Bloggers: To Get Attention Go Where the Attention is

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While blogging I often made the mistake of trying to raise hell or be spectacular to get attention from readers. You really have to be amazing, outstanding and hell of a useful to achieve this goal. As I’m still a part time blogger I can’t make 101 lists every week or write up huge tutorials either. So I can’t create amazing and outstanding content each and every time.

As most of us bloggers are part time bloggers and only a handful of us can make a living of just blogging professionally I decided to show you a different and less time consuming way of getting attention: Going where the attention already is and getting a fair share of it.

Why attention? What is attention in the first place? Attention is the most important factor in online publishing nowadays: It’s the gold of the Web.

If you have attention you can even write crap and people will still hail you as the messiah, infamous fake link baiter Jason Calacanis does that all the time.

For others, ethical bloggers like myself who do not offend people with outright lies there are still great ways of getting attention without spending all day on writing and without bullshit marketing. There are always attention peaks you can take hold of.

Now what is an attention peak? Yesterday we experienced an attention peak: The 2nd generation iPhone “3G” was unveiled. Now in Germany I write for a client blog about gadgets, products and industrial design. The client is a shopping comparison engine which focuses on people reviewing products. Now as people can test things which they already own the blog focuses on products that aren’t on the market yet so that these products get reviewed in advance so to say.

To make things more difficult I get paid one hour a day for writing for this blog. This isn’t very much as I need 2h for instance for the average SEO 2.0 blog post.

So how can you possibly grab the attention of people who can read thousands of other far more important blogs and publications instead? You do not want to write another “iPhone 3G released” story.

  1. Find a new angle to a story
  2. Anticipate people’s needs and desires
  3. Be the first to compare, offer more insight
  4. Publish a different media type
  5. Express a differing opinion where everybody just reports the news
  6. Write something funny, a parody
  7. Collect links to other resources

Now all these methods are fine but you still have to get the people to your blog, either by way of Google or from somewhere else, there are basically 3 options:

  • search engines, not only Google
  • social media
  • other blogs and websites

Search Engines
In Google others, here the likes of Engadget and Gizmodo will outrank you quickly but google BlogSearch and Technorati will still find you in some cases, so you need to target a specific keyword or rather keyphrase for Google, e.g. iPhone 3G price, iPhone UMTS or iPhone 2 release date.

Social Media
In social media like Digg you in most cases but in this example certainly won’t be the first to report that the new iPhone has been unveiled, but with additional value like in the above examples you still can get attention: Something “Top 10 iPhone 3G Flaws and Quick Fixes” could still succeed on social media without being simply regarded as another duplicate story.

Other Websites & Blogs
Now as I’m in Germany and the social media in German are barely existent, they have the traffic numbers of Sphinn, you can’t go mainly for this option. So you have to aim for other websites. Some websites especially some major blogs allow trackbacks. If you add some valuable information you can not only add a trackback to the more popular site or blog which broke the story but you can also expect people to flock to your blog. People won’t read the same story on your blog but they will be glad to find some additional value there.

There is still one issue: A new iPhone isn’t released everyday, so how can you find out where the attention peaks are? You could use check Google Trends and similar tools but in fact you would be still a day behind at least. You really have to read the newspapers, watch TV and even watch out for special offers by retailers or companies.

In fact you have to check what popular TV shows will run next week or month or what sports events will take place. A huge SEO feast in Germany is the local Next Top Model version, “Germany’s Next Top Model”. As localized versions of this show are aired in 35 countries worldwide you can expect huge attention peaks in all these countries.

So get offline and make sure to know what’s going on in the “real world ” as well as old media. Most people still rather watch TV then go online. They will watch TV and then want to read more online. To get attention you better go where the attention is instead of frantically crying for attention.