Recently, I was given the opportunity to serve as the guest curator for Rockstar Finance.
What’s Rockstar Finance you may ask?
Only one of the coolest sites in the personal finance space.
Every weekday, the site features three of the best posts from the personal finance blogging realm. An email is also sent out with the featured posts to its large subscriber base.
If you’re a personal finance blogger, you likely already know about Rockstar Finance. If not, you should get to know it.
The huge number of daily visitors to the site and the large number of email subscribers have the potential to send some huge traffic to your site.
I’ve been lucky enough to be featured a few times on this site – known as the “Rockstar Effect.” That alone brought me well over an additional 2,300 pageviews for each day that took place.
On the days immediately following, there’s a nice residual effect that also comes into play. I’ve seen an average of an additional 600 pageviews the day after and a couple hundred the day after that.
Sounds pretty good, right?
But that’s only part of it. You’re getting tons of new readers to your blog. And some will like what they see and hopefully come back. I also get a pretty good uptick in new email subscribers when I’m featured.
If you haven’t already figured it out, these are the kind of things you want for your site! Being featured on Rockstar Finance makes for a really great day, but more importantly, it can also be a building block for future growth.
So good news for you – I’m going to leverage my Rockstar Finance guest curation experience to tell you how you can be a better blogger!
What I Learned as a Rockstar Finance Guest Curator
Reading blogs through the eyes of a curator gives a completely different perspective on personal finance blogs. You have to pay a lot more attention to different areas of blog posts than you do as a regular reader.
Going into this, I understood this would take some time to do. As I write this, there are 1,609 blog feeds in the Rockstar Finance Directory alone. As you can imagine, that means there’s going to be a tremendous amount of posts to go through.
I went into this thinking that my biggest struggle would be narrowing down all the good posts.
Deciding between all the great Rockstar-worthy posts would be tough, right?
What I came to find out is that there were not as many great posts as I thought there were going to be.
That’s right. The further into this mission I went, the more I worried that I wouldn’t have enough posts that should be featured.
I got lucky because the posts that I did find deserved to be there, but this was definitely an eye-opener for me.
Could there really not be enough good content out there?
I’ll leave it to you to be the judge on that.
Let’s go through what I found and see if it can help you ensure your posts are ready to be featured on Rockstar Finance!
Title is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!!
Skimming through all those blog feeds is time-consuming. I had a lot to read and if you think I was reading every post, you’re insane!
My process for the guest curation was to go through and open articles that caught my interest in a new tab and then bookmark them to read later.
And I can guarantee you that I’m not the only one picking and choosing what to read further based on the post title. Anyone doing the Rockstar Finance article curation will be doing that as well.
But more importantly, other readers are skimming through post titles as well. And if your title is something like “My Frugal Day”, you’re unlikely to see tons of folks clicking through to read further.
However, if the title was something like “How I Turned $50 into $200 Worth of Groceries”, it suddenly seems a lot more appealing.
As I went through this process, I learned that there are many mundane, boring titles out there. I think I do Ok with my titles, but I definitely have some room for improvement to make them more enticing!
The title is the key. If you only take one thing away from this post, this should be it!
I’ll say it again… the title is the key. If you don’t hook your readers on your title, it doesn’t matter how good the actual content is because you’re not going to get the click-throughs for people to read it.
Stay away from using misleading clickbait titles, but get creative, folks! This is where you need to shine. When you look at something like the Rockstar Finance Directory or any RSS reader, your post has a very limited time to garner attention before other content pushes it down. You need to make it count!
Make your title a question to your readers that gets them to want to click. Or make it something unusual that raises the eyebrow of curiosity for your reader.
No matter what you decide you want it to be, put yourself in the place of the reader and ask yourself, “If I saw this title in a feed of hundreds or thousands of other articles, would I click on it?”
If the answer is no or maybe, you had better take a little more time to figure it out. I’m telling you – the title is critical.
Keep on writing!
As I went through my bookmarked “first run” picks, I found that the majority were already on the list of “don’t use” sites. This compilation was a list of sites that had been featured on Rockstar Finance recently.
What does that tell you?
It tells me that the good writers write well – well enough to be considered for Rockstar Finance more often.
So what can you do?
There’s only one thing you can do – practice writing. Writing is a skill that you can get better with over time.
Here’s some proof – take a look at the first post I wrote for Route to Retire. Horrible, right?
