I read a great blog post the other day from Jason Acidre about Viral Marketing for Boring Industries. This kind of stuff is always right up my alley. Especially with some of latest Google updates, we should all be more focused on how to turn our content into something more spectacular. Heck, we ran Viral Marketing Fridays over here for years talking about how to step your game up. We hear a lot, though, about how to make better, more engaging content for “boring” industries. I want to take different approach to this and talk more about how to make exceptional, stand-out content in an overcrowded market. A lot of the time, this can be even more difficult. When more ideas and angles have been used and re-used, how do you make yours better? I’ve got some ideas that I’ve personally used over the years to help you out.
Check & Re-check What’s Already Been Done
Seriously. More often than not, your unique idea has been done or said in some form or another. One essential part to creating great content is to make sure that it has a unique spin on it. One of my favorite places to search viral content is Delicious! Like StumbleUpon, Delicious users tend to save and content that is viral in nature and form. Top 10 lists, comparison posts, infographics…they’re all here, and they’re an excellent way to spark new ideas. Their tag search makes this super simple:
Add a couple of major keyword phrases or events and you’ll have pages to sort through. I added Memorial Day to the mix here because the internet will soon be flooded with articles about it. I threw in an additional tag search of “infographic”, since that’s the type of content we create most for our clients over here. With a day as important as this, I’m sure most are thinking about the history of it or some day to remember those who’ve lost their lives in battle. You thought that too, right? C’mon, admit it!
Still think that’s a good idea? I didn’t either. At least when it comes to infographics, 9.9 times out of 10, “evolution” or “history” of type pieces have been done and done again a bunch of times over. I think it’s best that we just leave that type of content alone and come up with something more unique.
Putting a Spin on It
Let’s stick with the Memorial Day idea here, because holidays are always a tough subject to get into with all the overcrowding (I swear if I see another “top costumes” infographic during Halloween, I’ll go nuts!).
Not too long ago, Paddy Moogan created a nifty little custom search engine specifically for finding infographics. If this bad boy doesn’t turn on the light bulb in your brain, I don’t know what will.
After a simple search of “Memorial Day”, I’ve got a list a mile long to look through. One thing that catches my eye is this piece on The Cost of War:
It’s an excellent piece and very well done. The great thing about this is it could be done in video, infographic or article form and would be just as compelling. An important thing to consider is to not be so laser-focused on your keywords, and even try taking a step or two out of your relevance zone. Taking the horizontal approach to your content helps you to focus on the twist, or viral, aspect first and then see how you can tie that all in to your industry.
Another idea, and one of my favorite types, is doing comparison content. Using the Memorial Day idea, we could call this “A Comparative Look at Why We Remember.” Including the on-going, current war will help spark a reason in people of why this day is such an important one, and that’s what we’d start our piece on. Some other interesting stats to compare could be:
- Total deaths from each war.
- Medals given during each war to show bravery.
- Cost of destruction to the countries affected.
- Unique (and sometimes random) stats which could include things like prominent soldiers or moments which turned the tides of the war.
Things to Consider
When trying to get ideas for content in over-saturated areas, think of events or trending topics that could easily tie in to your topic to give you an edge. Look at what’s been done and re-done and don’t touch it with a 10-ft pole (please, do it for us, your readers)! Research your competitors’ data. Finding out where their homeruns are can help you know what format of content works (i.e. lists, infographics, comparative data). Don’t neglect your own data either. Your readers are the perfect gauge for you to determine what they like and what gets shared. Look at your best content and consider that for your next wireframe, or even how you can repurpose it for another article.
One More Thing…
I’m going to throw in a quick announcement here to let you know of a tool that we have coming up that will help you see how well your content did socially via entering a URL. This means you can test and compare how well your content is doing as well as how your competitor’s content is doing. There will be a ton of great features included for free and the premium version, which we’re working on, will make creating and compare reports simple! More on that to come soon.