If you’re used to writing straightforward, conventional articles as blog posts, it’s hard to break out of that habit. But if you shake things up by writing a post that highlights an innovator or influencer in your community, you might be able to see better results, and ultimately drive more traffic and loyal readers to your blog.
#xamples of Spotlight Profiles
There are many different ways you can highlight an individual, so it’s tough to come up with a singular definition. Typically, these “spotlight” profiles focus on one person, including their history, their current company or organization, and their perspectives on a handful of industry trends. It may take the form of a review, a biography, or even an interview, depending on your intentions.
It’s a good idea to look at existing examples, to get a feel for how they work. For example, Decaso recently did a profile on Jay Jeffers, a successful designer. Fortune often does spotlights on major entrepreneurs and CEOs, such as Jeff Bezos. And sometimes, organizations choose to do profiles as an extension of a news story related to that individual, such as when Rand Fishkin stepped away from day-to-day operations at Moz.
Why They’re Beneficial
So why are these individual profiles beneficial for your blog?
- Influencer appeal. There’s a reason influencer marketing has become so popular; influencers are a gateway to popularity. They have an established following, which means any piece on them has instantly higher potential reach, and if you work with them directly, they may be able to point out some key insights that can help you in your own work.
- Authority showcase. This is also your chance to show that you, as an author, have multiple influences. Speaking with experts from many different disciplines, you’ll quickly build a reputation for yourself as being esoteric, and you’ll attract a more dedicated readership as a result.
- A break from the norm. This is also your chance to break away from the norms and routines of your blog writing, and potentially differentiate yourself. Given there are 30 million bloggers in the United States alone, this differentiating factor is more important than ever.
- Topic accessibility. New influencers may be able to introduce you to topics you haven’t though to explore, such as new technologies or trends in your industry that you haven’t been following. It’s a great way to stay up-to-date.
How to Make the Most of Them
If you’re going to use spotlight profiles on your blog, there are a handful of tips you’ll need to follow to be successful:
- Choose the medium carefully. Before you start writing up a profile, think carefully about which medium you want to use. Is this a biography? Is it a news story? Is it an interview? Different mediums will have strengths and weaknesses for each influencer you consider, and depending on the nature of your brand, you may favor one over the others.
- Get in contact if you can. Any profile you write will become instantly more powerful if you have direct input from the person you’re profiling. Try to get in contact; conducting an interview is the best way to get more detailed information, but even if you can get a quick quote, you’ll be at an advantage. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to choose an influencer who seems available and willing to talk to interviewers.
- Be thorough. Provide as many details as you can, and check multiple sources to make sure you’re getting the right information (and well-rounded information). While you’re at it, double check all your facts — the last thing you want is a PR disaster because you misreported something about someone’s personal life.
- Find something new to offer. Unless you’ve chosen an up-and-comer, chances are someone has already done a profile on this person. Your job, then, is to find something new to offer. Is there new information that no one else has reported on? Do you have a new quote that people will want to read? Can you take this work in a new direction, or put a new spin on it?
- Cross-promote when you can. Once completed, try to get your target influencer to share the post with their followers. Since it’s advantageous for both of you, chances are high they’ll accept (so long as the quality of your work is on point).
You don’t need to do a spotlight every week, but as an occasional addition, they can serve almost any blog in almost any industry. Think carefully about some influencer prospects in your industry that your readership deserves to learn more about; one well-written profile could be all it takes to reenergize your existing audience, and attract a wealth of new readers.