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Build a Successful Blog by Creating a Content Musical

This guest post is by Brad Smith of fixcourse.com.

So you want to make money blogging?

You want a popular blog that gets thousands of visitors each day, and the attention and respect you’ve been looking for.

So what’s stopping you? What’s holding you back? You’re cranking out content, just like Mashable, about the latest news stories in your industry. You get traffic, but it doesn’t convert or stick around.

Or maybe you have a unique perspective, and you share research and facts to back everything up. But no one reads your posts, or takes the time to comment.

The problem isn’t your topics, but the type of content you’re creating.

The trick to building a popular blog is to create content that appeals to a mainstream audience, but that is unique enough to stick around for years to come. That’s how you get more traffic, and actually start making money from your blog.

How to make money in music

Let’s take a look at another content producing industry: music.

There are many different types and genres of music. They range from simple and catchy (“pop music”), to complex and deep (classical). With the long tail of music, people can choose what they like to hear. But there are a select few major genres of music that are commercially successful and make money (while most barely get by).

What’s the difference? Why is some music more profitable, or why do some artists succeed, while most fail?

The difference between classical and popular music

People need classical music. Not only is it “better” (in terms of talent and complexity), it has actually been proven to make you smarter.

However, it doesn’t sell very well. The problem is that it’s too dry and complex. It just doesn’t appeal to a mainstream audience.

Now compare that to pop music. It’s light, catchy, and likeable enough to attract a mainstream audience. But much of it isn’t very good—a lot of pop music blends in with every other song on the radio, and you never hear from these artists again.

These artists have no legacy. They aren’t unique and important enough to stand the test of time. So they’re forgotten about as soon as they’re created.

How you can find success by creating a content musical

If we compare the music analogy with blogging, you could say we have the Huffington Post and Mashable on one side (popular and light), and the Harvard Business Review (classical and complex) on the other.

People won’t flock to your site because you’re writing the same news stories and light opinion pieces. The Huff Po and Mashable already have that covered. And you can’t just create content filled with research, facts and science. You’ll never out-research Harvard.

So what’s the solution?

The trick in content marketing is to find a middle ground.

You need the catchy nature of pop music and the topics that you know work well with passionate audiences. But at the same time, you need to add a layer of depth and make it a little more interesting. Otherwise people won’t remember who you are. So instead of creating pop music that’s forgetable, or classical music that’s too complex for a mainstream audience, you can create a content musical—a whole new category in between the two.

Content musicals work well because they’re made to stick. They’re deep enough to offer insight, yet catchy and clever enough to appeal to a mainstream audience. So how do you create a content musical?

Create a content musical by making your ideas stick

All good musicals have a voice. They have a unique story to tell, and they present it in a clever way. It could be the plot structure or how each event unfolds. But there’s always a profound lesson or epiphany in a musical.

That epiphany is what people need. It’s why the musical exists in the first place. The thing is, people don’t always want to hear about what they need, they want to hear about what they want. So when you’re selling your blog’s value to people, you have to make your message easy-to-digest.

If you’re knowledgable about your niche, you already know what people need. Instead, you have to learn how to give it to them in an interesting way, and make your idea stick.

Brothers Chip and Dan Heath broke down the anayomty of an idea in their 2007 book, Made to Stick:

  • Simple: Before an idea will become successful, it needs to be boiled down to a core meaning. What are you trying to get across, and why is it important? At the end of the day, what is the driving force behind your blog?
  • Unexpected: Make connections between unexpected things. People like novelty, because it’s new and fresh. So try making comparisons between unrelated topics, like blogging and music for example.
  • Concrete: Ideas become tangible when you use concrete examples. You can make a post stand out by using real-life examples that everyone knows. Your idea immediately becomes clear in the minds of readers.
  • Credible: Before people will spread an idea, they need to believe in it. You can use external research, vivid details, or a “see for yourself” test to lend some credibility to each post.
  • Emotional: People don’t care about something until they’re emotionally connected. The goal is to get them to buy into your post by appealing to their self interest, or using a common association to their identity. For example, every blogger one day wants to make money and have thousands of subscribers, right?!
  • Stories: Stories are one of the best ways to package ideas. You can make the narrative compelling enough so people are sucked in immediately. Some of the best stories involve a hero triumphing over evil, or explaining how to solve a problem in a unique way.

Conclusion

Every great blog post starts with a pearl of wisdom. You think of a clever lesson, unique story or interesting insight, and you have to share it with the world. It’s what people need to hear.

The problem is, it’s not always what they want to hear. So you need to make it easy to understand and digest. That way, it will stick with a larger audience. You need to find the sweet spot between content that’s too light, and too complex.

