Seven ways to create intelligent blog content: A WEF case study – Formative Content

Seven ways to create intelligent blog content: A WEF case study

The World Economic Forum’s Agenda blog has millions of readers across the world; the content varies from short and sharp ‘buzz’ insight pieces to long-form insight articles. Using examples from the content our team has produced for the Forum, here are some of the formats you can use to engage readers:-

Live blog

This style of coverage – in concert with social channels – pulls an event together and gives it a human voice, helping participants and non-participants alike to navigate sessions and the overall narrative. The Davos 2016 live blog received more than 70,000 page views with nearly three minutes spent on the page per user:-

A live blog is perfectly suited to a high profile event with multiple streams of insight, activity and output. It’s ideally created by an experienced (corporate) journalist following events as they take place and curating content on multiple platforms into one clear feed that audiences can follow.

Data-based pieces

Short-form data that is easy to digest and understand is a great corporate resource. Here, senior writer Rosamond Hutt has pulled together a narrative using available graphs and information (predominantly, but not all, from the World Economic Forum) to tell the story of the biggest threats of 2016.

Mine out your own insight reports, data and white papers to create messages that demonstrate your insight and knowledge, but allow you to lay them out in a straightforward way. Here, infographics enable the forum to clearly map out the nature of Global Risks.

Longer-form Explainers

Some of the blog pieces we have written for the Forum are longer, more in-depth explainers, aimed at guiding the reader to more information or understanding of a topic. These are popular with an informed audience – or an audience who wish to be informed – and work well when they are clearly sign-posted as this one is. This piece by our writer, Rosamond Hutt, on ‘Why have commodities crashed?’ is not long, but it takes research and careful writing to produce a tailored piece such as this.

It’s an accepted fact that many audiences of today’s digital products have a short attention span (ref: 140 characters on Twitter, the success of Snapchat) but it’s also been widely documented that there is, indeed, a large group of readers and/or listeners/viewers who want longer, more in-depth piece of content. If you want to read more, here’s a useful, and still relevant, article on the nature of long-form from Forbes published a few years ago.

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List and listicles

Many people love a list. The content that pours out of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos typically lends itself to this format because of the volume of original buy viagra online pharmacy output that is created, the numbers of high quality people who are quoted and the clear thematic structure of the event. This makes it relatively straightforward to produce curated list and analysis such as ’11 Experts in Davos on the Future of Work’ or  The 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

But it’s not just high profile events such as Davos where you can employ this technique. If you are working for an organisation with key employees and staff working in a certain genre, area or industry then consider how you can leverage and group their insight & knowledge in a simple, easy to digest fashion.



“Buzz” Content

As well as the more traditional 450 – 750 word articles that we consider to be ‘standard’ blogs, there’s been a trend towards shorter, more punchy articles that are easy to share. This is snackable content, or buzz, as it’s called by some.

These blogs mimic the clickable, shareable style of content found on sites like BuzzFeed etc, and drive traffic to your website. They are generally short and sharp, and can be based on a simple chart highlighting a key fact, which can be used as the ‘shareable’ when being promoted on social channels: one example is this, Where are workers earning the most?


One Editorial Idea

Take one idea, thought, vision or statement – it may be your CEO statement on the state of the industry or nation – and build a short blog or article around it. See how the Forum curate and build a news-worthy article around a key thesis – ‘GDP a poor measure of Progress, say economists’. Simple, impactful and successful content.


Poll blogs

A simple way to generate a story is to ask a question of your audience in order to gather ‘survey data’ from your audience ahead of a related session. It’s easy to research and write a couple of related paragraphs around the subject at hand – you can then embed a poll using a poll tool such as Slido, making a note of results as they emerge.  See what we have done with:- What if you’re still alive in 2100?

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The team of writers and producers from Formative Content works with the World Economic Forum’s digital team.

Gay Flashman is CEO and founder of Formative Content, a content marketing agency based  in the UK that creates and posts high quality multi-platform content for clients all over the world. Gay is a former manager of Channel 4 News and Channel 5 News in the UK.

Header image courtesy of Jack Hardy Photography

Joe Myers - Head of Operations, Formative Content
Author:Joe Myers - Head of Operations, Formative Content