits their blogs, videos gain no traction and presentations gather dust in a dark corner of an obscure server somewhere.

All for a simple reason – failure to build relationships with an audience.

Why promote your brand with content.

Content is a powerful tool. It increases your brands visibility, widens your reach and inspires word of mouth.

But that’s not all.

Content can help you engage an audience and grow a customer base. It can position your company or brand as an influencer. And the connection you build through it helps you build a buyers trust.

But none of this will ever happen, unless you build relationship with your audience first. 

When you do so, you turn complete strangers in powerful allies. They’re more likely to pay attention to what you say, stand by your ideals and consider you when looking for products or services.

5 Content Types that Build Relationships

1. Educational Resources

When most people search online, they are looking for answers or information about a specific problem. Moreover, visitors to your site are not interested in your products. They come in search of a solution or answer to a particular problem.

Create a platform to educate people on those issues. By teaching and helping them to overcome those issues you make them see you as a trusted resource. One they will be glad to refer to in the future.

There are two approaches you can take to educate your audience: webinars and online courses.

A webinar is an online version of a typical seminar run at colleges and other educational institutions online. The only difference is that unlike with offline seminar, webinars can be attended by unlimited participants from around the globe.

Webinars happen in real time but once they’re done, that’s it. You can of course repurpose them into other content types but they will always be limited to here and now. Whenever you want to create more permanent and evergreen educational resource, you should consider offering online courses or tutorials accessible online at any time. These courses can focus on a particular issue or teach everything there is to know about the subject. You can make them free or paid as well to better segment your audience.

My friend Chris uses his course teaching how to promote a business with whitepapers to promote his new startup company he’s currently building.

There are some key benefits of engaging users through educational content:

  • it demonstrates your credibility. A person that learnt something from you will always consider you a credible resource.
  • it creates word of mouth. People whom you helped to overcome  problems may be talking about your courses or webinars.
  • it can generate qualified leads. Educational content gives customers a chance to sample your services and set better expectations about you and your service.

2. Graphical Content

Images are easy to consume. Most readers absorb visual data much quicker than written word. According to Zabisco, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. Moreover, 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text (source: Hubspot).

Some of the visual content types that engage audience include:

Infographics. According to AnsonAlex, publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t.

Infographics stand out from other content types because they are a great vehicle to tell a story. This example from mashable  or this one from visua.ly are great examples of brands telling storiesy through images.

The power of Infographics lies in them focusing on a single topic and presenting data about it in a simple and easy to absorb form.

Videos – Videos convey much more than words, it’s a scientifically proven fact. According to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research, a minute of video carries the same value as … 1.8 million words! Moreover, 85% of the US internet audience watches videos online (source: Nielsen). And, 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute (source: Youtube).

Data like this clearly states why videos are a must use content type for engagement.

Slideshare presentations. Slideshare is a popular platform to submit your presentations too. And, it works. It can serve as another PR channel, building your thought-leadership, increase your brand awareness, traffic to the site and needless to say, those presentations are much easier and cheaper to create. You can repurpose old content and even blog posts into successful presentations (here’s my own example of turning a blog post into a presentation).

3. Long Form Content

It can be hard to define long content. For some people it can be anything over 700 words or couple of minutes of video. To others a long form blog post would be one in excess of 2000 words. That’s irrelevant. As the name suggests it has to be a longer content providing more in-depth information.

And, it works. Wordstream noticed that their average time on site tripled after they switched to primarily long form content. They also noticed that long form content formed the majority of posts ranking at number on in Google.

4. Quick Tips

Long content is highly engaging but similarly, a very short, less than 500 words post can make an impact. Kevin Delaney, Editor-in-Chief at a business news site Quartz believes that posts below or over 800 words have the highest likelihood of success.

5. Entertaining Content

Your content shouldn’t be all about educating though. Your audience might need a break from time to time and simply be entertained. After all, entertainment is the second reason people go online, and the first why they go on social media sites.

Therefore, consider using some fun content types too:

Quizzes. Competitions are not only means of promotion. A simple quiz, like this one by SERPs.com, measuring the persons obsession with Google updates can engage your audience while offering some information they might not know in a fun and absorbing way.

The biggest power of quizzes is that they are highly shareable. Not only people will share their results but also talk to their friends about it.

Cartoons and Comic Strips. Often, a single cartoon can tell more than the lengthiest post. And it can also make your audience giggle, like this one I created few months ago.

Games. Everyone likes to play games from time to time. Some of us get even seriously hooked up on them. And I am sure your audience would appreciate a simple game, even though its revolving around your topic of speciality (like this magazine that turned its front cover into a game).

5 More Tips for Building Relationships with Content

6. Be customer centric

Understanding your customers needs and problems is a great start in building relationships. But to make a real impact, try to include your audience in your content. Use customer stories to illustrate your points or show examples of your solutions successes. This will show your audience your dedication and respect for them.

7. Be reliable 

Nothing damages someone’s trust like a broken promise. And content marketing is one way of making promises to your audience. Stick to expectations you set. Publish and deliver whenever and whatever you promised.

8. Never sacrifice the quality

Your audience quickly gets used to your typical level of quality. Yet, it’s easy to sacrifice it and publish a lower quality post just to meet the deadline.

9. Be yourself

Whatever you publish, do it with your own voice. Audiences can tell when someone’s pretending, it shows quite clearly. Instead, stick to your own story, that’s what makes you interesting. And if you don’t know your story yet, consider bringing an external help, a journalist perhaps to observe your work and discover it.

10. Deliver value, every time

Lastly, regardless of what content type you use, focus on delivering value. Don’t publish something only for the sake of meeting the deadline but always put your audience first.

How To Choose The Right Content Type To Turn Visitors Into Customers

contentforcustomers

An abundance of content types allows you to connect with prospective customers. But how do you choose which content types are more suited for achieving certain goals?

Content offers you an opportunity to be a part of a buyers journey. Regardless whether they seek specific answers or to compare alternatives, being where your customers will turn for information gives you a chance to increase brand awareness and likelihood of a purchase.

But is just creating content enough? Does it matter what content type you use? Is a blog, the most popular content type after all, enough to attract new buyers and increase sales?

The answer lies in understanding how people buy online and what motifs drive them to specific content. And then, in mapping different content types to different stages of the buying process.

