How to Get Over Three Million Visitors to a Single Blog Post
Learn how to write inspiring blog posts that not only get read, but also make people want to read more of what you have to offer.
How to Write Totally Awesome Blog Posts that People Love to Read
One day back in 2011, a new guest post went live on ProBlogger and took off like a rocket. Within a year, it had clocked up around a million visitors. Now that single blog post has been read by over three million people, and the numbers are rising every day.
That post is How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World by the extraordinary Jon Morrow.
It could well be the most popular blog post ever written. Pretty hard to beat three million plus readers, right? So would you like to have millions of people reading your blog posts? You know it’s possible now, so you can’t make excuses. All you have to do is figure out Jon’s secret formula and emulate it.
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Cutting through the Noise
Blogging provides us with an amazing opportunity to communicate with the whole world. We can tell our stories, spread our ideas and sell our products or services. This is the first time in history that it has been possible for ordinary people to reach out to millions, and to do it free of charge.
The big problem, though, is competition. Over two million blog posts are created every day, along with millions of videos, tweets, status updates, images, podcasts and more. We are all drowning in a sea of content. Somehow, we bloggers need to find a way to float to the top. We have to rise to the surface of people’s consciousness and ride a tide of links and shares like a surfing champion cresting a monster wave.
So how can we make this happen? Here are some suggestions that will put you on the right track…
#1. Blog with Passion
I have to admit that this was something I have changed my mind about.
A few years ago, it was entirely possible to create a successful blog on a subject you didn’t have the slightest interest in. The process was simple. You found a keyword niche where there wasn’t much competition, wrote a few pages of keyword-rich content and added some affiliate links. Then all you had to do was fire up a black-hat link-building tool and blast your way onto page one of Google, and laugh all the way to the bank.
But nowadays, things are very different. Firstly, Google has got much better at sorting the wheat from the chaff, and these kinds of ‘churn and burn’ low-quality sites are rightly getting dumped from the search results.
But that’s not all. We now live in a social media world, where we can share things we find interesting, entertaining or valuable. Thin content is doomed to fail in this environment, but quality content has an opportunity to prosper. So now blogging about your passion is a better idea than ever. That’s exactly what I try to do on RobPalmer.com.
If you are writing about a topic that you truly care about, you are much more likely to create strong content. You will have strong views and opinions, plus insights gained form experience in the trenches. Such content will attract readers, and in turn they will generate the links, shares and mentions you need to rise to the top.
#2. Find Your Voice
You are unique. There is no-one else on the planet with the same experience of life as you. You have been shaped by where you live, how you were raised, and the choices you have made in life.
All of this has given you a unique voice. No-one else will express themselves in exactly the same way as you. Use this to advantage. Let your personality shine through in your writing, so that people identify with you as a writer, as well as with the words you write.
#3. Write Compelling Content
There is an awful lot of dull content on the web. Perhaps the worst culprits are ‘listicles’ – blog posts that are some form of list. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this format in itself. Done well, it is a very powerful approach to structuring an article.
But people often use list posts as a lazy way of creating content. They find a keyword they think they could rank for – let’s say ‘best SEO plugin.’ Then they simple Google the phrase and ‘research’ the article by reading other blog posts on the same subject. They rehash all of this and summarize it in a new blog post.
The problem is, the post feels totally lame and uninspired. It is often obvious that the writer has never tried the plugins in question, and has no personal insights, advice or views to pass on. It’s boring and not particularly helpful.
Compare this with a blog post on the same subject by someone who takes SEO very seriously. This blogger has tried every SEO plugin available, tested them all rigorously, and tabulated the results. All of this is the compiled into a detailed post which explains the pros and cons of each, and makes an honest recommendation about the best plugin to use.
Which article is going to be the most compelling? Clearly the second one. This post is not only likely to get read, it will also attract links and shares…which in turn bring in more readers -who in turn generate more links and shares…and so on…
#4. Write Irresistible Titles
Titles are important – really important. It’s well worth your while spending a lot of time experimenting with different titles to find the right one for the job in hand.
From the music world, here’s a great example of how taking the time to find the right title makes all the difference. Back in the 80s, songwriter Rod Temperton was asked to come up with a title for Michael Jackson’s new single and album. His first attempts at a title weren’t quite right…so he tried hundreds more to find exactly the right one.
