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Why Nobody Cares About Your Blog

A Guest Post by David Risley

Except yours, of course. ;) However, there are a lot of bloggers who feel this way.

You write. You write some more. You don’t feel as if you’re getting the traction that you want. What’s going on?

There is plenty to be said about issues like proper market selection, search engine optimization and other tactical things, but let’s go deeper. In fact, let’s go deeper than most bloggers really think about when it comes to their blogging.

Are You Talking At Or Talking To Your Readers?

If I walked into a crowded mall, went into the food court, stood there in the middle of it and just started talking, what do you think would happen?

Most people wouldn’t see me. Then, a few would and they would probably think I was crazy. At the end of the day, I’ll just be that crazy guy they saw at the mall.

Now, imagine if 90% of the people in the food court did that. They just got up and started talking into space. It would be one big din of noise. Now, all of those people want to feel as if they are famous, so they start competing and trying to out-talk the other people. The volume increases, but few are being listened to. The ones who are listened to are the ones at least saying something useful.

And that is the blogosphere.

Most new bloggers go out there and start talking, then hope somebody notices and listens. Chances are, it won’t happen that way.

What is True Communication?

I’m married and that leads to some minor adventure from time to time. ;) One of them is being accused of not listening to her. She will tell me something I need to do and I have literally no memory of her saying it. Well, that was because I was doing something when she said it. When she told me what I needed to do, she spoke AT me and not TO me.

In other words, she just threw out the words with no intention of them really GETTING to me. It put the responsibility on me to be paying close attention first. She was right, I wasn’t listening. She was just talking at me.

Now, I love my wife to death, but she was doing what a lot of bloggers do.

What is TRUE communication?

Well, it isn’t communication unless the idea being said fully ARRIVES on the other end and is understood. To complete this process, an acknowledgement of some kind would need to take place to show that the information was indeed received and understood.

Underlying all of this is, of course, the importance of saying something that people want and doing it in a likable way. When you combine being likable, speaking within a reality that your audience will click with, along with actual communication where your thought actually gets to your reader, that’s when people will most definitely care about your blog.

Then you have readers, fans and more traffic that you’ll know what to do with. If you want to make money with your blog, that becomes really easy.

Applying This To Blogging

Blogging is a communications platform. Personal human relations still apply. If you just talk to yourself on your blog and hope people listen, it won’t work very well. That’s not communication.

In other words, talk TO your audience. Your job is to have something worth saying, then communicate that in a fashion which works for THEM. Do it in a reality which works for them. Make sure the idea arrives in their head by getting them to talk back to you. Without some acknowledgement from the audience, you don’t have true communication taking place. The cycle will be incomplete.

Your job with your blog is to create a relationship with your audience. You want them to know, like and trust you. That is done by forming true understanding between yourself and each of your readers. You want them to see you as an authority in your market, but also a trusted friend. The key to do that will be what I said above.

Blogging isn’t all about yourself. It isn’t about just blurting words into WordPress and hoping people listen. It is about talking TO them and having them talk back.

If you are new to blogging and hardly have any audience yet, the same principles apply. You want to have these interactions with other people. So, you go out onto social media and you do exactly the same thing. In other words, go where the people are and strike up a conversation. Then, with some form of understanding formed, you direct them to your blog.

Build a tribe of people who know, like and trust you… who you routinely talk to (in both directions), then you’ve made it. The rest of your goals as a blogger become a piece of cake.

So, in a spirit of communication, let me know what you think. Post a comment. Let’s talk!

By David Risley, a 6-figure professional blogger who got his start as a tech blogger. His blog David Risley dot com is a pull-no-punches account of the business of pro blogging and what it takes to earn a living as a blogger.

7 Ways to Keep Fresh Content Flowing On Your Blog

This is the third post in a series on taking your blog to the next level.

bloggers-block.pngImage by …rachel…

“How do I keep posts flowing on my blog?”

This is a question that most bloggers face at one point or another – particularly bloggers who have been blogging for 6-12 months.

The reality is that there comes a point where most bloggers feel either uninspired, unmotivated, that they’ve got ‘bloggers block’ or that they’ve said everything that there is to say on their chosen topic. This is something that we’ve all felt at one time or another – so what does a blogger do about it?

The first thing that I want to encourage you with is that all is not lost. Every blogger has this challenge at one point or another (in fact most of us face it regularly) and it is possible to break through it. They key is to persist through the tough times – something that many bloggers do not do.

