A decade ago, blogs were little more than online diaries. If you had an opinion, you had a blog topic, and people would read your site even if you had an ugly homepage, obnoxiously small typeface and low-quality photos.
There was less competition, less congestion, less noise. Being the ‘go-to’ spot for niche topics was a lot easier to market. SEO was less complicated, so best practices for blogs involved heavy keyword optimization and some other redundant tactics…
Fast-forward 10 years, however, and that approach to blogging seems downright primitive.
These days there is so much blogging competition out there, you need to give readers a compelling reason to visit your site. That goes well beyond the basics, like a well-designed layout and an exceptional concept. You also need to feed your audience truly addictive blog content that challenges their expectations, engages their imagination and gets them talking about you on social media. This is something I’m personally trying to develop, but while that’s under works, some more authoritative websites and experts can show us the way.
Here are five ideas for creating ‘addictive’ content in the coming year. These ideas are commonplace and you most likely run across them on a weekly basis. The difference here is that I will detail how to translate these types of blogging content for a variety of niches.
Some argue infographics have been squeezed for all they’re worth, but every day hundreds – if not thousands of infographics surface and go viral. Rest assured, they’ll be sticking around for a very long time. They’re like they virtual version of trade show booths.
The key to an engaging infographic is to visualize statistics and research in a unique, vertical layout. A standard infographic structure will have:
- 3-6 key points
- Thematic elements
- Professional design
- Hot trending topic
These criteria just amount to the skeleton of infographics. What really gives infographics a social lift factor is timing and promotion.
For casual internet surfers the connotation of infographics doesn’t seem as overused as it does to social media marketers. In fact, many of my friends love to share infographics when they are relevant and timed around a hot topic event (such as the Gangnam Style craze).
Can your blog create viral infographics?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I creative person?
- Do I have free time to allocate to researching and designing an infographic? If not, do I have the budget to outsource?
Aside from that, no matter what niche you’re in there is always room for infographics.
You’re a plumber? Boom.
You’re a recovery center? Bang.
Want more examples of ‘boring’ industries that rock infographics? Check out my Crazy Egg article.
2. Motion Graphics
Motion graphics are a video extension of infographics. Instead of presenting material in a static format, motion graphics add animation and voice-overs, giving the information fresh life. Like infographics, motion graphics are easy to share and consume. However, they do require the same criteria and needs as infographics, plus even more time/money for animations.
Fortuantely, there are micro-budget ways of creating both types these days.
For example, any of us could open up MS Paint or PowerPoint and put together an infographic using customized images from external sources. This makes the process more organizational than technical.
I did this for my funny guest bloggers infographic by using BitStrips to create the comics and taking snapshots of each one. Then I just ordered them together vertically and saved everything as one image. Viola!
This took me 2 hours max, and I was multi-tasking other projects.
So how would I apply the same process to motion graphics?
Simply try out some of the free animation creation tools out there or invest in one of the more versatile/recommended programs. The software for animation is literally WYSIWYG. Click and point and win.
Also, the more often we create these micro-budget media projects the quicker we’ll become.
Again, this isn’t new. It’s more of a reminder.
Who doesn’t love a good story?
They captivate us and help increase brand recognition, and more importantly, brand loyalty.
I just recently read the About Us page for Country Lane Furniture while doing research on small businesses and instantly felt more attached to their brand. Their history and family photo is inspiring, clear, and honest. It makes me feel more appreciative of their work, than say, IKEA or a random store hosted through Amazon.
Storytelling is difficult though.
Some of our stories just flat out suck. We don’t convey meaningful messages or just get lost in translation. The trick I’ve noticed, for any niche, is to always include family/group experiences with life-changing events.
It’s like when we make a new WordPress site and the default tagline reads “Just another WordPress site.” Jeez WordPress, way to demotivate ever new blog master.
Don’t read like “just another About Us page”. Ditch monotony for emotional touch-points. Make us laugh, cry, and smile.
4. Google Plus Tailored Media & Hangouts
Google+ may not be the social media juggernaut that Facebook is, but it does have some really cool features that bloggers can take advantage of.
One is Google Hangouts, a video chat and conferencing tool that allows bloggers to “hang out” with their followers in an open forum reminiscent of Skype or Gchat. Make sure to plan the Google Hangout through your blog’s Google+ page and not your personal one.
Best Buy hosted a neat Google Hangout last year just before Christmas where it gathered some top tech bloggers and invited them to give advice on what gifts to buy.
It made the Hangout shoppable, meaning people could click to buy the products that were being talked about in real time – eliminating the hassle of having to look up whatever the bloggers were talking about.
What is tailored media?
Quite simply, it’s when a social media marketer posts content that is relevant to a target audience. Seems pretty straightforward and obvious right? Oddly enough many brands either post randomly or neglect their channels entirely.
Brands that stay active on social media channels, regardless of low engagement levels during their launch, gradually develop tailored media. For example, Mr. Rooter of Oneida has a relatively new Google Plus page with tailored media:
They could have just posted information about home septic systems or leaking drain repairs but they’ve cleverly focused on tailored media.
Remember this tip: A GIF a day keeps the grumpies at bay.
GIFs are graphic interchange formats, basically a way to compress image files into only a few frames. They are usually funny, often moments from a famous TV show or movie that are reduced to a split second or two. Used correctly, they can really elevate the quality of a blog entry.
For instance, to celebrate former “Friends” star Jennifer Aniston’s birthday, the TV blog Zap2It put together a list of the best “Friends” GIFs featuring her character, Rachel.
Viewed all together, they offered a great reminder of Aniston’s range as an actress and just how physically funny that show could be.
GIF storytelling is the modern viral content model for the teen and young adult demographic.
Look at any BuzzFeed article – or any entertainment/Tumblr blog for that matter.
- Statements are exemplified with GIFs
- Themes revolve around GIFs
- Stories are told in GIF order
In all honesty I find myself on BuzzFeed or those infamous Tumblr GIF blogs when a friend shares something with an enticing headline. The GIF storytelling is kind of refreshing after reading walls of text on a daily basis.
This tactic will be popular for quite some time, especially as new media formats arise. It’s applicable to almost every demographic for the sheer ease of breaking down complicated ideas into humorous expressions.
What does your audience love?
Do they love GIF storytelling? Infographics? Videos? Interviews?
What type of content is most addictive among your readers?