Blogs are noise. At least, the majority of them are. The top 10-percent of websites have at least two things in common that aren’t shared by (most of) the other 90-percent.
- They’re producing great content
- They’re marketing their content to reach a wider audience
Looks simple, right?
The second part is teachable, while the first part is 50-percent natural talent and 50-percent desire to perfect your craft. While a bad writer probably isn’t going to become “great” – even with practice – they can certainly become serviceable, and that alone would lead to better content on the web as a whole.
So what makes great content?
Well, writing ability helps, but data is what helps a blog post cut through the noise and really shine. The problem with blogging in spaces that demand quantitative research is that the content that comes out of the same space is extremely subjective. Data drives home points and makes the same statement appear instantly more believable.
Search Engine Journal does a great job of integrating numbers, charts, statistics, and real-world proof into their posts. This simple act makes anything they say decidedly more authoritative on the subject of SEO than your average blogger. Need proof that data wins? Let’s look at some samples from right here at SEJ.
For the sake of argument, we’re going to consider a post “data-driven” if it contains two or more statistics, charts, real world examples or any combination of the variables.
A quick dig through the Search Engine Journal archives reveals that approximately 65-percent of the posts that appear within the “most popular posts of the month” posts are data-driven in nature, and contain stats, graphs and data to back up the points mentioned within the text.
Here’s another example. Have a quick look at frequent contributor Neil Patel’s blog, Quick Sprout. I made it to page six on Neil’s site before finding a post that was only semi-data-driven.
We’re not talking blogging newbies here. These are two wildly successful websites that have thousands of readers daily. Maybe they’re on to something.
Want to make your blog revolve around hard data and facts rather than qualitative subject matter? Here’s what we can learn from the examples above.
Stats are key. If you have a point to make, make it with numbers. No more using subjective wording, such as: “a huge spike in traffic” or “a big ratings drop.” Use numbers. A “50-percent traffic increase” is instantly more authoritative than using one of the phrases above. This is what separates the good writers from the mediocre ones. Google is your friend. Use it to find stats to drive home your point and quit making points that can’t be proven or dis-proven.
Graphs & Images
Stats are great, but society is becoming increasingly visual. Rather than bashing your readers over the head with numbers in a post that requires the use of multiple statistics on the same subject, turn to visual aides like graphs, charts or images. Stats are great; when used in moderation, but if you simply must use them repeatedly, consider using them visually. It breaks up huge walls of text, and gives scanners a reason to stop and take a look. There’s a reason infographics are so popular, and this is it. There’s no better way to display data, and keep it not only understandable, but engaging, than displaying the data visually.
Rather than rattling off numbers, or figures of unknown origin, back up the data with a source. Instead of saying “by 2014, mobile will be responsible for more web traffic than desktops and laptops” add in the source to make it, “according to ComScore, by 2014…” This is instantly more credible as we have a solid source to back up the numbers you’re using. Remember, 85-percent of all statistics are made up… even this one.
Real World Examples & Case Studies
If you have the ability to use numbers from client campaigns – or your own – do it. People aren’t interested in you telling them “x” is going to help drive engagement, build traffic or increase their SERPs. Generate interest by proving past results using the methods that you’re touting. Once you prove a concept, it’s real.
Here’s the bottom line. If you work in a field that relies on analytics, you’re already familiar with the power of data. Would you tell a client that your methods will result in “huge” traffic increases? Of course you wouldn’t They’d shake your hand and tell you they’ll be in touch. Why would you think that these same practices would work on your blog?
Working data into a blog post not only makes you more authoritative, but it gives the post some substance, something most blog posts severely lack.