At this point it is important to sit down and work out how you will generate content going forward. There are a number of strategies that come to mind for doing so – all of these I’ve used at different points and I hope that some will give you inspiration and a way forward:

1. Mind Mapping

My favorite technique for coming up with new topics is using mind maps. I outline my mind mapping technique here but in short the technique is that you take one post idea (one from your archives perhaps) and then brainstorm ways that that topic can be expanded upon into numerous new topics. You then take some of those new ideas and think about ways that they too can be expanded upon into new posts. This technique can literally help you identify hundreds of new topics to write about.

Whether you use Mind mapping or some other kind of brainstorming technique the key is to set time aside to do it. I try to do this at the start of each week and find that if I do that the writing task for the week ahead is a lot smoother – sometimes just coming up with the ideas is as hard as the writing of posts.

2. Involve Readers

One of the resources that a blog who has an established readership has (remember we’re writing this series for these types of blogs) is that it has a knowledge based within it’s readership that can be drawn upon in a variety of creative ways to help create content for your blog. There are a lot of ways to do this – but here are a few:

  • Guest Posts – in every 100 or so readers there is bound to be 1 that has the knowledge, expertise, motivation and skill to contribute posts to your blog. The key is to identify them and give them the confidence to contribute a post to your blog. Pay particular attention to those leaving comments on your blog. You’ll find that some comments just go the extra mile and contain wisdom and depth that are not far off being the standard of actual blog posts. Also don’t be afraid to invite contributions by writing post asking for guest posts or having a page linked in your navigation inviting contributions.
  • Reader Questions - stuck for a topic to write about? Ask your readers to ask questions. A post inviting reader questions can draw out some great ideas to write about.
  • Community Written Posts – one of the things that I’m loving about Digital Photography School at the moment is that some of our best posts are actually ones that our readers provide the majority of the content and teaching for. My role is not to ‘write’ the content for these posts – but to ask a question and set some boundaries for a discussion – and then open it up for readers to add their suggestions. Examples: How do I take band promotional photos?, How Would You Photograph a Funeral? and How to Photograph Grandma?

3. Explore new ‘Voices’

One way to break out of a rut as a blogger is to experiment with new types and styles of posts. Sometimes doing so can unleash creativity and new ideas. So if the majority of your posts are ‘tips’ posts – try an opinion piece. If you always write ‘news’ type posts – why not try something with a bit of humor or controversy.

Further Reading: I’ve outlined 20 types of blog posts for bloggers battling bloggers block here to give you a little inspiration.

4. Update Previous Posts and Topics

Even after a few months of blogging you can hit a point where you feel like you’ve covered most topics in your niche. Many bloggers get to this point and simply give up the blog – however I’ve found that most posts that I’ve written in the past can be expanded upon, updated, improved or rewritten with fresh insight.

Also keep in mind that many of your old posts will only have been read by long term readers and your new readers will not have seen these posts.

Further Reading: The Why and How of Updating old Blog Posts.

5. Guest Posts

The decision to allow guest posters onto your blog has both good arguments for and against it – but it is certainly one way to keep the flow of content going on a blog when you’re a little low on inspiration or don’t have enough time on your hands to be writing content (see also Why Guest Bloggers are Great for a Blog).

Getting people to submit guest posts on a blog is not always achievable when a blog is very young and the blog has little profile – but once you gather a readership and build your reputation as a growing community it becomes easier to attract contributions from other bloggers and freelance writers looking to grow their own profile.

If you’re new to the idea of finding guest posters for a blog – start with your own readers (as described above – look in the comments section of your blog) and then also look at other blogs in your niche or even forums that are on a similar topic to your blog. I’ve also had some real success lately with finding guest posts for Digital Photography School from non bloggers, particularly pro photographers who are looking for a little extra exposure to their business sites.

Further Reading: How to Find a Guest Blogger for Your Blog

6. Hiring Writers

Another way to approach bringing others onto your blog as writers is to look at hiring a blogger (or team of bloggers) to help you create content for your blog. This has some cost associated with it – but can (if you do it right) increase the quality and frequency of posts as well as decreasing some of the admin of relying upon guest posts.

I’ve hired a small team of writers for DPS who I pay on a per post basis (as well as giving them exposure in the posts that they write) and have found this experience to be well worthwhile. For a start it has attracted a good caliber of writer to the blog, increased the knowledge base and expertise of the writing, added to the variety of topics we can cover and increased the frequency with which we can post.

