The web, and the blogosphere in particular, is full of how-to-guides, look-at-me boasting pieces and this-is-why-you-must sales pitches. All have their place, but if you want to be heard and respected, a good old comment is often the best option.
True, everyone has an opinion. But on the other hand, yours is unique. And if you can pinpoint the issues which are of interest to your client base and provide an insightful angle on them based on your specific knowledge, they will listen. In fact, good expert comment and opinion is arguably the most high-value content in any publication.
insight, rather than news, is what readers value.
Opinion still sells
Just look at the major newspapers and how they treat their columns: in many cases, they are the last bastion of paid content – either protected by paywalls of kept as an exclusive benefit for those who still buy a physical copy of the paper. Heavyweight political commentators are usually the most highly paid journalists on a newspaper, editors included. And when they change teams, readers often follow them.
All of that indicates that insight, rather than news, is what readers value. That is because big news is of little value in the internet age. It carries no exclusivity as it will be regurgitated over the web within minutes of it breaking, and therefore people won’t pay for it.
True, news is a perishable commodity and has to appear immediately rather than waiting for a print edition. But that is all the more reason why bloggers should aim for a well-crafted comment rather than simply seeking to inform.
a company blog that is mostly snippets of company updates and staff charity announcements isn’t going to create much of a buzz
Of course, most bloggers and marketing writers aren’t aiming for scoops. But on the other hand, a company blog that is mostly snippets of company updates and staff charity announcements isn’t going to create much of a buzz either. It will simply make the organisation look inward-focused and self-congratulatory.
Pure marketing copy has its place – on landing pages, sections of websites and brochures. But if you bombard people with sales pitches, they will literally go away. They’ll stop reading your blog or mark your emails as junk.
A good informative guide – whether in long-form downloadable format or as a blog – can really help attract potential customers and increase page views, but there’s only so many you can produce. With opinion, the possibilities are endless.
Never run out of blog ideas
Because you can pick any current issue or news item and give your twist on it, you can literally select a fresh theme every week. Or every day if you really want to!
That’s not to say you should be churning out ill-conceived waffle. And clearly, by ’opinion’ we’re not talking about stating entrenched views or going off on rants. Good comment takes in opposing sides of an argument. It analyses the facts and positions. And at the end of its elegant reasoning, it may or may not choose to come down on one side or another.
Your opinion can be mild but well-reasoned. Or it can condemn hard, sing praises where they’re due, and trumpet calls to action. So long as it’s well laid out, informative and interesting, it will be well received and will go a long way to cementing your reputation as a thought leader.
Need some help becoming a thought leader? Dominic can help