Understanding Buyer Behavior Online

To plan which content types will work best and you first must understand how customers behave when they shop online. There are 5 distinct stages of a typical buying process:

  1. Need Recognition – this is a stage in which a person realizes a problem or a need.
  2. Information/Solution Search – knowing about a problem, a person starts to gather initial information about its causes as well as available solutions.
  3. Evaluation – next, a person begins to evaluate them to establish which one is the most suitable solution to their problem.
  4. Purchase Decision – this is a stage when the person selects a particular solution and makes a decision to buy it.
  5. Post-Purchase Evaluation (Buyer’s Remorse) – at this stage customers begin to question their purchase decision. This is when they might decide to return an item. It is therefore important to develop systems to reassure customers of their decision.

Those 5 stages of the buying cycle relate to what’s known as buyer intents – objectives every customer has in mind when deciding to search for a specific information.

We distinguish 3 separate buyer intents online.

The Intent to Learn 

Customer with this intent haven’t fully realised the problem they have. They do know there is something wrong but can’t define it yet.

When you create content for this group of customers, your role is to help them to understand their problem, not offer solutions. You need to focus on educating them about their problem, rather suggesting any solutions you may have on offer.

The Intent to Compare

Customers at this level understand their problem and are ready to start evaluating their options. Their buying mood is higher, although they are not ready to make the final decision yet. Therefore content aimed at this group should focus on highlighting benefits of your solution and providing all the information a customer might need to make an informed decision to buy.

The Intent to Order

Lastly, customers with this intent are ready to buy a solution they selected. They already know what they want and are ready to place the order. A content aimed for this group should move them swiftly through the buying process.

What Content Types Work With Each Buyer Intent?


Intent to Learn

Those customers haven’t realized their problem fully, yet. Your job is to educate them about it.

The most effective content types for this include:

  • Blog posts
  • Guides
  • How-to guides
  • Short videos

Intent to Compare

When creating content for this group, you need to focus more on showcasing the benefits of your solution. Ideal content types for this group would include:

  • Videos
  • Presentations
  • Demos
  • Slideshare presentations
  • Testimonials
  • Images of product in use

Intent to Buy

The aim for content targeting this group is to offer the quickest path to purchase. You must use content types that offer almost instantaneous option to buy, before the customer has an opportunity to change their mind. Content types to create for this group:

  • Product pages
  • Sales pages
  • Landing pages

How To Apply This Knowledge To Real Life

Turning this theory into practice, let’s pretend that you run an online store selling smartphones. Your task is to develop content that will engage your audience and will turn them into buying customers. Let’s also pretend that you want to specifically target freelancers and business people who are often on the road and potentially need a solid computer replacement to perform certain tasks while out of the office.

Here is one way to do it:

Content aimed at customers with the Intent to Learn:

  1. Blog post – 10 Ways Smartphones Have Already Replaced Your Laptop at Work
  2. Blog post – Benefits of using smartphones thank computers when on the road
  3. Blog Post – Smartphone Office, Yay or Nay?
  4. Cheat sheet – Things To Pay Attention To When Buying A Smartphone For Work
  5. Cheat sheet – A Typical Smartphone Terminology
  6. Blog post or video – How To Evaluate If A Particular Smartphone Is Good For Me

Customers with the Intent to compare:

  1. Video – A Review Of Two Phones From The Same Range
  2. eBook – What’s Inside My Phone (And Why Knowing This Matters)
  3. Case study – How A Phone Helped This Freelancer Grow Her Business (On Holidays!)
  4. Webinar – Setting Up A Mobile Office In Your Smartphone

Customers with the Intent to buy:

  1. A smartphones product page
  2. Landing Page for a particular line of smartphones
  3. Regular newsletter with new phones, business app reviews as well as tips & tricks and customer stories
  4. In Depth blog post on Samsung Galaxy S4 as a mobile office machine

Conclusion

There is an abundance of content types you can create to be a part of your customers buying journey. Not all of them work on the same stages of the buying cycle. It is imperative though that you educate your customers through appropriate content types mapped to where they are in their journey.

How To Write A Great Roundup Post

How To Write a Roundup Post

It may sound counterintuitive, but when done correctly, sending readers away from your site is one of the best ways to keep them coming back. That’s the idea behind content curation.

Before we dive into the details of roundup posts, let’s define the term curation. As Neicole Crepeau writes on Convince & Convert, curation “is the art and science of finding and sharing quality content on a specific topic.” It’s the dirty work that helps readers understand an industry, event, person or product.

Robin Good breaks down the traits of a successful curator in his excellent post, Content Curation Is Not Content Marketing.

The content curator characterizing traits:

1. Is not after quantity. Quality is his key measure.

2. Does not ever curate something without having thoroughly looked at it, multiple times.

3. Always provides insight as to why something is relevant and where the item fits in its larger collection (stream, catalog, list, etc.)

4. Adds personal evaluation, judgment, critique or praise.

5. Integrates a personal touch, in the way it presents the curated object.

6. Provides useful information about other related, connected or similar objects of interest.

7. Credits and thanks anyone who has helped in the discovery, identification and analysis of any curated item and links relevant names of people present in the content.

8. Does not ever republish content “as is” without adding extra value to it.

9. Does not curate, select, personalize or republish his own content in an automated way.

10. Discloses bias, affiliation and other otherwise non self-evident contextual clues.

One of the most straightforward ways to curate content is write roundup posts. Even though the meat of the content is written by someone else, these posts can be extremely valuable for audience development, reader engagement, SEO and lead conversion. Let’s take a look at how it’s done.

Step 1: Identify sources.

A strong roundup is only as good as its sources. You need to find the most interesting and insightful content possible, meaning you need to unearth new and interesting articles. The first step is automating the collection of good information. Using tools like an RSS reader (Feedly is our favorite), Google Alerts, IFTTT and Twitter lists, you will be able to manage huge amounts of information. Here are a few other interesting content discovery tools:

This is a great start, but it’s not enough to monitor the same feeds all the time. You need variety. There are many places to find new bloggers in your industry but social media and message boards are great places to start. Identify the most-used hashtags in your vertical and monitor them on Twitter and Google+. Get involved in subreddits and forums to meet new people and share ideas. These are great ways to uncover new and interesting content written by up-and-comers in your vertical.

