When everyone is zigging, do you like to zag? Do you like to question conventional wisdom? If you do, then contrarian stories are for you. Contrarian stories seek to examine the ugly underbelly of commonly held beliefs and practices.
Now I'm not suggesting you make it your mission to reveal what's wrong with everything and everyone in your industry. While doing that might gain you some exposure initially, in the long run it will only build a base of readers who share your skepticism. Worse, you might become disrespected in your industry. That said, developing the occasional contrarian article can be a very smart component of your content marketing plan.
For example, I wrote an article called “The Dark Side of Twitter: What Businesses Need to Know,” for MarketingProfs.com in February of 2009. That article, released during the peak of the Twitter frenzy, went on to become MarketingProf.com's number-one article of the year. (Appendix E has the article.)
The reason this article was so successful is because I interviewed a number of high-profile marketers who were using Twitter, asking them to share the dark side of their experience with it. I then crafted an article that also revealed how to overcome those challenges.
Contrarian stories are written using the same steps itemized earlier, in the how-to articles section. The primary difference is that you take a contrarian position on the topic—or at least you appear, at first glance, to do so.
Here are a couple of ...