How to Get People to Click on Your Links
"Flogging the Freelancer" is a blog post a day about freelancing in the gig economy. Browse the archives here.
At certain points in my life, I've been paid by big companies to help drive traffic to their websites. At Forbes, contributers like me (aka bloggers) are paid by how many people read our blog in a given month. Here's a look at how I've helped generate traffic for my most-read Forbes posts.
1. The Hardest Thing About Being a Male Porn Star, 1,869,326 views
"The most difficult part about being a male porn star is the hard-on."
This is my most-read post on Forbes for several reasons: it's provocative, it's apparently something men around the world sit around googling every day, and it's informative. The title is a sex joke (see: "hardest"). The subject is catchy (see: "porn"). The take is original (see: what could possibly difficult about being paid to have sex with women for a living?). Plus: screw aggregation. I actually bothered to do some original reporting.
2. What Porn Stars Do When the Porn Industry Shuts Down, 1,037,780 views
"There is so much more to this job than just having sex on camera."
Provocative. Original reporting. Googleable. This post did better than I thought it would. Every time there was a moratorium on shooting in the industry, that fact would be blared across national news sites, but no one seemed to be wondering what the hell the performers, crew members, and producers were doing to keep themselves afloat when they couldn't work. It's not enough to get the story. Get the story behind the story.
3. Why You Shouldn't Be a Writer, 351,413 views
"Just because you can write doesn’t mean you should."
Writing is like photography. Everyone who picks up a camera thinks: Oh, I can be a photographer! You can take a picture, but that doesn't make you a photographer. It just makes you a person with a camera. Nowadays, anyone who can string a few words together can declare themselves a writer, but writing doesn't make you a writer. In this case, I spoke truth to the lie. Sometimes being willing to let people hate you is the answer.
4. How to Sell Yourself, 348,705 views
"Think of 'you' as a superhero version of yourself."
This post could've been titled, "How to Be a Hustler." Apparently, most people suck at selling themselves. They don't have enough distance or objectivity or shamelessness to turn themselves into their own used car salesman. People need help. Readers like to take something away from whatever they read, whether it's an emotional experience, a new insight, or interesting information. This post is "service-y." Be of service.
5. How Much Do Strippers Make?, 340,403 views
"[W]hen it comes to talking income there’s a general tendency amongst strippers to stay vague."
This post was part of a series of posts that I did on the strip club economy. I like doing series. (You're reading one now!) It keeps readers coming back for more. This technique was also successful when I did The Letters Project, which people loved. A clever, unicorn-like series can help you keep your readers returning.