When it comes to hiring writers – I’d advise starting with your current reader base – you might find that some of your regular readers would take on a regular writing job for a little financial reward. Another approach is to look at other bloggers on your topic or to even advertise on a job board like the ProBlogger Job board. I advertised for my team of writers almost 18 months ago and had so many great applicants that I couldn’t use them all and most of them still write weekly posts for me today.

Another quick tip on hiring writers – you can also hire them for short periods. As long as you’re up front about the length of the period that you’re hiring for I’ve found that bringing on a staff writer for a couple of months when you know you’re going to be away or have your attention on another project can be well worthwhile doing.

Further Reading: How to Advertise for a Blogger

7. Develop an editorial calendar

One technique that can help a blog grow beyond its infancy is to begin to think longer term about the content that you produce. I personally find that when I only think a day ahead about the content for my blog that it can be difficult to build momentum in the content that I’m writing. It’s also difficult to keep coming up with topics.

A way to help overcome this is to set aside time either on a weekly or even a monthly basis to map out the direction for your content in the period ahead.

This enables you to do some brainstorming/mindmapping (see point #1 above) and set the course for your blog. Doing this takes some discipline and can feel like a chore when you sit down to do it but the result is that it gives you a lot of freedom and can take the burden of having to come up with topics from your shoulders.

I find that the months I set out a plan for the content on my blogs are much better than the months that I do not. I usually find on these months that I end up writing a series of posts and that readers really respond well to the momentum that I build.

Another spin on the idea of an editorial calendar that I know some bloggers have a lot of success with is to set different ‘styles’ of posts for each day of the week. For example:

  • Monday might be ‘tips’ day where you write a ‘how to’ or ‘tip’ related post
  • Tuesday might be ‘review’ day where you review a product related to your topic
  • Wednesday might be ‘news’ day where you summarize the latest news in your niche
  • Thursday might be ‘link’ day where you link up to another blog in your niche
  • Friday might be ‘opinion’ day where you express your opinion on a topic
  • Saturday might be ‘reader discussion’ day where you post a question or poll for readers to interact with
  • Sunday might be ‘from our archives’ day where you highlight an old post on your blog

The sky is the limit in terms of the types of posts that you write (look at the 20 types of blog posts list that I mention above for other types to consider) – the key is to find types of posts that are relevant to your topic and that readers respond well to. This might feel a little contrived or structured for some bloggers, but I find that many bloggers find it to be a freeing experience, particularly to get them through a tough period.

What Would You Add?

I have literally scratched the surface with this post on how to keep fresh content flowing on your blog. I’m certain that among the readership of ProBlogger that there are a lot more ideas – if you’ve got one, please add it to the comments below. Together we can break though this ‘bloggers block’!

Further Reading: Battling Bloggers Block – a compilation of a series of 25 strategies that are designed to help you get through bloggers block.

How Do You Define ‘Great Content’?

Blogging advice articles all seems to include the matra – “create great content”. The theory goes that if you create great content people will come to your blog, link to it, pass it on to friends, bookmark it and your blog will grow.

OK – we’ve heard the ‘write great content’ thing over and over again.

But what is this ‘great content’ thing that we talk about? How do you define it (or can you at all)?

What is Great Content?

I’m interested in how you’d answer this question. Looking forward to seeing what discussion emerges. Feel free to answer as a comment below of if you want to take it up as a post on your blog – please leave a link in comments so we can track what everyone is writing.

Is Writing Great Content Enough to Build a Successful Blog?

Content
At times you could be forgiven for thinking it is – if you read a lot of blogs on ‘how to blog’ that is.

One of the first thing that most of us who write about blogging advise those starting out is to work on writing useful and unique content.

Certainly at the core of most great blogs is useful and unique content that draws readers in and generates links from other blogs, builds the profile and reputation of the blog – however sometimes great content is simply not enough.

The reality is that many bloggers write excellent content – however not all of them break through the clutter and rise to the top of their niche.

This is frustrating – there’s no two ways about it.

I’ve felt the frustration myself and hear the frustration of others on a daily basis via emails and IMs from bloggers wanting to know how to take their blogging to the next level.

  • How do I find readers?
  • How do I get my first “break”?
  • How did you get your first incoming links to my great content if nobody is reading it?

These are the type of questions I see more and more.

Do you want the “right” answer or the “real” answer?

As I sit down to answer some of these questions on how to build a successful blog I’m increasingly feeling that there are certain answers which are “right” and some more that are “real”.

