Here’s part 2 of Tips for Writing Hardworking Posts by b5 blogger John Evans.
In Part 1, I looked at how a blogger’s “backlist” could be made to work harder by interlinking posts within a blog archive.
Here I’d like to give some thought to why certain posts become “hardworking” in the first place, and how this quality can be replicated in new posts.
I used the case of a post I did on Blogsmith, Weblogs Inc’s in-house blogging tool, a post that generated a continual stream of search traffic months after it was written. I believe this became a hardworking, much-searched post because it contained unique information.
Remember, I’d actually asked Jason for this info, so all other posts written on it referred back to mine. The post also ranked highly for the keyword “Blogsmith” which apparently interested a lot more people than I’d imagined.
Another “unique” post which generated lots of traffic for months, was one on the mysterious Google browser. Rumours had been going round for ages that they were working on this at the Googleplex. But you know how secretive those guys are … no hard news leaked.
Then one day, my stats (good old SiteMeter) showed a visitor who used a browser called Google 4.0. I wrote a kind of fantasy post about a mythical monster landing on Syntagma’s shores. From that moment until I closed down the Blogspot site, there was constant search traffic to the post. Again, it was unique information, not just commentary on another blogger’s post. So uniqueness makes for hardworking entries. And interlinking within the archive makes them more hardworking still.
What other qualities create hardworking posts? If we look at the way we read our newspapers, we might get a few clues.
Generally, we turn to the hard news first, especially in our interest groups. So it might be the sports section. We’ll skim down looking for our team by name and digest the facts. The same with politics and general news. We’ll look for hard facts and create an image in our minds of the shape of the day.
Then we’ll turn to the op-ed pages and search out our favourite columns, usually written by a big-name journalist. We will, at this stage, be seeking a pre-digested version of the news, with special insights from somebody in the know.
Thus, we want hard facts first, then additional commentary to make sense of them from a trusted source. These are the basic elements of a hardworking post.
1. Hard facts.
2. Unique information, wherever possible. You’ll need to seek this out or it won’t be unique.
3. Your take on the facts. This is your op-ed moment, when you add value to the baseline information you’ve assembled for the post. If readers begin to trust your opinions, they’ll come back for more.
The electronic marketplace is flooded with content, to the extent that the price of it as a raw commodity is next to zero. However, your content will rise in value when it attains a permalink which is indexed by the search engines. Now your post is not just a transient bit of fluff blowing away in the wind. It becomes a stable part of the Internet conversation, accessible by anyone over time, and a store of value for the blogger or blog owner.
The Weblogs Inc blog network was sold for a reported $25 million to AOL, plus a package of benefits which included the previous owner keeping his job, and possibly a swatch of stock options too.
So, don’t be fooled by the apparent flimsiness of blog posts. The two I’ve used to illustrate my points here were very flimsy indeed. But they contained unique information, hard facts, plus a little op-ed added value. It doesn’t take much to make a hardworking post … and then make it work harder still.
This post belongs to the 12 Days of Christmas Series.