As you find content to highlight, use tools like Evernote, Honey and Pocket to save, tag and organize it. When it comes time to write, everything you need will be in one place.

Step 2: Cite, cite, cite.

The quickest way to upset influential bloggers and lost your readers’ trust is to “lift” content. Roundup posts are, by nature, collections of content written by someone else. The goal is to spread ideas, not take credit for someone else’s work. Done right, a roundup makes it abundantly clear who wrote the posts, tweeted the tweets or published the videos you are curating. Always link to their site, blog or Twitter handle. In fact, it’s wise to let them know in advance so they can tell you where to link. Use do-follow links so the sources can get credit from Google also.

Step 3. Look at what influencers are publishing.

Here’s are some examples of how some of the best curators approach roundups:

Here are examples of roundups that I post on a weekly basis:

Roundups are a great opportunity to embed media like YouTube videos, tweets and Facebook posts into your articles Visual, engaging and interactive content goes a long way towards bringing readers back to your site for the next roundup.

Step 4. Be consistent.

In general, content marketing is a long term strategy. The most successful sites publish great content on a regular basis for years. Roundups rely even more on consistency to work. They depend heavily on subscription-based tools like email marketing and social media as opposed to SEO.

One of the keys to curation is providing analysis and value. This will not and can never happen in a single blog post. Earning the trust of readers takes months and possibly years.

Blogger Peter Larson, also known as the Blogologist, recently provided insight into the growth of his popular site RunBlogger. He writes that it took a year to get his blog up and running.

I want to emphasize this point: unless you have an existing online following from another site, or some other existing platform/audience that will help draw traffic to your site immediately (e.g, you’re a famous book author, public figure, etc.), you really need to take a long-term view when starting a blog. Don’t get discouraged by low traffic numbers initially, if you put in the necessary effort they will rise over time.

Curation works but it’s hard work. Give the strategy at least six months and, as always, pay attention Google Analytics and other data to tweak your work as you progress.

Step 5. Promote it.

As we mentioned above, roundups rely on relationships, meaning that curated posts might not bring in the organic traffic that your other articles do. They can, however, establish meaningful relationships with your target readers.

Perhaps the best way to build an audience around a weekly roundup post is an email newsletter. In 2009, Instapaper creator Mark Armstrong started a blog called Longreads which highlights great longform journalism. Using an email newsletter and Twitter, Armstrong built the site in the destination for discoing longform content. The site has since been partnered with Atlantic Media and attracted 125,000 Twitter followers.

If you are just getting started, make sure you are collecting email addresses from day one. Get in the habit of creating and sending an email newsletter each week. Even if you only have a handful of subscribers, these people could be the foundation of something truly great.

Do you have questions about curation or examples of great roundup posts? Let us know in the comments.

10 Essential Components of a Killer Blog Post

pencil

Do you sometimes wonder what makes one blog post tick with its audience and the other one sink deep never to be remembered again?

Great ideas, sure. But that’s not all. Ideas on their own don’t make great posts. They are important, but they’re not everything.

Emotional connection with a reader. Yes, that too. After all, your blog post must somehow speak to the people in the way they want to hear. But that’s still not all.

The final element is form. Even the greatest idea won’t catch if it’s not dressed in a way a reader expects and understands. Below is a list of essential components making that form.

Essential Elements of a Killer Blog Post

The Obvious Stuff

1. A Solid and Original Idea

This may sound like a no brainer but I am often amazed by the amount of content that lacks original ideas.

But here’s the brutal truth. The number of ideas you can come up for your content is limited – by your knowledge of the subject, experience, involvement, motivation to learn new things or creativity. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive to at least present the topic in a completely new light, through your personal experience.

2. A Catching Headline

According to Copyblogger

“Without a headline or post title that turns a browser into a reader, the rest of your words may as well not even exist”

A headline is what your readers will see first, be it on social media, in their RSS readers or Google search results.

A good headline’s job is to grab the readers attention and make them desire to click on the post to find out more. Ultimately, your headline makes a promise of what the post is going to deliver.

There is a lot of advice for writing catchy headlines on the web. Personally I have found Jeff Groins formula or these ideas from Copyblogger to be bang on.

3. A Mesmerizing Introduction

A headline is a promise of value you aim to deliver in the post. Those first few sentences after it are supposed to reassure your reader that she made a good call by clicking on your headline.

But a good introduction plays one more role in your post than just reaffirming the readers choice. It also pushes them to read more. It introduces the problem you write about and glides the reader to start reading about solutions you prescribe.

Introduction is also one of those elements readers carefully read. Don’t take my word for it. Just look at this typical reader behavior. The image below shows how we read. Notice that the top of the post is read in full but then readers start to skim the copy, almost fly through the middle bit only to regain their concentration closer to the conclusion.

web reading pattern

(source)

And here is the trick. Unless you grab your readers attention with your opening statement, they won’t go any further.

And for more information on how to start your post with a bang, check out this short guide.

4. Subheadings

When skimming your copy, your readers need a road map. They need to know where they are at all times, if only to know whether they should stop and focus a bit more on a particular passage.

Subheadings create those road signs marketing the readers journey through the post. They make the post much more pleasurable to read. Just compare two versions of this very post. One written without any subheadings, the other properly formatted. Which one looks more inviting to read?

blog post formatting

(Image from Rob Cubbon’s great post on blog post formatting. Seriously, read it!)

5. A Strong Conclusion

Conclusion is one of the most commonly ommited elements of a blog post. I think I can understand why so many writers decide not to write it though. It’s hard to summarize a post into one or two paragraphs once all points have been made.

Yet, your users will be looking for a form of conclusion. It gives them a chance to get a quick summary of your ideas and discover if there isn’t anything they’ve missed while skimming your copy.

The Not-So Obvious Stuff

The above is what your reader would immediately notice if missing. But that’s not all when it comes to creating a killer blog post.

Here are few other things you should remember about:

1. Proper Research & References

Facts, figures, references – they are what make a solid post today. They also show that you have made your homework, researched the topic thoroughly instead of just writing a very shallow advice. And they give a visual clue too. Just check how this post by Dan Shure uses images to introduce complex ideas.

2. Solid Formatting

I already spoke about a reader behavior. You know that your readers won’t read every word of your post. Therefore, in order to communicate all your ideas you should format the post to make it as easy to skim as possible. Elements such as:

  • bulleted lists
  • text in bold
  • italics
  • images
  • graphs
  • banners

will make it much faster for your reader to absorb information.

