This blog had huge success within the first month of its creation. It generated over 300,000 page views and had a very healthy RSS and Email subscriber base. That’s pretty rare for a brand new blog these days, especially with the blogosphere becoming more bloat..ahem, I mean with the exponential growth of the blogosphere as of late.
Now I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but rather give an example of how to instantly grab attention within the blogosphere and put your posts ahead of the slew of others. But the method may come as a surprise to you. The simplicity may even shock you. Are you ready for it?
Write Something Original
It’s that easy. Here’s why.
Two years ago, a savvy individual could start a blog just covering news within a niche (like blogging), and instantly have visitors knocking at their door. But like I cited the blog growth earlier, this is no longer true for today. Almost every single major niche is saturated with regurgitated news. Need proof? Let’s do a search for the recent topic of Google Buying YouTube.
The two most popular days (October 11th and 12th) had around 5,500 and 6,500 blog posts per day mentioning the two sites. That, my friends, is what we call saturation.
So how do we avoid saturating an already over-crowded internet with just regurgitated news? It’s really not that hard if you’re following these 3 simple rules.
1. Don’t rely on RSS readers
Hands down the most important rule for almost any new blogger. Like I said before, unless you are an established news blogger within your niche, you’re probably not going to be too successful just writing about the news in your industry. Sure, you’ll start to develop a small-ish sized readership, but you’re not going to have an instant impact on the blogging world. Real blog traffic won’t come from posts that aren’t being told and re-told over the internet (see Google/Youtube graph). It’s the posts that are unique and fresh that rise to the top. The next two rules help with this “unique and fresh” side of blogging.
2. Develop your own voice
This is why I would rather read the news from a great blogger than by Connie Chung. Blogs don’t have a requirement that you have to use non-regional diction. You can be as expressive as you want! And it is this expressiveness that draws readers to your blog. That’s the reason why I go to Merlin Mann’s 43Folders whenever I can, because of his killer writing style and voice. As a rule of thumb, you should never write in a way that you would never talk. (Barring speech impediments and lisps, of course. Of if you’re a pirate. But people have taken a shine to that too, so maybe it’s good, I don’t know.) The main gist is that you should write naturally. Writing style and voice are what separate a good blog from a great blog.
3. Always add your own take on the situation
This one really grinds my gears. What good is commenting on a news story if you don’t even have an opinion about it? If you’re going to blog about current events and news, always always always add your thoughts on the situation. That way, you’ll at least get readers involved in your blogging. Even if they don’t agree with you, they’ll still read and quote your blog, giving you some of the almighty link love that bloggers desperately crave. Bad publicity is still publicity ;)
One caveat to number three: If you play devil’s advocate for too long, people get annoyed and leave. State your opinions, but don’t be closed minded to others. That is why blogging excels where traditional news doesn’t: It allows interaction.
Personally, I don’t write too many newsy-ish posts, unless I find them really interesting and I know I can fuse my own flava’ and opinions to it. It may be a harder than just copying and pasting, but in the long run I know pays off. Shoot, it even pays off in the short-run.