The answer to this question is the difference between a forgotten blog or quick and sustained success. Since this is the 2nd most asked question I get (here’s the first) I’ll give you a quick glimpse at a strategy that works every time.
Sugar and Spice Content
I break blog posts into two types: Sugar Content and Spice Content.
Stick with me…
Sugar content is sweet with timeless appeal.
It has staying power. Other folks call it evergreen content, content that will be as useful 3 years from now as it is today. Sugar content is also a search engine aphrodisiac. Google loves content that stays relevant and rewards it accordingly. Almost any keyword phrase is dominated by blogs that publish Sugar content that keeps their readers happy no matter the season.
You can brainstorm Sugar Content topics by identifying the core questions that dominate your market and captures your reader’s attention. For example, runners will always be interested in new training regimens, high-carb pre-race nutrition tips, the quick ways to alleviate common runner injuries. My wife, a future Boston Marathon runner, often digs up Sugar Content from 4 years ago that is still holding court at the top of the search listings.
When you get a moment, take a look at your Google Analytics account. I like to see 30% of my traffic coming from organic (non-paid) search listings. i also like to see that traffic being generated by posts that are more than 6 months old. This scenario reflects a blog that doesn’t have to work as hard to attract new readers.
Spice Content is poignant, timely, and darn near impossible to ignore.
Spice content is tied to the moment. It refers to current news, media personalities, popular topics and events. Spice Bloggers use the news as inspiration for their posts. They can’t resist writing content that ties into the Boston Bomber Brothers, Jodi Arias, or Iron Man 3. Done correctly, Spice content can attract big-time attention and catapult a blog from obscurity to center stage. Spice Content is the door-fee for playing in the viral content lottery. Sometimes it hits, sometimes it doesn’t but you have to write Spice content to play.
The challenge is that Spice Content is hit-or-miss. The content get’s old within a few days and forces you to comb the news for blog fodder. Playing the Spice Content game requires lots of time, creativity, and news. This is a high bar to clear for many bloggers. But if you can pull it off…well you might be able to sell your blog to AOL for $300 million.
Getting the Recipe Right
I love the 80/20 principle because it is the Swiss-Army knife for getting “the mix” just right. In this case, I recommend 80% of your posts should be “Sugar” and 20% Spice.
This mix pours concrete into the foundation of your blog, attracting a steady flow of readers on a continual basis from search engine listings. Spice Posts give you a quick shot of traffic while demonstrating your creative flexibility and relevance. Feel free to tinker with the mix to get it right for you blog.