Idiotically Simple Ways to Make Your Crap Content Stand Out

A big city skyline at night hammered with huge lightning. It looks scary and impressive at the same time.*

Whether you like it or not content is the current big thing at least when it comes to buzz.

SEO is dead they shout, social media has no ROI they whine but great content is the emperor in the online monarchy of needs right now they proclaim.

Everybody knows you have to create great content to survive so you have to compete with millions of others who are creating and promoting content.

Captain Obvious says that quality content and solid engagement are prerequisites to get traction on the Web these days.

How can you stand out? Well, you can improve small things others overlook in the never ending quest to make their crap content go viral or something.

Use Buzzwords

Words matter. Let me give you an example close to home. You can use the same methodology of website optimization and call it

  1. SEO
  2. content marketing
  3. growth hacking

and you’ll get a completely different audience depending on which one you use on a given day.

Or the same people will react in a completely different manner. SEO has always been a battleground. It never was easy to call yourself or what you do SEO.

Nowadays many SEO practitioners rename themselves. Instead of using the clunky acronym nobody gets until today they call themselves

  • digital
  • inbound
  • content


Depending what word/terminology you choose to describe a thing/phenomenon you’ll reach different results.

When it comes to digital, inbound and content marketing the reputation of the businesses are not as bad.

Also the competition on Google is not yet as fierce as for SEO where people had a decade longer to optimize for.

  • Focus on “content creation” instead of copywriting.
  • Do not practice SEO, practice “content marketing” instead
  • Do not offer “blogging tips” but “content strategy”.

The same rule applies to other niches and industries. In case you write about technology you’d rather write about tablets than about mobile computers.

When writing about ecology you’d rather want to write about green than about the environment.

Choose the current buzz words to describe your subject matter, not those that were popular years ago.

They may be overused buzzwords today but the old ones were yesterday’s buzz.

Use Text Formatting

A big city skyline at night hammered with huge lightning. It looks scary and impressive at the same time.*

Content means everything from a text, an image to a video. Yet in most cases we still use text despite the huge success of images and video on the Web.

When writing make sure than the people can read it or rather scan it at a glance.

Make text readable with citations, lists and subheadings or don’t get read at all.

Make the most important term bold and a new term you introduce people may not know yet italics.

Create paragraphs for each important message. Do not make paragraphs longer than 3 lines. Remember that most people visit websites on mobile phones nowadays!

Use Striking Images

Every article these days should have at least one image on top as an eye catcher or a metaphor. Most have images so in case yours doesn’t you have lost already.

To outmatch all the others you can add images to each paragraph though to visualize each separate message.

Either use a site that hosts “free to use images” like Unsplash or in case you don’t have any purpose for photos add shareable quotes as images.

People on the Web love sharing quotes inside of graphics. They’re almost as popular as animated gifs.

Use Shareable Snippets

One way to standout on social media is to have memorable quotes from your post shared. Most people don’t do that. A few like my buddy Anthony “content muse” Pensabene perfected the art.

To enable mere mortals like you and me to share text snippets like @content_muse you have to provide them using blockquotes in HTML.

Connecting them with Twitter in order to make people tweet them on click is even better. These are just tow idiotically simple techniques to encourage this advanced kind of sharing.

Ideally you use speech bubbles like in comics in case you are a web designer or have one to help you.

Use Tribal Links

A big city skyline at night hammered with huge lightning. It looks scary and impressive at the same time.*

Link out to your tribe of peers who will support you once they notice your post. For any given topic there are dozens of articles to link out to support your point.

Instead of just linking out to the usual suspects who won’t even notice let alone care that you linked out to them find a few like-minded content curators.

Then link out to them instead. Only lazy people link out to Wikipedia and the likes. Support other hard working individuals and their properties!

Find someone passionate about the subject you write about to link out to.

The more people you find and the more of them reciprocate your interest in them the sooner you’ll have a tribe of supportive peers on the Web.

Use Foul Language

Most text on the Web is boring. It seems it is written by bots for bots and indeed it often is. Real people are emotional.

When you get emotional you use strong language or even foul language. Damn! You swear like hell, don’t you, punk?

Everybody out there sounds like a fucking robot. Your headline is a captcha for humans.

To a reader it shows whether a person is passionate about the topic s/he writes about or not. Robotic language makes readers leave.

Speak your mind! Do not try to write like an official press release unless it really is one. Write conversationally like a person.

You see it’s not hard. There are many idiotically simple ways to make your crap content stand out.

Just try a few of them on your blog to spice it up a bit. Imagine this post without all of the above, it would be merely a long chunk of text with no

  1. buzzwords
  2. striking images
  3. text decoration
  4. shareable snippets
  5. tribal links
  6. foul language.

There would be virtually nothing left to read!

* Creative Commons images by Sven Javanrouh.