“Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do’s and don’ts. First of all, you’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.”
Rob Gordon (High Fidelity)
In honor of John Cusack and Stephen Frear’s wonderful adaptation of Nick Hornby‘s novel High Fidelity, I have decided to write a Top 5 list of my own. There are millions of blogs out there and for most, it seems people are boating without a paddle, so I wanted to help.
(With any Top 5, it is important to read all the way to number 1. Without the winner, most rankings can’t be held in perspective. So enjoy.)
Top 5 Steps for Guaranteed Blogging Success
5. Come Up With a Clever Title – First things first, your blog has to have a well thought-out name. You have to grab people’s attention not only with your post titles, but even with the name of the blog itself. Think of it this way, no one is going to buy a product in the store if the packaging is boring or old. Use alliteration or puns to get people interested in what you have to say before you even say it. Don’t simply use “Steve’s Blog” or (God forbid) only your name (unless you’re already famous, like Steve Allen). If people don’t know who you are, what’s going to make them care about what you have to say unless you draw them in first.
4. Be Funny – People love a good joke, and for good reason. Laughing makes everyone feel better and you want people to feel good when they read your blog posts. Sprinkle in jokes and funny pictures no matter what you are talking about (but make sure they’re relate-able!)
3. Stay Relevant/Frequent – There are always new things going on in the news, so there should always be something for you to write about. No one wants to read about trite old ideas. It’s “the shiny new thing” that everybody wants. So write about that.
With so much going on, you should be able to write at least once, if not twice, a day. If you aren’t immediately in their field of vision online, people will forget about you.
Side Note: Stemming from the idea of frequency, you should also be plugging your blogs on every social medium you can think of. Post as many times as you can to make sure EVERYONE knows that you wrote something clever and funny that they need to read.
2. Try To Write for Search Engines & In Ways That Can Spin Off Into a Sitcom – Since the goal of blogging is to be noticed, write in ways that will get you noticed. Litter your posts with “searchable” words for your niche and make sure that Google and Yahoo! find you.
Also, be sure to write in a way that could easily be turned into a sitcom or a movie. Look at Julie & Julia or CBS’s new sitcom based on the Shit My Dad Says Twitter feed. Those opportunities are out there, just work hard and you can achieve them. If you give good advice and help people along the way, all the more, but take care of Number One first.
1. Break Rules 5, 4, 3, and 2 and Don’t Follow Lists – There are no rules for creating a successful blog. If you have something to say, say it. Social media is, in it’s truest form, build for narcissists (and I don’t mean that in a bad way). Can you come up with a clever title for your blog? You bet your ass you can (Just look at Six Pixels of Separation or The Huffington Post or Mashable). Do you have to? No, i.e. www.chrisbrogan.com or Seth Godin’s blog titled Seth’s Blog.
The idea is to write helpful content, people will find you if you are talking about what they need.
The main idea is to have content that will ultimately help people, whether that be in the area of social media, or your target niche, or simply to be entertaining. Write for yourself, publish for others. It can be funny and engaging or it can simply be beneficial, but make sure when it comes down to it, it’s what you want to be doing.
Are there things you can do to help increase your SEO? Sure. Are they necessary to have a “successful” blog. No.
There are always steps you can take to improve, but if you love what you are doing it will come through in your writing and people will respond to that. Rudy wasn’t the best football player in Notre Dame history, but he is beloved because of his dedication and heart and he truly loved what he was doing.
So, scrap your lists, read some blogs and get down to doing what you love. Make it worth your while first and others will join you. Not all boats have paddles, there’s no one right way for anything.
(Oh, and it’s always good to try and be helpful, but don’t think of that as part of a Success List)