We’ve spoken before about viral triggers, and how they can make your content spread like wildfire through social media and direct links. Creating a controversial blog-post is one way to get noticed in a crowded blogosphere, but there is another equally effective tactic bloggers can use to break through the online chatter. Creating content that surprises the reader with new research into a popular topic, and that offers an alternative point of view on that subject, can generate a substantial burst of traffic for your website or blog. People crave information, and the world wide web is filled to the brim with articles, infographics, and blog-posts on every subject imaginable. At some point, that information becomes extremely repetitive, and writers are simply saying the same things, albeit with subtle differences. But if you can create content that successfully challenges the status quo, and you can back it up with verifiable data, you’re going to get noticed and readers will want to share your findings. Easier said than done, you say? Well, in the words of George Gershwin, “It ain’t necessarily so.”
The first step in creating content that surprises is to begin asking the right questions. Your goal is to challenge accepted wisdom governing a certain topic, and ask yourself the all important questions, “What if this is wrong?” or “What if there is an alternative?”. No subject is immune to scrutiny, and you may be surprised at what you find. For example, webmasters assume that for a business’ website to be truly successful it must have one of the fastest loading times on the internet. But what if you can prove, through independent research, that that assumption doesn’t hold true? Your blog-post is definitely going to generate a lot of interest in the industry. People will be talking about you and your article, and that means social media shares and an uptick in links to your site. They may not necessarily agree with you, and you may never change their minds, but by presenting an opposing view on an established topic you will have gained a great deal of interest for your website!
Where to Begin?
Creating surprising content begins with research. Whatever topic you choose to tackle, you will have to spend some time looking for data to either support or refute your claims. One of the best resources for research data is Google Scholar, which provides access to scholarly articles on a wide range of subjects. Once you’ve chosen a topic, and your position on that topic, you can use Google Scholar to find research papers and published data that can be used to back up your article’s assertions. Obviously, you will not always find research to back up your statement. But never fear, the research you do find can still be used in an article to support the perceived wisdom on your topic. Returning to our example, if all the data you find supports the notion that faster loading websites experience greater success, you can always create a solid blog-post with the topic, “ Research Proves that Faster Loading Websites are More Successful”. It may not be the viral gem you were looking for, but it’s still good content. When you find the research that contradicts the generally held views on a given topic, you’ll be in the position to create some great content with the viral potential you’ve been searching for.
Only Real Effort Pays Real Dividends
Creating surprising content will never be the go-to solution for online articles and blog-posts, and is only one tool in what should be a large arsenal of writing techniques. This can be a time consuming process, but it is one that pays real dividends. Aside from the immediate pay off from publishing an article that generates a burst of traffic to your website, the research you engage in will lead you to new sources of information that can be used to generate topics and content for future posts. If there is one secret to creating quality content it is to never fall into a static routine of dull, but serviceable, blog-posts. Keep looking for new ways to approach established topics, and always ask yourself, “What if my assumptions about this subject are wrong?”.