I really like helpful blog articles that are filled with useful tips. But the key word in that sentence is useful tips. I meander my way around the blogosphere for more time than I care to admit and I am always looking for new tips and insight into the way social media is working. But lately, I feel that there are way too many linkbait-style titles (just like this one) that don’t really contain any useful tips at all. Have you seen a lot of titles like this?
- How I got 10 million RSS subscribers in 5 days
- The secret to writing Diggable posts
- Get 5,000 stumblers a day with these writing tips
- How to double you blog traffic over night
- Read this post and you will lose 10 pounds
Ok, so obviously I am exaggerating for effect here. There are certainly a bunch of blog articles with titles in this genre that are not quite so ridiculous, but some of the one’s I am seeing lately are getting eerily close to the graphic overlays on 3am infomercials. But my real beef is not with the titles, it’s with the content. Every body has a “super-secret” “hands-down” winning move. If they have five tips, it’s always the last one. If it’s their only tip, they spend a whole post hyping it up and telling you how it worked for them. And then you get the end, dying to know this secret to getting you blog/post/website onto the front page of digg/stumble/reddit/delicious. What’s the secret?
WRITE GOOD CONTENT!!
But here’s a tip for all you tip-givers: “write good content” is not a tip. If your secret to getting more blog readers is writing good content, or if you secret to getting Diggs is writing stuff Digg users like to read, then you are way off the mark in your definition of ‘secret’. Telling someone to write good content is like telling a runner that the secret to winning the race is to run faster than everyone else. A football coach wouldn’t get hired if his big secret on how to win was to score more points than the other team. Writing good/original/meaningful/insightful content is obvious. If you are going to give someone hot tips on increasing subscribers, tell them how to improve their writing (like Copyblogger). Give them concrete tips about what sort of topics/titles/pictures certain users like. Tips should be the tools that allow people to make their content better or more appropriate for their goals. Tip-givers, be specific, get nitty-gritty, and don’t be afraid to take a stance with something stronger and more actionable than “write stories about what Digg users like in order to find more success on Digg.” Circular logic won’t help anyone.
Now, as promised in my ridiculously overreaching title, here is the secret to doing anything you want in 4 easy steps.
- Pick what you want to do.
- Learn about what you want to do.
- Do it better than everyone else.
- Continue step 3.
I hope that helps.