Why your web content production needs to establish an Edginess Index

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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 which 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 = Beano
4 = 2000AD
5 = TV Quick
6 = Top Gear
7 = FHM
8 = Sun/ Daily Mail
9 = Nuts
10 = XXXXXXXXXXX

Note: This is for the UK market specifically.

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.

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 Beano is a comic for 6 to 12 year olds, although I still read it occasionally and enjoy it. The tone of the content is child friendly but fun. It’s a little mischievous with kids getting into scrapes and high jinx, it’s no Horrid Henry but it definitely appeals to the rebel in every child. In a way, it resonates wrong doing but in a way that a child can understand.

Most web content tries to get to this tone, but fails becoming more boring than a house brick.

4. 2000AD is the comic for 13 upwards, at least it was when I would read it religiously. It’s a lot more gritty than the Beano and deals with more grown up concepts, but no swearing, nudity or sex, but plenty of aliens getting fragged and Judge Dredd going around saying “I am the law”. Yes I am a fan.

5. TV Quick or any of those “by the counter tabloids”, 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.

If you took out the headlines and put them on a plain white page, they would seem shocking, but by making the colours of the mag soft and pleasing with pretty people and no gore, they are able to sell the, “I ate my neighbours dog baby”, type stories.

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. Nuts. These porn dressed as “lads mags” are able to get into a lot of UK supermarkets. It’s mix of raucous humor and sexual objectification of women would rate it extremely objectionable. Few mainstream linkbaiters would go to this level, but those who do still get links, but find they get a label they just can’t shake.

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.

This stuff does get links, but from a more smaller bag of link possibilities.

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.

Most content stays safe, not because the publishers want to protect our morals, but it’s the cheapest, safest and quickest to publish. It is not the most effective though, a higher level of edginess works better and I am not just talking sexual edginess or even violent, sometimes it can be something that challenged the current consensus.

Linkbait tends to naturally have an edge, or at least it should do. Attractive can sometimes disrupt and unsettle, but it can also challenge.

When directing those to create content for you it’s important you establish a way to communicate just how far you want to go with the content.

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BBC Recycling Own Blog Posts

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This was the most read shared on the BBC today, note the date of publication. Since this was first published I have read this twice before. I wonder how much of the content on the BBC is reused.

It does make sense to reblog when you have great stuff in the archives as demonstrated by this becoming the most read. Content should be seen as an asset and squeezed for every last job of juice.

Newsjacking for Australians Who like to take the piss

Men in Nappies

I feel a bit guilty over the British team’s celebration over beating the Aussies in the Ashes, which if you didn’t know is a cricket game and if you don’t know what that is, I wouldn’t worry about it.

This from the BBC

The England team have apologised for their “inappropriate” behaviour in the aftermath of their Ashes triumph, following reports some players urinated on the pitch at The Oval.

So, if you want a bit of buzz, a bit of publicity today and your customers are mainly Australian, do the following.

Go buy some nappies.
If brave, buy a pair of adult nappies hire an actor (student) or wear them yourself and head down to the Oval Cricket ground if nearby.

Stand outside the Oval banging on the door, saying you have a delivery for the English Cricket team.
Video and photograph the whole thing.
Live tweet the event to Aussie sports commentators and UK ones, as the English love a good piss take, even when aimed at themselves.
Make sure you quickly take the recorded content, create a web page around it and blast it to those who may be interested.

You could do this quite cheaply if you have the time and are geographically positioned well.
It would work best if in London, but it could also work if in Australia, near a symbol of Englishness. Lots of English pubs in Sydney would probably be up for the joke.

This works because it’s the current conversation with strong feeling on both sides. Journalists would love to grab a funny story with which to highlight the event, and even if the national press did not take advantage of this it would be worth some great content with which to get links from Australian sporting sites.

And yes, I realise there is a high risk of this not working, but the payoff if it did would be huge.
It’s worth at least a few links, and you get to wear a nappy. What’s not to lose.

P.S. Nappies = Diapers in American

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SEO is Dead Headline Inspiration

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To help people write their “seo is dead” blog post I offer headline help to inspire you.

Seo is dead
Why seo is dead
Seo is dead again
Seo stubbed my toe
Seo is walking dead
Seo is breaking bad dead
Did Rand Fishkin kill seo
How social media killed seo
Has content marketing killed seo
Seo is dead, but no one noticed
Seo is finally dead, long live seo
Seo has been dead so long it smells
Why Frankenstein Seo is the new new thing
Seo ressurection, behold it walks again
Seo is dead, only the death twitch is left
How to make money from the dead corpse of seo
Why seo blog posts are Immortal but seo is not
Now seo is dead can we stop writing seo is dead posts
Seo is dead, but only if you are a journalist sssshhhhhh
Why I buried Seo in the garden hoping it would grow into a linking tree
I thought seo was dead but then I woke from a nightmare after a weekend binge of watching Hannibal

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Which Newsjacking gets the most attention

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Here’s a list of the most popular Newsjacking Alerts content we have put on this blog in order of most unique views:

For the past two weeks, I have been putting the normal output of part of the Newsjacking forum on Linbkait Coaching on this blog. These newsjacking reports will soon form the backbone of the Newsjackingalerts.com email service which should be launched next week.

Newsjacking is where you create linkbaity content around a news hook and add your own sping to it so you can get links either within your niche or further afield. The technique has existed as long as my internet memory goes back, but it’s only the past few years the term has become popular.

Newsjackingalarts.com is a spin off from my £200 a month coaching program where I help people become better linkbaiters. It saves a huge amount of time trawling the news sites and can give you that killer idea which can give you a huge, viral hit. You get an email alert at least three times a week, and a weekly digest of all the alerts that week.

Some people have asked for more details about it as they find it difficult to get your head around. There is nothing like this out there right now, to put it simply it’s like having the ideas for content from places like Buzzfeed, Mashable, etc. before they go live with it.

It’s powerful stuff, a lot of agencies do it in-house, but I want to give the edge to those with smaller resources.

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