Why your web content production needs to establish an Edginess Index

knife

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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Why you don’t need to know what Content Marketing means

Gutenberg Printing Press

Lets be honest about “Content Marketing”, just for once.

“Content marketing”, was invented so online marketing agencies can sell more stuff.

Yes I realise all my pals or now ex pals in my industry will tell me to STFU. But I have thing little aberration in my brain that sometimes inhibits me from bullshitting. Which is a real handicap at times.

The reason why the term “content marketing” is a bucket full of rotten, frogs is this…..

There is already a term that adequately describes the act, and that is “publishing.” Some of you may be aware of it.

In the first 50 years after Gutenberg first cranked up his printing press (it was no longer Guttenbergs’ by the way as in was in debt to the investor and had to hand all the rights over to the businessman who lent him the money to make the printing press, but that’s a story for another time.) around 12 million books were printed.

Do you think they understood the art of using publishing for marketing purposes using the cutting edge technology of their time.

To me, the term publishing has marketing at its foundation. After all, publishing is simply a collection of communication methods designed to communicate and cause reaction in an engaged consumer.

If you start to peel off the layers of what people are actually doing when they create an infographic, publish it on a blog and promote it using social media, you quickly understand that the fundamentals never change.

All content marketing describes, is a mechanised way of taking advantage of current publishing and promotional tools, it does not get deep into the fundamentals. It simply hasn’t been around long enough, whilst “publishing” as a term has.

This may seem like semantic drivel, but when agencies overuse the term “content marketing” to promote methods using new mechanisms, when the fundamentals are the same, it gets annoying.

My argument is that the client does not need to know the definition of such mechanistic terms as content marketing, that’s for the industry to sweat bricks over.

But the client absolutely has to get what “publishing” is, and the increased speed and power that the technology can now give us.

So I’m not that bothered about using the word, but do you have to use it so much.

And do you really think that a client needs to know such stuff to get it?

How to Create Great Content Ideas from the News Hook

Using the news hook to create a link attracting piece of content is a great way to marketing your website. It’s difficult to constantly come up with content ideas that work.

By looking at the news and creating content around what everyone is talking about helps your content get noticed, passed around on social media and also get links. Most people are hungry for more information regarding the current news, but most news agencies simply repeat the same information. If you could put a spin on the current news story and fold the theme of your niche within the content, you can creating high quality content.

On linkbait coaching we have a special section where we discuss the news, knock around ideas for content around the news, come up with headlines for specific niches etc. Basically we provide a constant stream of content ideas and headline ideas. It’s relatively easy to then take these building blocks and create your own content, saving a lot of cash by not having to hire that linkbait consultant.

Right now we have an offer, you can check out the service for £50 for 5 days, if you have sucked all the info you are able to, cancel the account and on your way. However for those wishing to continue to get a stream of edgy, hot topic content advice the fee is £200 a month. This of course comes with all the other coaching help that Linkbait Coaching provides.

Below is a list of a sample of the threads in the “News on Crack”, forum. For those with Linkbait Coaching membership you can click on the link and get access to the thread, for those who are not, sorry, you need to sign up.

 

Higgs discovery – Biggest Scientific moment since DNA
Fake cigarette caused M6 police Megabus coach swoop

Mad Mitts Jet Bike Fondue

In Volvo News

Go to Florida and Drown

Barclays Bonkers Bob

LIBOR – London Inter Bank

 

Content Marketing is making every Brand a Publisher

We know a massive disruption is occurring right now in publishing. Not only are old media like Newspapers under attack from the likes of blogs, but brands themselves are taking to online publishing or what some call content marketing.

Before, these brands would advertise in the old media, taking out adverts and buying advertorials. Now the brands themselves are creating content in which to build their brand, attract new customers, increase customer attention etc.

Although technology is allowing a brand or small business to become a publisher of web content and little cost, it is the story or the narrative of the message that is the true King.

Because, it’s not that content is king, most are wrong about this. Content is not King, it’s actually worthless. What is King is The Story. Unless the narrative grabs you emotionally and pulls you in, the content may as well be a pile of grey dust, stepped over on the way to buy a donut.

A lot of online properties have built themselves on foundations of waste pits of garbage content, churned out with no love and a couple of dollars thrown the writers way. Google with it’s not too recent updates put paid to that.

You can no longer build empires of online real estate using the Pyramid method, where the lowest level is garbage and links up to the next level which gets better and better in quality, till at the summit you actually get to the point where you have something you actually want to read.

