One popular post can bring your more traffic and links than a month’s worth of your usual content.
In this post, I want to set you a challenge with the potential to launch your blog into the stratosphere.
Make the next post you write your most popular post ever.
The following ten tips form my key advice for tackling this task. I used all of them when hitting the Digg front page for the first time. There’s no blueprint you can follow to write an incredibly popular post, but you won’t have a chance unless you try. I’m confident these tips will give you a good shot at success.
1. Time is more important than talent. Work on something for eight hours and you can bet it will be good. You don’t need to spend that long, however (though that’s how long it took me to craft the first post I wrote that hit the Digg front page). More time means you can refine, format and fill your post with plenty of value. Take the time to really craft your content. It will show in the finished product.
2. Use your best idea. A post will never become wildly popular unless it fulfills a need, and does so emphatically. What’s something your niche wants but hasn’t got yet? Can you assemble a whole lot of really awesome (targeted) resources in one place? The more your posts helps people, the better it will do.
3. Use formatting to your advantage. These days, social media is key when it comes to launching your posts into the stratosphere. Social media users are notoriously spoiled for choice, however. Use formatting to emphasize the best aspects of your post. Hone in on your funniest lines, your most profound bits of advice, your best resources. Make them stand out.
4. Brainstorm headlines. There are probably one or two bloggers who’ve completely mastered the art of writing headlines for social media (you’ll know who they are). The rest of us haven’t been blessed with such skills. When you see a great headline, chances are it’s option #12 of a dozen choices. Few of us can think of a great headline straight away. Spend ten minutes brainstorming and you’re bound to stumble across something that works. A weak headline will cripple your post’s chances of success. It’s essential that you put a lot of work into getting it right.
5. Invest plenty of value in your post. Ever bookmarked or voted for something without completely reading it? We’ve all done it. It’s because of the ‘Wow’ factor — the presence of enough promised value in one place gets the reader enthusiastic about the post straight away. Instead of 5 tips, why not share 50? Instead of 9 resources, why not 40 or more?
7. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If your post looks good, it will draw readers in. Take the time to add images, thumbnails and formatting to what you create. Make your post a visual feast. With so much web content presented in a bland way, your post is guaranteed to stand out.
8. Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Readers will skip your waffly introduction. You can say the same in less words, particularly when you’re writing for an impatient reader: someone who wants to get straight into your tips/resources/opinions. Use your introduction to highlight why the reader should stick with your post. There’s a reason my post introductions mainly consist of: “In this post, I’m going to do this, this and that.” It’s what people really want to know: what am I getting in exchange for my attention?
9. Send messages with links. The best way to get a blogger to investigate your blog is by linking to them. We’ve got a natural desire to know what’s being said about us. If your post becomes really popular, each link inside it should send enough traffic outwards to be worth investigating. Be generous with your outbound links when writing your most popular post. It gives other bloggers an incentive to link to you, because it’s ultimately more promotion for them.
10. Utilize your network. If you want people to Digg, Stumble or Reddit your post, there’s no reason why you need to sit back with fingers crossed and hope it happens. Ask them. Your loyal readers like you. You entertain them, or teach them, or help them. If voting is a simple matter of clicking a link they’ll be more than happy to do so. Ask for votes in your post and email readers and social media influencers. In most cases you will need to get the snowball rolling. After that, others will do most of the work for you.
11. Examine what worked before. Study your most popular posts so far. What’s common about them? Why did they work? What needs did they address? In creating your most popular post, it’s important to learn by example and build on what has worked for your blog in the past. Another good idea is to analyze the most popular posts on other blogs in your niche. Why did they work? What’s remarkable about them? You can transfer those qualities over into what you write.
I really like #8 one. ^^
Excellent Tips !
excellent post, smart thinking YOU GOT SON
Kosol Anusim says
Thanks for your suggestions. I really believe in your tips and I get many ideas for blogs of mine.
Davvero un articolo molto interessante! Complimenti!
Excellent post especially for those who are just stepping into the blolgging world to make their blog one, right from the start.
