Over the last 4 months as many of you have noticed I have been writing a blog post daily. That’s resulted in 120+ blog posts and a few insights on what I learned by blogging daily.
There are many things I have learned about the writing process and very little about building a strong readership base. The number one thing that’s changed over the last few years is that most people seem to care about the number of unique new things (insights) they have access to and reducing the amount of time spent gaining those insights.
I guess that’s not “new” news or insightful, but it is the explanation for the success of tweetstorms.
Made popular by Marc Andreessen, who had a blog a few years ago and quite possibly figured out this inadvertently or by design.
Here is what I mean by concentrate on more but smaller pieces of insights vs. One big insight but with a great narrative.
Thanks to the mobile phone (largely screen size) and twitter, there is so little time for people to read long form articles that the number of long form pieces being read (and also the number of books) is reducing dramatically.
At the same time, people prefer to read 10 individual, standalone sentences that are 140 characters or less than read one big paragraph with 10 lines or 1400 characters.
Giving a lot of context, adding many superfluous words is what a lot of writers do. The readers, though seem to have no more time or patience for it.
The implications for those wanting to make money writing a book (non fiction) or a blog are pretty big.
Here are some examples of things that work.
1. Lists – take any article you are planning to write and make it a list with some visuals. That works.
2. Instead of long paragraphs, with 5-7 sentences and over 70-100 words, focus on writing 1 sentence.
3. Video or Podcast: Focus on getting your content in an audio or video format with a 5 min solution instead of writing. The time to read an entire 750 word blog post might be 5-6 minutes and it may be the same amount of time to read 20 tweets, but readers seem to prefer the latter.
The other thing that works is attention grabbing content shock.