Efficiencies in scale are always important when it comes to publishing. But if the content you produce does not resonate, does not connect, what’s the point.

Teaching content marketing on Linkbait Coaching daily means I come into contact with people who get this, along with:

  • An understanding you have to think before you create
  • Knowledge that real people need to desire the content
  • Time and resources will be needed to create quality content
  • We should be in the publishing mindset and not the seo mindset
  • We create for people, not search engines
  • Links are a natural effect of our work

Talking to a lot of SEO agencies, I get a feeling that some do not yet get the fact they are in publishing, rather than busting algos.

The story and a deep understanding on the pyschological needs of other humans are now the key weapons in the fight for eyeballs and sales in the World of online marketing.

Getting The Story right is the most important thing an online business can be doing right now in terms of internet marketing.

Why we should Create High Quality Content?

Who decides what is quality content?

In a post panda World, low quality content no longer cuts the mustard. It’s the high quality stuff that Google now requires when deciding where to rank your website.

This refers to both the content on your web site and the content on the websites linking to you.

Quality web content can be defined along the following terms:

  • It attracts and persuades a person to link to it for no other reason than to cite the information.
  • It attracts and persuades a person to share it on social media for no other reason than to show the information to others.

It is the intent within these two statements that is fundamental.

It is human action or reaction that defines what is or isn’t quality. Action regardless of any other factor than the content itself.

This is what we would call social proof or more accurately human proof. By it’s very nature it cannot be manipulated in the same way a search engine algorithm can be.

To be able to accurately quantify web content, the content that must be the sole influencer.

The human signal remains pure and is the product of each individual who makes the decision to create each social signal they produce.

It can of course be mimicked by software designed to act like humans, although such software is unable to replicate the nuance and detail which human social signals produce. We see this in software designed to inflate social media accounts such as Twitter, Pinterest etc. Although they aid to give some signal, it is one of very low quality and easily identified.

The human social signal can also bought. In large offshore setups, low paid workers toil in Internet factories creating social signals to order for clients to gain advantage in search engine rankings. Similar offshore factories already exist to build links in forums, blog comments etc.

Thus, the human social signal is noisy and contaminated and if Google is not able to identify and isolate the manipulated social signal then Google’s search engine rankings can be manipulated regardless of the quality of the content.

We may be seeing evidence that Google has somehow factored in a way to quantify the veracity of the social signal. I only have anecdotal evidence and is an educated guess, but it is the only way to determine whether the social signal is worth listening to. And also Google does give us clues on the direction of how their search engine is going to work.

It has gone beyond Google simply listening to the social signal, all social signals must now be quantified if they are to be of any use and authorship is one way to do this. If Google knows who wrote the article and who is responding to the article it can in someway more accurately predict the quality of the social signal.

For example, if an SEO agency writes an article and someone else calls it “Awesome”, that is a signal. But if Google then works out that the person works for the SEO agency, or constantly calls the content which the SEO agency produces “Awesome”, then the signal needs to be quantified to be accurate.

I have noticed this behavior on Twitter and it feeds into my study of the tribal psychology that exists on Twitter and social media. A certain website will release an article, its immediate employees respond in an unnaturally hyped up fashion, the approbation cascades down to partner companies and individuals seeking attention and validation from association.

Sometimes the content is excellent, sometimes it is mediocre and yet the same applause emanates from the same individuals creating a never ending stream of hype. It is only when the content is viewed by dispassionate readers that we are able to assess its true quality and quantify it. Therefore if Google were to determine the quality of the content it would have to apply a filter to those who express relentless, sycophantic adoration.

If Google knows who is initiating the social signal it will be able to build an algorithm around the data it knows about the signal. If it knows the author and if they have given their data to the Google database voluntarily or not then the Company can perform a correct quantification of the social signal and even the link signal if it comes from a website or webpage soley in the control of the the author.

Therefore, we may be seeing a way that Google has accurately determined which is quality content and also which are quality links.

It may even determine that if the author is not in their database their signal cannot be correctly quantified and must be treated accordingly.

This may already be happening with the data Google has in its database from its G+ system. It may that this so called “social network” is not a social network at all, but more of a way for Google to acquire an accurate human social signal in relation to web content

In conclusion, it is essential that websites continue to produce high quality content, defined by the viewer who is independent of any benefits which may come to the website which hosts the content.

The content must be judged by the reaction of those outside of the tribe if it is to be regarded as high quality or not.