We who blog are constantly writing new content to publish to the masses. It takes a lot of work and energy to produce a great article and one of our greatest frustrations is the short life cycle of a post.

You spend time doing research, brainstorming, link collecting, drafting, writing, and promoting an article only to watch the crowd move on to other great content tomorrow. That’s the nature of the internet.

One way to remove this frustration of the fast-flowing nature of content is to focus more on the conversation generated by a post after it’s published. And I’m not simply talking about getting people to comment on the article – that’s only the beginning.

One of my own big beliefs about marketing is that “news spreads faster through a crowd than to a crowd.” In other words, we’ve managed to tune out mass media messages and advertising, but we still place great trust in the suggestions of our friends.

Applying this to a blog post means that the conversation surrounding your content needs to move away from the post itself.

Getting people to notice your content enough to comment on it is a great first step and probably the indicator of whether it’s a good conversation piece to begin with, but the real gold is when it moves from one Twitter user to another or across a network of Facebook friends, or rises to the front page of Digg. In other words, the goal is to see people talking about your content even if you and your site are not directly involved in the conversation.

If you get them talking about an article, they may just begin talking about you, the author. And then they’ll talk about your blog, your brand, your product, etc. So the conversation grows.

The negative side of marketing your content with conversation is that you can’t control it. In fact, if you try to force conversations to happen, you’ll alienate your audience. What you can do is stimulate conversation.

Let me leave you with some brief tips on how to persuasively encourage conversation surrounding your best ideas:

  • Go beyond the basics. Which is more likely to go viral – “how to have a great blog” (which has been done a million times) or “three brand new ideas for bringing in more traffic.”
  • Be controversial. Just don’t be stupid. Don’t alienate people, engage them.
  • Be thought-provoking. Most people won’t read your article, they’ll skim it, unless you force them to think about something. Surprise them.
  • Ask a question. What do you think? What’s your take on this? What’s your best idea about this subject?
  • Promote your post creatively. Instead of “new blog post:” how about “Hey, any opinions on this?”
  • Give something valuable – something people will want to bookmark, share, and reference.

The goal isn’t to get someone to read what you’ve written – it’s to get them to read it, and then share it. That’s why we call it the “web.” Now, what do you have to say about this post?

Brandon Cox is a Pastor, Web Designer, and Blogger. He’s Editor of Fuel Your Blogging and We Blog Better. You can also catch him on Twitter or Facebook.