The First-Ripple Theory
What kind of splash your blog post is going to make, depends largely on two factors. The velocity of the pebble, and the size of the first ripple.
Let me ‘splain.
The “velocity of the pebble” refers to the quality of the post.
How hard and fast can your post hit its intended target, will dictate the ripple it makes in the blogosphere.
Sometimes “quality” has a lot to do with speed and timing. News is built around this concept.
However, sometimes the quality is not in the timelines of the post, but in its appeal.
Appeal can be divided into two types. General, and specific.
I love to go hyper-specific, so much so that I’ll write a post for only one person.
And while anyone might find some value in these hyper-specific posts, they were engineered to appeal to only one specific person whom I’m targeting.
Here are some examples:
- 3 Pronged Strategy to Launch Cemmerce Into Stratosphere - written specifically for Dror Liwer, the Founder of Cemmerce
- Eff You Webex - pretty obviously written so Webex would read it. They did.
- Tumblr Functionality for WordPress Bloggers - while it may sound general, I wrote this post for a very specific singular person who will be revealed to you only if you tweet this.
Imagine if tomorrow you woke up, and found out that NYTimes has a front page article about YOU.
I don’t know about you, but even tho I NEVER purchased a single copy of NYTimes, I would run out and buy it in a heartbeat.
Talk about a hard-hitting article.
Other posts may have a more general appeal and talk about topics that are very popular, especially online (like Steve Jobs and Apple), thus appealing to a wide range of people.
Lot’s of people may view this kind of content, but they will unlikely be converted into faithful loyalists.
So, the quality of your post is found somewhere in its timing, and general or specific appeal.
…But Not Only Content
The content is only one component of a quality post. The other component is the Reader Experience.
Sometimes the design of the blog is so distracting it completely drowns out the content. Too many ads, pop-ups, font too small, etc.
And when that’s the case, the content could be pumpkin pie, no one’s gonna eat it.
The First Ripple
If no one jumps into action to share your post, chances are, your post is just going to sit there, and eventually whither and die.
While it’s probably apocryphal, I once read that most bloggers quit after 90 days. Whether that’s true or not is less important. What IS important is to ask ourselves WHY?
I think the reason most bloggers quit is because it is soul crushing to write quality shit and have no one see it.
So we all need to make sure that the first ripple our post makes is as big as possible.
Now, let’s define “big”.
Big = Quality, Relevance, and Engagement
Those who jump into action to share our post once it’s written, should be producers of their own quality content. Here’s why.
There are 3 types of people who can influence and inspire movement online:
- Celebrity types
- Accidental influencers (your friends on Facebook, for example)
- Purposeful audience builders (aka Bloggers)
We don’t have access to celebrity types, so we’ll ignore them. And we can’t rely on accidental influencers either, so we’ll ignore them as well.
The only people we can count on to help us make that first ripple as big as possible, are others who are walking the same path. Bloggers.
To Know the Person, Look at the Blog
We are known by our blog.
The bloggers who are sharing your content, they themselves should be creators of their own quality content. The equation is quite simple.
Those who write quality content are trusted to share quality content.
Those who write shitty content could be sharing the most amazing content ever written, they’re simply not going to have enough credibility to drive significant action in your direction.
Read those two last statements again and again. Internalize them. Know them. Live them.
Small is the new big.
I have over 14 thousand followers on Twitter. I hope you’re impressed by that, for when I tell you that that number is meaningless, you’ll be shocked.
Humans can meaningfully engage with few dozen, maybe few hundred people at any one time. Everything beyond that is a show.
And I really do mean that. The ONLY reason I have accumulated 14 thousand followers, is so that people who are impressed by such things are not disappointed.
And there are a lot of people out there who have accumulated their followers for the same reason. Like, a lot. As in, everyone.
My point is simple. The Blogger sharing your content should have a small but engaged audience.
Who remembers Triberr‘s Naked Stats? I miss that feature…but man was it cool.
I was able to see how many visits each person who shares my content, actually brought back to my blog.
I remember my shock when one of my tribemates who had over 50 thousand followers on Twitter, brought 8 visits back to my blog.
And right next to him, another tribemate with 900 followers, shared the same post, around the same time, and brought 25 visits back to my blog.
50 000 followers = 8 visits.
900 followers = 25 visits.
Small is the new big.
The Perfect Fit
The profile of a perfect first-ripple maker, is a Blogger who writes quality content relevant to your audience and vice-versa.
S/he has a small but extremely engaged following because s/he is a highly engaging person.
I will tribe-up with people like that ALL DAY LONG.
- Have you ever written a post just for one person?
- Is there a 4th type of influencer?
- Who wants us to bring back Triberr‘s Naked Stats?