How To Turn Blog Posts Into Spectacular Content
Everyone can write a decent blog post. Which means that everyone can create ‘spectacular content’ - the type of content that makes people stop and pay attention, that spreads like crazy and that brings you a ton of links, followed by visits and and then sales. All you need is a plan - and that’s what we’re going to give you!
This article is Part 1 of a series of 10 articles I’ll be writing with my link building colleague, Garrett French of CitationLabs.com. Together, the whole series will take you step by step through the process of creating a piece of spectacular content.
And as we publish new content week by week, we’ll be creating our own piece of spectacular content for you - an e-book called “One Plus One Equals Three”.
You’ll see the e-book take shape week by week AND you’ll learn how you can easily create your own spectacular e-book - all for free! So let’s get started...
Spectacular content on the web is something that you recognise as soon as you see it. It makes you stop what you’re doing and pay attention. You consume it quickly, get excited and share it with your friends, “hey, have you seen this?”.
You tweet about it, and pretty quickly you realise that everybody else is tweeting and retweeting the same thing.
Top sites pick it up, experts and commentators write about it, review it, summarise it, recommend it and link to it.
And if it is you that created the spectacular content, you get a ton of such links and a ton of traffic to your website. And people arrive at your site, and happily give you their email addresses so they can get their hands on it. And those people buy from you, recommend you and buy from you again and your sales figures rocket.
Spectacular content can take different forms - an e-book, a video, a course or a webinar. But for this publication we’re going to concentrate on the e-book format - indeed we’re going to look at multiple forms of e-book - PDF, Kindle and iBook for Apple versions.
And of course, once your spectacular e-book is finished it can be re-purposed into video, a course, a webinar or whatever form you choose.
But creating spectacular content is really difficult, isn’t it?
Well no, it’s not. Any reasonably competent writer can do it. And in this article and the ones that follow, we’re going to show you how. We’re going to share the simple method that we’ve used to create this publication, and show you how you can do the same.
So what about the title, One Plus One Equals Three... is that just a bit of dodgy bit of maths or is there something perhaps a little deeper?
It was inspired by this quotation from the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, 384 BC – 322 BC:
“The whole is greater than the sum of all its parts.”
This idea gave us the word ‘synergy’, defined rather dryly in the English Oxford Dictionary as “Increased effectiveness or achievement produced as a result of combined action or cooperation”.
The implication of this synergy for content marketing, is that if I can combine different pieces of content in a particular way, then the effect of the combined content will be greater that the effect of each of those pieces of content on their own.
Blog posts on your own site and guest posts from external sites are good. But by themselves, they’re not going to get the attention that spectacular content can attract. The sort of content that really generates a buzz in your industry, that demands respect from top influencers and has journalists eager to write about you.
The spectacular combines blog posts you’ve written for your own site AND guest posts you’ve written for external sites, to create a major piece of content that can be promoted to attract a ton of links and media coverage.
Blog posts for your own site and guest posts for external sites are usually part of any link building campaign. But rarely are they combined to create a publication or set of videos that will have major impact – that is what a spectacular does.
The equation suggests that the effect created by combining the 5 blog posts on our own site with the 5 guests posts on external sites would be greater that the effect of the 10 posts working on their own.
That sounds great but is it necessarily true? I’m afraid ‘No’ is the answer. It’s not just anything that is thrown together that will produce the magic of synergy.
You need to follow a plan
One of my weekend hobbies is bread making and most Saturday mornings you’ll find me in the kitchen happily making Irish Soda Bread or wonderful Barnbrack loaf (just as long as I’ve remembered to soak the dried fruit in cold tea the night before).
If any of you have tried your hand at bread making then you’ll know that just throwing the ingredients together in a bowl will not produce the desired result.
To make sure you produce the fantastic results you want, the ingredients have to be put together in a systematic way. They have to follow a plan - a recipe - if they are to deliver the value that you want.
