5 Blog Posts That Did It Wrong And Won Big

August 20, 2013By
Blogging Best Practices

Best practices are good sometimes, but to get big wins you have to do something different.

If you read about blogging best practices you’ll find a lot of things about list posts, stories and other formats and formulas.

There are a few posts on this blog that cover those things. Those best practices are good if you’re starting out with blogging for your business. It’s always good to know what’s working for others. You can take a note from their success and put your own spin on it knowing there is a good chance for success.

But the thing about best practices is that you can never really make a huge dent in the world if you follow what everyone else is doing or has done. It could be true in business, entertainment and blogging.

In order to really stand out and do something monumental you have to be different. You have to buck the best practices and do your own thing.

My favorite actor is Kevin Costner.

Hopefully that statement didn’t make you leave the post.

One of the first movies I remember seeing was Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. It’s not the greatest movie of all-time, but for a kid it was pretty entertaining and I know other people liked it because it was a huge box office success.

Anyway, the other reason I like Kevin Costner is because he kind of does his own thing. He catches a lot of hell for it too, but he doesn’t really seem to care that much because while he’s had his flubs over the years he’s also had his successes and those successes have been pretty big.

I think one of the reason for those successes is that Costner doesn’t always follow best practices.

When he was making Dances With Wolves there was a lot of news about how the movie was over budget and running way too long. It’s like a 4-hour movie today if you watch the director’s cut.

Yet that movie remains a classic. It was a huge success at the box office and even beat out Goodfellas (one of my top five favorites) for Picture Of The Year.

If Costner would have followed best practices for making movies he would have never made Dances With Wolves.

If you’re looking to do something different with your blog you’ll have to be different. And that will take risk.

Here are five posts that have stood out to me and many others. They were very popular with readers.

Yet they all bucked the common blogging best practices.

1. The Science Of Instagram

Neil Patel on QuickSprout has tons of posts that do really well. He follows a few common formulas like lists and how-to posts, but he also does some posts that are more like stories and case studies.

These types of posts don’t always do well. Sometimes they can be too personal and not relate well enough to readers, but sometimes they do exceptionally well.

The same is true with research-based posts. They don’t always do well, but if you hit on something people want to learn about you can really win. I think that’s why so many people have found this post to be so interesting and useful.

2. The Guilty Man

This is a post I found via Longreads. That’s one of my favorite sites. You might hear that people like reading short, snappy blog posts. That’s true some of the time. People have long attention spans if they’re reading something that is interesting.

The Guilty Man is a true story of a man that was arrested and convicted for his wife’s murder. He was in prison for about 25 years until he was finally able to prove his innocence.

Sometimes these true stories don’t work well, but other times you capture the attention of a lot of people. This one in particular also doesn’t follow the SEO standards. The title is short and really doesn’t tell the reader what the story will be all about. It does pique curiosity, which will get clicks.

And it doesn’t have to be a journalist-type story. Businesses can do this type of storytelling as well.

3. Is it Time for Content Marketers to Abandon Facebook?

Copyblogger is another site that has a lot of list posts and a lot of how-to posts. Those do well, but sometimes they take a different route and come away with a very popular blog post like this one.

This takes a completely different approach to something that was almost a given in the marketing world.

There was a feeling that you had to be on Facebook if you were a business.

Well, Copyblogger looked into the issue and came away with a different takeaway. It takes courage to buck the common beliefs out there, but if you have the research to prove your point you can win big with your target audience.

4. It’s Not Just Bad Food That’s Giving Us Diabetes, It’s Our Food Packaging

Here again is a post that doesn’t really care about what people are searching for on search engines and social media. There is no concern for SEO and I like that sometimes. With some posts you just have to tell people something interesting that will be valuable to them.

It reminds me again of Kevin Costner when he had a little comeback a couple years ago. He made the miniseries Hatfields & McCoys. People weren’t really looking for that type of content, but Costner saw an interesting story and wanted to tell it. The show becamed a huge hit.

5. Joe Strummer and Punk Self-Reinvention

The Atlantic is one of my favorite sites. They don’t always have content that I’m interested in, but they usually have a few each week that I find interesting. Again, you don’t have to win over every person out there. And you don’t have to win your target audience over all the time either.

The Atlantic has taken long form writing to another level with their in-depth stories. They find an interesting topic and storytelling formula that people like and it works really well.

If you’re looking to be different with your blog you can take a cue from these five posts. They didn’t do what was common. They took a chance of the posts falling flat. There is always that risk.

But you don’t have to win all the time with blogging, business or anything.

You only need one or maybe a couple of big wins to make your mark.