I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “I’m tired of hearing people say that you have to write great content on your blog to get traffic.” Unfortunately, it’s also true. People don’t have the time or desire to read mediocre content, and you’re never going to build a following or an audience with anything less than great content.
So rather than telling you to just write great content and calling it a day, let’s talk a bit about what makes separates great blog posts from mediocre ones.
It starts with your mindset. It’s the old saying: “Give the searcher what they want.” When you’ve done your keyword research and you’ve got a list of topics in front of you to write about, do you ever take the time to sit for a minute and think about what the searcher who types those keywords into Google really wants to find out?
Let me encourage you to do that. Don’t just start writing. Instead take a few minutes to ask yourself some questions:
What does the searcher want to find out about this keyword?
How does it relate to the other articles on my blog?
Is there a unique take or spin I can put on my blog post?
Can I really answer their questions in one article? Should it be several articles in a series?
Is a blog post the best way to discuss this topic? Would a video or screen cast be better?
Is the topic so big that I need to make a (short, free) ebook for it?
Do I need some photos to illustrate what I’m discussing?
Is there some product closely related to the keyword that my readers will want to know about?
That’s just to get you started thinking. As you become more and more familiar with your niche and with writing great content, then you’ll find yourself opening up to new ideas, methods, and possibilities that you hadn’t thought of before.
To illustrate this, let’s take a look at two truly great pieces of content that I’ve come across lately. One is in the gluten free niche, and the other deals with blogging.
Wheat Glucose Syrup
As a lot of you know, I eat a gluten free diet. Usually I’m very good at checking the ingredients of the food that I buy, but sometimes I forget or assume that I don’t need to for a particular good. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a bar of dark chocolate that I assumed was gluten free. (Since gluten is found in wheat and some other grains, you wouldn’t expect to find it in a chocolate bar.)
However, when I got home, I checked the ingredients on the chocolate bar and was dismayed to find it had something called “wheat glucose syrup”. I had never heard of that before, but 99 times out of a 100, if the ingredient has “wheat” in the name, it means it contains gluten.
So I fired up my iPad, typed in “wheat glucose syrup”, and found this article from Sure Foods Living in the #1 spot. Take a minute and go read it. It’s not very long.
I was blown away when I read that article. I expected to find some arcane and unreadable listing of ingredients that might tell me what wheat glucose syrup is and maybe would tell me if it was gluten free.
Instead, Alison, the author, tells me exactly what wheat glucose syrup is so I at least know what we’re talking about. Then she provides an email response from an expert that she contacted on the subject, and finally she links to a Pubmed study on the subject of wheat glucose syrup that conclusively found that the ingredient has no effect on celiacs (people who can’t eat gluten).
(Happy times! I got to eat my chocolate bar!)
How many of us email an expert when we have a question about a topic for our blog post? How many of us search through some authority like Pubmed to find answers for our readers? Not enough of us.
And here’s the kicker: The keyword “wheat glucose syrup” gets 110 global searches each month. That’s not exactly a high traffic keyword. But Alison took the keyword, wrote a fantastic article about it, and knocked it out of the park. If you’re trying to build a successful blog, that’s how you do it. One article at a time.
Make Money Blogging
Last week I was doing some research in the blogging/MMO community, and I found this ChristianPF article in the #2 spot when I searched for “make money blogging”.
Once again, I did not have high hopes for the search results that I was going to get. I figured I’d find a few short articles about how to put Adsense on your blog in amongst the spammy, soulless MMO sites.
Instead I found a (nearly) complete guide to buying a domain, setting up a blog, publishing content, and getting traffic. Go and check it out. The first thing that you’ll notice is that it’s long. Nearly 9,000 words. I know people that would consider 9,000 words to be an ebook.
He starts with the basics – buying a domain, getting hosting, and installing WordPress. Then he talks about the methods he’s used to make money from his blog – ad networks, affiliate sales, and direct ad sales. He also talks about how long it took him to make money from his blog and what you can expect if you’re trying to make money from your blog.
Lastly, he talks about how to get traffic to your blog, gives some SEO tips, talks about how to configure Adsense to increase your earnings, and then gives some tools that he’s used in the past with good results.
Other than the comprehensive discussion and the long length, the thing that stands out to me the most is how obvious it is that Bob, the author, is talking about things he has done himself. He’s not talking about things he’s heard other people do, or that he’s researched on Google. He has a blog, it gets lots of traffic, he makes lots of money from it, and he’s telling you how he did it.
I think the contrast between these two articles is great. One is super long and comprehensively answers 90% of an incredibly broad topic. The other article is fairly short and much more focused but still covers the topic extremely well.
Take some time and care in creating your content, and links will be much easier to come by.