Celebrating Backlog Zero!
Hi Bloggers –
We reached Backlog Zero! With a full team now in place to review your posts, your blog review/talent development team has finally caught up with you (or at least did for a few hours yesterday evening).
At least until we get slammed again with waves of contributions, you can expect rapid (possibly same-day) turnaround on your posts! Great, you say, but I’m out of ideas. All right, here are a few approaches that can fuel your writing endlessly:
Earnings Previews: This earnings calendar can give you a head’s up on all the market’s planned events (earnings reports, economic events, mergers, etc.). Get us your posts a few days before the earnings announcement to avoid the clutter on the ticker feeds and tell your readers what they can expect, why it matters, and what to do with the results. Here’s a great example from blogger FoolishErik.
Reading the Trades: Pick a company of interest and then dig down into the industry or sector as a whole using non-mainstream sources, such as trade magazines or other industry-specific materials, sites, and boards. These can all help generate specific story ideas as well as provide a much deeper look at the most relevant factors driving these businesses. Think about the most fundamental and important aspects that shape a company’s performance and provide readers with insights on these variables that they can’t find in other investment articles.
SWOT Analysis: One of the best ways to develop a picture of any company is with the SWOT analysis -- a look at a company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Here’s an example from a Fool writer.
OK, I’ve just decided on a new contest: From now through Dec. 1, we will give a $500 bonus to the best example of each of these three types of posts. Just send us a note to email@example.com when you want to nominate one of your posts for consideration.
Three other ideas for generating posts (though not up for bonuses):
Conference Calls: Not summaries, and definitely not transcripts, but listening to or reading a call should generate four or five storylines for more research about that company. Go through a call, do an aggregator post with the highlights, then expand each of those into its own post as you do deeper research. You can usually get to the call from the company’s IR page. Doing this kind of research will ultimately make you more knowledgeable and conversant on the company, which will help you write better posts down the road. And you can turn one conference call into five posts!
3 Risks [company name] Should Worry About: Open up a company’s 10-K and read the risks section. Pick the three risks that are most worrisome and provide some color and insight. As an add-on, 1 Risk [company name] Should Be Worrying About. Link to your prior article, then emphasize one risk not listed in the 10-K that you think should be, spelling out your reasons. As always, if you can discuss the company’s competitors, you can provide more context while also broadening your distribution.
Response Post: If you come across something that you disagree with or that misses a key argument, write a post about it. Treat it like a 500-word comment. Don’t just attack and don’t be a jerk; make your stance and defend it convincingly. For example, tell us why Mark Pincus is not the next Steve Jobs. Tell us why Cramer is wrong to buy Facebook on weakness. There’s an infinite amount of stuff to disagree with, and that will help you form new original ideas once you get in a groove.
Hope that gets your mental juices flowing. OK, begin burying us again!