Anyone can write a blog post, but fewer can create something that truly connects with readers. Tim Ferriss, a three-time New York Times Best-Selling author, has been captivating readers since 2007. From “How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days…Without Doing Any Exercise” to “20 Things I’ve Learned From Traveling Around the World for Three Years”, Tim has a heavily shared collection of content on his Four Hour Work Week blog.
Of course, being a world renowned author definitely helps. However, there are several things we can learn, and apply with our own blogs…
Create Evergreen Content
“I focus on evergreen/useful content that is as valuable 6 months from now as it is the day it’s published. It might mean less immediate traffic, but it means sticky traffic and also Google traffic that will add up to monstrous traffic later. This all factors into conversion and sales, if that’s your priority.”
The world is moving at a blazing fast pace, and when it comes to writing about news, traffic is often short lived. That’s not a bad thing depending on your objectives, but if you write a blog post focused more on the long term, it can help bring in steady traffic even if you take a week off!
Make The Content The Focus
With monetization, email newsletters, social media profiles to follow, you name it, it is very easy to clutter a blog. Taking a look at Tim’s site, minimalist comes to mind. There are only two spots for ads; one on the header enticing readers to check out his latest book, and one square banner surrounded by links to even more content.
Content is the lifeblood of your online presence. Without it, you’re nothing, nobody. Assess your own blog, and see if there is too much going on. If so, figure out ways to effectively bring everything together in a way that doesn’t distract from the content. After all, people don’t come to your site to just click on some Adsense.
Bring In High-Level Experts
Over the years, Tim has leveraged his relationships with others to offer a different perspective to readers. Now, I know what you’re probably saying: “Yeah, Mike, but he’s a famous author with a ton of huge connections.” And you wouldn’t be wrong. Thing is though, whether you started writing blog posts three months ago, or are an established voice in the guinea pig business, you can find experts willing to contribute to your blog.
Social media has made it easier than ever to connect with others, and as long as you don’t come off spammy, contribute value to conversations consistently over time, and demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about, you can make that connection happen.
Ignore Word Limits
There has always been a debate in the blogging community on how many words one should write. Some say at least 250-300 words, others say don’t write more than 1,000 words. It is all over the place really. Tim Ferriss on the other hand ignores such advice, and has written blog posts the length of a chapter.
In fact, on his guest post requirements page, Tim claims nearly all of his posts that went viral were more than 3,000 words. Instead of thinking about word limits, when you write a blog post, think about saying precisely what you need to say. Whether that is 350 words or 2,000 words, what matters is keeping your reader engaged. And if you don’t keep a reader engaged with say a lengthier piece, feedback can help you determine where to make improvements.
Write To Intrigue, And Be Helpful
“I write about what most excites me and assume that will hold true for 10,000+ people…if I write about it well. If I get 100 die-hard fans per post like that, I can build an army that will not only consider buying anything I sell later (assuming high quality — most critical!), but they’ll also promote my work as trustworthy to other people. This compounds quickly. The product — here writing — needs to stand on its own two feet.”
While you write a blog post, or do anything for that matter, social media expert Scott Stratten offers a simple piece of advice: “People share awesome”. Many of us can get caught up in the monotony of generating sales, or increasing ad revenue. Those are very important, but they can often distract us from creating high quality content.
Always ask yourself, “If I was my target reader, would I hesitate sharing this with my friends?” If there is even an inkling of doubt, you can make it better.
Mike Stenger is a writer with a love of all things technology.