This is a guest contribution from Pooja Lohana.
Let’s face it. Your readers are selfish.
The moment they land on your blog, they look for “what’s in it for me?”.
And that’s not such a bad thing after all.
Knowledge is power. Once you know what they are looking for, you can serve it to them.
At the time of writing this, there are 152,000,000 blogs on the Net. That means every half a second, a new blog is created somewhere in the world.
It’s getting harder and harder to be found in the blogosphere and this is not changing in the future.
If you’re passionate about your topic, perhaps you won’t mind blogging without traffic. But eventually, you will end it all in frustration.
You want people to share your message and to have great conversations with.
You want to stand for something.
The only way out is to stand out by writing unforgettable content or as I like to call Massive Value Content.
What is Massive Value Content?
Jon Morrow calls it an “epic” post and prefers writing one epic post week rather than writing one mediocre post every day.
It solves you readers’ specific, burning problem.
You become a mind-reader. They relate with your post, thank you and leave tons of comments.
Here are some examples:
- 39 Great Ideas to Beat the Dreaded Writer’s Block
- 102 Quick Recipes to Prepare Your Meals Under $10
- The Ultimate Guide to Building a Business from $500
- The Reason Blogging is Dead & What to Do Instead
Get the gist? Good.
When done right, it has good chances of going viral and bring you new eye balls.
Your blog gets back-linked, a lot. Influencers in your niche love to talk about you. Other bloggers invite you over for guest posts and webinars.
Perfect, isn’t it?
There is only one question: How.
I am not going to leave you high and dry or ask you to “go create epic sh*t”. I’m actually going to tell you how to do it and get noticed big time.
The Ultimate Cheatsheet to Create Massive Value Content on Your Blog
STEP 1. Keep Calm & Create a Plan
Ever get a killer idea for a post in the shower? It hits you like a brick, and you cannot wait to run to your desk to complete your post.
You sit down, compose a cool post, add a stellar image and boom – you hit Publish.
And you wait for the comments to pour in. For a long time.
Slowly you realize that your “killer” post is actually a dud.
I’ve had that experience in the past. It still happens when I don’t pay attention to what I’m creating.
In fact, I’ve set a timer for 60 minutes in the past to write, format, and publish a post with a featured image.
The result? Only a handful of readers.
What’s missing is a concrete plan to stick to. I love how Jon stresses the importance of having a calendar. That was, all you have to do is “blindly” follow it!
Your editorial calendar is one of the simplest and most effective productivity tools out there. It’s a roadmap.
Here’s an example of a calendar for your blog:
|June 02||Massive Value Content (MVC)||Tentative title||Published/Pending/WIP|
|June 09||Regular posts/Podcasts/Interview/Opinion/Video posts||Tentative title||Published/Pending/WIP|
|June 16||MVC||Tentative title||Published/Pending/WIP|
|June 23||Regular posts/Podcasts/Interview/Opinion/Video posts||Tentative title||Published/Pending/WIP|
|June 30||MVC||Tentative title||Published/Pending/WIP|
Give yourself at least 7-8 hours to churn out each MVC post because you will need time for research and writing.
Then there’s external linking, sourcing images, social media so that that into account.
You can alternate MVCs with “regular posts” that can be shorter, quicker and easier to create. The frequency of both these posts and how you schedule them is totally up to you, but as a thumb rule, for every 3 regular posts, write at least one MVC post.
Now I know what you’re thinking – that looks like a lot of work in a month.
And I’m not going to lie to you. It is a lot of work.
If you rush a blog post, you will see mediocre results. The best advice if you’re serious about it is to be patient and focused.
STEP 2. Pick Your Type
1. Long Lists Post
People are lazy. Top it with the millions of results available at our finger tips from Google and you ought to love a shortcut.
A lists post gives your readers just that. It makes a specific promise and delivers.
How can you ever get a list post title wrong? Only when your content is not high-value.
If you are giving great value upfront, this type of post can never go wrong.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the right hand sidebar of BBT. You’ll find it is full of list posts.
Why? Because list posts build authority. They are easy to relate with and promise juicy benefits to your readers upfront.
Here are a few tips to make your list posts even more effective:
- Steer clear of fluff. Deliver value straight to the point. You can do this by staying focused on creating a list of steps that are fresh, effective and in-depth.
Tell them how. For example, in this post I’m not just saying “write massive value content” but I’m also sharing how.
- Add references. Just because you’re creating a long list post doesn’t mean you have to cover everything. Link to external sources where necessary.
- Write more than 7 items for more eye-balls. One internal test done by HubSpot proved that list posts with less than 6 items weren’t as popular as their longer counterparts.
- Know when it’s not a list post. Don’t try to convert every single piece of content into a list-based post. Some are better off a tutorials or “ultimate guides”. A good example is when the list is less than 6 items.
- Use odd numbers when possible. According to a study conducted on students, odd numbered grouping worked better than even-numbered one.
I wouldn’t take this too seriously though and I encourage you to come up with your own findings.
And if you have 12 unique bullet points to share after multiple re-reads, by all means go ahead and share them!
- Use fine adjectives. Strategic adjectives work like a charm.
Think “29 Killer Exercise Rituals”, “53 Magnetic Headlines” or “10 Easy Recipes Under $10”.
2. Case Studies
If you have clients, you can use case studies and use it for dual purposes.
One, you’re creating MVC because case studies are much in-depth piece of information.
Two, you’re promoting your clients along the way.
KISSmetrics blog does this very well. They are known for rich case studies that solve a problem or deliver value.
