What makes a blog influential?
Influence is often attributed to traffic and readership levels. But in reality, those are actually benefits that are symptomatic of something that precedes them.
How do we get people to pay attention to what we say in the first place?
Ultimately, a blog catches on just like any other idea spreads—it must somehow speak to people in a way that they want to hear. Your posts must fill a human need, and that will most often be at an emotional level, no matter how practical we think our subject matter is.
The following are five components that I think are essential for a blog to gain traction and influence with its intended audience. These elements were inspired by the forthcoming social-science research findings of brothers Chip and Dan Heath, a psychologist and an educator who are trying to assign qualitative measures to Malcolm Gladwell’s concept of “sticky” ideas as set forth in The Tipping Point.
Ultimately, the idea behind your blog must be easy for your target audience to immediately grasp. Your readers must be able to quickly communicate what you and your blog are all about in order for your ideas to spread.
Something about what you have to offer must be out of the ordinary. Providing valuable information that seems to be against your own self-interest, like a Realtor blog that details how to sell your own house, may provide that spark that gets people talking (or linking). Or maybe it’s just a completely new perspective on a topic, or a combination of two seemingly unrelated concepts into something fresh.
The information an influential blog provides must be specifically useful to your intended audience. There’s a reason “how to” posts are so popular, even as we outsource more and more to others rather than performing tasks outside of our own expertise. Actionable information is desirable and alters how others perceive you for the better.
Credibility is crucial to any successful blog, and it’s easier to lose it than it is to earn it. People must not only feel that you know what you’re talking about; they also want to know they can trust you.
Here’s how all of the above is communicated and the emotive element that connects with the reader gets added to the mix. The story of your blog must be simple, have an unexpected hook, reflect concrete benefits and inherently state the credibility of the blog owner, all while triggering an emotional response.
How you say it is important.
But what you say is critical.
If your blog is not performing at the level you desire, or even if you’re simply trying to maintain the success you have and perhaps take it to the next level, keep these five elements in mind. The story of any successful blog is told one post at a time, and you can start tweaking your story today.