(Astroblogging) In an astrology blogging workshop that I gave last year I talked about using Google Trends to mine subjects for blog posts. One attendee objected saying he didn’t want his writing dictated by the popular media. He seemed to feel that this is “selling out”.
We blog and we want people to read our work. Unlike other publishing media that has corrals it readership through traditional distribution and marketing tactics. bloggers are dependent on SEO techniques to get our message across. Small blogs often swim against the tide and those who blog in niches like astrology have a bigger task to capture audience.
Looking at other astrology blogs it is clear that a good number of bloggers have a good selection of evergreen posts that explain general concepts in astrology. However, sometimes it is easy for us to lose sight of the fact that everyday readers do not have the background in astronomy or astrology to even name the planets let alone make the leap that the planets have symbolic meanings that relate to their life.
If any of you remember the old television show Welcome Back Kotter, in one of the first episodes Kotter’s class. made up mostly of a gang called the Sweathogs, refused to believe they could learn how atoms works. The scientific information didn’t make sense. They didn’t have a frame of reference. Kotter, thinking out of the box, started taking about hypothetical gangs, the Pro’s and the Trons, where they were positioned and how they related to each other. The Sweathogs got into the discussion and got the frame of reference. “There”, said Kotter triumphantly, “Now you know how the atom works!”
Like the Sweathogs our readers need a frame of reference, something in which they are interested to kick off a discussion of how astrology works in their lives. What better reference than something for which they are searching already?
If you are not familiar with it already, you should check out Google Trends. Though rapidly shifting, Google Hot Topics which shows Twitter postings and Google Hot Searches that track website searches provide a real time snaphot on the most popular searches on the internet. The trick to getting a subject with some staying power, a day or more.
Go ahead, take a look at today’s Google Trends. On a slow news day you will see a mix of celebrity and sports topics and searches. On a hot news day, you will see the events of the day. In any event if you posting every day or nearly every day, these topics and searches can be a spring board to a subject for you to explore astrologically. You don’t have to write about every #1 topic or search, nor should you. Check out the links to see if there is something that sparks your interest. Maybe it is something you knew nothing about, but you can find a way to use it to illustrate a point about astrology. Some of my most traffic garnering posts came from doing just that.
Another benefit from posting on hot topics and searches is that it will help you gain recognition in the search engines. As proof I offer this email that I received today
Hi, Beth – I just Googled “Parke Kunkle interview” and your blog came up number 10. That’s damn good, girlfriend! Janet
Beth Turnage authors Astrology Explored as well as being publisher of Astrology Media Press. Beth is available for private consultations. You can contact Beth at email@example.com.
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I think that’s the dilemma. If you try to appeal to everyone, or to the lowest common denominator, you risk diluting your readership. Even astrology has niches within niches. Personally, I get a little bored when I go through my reader and see that ten bloggers have written about the exact same thing. The Ophiuchus debacle is a good example of that. Maybe you get a momentary spike, but what difference does it make – unless you’re running Adsense and you want to capitalize on random traffic. Those types of readers usually don’t turn into loyal readers.
“What difference does it make?” you ask. Good question. Sure I get a little bored myself when bloggers post on the same topic, but how many of us share the same traffic? And certainly I think the bigger question is “how do we make our readership grow?” I know I’ve gained regular readers from their Google searches. With the old Astrology Explored on “the-Network-that-shall-not-be-named” I posted almost every day and took a least one or two post subjects from the headlines each week. I am convinced that it helped to build my traffic. Sure the traffic went up, went down, but all the while it grew steadily upward. If gaining traffic is your goal then it is worth a try. If not, well, that’s OK too.
Beth, thanks for this! I didn’t know about Google Trends before and if I’m looking around for a topic that interests me and potential readers, I think this would be a good place to go. Just now I checked it out and top of the list is “Kenneth Cole.” I’ve always been fascinated by him and his large billboards that decorate Henry Hudson Drive in Manhattan. His birthday is in March so I’ll save him for my Leadership Series when I get to Aries. But I will definitely keep my eye on this site.
The thing is, while I love to blog, what I’m really after is communicating, which you can’t do if you have no readers. Blogging is two-way, between the writer and the reader, and I’d like to know that my posts are reaching people where they are right now.
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