I create a lot of content for clients and run into the same issues over and over. One problem is that the kind of content that gets results has an edge to it, but the client usually does not want content that has an edge to it, they just want to sell stuff.
Nothing wrong with wanting to just sell stuff.
However, magnetic content, content that attracts tends to be edgy content.
For example, if you are a client in the niche of “home lighting”, I may suggest an article along the lines of “Top ten lighting rigs to power your Cannabis Farm“.
I probably wont, but I am using this extreme example to illustrate the point. Of course the article still has to be written in a certain style whcih attracts the social movers and shakers and linkerati, to be deemed a winner.
Most business people do not live in my weird and wonderful world of online content creation, and so do not understand why approaching content in a counter intuitive way is sometimes essential.
So, it’s useful if we have an Edginess Index.
This is to gauge how edgy to make the content on a scale of 1 to 10.
Here is my Edginess Index:
1 = Local Govt publications
2 = Local newspaper
3 = BBC
4 = ?
5 = TV Quick
6 = Top Gear
7 = FHM
8 = Sun/Daily mail website
9 = National Enquirer
10 = XXXXXXXXXXX
1. The most anodyne, mundane, safe copy I have ever read is that of local government publications. The stuff that tells you how to put your rubbish out etc. Useful if you need to know how to put rubbish out, but you are never going to share it on Facebook.
2. Local newspapers tend to be written by numbers, local jumble sale info, cat stuck in tree, man buys pork pie etc. It’s safe, useful as it tells you what’s going on and interesting if your in your area someone who kidnaps cats and sells them to the local butcher to kill and put into sausages has just been arrested.
3. The BBC is a site I read every day, but for news and resource based information. Not for the edginess. I read it for it’s insightful news commentary, TV listings and sometimes its witty journos like Robert Peston and Stephanie Flanders. But on the whole it’s as safe as houses and so comes in at number 3
4. Open to suggestions
5. TV Quick is safe enough to sell at the supermarket checkout, but edgy enough to attract the attention and initiate the impulse part of the brain of an interested reader. It does sometimes contain articles like, “I was so fat I even ate the sofa”, kind of articles, but mostly it’s stuff that tickles your gran. There are about ten of these types of publications on the supermarket shelf and so a fair sized market.
6. Now we are starting to get into the, “it may offend someone” category. Although not as offensive as the raw throat pipe of Mr Jeremy Clarkson, but it still does have that frisson of excitement. For example, “The first car I had sex in”, may be an article. Not talking about the bits and bobs you understand, but more the automotive angle, and so is less edgy than it seems.
7. FHM however, is as edgy as it seems. Offending a good portion of people, and yet attracting a sizable audience. Does not shy away from a bit of raw, bodily fluid type humour, but pulls back before you feel all dirty. I’m really talking about the articles, not the pictures.
In all of these content producers I am talking about the “tone” of the content, not the specific content itself, but what it represents and how many people it may offend.
8. Sun/Daily Mail website. These are British content producers, not sure what it would be in your locale. These contain highly offensive material, so much so that they regularly arouse the anger of a lot of people. These are at number 8 because of the amount of people that find them offensive, conversely they are insanely successful.
Very few of my business clients would want to be associated with articles such as “Freddie Star ate my hamster”. But this is what more people like to read and consume than most other publications.
The point is, these publications go out to offend and to bait people into a response. One only has to observe how the Mail handled the Samantha Brick situation. Which is a fascinating case to analyse and one we had a lot of fun with on Linkbait Coaching
9. National Enquirer, I’m not so sure. I don’t find this as offensive because I see it more with tongue in cheek. However, my business client is simply not going to understand why I want to create content about “How I saw into the soul of my neighbours cat to steal her bingo numbers”.
Although not really offensive, it scores high on the “I can’t put that on my website” scale.
A lot of the linkbait I create is around this level, because it gets attention and links. Problem is it’s very tricky to get it placed on a clients website or even as a guest post on another site.
It certainly is the most fun to create.
10. XXXXXXXXXXX is just too hot to handle. So offensive I can’t even repeat it here. Not a level I have ever gone up to, but it’s important to know it’s here and that it exists.
So there we have it, the more edgy we go the less likely a client is going to want it on their website or used as a guest post on someone else’s. The ideal is probably somewhere in the middle. It is very useful to use an edginess index, I would advise creating your own, relative to clients understanding.
If you do have an idea for number 4, or other numbers. Let me know.