I hope you steal this blog post.
There won’t be an alarm that goes off. The Feds won’t come to get you, and no one will probably ever know that you did. It’s not a trick, it’s not a trap, and it’s not a lure.
I actually want you to. Because that means I’ve done my job.
The Question and Answer Economy
Your audience has a series of ongoing questions that they must answer in order to do their job. Taking in to consideration what their problems may be can help formulate the types of solutions your readers might want to borrow from you.
Put yourself in their position and create content that helps them perform better at work. In other words, content they can steal.
Play to the thieves and you’ll win with everyone. Creating content worthy of being stolen will provide a great value to your readers – but it will also build you inbound links, gain you social media mentions, and increase brand awareness for those who do give credit where credit is due.
When you create content, ask yourself: would I steal this blog post?
Everybody’s Searching for Something
When people use the Internet to look something up they are typically in need of an answer. They’ll type in a quick Google search or make a plea on Twitter hoping to be equipped with one.
They have specific questions, and need real answers. Your readers need lines for the script that is their workplace dialogue.
Most likely, they’re looking to make a case for something and they need back-up. They need something they can “borrow” on their trip to the conference room.
Your content should provide this.
What Type of Content Do People Want to Steal?
- Statistics and research: Every PowerPoint presentation needs this, and many business decisions are based on having this on hand. Provide your audience with a numerical nugget they can use in their next presentation (Brian Solis is a master of this, among other things.)
- Best practices and how-to: So your reader has buy-in on her next big idea, but is a little foggy on implementing such a complex technical endeavor. Give step-by-step instructions or best practices that solve a business issue that they can print out and send to their team. (Google made this theft-worthy guide to SEO here)
- Illustrations and infographics: A member of your audience has been trying (in vain) to explain a concept to busy, bored and/or uninterested colleagues. Provide them an infographic they can re-sketch on a white board and earn coveted buy-in. (Matt at DataDial.net did a good job of this here.)
- Case studies and examples: Articulating a roadmap to success is a lot easier when someone else has blazed the trail for you. Providing your readers with practical applications of how something has worked in the laboratory of the real-world gives them a story to sell (even if it isn’t quite theirs to sell) (Folk-hero Chris Pearson demonstrates this technique here.)
- Powerful soundbites: There’s a reason advertising uses taglines and politicians use slogans: they are memorable, thought-provoking (the good ones are), and can pack a punch without a whole lot of text. Giving your reader a quote, an analogy, or a status-quo shattering statement can be exactly what they need to get the attention of their colleagues in their next strategic session. (Eric Fulwiler generates these on an almost daily basis on his blog.)
Not everyone is a thief, and not every thief is malicious. We just happen to live in a very fast-paced world and people are facing pressure to deliver quickly and people don’t always have time to scribble a “source” in their footnotes.
Play to that reality and deliver content worthy of being stolen.
You might not get direct credit, but between you and them, they know where they got it, and you better believe they’ll be back.