Newsflash: We All Have the Attention Spans of a Gnat, So Blog About That Topic Again!

by Mack Collier

social media training, mack collier, social media consulting, twitter, blogging, facebook, social media strategyI was listening to an interview that Problogger had on his site (I would link to it but it was his ‘thank you’ for signing up for his newsletter), and he was interviewing a blogger about the success he’s had with his blog.  The blogger said that part of his success was due to a popular ebook he had created that he had achieved monthly sales of up to $30,000!  Impressive, but then the blogger told Darren that roughly 85% of the ebook had come straight from his blog posts.

My mouth literally fell open.  Then Darren remarked that he’d had similar success with an ebook, and that about the same percentage of that ebook’s content had come straight from his blog.

Seriously?!?

But then I thought about it, and it made total sense.  A lot of people would likely pay $9.95 or more for an ebook in order to get the convenience of the information all neatly organized and combined for them in one place. I think too many bloggers have the mindset that once they blog about a topic, it’s ‘off limits’ for them to ever discuss again.

In reality, I think it’s much safer to assume that most people MISS our blog posts.  Or really any content created via social media.  I think social media participation has ‘trained’ us to scan and release.  We give all the content a few seconds to catch our attention, then quickly move on.  When I was creating the recent #Blogchat survey that many of y’all took, I assumed at I could get 250 responses within a couple of days, and eventually get 500 after about a week.  I’d tweet it once, maybe twice a day.

Yeah, not really.  It took 10 days to get 315 responses and that was with me tweeting out begging for responses up to 5 times a day!  At one point within a 90-min period, I tweeted the link and then @MarketingProfs, @ChrisBrogan, @Barefoot_Exec, @JessicaNorthey, @JayBaer and @JasonFalls all RTed the link to the survey, as well.  That’s well over half a million Twitter followers, but do you know how many survey responses I got from that flood?  About 20.  Also, what I noticed every time I tweeted a link to the survey was that I would get about 3-5 responses within 3-5 mins, and then nothing.  This really hit home for me that if something isn’t RIGHT IN FRONT OF US on our social media channels, we miss it.  Plus it also suggests that Twitter isn’t the best medium to drive survey responses, but I digress…

Often I have blogged about topics more than once.  Never once have I had someone tell me ‘Yeah Mack, you blogged about this before, why are you covering it again?’

Now that doesn’t mean that you should simply repost an old post.  But it DOES mean that you should dig into your archives and find your ‘old’ popular topics, and resurrect them.  Remember yesterday when I talked about your blog’s analytics and using Pageviews and Search Keywords to help you discover popular posts?  Do that, find the posts that others are enjoying, and see if you can write a new post or two about those same topics.  Just this afternoon, I went through the Archives for the posts I wrote here back in 2009, and found 10 posts I can update and expand and republish as new posts.  If I can do the same for 2010 and 2011, I’ve suddenly created a new 30 or so posts for myself to publish here!

There’s no reason why you can’t do the same.  Dig in your archives and see if you have any buried blogging treasure in there that you can share again (or really for the first time) with your readers.  It will also lighten your blogging workload, and who knows, you may even find enough good stuff to make your own ebook and get your own $30,000 a month income!

PS:  I’ve written about this topic before as well, and I’ll forgive you if you missed it the first time :)

Matt Weld February 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I concur about Twitter. If your tweet isn’t in the 20 or so posts that appear when they logon and update their stream, forget it. When I update my blog, I try and schedule a tweet announcing its publication for evening, middle of the night, and early the next morning, in order to reach everyone. I like the idea of an ebook from my material. Maybe I’ll start writing my book in little chunks on my blog rather than ‘saving all the good stuff’ for a book!

Mack Collier February 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Matt I think that’s a good strategy for Twitter posting. Twitter really is a global audience now, often when I am on late at night I will tweet ‘goodnight’ to Twitter, and every time someone will answer ‘Good morning!’

