Take Advantage of the News Cycle: Ten Lessons From Four Months of Blogging (Part VI)

Understanding the news cycle is critical for any blogger because potential readers are more likely to come to a blogger’s site if it offers content on a hot topic. As such, an important part of your blogging strategy should focus on generating content relevant to a trending news topic.

How do you find out what’s trending?

Find Out What’s Trending

There are several ways to find out which news stories are generating the most interest. First, simply go to your favorite news sites and see what articles dominate the headlines. You can also monitor Twitter feeds to see what topics are trending in your particular areas of interest. The New York Times also has its own “most popular” tab, which lists articles that its readers most frequently email and to which bloggers most frequently link. The New York Times also provides the most popular search terms on its site for that given day.

Comment on Trending Topics

Once you determine which topics are generating the most interest (and traffic), you should quickly comment on the topic by: 1) linking to the original content and 2) providing your own unique analysis of what the content means to your audience. By doing the former, you help your readers by serving as an information aggregator. In a world that is inundated with information, you provide a valuable service for your readers by distilling content to that which is most important to them.

By providing your own personal analysis of this content, you provide a compelling and unique voice for your readers that they cannot get anywhere else. Ideally, this unique voice will keep your readers coming back for more.

Break Stories, If You Dare

Sometimes certain media outlets break stories minutes before others. Sometimes you can thread the needle by blogging on that topic after one media outlet breaks the story, but before others do. That way, more folks are likely to visit your site in the absence of more information.

I was able to thread the needle the day the United States military killed Osama bin Laden by quickly posting the news on my blog before many mainstream media outlets did. Alas, that event is outside the time period I am covering for this series, so I will not show the data supporting how effective this strategy was until perhaps a future post on lessons from six months or one year of blogging. 

Take Advantage of News Implications

You will rarely, if ever, be able to scoop the mainstream media on a particular story given their superior resources. That said, you can add value by offering perspective on the implications arising from news stories. For instance, during the media’s coverage of the Japanese nuclear plant meltdown, I knew hysterical people on the West Coast would panic and try to purchase potassium iodide pills. Of course, I also knew that there was simply no reason for them to fear for their safety.

Source: WordPress

In light of this revelation, I posted “Sell to Sucker: Potassium Iodide for Sale!” As a result, the post generated 106 hits between March and April. Not surprisingly, most of these hits were clustered around the date of the meltdown.

The bottom line is that you can generate more traffic by leveraging the power of the news cycle.

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About Sean Patrick Hazlett

Conservative clean energy crusader, national security hawk, financial analyst, engineer, and former military officer.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Business, Education, Mathematics, Media, Predictions, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Take Advantage of the News Cycle: Ten Lessons From Four Months of Blogging (Part VI)

  1. Moe says:

    Cute cat pictures work too.

  2. sean says:

    Thanks for the series. As a new blogger I found it rather insightful.

    • Sean,

      Sorry you had to “suffer” through all the whacky political ideas. I am guessing you have some sort of an affiliation with MIT, so it is probably not a surprise you appreciate the quantitative bent of some of these posts.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by.

      BTW, your site appears to be very professionally done. Good luck with it!

  3. Scott Erb says:

    I know this is an old post, but I thought I’d give you an example. Up until this week I’ve averaged about 100 – 120 hits a day. Since I’m not really trying to generate lots of hits, I’ve been fine with that — I blog more for myself, and so my kids can know what I thought during these dramatic times. My biggest days were election day 2008 (about 350), only surpassed in a recent post about the rock band Styx which got just above that. Then Thursday (July 28) I posted one on “Is the 14th amendment a viable option,” and noted that the story Truman used it to raise the debt ceiling was not true. The search engine traffic went crazy. On Thursday I had 425 hits, the most ever. So far on Friday (7:24 PM, which is thirty minutes before it becomes Saturday on my blog which is on GMT) it’s had over 1600 hits, search engine generated from searches looking into Truman and the 14th amendment.

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