3. Videos

Videos are very helpful to gaining the users attention to a particlular idea you try to convey in a section of your post. Being very visual they are also great at helping them to regain their focus. Here’s an example, notice how the video is strategically placed in the middle of the post.

4. Quotes

Quotes from industry leaders make up for quite an interesting content. And regardless of whether you are one too, they add a seal of approval to your writing.

There is also one more aspect of them – posts including quotes get shared more than ordinary posts.

5. Citations and References

Pointing your readers to more advanced resources is a surefire way to increase the value you deliver. But, a common mistake is to simply link to popular blogs in your area. What if you’d put some effort into this and referenced academic writing, research papers and findings, reports or whitepapers instead? Especially if you want your post to build your image of authority, such references can only increase your perception as an expert in your field.

Conclusion

Not every blog post reads well. Similarly, even those that do rarely leave an impact on you. Ideas and emotional connection play a significant role in making a post memorable. However, the final, equally important element is form a reader understands and expects.

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A Super Simple 5-Day Plan to Creating Remarkable Content

There are plenty of great reasons to write a blog post.

Aside from having something interesting to say (which should be a given), you may want to convince readers to take action. Present your point of view on a current event. Or show off your writing skills. Or …. nevermind. It’s all rubbish anyway.

What you really want is attention.

You want others to notice, discuss, share and remember your ideas. Full stop.

But it takes a remarkable content to achieve this.

Everyday thousands of writers publish their carefully crafted words. All in hope for gaining attention. But the amount of content produced gets to a point where readers can no longer keep up with it. After all, there is only so much information an average reader can absorb.

To combat this, they develop skills to select only the remarkable content and ignore the rest. Your only way to get noticed is to create content that will pass that criteria.

Quality vs. Quantity

There is an ongoing discussion in writing circles. What’s better – posting one killer post a week or three average ones.

It is however pointless as with the flood of content today, it’s almost impossible to keep up the remarkable quality over many posts a week anyway.

Therefore, posting one smashing post a week is a much better strategy long term. This way you will attract attention, establish your authority. Not to mention encourage people to share your information.

And this is what I am going to show you:

Day 1: Find Your Unique Take

Here’s the secret of a remarkable content, it’s unique.

And no, it does not mean that it covers a completely new topic. In fact, it often focuses on well know ideas but presents them in a completely new light.

And finding that unique take is the first step in creating it. Here are some ways you can try to achieve this:

Create a Mind Map

Mind maps are great ways to throw outlines of ideas on the paper. They are also easy to use. You can start by listing the most general aspects of your topic and move deeper into each branch from there. Don’t try to be original, just write down everything you know about the subject. Expand on each section, splitting it into its most generic elements.

Soon you will realize that the deeper into the subject you go, the more new elements of it you discover. What’s more, you may also discover connections between various aspects of it you have never thought of before.

Employ Lateral Thinking Methods to Generate Fresh Ideas

Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono is, in my humble opinion a book every writer should read and learn by heart. It presents a system of techniques to generate new and unique ideas. Of course, explaining the whole system would take too long. But here are some of the tools de Bono advocates to use to generate ideas:

Random Entry Idea Generating Tool: The premise is simple – choose an object at random, or a noun from a dictionary and associate it with the subject you are thinking about. The idea is that such unthinkable connection might spun a new wave of ideas about your subject.

Provocation Idea Generating Tool: This method involves using techniques such as wishful thinking, exaggeration, reversal, distortion to provocate a completely new way of thinking of a subject.

The key to success in this exercise is to think in general terms. Don’t focus too much on details, rather on the idea you want to explore.

Day 2: Create an Outline

Finding a unique take is an exhaustive exercise, I agree. It is still only the start of the process. Next step is to turn your idea into a roadmap for your post.

Start by opening that mind map or a list of ideas you created. Go through your notes once again. Highlight all elements you think should form individual sections of the article. Next, delete those you think are irrelevant or add nothing new to the topic.

What you should end up with is a list of your all sections in your article.

Write them all down as a list and reorder to form a logical story. Remember, your article should flow from introduction through different aspects of the problem. It should introduce solutions to it and end with a conclusion. It has to read naturally, even if you only skim the headlines.

Day 3: Write an Initial Draft

The last two days were all about slowly analyzing your topic and generating ideas.

Today is quite the opposite. Today I want you to feel as if you were in a race. You need to write, as fast as you can in fact.

Writing a first draft is a tough job. You want your words to make the most impact. But you can’t achieve it with the first version of your article. Trying to do so, might get you to end up like Joseph Grand, a character from Albert Camus’ novel “The Plague”. Although he claims to be writing a book, in reality continuously rewrites the first sentence and can’t go any further.

Don’t be like Joseph Grand. Don’t be obsessed with your first draft. Rememeber, writing a first draft is not about quality. It’s about getting words on a page.

Once your draft is over, leave it. Your work for today is done. Don’t read through it, as tempting it might be to do so. Don’t try to rewrite anything, change order of paragraphs, nothing. You need to clear your mind from those words. Otherwise editing them will be a nightmare.

Day 4: First Revisions

With your first draft done you are ready for the second secret of remarkable content-form.

Your first draft is awful. In fairness, reading it a day after writing can be a painful exercise. Poor structure, grammar, no style, it’s all there. That’s OK though. Your ideas are on a paper, that’s what counts. Now you can turn them into a great copy.

Editing Plan to Follow

  1. Start off by going through the entire draft. Check if you included everything you wanted. If not, add that stuff in.
  2. Work on your lead. That’s what you should focus the most. The opening sentence and following 2 paragraphs are what’s going to hook the reader to your copy. There are some things you should rememebr:
    1. You should open with a bang. Check this article for some proven ways how to do so.
    2. It should also match the headline. Remember, headline is the first thing your reader is going to see. It is what will make them to start reading the copy. Your first few lines of text should reassure them that they made the right choice.
  3. Edit one section at a time. Never go through the entire copy at once. Working in small chunks will ensure you won’t get a copy fatigue. Work through each section, edit, re-write and move copy around as needed. Keep tweaking until it’s just right.
  4. Read each section aloud while editing. Hearing how your words sound makes you see then in a new light. You can also use a dedicated software or if you are on a Mac, the built in text to speech functionality .
  5. Don’t be afraid to cut out entire paragraphs or even sections. If something doesn’t read right or doesn’t add any value to the story, cut it out. Sometimes it’s easier to do so than to try and fix it.