Here’s one that explores industry-wide gender bias by WordStream.
A case study focuses on a specific example (WordStream in the above example) or a company as opposed to a white paper, which is more generic.
Using a case study boosts your credibility manifold. It shows your readers what’s possible and all they have to do is follow the exact steps you’ve listed.
Again, the magic of telling them how to do something, instead of telling them the what, is at work.
3. Tutorials & Guides
Ever seen an “Ultimate Guide”?
Perhaps the most common ones have to do with social media or marketing.
“The Ultimate Guide to Using Pinterest” or “The Ultimate Guide to Successful Email Marketing”.
A quick search for “ultimate guide” on Google returns 439 Million results on my end. Refine the search for your industry or niche to get more specific.
For example, “ultimate guide blogging” returns more than 2 Million results.
This type of MVC is a full-blown tutorial on the topic, complete with screenshots, infographics, real life examples, steps, external reference links and calls-to-action. Anything that adds value goes.
In short, as a classic MVC, your ultimate guide will detail step-by-step instructions on how to do something.
Here’s another tip: Since these posts tend to be long, sprinkle visual elements in the form of infographics, video and memes to keep your readers engaged.
83% of learning happens visually. Contrast this with people remembering only 20% of what they read every time so a visual guide along with supporting text works great.
You can always create infographics and other visually engaging content to support your articles with online apps such as Visme.
No matter what niche you’re in, you can still make use of an ultimate guide and do a few things with it.
- Give it away to your subscribers as a PDF in exchange for their email address. (Also known as lead magnet.)
- Split it into a series of articles and send it to your mailing list in the form of an e-course.
- Publish it on Kindle platform (You can list it as free or paid).
- Record it in your own voice and sell it as an audio.
- Create a course on Udemy and give it away.
- Hold a webinar on the same content and give the guide away to listeners after the webinar.
4. Collaborated Posts
Want to tap into other people’s audience for free?
You can. Except for the “free” part.
You see, there is no free lunch, so you have to put in some planning and effort in the mix before you can leverage an influencer’s reach.
- The first step is to create a list of influencers in your niche.
- Then split the list into tiers 1, 2 and 3 according to their popularity. The bloggers with a slightly larger email list or reach that yours will go under “1”; a more popular one will occupy “2” and so on.
- Start with the low-lying fruit, tier 1. (Although not absolutely necessary, you start here because that way you will be more confident when approaching more authoritative blogs.)
- Build a relationship with these people.
- When the time’s right, pick their brains on one specific question relevant to your blog post and bring all answers together for your next MVC.
- When the post’s live, send the contributors a link and thank them. Let them know you’d appreciate if they can tweet or post about it.
- Once you’ve worked with tier 1, it’s time to reach out to tier 2.
5. Curated Posts
Do you know why authorities like Oprah are famous? Because they know well to curate.
Curators are people who bring the best stuff at one place – in your case, that “place” is your blog.
Think about it – if your readers can get the best of all worlds, all well-organized, structured and ready to be served, wouldn’t the love you for it?
Curated posts, such as round-ups from the Net or resource pages listing out the best content others have spent hours creating, scream “authority”.
Do you see how it’s got 171 comments? Also, it’s one of the most popular blog posts BBT’s hosted as you can see in the right-hand sidebar.
It’s actually a resource post listing everything you need for your blog to be up and running (and making money too).
6. “Start Here” Page
Although this is technically a page, you can still count it as MVC because of its nature.
Think of it as a mini-about me page. Your visitors may be finding you from literally anywhere — Facebook, Twitter or another website.
When they land on your page, they need to be held by the hand and shown around.
The Start Here page will do just that and your visitors will thank you for it.
Most of all, this page gives you a chance to gain familiarity and likeability from visitors.
The purpose of a Start Here page is twofold:
- Tell them why your blog exists (the benefit)
- Spoon-feed them your best content.
So it’s a good idea to organize everything into categories and make it easy to check things out.
And while they’re here, why not ask their email in exchange for a juicy lead magnet (a free report, an audio clip etc)?
In a pistachio shell, here are some things to consider putting on your Start Here page:
- Why your blog exists
- What’s in it for them
- How can they access your content nicely tucked in one place
- A welcome message with your photo
- A video of you (optional)
- Your vision, mission and values (don’t make it boring)
- What you promise to offer
- A reminder to join your mailing list
STEP 3. Do It Already!
It’s time to start creating Massive Value Content and claim your authority as a blogger.
Whatever your goal from blogging, the above steps will get you noticed, talked about and attract tons of eye-balls if you combine it with strategies like guest-posting and social media.
Every serious blogger wants to know when they will hit “the jackpot”.
The first 1,000 subscribers.
The first time when they hit 5,000 visitors a day.
The first mention by NYT.
The first $10,000 month from blogging.
What they should be asking instead is how to become a better writer and generate unforgettable content.
In the words of Brian Clark, here’s how:
- Write more.
- Write even more.
- Write even more than that.
- Write when you don’t want to.
- Write when you do.
- Write when you have something to say.
- Write when you don’t.
- Write every day.
- Keep writing.
What exactly are you waiting for? Go create that piece of awesome content and make someone’s day!
Pooja Lohana is a freelance writer, ghost writer and online marketing mentor featured on Problogger, Firepole, JeffBullas, MarketingProfs, Hongkiat and more. If you’re an aspiring writer and want to become self-employed, create wealth and live a better life by launching your online writing biz, steal her free mini-course to make your first $1000 (and more) writing at home.