Blasting News catches up with two of our top blasters, John Schulze and Robert Sobel, to discover their techniques for driving more traffic to their articles.

What are your tips for getting your articles to really stand out and make people want to read them?

John: I think it’s critical to be honest but also informed about your topic. The old adage is that you should write what you know. A concise headline with eye-catching keywords helps draw in the reader. If you get to the point quickly, and make responsible and engaging observations, then you’ll keep the reader to the end of the article.

Robert: In order for an article to really stand out, the writer must have a strong grasp on the topic with as much prior knowledge as possible. A good headline is also recommended, one that attracts the reader's attention, but doesn't give away too much information. (You want them to actually read your piece, not look at the headline and just keep scrolling.)

Do you find it easier to specialize on a particular subject or do you prefer to write about a variety of topics?

Robert: While I have a variety of interests, I stick with one topic, in my case, politics. As a political writer for nearly five years, the best advice I could give to someone would be only tackle the topics you feel most passionate about.

John: To be honest, I feel most comfortable reporting on concert performances as my main career has been creating concert photography and reviews for the last 15 years. I also write about television recaps of the shows that interest me. It just so happens that my favorite shows are some of the most popular with viewers, including, “The Walking Dead,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Nashville.” That being said, if there’s a trending topic or breaking news, and I feel my voice can offer a valid perspective or take on the situation, I will write about politics or social issues as well. I think it's possible for a journalist to write about a variety of subjects but the most interesting content will be topics that are meaningful to the writer because they somehow have an emotional investment in the genre. 

What social networks do you use to share your articles?

John: I utilize as many social tools as I can when it comes to marketing my traffic directly to potential viewers. I use #Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Google+, Stumbleupon and Digg. I’m also looking into the best methods to share to LinkedIn, Tumblr and Instagram because that would place my links in front of an additional 375 million users a month.

Robert: Facebook has worked the best for me, as I've helped create or co-admin nearly a dozen pages, while also taking part in over 30 active groups. The members of the pages and groups range from a few thousands to over 100,000 members. 

 

Thinking about Facebook in particular: what is your technique for finding and approaching the best groups?

Robert: Networking, networking, networking. Join as many groups as you possibly can to help get your name out there so the members can get familiar with your work. Also, if you find any "pages," participate in the posts they put out, and even contact the administrators and ask if you can have some of your content shared. Once you have established yourself, create your page and groups, and share away!

John: I’m lucky in the sense that my favorite topics are also some of the most popular and beloved franchises in the history of entertainment, including “Star Wars,” The Walking Dead” and “Harry Potter.” In a more general sense, music, television and movies are insanely popular forms of entertainment and have a way of becoming very personal and meaningful experiences for most people, especially when it comes to their memories and nostalgia. When looking at what groups to join on Facebook I look for the biggest groups that exist because, quite simply, that’s going to ensure you are posting and engaging with the most amount of fans possible. Don’t join too many groups too fast because Facebook will see that negatively and penalize you. Also, do not just drop a link, leave and hope for the best. Observe the posts that work best in each group and engage with other members. Thank the admins for adding you, write a bit about yourself and the topic. Show everyone you are an authority on the topic and then post a link to your article along with a short and interesting statement about the news item. Be social on social networks and you will see results. Don't argue with other members and keep things polite, even when others are wrong or rude. My favorite thing to write when someone tries to argue with me is simply "Thanks for your opinion."

Are there any other special tricks you can reveal to get loads of views?

Robert: Don't spread yourself out too much. The best way to find what works for you is through trial and error. I still share my work on Twitter, but have found that Facebook works best for me. See what your topic best fits into, and promote as much as you can. If you can find a way to write at least one article a day, do it. News is constantly changing and odds are an average viewed story will die out after a few days. Make sure the quality of the content is also solid, no one is going to continue to read your work if the first piece they see is filled with grammar errors, spelling mistakes, and constructed in an odd way.

John: Research the trending topics on Facebook and Google as well as the trending hashtags on Twitter. I can't say enough about using hashtags no matter where you post your links, they are a critical step in every post so users can find your content by targeted search keywords. Timing is everything when it comes to traffic and trending topics. Don’t be late to the party and know when a topic is on the downtrend of its viral nature. People move on quickly to the next news item and you need to be on your toes to catch a part of the wave. Also, time your responses to notifications so that your post rises to the top of the list or group every hour or two. Once your news article post gets buried by new Facebook group posts it basically will no longer be seen by group members and it will effectively cease to produce social traffic. Don't expect links posted to Facebook groups to produce traffic after 18-36 hours unless there's good discussion occurring on the posts.

So there you have it: the secrets of two of our most successful blasters. To see these techniques in practice take a look at a recent article from John Schulze and one from Robert Sobel. Be sure to follow them both so you never miss their news. If you have any great tips to add then feel free to share them in the comments section below.

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