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Successful Blog Posts Target Seekers not Browsers

Writing good blog content that drives traffic requires a different style than writing content for traditional mediums.  This is because of how your readers find the content.  The difference is between "browsing" and "seeking".

Browsing

When a person reads a newspaper or general news website, they are typically "browsing." They are skimming headlines and looking for something that they find interesting.  The headlines may vary widely in topic.  Once they choose to read an article it is expected that they will receive some background information on the subject since it may be unfamiliar to them.

Think of the best content from the New York Times.  It is typically longer and you come away much more knowledgable about an entire subject.  So in order to present an issue, a traditional article makes sure to at least summarize the subject before addressing the new issue or development.  This structure of a news article has been in place for decades and is driven by the "browsing" behavior that readers use with traditional media.

Seeking

The reader behavior that a blog targets is much different. The most successful blogs focus on a niche.  Their content is found by a visitor either typing specific search terms into Google or by finding the article on a focused area of a social news site.  In either case, the reader already knows what they are looking for and is ususally very familiar with the general topic. 

This makes general pieces and background information much less useful. Many successful blog posts are specific and stick directly to the post's core point.  A specific post is more useful to an already-educated reader.  The novel information density can be much higher which results in good inbound links and more enticing headlines.

The specificity is also very helpful when trying to win keywords.  While it would be next to impossible for our blog to rank well for something as general as "jQuery Development" as a whole, we do very well for specific keyworkds like jQuery Portfolio.  This strategy is often referred to as inbound marketing.

Keep this in mind as you write your blog content.  Specific content is easier to publicize and is more helpful to a niche than general content.

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