How to make your blog must-read content

This engaging article about living on State Sickness Pay nails six magic content marketing ingredients

Amanda Curwood is not a journalist but an article she wrote for her company blog was picked up by an industry magazine and is now being republished more broadly. So what was it all about and why did it succeed as a piece of content marketing?

A relevant subject

Amanda’s article recounted the experience of living for a week on State Sickness Pay of £88.45. It uses a simple diary format to take the reader through the week, giving an insight into her life and how hard it is to get by on such a limited budget.

As head of tactical projects at insurance broker LifeSearch, the topic is directly relevant to the business’ current and prospective clients who may be considering taking out policies that cover them for sickness or critical illness.

New information

The article’s novel approach presents the reader with information they can’t get anywhere else. This is largely because some real effort has gone into research. It can be tempting to think of quality not quantity when planning editorial calendars but this is a great example of how going the extra mile pays dividends. Cover magazine has republished the piece and another major insurance provider has asked to re-use it.

A personal approach

Amanda’s personality shines through the article, even though the subject matter of insurance and state benefits may not seem the most exciting. Brands are forever trying to give themselves a human face but often overlook the humans who work for them.

When planning content we should always be looking for a personal approach that can create a more emotional connection.

A strong narrative (aka storytelling)

The blog post demands to be read to the end so that we can find out whether Amanda made it to the weekend without starving or failing her challenge. Telling a story is often but not always linked to a personal approach. Is there a way to inject a narrative element into your content, perhaps with an imaginative case study or by inviting the reader on a journey of discovery where the outcome is uncertain?

Campaign integration

Amanda’s article is part of a campaign to highlight how hard it is to live on SSP.

“The initiative was led by Ian Grant, development coach at LifeSearch, who drives our Income Protection campaigns,” she explained. “It is due to his persistence that it came about”.

Other colleagues have since taken the challenge and shared their own personal experiences, all using the hashtag LivingOnSSP. Having a joined up approach to content marketing and an internal champion are two key ingredients of a successful campaign.

A clear purpose

The objective of the blog post is clear: make people realise that taking out insurance against sickness is a sensible investment. There’s no disguising this intent in the conclusion of the piece but, crucially, there is also no hard sell. This results in an impression of direct honesty while also making it more likely to be shared and re-used. (There are SEO risks around duplicate content that can be reduced or, in some cases, are worth taking to reach a wider audience.)

Ensure these six ingredients are in your content and you should see your levels of engagement soar.

by Miles Kendall. Contact him here.

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