You Won't Make It As a Blogger If You Don't Do This
Do not neglect this important hierarchy
The most valuable asset of a blogger is high-quality content. Wouldn't you agree? This is why people love your articles. As they should! But high-quality content is not the most important aspect of being a blogger. Not at first! What is it, then? Let's explore!
High-quality content is not enough if…
Before I answer, let me tell you a story: I had a friend. He was an outstanding writer. His stories were well written, insightful, entertaining, and authentic. With a bit of humor here and there. He could have easily been a popular full-time blogger. But he isn't. Why not? Because high-quality content is not enough if no one reads it.
Let me repeat that: High-quality content is not enough if no one reads it!
No matter how good you are as a writer, how prolific, funny, insightful, or authentic, you won't make it as a blogger without being found.
What does this even mean
Being found online is one of the largest tasks anyone will ever conquer. With around 5 billion people on the internet and a whopping 570 million blogs out there, it is practically impossible to be discovered only through talent. Otherwise, my friend would now be a famous blogger, I'm completely sure of that. So how are you going to be found online?
You need to master the art of intriguing people into reading your content with a basic, yet powerful tool: the headline.
Think about it! When you're scrolling through your Medium feed of articles, what are you really looking at? A sea of headlines… and a few subheaders. The same is true for online newspapers, for blogs, even more so for search engines. You're scrolling through a list of headlines. And you're only going to click if the headline is intriguing or interesting, if it fits your query, or suggests a solution to your problem. Therefore, the headline is the most important aspect of a blogger's career…
Wait or is it?
But then you take a step back… is it really? My friend was a great writer. He wrote fantastic headlines, too. With the right amount of clickbait to intrigue and enough value to back it up. What was it then?
You start to realize that there's something else, even before the headline, that influences clicks and reads.
Now, what is that? What could be more click-worthy than a great headline?
Getting in front of the appropriate audience
No headline will lure users in if they don't see it in the first place. What's more important than a great headline? The ability to put that headline, that clickable target, in front of the appropriate audience. Even the greatest headline on the planet won't get clicks if it's buried on page 100 of Google Search results or lost in Medium's algorithm. Really! No matter how great it is. People need to find it.
The magic term is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Every blogger has heard of SEO. In essence, it's the art of exactly doing what we're talking about here: Getting your content in front of the appropriate audience. By ranking high on search engines.
SEO is indispensable for any kind of blogging. On your blog or a platform like Medium. The general principles of SEO apply to both. But let me be clear: Better SEO doesn't necessarily mean earning more money. That's especially true for Medium. SEO will however better your chances of extended reach. This story is not supposed to be introducing you to or teaching you about SEO. That alone is a humongous topic.
The bottom line
This post was meant to tell you a story. The tale of how I discovered, and for the longest time neglected, the true importance of well-thought-out search engine optimization. I'm still learning it as we speak.
In this article, I propose a hierarchy of blogging, particularly for newcomers in the blogging sphere:
SEO: Get your content SEO-ready. Have clear keywords and use them a few times. State a strong topic. Use long-tail keywords. Link related articles. And much more.
Headline: Perfect your first line. It might be the only thing a potential reader will ever see.
High-quality content: Writing is a skill you can learn. Nobody is perfect from the start. It's a process with a noticeable learning curve.
We need to focus on all three aspects. But at first, for new bloggers, SEO is at the top. If my friend had followed this hierarchy, he would still be blogging.
As a writer or blogger, you and I tend to focus on one thing: Writing. Duh, right? It's easy to forget that great writing only gets us so far. To find readers is just as important.
The most valuable aspect of being a blogger is great content… once you've found people that want to read it.
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