The “Right” Answers

“Write unique and useful content for your readers.” – this has been one of the catch cries at ProBlogger over the last couple of years as I’ve attempted to show bloggers how to build quality blogs. It’s a principle that I strongly believe in – it’s something that does work and I don’t know too many successful bloggers who wouldn’t agree with it and/or apply it. It is ‘right’.

Other “right” answers include things like:

  • Interact with your readers – the more you interact with readers in a genuine way the more likely they are to stay around and spread the word about you.
  • Use Quality Titles – a lot is written about the effectiveness of quality post titles at getting attention and drawing in readers to your blog. In my mind there is little doubt about how important it is to invest time into smart title generation.
  • Promote yourself - while some of us feel a little awkward about self promotion – there’s little doubt in my mind that it is a necessary part of launching a new blog. While it’s also important to let your readers spread the news about you – without some self promotion you may never find those first readers to help you spread the virus.
  • Know and Use basic SEO principles – it is well worth learning the basic principles on how search engines index and rank online content. While some bloggers become a little obsessed by SEO – setting up your blog smartly and keeping some of the basics in mind as you write is a common sense way of building a blog that will bring in significant SE traffic over the long term.
  • Inviting Design – I don’t believe that to be successful a blog needs to have professional designs that cost mega-bucks. However inviting design that communicates what a blog is about, that enables good navigation and that draws readers into the content can really take a blog to the next level.

In my mind – these sorts of tips (and there are many more of them) are “right“. They make sense – they work (to varying degrees) and many bloggers talk about them as keys to successful blogs – because they are.

Much has been written about these “right” answers. ProBlogger’s archives are full of them.

However there’s a problem – as “right” as these tips are – they are quite often not enough for many bloggers.

In fact I’ve talked to many bloggers who have done all the right stuff (they’ve executed everything mentioned above perfectly) yet they still fail to find readers, build community and reach their goals.

The “Real” Answers

In addition to the “right” answers above – I’ve been pondering some other keys to successful blogs that I don’t see many of us writing about. The reason they don’t get spoken about much is that they are hard to define, they are subjective and some might even say that they’re things that might apply to some but not others.

However I think some of it is worth saying – as difficult as it might be to put them into words (just don’t expect a list of tips that you can go away and apply to get these things):

Mojo

MojoAustin Powers has it and so do many successful bloggers. What is it? Well I could define it using a dictionary (magic or some powerful force) – but mojo is one of those indefinable characteristics that some bloggers just seem to have which others don’t. It’s a quality that some bloggers have that intrigues, invites and inspires readers – not because they write grammatically perfect posts, not because they are the smartest people going around – but just because they do.

Perhaps finding your mojo is similar to “finding your voice” or “injecting your personality” into your writing or just “being yourself” – to be honest I’m not sure where it comes from – but for many successful bloggers, they’ve got mojo!

Luck

LuckI’ve written about being lucky on a couple of occasions previously and both times the response from readership was positive. I even tried to talk about “how to be lucky” once (I do like to try to define the undefinable) – however sometimes no matter what you do Lady Luck just comes calling in the most unexpected times and places.

Meeting the right person at the right time to collaborate with – picking up a scoop ahead of the competition – overhearing something in a conversation that triggers a thought process that people respond to – starting your blog on the day before something happens that draws attention to your niche – getting that link from an A-lister out of the blue… the list of ways you can get lucky as a blogger could go on.

Trust

TrustTrust is one of those things that you can do things to build with your readers (and with other bloggers) but in some ways it is something that is not manufacturable or definable (you can’t come up with a list of 10 ways to absolutely guarantee it – as much as I’d like that).

Building Trust with readership takes time, it means putting actions behind your words and it means being a person of authenticity and character – in such a way that others both see and connect with it.

Expertise and Authority

ExpertiseI almost put expertise in the “right” answers list because on some levels it is something you can work on and to some degree define. However expertise can also be slippery thing to nail down also because it’s one of those things where there is a sliding scale and which readers can respond differently to. For example here at ProBlogger I don’t see myself as “the” expert or authority on the topic making money from blogs.

I do have expertise in some areas of blogging (or at least 5-6 years of experience) – but in other areas (like blog design or coding) I’m definitely no expert. However – I attempt to write this blog in a way that is transparent about what I do and don’t know about or have experiences in and for some reason the gaps in my expertise don’t seem to matter to readers.

I do think it’s important that you know something about your topic that you can share and help others with – however, what’s probably more important is the way you convey that expertise.

What seems to happen with some bloggers is that they become perceived as experts and authorities on their topics (whether they feel that they deserve it or not).

