Great content that will drive unique visitors to your blog from social media is not hard to find or create, if you use a few of the “secrets” revealed by journalist and blogging/social media expert Amy Vernon, in a webinar I listened in on recently.
Vernon was the presenter in Week 1, of a free 3-part series for bloggers hosted by “The Traffic Professor”, Bill Belew. The second installment is at 12 noon (PDST), this Wednesday, March 13; it’s called, “Grow Your Subscriber Base: Email and RSS for Your Business With Phil Hollows.” Belew is presenting on improving blog traffic on March 20.
Here are some of the ideas Vernon shared with us for finding stories for your blog:
- Set up a Google alert for your blog topics – this was an excellent reminder, and I immediately updated my Google alert list.
- Search for what people are saying about your niche right now by doing Twitter searches.
- StumbleUpon is a great source; continually stumble the appropriate categories.
Vernon discussed story types that are more “shareable”:
- Targeted – any piece of news that relates specifically to your niche. Items that can be “very quickly recapped.”
- Funny – Don’t go that way if you’re not funny, she cautioned. But humorous content can show you have a lighter side, and “sharing potential is big.” It might introduce you to readers who might not have found you otherwise.
- How To – These are “huge”, she said. The amount of time to create could be long or short, depending on how much research or effort you put into it. She called these types of posts very shareable and valuable to readers. She also said it helps establish “thought leadership” for the blogger.
- Commentary – Although these take more time to write, commentaries can generate more views. Take something happening in the news related to your topic and make it your own by expressing your opinion.
Vernon also talked about infographics (“a lot of them are horrible”, she said; be careful in creating good ones), timelines, photos and slideshows (encourage readers to submit photos), and lists (she said these are still huge, but “Top 5, 10, 25, etc.” are tired; choose a random number).
Other tips included sticking to information readers can actually use, sticking to your topic and not veering off to post something just because you think it will get you a lot of views, and linking out to other blogs (other bloggers will notice, and may even link back to you).
Her slides from the webinar are available on Slideshare.