Jumping on current industry topics and conversations, curating existing content and writing about it are some popular ways to do this.
But if you’re not adding anything new to the conversation, you’re not giving your audience a good reason to read your thoughts on the issue, rather than someone else’s.
So how do you put your own spin on things?
It’s a little bit like doing content curation
“Content curation assembles, selects, categorizes, comments on, and presents the most relevant, highest quality information to meet your audience’s needs on a specific subject.”
And that can be a useful way of filtering information for your time-pressed audience. But it’s not really putting your own spin on things. It’s more like: this thing is cool, because it does this or that and that’s why you should read/watch/listen to it.
So how do you really put your spin on an industry topic?
One way is to write an editorial-style blog post about it
What does “editorial” mean in a B2B marketing context? It’s journalistic-style writing that aims to shed new and original light on a popular topic, or highlight a topic, trend or correlation that other commentators have missed.
Editorial is more than just content curation: you take a topic and make it your own.
Good editorial content will:
- Shed new light on a hot topic
- Make an original, weighty contribution to the debate around a particular issue
- Back up points with solid, well-researched facts and evidence
- Have a journalistic feel to it and be readable and accessible
And there are benefits to publishing this longer form of content:
- According to research by Hubspot, a 2,500-word article is twice as likely to be shared as a 1,000-word article.
- Articles of 2,250-2,500 words also get more than double the organic search traffic of a 1,500-word article.
- Positions you as an expert and raises your profile
- Highlights your brand’s expertise and knowledge in this area
5 ways to add your own spin
So how do you give longer, editorial posts your own spin? Here are five ways to create a unique and valuable piece of writing.
1. Find your own perspective on the topic and discuss it
Unless you’re a fabulously entertaining writer, it’s unlikely many people will be interested in seeing you simply regurgitate the same things everyone else is discussing. To get noticed, read and shared, you need to bring something new to the discussion.
So talk to your subject matter experts, sales people and (potentially) your business partners. Find out what makes this topic interesting for your industry, how it ties in with your audience’s interests, and what unique insight your organisation can provide on the theme.
If you can’t find a unique perspective – one that brings your audience some fresh insight and advice – then it may not be the right topic for you to comment on.
2. Use real-world examples and perspectives
Even if your chosen topic has been covered a lot elsewhere, you can still make it fresh and relevant for your audience by using stories, quotes and anecdotes that other writers haven’t used.
Bringing your copy to life with real people’s thoughts and experiences makes it more enjoyable to read than dry, theoretical content. Showing other people in the same situation as your reader can create a bond of empathy. And showing how something works in the real world may spark an idea in the mind of the reader about how they could respond to a similar situation.
How do you get those unique stories? Your customers are a great place to start. You’ve probably written case studies where you’ve interviewed customers. Those interviews are gold dust: they’re relevant content that no one else has. Revisit your notes or recordings to see if you can incorporate some relevant quotes into your blogs.
The same goes for your business partners: from their work with customers, do they have unique insights into what’s going on in your marketplace? Interview them and incorporate their thoughts into your content.
Tying the feature back to the real world, and using examples that haven’t been used elsewhere, will add authenticity to your content and allow your audience to see how it applies to them.
3. Make strong, convincing arguments by backing them up
Every argument is stronger if it’s supported by compelling evidence. So take time to find reliable facts and evidence that back up the points you’re making. Supporting facts and evidence could come from analyst reports, media coverage and/or presentations delivered at industry conferences.
If the stats you find are being quoted second-hand, always track down the original source. Find out where it came from and check that the original information really does fit with what you are saying.
You could even use primary research your organisation has conducted, or actual data from your own data collecting systems. Data like this is excellent for backing up your argument, because it’s a unique proof point that no one else has.
4. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge views that don’t agree with yours
An editorial piece will acknowledge the views, experiences and opinions of others, even if they don’t fully agree with the point you want to make. Doing this makes your writing more credible, which makes you more trustworthy in the eyes of your readers.
Writing a piece of editorial copy is like adding to a wider conversation; it won’t make your content any less valid by showing the wider context. Just make sure you find what you need to back up your arguments, as explained in point 3. And if you’re refuting the claims of others, always do it respectfully – as you hope others would do to you.
5. Make it something that you (and therefore your audience) would want to read
The best editorial content isn’t dry (unless the humour in it is). It’s intriguing and/or entertaining. It makes you want to read on.
That means choosing a narrative style that will intrigue and/or entertain your audience. The style you choose will be down to you, but if you know a bit about your audience, you’ll know which newspapers, blogs and magazines they like to read, so you could try writing in a similar style.
For more tips on making your content enjoyable to read, see our post: “Help! My client wants my copy to be more sparkly! What do I do?”
Lastly, don’t forget about formatting. Always format your copy for ease of reading onscreen – and particularly on mobile devices. That means short paragraphs, blockquotes and intriguing subheadings. For inspiration, look at your favourite newspaper, magazine or blog and see how they format content for smaller screens.
Here are a handful of recent articles I’ve read that demonstrate how to write an engaging editorial-style post with a unique perspective on a popular topic:
Here, Hubspot’s Global Head of Growth and SEO, Matthew Barby, brings together Hubspot’s own data and his insight, to show some of the facets of articles that either get shared or linked to a lot (two top concerns for content creators). The data is throughout the piece, so rather than just saying that a 2000 words lone article is more likely to be shared than a 1000 words long article: the evidence is there to back it up.
This entire article by Shel Holtz takes an opposing view to the idea of “content shock”. Drawing in historical sources and ones from the 21st Century, a mixture of quotes and research, plus his own stories of content, Shel politely disagrees with issues previously brought up by Mark Schaefer.