This year I want to blog more consistently, so I have looked at my most successful blog posts, to try and establish some rules for how to write the perfect blog post
I’ve been blogging for over eleven years now, first with Motivating Mum and now with Mum’s the Boss. I have had a certain amount of success with my blogs, especially on the social media side, and I would describe Mum’s the Boss as a medium-sized, well-established blog, which has produced a reasonable income and lots of fun experiences for me and my family.
I haven’t broken into the big time yet though, and a big reason for that has been that blogging is not at all the only thing I do, and for quite a few of those years, it has been quite low on my priority list.
But three or four times during the last few years, I have published blog posts that have gone stratospheric. Even now, one of my posts which is over 18 months old (number 3 below) is still bringing in more than half of the total page views that Mum’s the Boss gets.
I have set myself a target for 2021 and beyond, to write some more of those amazing golden posts – the evergreen posts that find a niche and dominate it for months on end. I’d like to write one per month if I can, and see if this year I can take Mum’s the Boss to the next level. But how to write the perfect blog post, and where to find the inspiration?…
And so, for my benefit as much as yours, I am going to look at the couple of times that it has happened for me before, and see what lessons I can learn, to feed into my golden blog post blueprint.
Golden blog post 1: Extreme couponing
In the summer of 2011, I had the chance to speak at Cybermummy, and as a result, I was contacted by voucher code company Savoo, and asked to act as a Brand Ambassador for them. As a reward, they invited me (at their expense) to the annual conference of their parent company in New York, which was completely amazing.
During the conference, one of the speakers (not the keynote, just a sideline) was talking about extreme couponing and giving tips on how to do it. I must admit, I found most of it a bit ridiculous, but I figured that there were one or two tips from it that I could bring home to money savers in the UK.
And so, because I was a Savoo Brand Ambassador, and they had taken me to New York, I wrote a big review of the conference and another post focusing on the extreme couponing element of it.
I had no idea then that I was right on the edge of a trend. Extreme couponing was just what recession-hit Britain needed apparently…
The first I knew of it was when somebody from the Sunday Times asked to interview me about extreme couponing. I said yes, why wouldn’t I, and then it all went mad. Over the next three months I was in the Express, the Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, appeared on the Six O’Clock News and the One Show, and gave radio interviews left, right and centre.
Somewhere along the line, the press garbled my story – I became the mad couponing lady who was so obsessed that she paid to go to New York for couponing lessons. You can imagine what sort of comments I got on Mail online for that… But I decided to go with it and enjoy my fifteen minutes of fame. I played along, and my blog went completely ballistic – the effect lasted for at least a couple of years after the press got bored and went to find new mad people to bait.
Lessons learned from this post
Try to pick a topic that is just beginning to trend, but just before everybody starts talking about it. This happened to me totally by accident with this one, but it’s something I will look out for in 2017.
Try to find a quirky angle on it. I think the concept of somebody paying for a flight to New York to learn how to save money on groceries is utterly daft – I wish I had thought of it myself….
This is a not-so-good lesson learned – Motivating Mum was not a site about money-saving – it was supposed to be about mums working from home. I never expected the couponing thing to take over, but it really did for a while, and to be honest it distracted me and other people away from what I thought I was writing about. When I set out to write golden blog posts this year, I will aim them specifically at my target market, which is much clearer in my own mind now.
Golden blog posts 2: Cake
When I took over Mums the Boss in 2012 I had a good look at the blog. I knew it got slightly more views than Motivating Mum did at the time, and I could see that there were lots of good business-related posts to appeal to mums working from home. I was really excited to get into Google Analytics and see which of them were the most successful, so I could learn from the style of those and produce more of them.
Guess what – a substantial number of the top 10 blog posts were about cake.
When I took over Mums the Boss, its biggest line of business was mums business networking. At every meeting, they had homemade cakes and the recipes were on the site. And that’s what the readers liked best.
Even now, the networking events have finished, but a post from 2012 is still among my top 10 most viewed – Mary Berry’s banana and choc chip loaf
This could have something to do with the Great British Bake-off and the rise in celebrity value of Mary Berry.
Lessons learned from this post
- Looking through your own blog analytics to see what your readers like is a very good idea. What they like may not be at all what you think they are going to like. Once you know what sort of posts they prefer you can make a template to produce more of the same.
- Celebrity endorsement is always good, especially if you can pick a celebrity that is up and coming.
- Unlike the last example, this is an example of a post which is aimed right at my target market, even though I didn’t realise it. Mums who run businesses from home – aren’t they likely to be the ones who also bake their own cakes…? So maybe I don’t have to write about business the whole time to get them interested.
