...so steal someone elses'
Working in content marketing has become an endless process of idea generation vs the loosing battle of creativity that is the internet. If you think of it, someone has already done it, done it better than you, has more time to dedicate to it than you and has already put it on the internet.
Content Marketing Tip: Steal someone elses idea & beat it
Even this article! A quick Google shows me there are 588 Posts with that exact phrase associated with them. The top 3 Organic results tell me Mark Twain came up with this thought process way before I conceived it and two other people have written about it in this same context:
“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”
So why do we bother?
Because like the search for alien life on a far away planet we need to believe there is something else, something better out there.
Maybe that's where content marketing comes in. One of the most proven tactics in SEO is the ability to spot a great bit of content and make it better. There are a few nice tactics to do this that I can think of.
- Think of an idea, Google it, realise others did it better, beat it.
- Identify a popular time-sensitive bit of content and recreate it, better with updated statistics.
- Spot an internet trend and add your spin.
- Find a useful data driven resource and make it easier to understand.
- Copy a competitors tactic and build on it.
Each of these involves utilising the same process and relies on your ability to make something better. More user-friendly, more controversial, an opposite argument, add more expertise or just plain bigger.
GO BIG, or you know, just don't say anything different at all.
Here's the process:
Step 1. Define your targets
Ask yourself these 3 questions:
- What do you want out of the campaign? Links, Shares, Traffic etc?
- Where do you want it Featured? Nationals, Forums, Social Sites, Niches etc?
- How much effort can you stomach? Recreate Twitter or Update an Infographic?
Step 2. Find your idea
Identify which of the 5 "tactics" you want to use. As each will define how you find your content. You can use SEO Favourite: Buzzsumo to find what content has been most popular across your targeted sites, so if your goal is to target Buzzfeed readers then you can see what they share most.
From an SEO point of view this is a terrible example since there are no links from these 1.2 million shares, (which brings me to another post; Shares don't mean links) but from a social perspective it is spot on. Find a site you where you can take advantage of their audience, find what that audience relates to, in this case a thing that "won't make sense to" another group of people, and then we can see a load of related popular articles:
Step 3. Do your research and plan your contribution
A theme like this means there are hundreds if not thousands of articles with similar titles. So have a look through a few of them, use Buzzsumo to identify the popular ones and ask yourself "What separates the shared ones from the *Yawn* ones?". The answer is usually it is covering a topic that is controversial, about sex, shocking, very cool or funny.
So be brave and plan a topic that will excite people, or push an emotional button.
Step 4. Create!
You don't need to break the mould too much, the whole point of this tactic is that you have done the research into something people respond to. If you don't follow the format that was successful, you are introducing something new. People don't like new, they are scared of new. I mean they really hate old and tired, but they are terrified of looking like an idiot with something new.
Check this viral 2015 campaign out for example:
So simple, so stupid. Yet so viral, the internet is a weird place, full of tiny movements that everyone wants to be a part of. Join a movement and ride on the coat tails of something that is already a success, or attempt to start a movement of your own with no budget.
Step 5. Promote
Promotion online is hard, in fact it is the hardest part (and worth another blog post).
For this tactic, you have an audience. Every person that has shared the thing you have copied is a target for you to ask them to share this one. Use Majestic to look at the backlinks from the campaign you are copying, scrape twitter and facebook for people who shared it and e-mail the journalists that wrote about it to see if they are covering it again.
This approach is an easy one:
"Hey, I noticed you liked this! We did one that we think is better. What do you think?"
It's a much easier opener than:
"Hey, I've got this thing, and it's about this and that and you might be interested because you know we picked this niche especially thinking you might like it."
That about sums it up. Pick a thing, pick some targets, make it, promote it.