Prior to the millennial-dominated era we’re currently living in, learning how to create killer engaging written content was something that one had to head off to school and get a marketing degree to understand all the nuances involved. Now, everyone of every age is responsible for some of the most highly shared content ever to hit the Internet.
Sometimes it’s a simple and innocent video of a child or animal doing something funny: This type of winner is rare, but something that almost anybody with a camera can pull off.
Other times, a celebrity is caught in a compromising photo or video which goes mega viral: Of course, you have to be a celebrity to benefit from this kind of content virility.
Blue Collar Content
And then there’s the hard working online publishers and marketers like you and me out there, trying to make a better-than-average living creating written content for the masses, while competing with the big pocketbooks and long reaches of media companies like HuffPost, Forbes and many others.
I like to call this kind of content “Blue Collar” because of the journey it takes to get online. Very often it’s written by just one person, working hard in the trenches with their hands (ie., clicking and typing), perhaps with a cursory once over by an editor, before making it’s way into the social rotation for approval from the public.
The Components of Blue Collar Blog Posts
If you’re a blue collar content writer like me, here’s what I consider to be the 5 key components of shareworthy “blue collar” blog post content:
1. An evident point
Plain and simply, your article needs to have a very clear and obvious point. If the article’s purpose isn’t clear to the reader within the first paragraph, perhaps two, they’ll quickly click off and move on to something else.
2. A structure
Structure is very important. This goes straight back to high school English class and essay writing. Most good content will always have an introduction, body, and conclusion. There’s a reason this format has been used in media and scholarly publications for centuries – it works – but things are changing too, currently, and nobody knows what content may look like 5 or 10 years from now.
The format for delivering an introduction and conclusion are highly subjective when it comes to online content (ie., you don’t have to give an overview of all your body content in the introduction, nor entirely restate everything you’ve said in the conclusion). Furthermore, certain kinds of articles, like the ever-popular listicle style don’t really require a conclusion at all and many viral articles of this kind have no introduction either.
The body section of the article is most important, as it delivers the message you’re trying to get across. Short paragraphs with headings to break up the text are still considered the best delivery method. Of course, it has to be interesting, but there are no guarantees your readership will love it – some will win big, some will fall flat no matter how much work you put in.
3. A conclusion
As mentioned above, the conclusion isn’t always a necessity to creating shareworthy content. Certainly, the conclusion doesn’t have to follow the traditional “wrap up”
format, where you restate each point you’ve made and a point or two for your reader to ponder after they’re finished.
You have to use your gut as to how to conclude an article. Sometimes you want to restate your key points and leave the reader with your overall opinion. Other times, asking a simple short question is the best way to leave your reader thinking and (hopefully) get them talking about and sharing your article with others.
4. A question
Ending your article with something simple like the following is a great and simple way to leave your article indelibly etched in your reader’s mind:
- “What’s your opinion about this topic?”
- “Have you ever experienced a scenario like this? If so, how did you deal with/overcome/get over it?”
- “Do you have any tips to share with our readers about this topic?”
Questions are great to ask through the body of the article too, to keep them engaged. Simple questions keep the reader thinking and get them excited about what you may say next.
Questions spark emotion and they add personality to even the most dull topics:
- “Am I right?”
- “What would you do?”
- “How would that make you feel”
5. A bit of controversy
Controversy is a great way to get your content shared. There’s no one-size-fits-all as to how to spark controversy in an article. Offering opinions that don’t mesh with the norm such as “Drinking 5 beers a day for 40 years saved my life, and here’s why…” and so on – you get the idea.
Titles are also great places to include controversy, since it sparks curiosity. Read this article to see 4 great examples of controversial titles that took articles viral.
Controversy works, but it can also backfire if you take it too far (ie., racist comments, libelous statements – or talking about government, politics, or religion).
Now I have a question for you…
What did you think about this article and are there any tangibles or intangibles you think should be added to the list above?