Editing is a lengthy process. It can take up to few hours to go through the entire copy. On average it takes me few times longer to edit a post than to write its first draft. Block at least couple of hours for editing. Don’t just skim through text looking for typos. Make sure that every sentence pushes your reader to the next one.

Day 5: Final Edits and Headline

Let’s be honest, one day of edits isn’t enough to create a remarkable content. You need to step away from your copy once more and come back with fresh mind to it. That’s the aim of this last day, to go through the copy one last time. You will still find sentences to improve or thoughts that aren’t clearly defined.

Once again, spend a great deal of time working on your copy. Once done, run it through software like Hemingwayapp to see if you haven’t missed anything.

After that, move to the headline.

25 Headlines

Many writers prefer to write the headline first. I believe this is counter productive. At this stage your ideas aren’t fully defined and nothing is set on paper. Writing a headline at that point limits your options to pivot with your topic.

Instead, I prefer to write my headlines once all edits are done. Naturally, I have a working title in my head all the time. It is far from the final one anyway.

When doing so, I use the 25 headlines formula I learned from Gareth Moon’s post here. It is based on Tim Hurson’s idea of third thirds. It says that if you are are looking to generate 100 different ideas, they will generally fall into three different groups.

The first third(up to idea 33): a group of most obvious picks. These will be quite typical and not that creative ideas.

The second third (idea 34 to 67): In the second third, your ideas will start to gain some momentum. This is where you start thinking more creatively.

The third third (ideas 68 – 100): Since you have used the most obvious picks and already started thinking more creatively, this approach will flourish in this group. This is where the most unique and innovative ideas happen.

Of course writing 100 headline ideas to a post would be time consuming. That’s why Gareth suggests going for 25. This way you can generate enough ideas to cover all groups and have enough material to choose from.

At the end of this entire process you should have a beautifully crafted post with a unique take on a topic – a truly remarkable content.

Conclusion

There are many reasons to write a blog post. From communicating great ideas to the most important one, gaining readers attention and building an audience. For that however you need nothing less but content that’s truly remarkable. Anything else won’t work.

The Best of the “Best of the 2013”

2013 was a huge year for content. Marketers finally made headway in the battle for the Internet’s attention, and as evidenced by the chart below, content was top-of-mind for quite a few searchers.

content marketing search trends

Traditionally, news stories get the most attention online but content marketing has opened new doors for marketers looking to grow their audiences online. At the end of the year, many of the web’s most prominent publishers took a look at their analytics and rounded up their most popular stories. We examined some of the best of the “best of” lists to get an idea of what kind of content spurred sharing and attracted searchers in 2013.

Google Zeitgeist

This annual production offers an in-depth look at what people searched for in many different categories. The most-searched topics in 2013 were the deaths of Paul Walker and Nelson Mandela, and the Boston Marathon bombing. Scroll down the list, however, to see what memes, brands and even reality TV stars had our attention last year.

Google Zeitgeist

YouTube: Year in Review

Videos are often the most viral form of content. That was especially true in 2013. What Does the Fox Say? led the way with 350 million views. For perspective, that’s more than 2,000 combined years of time … simply amazing. See the rest here.

The Year in Digg

The kings of curation collected 21,303 stories in 2013. Their editors poll data from social media and hand-pick viral, insightful and sometimes controversial content to share with their readers. By balancing data and editorial judgement, then measuring the results, their year in review offers and interesting glimpse into what readers want in content.

digg year in review

TIME: Top 10 Everything of 2013

As a major news and lifestyle publisher, TIME has the opportunity to explore a number of different audiences. You can get lost in this collection of 54 lists and hundreds of stories, which in itself is a lesson on the value of re-purposing content.

TIME 2013

Reddit: The front page of 2013

Memes and viral content are often born on Reddit. There is plenty of trending news and timely content that gets shared on the boards, but where Reddit really shines is unearthing GIFs, pictures and stories the world has never seen before.

The lists above offer a look at pop culture in general but let’s take a look at some niche content to see what resonated with readers in different verticals. Some topics may be irrelevant to your work, but it’s important to see how smart publishers are communicating.

Let’s also take a look at the two biggest viral hits of 2013. Neither were accidental, and in fact, each was the result of careful planning and social media savvy.

Commander Chris Hadfield: Space Oddity

More than 21 million views later, it’s clear that Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is a content-creating genius. What you might not know, however, is that he has quite a bit of help distributing and promoting his content.

Hadfield’s son Evan helps with social media strategy and promotion. When asked about his dad’s Twitter account, Evan noted that his dad understands that he has access to valuable information but wasn’t sure how to make it accessible and shareable. As he told Teaching Kids News, “There is a difference between tweeting and tweeting in a way that people can respond to and enjoy properly.”

Copyblogger recently recognized Evan’s work as an example of how content creators can get a better understanding of their audience.

  • Understanding what the audience wants.
  • Understanding how different formats work together.
  • Understanding what makes content shareable.
  • Understanding how content creates the overarching message you want.
  • Understanding how to drive the behavior you need, whether it’s a sale, an email opt-in, or international support for the planet’s patchwork of space programs.

It takes a lot of trail and error but smart strategists can measure data against their editorial judgement to create content that thrives.

Batkid Saves Gotham City

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is famous for making wishes come true, but they outdid themselves when they helped five-year-old cancer survivor Miles Scott save Gotham City. The effort, which you can read about in detail here, had all the telltale signs of a social media phenomenon but needed help from the experts. Clever Girls Collective, a social media marketing firm in San Jose, Calif., volunteered their skills and the rest is history.

There were 406,960 tweets on the day of the event, using either the #batkid or #SFBatkid hashtag on Twitter. Mashable also announced that Batkid was discussed in a total of 117 countries, and the news reached somewhere between 750 million-1.7 billion people worldwide, according to social-media agency Clever Girls Collective. More than 21,683 Instagram and Twitter photos were posted by Friday afternoon.14] This single [Buzzfeed article garnered over 2.5 million hits within 3 days of the event. Public interest brought so much traffic to the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s website that it crashed.

