June 27

How To: Creating Content Publishers Will Love

Even before I discovered The Invisible Sale and started to build my Painless Prospecting approach to business development, I recognized the value of becoming known for knowledge. Whether it was appearing as a keynote speaker, writing articles for Advertising Age, or getting interviewed on NPR talking about the work I was doing to change the brand perception of Mardi Gras from Girls Gone Wild to Family Friendly Fun (seriously... just fast forward to 12:07 of the podcast), I knew that creating the content that publishers love to publish would help me grow my business. 

So I wrote, spoke, and offered to appear on any radio, tv, or web show on Earth. And it worked. That Mardi Gras experiment that caught the attention of NRP and others, became the catalyst for what is today, Converse Digital. So to say I believe in the power of content to create conversations... conversations that become clients and customers is an understatement. That's why today, I want to share a great resource for helping you too harness the power of content to grow your business and build your career. 

The Content Publishers Will Love Data Set Explained

If you're not paying attention to BuzzSumo's free webinar series, you should fix that now. I've been doing my best to watch them whenever I can and their most recent one, How to Create Content That Publishers Love is short, simple, and packed with actionable advice for anyone trying to create Propinquity via content. 


Amanda Milligan of Stacker Studio, an article syndication agency, presented her agency's results from their recent analysis of 500 of their most popular (based on publisher pickups) stories in 2022. The dataset included 3,000 publishers in their network, a total of 1,975 total stories, and each of the top 500 stories earned at least 200 media pickups. And while I encourage everyone to watch the webinar, for those time-challenged readers, here are the cliff notes with a few of my own thoughts added for effect 😊.  And if you really want to geek out, you can grab the entire report here

The Content Qualities that Publishers Loved Most

  • Superlative Content: Things like most/least, first/last, earliest/latest, worst/best, etc. BUT, this can't be based on your opinion. Publishers want content based on actual data from reputable organizations or from unbiased, internal data created by your organization via custom research, analysis of data sets that are the byproduct of your organization's business activity, etc.

    If you need free data resources to get started, try governmental databases like US Census Bureau, the CDC, the Department of Labor, or the US Department of Commerce. If your business serves clients in specific verticals, chances are some government organization somewhere produces and distributes statistical data that you can freely access, analyze and then turn into Superlative Content that you submit to potential publishers that you've identified as Propinquity Points.
  • Location-based Superlative Content: Not a colossal insight here, since humans have always valued newsworthy information that happens within proximity to where they live or work. It's why we have local news and local newspapers. But it does give you a simple way to extend a piece of Superlative Content by taking a national or global story and parsing it down to a local level to gain additional pickups of the story.

    Local news sites want content highlighting trends in employment & jobs, rent & real estate, crime stats & rates, ways to avoid scams, and "news you can use" ie, "how to" stories. 
  • Entertainment Stories: Can you link what you do to a "news peg," a topic you know the news is already going to cover such as The Oscars, or maybe some kind of festival? Ask yourself, is there a complimentary story that you can tag onto that news outlets will run? For instance, Amanda shared an example linked to the Oscars where her client created a story about celebrities' favorite holiday traditions and another created a story focused on 50 Black actors that made entertainment history. 

    To show you how you might leverage this angle, let's assume you run a travel blog. You could run the same celebrity story but instead of favorite holiday traditions, your angle could be holiday vacation destinations or just getaways. This gives you ample link-back opportunities and positions your blog as an authoritative travel site. 

Headline Hacks that Massively Improved Content Engagement 

Based on Stacker Studio's internal data, headlines that challenge preconceived notions, lead with an interesting statistic, call out the data source, or relate the data to a human need, desire, or pain point, drive better engagement than headlines that lack these characteristics. And to help you understand what these characteristics look like in real life, let's review Amanda's examples. 


Leveraging the Source in the Headline & Making it Human (+165% Pageviews)

10 Potential early signs of dementia

10 Potential warning signs of dementia you need to know, according to the CDC

Superlative Local & Challenges Preconceived Notions (+856% Pageviews) 

Most humid cities in America

This is the most humid city in America, according to data—and no, it's not in Florida

Challenges Preconceived Notions & Localized Data (+7,166% Pageviews)

Here's how much home prices have risen since 1950

Prepared to be shocked: This is how much the typical home costs in your state in 1950


Picking The Publishers You Should Target

As I've said in the past, I don't care what industry you work in or what you sell, your buyer's journey has transformed. Instead of relying solely on salespeople, Self-Educating Buyers conduct pre-purchase research online before letting anyone know they're in the market for what you sell. And while seeing your name or content splashed across hundreds of websites, newspapers, and radio or television outlets can feel great, you pay for what you place.  To successfully leverage the self-educating phenomenon without breaking the bank, you must define your buyers' Propinquity Points. 

As luck would have it, BuzzSumo is an EXCELLENT tool to help you do this. In fact, it's my go to whenever I want to start identifying who I should pitch or where I should pitch content ideas. 

Interested to see how BuzzSumo can help you identify your Propinquity Points? Here is a short video I created to demonstrate. 

If you liked it, maybe take a look at our Painless Prospecting Master Class, where I dive even deeper into defining your Propinquity Points and a host of other helpful content. 

Creating Content Publishers Will Love 

At the end of the day, publishers love one thing: eyeballs! 

If you can create content that delivers those eyeballs, you'll find a willing ear ready to take your content, add to it, and then share it with their audience. Just remember the golden rule: write for others, not yourself. 

Speaking of writing for others, if you're a first-time reader and liked this piece, why not consider subscribing so we can stay in touch? Of course, you can break up at any time if you don't like what we send 😉.  Till next time. 


This post was originally published on Painless Prospecting, the weekly sales and marketing blog created by the fine folks at Converse Digital. If you want to learn how to create, engage in, and convert conversations into new clients and customers, give them a call


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B2b Lead Generation, B2b Sales Prospecting, b2b social selling, content marketing, content marketing speaker, Content Marketing Strategies, content marketing strategy, painless prospecting


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