Hey You, I’m Not Boring, I Rock Like Elvis!
This is a post about rocking like Elvis instead of being boring. So skip the boring part about headlines that follows if you like and jump right to the rock & roll part.
In case I would still write this blog to get search traffic I'd use a headline like "How to Write for People not Google" to get found for long tail queries like [how to write for Google] etc.
In case I wanted to reach a social media audience mainly I'd write something more catchy while still adding enough keywords to get search traffic later: "How to Un-Google Headlines that Suck!"
As you see the two examples are very similar to millions of other headlines you see daily. They contain the "how to" value proposition and the brand everybody is interested in, Google.
In both cases I would only reach the small fraction of people who are already interested in writing, or more specifically crafting headlines. This is of course a very tiny fraction of the overall Web population. Why limit yourself? Also the question remains:
What about my or your regular readers, your subscribers, your x true fans?
My first draft of the headline was still
"Hey You, I'm Not a Boring Headline, I Rock Like Elvis!"
It contained the keyword "headline" so that people who care about headlines would read it. What about all the other people who either don't care about headlines or who already know how to write them, like many of my most ardent readers do? Do you want to put them off right from the start? Or do you want to reach the largest possible audience from the start?
Google has taught us to think small, to target the "long tail"
because we can't compete with the Google ads filled frontpage of the Google-portal for broader terms. In case you are a little blogger in a niche like I am you can't call your blog post just "Elvis". You'll never rank for Elvis. You wouldn't get traction on social media either where you also need a very specific hook to get the attention of readers.
On your blog you can do whatever you like
once you have an established audience. In case you still haven't one you need to start establishing one right now. How do you do it? You can get people to stay with you by rocking like Elvis.
Rock Like Elvis
Elvis didn't invent rock & roll. I didn't invent SEO 2.0 either. Elvis didn't need social media or Google to get known. Elvis didn't go after the long tail, just because everybody else was already singing about love.
Elvis didn't write informative songs about "how to love an American woman in her thirties". He sang "Love me Tender"
Elvis reached the largest possible audience by addressing it directly. He was singing about me and you and everybody else. He had what I like to call mass appeal. Elvis still does not rank for [love] or [love me]. He only ranks for the obscure keyphrase [love tender]. Despite that most people know who Elvis is and can probably sing at least a line of "love me tender". So don't make the mistake of limited Google-think.
Rock like Elvis. Talk about the really big things, love, life, happiness.
Whatever you write about or do in your life do not just focus on the petty things. Do not make the powerful forces above you make you believe that you can go only after the long tail.
- Inspire people
- share your emotions
- make the people relate
You can do it by writing, you don't even have to sing.
When writing short stories or novels, the most powerful thing is to use verbs. Unlike nouns that are boring and descriptive, or adjectives that just express opinions, verbs move literally. They act. Using verbs propels the reader with every sentence. So you have to use verbs as much as you can. It's like in real life. You don't get happier by amassing things or expressing opinions, you do by acting. The best way to act is to inspire action.
Your action alone is not enough. You need to make people want to follow in your footsteps.
Elvis made people want to move. Just this Monday morning I was practicing parkour like almost every day. I was training alone recently but this time a boy started following me any trying to do what I did. Of course it took me a while to learn even the most basic parkour moves and it takes time to gain the strength to practice most of it so he looked very awkward while doing it. I even thought he was ridiculing me at first until I realized that he follows my footsteps. So I asked him whether he wants to take part and then showed him some parkour moves for beginners.
You know what? I was much happier after this training session than usually despite actually exercising less than usually. Of course I could have told him that I don't practice parkour long enough to teach anybody, that in fact I suck compared to the professional traceurs (parkour athletes) but I didn't. There is always someone you can inspire and you don't have to limit yourself. Think big. Do not let Google or anybody else convince you that you can go only after the long tail of search or life.
You can rock like Elvis. Start moving right now.
When it comes to writing, stop sounding like an outsourced content farm drone. Go after the huge topics, those that matter. You are not boring. You are awe-inspiring if you want to. Un-Google your mind. Love, live, be happy, whatever you do, but do something. Do something inspiring.
* The King is back - Creative Commons image by Keoki Seu