Keeping Visitor Interest Week after Week

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Our Interview with Smart Classroom Management’s Michael Linsin

One of the more successful small business bloggers we know is Smart Class Management‘s Michael Linsin. Michael, currently a high school teacher in San Diego, has built a nice side business as an author and blogger, selling thousands of copies of his books that help teachers become better teachers. His weekly posts are shared in a weekly newsletter with over 100,000 subscribers – no easy feat to build a list that big! We caught up with Michael this month to ask a few questions relevant to our research on “visitor interest”.

Michael, where do you get interesting ideas for your weekly blog posts?

My ideas come from struggling teachers, either through observing them in action myself or the many emails I receive. I also view the blog as a continuing education in effective classroom management and thus I frequently mix in articles related to my core principles. As for week to week, I choose what I’m inspired to share or what jumps out at me from my long list of ideas.

So how do you know what works to get attention and visitor interest? What metrics do you really focus on for your business?

Teachers who struggle with behavior tend to all experience the same frustrations and have painfully discovered that most of the advice and conventional approaches haven’t worked for them. They’re often desperate for help. So if in a headline, and/or within the first few lines of an article, I can articulate their frustration and promise a solution, then I’ll capture their attention enough for them to read the article. I tend to focus on social shares. They tell me that the article meant enough to them to share it with others.

What do you do if something doesn’t resonate with your audience?

Sometimes you have to take chances on topics you’re not sure will resonate (perhaps they’re controversial). These ideas tend to be the ones that go viral. If the response isn’t great, it just makes me more determined to blow their socks off the following week.

What are a couple of lessons you’ve learned over the past couple of years (good or bad) about getting visitor interest & keeping your audience interested?

You keep coming back week after week after week. You bring your best and write from the heart. You dig and dig, deliver and deliver, until they can’t ignore you. I believe in playing the long game. Also, making the switch from providing an entire article in an email to just a teaser (per your advice) seems to make readers more compelled than ever to click through to discover a unique solution to their problem. Once on the site, there is a good chance they’ll peruse other articles, buy our products, or share the site with their friends and colleagues.