When planning to write golden blog posts of your own, what subjects can you think of that work in parallel to your main subject and appeal to the same people?
Golden blog post no.3: Younique
In 2014 I got wind that a new MLM company was launching in the UK. Younique had been one of the fastest-growing direct sales companies in the US and the UK launch was set to be huge.
I love the idea of direct sales – I have joined quite a few companies in my time, although I never hit the big time with them because I don’t dedicate myself full time to them. But I thought I could use my blogging empire to join Younique and recruit a team, and so I joined right at the start and wrote about it – I became a Younique presenter – was it worth it?
One of the reasons that this blog post became phenomenally successful was the simple explanation of how UK people get paid in Younique. When Younique launched in the UK the people at Younique head office had only dealt with payments in US$ and the system they used to translate the prices and the payments into £ was really confusing – even the people at head office didn’t understand it when you phoned customer services about it and a lot of British presenters were getting really angry.
Now I’m a bit of a numbers nerd, so I decided to simplify the explanation of this, and set it out so that people could understand it. And while I was at it, I looked honestly at all the good and bad things for working for this company.
I’m not with Younique any more – a change of family circumstances meant I had to leave in 2015, and then other things took over and I decided not to continue with it. But this blog post is still my most successful evergreen post – when I haven’t got a special promotion on it brings in more than 50% of Mum’s the Boss total page views.
Lessons learned from this post
- Going into big details on a subject can be very good. If you can become the go-to expert on something niche, then you will definitely have a winning post.
- I enjoy numbers and explaining complicated stuff – I used to be an accountant. In this way I have some expertise that my target market doesn’t. Using this expertise and helping people to understand something they were struggling with, was key to this post becoming successful, and now it is so high on Google search that Google does the rest for me.
- As well as the blog post, I used Slideshare to explain the compensation plan. My Slideshare presentation alone has been viewed more than 50,000 times, and was top post on Slideshare several times when it was first published. This drove some huge traffic to the blog. I want to use more mulitimedia stuff on my blogs going forward – you Tube videos, Slideshare presentations and maybe some other stuff.
Golden blog post no 4: Merlin Annual Pass Sale
I was very lucky to be a Blog Ambassador for Merlin Annual Pass for 2015, 2016, and 2017. Clearly, mums who run home businesses are the kind of people who love to save money on a Merlin Annual Pass for their family, because my posts on this subject always go mad. As for when I gave away a pair of passes in 2016 – my traffic for May 2016 was beyond amazing.
In 2016 Merlin asked the blog ambassadors to promote the Merlin Annual Pass January Sale. We had all received Standard Annual Passes, but they promised Premium Annual Passes to the bloggers that could drum up the most traffic to their site.
So I wrote a great long post – Merlin Annual Pass January Sale and I promoted the heck out of it on social media from January 1st through to 13th February. I tweeted, posted on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, sent it out to all my friends and much more besides. And guess what – I won my premium pass!
Merlin asked us to promote the January Sale again in 2017, but we weren’t allowed to blog about it until 1st January 2017. But look at my page views for the post I wrote in January 2016- they started climbing again in mid – December reaching more than 500 a day in the week from Christmas to New Year, and only slowing down once I published my 2017 post on 1st January. Without writing a single word, I made a head start on my goal to drive traffic to Merlin in 2017.
Lessons learned from these posts
- Promoting heavily on social media can really help boost a post, provided that it is something that your target market is interested in.
- Doing a giveaway of something your readers want, especially with a reasonably high value product is a sure fire post booster.
- Once you have reached a certain point with Google, then your post may come back into season and become popular each year. This is the same with another of my top posts Garden Games for Kids, which is 11 years old this year but still gets a boost every summer.
So here in summary are the points I have learned from my golden blog posts which I hope I can translate into writing some more amazing posts going forward.
- Try to pick a topic that is just beginning to trend, but just before everybody starts talking about it.
- Try to find a quirky, humourous or controversial angle on your topic.
- Make sure that what you are writing about fits the core theme of your blog
- Check your blog analytics to see what your readers like best
- If you can link your blog post to an up and coming celebrity, that could give you a boost
- Try to find sub topics that work alongside your main topic to keep the readers entertained.
- Every so often do a big post which goes into a subject in detail. Answer the questions that your readers what to ask
- If you have a specific area of expertise then use it and let the readers see what you can do. Educate and inform them.
- Use multimedia elements like video or slideshows.
- Learn how to use social media to promote your posts effectively. Track the channels you use and see which one works best for your readers.
- Run an occasional giveaway.
- Think of seasons and times of year as you write. If you provide good seasonal content and promote it well, it may come back year after year.
If you have any other tips you would add please leave them in the comments below, as I am always learning.
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