With the internet it’s easier and more cost effective to get ideas published than ever before. It has changed the traditional rules of competition for public attention. But as this is a very competitive world it gets harder and harder to get ideas noticed and propagated. This blog post explores which factors predict which ideas will be successful. It then goes on to the factors that come into play when publishing articles that must get noticed. Understanding these factors will help getting your own ideas noticed and select the right articles for content curation. Curating content helps to grow your reach, sent more traffic to your website, improve your position as an expert and generate more leads.
Building blocks of successful ideas
How can you know in advance which articles will get noticed? It's not enough for your information to be informative. It must trigger the right hemisphere of your brain too. Let's see what is needed for this trigger. In their book "Made to Stick" the authors Dan Heath and Chip Heath explained why some ideas work and others don't. In short there are 6 factors, that can easily be remembered. Just think of success as:
- The 's' for simple so stick to the core message of what you're trying to communicate.
- The 'u' for unexpected so work with surprises, tell people what they least expected and make them curious.
- The 'c' for concrete so everyone will have the same image in their head as you explain your idea.
- The 'c' for credible so give people the tools with which they can validate your idea.
- The 'e' for emotional so don’t confuse them with numbers but speak directly to their hearts.
- The 's' for story so make sure people can relate to your idea and easily extrapolate to the consequences.
One could argue the same factors apply not only to ideas but also to articles and news stories in which the ideas are communicated.
Predicting the success of news articles
A research team from HP Labs has investigated several factors that work together in predicting the success of news articles before they are published. Their goal was to forecast the spread of an article in Twitter based on content features only. Their findings were published in the article "The pulse of news in social media: forecasting popularity".
The researchers, Bandari, Asur and Huberman defined popularity of a news article as the number of times a news URL was posted and shared on Twitter. Using news data from Feedzilla, a news feed aggregator, they looked at the following four factors:
- The news source that posted the article.
- The news category such as business, health or sports.
- The subjectivity of the language in the article (subjective versus objective).
- The named entities mentioned like celebrities or famous brands.
Now while they could not forecast the exact number of Tweets an article would garner, they were able to predict a range of popularity for the article on Twitter with an overall accuracy of 84%. The most important predictor of popularity was the source of the article. It's interesting to note that the most popular news sources on Twitter are not necessarily the conventionally popular news agencies. A common editorial wisdom was confirmed: namedropping does work. While the news category helped in determining whether an article will be mentioned, it didn't perform well in predicting popularity. The could be due to the fact that categories used showed significant overlaps and because there seems to be a bias towards technology-related articles on Twitter. The final factor, subjectivity, didn't help at all. It seems that straightforward objective articles perform just as well as articles that are more emotional and subjective. This is quite surprising as you would expect a more personal voice to resonate stronger with people as is the 'e' in the success formula by Dan and Chip Health.
How BuzzTalk helps you select the best articles when curating content
BuzzTalk now has a brand new publishing interface that allows you to find the latest news about your subject and immediately republish it to your followers. This way BuzzTalk can function as content curation software besides it's other applications. This is a unique content curation tool since it shows a score per publication that is based on four factors that are related to success.
- The news source's reach as this is the most important factor.
- Whether or not a mood state can be detected in the publication. Mood states refer to emotions such as anger, vigor, depression, tension, confusion or fatigue.
- Whether or not important happenings (BuzzEvents) can be detected in the publication. Examples are mergers and acquisitions, product releases, murders, natural disasters, robbery, bankruptcy, profit falls etc. Currently 35 different happenings are recognized by BuzzTalk.
- Whether the sentiment detected in the publication is positive.
You can take the score into account when curating content and distributing it to your followers. This makes it easier to select the publications that will evoke a response and of course you'll use your own judgement as well. Tools exist to help you though the process can be fully automated.
Finding and linking to the right content is one part of the job. The other part is composing a successful tweet to promote it. We'll that about that in our next blog post.