Clever Girls detailed their carefully-planned social strategy, which you can read here.

A Few Lessons in Engagement:

  • Get visual. People love images. Whether its photos, graphs, charts, data visualizations, infographics or videos, building visual elements into content can improve engagement and share-ability.
  • Be the source. The biggest digital wins go to the sources of great content. Tactics like news-jacking can be helpful but shouldn’t be the primary method of content creation. To generate original content, interview smart people, research open data and post your own original ideas.
  • Go big. You will notice that a lot of the content that thrived in 2013 was big, either in length or preparation. Don’t be afraid to invest in big content because it’s usually worth it.
  • Create your own “best of” list. Why should everyone get to have all the fun? Even small blogs have the opportunity to repurpose their own content. The year’s end is the perfect time to reflect on your work. It’s a nice way to gain perspective on what your readers are interested in, learn for next year and maybe even earn some new visitors.

What was your favorite content of 2013? Let us know in the comments.

Guest Blogging Tips Even Matt Cutts Would Approve Of

Matt Cutts, Google’s head of webspam, recently came down on guest blogging in a big way. In a post on his personal blog, Cutts had this to say about one of SEO’s most popular link building tactics:

Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.

That’s a broad, sweeping statement that has a potentially enormous impact on the content marketing community. Keeping in mind that Cutts wrote this on his personal blog, not an official Google outlet, it’s important to consider the implications of Cutts’ post. First, there is nothing wrong with guest blogging unless it’s done in a spammy way. Anyone who runs a website has gotten the emails promising free content in exchange for links. These days, that’s on par with keyword stuffing and doorway pages. Low-quality is obvious to Google, and more importantly, to your readers.

Conversely, there is a entirely legitimate guest blogging operation happening on some of the best sites on the Internet. It’s called journalism. Journalists frequently write for multiple sites and it’s hard to imagine that Google would want to bury their articles on the 15th page of search results. In each case, authors write for different sites. The difference is simply quality.

 

Here are some actionable tips to keep your site visible in search and your readers engaged with your content.

3 Ways to Avoid Guest Blog Spam

  1. Think like a journalist. Despite the fact that most journalists are cynical about content marketing, all writers can learn a thing or two from seasoned journalists. First and foremost, a good journalist will never publish an article that isn’t insightful, accurate and authoritative. You want guest bloggers that are well-known to your audience and engaged in the community. Anything less is disservice to your readers. As a general rule, if someone wants to write for free, you should be wary.
  2. Insist all contributors use Authorship. Imagine if you could check a writer’s authority by running their Google+ profile through a tool like Open Site Explorer. We aren’t there yet but when Google Authorship officially becomes a ranking factor, it will solve a lot of the problems Cutts discusses in his post. To prepare yourself for the future, insist that anyone who writes on your site has authorship setup properly.
  3. Stick with quality over quantity. Remember, less great content is better than more mediocre content. The best blogs serve their readers first. Strong search traffic is merely a side effect. Jerod Morris nails it in his recent Copyblogger post:

    Google fails as a search engine if it starts penalizing sites that deliver quality content just because that content happens to be in the form of a guest post. And we all fail as publishers if we follow a strategy of chasing hypothetical algorithm changes.

    Quality will always win.

    There are plenty of sites that use multiple contributors who will never have to worry about getting dinged by Google. Here are a few examples:

3 Ways to Use Guest Blogging Effectively

  1. Think social. It’s never a good idea to write for search engines anyway. Write (or solicit) posts so informative, insightful and useful that people will want to share them on social media. When people come to your site to read an article, they are giving Google useful data. For example, when you drive traffic via social media and those visitors don’t bounce, Google can immediately begin collecting data about engagement. This, in turn, helps them decide where to rank new content.
  2. Pay for great writers. If you don’t have time to write as much content as you want, consider paying a professional. Yes, it costs money but it’s one of the best ways to get great content. It’s an investment in your site and business. Rates vary from $30 per article to $2 per word. Ideally, you want someone who understands your industry so check with your peers before posting on a site like Elance. Here are few good places to find people who can write about marketing and social media:
  3. Try inbound marketing. That’s right, practice what you preach. Write content for your own site that is so good, the best blogs in your industry will beg you to write for them.

The Alternative to Guest Blogging

Given all this advice, it’s important to remember that accepting and contributing guest content is entirely optional. Rand Fishkin of Moz makes a compelling case to take an alternative route by avoiding guest posting entirely. He explains in the video below:

[VIDEO HERE]

Strive for quality, serve your readers and don’t let an algorithm define your content marketing.

7 Things You Must Do Before Writing a First Draft

“Rewriting is the essence of writing well: it’s where the game is won or lost.”

I love this quote. In a single sentence William Zinsser managed to capture the definition of what writing truly is.

But I also have a problem with it. To me, it omits an important aspect of writing, one you figure out only after wasting a lot of time getting your copy right.

Because, you see, you rewrite well only if you have a solid base material. Otherwise, you end up starting all over, often many times at that, figuring out what you want to say instead of focusing on your original message.

A message that in fact often gets lost in the process.

Unfortunately, it is quite common for writers, beginner and experienced ones alike to struggle with rewriting. I have been there myself many times too. Even now, with my experience there are days when I struggle with focus on ideas instead of perfecting my copy.

Can something be done about it? Yes. Is it easy? It actually is. The key to it lies in how well you are prepared to writing your first draft.

How to Prepare to Write a First Draft

Write Down Your Goal

Start by clearly formulating what you want to achieve. Are you writing to inform a reader about something? Perhaps you want to offer advice or teach them something new? If so, what is it? Also, why you are doing this, what’s the purpose for the copy? What should be the final outcome of it?

Include answers to all these questions in your goal, but do it in no more than 25 words. Be concise. Once you are done, rewrite it until you manage to distil it into a single sentence.

What’s the point in doing this, you ask, especially that you are supposed to have all those ideas in your head anyway?

Writing helps you to formulate your thoughts. Once put in writing, your goal is no longer an abstract concept in your head but a concrete and defined idea you can refer to. Having it in front of you will help you stay in check while writing your draft but also, establish if you met your objective during editing.

Describe Who You Are Writing For

I accept that you might not have a specific content persona worked out for your article but even knowing who your audience is in general (i.e. “graphic designers straight out of college trying to find their first design job“) will instantly push you to write in a specific way, use language and tone that will appeal to them.