It’s the same with writing content for publication on your own site or an external site. You can write great posts and they’ll be pretty good ingredients on their own, but they won’t produce the synergy that means you get the most from your writing efforts.
To do that you have to have a recipe - a solid plan that guides your writing.
Here’s how we see the process:
Here are the steps you need to follow:
1. Create the table of contents
The table of contents maps out your whole project and sets out your writing tasks. It should consist of roughly 10 chapters of approximately 1000 words each giving you a finished e-book of around a substantial 10,000 words.
But before you create your table of contents define your market, understand what their needs are and decide how you can satisfy them. It’s important not to skip on this stage. Get this right and you’ll have a solid foundation on which to base the whole exercise.
Imagine a spectacular piece of content aimed at your target market. Be as ambitious and as creative as you can be - don’t limit yourself or the scope of your ideas - have some fun and come up with at least 3-6.
Sift through your ideas and get down to a single concept that is feasible and within your capability to produce.
Once you’ve got you feasible project, break it down into 10 individual chunks or chapters. Each chapter will be an article of approximately 1000 words that can stand on its own as well as combine to give a coherent whole.
For example, here's the table of contents for our publication, "One Plus One Equals Three":
1. How To Turn Blog Posts Into Spectacular Content (that's this article)
2. Develop The Right Content For Your Market
3. Creating A Publishing Schedule (and sticking to it!)
4. How to Write A Great Blog Or Guest Post
5. How to Find The Best Guest Post Opportunities
6. How To Make The Perfect Guest Post Pitch
7. How To Sift And Act On Reader Feedback
8. How To Get Top Influencers On Your Side
9. How To Publish In Multiple Formats
10. How To Promote Your Content In Spectacular Ways.
And now you know what Garrett and I will be publishing in the next few weeks. If we've missed anything out or if you have comments to make, please use the comment box below or even better email Ken [at] LinkingMatters.com.
2a. Write 5 Guest Posts
From your table of contents, pick 5 chapters of content each of which will give you a guest post to target at an external site. Because you’re targeting external sites, you’ll not be able to control publication date so you need to give the job of getting them placed priority.
2b. Write 5 Blog Posts
The remaining 5 topics give you 1000 word blog posts that you’ll publish on your own site and in your email newsletter.
3. Collect feedback, revise and collate
Aggressively encourage social sharing, comment and feedback both from the general audience and from selected influencers.
Collect and review all the comments and feedback you’ve received and edit and revamp your spectacular content until you’re satisfied that you’re delivering excellent content.
4. Design and Publish
Once, you written all 10 chapters, you’ve got to combine them into a single document. The final document needs to read well and look great. At this point, you might want to use an editor to knock your copy into shape.
You will most definitely need to use a designer to make sure your e-book looks the part. If you can, create multiple versions so that your message has the widest possible reach. For example, we choose to create a PDF, a Kindle book and an iBook for the iPad.
5. Promote like Crazy
Once complete you really need to promote your e-book aggressively:
- You’ll need to thank everyone who contributed and gave you feedback. Make sure you give them a copy of the final book and encourage them to share.
- Feature your e-book prominently on your own site and in your newsletter.
- Give review copies to industry bloggers and experts, and encourage them to write and link to your e-book.
- Engage with industry commentators and journalists and be ready with good sound bites, additional insights and stories.
So the next article in this series will be "Develop The Right Content For Your Market".
Final words and questions
At the start of a project like this, the prospect of writing an e-book of over 10,000 words seems daunting. But approach the task step by step, finish and publish each chapter on its own and you’ll be amazed at what you can do - if you stick to the plan.
- So do you think spectacular content is right for your business?
- What's the best piece of spectacular content you've seen in your industry? Could you do it better?
- What ideas do you have?
- What can we do to help you?
If you've got questions, please leave them in the comments below or email them direct to ken [at] LinkingMatters.com
Author: Ken McGaffin