Build a Popular Blog the McDonald’s Way

A professional author spends months, or even years crafting a single bestselling novel. A magazine or newspaper journalist needs a few weeks to compose a feature story. The entire history of writing shows that good writing takes time.

Yet, according to Technorati, most popular blogs are updated on a daily basis, often multiple times. What are we to make of this?

Is that accepted wisdom, that successful blogs are built on great content, supported by any factual evidence?

Nope.

Lessons From Hamburger University

McDonalds in China

The world’s most popular bloggers accept this truth: the online marketplace does not value, and will not support high quality content. So, instead of writing great posts and bearing the high costs associated with creating them, these bloggers deliver barely adequate content on a timely and consistent basis.

This is a proven strategy. McDonald’s used it to become the #1 fast-food chain in the world, with over 30,000 restaurants on six continents. They did not reach this position by making the world’s best cheeseburger, or even attempting to do so. Aspiring A-list bloggers should learn from their example…

Be cheap. If you don’t have much to say, then you shouldn’t need many words to convey it. This is convenient, because nobody has time to read it anyway.

Be fast. “Fast food” is fast because it isn’t cooked to order; it is prepared in advance and placed under a heat lamp to await a hungry consumer. Creative bloggers can use this same technique:

  1. Prepare a set of “blogging points” that can be applied to almost any breaking news story.
  2. Immediately after a story hits the wire, type up a 50-word summary, append your blogging points, and hit the Publish button.
  3. While slower bloggers are contemplating the relevant details and composing a thoughtful response, you’ll be scoring all the traffic!

This technique works particularly well for political blogs, but with a little ingenuity, it can be applied to almost any niche. Example:

Associated Press, January 29, 12:05am
Microsoft has just released Windows Vista to the public…

MacLuver27’s Blog, January 29, 12:07am
Micro$oft? Hated it!

Be bland. When choosing a position on a controversial topic, always follow the Rule of Chipotle:

If it sounds exotic, they’ll buy it once.
If it tastes exotic, they’ll never buy it again.

Start your posts with a bold premise, to attract a broad spectrum of readers. End your posts by embracing the conventional wisdom, thereby upsetting nobody.


This article is all in fun, of course… Great content is obviously the foundation of all successful and popular blogs…or is it?

12 comments on “Build a Popular Blog the McDonald’s Way”

  1. I just thought I’d bring this up to see if anyone else was experiencing this…

    So all I see from work (via our corp proxy) and at home (direct DSL connection) for the pictures – any and all – on your website are black boxes that say “Go To MartialDevelopment.com”.

    Now I’m assuming this is to get folks to nav back to the site…but I see these in my RSS aggregator (google reader) _as well as on the site itself_.

    In both Firefox 1.5 and IE 6. At home and at work. For weeks now. (initially I thought it was just me)

    Thought you’d like to know.

    (and, dagnabit, I’d like to see the pictures..!) =^)

    Thanks!
    -Aaron

  2. I know what the image problem is, and I’ll have it fixed in 1-2 days. In the meantime, try clearing your browser cache and viewing the website directly (e.g. not the feed).

    Chipotle is roasted jalapeno pepper.  The roasting cuts the heat, so it becomes “edgy but safe”.

  3. Sorry, but I reject just about all the advice above. The main thing about blogging is being happy with it. Perhaps being successful is something else, maybe not. You might want to check the following post for another perspective:
    http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2007/02/test.html

    I don’t have the most successful blog on the web, but my stats have steadily grown to the extent that I’m very happy with the blog growth. And I did it by doing everything the exact opposite of the advice in this post. In short, McDonald’s sux. 🙂

  4. I still don’t agree with it. 🙂 I average 600-800 hits per day. I have had 1600+ hits on some days. That’s pretty good for a little blog like mine I think. I think my blog has become at least mildly successful because I VALUE readers. I don’t want to give them fast food.

    Think about it like this. If everyone out there is reading these articles and decides the “McDonald’s way” is the way to go, then it opens up a market for a slightly better quality blog (or restaurant). Do you see what I mean?

    Plus, writing quality articles get you used to providing quality on a regular basis so your writing skills improve. That can transfer to other mediums like newspaper, magazine, and book writing.

    Quality and giving readers value is just the way to go!

  5. This was only a joke, but if it didn’t contain some truth then I wouldn’t have written and posted it.

    We don’t need to speculate on how one gets to the top of the popularity charts. Look at the chart directly (linked above), and the common attributes of its members.

    “Quality” is subjective, but this is a fact: the most popular blogs are updated daily, with a series of short posts.

    Can you write something valuable three times daily? Me neither.

  6. While I don’t totally agree with your statements, I can certainly see where you’re coming from.

    Prepare a set of “blogging points” that can be applied to almost any breaking news story.

    What exactly could those “blogging points” be? Any examples? I’d love to see some. 🙂

  7. Karen, where is the data that supports your disagreement?

    If you want examples of blogging points, I would look to the political media for inspiration. Just pick a current headline, attach some trite and irrelevant analysis, and hit the Post button!

    Challenges to Bans on Handguns Begin
    Using the new judicial muscle provided by the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the right to bear arms, the National Rifle Association and another pro-gun group sued San Francisco and its housing authority on Friday to invalidate a ban on handguns in public housing.

    But officials here and in other cities where gun restrictions are now being challenged took a defiant stance.

    Without handguns, how can we defend ourselves against a terrorist invasion? The Democrat party is destroying this country.

  8. I thought that the addition question was a joke, and answering wrong, I lost what I wrote. There is just so much to learn in this blogging world!

    Another thing that I was testing out was to see if I needed to add in all the technical stuff to create a link that actually works, or if I could just put a regular link line in. Here is both:

    The original reason that I wanted to post that link was because of the humor that I thought that you where trying to use with a simple math question. Anyway, I figured I would still post the links, as you even stated above that this particular post is mostly just for fun.

    Because of that YouTube video, my ex-fiancee said that I could not dance, so you know it has to be funny, right? Don’t answer that. 🙂

  9. Timothy, the math problem is an anti-spam solution. It has cut the comment rate in half, which is unfortunate, but it has also cut the comment spam rate by a factor of 100.

    I’ll try disabling it for awhile and see how things go.

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