“Addictive Content” is the new term for 2016 that all content marketers need to pay attention to. Creating consistent and engaging content is no longer enough, it needs to become addictive- a drug that can’t be dropped. Is there a formula or a recipe for creating this type of content? Who better to ask than the experts who are achieving just that?
I’m going to tell you how myself and the team at Venngage managed to get 46 pro marketers to share their tips and tricks for creating truly great content that is almost impossible to resist.
1) Coming up with an original concept
If you’ve written hundreds upon hundreds of marketing related content like I have, then you know just how difficult it can be to come up with a concept that is considerably more original than the last. In fact, it can become so tedious and dull to write yet another article that simply reiterates facts you’ve communicated so many times before. The process for coming up with an original concept, that still caters to the tastes of a particular niche can be overwhelming. Even after you decide on something that seems exceptional, you realize that 500 other people have already beaten you to the punch.
So what do you need to do? How can you ensure that you are creating something that no one else will create before you do? At Venngage, the majority of the content we work on is based off of original research. If the research you are doing has not been done before, the chances that someone will take the same angle when creating content, drops substantially.
At the start, we knew that we wanted to produce something marketing related (I know- very vague). We decided to focus on content marketing since infographics fall beautifully within that niche. The next step was deciding on something to create that was practical, entertaining, awe-inspiring and credible. Simple, right? We asked ourselves “What is the secret to creating content that was…addictive?” That was it! We were going to research how to create great and irresistible content, and in order to do so we needed to get some first-hand and exclusive advice from the ones already creating it.
2) Creating an outline and plan
This part of the process is the research part. It can last anywhere between 1 week, to a few months, depending on how much time you dedicate to it, and of course the nature of the research itself. In our case, we needed to compile a list of people to include in the post, and find blog posts that popped and were engaging.
Our goal was to include approximately 50 experts in our guide, which meant reaching out to at least 100 (since it was not likely that everyone would respond to us). Using specific Google searches, and targeting the appropriate keywords, we managed to find a solid and diverse group of professionals. We entered the data into a spreadsheet. We found names, websites, specific blog posts, email addresses and twitter handles.
We developed a simple, yet open-ended question to ask each marketer and prepared the perfect email template. Once all the grunt work was done we were ready to do some outreach.
3) Outreach, outreach, outreach
At first, our outreach process proved relatively useful. The first batch of emails we sent out yielded original responses from 23 different experts. Some of them were long and up to 500 words. Others were just a couple of words. But even after 2 weeks, we still hadn’t reached our target of 50 experts. Emailing was clearly not working, we needed to try a new tactic.
I started tweeting at the experts that weren’t responding, and some other experts whom I thought would be good additions to the post. The most difficult person to get in touch with was Neil Patel. I emailed him 4 times, and also reached out to him using a contact form on one of his sites. I also tweeted him. Needless to say when I finally did get a response, it was short and to the point. No hi, no bye, just the answer to my question. Don’t worry, Neil, I still love you!
I continued to tweet to influencers until I got into a mild twitter debate with a CEO of another company. Even though he mocked my process for outreach and accused me of spamming people (which I am happy to debate) I emailed him anyway and got a tip from him. What did I learn? Persistence works. If you ask someone enough times, eventually they will answer you (even if it’s just to get you to shut up). I won’t say who it was, but if you are really curious feel free to creep my twitter conversations.
At last, we had 46 expert tips. We didn’t push for the last 4 because something about the number 46 stuck with us (but we could have if we wanted to). Now that we had all the content we needed, it was time to do some design.
4) The design phase
Initially we were only anticipating to do a blog post and an infographic. When we outreached to the experts, we asked for just a sentence or two to include in the post. But like I said, some of them had a lot more to say. We decided to make an ebook as well as a blog post and infographic. The biggest issue we faced was creating an infographic that would hold 46 tips without going on forever and exceeding our export size. The next challenge was settling on an ebook design that worked well with some of the longer worded tips, but also with the ones that were just a sentence.
The overall process to design (and edit) took about a week and a half. Even now that the post is published, we keep finding little points here and there that need to be changed. So the editing process seems to be never-ending.
5) More outreach
Once the post was finally published, it was time to let people know. First I began by individually emailing each expert who contributed. You might be wondering why I wouldn’t just do a mail merge and get it all done in one go.
The first one is that as a marketer it is very easy to know when you are being grouped and bundled like a school of fish caught in a net. I didn’t want to come off as lazy or spammy (again).
Secondly, by sending individual and direct emails, you can avoid the possibility of being marked as spam or appearing in someone’s junk box.
Frankly, I wanted to come off as sincere, and make sure that each expert knew they were being thought about individually. It also made it easier to personalize the messages I sent them.
Once the outreach to the experts was done, it was time to email the second group of people: the skyscraper group.
The skyscraper group is the group of responses I got almost two weeks ago. These are individuals who showed interest in the infographic after I outreached to them using a technique called The Skyscraper Technique. It’s a technique I picked up from Brian Dean at Backlinko. I highly recommend this read if you haven’t already checked it out.
Basically it means outreaching to potential readers before the post is even published. Build up anticipation for your content! I simply sent out an email blast to gage interest after scraping a few lists that featured the keywords “Content Marketing”, “SEO” and “Link building”. Chances are anyone who is blogging about those subjects would be interested in getting some first hand advice from the pros.
Here is what my email looked like:
Sure enough within a few days I had a long list of interested bloggers who were prepared to share and repost my content!
Within an hour of posting the article, and with limited outreach we had over 70 shares (keep in mind that this is without any email blasts to our database, or any additional outreach). The reason it jumped so quickly was because I had specifically asked each influencer to share it on their networks. It only takes a couple well-known marketers to tweet something before you start seeing the traffic increasing.
So how do you create addictive content? Well why not just ask the experts! You can check out the full post on the Venngage blog and download the ebook (no email/lead gate either) for the complete list of tips.