This column is written by Kimberly Turner from Regator (a great tool that gathers and organizes the world’s best blog posts). – Darren
Each week, we look at the ten most blogged-about stories of the last seven days, as provided by Regator (which is turning two years old on Saturday!). Today, we’ll see how several great blog posts looked beyond the basics of these popular stories to give their readers more value and provide unique content. Digging deeper to approach posts in an unconventional or creative way can mean the difference between getting noticed and fading into the background. Let’s see some examples:
- Proposition/Prop 8
The basics: Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage, was ruled unconstitutional.
Looking deeper: Daily Intel’s “The Prop 8 Ruling: The Scrutiny Question, and What Will Happen Next?” examines the judge’s methods of scrutinizing the case, how that approach will impact future rulings, and the history of other cases that led to this point. When everyone else is telling readers what happened, do a bit of extra legwork to tell them how it happened.
- Chelsea Clinton
The basics: Chelsea Clinton got married last weekend.
Looking deeper: Conservative blogger Kathleen McKinley’s “Weddings and More. How Two Former President’s Daughters Are Quite Different” looked beyond the bride’s choice of hairstyle and gown by comparing Chelsea Clinton’s wedding to the wedding of Jenna Bush, another first daughter. She then broadened the comparison past the weddings themselves and into the lifestyles of the young women. Use comparisons to create a post that’s more appealing to readers in your niche.
The basics: It was reported that Android phones were outselling iPhones.
Looking deeper: Rather than taking the figures at face value, Cult of Mac spoke to an analyst in an attempt to put the figures in perspective in “Android Competing Against ‘Dumb Phones.’” Take time to question information you receive through press releases, other blogs, magazines, newspapers, television…well, pretty much any source. Don’t be afraid to do some extra reporting.
- American Idol
The basics: Ellen DeGeneres left the show after one season as a judge.
Looking deeper: While most blogs were awaiting official news about new judges, Pop & Hiss offered ten recommendations and the reasons for each in “Why not hire a music critic as an ‘American Idol’ judge? Ten contestants for the job.” Add your own opinions and recommendations to a story to make it your own.
- Oil Spill
The basics: BP finally managed to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
Looking deeper: Investment blog Seeking Alpha chose the angle that worked best for its readers in “Static Kill a Success; What’s BP Worth Now?” The post hypothesizes on the company’s current value and, just as importantly, explains how the blogger arrived at those figures. Use your expertise to provide value to your readers and information that other types of bloggers cannot.
- Ground Zero
The basics: An Islamic cultural center (incorrectly referred to as a “mosque” by some) is set to be built on the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, causing controversy and debate.
Looking deeper: As the tagline “Answers to your questions about the news” indicates, Slate’s Explainer does a fantastic job of looking beyond the headlines and dissecting issues. “Can anyone stop construction of the mosque near Ground Zero?” which examines the legal and zoning issues around the facility, is no exception. Look for aspects of a story that aren’t being explored and try to tackle unanswered questions.
- BlackBerry Torch
The basics: Research In Motion (RIM) launched the BlackBerry Torch.
Looking deeper: Instead of simply reporting the release, PCWorld’s “BlackBerry Torch First Impressions: Fresh But Familiar Indeed” blogged their first impressions based on the blogger’s brief interaction with the device at the launch event. Going out and employing a hands-on approach will always get you better results than sitting at your desk waiting for press releases or review products.
- Kanye West
The basics: Kanye West joined Twitter, spawning memes galore.
Looking deeper: Vulture’s “What Did It Cost to Be Kanye This Week?” is an extremely creative, entertaining approach to the story. Look for trends within a story (e.g., not only is Kanye on Twitter, he often tweets about his lavish lifestyle) to find unusual and creative angles.
- Google Wave
The basics: Google’s much-hyped Google Wave was shuttered this week.
Looking deeper: In “Why Developers Did Not Adopt Google Wave,” ReadWriteWeb took a broad approach to coverage, discussing reasons Wave may have failed, the future benefits of its brief existence, and previous coverage of the product. Explaining why something happened (as well as how, see example #1) can be just as important as explaining what happened. Take the extra time and effort to give readers more.
- Lady Gaga
The basics: Lady Gaga’s cover story in the latest issue of Vanity Fair and record number of Video Music Awards put her on the list this week.
Looking deeper: Gawker.tv used a combination of techniques we’ve discussed above—namely using comparisons and identifying why something (in this case, Gaga’s popularity) has occurred—in “Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and the Coup d’Pop: A Diva Revolution.” Developing and supporting your own hypothesis is a sure way to ensure original content.
How do you get beyond the surface story to a unique angle that will appeal to your readership? Share your ideas and methods in the comments!