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Some weeks, it’s easy to feel foolish because it seems impossible to predict what are popular topics for blog posts. That’s when I start nosing around more to discover apparently popular topics on other blogs. In the interests of sharing, here’s a completely unscientific study of what seems to work for other bloggers in creating highly popular topics:

  • Admit you’re failing or incapable of performing a task
  • Use a lot of curse words
  • Put a number in the blog post’s title
  • Express outrage for the sake of expressing outrage
  • Be outrageous for the sake of being outrageous
  • Say something ridiculously contrary to what everyone knows and understands
  • Write an opinion that’s obviously misguided and off the mark
  • If you’re an attractive woman, work your most prominent physical characteristic into the blog (extra points if it’s a pictorial reference)
  • Go out on a really shaky limb with a point of view
  • Share something intensely personal, that really is TOO much information
  • Get all preachy about how you’ve gotten screwed over (even when it’s clear you haven’t been)
  • Write about your family pet dying
  • Cover social media topics every single day
  • Promise outlandish success with very little work
  • Self-aggrandize on an epic scale
  • State the obvious – as if you discovered it before anyone else did

That’s my starting list of what makes blog topics popular on other websites.

Unfortunately perhaps, most of these popular topics won’t ever work here because they’re not things I’d experiment writing about even in a creative pinch.

For those of you kind enough to share your time with the Brainzooming blog, what types of topics are popular with you? - Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours, and let you pick the blog topics that work for you!

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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  • Alex

    I seem to get the most resonance when I compare/contrast what I perceive to be bad PR moves by a company or organization (GoDaddy, Taco Bell, Chik-Fil-A for example(s)). I try to keep my view dispassionate and avoid the “personal outrage” thing, but that stuff seems to connect with people.

    I also have some unexpected success when I talk about my side career–writing. A recent piece on why I chose to go the indie author route earned me a call from the local NBC station. They’re going to interview me next week. I just never know. Some stuff I think is really going to catch fire doesn’t. Perhaps I need to use the f-bomb a lot….

    • Anonymous

      Congratulations on the TV segment Alex…that’s so cool! I really enjoy when you take the reasoned approach to what’s going on with a PR situation. And you’re right – doing that stands in stark contrast to a lot of what’s done in other blogs. Vitriol seems to sell.

  • http://twitter.com/ArveyColumbus Cheri Allbritton

    Let’s not forget to include my favorite: the Infographic

    • Anonymous

      Wow Cheri, I walked right past infographics on the list. I’ve been tracking those in Tweetdeck with idea of doing a specific post about what to watch out for so you don’t get duped by lots of glitz and very little real insight.

  • http://twitter.com/lesaevans Lesa Evans (Caskey)

    I think it’s okay for the masses to flock toward blog-tripe just as they flock toward TV-tripe. First, because it proves there is social equality on the net and second because it gives those of us seeking meaningful, richly humorous, actually helpful or particularly interesting content a bright red flag warning us of the tripe hazard one click away. Finally, the people who spend their time reading tripe are generally not the ideal audience/customer base for the bloggers who dedicate themselves to writing rich and engaging content, anyway. They wouldn’t attract each other via TV, radio or even summer BBQ parties, so there’s no real loss of revenue or companionship.
    As for the topics I follow, it’s very few. Yours is my new favorite – thanks for doing what you do – blog and otherwise there’s one related to parenting and one relating to business leadership. That’s it! Everything else I receive is through groups I belong to and is not consistent in authorship or brand beyond the group’s sponsor
    Great post!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks so much Lesa for your readership! The insight about the right audience vs. a larger, less cohesive audience can be a consoling one.

      As I mentioned to a long-time Brainzooming reader, I’ve started mentally mapping bloggers to the British musical invasion which began in the early 60′s and continues through today. It’s become clear to me that I’m probably in the alternative British music category….maybe kind of like a Nick Lowe. He’s had like 2 hits, others have covered his songs, and you hear him on the radio about once every 10 years. Despite this, he’s a part of fabric of rock music, was in a great live band (Rockpile), and (through marriage) even had a connection to Johnny Cash.

      He’s a footnote, but he’s a footnote that has done work of which he can be proud. That just feels about right.

  • http://twitter.com/lesaevans Lesa Evans (Caskey)

    I think it’s okay for the masses to flock toward blog-tripe just as they flock toward TV-tripe. First, because it proves there is social equality on the net and second because it gives those of us seeking meaningful, richly humorous, actually helpful or particularly interesting content a bright red flag warning us of the tripe hazard one click away. Finally, the people who spend their time reading tripe are generally not the ideal audience/customer base for the bloggers who dedicate themselves to writing rich and engaging content, anyway. They wouldn’t attract each other via TV, radio or even summer BBQ parties, so there’s no real loss of revenue or companionship.
    As for the topics I follow, it’s very few. Yours is my new favorite – thanks for doing what you do – blog and otherwise there’s one related to parenting and one relating to business leadership. That’s it! Everything else I receive is through groups I belong to and is not consistent in authorship or brand beyond the group’s sponsor
    Great post!

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  • http://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/ Ed

    This made me laugh :-)
    I’m an educator and I blog about teaching and learning. My most popular posts are a series of ’10 ways’ posts. I used to wonder why posts that were more important and thoughtful were read less!!

    • Anonymous

      Glad you got a chuckle from it Ed! I think we often forget that we’re targeting broader audiences with blogs, which means a lot of folks don’t want to work hard to process more thoughtful pieces. Either that or blog writers, as a group, have no clue about what’s good and bad! ; )

  • Anonymous

    Are you sure this is an “unscientific” study? It sounds very accurate! Great work… 

    • Anonymous

      Thanks! As a market research kind of guy, Jon, the extent of methodology was listing all the types of blog posts that make me shake my head in amazement!

  • Carl Ingalls (@Carl_Ingalls)

    You can write about something popular, or you can write about something that will make a difference. 

    • http://www.brainzooming.com Mike Brown

      I like the idea of trying to make a difference, Carl! Great thought!

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  • Frank Milella

    Always blog about politics. Take the less popular side and it’s sure to get a rise out of people…That and religion