Proving our urgency as online publishers

My brother said something wise the other day. He’s in training to become an actor, and said: one of the great things about being an artist is that you have to continually prove your urgency. He was right of course – but the principle is wider than that. As online publishers we too have to continually prove our urgency.

When we build something online, whether it’s a lens, a hub, a blog or merely a blogpost – we have to make it in such a way that it will prove it’s value to our audience. The way to distinguish yourself among the crowd is to be unique. However, there’s unique and unique.

In this post I’d like to talk about the value of urgency as an approach to ‘unique’.

Urgency is a sense of: this has to be done, this has to be said, this information, opinion or inspiration just has to reach people. It’s not bland, it’s not like everybody else – it has unique persuasive power.

What would you be more likely to link to: a blogpost about a movie that is merely a summary, or a blogpost about the same movie that has urgency? A blogpost that finds themes in the movie that need to be talked about? A blogpost that just jumps off the page with passion? Well – clearly it’s the passionate page that will get the links.

And ultimately it’s the stuff that get links that ranks.

I have been worrying a bit about the profession of online publishing. As I’ve moved towards treating it as a full time job, I find myself looking at the space differently. What I find is that I’m worried about those niches I don’t care enough about. An example.

Last year my page about Harry Potter Planners did very well. They were my top selling calendars. This year – despite another Harry Potter movie coming out – they’re not doing half as well. Why? Because this year the main Harry Potter niche site was ranking for the topic. Perhaps I’m worrying for nothing, because the serps have changed again, and right now I seem to be holding the top 6 spots in that serp (with pages on three sites). Pretty amazing actually.

I guess perhaps that disproves my point – or does it prove it? I dominate the serp, because I was passionate enough about it to create pages about the topic on three sites. Squidoo, Hubpages and my Calendars blog.

I guess the point is really that unless you’re willing to invest in creating several pages in a niche, you’re unlikely to win from the competition. In this case I’m ‘winning’ for now because I not only have lots of pages online about calendars, I also have lots of pages online about Harry Potter. The pages in the middle have relevant links from both niches.

Not quite urgency, certainly relevance. For my main niche though – spirituality – I’m convinced urgency has everything to do with my success. My blog All Considering topped 300 subscribers this week, which I think reflects the fact that I keep finding angles on topics that I feel passionate about. There is urgency, I think. It also has links from over 200 domains. Do I SEO optimize every blogpost? Certainly not. I write what I want to write about, and just give the post the title I think it deserves. This post too is hardly likely to get search traffic. That doesn’t stop me from writing it, because I feel the urgency of the topic.

What do you all think – do you have urgency in your online publishing efforts? Or will I, when I come checking up on you, find the result bland and boring? Am I reaching for the impossible here? Is urgency even that important?

5 thoughts on “Proving our urgency as online publishers”

  1. This is a very interesting way at looking at the virtual space we mostly live in.
    Having a sense of urgency in your writing, websites and promotion could certainly help create a buzz and excitement for your readers, which as you say, puts you in a better position than the people you are in competition with.

  2. Interesting that you should use movies as an example. I know that some of my blog posts would pass your test of being passionate rather than just a summary. Others, not so much. I think what you’ve said has importance and will strive to keep it in mind.

    Definitely having an opinion (rather than just sharing information) makes for more interesting reading for the visitor.

    As always, you have given me some more to think about…

  3. Hi Brenda,

    You caught me – I was thinking about your blog a bit when I wrote that, though my calendars blog is equally guilty of lacking in passion. The difference is that your movies blog is in a very competitive space: lots of people review movies. To set yourself apart, it would pay to be consistently passionate.

    Each publication needs it’s own ‘voice’, a consistent one. A blog does too – you set the tone that your audience will come to expect. If a few blogposts are passionate, and the rest merely summaries, the audience comes to expect summaries, not passionate. To turn that around you might want to highlight your best blogposts in the side bar (a links widget or something in blogspot) – and make a point of only adding passionate reviews in future.

    Of course you have to think about whether it’s worth the effort – whether you are in fact that passionate about the topic. And the result may not be more money short term at all. My All Considering blog may be passionate, but it doesn’t pay the bills (well, I guess it pays for it’s own hosting). However, it does get links, which help my other (spiritual) web projects rank.

    I guess this blogpost is about raising the bar on our writing – as the only long term way to make money online.

  4. And I was thinking of Brenda’s blog too when I read your blog Katinka and thinking that what sets Brenda apart is that when she is posting her reviews, you can really believe what she is saying.

    So passionate = belief, which is so very important when making sales.

    I think I can be passionate about my writing but I know I am not being passionate enough on enough quality sites, which is why I am starting to build up my pages on Hubpages.

    Thanks for this post Katinka, it really does make you think.

    1. 🙂 Well, my hubs certainly don’t qualify as passionate, but they do drive sales. In fact, if I were to write about what you have to do to drive sales – I’d have written a very different piece.

      This post is about getting yourself an audience and links. Totally different topic. One helps with the other, but they’re definitely not the same.

      AJ – I would not have thought you were someone who writes without passion or urgency. And I agree to an extent: Brenda is a great writer, just like you. That doesn’t mean though that she always writes at the top of her game. Nobody does. I don’t either.

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