When I got hired at Elite Daily, I had zero journalism experience.
Luckily, after expressing interest in writing (even though that wasn’t my main role), I was given a shot to create content for the platform. Eventually, I went from full-time contributors recruiter to full-time writer.
My education in writing for the internet didn’t involve sitting in a classroom, it was a hands-on content creation boot camp where I got paid to write up to 10 articles a day for a large online publication.
I know that number sounds big, but some articles were 180-words and some were in the 2,000-word range. I wrote everything from listicles to personal stories to news coverage to quizzes.
My most popular articles?
And that’s the internet for you — you never know what will go viral.
You can’t PLAN virality. In fact, if you do, it will probably blow up in your face.
So in the meantime, instead of trying to create something viral, create something juicy and memorable — something that actually makes a difference.
I’m not a journalism expert. But, I’ve created a lot of content online (in a few different formats) that has actually made a difference in the lives of others, and in turn helped me grow my business.
For example, my post about how to email people and get responses continues to attract new clients, and I wrote that over four months ago!
This post is going to break down a basic recipe for impactful, memorable content — something every brand or company that wants to build trust with their customers and get the right attention should be focused on creating.
Oh and by the way, if you’re reading this and thinking, “I’m a bad writer, I can’t write blog posts!” well then, newsflash: not all content is in blog format. These ingredients can apply to videos, podcasts, newsletters, webinars, social media posts and Snap stories.
The 6 Core Ingredients For Juicy Content
1. A personal connection to the topic.
Having a personal connection to the topic you write about, even if it’s something you’ve never experienced first-hand, is crucial. Otherwise, why write about it? If you don’t care, your audience won’t either.
Think about it like talking to a friend. When you share personal experiences, your relationship gets stronger. The more you learn about someone, the more invested you are in then and that relationship.
Someone who does this well is Derek Halpern. I recently read one of his pieces called How To Be Confident. Confidence is an evergreen topic because it’s something everyone deals with at some point.
There are thousands of articles about confidence out there, but what makes Derek’s stand out to me is his use of personal experience. In the article, he shares a photo of himself in college next to a photo of himself speaking on a stage to illustrate his transformation – which is nearly unbelievable.
Including your personal connection/experience in your content gives you more authority to talk about it. It also gives the reader context. Why are you talking about it and where are you coming from?
Next time you write, record or post, ask yourself how you can weave your personal experience into what you’re creating to make that creator/reader bond stronger.
2. A sharp, fresh angle
When I say angle, I mean take, position, POV and perspective.
Think about it like this, every single idea that exists has been written about on the internet. There’s no content that’s completely new. But what CAN be new is your angle.
Someone who does this really well is my friend Margo Aaron.
Margo writes about marketing among other topics. She knows more than anyone else that marketing-related and entrepreneur-related content can get so repetitive. But Margo provides a fresh take on topics that have pretty much been beaten to death.
For example, here’s an article she wrote about Millennials — Millennials Want To Take Over The World. Why Don’t We Let Them?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or just don’t read the online publications that talk about the biggest generation) you’ve probably seen articles that bash Millennials.
Here, Margo takes a topic that way too many people have written about but puts a spin on the angle.
Next time you want to write something, think about what makes your opinion or angle different from the larger conversation. And if it’s not different enough, find a way to go deeper. There’s no right or wrong!
3. Other sources of information
If there’s one thing you take away from this piece, I hope it’s a newfound motivation to reach out to experts when creating content for yourself, brand or company.
Here’s why using other sources of information is so damn important:
- It makes you seem more credible. Sounds counterintuitive, but yes, using other people’s expertise to back up your points will only strengthen your message.
- It lightens the load of content creation. If you’re interviewing someone or creating a roundup of tips from experts, that means you don’t have to write or create as much! All you have to do is come up with the idea and questions.
- It helps you get more eyes on your content. By including other people (especially when the content is good) it’s more likely to get shared on social media and discovered by people who follow those experts.