When you do, your blog will appeal to a mainstream audience, and be original enough to stick around for the future.

Brad Smith is a digital marketing consultant who focuses on lead gen for businesses by getting more traffic, leads and sales online.

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Comments

  1. This is a really interesting idea. I wonder how I might apply principles of music to make my Martial Arts blog more accessible, even to people who don’t train.

    I like the “Made to Stick” point about stories though. In sales, nothing saves the day more than a well told story.

  2. Miguel says:

    This is a big dilemma for many. Some authors want to keep their content complex, because the topic/theme they discuss is not really focused for the general audience, and they want to keep it that way. I agree that sites like THP and Mashable are attracting millions of readers, but I’m pretty sure the the HR has a more engaged and affluent audience, turning them into more loyal readers.

  3. Simple is powerful Brad. Keep things simple to effectively communicate your message with your audience. Complexity turns people off instantly. Nobody has the time to wade through a complex post. Simple works best.

    Until you strike an emotional chord, forget about it. Few readers flock to your blog unless you really charge it up. As you note, introduce the unexpected. Like your neat analogy. I enjoyed the direction of the post because few people would make such an analogy then follow it up with meaty content. A unique, eye catching idea that drew me in.

    Put yourself in your reader’s shoes: the best way to tap into someone’s emotions. I keep my posts practical, and I stress benefits immediately, because we soak in benefits. If I teach folks how to make money online with article marketing, I stress ideas like making money passively, pulling back from the laptop and spending more time with your family, all because you penned a properly optimized article which hits the first page of google for a sustained period. Remember what your readers showed up for: benefits. You will increase your readership and grow your online business quickly if you pay strict attention to benefits.

    Huge on digestible content over here. I want my readers to read, digest and put my content into use, in minutes. Otherwise, it’s not helpful, or practical, and a post that isn’t practical just doesn’t help my readers, as I promise to do. Thanks for sharing Brad.

    • Brad Smith says:

      Thanks Ryan, and couldn’t agree more with your points. I like how you’re really “in-tune” with what drives your audience… that’s more than half the battle!

  4. Taline says:

    I really love the analogy of comparing music to blogging! You’re very correct on so many levels! I try to keep a manistream audience in mind when writing content (although I do not always cater to them).

    Very true about the interesting lesson (as a reason to share it with the world) as investing in rental properties has shown me a great way to build a passive income stream. I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge to others. Someone once showed me the way when they did not need to, so I’m simply paying it forward.

  5. Bryan says:

    I like the analogy, Brad. A post after my iwn heart. Sometimes it feels like making it in the blogosphere is as hard as trying to make it in the music business.

  6. Hando says:

    I have tried many time but it turns out that I am just not that musical so I organize karaokes instead. :)

  7. Tracy says:

    Nice analogy, Brad. This message is timely–I’m a new blogger and part of the difficulty I’ve had is deciding how to convey my message in a light manner but remain credible. Your post helps!

  8. Binny Oinam says:

    Hi Brad
    The analogy is just superb. The title itself fuels curousity. The first time I saw, I thought it might be about embedding some music videos but when I went about reading the post it turned out be a totally different issue (and you did mention about comparing unrelated topics) yet, compelling and a very useful post. But I have to admit it’s indeed tough to generate traffic & even tougher to update content regularly.
    Thanks Brad for the great post!

    • Brad Smith says:

      Hi Binny, thanks for the comment. Don’t worry too much about updating regularly… once a week is good enough! Just focus on the best content possible, and spend the rest of your time promoting and getting in touch with others. Then the traffic will come!

  9. Bravo Brad! Love the analogy of popular vs. classical music. My blog actually borrows an adapted song title from The Sound of Music–I should have thought of this before.

    I’ve been struggling to find a way to make my small niche work, when maybe I’ve only been catering to the classical Baroque harpsicord audience. You’ve given me lots of ideas.

  10. This is a great idea. Keep up the great work Brad.

  11. Another good post. I would like to add, it’s important to have a specific target user and make the site and contents specifically for the target user. Thanks again for the nice post.

  12. Henry says:

    Great tips indeed.

  13. Venkat says:

    Very interesting article Brad. Really like your analysis Popular vs Classical music. Nice writeup. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Great article Brad. I love the tips!

  15. Awesome post. Agree with almost all of your points. And in fact I loved your classical and pop thing. Always use the in between genre. Thanks for sharing :)

  16. This is a really interesting idea. I wonder how I might apply principles of music to make my Martial Arts blog more accessible, even to people who don’t train.

    I like the “Made to Stick” point about stories though. In sales, nothing saves the day more than a well told story.