3 Simple Frameworks to Help You Write Blockbuster Articles

blogging Sep 16, 2022

A blogger's worst nightmare is writing an article that nobody bothers to read. You pour countless hours, doing your best to translate an idea into a blog post that your audience doesn't care about. You take a bet, and for whatever reason, it doesn’t pay off.

One way to tackle this problem—to reduce the time it takes to create content, and to increase the likelihood of its success—is to understand this simple principle:

While content is king, context is the kingdom.

Understanding Context

When it comes to the art of blogging, context determines the value of a specific piece of content:

  • An idea that is commonplace to one audience—say, finance professionals—can be novel and interesting to another—like marketers.
  • The same core information can be made more or less valuable by changing its format. Great ideas are sometimes locked away in places that render them inaccessible to people that would benefit from them.

We leverage context when we take content from one place and—with minimal effort—leverage it for higher value somewhere else.

How to Leverage Context

Context can be leveraged wherever information asymmetries exist: instances where one group of people possess information that would be useful to another, but—for reasons we’re about to explore—it’s rendered inaccessible.

But in order to take advantage of context, we have to walk a fine line. We want our content to be long-lived, to add value above and beyond the raw information source, to ensure that value endures, and to connect it back to our brand. We also want to create that value quickly and efficiently, piggybacking off of proven ideas and the effort of others to create something new and interesting.

Here are three ways to reconcile those goals and add value:

1. Curate fragmented information

Sometimes useful information is spread out across lots of places.

Content from other sources is being leveraged by other people to create new value for a different audience.

Listicles are canonical examples of content curation. Ten years ago, the web was significantly more fragmented than it is today, with many great ideas hidden away in obscure corners of the internet, like personal blogs and essays. Listicle content helped alleviate this accessibility issue, creating value through centralization.

But that value is short-lived: there are no barriers to entry, and anyone can curate a competing resource. Today, unless you operate in an industry with low content maturity, it’s hard to add lasting value through curation alone.

However, here's what you can do to stand out from the crowd through curation:

  • curate information with clear relevance to your target audience (and their problems)
  • focus on topics that haven’t been curated to death
  • add a differentiator—a different selection methodology or a strong opinion

2. Summarise and repurpose information into new formats

Great ideas can stare you in the face but never be realized because they’re locked up in the wrong format.

Useful information exists in long meandering books that few people are willing to read. Many people prefer the immediacy of written information over the long-form nature of video.

Thus, you leverage context by repurposing useful information from one inaccessible format into another more accessible one.

As an example, our now-defunct newsletter, Insights, used to summarize 3 key insights from bestselling books on art, creativity, and marketing.

There is relatively little value-add beyond the original source (in fact, there is lots of information lost), but for somebody that will never watch read the book, every idea that is shared is novel, interesting, and valuable.

Repurposing ideas from one format to another unlocks a new potential audience and creates genuine value in the process.

Crucially, good summaries have a more defensible moat than simple curation because there is a time cost involved in their creation: you have to actually watch the webinar, read the book, listen to the podcast, etc.

3. Translate esoteric ideas into your niche’s “language”

Useful ideas and information are often locked away in niche or esoteric publications, like industry trade journals or academic papers. By wandering into new spaces where you don’t “belong,” you can often find heaps of information worth bringing back to your discipline.

The inverse point is also worth considering: there are no blockbuster article opportunities to be found by reading the most popular publications within your niche; it's highly unlikely to find new, interesting information to leverage—because every other blogger within your niche is also reading those same publications.

As an example, The Mental Models Club, our premium newsletter on mental models translates ideas from other disciplines (psychology, history) and shows how they apply to the creator economy.

However, this process is difficult because it requires synthesis of the information and careful thought about how it might (or might not) apply to your niche or industry.

And although it requires more effort than simple curation, it’s still leveraging context, in the sense that the core idea—the framework, the research, the anecdote, or experience—remains unchanged. We are still piggybacking the successful, proven, interesting ideas of others.

Blogstars know that they don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. The world is full of interesting ideas, frameworks, and stories. With a bit of thought, real, lasting value can be created from this existing content—without risking time and energy in the creation of something completely new and completely unproven.

Leveraging context is perfectly suited to a world drowning in information. With millions of articles published every day, it makes perfect sense to use existing information to create new value. Not everything has to be new—it just has to be new to you, and your readers.

Interested in mastering the art of writing blockbuster articles?

Check out our highly unconventional course, The Art of Writing Blockbuster Articles.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from us.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.