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Keep ‘Em Guessing (and More Lessons From Content We Love)

This week, the Morning Brew shows how to perk up reader interest. A content creator whips up a handy resource for B2B writers and experts. And a new content studio from Neutrogena puts its best face forward with an award-winning documentary.

Morning Brew turns Sunday real estate habit into a guessing game

Real estate sections have been mainstays of Sunday media since the era when the day meant open houses – the prime opportunity to see prospective homes in person. Now listings (and, since the pandemic, showings) exist mainly online.

The Morning Brew email newsletter smartly capitalizes on the traditional Sunday real estate review – and reinvents it in an engaging way.

Each week, the popular newsletter’s Sunday Edition features a housing unit for sale. The pictures and details could come from a Realtor’s listing or an Instagram account. Here’s this week’s feature:

Open House

It’s Open House o’clock, the only time of day when it’s totally normal to whisper, “I want that,” at your screen. We’ll give you a few facts about a listing and you try to guess the price. Today’s home is courtesy of the most addicting Instagram account, Cheap Old Houses.

Welcome to the most colorful house in Hagerstown, MD. This 1,772 square-foot duplex was built in 1904 and is within walking distance of the town’s main street. The inside needs a little fixing up, but it’s definitely got the charm that makes you want to quit your newsletter writing job in a big city and renovate a vintage home in a town you’ve never been to. Amenities include:

  • 4 beds, 1.5 baths
  • A finished(ish) attic
  • 10-foot-tall ceilings
  • A lil’ alcove for your stove

So, how much for your next project? Scroll to the bottom for the price.

WHY IT MATTERS: Can you pick out the most engaging line? We think it’s this: “Scroll to the bottom for the price.”

Those seven words turn what could have been a typical newsletter entry into a game. Even readers who don’t care to guess have to scroll to the bottom of the email – giving the rest of the content a chance to catch their eye – to find out the answer ($105,000 in this week’s case). Creating a curiosity gap is a great way to engage your readers for free. All it takes is a little shift in the order of your content.

Games like the Open House section in the Sunday edition of @MorningBrew are a clever way to keep subscribers guessing (and reading), says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing #WeeklyWrap Share on X

New resource matches B2B writers with quality sources

Do you find it challenging to line up quality sources for your B2B content? On the flip side, are you tired of responding to source inquiries only to have your outreach met with silence?

Freelance writer Elise Dopson (who has contributed to CMI’s blog) has come up with a solution: Help a B2B Writer.

Here’s how it works: Writers working on articles submit a request for sources. Suitable sources registered with the service get an email asking them to contribute. The writer receives the provided quotes to use. Think of it, as the service’s description says,  “Like HARO … But better. (And just for B2B.)”

WHY IT MATTERS: Using sources outside your company can lend credibility and authority to your content. It helps them see your content as a valuable resource, not a tool to sell things. Finding those quality sources is an ongoing challenge, particularly for the B2B community.

Elise says the early response to the new service has been overwhelming. One reason is that she designed it to be deliberately easy to use. You don’t have to scroll through dozens of requests multiple times a day to find an applicable one as you do with HARO. Instead, Help a B2B Writer’s model involves direct and relevant correspondence. And kudos to Elise for seeing a common B2B pain point as an opportunity.

Writer @EliseDopson spotted a #B2B #content pain point – and built a solution to address it. Read her story via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Share on X

Neutrogena launches content studio, award-winning documentary

Neutrogena Studios, the content arm of the skin-care line, recently released its first documentary – In the Sun. Film and television star Kerry Washington, who also is a Neutrogena spokesperson, is an executive producer.

The film tells how the sun affects skin through the stories of people from different backgrounds while delivering health information and dispelling skin cancer myths. The companion website offers the full documentary along with information about skin cancer prevention. The film also is available on YouTube, Google Play, Apple TV, and Vimeo.

WHY IT MATTERS: Neutrogena sees a future of content. With the launch of its own content studio, the skin-care brand is creating non-branded content in short and long form. The goal is to inspire and inform. With this film, Neutrogena gets off to a good start, picking a topic relevant to both its business and its audience. Kerry Washington’s involvement also connects the film to the brand given that she is a brand spokesperson. It’s also a good example to help persuade executives who don’t fully support a content strategy that isn’t about selling and promoting.

.@Neutrogena Studios launches strong with award-winning documentary #InTheSunFilm. @Robert_Rose says it’s a model that makes sense for brands and consumers via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap #ContentMarketing Share on X
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute