A thousand new readers is something we all dream about isn’t it? Sean D’Souza from psychotactics shared with us on copyblogger an article about how a blog post on headlines reached thousands of new readers. What was special about the post that it drew so much traffic? In case you are wondering, it wasn’t an amazing headline that did it! Sean says the article fulfilled 3 psychological principles; empowerment, specific steps and minefield warnings.
So, what are these 3 principles? Empowerment gives your reader new knowledge, skills or the solution to a problem causing pain. Specific steps are simple instructions; 1, 2, 3 etc. It’s no accident that the wordpress 5 minute installation instructions were so enormously popular. It’s a great title (saves time) and there are 6 steps, labelled one to six. How often are technical instructions broken down in this way? Not often enough. Minefield warning include potential pitfalls, problems and where in the process you might trip up, with tips on how to avoid them.
People love articles like this because after they read them they feel they have gained something valuable. And they want to reward the writer, perhaps by signing up to a newsletter or sharing it on their favourite social networking site. But you might say how does that get me a thousand new readers? I think it does depend upon how much traffic you normally get. If you only have 10 visitors a day, an extra thousand will be harder to achieve.
But you would be surprised how much extra traffic a great article and headline will garner. And it’s not always obvious which articles will flop and which ones will be very popular. Experience plays a part here. I know from my own experience, I have written articles that were very popular and spread far and wide across the internet. The result? A big uptick in traffic, which in one instance was ten times greater than normal.
So, the trick is to use these techniques as often as you can.