Aside from relying on quotes from experts, you can also research facts, studies and statistics to back up your argument.
In general, featuring other people in your content is a way to get good karma around your business. Maybe that person will one day return the favor and feature YOU in something they create!
My friend Peter at The Essential Man (it’s so much more than a men’s fashion site TBH) recently did an interview with Style Girlfriend, another fashion influencer in his space.
They’ve been promoting the heck out of each other because two platforms are always better than one! To make the deal even sweeter, it seems like they’re also collaborating on a giveaway to get more traffic and readers. That’s how it’s done!
By the way, if you’re wondering how to include experts in your content properly AND you live in NYC, definitely check out my content workshop because it’s something I’ll go deeper into there (and it’s really important to learn!).
4. Actionable advice and takeaways
Good content always leaves the reader with something to chew on or use in their lives.
Even op-eds, which aren’t necessarily meant to provide practical advice, give readers something intellectual to chew on or bring up in a conversation.
You can use literally any medium to give advice or provide insight to your audience.
Casey Neistat is known for daily vlogging and creating fun videos about his life, but once in awhile he uses his platform to teach his audience something very practical — and they eat it up!
Providing free, practical information is crucial in building trust and loyalty. The actionable advice in content shows that a company or brand doesn’t just care about money and followers, but also the well-being of their readers and customers.
Stuck on what to write about? Then answer this one question: what are you an expert on?
5. Mobile-friendly formatting and media
Let’s not forget that we live in a world where MOST content is consumed on our phones. That means written content must have a ton of line breaks and several headers.
Big paragraphs are intimidating, and they only get longer on a small phone screen.
Also, content that has other forms of media within it (like this very article) makes the reading/watching experience more enjoyable.
Gary Vaynerchuk is the king of this.
Gary gets that people consume content differently on different platforms. He knows that an Instagram post has to be different than a tweet. A YouTube video has to be different than a Facebook Live segment.
Think about the platform you’re creating content for and how you can fine tune it to the audience’s experience on that platform.
My favorite example of this is how Gary always includes text captions under his Instagram and Facebook videos because he knows a lot of people watch with the sound off — giving the viewer one less reason to scroll past it.
People who repost the same copy and images on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are doing the bare minimum. Going the extra mile of creating content specifically for each platform you have an audience on makes a huge difference in engagement!
6. A call to action
Your readers or viewers need something to do after reading, watching or listening to what you create.
Don’t leave them hanging! Otherwise, what’s the point?
Here’s a list of CTAs you can use with different types of content:
- Subscribe to our newsletter (get their email address)
- Download a useful resource (give them more free content in exchange for their email address)
- Subscribe to our YouTube channel (connect on other platforms)
- Follow us on Instagram/Snapchat/Twitter (connect on other platforms)
- Like us on Facebook (connect on other platforms)
- Share this with a friend (spread brand awareness)
- Read a related article (keep them on your site)
- Comment below (start a conversation)
- Check out my workshop 🙂
CTAs don’t always have to be at the end of something you write or record either. But if you don’t use them, your audience is less likely to follow/share/subscribe because it’s up to YOU to remind them.
I barely scratched the surface in this article, but to recap…
Juicy content will provide context to the reader with your personal connection, have a fresh angle, include input from other sources, give something to the audience to take away, be mobile-friendly and include a CTA.
Sounds like a lot, right?
Most content creators miss a few of these things, which is why their content doesn’t get the TRACTION and results they expect. And that’s why they don’t create consistently enough.
If you put the time into making content, don’t you want to be doing it right?
Take a few minutes to do a self-audit of your social media, video or blog content. What’s on this list that you don’t implement?
In my workshops on May 23 and June 5, in addition to leading writing and brainstorming exercises, I’ll be taking a look at each attendees content myself to see where and how they can improve it. Learn more about the Content Creation Workshop here.