Put Some Lead in Your Pencil!

I’ve written before about what to write about when you’re “stuck.”

How-to articles are the perfect antidote to writer’s block. But if your goal is to create content for your e-mail newsletter or website to attract search engines, you cannot rely on them every time. Thankfully, there is another type of article that’s remarkably simple to write. Your readers will love it — and so will the search engines.

I was reminded of this by recent events here in rural Oregon. Last deer hunting season, I was in a local store and overheard a heated debate about lead in deer meat. It turns out that researchers in North Dakota had found lead fragments from bullets in commercially sold ground venison. That set off a health scare that rippled through the hunting community nationwide.

There are strong opinions on both sides. Some hunters have eaten their kills for years and report no ill effects. On the other side are folks who think the meat should be banned.

Your business probably isn’t concerned with this issue. But there are any number of controversial topics in every market, niche, industry, hobby, etc. You’re probably thinking of one now… and maybe even getting riled up about it.

That’s good. Use it. Share your opinion with your readers and/or customers Or share both sides of the debate and act as commentator and independent expert.

Perhaps you run a gardening business. If so, you may remember the controversy some years ago concerning Monsanto’s patent on a new strain of wheat. The wheat was derived from a variety that farmers in India cultivated for millennia. But when the patent was granted, it gave Monsanto the legal right to (among other things) prevent those farmers from saving and planting their seeds from harvest to harvest, as they had always done.

This is the kind of hot button issue that would be perfect for someone in the gardening business to tackle. You would ask yourself where you and your customers stand. Do you believe that Monsanto was guilty of “bio-piracy” — stealing a product developed by generations of native farmers and then modifying it? Or do you believe that Monsanto was the “inventor” of this new strain of wheat and, as such, should be allowed to protect its investment?

Taking Sides

Lead in venison and wheat patents are just two of the millions of controversial topics in the world. It won’t take you long to come up with dozens, or even hundreds, that you have a strong opinion on… and that could be of interest to your customers.

In fact, take a moment to start a list right now… right off the top of your head. Jot down your initial thoughts on subjects you really care about. (You can do research later to back up your point of view.)

Then use those notes when it comes time to put together a blog entry, article, or essay.

You don’t even have to be a “writer” to produce good content. Speak your mind into a recorder and then transcribe it. Or record a conversation with someone who feels just as passionately as you do about a particular issue.

This is even better when you take the opposing position!

For example, what if I called Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s Executive Vice President, and started carrying on about gun control. You think he’d have a word or two on the subject?

Or what if I called Phil Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace in the USA, and told him that all this crap about protecting whales is a load of bull. You think he’d have something to say?

You can bet he would!

What about you? Do you have an opinion about:

  • Your business…
  • Your industry…
  • The use of your products…
  • The way a competitor is doing it wrong (or right)…
  • Some new law that pisses you off…
  • Some topic that your customer service people are starting to receive an increasing number of questions about…

Write about it! And take an aggressive stance. Although people say they want “balanced reporting,” balanced reporting is bland.

And encourage your readers to give you feedback. This keeps the debate going. If your site is set up to allow comments, invite those comments. Or ask your readers to share their thoughts via e-mail.

You can then base your next article on all that input.

It starts with simply taking a stand — one of the best sources of content for your e-mail newsletters and website.

[Ed. Note: Expressing your opinion on controversial issues is just one strategy for creating quality content for your Internet business. You’ll learn many others, as well as dozens of Internet marketing techniques, tactics, and “secrets” from the experts at ETR’s upcoming 5 Days in July Internet Business Building Conference.

Even if you’re a total beginner, are a bit (or very) tech-phobic, or have never run a business, you can start your own profitable online venture. And the Early to Rise team, including experts responsible for the success of Agora Inc., can help you do it in just five days.

Come with nothing… and leave 5 days later with a fully functioning Internet business… and the skills and expertise you need to make it thrive. Our special early sign-up bonus offer ends this Friday. So don’t delay.]

Although David hails from Blackpool, England – which is often referred to as the “Las Vegas of England” – he shunned a career in show business and instead followed a meandering career path overflowing with “life’s great experiences,” working or living in over 20 countries along the way. Chef, teacher of Transcendental Meditation, guest presenter on QVC, earthquake relief volunteer, CEO of a web hosting company, marketer at a radio station and all combined with years of direct marketing, PR and sales experience for clients as diverse as health food stores, small charities and right up to multinational public companies. David brought unique talent and experience to his role for six years as Senior Internet Consultant to Agora Publishing Group. Working closely with Agora’s publishers and marketers to test new ideas and marketing campaigns, Agora’s Internet revenues topped $200 million in 2007. David understands and can communicate fluently with creative “right-brain” marketers and analytical “left-brain” IT and software teams, all with equal ease. He has a proven track record for generating results and creative thinking and excels at making trouble to find new ways of making things happen! He lives on a small farm close to Mount Hood in Oregon with his wife Cinda, a veterinarian, and their four children and a menagerie of animals (no more, please!). When not marketing or brainstorming you’ll find David following a dream of self-sufficiency for food, power and water within 10 years, tending the land and caring for the farm and animals. Not surprisingly, David is an engaging and knowledgeable speaker with many amusing anecdotes from his work and travels over the years.