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?