Drupal Hosting says
I think idea’s / headlines etc should come spontaniously. spontanious articles are more intresting (personal choise off course 🙂 )
Razvan Dobre says
Really interesting article! I hope it helps me write the best article yet!
Thank you for these tips! Could you tell us more about the article that was on the first page of Digg and maybe show us that article?
This would help a lot of people to see exactly how a strong article looks like.
Its all about mastering the art copywriting. This is a critical skill that everyone in the business needs to learn!
SEO Genius says
Another great post Daniel and some very needed tips for many bloggers including myself.
This is a really good post full of incredibly useful tips whether you’re a novice or experienced blogger.
I’ll definitely be putting many into action.
BTB Presentation Skills Training Ireland says
Super super post.
I have only been blogging since Jan 08 so I am still very much on a steep learning curve. I previously tended to try to post too frequently in an attempt to build up content. I now realise that quality is superior to quantity.
Thanks for the advice,
FT Lauderdale Real Estate says
These are great tips to keep in mind, I think it is all about the title, the first step to a great post is getting the attention of the reader.
John Ti says
another really really good post. I find it really helpful especially for a rookie blogger like me. Thanks a lot..
SEO Genius says
Another great articles definitely some tips here that i really need to consider when writing my own articles. One of my biggest downfalls is having my content look bland however i am on the path to fixing this with relevant images.
Thanks again 🙂
Eric S. says
Awesome, I will try hard to put these tips to use. Being new to the whole blogging scene is interesting. I’m learning lot’s, and trying to apply it.
How do you use the social media, are you talking about My Space and similar sites?
John Elar - Tutorials for All says
i’ve read your article
but i dont think i can still write my most popular post I think i will change the alternative.
#5. Invest plenty of value in your post
Can’t tell you how important that piece of advice is. Great writeup overall. Sent this link to my mom since she’s starting to blog from home.
one million euro blog says
Very usefull tips thanks alot for sharing.
As always, spot on Skellie.
I have probably used every one of these suggestions and stand by them all.
The one thing I would add would be humour. With so many posts offering tips on this and suggestions on that, I find the way to make tips stand out is to inject a little quirkiness and humour into the writing style.
People want to read information, but they want to be entertained as well, so I try to provide both services. And this takes a lot more work – redrafting, refining, rubbing out and starting again! Finding the right phrase that conveys the message whilst putting a smile on the reader’s face is a lot harder than simply listing information.
If a post makes me laugh, I always reward it with a Digg, stumble or similar.
Very useful tips! Thanks
I am Jaime Pressly , this is my first
post. I didn’t find relevant
thread to post this, and my apologies, if I posted in the wrong place,
About this time last year, I came across information about
investment programs, that are rarely published on
official investment resources. The earnings, which people could
receive by investing in such programs, looked
unrealistically high at
first, but as I searched additional
information about them, I made my
choice. These days, I consider
myself to be the successful
share my findings, I
made available the blog, which
outlines detailed information
about online investing. You can see my
blog, follow this URL.
I would be happy to receive
Free Traffic Tips says
Very helpful tips.
your tips are good for any type of writing – especially about putting the time into it, having patience and being able to put something away and come back before posting.
Alfa King says
Very useful tips, #8 in particular.
i’ve read your article …
but i dont think i can still write my most popular post …
yet to come … still need more time … and a better idea …
I have found that utilizing social media, by linking one of my blogs has attracted a few comments – which I never received prior to not using social media. I had to add additional user specific tags so that the blog was easy to find by keywords, and by adding the same image for all posts. I believe an image will stand out in the readers mind – where hopefully they remember you or your posts.
Particularly a social medium site that has a forum and blog posting, where you can refer your blog from forum help discussions. Also, profile sections on media sites are certainly a opportunity to attract blog visitors through customization and formatting such as adding images, html editing, slide shows, relevant self description, and of course links to your blog. It worked a little for me…
Ron Passfield says
Never a truer word was spoken. I’ve been using Blogrush.com lately and it gives you a barometer of the responses to your blog posts – hot, cold, warm, deathly etc.
