How to Get 20,000 More Blog Views (In 4 Easy Lessons)

Posted Wednesday, 26th October 2011

The Wheel of Hunger

The Wheel of Hunger by Duncan Bloor (design by Adam Hinks)

  • Want to get 20,000 more blog views?
  • Fancy seeing your blog in the national press?
  • Need a crash course in effective web writing?

Then we’ve got the post for you.

Today you’ll hear from one of the best search guys in the business – the BBC’s own Duncan Bloor. Duncan’s the chap behind The Wheel of Hunger, a fab infographic that’s picking up stacks of positive reviews as we speak. (He’s also pretty nifty in a private helicopter, but that’s another story.)

In this exclusive guest post for Euston, Do You Copy?, Duncan reveals the four lessons that will send your blog views into orbit. . .

Wheel of Hunger Hangover

Hi everyone, I’m Duncan Bloor and I’m a producer at the BBC currently working on how to make our online content more findable and shareable (if I can use those words on here!). Johnny has kindly asked me to write a guest post (I think he’s in Studio 54 as we speak, sipping Whisky and Ginger with Don Draper). I’m not a copywriter by trade so apologies for any bad spelling, grammar and punctuation but if you can live with that then hopefully you’ll find this of interest. I’m going to write about the busiest post on my blog ever (yesterday) and the lessons I’ve learnt and can share with you from it. Here goes….

Wow.  A day like yesterday makes you realise why you started to blog in the first place.

I’m still reeling if I’m honest from the attention that the wheel of hunger post on my blog received and have been thinking quite a bit about the lessons that I can learn from it. After a while, I discovered that essentially it was just a case of me taking my own medicine. I was part of the original User Building team at the BBC, working with great people like Caragh Salisbury, James Webb and Jo Pham and that team developed certain rules that must be followed if our production teams were going to make successful content for our websites. I just didn’t realise I could apply it to my own blog too!

So how did my blog go from getting 50 people a day (if I was lucky) to 20,000 yesterday?

Here are 4 lessons….

1.  Less is more

When I say less, I mean in terms of frequency of publication.  I’d often spend 3 hours at the weekend or on a train home from work writing up a blog post and that was cool because my purpose wasn’t to get visitors, it was more of a dumping ground for thoughts and miscellany. If people liked it, great but it wasn’t the objective in writing the posts.

However if your objective is visitors then I’d advise against writing more and more posts in the hope that something sticks and catches on. Spend more time putting together one great piece. The Wheel of Hunger took a year in total.

2.  Choose your content passionately

Sometimes it feels like you create content because you should. Because it fits in with the theme of your site or because you’re trying to become an authority on something. I can easily tell which content I’ve made for these reasons because when I revisit it, it bores the pants off me and has the fewest visitors. Choose your passion, even if you think no-one else shares it with you, and if you’re successful at step 3 then your passion will shine through and infect others – then you’ve content worth sharing.

3.  In your writing, be frivolous – in your editing, ruthless

The Wheel of Hunger was initially going to be an all encompassing look at the whole world of what people searched for around food in the UK.  It was going to have separate vegetable, meat, fish, pudding etc categories, timelines and fancy graphs.  We edited down and down and down again until we had something that people could easily digest and share. I agree to some extent with this commenter on the Guardian who said “To be honest, I’m not sure this graphic adds much to what’s essentially 12 lists of 20 things. You can’t track whether something goes up or down in popularity during the year, or just makes a one-off appearance etc.” in that I’d have loved to of shown the full extent of the search data we hold but in the end, the commenter missed the point – if we’d shown more, we’d have reached far fewer people.

4.  Build links

This is probably the biggest obstacle that people have in making their content found. People should naturally find, love and share my content, right? Wrong. The Wheel of Hunger sat unnoticed on this blog for weeks and would have remained so had it not been for a little research and one tweet to someone at the Guardian with a ready made audience for it that I didn’t have. Good link building is highly targeted and beneficial to both parties.

Thanks for reading.

For more expert tips, check out Duncan’s excellent blog Search insights.

The Wheel of Hunger was designed by the very brilliant Adam Hinks, who captains The Pirate Design Co.

Categories: Copywriting

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