But over the course of the past few years, I’ve noticed a tremendous improvement in my posts. I’m far from perfect, but the fact is, the more you write, the better you get.
More importantly, you’ll begin to develop a style of writing that’s unique to you – and that matters! You want your readers to relate to you and know your voice.
I remember at FinCon when one big time writer (I won’t mention his name) told me he was trying to hire a writer for his site. The problem he ran into was that the writer couldn’t replicate his style.
That situation is both good and bad. Obviously, it’s bad that he wasn’t able to bring that writer on board. But, what’s nice is that means his style of writing is unique and others can’t easily replicate it.
Have stellar content
So your title is good enough to reap a click, but now what?
Are they going to run into a post that’s just a couple of paragraphs where they walk away thinking it was a complete waste of their time?
Alternatively, will it be one of those posts that drone on and on and not really go anywhere?
I ran into a lot of these during my curation that didn’t make it past the first cut. But hopefully, neither of those will happen with you.
Why? Because you’ve spent some time to come up with a solid post that’s going to be of value to your readers.
It takes some work to stand out from the crowd. Chances are, if you spent a half-hour or so on your post, it’s going to be a letdown to anyone reading it.
Think creatively and write well.
I currently write one post a week for the most part. Could I shorten my posts and write more often?
Absolutely – it would also help my blog continue to grow more quickly. However, I want each of my posts to be well thought out and worthy of my readers’ time.
Once I reach FIRE at the end of 2019, I’ll likely increase my schedule to post two or three times a week. But until I can put in the time to make each post special, I’m sticking with my current schedule.
What I was looking for during my curation was unique content or a personal story. Regurgitating the same old topics will make your audience yawn – it sure did for me.
If your content is hard to follow or doesn’t have a point, it’s not going to bode well for you. I actually came across a number of posts that had some great potential… and then it just quickly faded as I continued to read. Some posts I couldn’t even make it all the way through without shrugging and moving on.
However, when I came across something different or truly personal, it made for a better read. I got to know the author a little better and was able to understand their take on a particular topic.
I noticed when I first started my site, I planned to educate my readers. My intentions were good, but those posts didn’t attract many readers.
Later, though, I came to realize that most readers aren’t after posts that just recite the encyclopedia (remember those?!). Instead, they want to relate to you and understand how things are affecting your life and how it might apply to their own.
My posts that seem to gain the most attention are the ones that talk about my personal life. Heck, my family wrote two of my three posts that were featured on Rockstar Finance…
Why were they Rockstar’d? My guess is because they were something different. It’s unusual and interesting to hear the perspectives of other family members in a FIRE blogger’s life.
Don’t be boring (easier said than done, right?)! Be unique in your topic and get personal so your audience has an opportunity to relate to you. It’ll have them coming back to see what’s new in your life.
Your other missions…
Rockstar Finance Directory
If you’re not listed in the Rockstar Finance Directory, get listed. This is the first place that whoever is doing curation is going to check. You want to be on this list. You need to be on this list.
The signup is easy, quick, and, of course, free (my favorite word!). And it’s set up very nicely – you can even update various characteristics of your blog later when things change.
More importantly, Steve from ThinkSaveRetire runs the day-to-day operations for Rockstar Finance so you know it’s going to work well. He’s my BFF – how could it not be smooth sailing?!
Read this post…
Cait Flanders was formerly a Rockstar Finance curator. She gave a great presentation on writing Rockstar content at FinCon17. John summed up her talk in How to Write Rockstar Content – it’s definitely worth checking out!
Am I guaranteeing that by following these suggestions you’ll be featured on Rockstar Finance? Nope.
But I will tell you that by stepping up your game and making your posts Rockstar Finance worthy, you’ll be making better posts. Moreover, by making better posts, you’ll notice that your traffic will continue to increase over time and you’ll bring in more readers who become loyal to your site.
So regardless, this is a win-win situation. Having a post that gets Rockstar’d isn’t the only win… making it Rockstar quality means it will stand on its own and be a better post in of itself.
I certainly learned quite a bit from this experience. Although there’s some great content out there, there needs to be a lot more!
And this includes me. I think I do a pretty good job on my blog posts, but a good job isn’t enough. I need to be doing a great job.
It’s time we all step up our game. Your site deserves it and more importantly, the readers in this community deserve it.
Have you been featured on Rockstar Finance before? Is so, what do you think got you there? If not, what do you think you could be doing better?
Thanks for reading!!