Research How Your Ideas Differ From What Others Are Saying

There is more content being published today than ever before. In order to stand out from that noise of articles, blog posts, videos, graphics and who knows what else, you need to present at least a unique take on a topic, if not a completely new approach to it. Therefore, research what others are saying to ensure that you do not double the advice but also, to find out what unique angle you could take with your piece. It will help you later on, during rewriting when you won’t have to focus on ideas but rather on the form of your article.

List Sections You Intend to Write and Create An Outline

First drafts are chaotic, I accept that. Their role after all is to first and foremost allow you to pour your thoughts on paper.

And while your first draft doesn’t have to be organized, having some sort of order of arguments will help you stay in check while writing. You will most likely change things around during rewriting, and that’s fine. With an outline, however, you won’t have to spend too much time figuring out what you really wanted to say in the first place.

Decide Which Person You Want To Write In

Some writers don’t find working out the person they will be writing in that important. For me however, it is one of the most important aspects of preparing myself to write. For you see, it is so easy to get confused and start jumping from a person to person while writing, speaking in first person in certain sections and jumping to dry, brochure style in others only because it sounded better while you were writing. By doing so however, you double your work later on, having to clear all that up while rewriting.

Decide What Tense You Will Be Using

Tense is not something you would normally think about before writing, I admit. You just want to sit down in front of your computer and type, working out the tense as you go along. Or even later on, when you rewrite.

But having the tense decided earlier on is another thing that will keep your copy in check, keeping you from drifting away while drafting your piece.

Specify How Are You Going To Approach The Reader

Lastly, decide how you are going to approach your readers. Will you be a reporter, stating facts or telling them about what happened? Or perhaps you want to speak to them like an average person, offering advice from experience, almost like having a peer to peer discussion?

Having this decided will also help you to formulate your style, language and tone of the piece.

When Is It OK To Rush Unprepared Into First Draft

I know, I have spent a considerable part of the article discussing the flaws of rushing into writing and now this? Well, don’t worry, everything’s OK. I haven’t changed my mind. I am still against rushing into writing.

With one exception however. You see, writing unprepared is how I get out of the writers block.

There days when words just don’t want to come out. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t formulate a single sentence on a topic. No research and preparation will help on days like this. The only thing you can do to overcome this is, well, write. Write anything on the subject, regardless of how good or bad it is (and most likely it will be really bad). Most likely the next day you will have to star over but that’s OK. At that point the writers block will be a distant memory and you will be able to write the new version more clearly.

In any other situation, prepare for writing your first draft. It will save you time and stress later on.

Closing Thoughts

Your first draft will never be amazing, that’s a fact. Even with all this preparation it will still suck bad. The difference, however, is that while editing it you will no longer have to chase your ideas but focus on getting the form right. And, that’s a huge benefit if you ask me.

4 Ingredients of a Killer Marketing Story

OK, I get it. Your industry is boring.

Your products are dull, people are unmotivated, customers don’t interact with brands and there is hardly any innovation going on. Everyone’s bored.

That’s the realm you have to promote your company in, and do it with words.

But how many times can you write lists of features or product descriptions? And, make them interesting enough for customers to choose your products over the others?

It’s impossible.

Or is it?

Sometimes we, writers forget about the most natural way of connecting with others – through storytelling.

And no matter what you might think, you are a storyteller too. You use stories all the time. You tell a story whenever you try to convince someone about something. Every time you need to justify yourself, you do it with a story too. Or when you pick up the phone, there is usually a story told then as well.

Stories are at the very base of human communication. They resonate with us, captivate our imagination, give us hope, push us to take action.

They are what we remember.

No product description or a list of features can ever achieve that. Tell your customers a good story though and they will recall it for years.

But that’s exactly my problem, you say. I write about soldering rods (or electronic cigarettes, or anything else at that), there’s hardly any story there!

Well, you would be surprised. You can construct a story out of anything. There are only few things you need for that.

You Need Your Customer

Every story has a protagonist. But in spite of how much you might want to write about yourself or your company (that’s quite a common mistake in fact) the truth is, no customer is interested in that.

Customers are interested in stories about themselves. They want to read about their transformation.  They want to find out how they overcame a problem and came out victorious on the other side. Or at least get a glimpse of a promise of how it’s going to be if that happens (and that sometimes makes for even a better story).

But in order to include your customers, you need to know everything about them. You need to know their problems, needs and wants, pain points, desires, what makes them lose sleep at night and what makes them get up in the morning. It is only then you are able to write a story that truly resonates with them.

A protagonist is not enough to make your story stick though.

You Also Need a Problem

There is also no story without a problem that your protagonist, the customer has. It usually is something they have a strong emotional connection with. Luckily, that part is quite easy to figure out.

Their problem is the reason they sought out your product in the first place. By including that problem in the story you will make it relevant to them.

Are your customers trying to quit smoking? Make that the premise of the story. Do they want to change careers? Let your story be about their journey towards that.

Thanks to a problem, your customers will be able to identify themselves with the protagonist and your story will resonate with them.

Next, You Need an Obstacle

Face it, if the problem was easy to overcome, it wouldn’t really be a problem, right? The reason why your customer came to you in the first place is because he or she can’t solve it on their own. There is an obstacle in front of them and they need help with overcoming it.

These obstacles are either psychological or emotional, like fear of consequences of actions, for instance. A potential roadblock to quitting smoking might be social acceptance. Everyone knows the benefits of quitting smoking. But, regardless of how much your customer cares about her health, if all her friends smoke, she might find herself cast out from the pack if she quits.

Luckily, you are the one who might provide a solution for that.

And, You Also Need a Solution

And, that is nothing else but your product. What you sell is an integrated part of the story. It’s what helps the protagonist overcome the obstacle and achieve their goal, solving a problem they originally had.

If your protagonist is afraid of not being accepted among her friends anymore once she quits smoking and you happen to you sell electronic cigarettes – you hold the key to our protagonists problem – a cigarette that won’t damage her health but will still allow her to be accepted amongst the circle of smokers.

That’s a great material for a story, one that will deeply resonate with her, building a strong connection between her and your brand.

Conclusion

Lists of features or product descriptions provide information but hardly anything else. It’s stories that sell.

