Three months ago I conceived homeinvasionnews.com. The content strategy was three-fold:
1) demonstrate my ability to create content for any topic, including one with which I had no experience;
2) demonstrate the added value of content displayed in a dynamic format;
3) demonstrate the various formats in which content can be presented.
I was able to take Home Invasion News from concept to launch in 30 days. Since launch, I have been maintaining the site, adding new content daily. I will launch a PR push in the next few weeks, but the site is already ranking on page one of Google in a variety of home invasion related topics: news, statistics, safeguards, laws, etc.
Here’s are eight realities that confirm the validity of the original three-point strategy:
1. Content development is about intelligent content curation. If you have a body of knowledge at your disposal, content will come. If you don’t — but if you know how to research on the Internet — you will find all the content you need: statistics, expertise, opinion, case studies, definitions, and controversy for any topic, any project.
2. The best content adds something extra: A viewpoint, a sense of humor, a different take, an unusual way of presenting. In short, the best content starts with dry information and adds YOU.
3. How you present content makes all the difference. Give the reader/browser something extra to look at, chew on, think about. At Home Invasion News, this something extra would be the active layout of the homepage and the editorial point of view.
4. Specialized infographics can play a key role. The top menu bar of the site features “Faces of Home Invasion.” That link jumps to an interactive graphic used to publicize the site through press releases.
5. Video has a place. In the case of HIN, limitless video is free for the asking and we embed it everywhere. Most any topic you can think of has related video somewhere on the Internet. Most of it is free and easy. Figure out how to use it and do so.
6. RSS feeds are good — both for content curation and for readers’ viewing pleasure. HIN features a feed based on the term “home invasion.” The feed is continuous and it creates great fodder for daily consumption, as well as background for the “top story” weekly blog post.
7. Content curation sites like Scoop-It help track national stories. For some sites (like HIN), linking to your Scoop-It site on a separate page makes for solid, in-the-moment content. [Tip: You can set up Scoop-It to make sure your own site is first on this feed.]
8. Understanding the various e-media possibilities — video, slideshows, webinars. etc. — helps guide content development. For example, we recognize that — as resources grow — interviews and podcasts are a natural progression in the Home Invasion News effort.
A final thought: Sites like WriterAccess aggregate a pool of writers looking for content development projects. The last time I checked, WriterAccess had 3,800 writers signed on. Perhaps this model creates work for journalists closed out in the newspaper shrinkage. I certainly hope so. In any event, WriterAccess is a huge step up from content sweatshops I wrote about awhile back. On the other hand, lining up with 3,800 other writers feels a bit like trying to land a job — or locate a Chief Marketing Officer — on MONSTER (not that there’s anything wrong with that 🙂