Lisa Marie Mary February 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Thanks for this post, Mack. It is exactly where my mind has been in the last few days and just adds some expert validation to all those meandering thoughts of mine. ;)

Mack Collier February 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm

It started to hit home for me when friends started asking me ‘Say what was that great post you wrote about….’, and I knew the post they were talking about, but I couldn’t find it on my own damn blog! If I can’t find it when I *know* it’s there, how in the world would someone else find it? (other than a search query).

Your most popular posts should be revisited. The fact that they are popular means you’ve hit on a topic/approach that your readers responded to, so cover that topic again so more of us can read it!

Dave Huffman February 21, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Lolz, I literally just published today about repurposing/reusing popular content, etc.

I’ll tell you what too, on my personal site, fear that someone might call me out or notice the similarities – or heck – even if I’ve read a similar article on someone else’s blog weeks ago, I get all gun shy and find myself afraid to publish.

Really eye-opening to see that after the RTs from all the heavy-weights you still only had 20 extra responses.

Good stuff Mack…thanks for that.

Mack Collier February 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Hey Dave, it’s funny what some people will assume. A couple of years ago I wrote a post about a particular topic, I don’t even remember what it was. Well it turns out another blogger the day before had written on the same topic and they were convinced that I had copied their idea, but refused to link to their post! I heard from a friend a year or so ago that they STILL thought that!

Of course, an even funnier story was years ago when I first started blogging I was scanning Google News looking for an interesting marketing story to blog about. I found something really cool that Sony was doing, and blogged about it and published the post. Then I realized a few mins AFTER I published the post that this ‘stunt’ had actually occurred SIX months earlier! And here I had just blogged about it as if it just happened! Oops!

But then about 30 mins later I noticed that another marketing blog had suddenly run a story on the SAME stunt and did NOT mention MY post! Now what are the chances that we BOTH just so happened to blog about a story that was SIX months old, and within 30 mins of each other? ;)

Personally, I say write for what you and your readers want. Who cares what other bloggers think or assume.

Dave Huffman February 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Best advice ever there, Mack. In fact, in the last 3 weeks when I’ve been able to successfully overcome that and just focus on my audience, I’ve done great..

“Audience Perspective” is a really important and on-going lesson that has taken me, oh, like 10 years to learn…or maybe just scratch the surface.

I’ll probably be linking to this in my weekly weekend wrap-up, if that’s cool…I won’t copy ya, scouts honor ;)

marieg February 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Great post Mack. Hilarious and true. You are growing on me like new DNA!
Marie

marieg February 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Let’s see i have five years of posts….hmmm how big a book would that be? And to boot some of content is ancient!! A “historical perspective” on brands? LOL
Do you know that I still have daily traffic on a story I wrote in 2007 about Target Stores? And how ’bout Jimmy Dean sausage–that’s a big one.
Stranger than non-fiction.
Mack, you stimulate my neurons.

Mack Collier February 21, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Marie it sounds like you may have a few ebooks there waiting to see the light of day! Thanks for the kind words!

Joan Gale Frank February 22, 2012 at 12:36 am

I was told by my literary agent when I was revamping a book proposal once that I should write the same key points repeatedly throughout my proposal because editors are so busy and distracted they probably won’t catch it the first few times anyway. Since then, I realized this is true in the social media world as well. The more you write the same good thing, the higher the likelihood that someone will actually catch it and enjoy it! In terms of blogging, I’ve done the reverse, I’ve been using my ebook to provide me with ideas for my blog…. so in my case, the ebook came first. It sure makes blogging easier!

Brandon W. Jones February 22, 2012 at 9:27 am

Mack,
I really like this blog post. Lately, I have gotten into the habit of doing 5-6 blog posts a week and it is very obvious that people aren’t reading each post as much because of the amount of content I am putting out there. What’s crazy is that is my blog, not my Twitter or Facebook account. It is far worse with Twitter because that is like a river with a constant flow of information. Although I am not getting as many hits per post, I am now getting more traffic than before. I really like the idea of checking out your successful content and then reblogging about it with a different spin.
Thank you for another great blog post!

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