This blog is a personal feed of magic, where everything happens organically. Sometimes useful, sometimes interesting, other times not so much. Random person on the internet writes stuff for other intelligent people, without much strategy or agenda.
(Maybe this will be one of those more useful posts actually, especially if you’re into content.)
On other magazines and blogs that we run, we think about content in a more strategic way.
That’s always an interesting creative challenge, because content is clay. You can use words and paragraphs to form a piece, and it also works the other way around. The overarching brand will somehow strengthen each individual article, making them easier to be discovered and read.
At my first job in 2000, at one of the first big Internet Portals, we used to have key pieces of content that we called a “Pusher”. A Pusher is an article that’s longer and better than the regular ones, and we knew that every time we posted one, the average number of visitors increased for forever.
The number of visitors on the site always fluctuates – we’ve seen more traffic on workdays and less on the weekends, more in the spring and less in the autumn.
Pushers triggered obvious spikes as people shared the articles organically, but the real cool thing was how they raised the baseline. People were introduced to the portal and kept coming back for more.
Of course content was totally different 20 years ago. There were more readers than blogs to read, so people were actively seeking out stuff. Today it’s the other way around.
Yet, Pushers somehow still work. As soon as you share something that’s really-really good, that will rise the baseline.
This works on blogs, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever drugs the new kids do these days.
Good content is still quite hard to write, so as a creative, you’ll often resort to cheat and steal. On the new blog that I mentioned, we’ve experimented a bit to keep up a weekly posting schedule.
- I’ve hired people from Upwork to do research and write posts. (As far as the experiment goes, this was all garbage and we haven’t shared any of that. All money down the toilet.)
- We reworked a workshop’s transcripts. (We’ve shared this at least, but it was a huge amount of work. Probably more than writing the article in the first place, and not having a huge backlog of events, this can’t scale either.)
- We received a guest post offer (that lead nowhere)
- I repurposed previous posts and articles that I wrote. (This worked well, but not extremely scalable for obvious reasons. I don’t write much.)
- Hired a PR company to write posts. (This went well, the writing quality is brilliant, and they can work from a list of bullet points to make sure the content is correct. This spares us around 50% of the work. For price, it’s half of what random folks on Upwork charged.)
- I wrote some posts as a future book’s chapters, following some of the instructions in the book “How not to suck at writing” – it works but it’s hard work.
- We wrote guest posts for other blogs. (This is the best experiment so far actually and something we’ll likely keep up, because working with other editors raises the bar quite a lot.)
There you go, a useful post for Valentine’s Day.
Also, if you struggle with getting started, check out the Most Dangerous Writing App, which deletes everything unless you keep writing for 5 minutes straight.