I’ve been able to escape the worst of the diaper blowouts by being a Rock, Paper, Scissors expert.
Whenever one of my boys sends up the aromatic alarm, my wife and I glance at each other and begin the ritual.
Rock smashes scissors. Scissors cut paper. Paper covers rock. Two out of three wins; the loser adds another contribution to the diaper genie.
I wish we had something as simple for guiding blogging decisions: a social form of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Done right, our social Rock, Paper, Scissors game would help us make quick choices without days of debate and research. Rookie bloggers and social media pros alike could use the simple rules.
Traffic, Content, Community
Our new blogging game follows these principles:
Let’s test our new blogging Rosetta Stone.
Content builds traffic.
Helpful, smart, and well-written content is a traffic magnet. The more you have, the better you will do with readers, search engines, and influencers. You can be a traffic-generating savant, but that traffic will quickly evaporate if your reader arrives at a blog filled with useless crap.
Traffic fuels community
Some quick calculations revealed that only about 1% of my Twitter followers take the time to comment. I did a similar calculation with other top blogs in my niche and came up with similar results.
The implications are plain. Community or engagement is fed by a steady influx of new and repeat readers. It’s tough to get comments if your post is only seen by 100 people.
Community creates content
An active community generates its own content. Community owners can tap their community comments and forum posts for fresh content ideas. A thriving community also creates its own content to help new members. It’s amazing to watch old-hand forum members step-up and offer lengthy explanations to rookies.
You can test these rules by making some absolute statements.
Content beats traffic.
Yep. You can’t attract traffic until you build great content. If you are just starting your blog, spend time creating the very best posts you can. Take your best posts and give them away as guest posts. These guest posts will attract the traffic you need.
Traffic beats community.
At first, traffic is preferable to community. Traffic is the gasoline for a growing blog, and you’ll need a lot of it to new subscribers, Twitter followers, and Facebook fans. Notice that I’m talking about community not engagement. You always need to answer comment questions, share great links, and respond to e-mails.
As your blog grows, community will assume a stronger role.
Community beats content.
This one is tricky. In a boxing match, community and content would tie most of the time. However, a strong community can carry a blog even when content quality slips (temporarily). Community can also turn the tables on traffic, as influential commentators can spread word to their followers.
Guideposts Not Dogma
Play with Traffic, Content, Community yourself to see how it fits with your blog. Don’t worry if it’s not a perfect; these are guideposts, not a rock-solid theory of blogging, but it fits the bill. Tell me what you think in the comments below.