"I... wrote two or three hundred titles.” he says. “I woke up the next morning and I said this word, Thriller. Something in my head just said, 'this is the title'. You could visualise it at the top of the Billboard charts, you could see the merchandising for this one word, how it jumped off the page."
Writing three hundred titles…was it worth the effort? For sure. Thriller went on to sell over 65 million copies, and three decades later it is still the best-selling album of all time. Royalties from this album represented the majority of Rod’s $125 million fortune. I bet he never regretted a moment spent on finding exactly the right title!
Writing a fantastic blog post title may not make you quite so much, but it can certainly make a huge difference to your career.
#5. Use Powerful Emotions
Another advantage of blogging about your passion is that you can convey true emotion in both your titles and in the blog post content. Research shows that blog posts with emotional titles get shared much more often:
We can see the power of emotion at work in Jon Morrow’s viral blog post:
Wow! Jon hit plenty of emotional buttons here – quitting your rotten job, living in paradise, changing the world…and getting paid to do it all! Who the heck wouldn’t want to learn about doing all that?
We all tend to make decisions based on emotion, then rationalize the decisions we already made with logic. Press those emotional hot buttons, and you will have people sharing and linking like crazy.
#6. Tell Stories
We all love stories.
From Harry Potter to James Bond, and from Fifty Shades of Grey to Pirates of the Caribbean, people are attracted to stories of every type. Stories are just as powerful in a blog post as they are on the big screen. And if they are your own life stories, then so much the better.
Jon’s post is an excellent example of this. He tells us a very personal story about he has overcome immense physical and emotional challenges to create a successful fulfilling life. Any reader who is not captivated by such a narrative surely has a heart of stone.
So tell stories in your blog posts. Use personal tales to make points and illustrate your ideas. They will come across much more powerfully as a result.
#7. Be Controversial
Oscar Wilde said:
“There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
If you have strong views, don’t be afraid to express them. A little controversy is great for getting the conversation going. Blog posts that are controversial in nature are likely to attract far more comments and shares than tamer ones. Steve Pavlina says that the most popular posts on his highly-popular blog are the most controversial ones.
#8. Inspire People
We all need motivation and inspiration – and not just the lame motivational quotes that get sent round in ever-decreasing circles on Instagram.
We live in a world of amazing opportunities, but people are often too afraid to reach out and grab the options that are available to them. If you can inspire people to believe in themselves, and to see what is possible, they will reward you by sharing your content with friends, relatives and colleagues.
Once you have inspired people, you need to encourage them to take action. There is little point in motivation and inspiration that just fizzles out and goes nowhere.
Give people an action plan, and show them what to do next. If you want to help people effect change in their lives, you need to lead them to the next step.
#9. Aspire to Excellence
Bloggers often worry about how long their posts should be. Some people conduct surveys, analyse millions of results and make critical decisions about the perfect blog post. These suggest that articles of at least 2,000 words tend to rank better than short articles.
I beg to differ. It’s not about how many words you write – it’s about what you have to say.
Sure, it is likely that longer articles will rank better than average, but this is a case of correlation, not causation. People who care about their subject typically write longer, more detailed articles to make their case. But these articles rank because the content is excellent, not because they have a magic number of words.
To paraphrase a well-known saying, “a blog post should be as long as it needs to be, but no longer.” If you can say what you need to say in 500 words, then 500 words is the perfect length. You certainly shouldn’t pad out your writing in order to meet some mythical perfect word count.
The important thing is that the article should be the best it can possibly be. If you aspire to that level of excellence, you can’t go wrong.
#10. Keep Writing
The simplest secret to writing great blog posts is to just keep on writing!
The more you write, the better you get. And the more blog posts you publish, the better the chances that one will take off and go viral. Who knows, maybe one of your blog posts will hit the three million visitor mark – or do even better.
But to achieve that goal, you have to keep on writing. Stephen King still writes 2,000 words a day, every single day of the year – no exceptions. He certainly doesn’t need the money, but he keeps on writing – because that is what professional writers do.
Get Paid to Change the World
You don’t have to quit your job, and you don’t have to move to paradise (although both are recommended). But as blogger, you are getting paid to change the world with every blog post you write.
That’s a big responsibility! So take it seriously – and write the very best blog posts that you possibly can.
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