When everyone is using their blog to get more traffic to their website, it can become truly difficult to stand out. Search engines like Google aren't just looking for quantity anymore, they're looking for quality posts that readers will actually want to click on and even potentially share with their friends. It's worth noting before giving any tips that practically no blog posts go viral — humans simply aren't built to handle an onslaught of new posts each day. That viral goal can always be a hope in the back of your mind, but the more realistic goal should be to create a blog that will add value to the reader's life. Here are just a few tips on how to go giving the visitor more than they bargained for.
1. Give Your Own OpinionThere is so much information out there that still can't be found online. For example, what you think about things! No matter the topic you're blogging on, whether it's household cleaners or a new brain surgery technique, chances are you have a fresh perspective on it. This is the time to start sharing your opinion before providing actionable steps for the reader. Establish trust with the readers, let them know you're on their level, and then start giving the background they need to know.
Some of the best angles are to address common mistakes you see in your industry. For example, B2B companies likely have a lot to say about how salespeople drive customers away rather than bringing them in. Coffee shop owners can talk about how to overcome slim profit margins on their menu items. There is an art to these types of blog posts so you if you don’t feel qualified, you may want to give the bones of the story to a professional writer and then let them take care of the organization of the blog post so it doesn't come across as rambling or a rant.
2. Look for ConnectionsThe writers of Freakonomics sold more than 4 million copies of their books because they asked a lot of odd questions, and managed to find some very interesting answers. Most people don't ask what 3rd-grade teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common, but they did. As it turns out, both groups had a propensity to cheat when the incentives were high enough. These types of observations not only say something new, but they're also memorable due to the obvious contrast.
Larry Kim, founder of Wordstream, scored with his blog by finding new angles on big headlines. For example, when Google updates their search algorithms, it spells good news for some companies and not for others. This was the simple version of the story when the new Panda update came out, but Kim decided to tell the story a little differently. He created a post that focused on how Ebay's traffic specifically went down by 75% right after the new update. He only had to tweak the news a tad before the article was shared across major publications everywhere.
3. Start Rethinking Click-BaitWhether you love click-bait or hate it, it can be a really powerful tool to get the result you want. What you can't do though is rely solely on a sensational title or image. A click-bait post that promises a shocking revelation should connect with the reader on a deeper level, otherwise readers will simply think the site is desperate for attention.
No matter what business you're in, you can likely find a way to spin your stories to make them a little more appealing. For example, a blog post for a pool cleaning service in Florida may get a limited number of clicks if it's about chlorine deposits, but it may get a lot more attention if it's about how one of the pool cleaners found an alligator in an abandoned home's pool. Unusual things happen to us everyday, and it's time to start considering how these events can provide more leverage for your business.
4. Speaking Directly to the ReaderToo many times readers search about something specific, only to find a blog post that may contain their search words, but no relevant information about what they actually need. The more your content answers the searcher's question, the more likely it is to come up on the first page of a search engine. If you're covering a heavily searched term, like "what is bitcoin" or "how much should I spend on auto insurance", then you need to find ways to make your topic come alive.
You can't predict what everyone needs, but you can decide on an angle that works for you and for those who will visit your site. Humor is often a good way to explain things to people where they actually understand the answer. You can also consider doing something more ambitious, such as an extensive infographic. These will often tackle a particularly complicated topic with careful illustrations designed to direct the reader's eyes from one idea to the next (before they lose interest.)
5. Start Speaking to Your NicheNo matter how universal your blog posts are meant to be, there will always be certain people who are more interested in the content than others. You can create custom lists on either Facebook or Twitter where your blog post will only be shown to a select group of people. LinkedIn Pulse has hundreds of thousands of readers subscribed to certain niches (e.g., finance, entertainment, etc.) Every time you tag a blog post in that industry, you have an opportunity to get more eyes on your page. Essentially, you can create broader interest when you start micro-customizing your content.
You may also want to consider guest writing on some of your competitor’s websites. The more ways you can reach potential readers, the better. Plus, you may be surprised at just what you can do when you work with your rivals rather than trying to beat them.