It shocked me into really thinking about my audience, my headlines and how much I invest in a post.
As it is, my better posts take a couple of hours to produce. So the time factor is there. You have given us a way to increase our return on effort – and often it is just going that extra hour, adding the extra resources.
Thanks for a quality post that models what you are talking about.
“8. Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Readers will skip your waffly introduction. You can say the same in less words, particularly when you’re writing for an impatient reader: someone who wants to get straight into your tips/resources/opinions.”
I think this is number one in importance. Once you’ve written what you want to tell them you can write a headline that matches.
One of the reasons I don’t leave a comment on posts. I haven’t been told what they promised to tell me.
Jim Saeger says
Great tips for anyone, but especially for a newB like me
Jordan Pearce says
Talk about a timeless and encouraging post.
Regarding #11 go back though past articles that worked and update them every year or so. Resubmit and or promote again.
Chris Jacobson says
Excellent list. I’ll link to this on Sunday.
Nice tips and Helpful too 🙂
@Skellie – Great post. You are definitely making a presence within the blogosphere with your excellent guest posting everywhere.
I have a question about #2. What happens after you use your best ideas? Where do you normally go for your inspirations?
@ Shark Girl: I can sympathize with that. What kinds of blog posts do you write for the Pentagon, after all.
I’d suggest the best thing you can do is to demonstrate your knowledge clearly and authoritatively.
cool. i never give tips on my blog…or advice. it’s solely trend. but, there is lots i can apply, here. thanks!
Good Tips! just exactly what i need. Sometimes my own articles seems so good to my own eyes but it never seems to appeal to anyone.
Shycon Design Colorado says
Great stuff here. Headlines are key, and in today’s blogging era scannable content is imperative. It only took me about 30 seconds to read this whole article!
Not John Chow says
Thanks for the great post! It reminds me about my biggest problem: writing too fast. A good post needs to be written, read and then re-written. Thanks for the reminder.
Also, it is not enough to run spell check. You need to review your final copy by actually reading it one more time. I find a lot of errors in the blogosphere. Maybe this should be tip #6!
Shark Girl says
Skellie, most definately in a good way. I’m working on a project to help the small business in Defense contracting to not be shut down by unfair competition. I don’t know how to get the attention of the House, Senate and Pentagon, all of which visit my site regulary. I have hundreds of visits by many military domains too.
But I don’t know how to write articles. Maybe your tips will help. I’m at least going to try it and see what happens.
Young, it is coming from iStockphoto.com, not sure.
good idea. DO you know the name of the girl in the pic?
12. Don’t skip #6 🙂
@ Patrick: What a compliment. Thanks!
@ Rhys: Modular — that’s a great name for it. I tend to use that method for almost every post I write. I certainly used it for this one. (It started with the words in bold).
@ Shark Girl: In a good way, I hope ;-).
Seo Blog says
Thanks for the tips!
Shark Girl says
Thanks for these tips. I’m going to use all of them to write posts that will get the attention of the Pentagon.. lol.
Jacob Cass says
I was just searching for this and what do you know it came up in my feader just then 🙂 Cheers
James Mann says
Thanks for your great points.
I have done a few things to make my blog easier to read, like taking off the inline text links because they tend to clutter the posts and make my affiliate links less visible.
I also removed the adsense type ads as well. I am not sure how this will affect my income but I should know if I went too far in the next few days.
My headlines usually suck pretty bad so I am working on that. I find myself rushing to get posts done so I may end up dropping a few of my sites just so I can slow down to a jog. 🙂
Are you still blogging with less adsense type of ads ?
Pls share with me if you are using different tactics.
I’m new into blooging and wish to provide less distractive site for reader.
I like my current page with no ads at ganeshmuthiah.wordpress.com
I couldn’t agree more. One of my most popular posts was well over 5 hours of writing time, largely due to the fact that I posted it more of a modular fashion (wrote the basic artcile to begin with, then added to it) rather than in a storyboard fashion (beginning to the end).
I recommend posting in that way, as you get down the important points first.
Patrick Altoft says
This is the best article of the week.:)