Successful blogging is all about standing out. I’ve mentioned before that I think blogging is a great marketing technique—but only when it is done properly. The main problem is that marketers decide they want a blog, they start blogging … and they fall into the trap of writing the same blogs as everyone else in their niche. They don’t stand out. They don’t get any attention. It’s almost a complete waste of time. So how should you go about getting more attention from your blogging?
Go Against Accepted Wisdom
What are the general truths in your industry? Those oft-repeated pearls of wisdom that no one seems to ever question because they are so clearly true? Go against them. Say something that contrasts with this accepted wisdom, something that you just KNOW is going to be controversial. Of course, you need to be able to back up your claims. You can’t just say something for the sake of it. But if you can find a way to say something that goes against everything your audience assumes to be true, you are almost certainly going to get attention.
Derek Halpern did this with his blog entitled: “The ‘Content Is King’ Myth Debunked.” He knew it would get people debating, arguing why he was wrong as well as why he was right (the blog has 248 comments at the time of writing, so the tactic worked). Even better, other bloggers will often publish their own blogs in response to your blog, stating their opinion on the topic … and that can lead to a whole lot of backlinks.
Do Something Original … and Report It
Writing about things in a blog post is all well and good. But everyone does that, and readers can get this info anywhere. What they cannot get anywhere is access to people who have actually done those things themselves. So show your readers that you have the real-life experience to write about something. Show them that you are a specialist. What can you do? It depends on your nice. Noah Kagan from AppSumo wanted to write about starting a business and making $1,000 in profit in 24 hours. So he went ahead and tried it himself.
The fact that he did it instantly gave him more credibility and made his blog more attractive. But you could do something less dramatic. Let’s say you want to write a post on how sending a simple season’s greetings to your customers can lead to a surge of extra business. Rather than just writing about it, do it yourself. Get in touch with your customers and track the results, then write up a blog titled: “We called up all of our customers to say Happy Christmas … this is what happened.”
Real experiences make for great blog posts. Real things that you did, and which you can back up with evidence. The more they stand out, the better, but this doesn’t mean you have to do something crazy or expensive—just something original that will be of interest to your audience.
Have Strong Opinions
A lot of blogs sound like they have been written by the same person. Very few have a real voice. That’s partly because so many of them do not have strong opinions. They all say the same things, careful not to offend anyone. But this just prevents them from standing out from the crowd. Don’t go out of your way to be offensive (you might put off people who would otherwise want to work with you). But don’t be overly sensitive either. Don’t be scared of conflict. Strong opinions are more entertaining. They generate more debate. They get publicity. They are more persuasive. Even if people disagree with you, they are likely to respect you more for speaking your mind.
Create Mega Blog Posts
Lists are all the rage, but this is nothing new. We like to get our information in list format. But if you really want to get your blogs noticed, go beyond the standard “7 Best …” or “Top 10…” Aim higher. Go for 100. Or 150. Or more! Like this monster blog from Copyhackers about every single copywriting formula. It’s so big it even has its own table of contents. This type of mega-blog has the chance to become a resource, a blog post that people refer back to for months and years to come—a post people will continue to link to for a long time. So have a think: Which topics could you create a mega-post on?
Be Open to Debate
Every blog should be open for comments. Sometimes the comments are more interesting than the blog post itself. But don’t just leave them open and forget about them. Make sure you reply to posts and get involved in the discussion. If someone contradicts what you have written about, argue your point. Get some rigorous debate going. The more active your comment section is, the more people are likely to get involved themselves … and the more they will remember your blogs.
Write Headlines that Get Noticed
This is the last point because it should be the last thing you write. Headlines matter, especially online when your blog is competing against millions of others. Copywriters have known about the power of a good headline for decades, often spending more time on the headline than the copy itself. So treat your blog post in the same way. Think really carefully about the title of your blog. Write down 10 or 20 options before deciding on the best. Get your keyword in there. Make it compelling. Make sure people notice it and want to click on it.
This guide from Copyblogger is a great place to start.
Get It Out There
So far, we’ve looked at ways to make your blogs more attention-worthy by what you include. But you also have to focus on getting them out there so people find them in the first place. Even the very best blogs can end up sitting and stewing with no readers if you don’t get your distribution right. Plan a social media campaign for your blog post. If you are writing a mega-post, hint at its impending publication with a series of tweets to get your followers curious. (e.g. “How far would you go to win a new client? We’ve got some surprising answers.”)
Also, work on your SEO. Make sure you have a target keyword in mind for every post you write and aim to get it ranking. Then when you publish the post, reach out to you ideal readers. Target them with Facebook ads to direct new visitors to your blog, and guest post on blogs where your readers are already active.
Time to Get Your Blogs Some Attention
Don’t blog for the sake of it. Don’t blog just because everyone else is. Blog because you have a goal in mind. Blog to get more people to your website, to generate more links, to improve your branding. And always focus on making your blogs stand out. Otherwise, why should anyone make the effort to read them?