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Content marketers often suggest writing trends pieces to put your company or product/service in context. It’s also a decent way to create a little news flow. You can identify trends through your own surveying or from news and industry reports. (Here's advice on how to peg your content to trends and news stories)

The most credible trends content does more than highlight the trend and how you, your enterprise or your product/service fit into it. It's got to include a broader perspective from outside your organization. There’s a reason, after all, that the news typically relies on multiple sources in its reporting: It signals objectivity and fosters credibility.

The Rule of Other Voices applies not only to trends articles, but also to investor pitches, media outreach, business plans or canvas, and presentations. Here are some suggested sources:

Competitors

Including the competition—in an objective way—build credibility. It shows that you’re not afraid of others in your space and that you want to provide an objective view of the trend. If you’re developing this content as a pitch to the media, you might as well do this, because they will. At the very least, include contact information for your counterparts or PR contact at your rival organizations, which will endear you to reporters.

Analysts

Industry and financial analysts provide both a macro view of the trend in action and its impact on the marketplace. These folks also can provide micro information on the companies they cover in the industry, providing informed comparisons that you may not want to make yourself. Their voices build further credibility and trust in the content you’re distributing. Again, when creating for the media, include contact information along with the other information.

Pundits

Different from analysts, these folks are the opinion leaders and other trusted sources of information on your company, product/service and/or industry. Like analysts, they can create context for the trend and your role in it. These folks typically have large networks and might even help you distribute your content if you ask nicely and provide the link. One caution: Avoid pundits associated with news outlets if you’re creating a pitch for reporters; they aren’t interested in promoting their competition.

Academics

Some ivory tower denizens are pundits, but many don’t have the wide appeal and dramatic reach. Smart people who’ve engaged in academic research and deep investigation of your industry, the product/service or the trend can provide an interesting perspective. Their voices are particularly valuable in content about science or the social sciences, or when you need an additional layer of integrity.

Users/Customers/Beneficiaries

Though we know you’re not going to include customers who don’t like your product/service, their voices still add to the overall impact of your content. Choose people who are most like the audience you’re trying to attract/influence. We all respond to advice and insights from “people like me”. It also helps to choose people willing to speak on the record with the media.

Strategic Partners/Suppliers

These voices can be helpful in B2B content. The same rules apply for this group as for Users/Customers/Beneficiaries, above.

Investors/Donors/Sponsors

Obviously people who support you financially think your product/service rocks the opera house. But that makes them seem somewhat less objective. Still, include them if you’re doing B2B content, or in an investor relations scenario. Reporters sometimes like to talk to investors holding large blocks of stock or donors who have made major gifts.

Choose one or more of these voices to include in the content you create this week.

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