You know that feeling you get right before you publish a post?
The angel on one shoulder says you’ve written a post of enormous importance and depth, one that will change the lives of your readers forever. Meanwhile, the devil on the other shoulder calls you a halfwit with the writing talent of a chimpanzee doped on acid.
Well, it was a few days before Christmas in 2009, and the devil was winning.
“Please don’t publish it,” I sobbed into the telephone. “The post is crap. It’ll ruin me.”
Sonia Simone, one of the most respected editors in the world, listened politely on the other end of the phone. The night before, I’d sent her a post I’d been working on for months, confident of my writing genius, but mere hours later I was on the phone having an epic freak-out.
The good news is, after working together for years, Sonia was well accustomed to my neuroses, and she knew exactly how to handle me. “Darling, you are the most talented writer I know, and this is your most brilliant work to date.”
My sobs stopped. “Really? You think so?”
“Yes. Now let me get back to work, so we can make you famous.” Click.
For the next hour, there was nothing to do but sit at the computer pressing the “refresh” button over and over again. I trembled. I prayed.
Note from Glen: You know a post is truly valuable when it remains useful long after publication. Gary’s post is a perfect example — I refer writers to it all the time. While a great headline will attract readers to your post, you’ll need great subheads to keep them there. Enjoy!
You know you’re in a war, right?
Ok, so no actual guns or tanks are involved, but you are indeed in a bloody battle for the eyes and minds of your readers.
The blogosphere is a huge, congested, noisy space where everyone is jockeying for position and fighting to get noticed.
So to overcome this fact, you’ve done what you’ve been taught to do:
You’ve come up with great ideas that readers will find useful
You’ve created killer headlines that jump off the screen and demand attention
You’ve spent hours writing and rewriting stellar content that delivers and reads beautifully
And yet readers still come to visit your blog and… (click) bounce just as quickly as they came.
Why It Doesn’t Matter How Great Your Content Is
Look, I know you work hard on your writing – and if you study and apply all the great writing advice that’s available out there, it’s a safe bet that you’re writing some powerful stuff. Granted.
And when you know you’re creating legitimately excellent work, you can easily fall into the rainbows-and-unicorns blogging fantasy. You know the one. It goes like this:
Your readers see a killer headline you wrote on their social media streams and click through to the article.
When they click through, they read every carefully crafted word from start to finish – devouring the intellectual feast you’ve laid out for them.
Having fallen head over heels in love with your work, they subscribe, read everything you’ve ever written, and become evangelists for your brand – spreading the word of your excellence far and wide.
Oh, what a wonderful world it would be, right?
But the harsh reality of the situation is this:
They often don’t even finish reading the article that brought them to your blog in the first place. More