Charisma

I find that many successful bloggers seem to have an ability to draw people to them – to connect with their readers and to connect their readers with one another.

Community is one of those trigger points that people are gathering around online at the moment – and they often gather around a key person (or people) that have the gift of connecting with others.

While it’s possible to work on your relational skills the reason I put this in the “real answers” list is because it’s something that many bloggers seem to have without really trying. Everywhere they go they just seem to draw others around them. As I see it these bloggers seem to be able to do the following things:

  • draw people around them (perhaps this is the “mojo” I’m talking about above)
  • connect those people with one another to form community
  • empower that community and it’s members to be self sustaining and not reliant upon that person
  • continue to inspire and champion that community – but not need to continually drive it in a hands on way

These people are often humble and don’t let their egos get caught up in the community they develop. They know when to stand back and let others continue what they start.

What Would You Add?

Mojo, Luck, Trust, Expertise, Charisma – these are just some of the more slippery and hard to define characteristics that I find many successful bloggers have. On some levels they can be ‘worked on’ – but in many cases bloggers just seem to have them.

What other characteristics would you add – either to my ‘right’ or ‘real’ answers?

PS: Can I finish this post by saying that I feel a little weird about publishing it? I actually wrote this 12 months ago and have been coming back to it again and again over that time.

My hesitation comes mainly from this….

I don’t want people to get frustrated by not having some of these more indefinable characteristics.

I don’t think that lacking them disqualifies you from blogging well at all – but wanted to put ‘out there’ that sometimes it’s not just about doing all the ‘right’ things that we blogging advice givers might teach.

All I really want to add is that in my experience a lot of these qualities come with time. Out of experience comes relationships, experience, expertise, finding your voice etc. If you’re still finding your way – hang in there friends.

The Why and How on Repeating Content on Your Blog

Many bloggers come to a point in their blogging after they’ve been at it for a sustained period of time where they need to make a decision about repeating content and posting on topics they’ve already covered. Here’s a recent question from a reader who wished to remain anonymous:

“I would like to get your opinion about content repetition. When you have an audience that is always changing, it would seem that you would need to cover some content again. I realize that basic information can be linked to static pages but otherwise, what kind of rule do you have to regulate content repetition.”

This is the type of question that many bloggers come up against after they’ve been blogging for a while. It arises out of a number of realizations including:

1. Running out of new things to say – in some niches a blogger gets to a point where they realize that they have begun to exhaust their own expertise on their blog. This is particularly common on ‘how to’ type blogs (it’s easier to keep fresh content coming on a ‘news’ related blog where there is always a breaking story.

2. On blogs with a high rate of attracting new readers – as is mentioned in the question above – when you have a blog that is constantly visited by new readers it can be a challenge to direct them to content that will help them that you’ve already covered.

As a result of these two situations bloggers come to a point where they are faced with the choice of covering topics that they’ve already posted about on their blog.

For some bloggers this is a big hurdle to overcome on a number of levels:

  • guilt – some bloggers feel guilty about it and feel like they’re somehow cheating or short changing readers.
  • boredom – others find that going over ground that they’ve already covered can lead to them as bloggers getting bored and feeling un-stimulated.
  • reader expectations – Some longer term readers will react negatively to these ‘repeated’ topics.

So what’s a blogger to do about Repeating Content?

I am sure that different bloggers will settle on different approaches when it comes to repeating topics on a blog (and I’d love to hear some of these in comments below).

My own approach is that I definitely do go over old ground on my blogs.

The way I justify this (if it needs to be justified) is:

1. As my blogs attract a lot of new readers I feel that repeating some of the basics is actually doing a service to those new readers.

2. I am constantly learning more about the topics that I blog about and as a result my own ideas and knowledge is growing. While I cover the same ground as I have previously I do try to add extra value and updates on what I’ve been learning for longer term readers. In a sense I see repeating topics as a way of updating my blog.

Alternatives for Repeating Topics:

There are a number of ways that a blogger can go about repeating past topics on their blog. Here are a few that I’ve done:

  1. Repost Old Posts as Fresh Posts – this is what I do on Digital Photography School. In these cases I occasionally will go back to old posts and rewrite or update them and then change the date of publishing the post to the current date so that it appears to readers as a new post. This means that any outdated information on the post can be removed and that you can actually get a little extra search engine juice to the old post as it is appearing on your front page again. Important Note: this only really works if you have a permalink structure that doesn’t change depending upon the date that you publish the post on!
  2. Update Old Posts and Announce the Changes in a New Post – if you have an old post that is dated or now inaccurate there’s nothing wrong (in my mind) with going back to that post and reediting it. If you don’t want to republish it as a new post simply write a new post with a link back to the old one saying that you’ve updated it. This drives people back to the old post. When making changes to old posts I would usually highlight where on the post I’ve made updates so that readers are aware that what they are reading is ‘fresh’.
  3. Write a 2nd Post – this is generally what I do here on ProBlogger. My approach with this is to tackle the topic afresh as though I’d not written the first post (in many cases I don’t even look at what I’ve previously written until I’ve finished the new post as I don’t want to simply repeat it word for word). I attempt to find a new way to approach the topic, new insights, new examples and even write it in a different style/voice.