You can construct a good story out of everything. It doesn’t matter what your product is for as long as there is a protagonist, a problem he or she has, an obstacle on their way to overcome it and your solution, you have your story.

That story is what makes you unique in the marketplace. It is what makes customers believe you, trust you and eventually buy from you. It is your gateway to success.

So, what’s your story?

How to Write for Thousands of People NOT Just Dozens

audience
*

The Web is a weird place. There are potentially hundreds of millions of people you can reach here, but at the end of the day you will reach no more than dozens usually. Unless of course you know the ultimate secret magic writing formula!

Just kidding. There is none, of course.

Most publications that have millions of visitors are huge publishing companies with teams of writers who are constantly creating high-quality content.

There are ways to attract hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of readers though, even if you’re a mere mortal like me. I can’t just list them though. I have to explain or it won’t work for you.

Stop Limiting Your Audience

The Internet is like a huge party. In case you look good and talk about something that interests lots of people, you will have a lot listeners. A party with just a few guests is not likely to give you the opportunity to reach a lot of people. Even a party with lots of people is no guarantee to make people listen to you.

Personally, I have written a lot about niche topics for years. Most people still don’t know what I’m talking about or what certain niche-specific terms and acronyms I use even mean most of the time.

Writing about niche topics is like entering a party and explaining that you are representing Jehovah’s Witness.

In case nobody else from your group is in the room, not even some fellow Christians who’d like to talk with you about the Bible, you’ve already lost. So most likely it would be wiser to speak about faith or even spirituality in order to broaden your reach and the potential audience appeal.

It’s not about being less specific. Instead, it’s more about using topics and concepts that more people can relate to.

When you speak about faith, you may only appeal to religious types. When talking about spirituality, both religious types and “new age” type of spiritual people will listen.

Why not broaden your scope even more? Why not talk about divinity, like poets do? Of course using the word “divinity” would limit your audience again. So you have to explain divinity in simple terms.

There are some deep truths out there that are always true

No matter if you believe in God, think that meditation is the path to enlightenment, or that only science can answer each and every question on Earth, avoid specific terms when you want to connect with the average person or to write for large audiences, not just dozens of people. So even if you write about an esoteric topic reserved for experts, talk about it in layman’s terms when you want to reach a broader audience.

Include Both the Old and the New

Even if you manage to attract a large audience and everybody understands you, that doesn’t mean you have convinced them to stick it out with you until the end of every sentence, paragraph or the entire article. In everything you write, you need to include both the old and the new.

What the hell does this mean? You’re probably asking.

Think about a sentence like “the sky is blue.” Everything in this sentence is “old,” tired and cliché. We know that the sky is blue, so there’s nothing new here unless of course the sky earlier that day was very cloudy and dark grey. Then “the sky is blue” might mean really good news!

Instead, consider a headline like:

“The Sky is Red!”

Ouch! That sounds a bit scary, or romantic, depending on who you are and what time of day it is or the overall context. On Mars, for example, the sky is red all the time. Anyway, the purpose of the second example is to show you that “the sky is red” is about the “new,” fresh and unique.

We expect the sky to be some kind of blue or even grey.

When the sun sets the sky turns red sometimes, but it’s still rare enough to be interesting. You have to add something new to your messaging or it is not a message of value at all. Something is missing. When everybody knows that at a particular place and time the sky is blue, why tell them?

I see it happening often. People are writing Captain Obvious types of articles, using headlines we have seen a thousand times before or repeating simply what they have found somewhere else. Don’t do it.

Choose a Topic Your Mother Likes

When choosing a topic for your article, make sure to make the mother test before starting to write about it. In case you know your mother well you can just ask yourself whether it would be interesting for her. In case you are not sure but lucky enough to be able to call up your mom, do it. Ask her. You don’t really need to explain a whole lot, that you write an article etc. just mention the topic and look out for signs of interest.

My mother loves books, she has been writing herself and she worked for publishing houses for decades. So obviously she’d like this article for example.

Point is, when you can come up with a topic that appeals to your mother, there’s a good chance it will have mass appeal.

Evoke the Right Emotions

When writing something that tries to appeal to a mass audience, you need to provide more than just information. Information overload is everywhere. Don’t write just for the small group of people who haven’t read this information yet. Inject something that will evoke emotion in your readers.

I learned this lesson in my early days as a writer: an inspiring and uplifting story works better than one that makes you sad.

Who wants to read bad news all the time? Masochists?

Even masochists don’t assume that their friends want to suffer too. But there is one exception: when the suffering is accompanied by the opportunity to actually help. That’s a good reason to focus on bad news.

The New York Times proved this positivity theory recently in an extensive study conducted on their own content. They wanted to find out what type of content gets shared a lot on social media, via email etc. Guess what…it was content that inspires people and makes them feel good.

So you have to evoke the right emotions.

  1. Inspire people
  2. Make people happy
  3. Help people

Some argue that making people angry works too, but that’s a bit short-sighted. People will flock to your site once, denounce it and hate you for years to come or simply consider you as an unreliable source. So don’t enrage visitors, even if it’s righteous anger. Your readers will only remember that your site made them angry, not why.

Strike a Chord

In order to get large crowds interested in what you have to say, you not only have to get their attention, interest and approval, you also have to strike a chord. It means they have to agree with you fervently not just casually. They must be convinced that your message is true, and that they want to spread your truth too.

Many writers try to align with the powerful and the popular. They use opportunism to get an audience to agree with them.

Examples of this are articles on how products by Apple, Google or Nike are the greatest and appear on the Web daily. Sure, many people agree with that, but will they spread it? Not so sure. Especially since there will be at least a hundred other articles praising the newest phone, gadget or sneaker.

In contrast, siding with the underdog may seem riskier, but is actually the way to reach and inspire large crowds.

That said, you don’t have to bash Apple, Google or Nike (like I have successfully done in the past). After all, there has been a lot of corporate crime attributed to each. Your goal isn’t to make people angry though. You want to reach the other people, those who quietly root for the little guy. They will spread the news.

Consider these two similar news stories dealing with banks and foreclosures and their share stats on Facebook:

Both stories definitely strike a chord, don’t they?

So reaching the masses is not about opportunism or dumbing down your writing, so that everybody gets it. Writing for mass appeal is about embracing audiences, respect for your mother and compassion.

More Resources on Writing for Large Audiences:

* Creative Commons image by Montecruz Foto

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