A Few Other Tips on Repeating Content

  • Mix it Up – whichever method you decide to use to repeat topics I would strongly advise that you mix the ‘repeated’ content up with fresh content. Don’t make every post that you do a rehashed version of an old post but give your longer term readers fresh content and topics also.
  • Guest Posts – another way to bring freshness to things that you’ve already covered is to use guest posters to cover the old ground. I’ve done this recently on DPS and it’s worked really well. For starters it means I don’t get bored by covering ground I’ve already covered but it also brings freshness from a reader perspective.
  • Highlight Key Posts for New Readers – one of the reasons some bloggers feel obligated to cover old ground is that new readers keep asking them questions about things they’ve already covered. One way to combat this problem is to create prominent gateways back to key content that you’ve already covered. Link back in your sidebar or navigation area to ‘best posts’ or ‘beginner’ content so that new readers have ways of finding the key things that they need.
  • Acknowledge The Reader Life Cycle – it is a difficult thing to hear that a reader has decided to stop reading your blog because they don’t find it as useful as it once was and that you keep repeating ‘old stuff’. What I’ve come to realize is that most blog readers have a ‘life cycle’ and in many cases will grow out of your blog (particularly if your blog is a ‘how to’ type blog. They come to you as beginners and lap up everything that you write about but in time they learn and grow. They might lose interest in your topic or simply become proficient in it (partly due to your helping them). At some point they realize that they don’t need your blog as much as they used to and begin to ‘move on’. This can be hard to watch as a blogger – but it is actually natural and not worth beating yourself up about. Sure – do keep trying to connect with your long term readers but at some point don’t be surprised if they move on.

Do you repeat content? If so, how do you do it?

Linkbait, Passion, Fluff and Mixing it Up: Reflections on Content Development

Today I want to tell you the story of a blogger whose problem that he was too good at getting on the front page of Digg. But first – I want to share a quote from Michael Gray who said something last week that hit the mark for me:

“One way to make sure your linkbait is successful is to pick a subject that you believe in, are passionate about, and that will bring out an emotional response from members of your target audience.

Or you could play it safe and write the 5 ways Twitter is helping web 2.0 businesses.

The first is memorable the second is utterly forgettable. ”

I wish I’d said that.

A Blogger With a Problem

I spoke with a blogger (we’ll call him Buddy) last week who presented me with a problem. Buddy’s problem was this:

He had been blogging for a year or so and had worked out how to write the kind of content that did well on Digg. In fact he’d perfected the art of writing Diggable content to such a degree that he hit the front page most weeks. As a result he had a blog with a lot of monthly traffic.

This doesn’t sound like that much of a problem… well not yet….

Buddy’s frustration was that he had no (or very few) loyal readers.

His reflection to me was this:

‘I’m writing fluff. It’s good fluff because it can draw a crowd, but I think they quickly leave because it doesn’t really mean anything to anyone, including me.’

Buddy asked me if he should stop writing the ‘Diggable Posts’ (the fluff)? My response to him was to try a couple of things:

1. Bring the Digg formula to topics that matter - what if he applied the principles to topics he was actually passionate about?

2. Mix in posts that go deeper - not every post needs to be ‘fluffy’ – in fact I find that a good mix of styles of posts can work well on a blog. A ‘Top 10 ways to…’ ‘how to’ list post one day, a ‘review’ post the next day, a question for your readers the next, a ‘rant’ the following day, followed up by a case study the next day….. etc (you can see 20 types of posts here).

What I find is that the ‘fluffy’ posts draw the crowd but the other types of posts actually engage them and keep them coming back. In effect this is what I’ve been doing on DPS and it’s worked well for me.

There’s nothing wrong with writing the type of post that could go viral on social media sites – however like Michael says – it’s posts that mean something to you, that are written with passion and that bring out some kind of emotional response in your readers that will make an impact upon people.