Predicting Death: an Alternative Blogging Strategy

by Peter Attia on August 1, 2012

When a celebrity dies, it sends waves of chatter through the social community. You hear about it within minutes of a single mention, long before it gets reported through any major news outlet.

Major media then scurries to quickly write an article on the subject so they can get a fraction of the high volume “death traffic”. People searching for that person’s name for info about them, for photos to see who they are, and cause of death.

2011 Celebrity Deaths

Is there another way to get a chunk of that traffic?

Write About it Before it Happens

If you already have an article written about someone’s death, you can publish it immediately after they die. By doing this, you’ll be one of the first sources of content about the incident. Making you much more likely to end up on the top of Google News as well.

Even though I’m talking about celebrity deaths, this is merely an example. There are lots of things you can write about in advance about your industry. For example company acquisitions, IPO’s, and bankruptcies.

How Can You Predict The Future?

Some things are just inevitable. For example, does everyone really think Courtney Love is going to die at the ripe old age of 103? Does everyone think RIM Technologies is going to make a comeback and become a flourishing company?..

courtney love and rim

These are more extreme and riskier guesses, but there are ways to increase your chances. For example there is the Death List, which can conveniently be sorted by year, as well as Pop Eater’s Celebrity Health List. Do some digging and find ways to make predictions in your industry.

Also, don’t forget about the stock market. It’s great for making correlations with industry findings.

Don’t Forget The Obvious

Everyone knew Facebook’s IPO was going to be released months before it was. In situations like this you have time to write a 100% relevant and awesome piece of content to release when it’s officially announced.

Similarly, there’s a whole lot of talk about Google Glass… You could scrape up all the information you can find about glass and write a full article on everything that went into making the project a reality.

Also, sometimes it’s just easy to tell a company is going to make a splash when they officially arrive. For example, have you heard of Tactus?

Write Broadly

Obviously you will never know the fine details of a story ahead of time, but you will be able to make a quick draft. Write things in a way that could easily be adjusted and manipulated, or if there are two possible outcomes to a situation, write two separate pieces. This would be a great way to have an article prepared for the outcome of any sports game, hint hint.

Also, try not to make the story 100% on topic. In my example of celebrity deaths, a lot of those search queries are also for biographies. You could write a biography leading up to their death, but leave a blank section in the beginning to go into details of their death.

Similarly with my Google Glass example, the potential article I referred to had nothing to do with the release of Google Glass, but about information and development. You just need to write something relevant that will capture the attention of people searching for a recent news event.

It’s very similar to writing about “top mothers day presents” during mothers day.


There are lots of ways to stay on top of industry news and write about recent events. It’s something else entirely when you’re one of the first to write about it.

I hope this inspired you with some ideas for staying ahead of the game!

Also, I want to thank Dixon Jones for inspiring this idea with his presentation at Search Exchange.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacob Folmand August 2, 2012 at 7:21 am

One of the better linkbait bighits I have encountered in recent times, was the story of MMA fighter Alistair Overreem and his denial of his doping scandal. A website posted an excerpt of what they claimed was a 40-page manifesto, in which MMA fighter Alistair explained how modern science and technology had made ​​him into a superhumanmass monster without the use of illegal substances. Later on in the next few days thousands of inbound links and straightened the top 3 in many phrases about Alistair Overeem. Only then people realized that it was a hoax that was designed to generate inbound links.


Peter Attia August 2, 2012 at 10:11 am

One of my favorites is the boy who hired a prostitute with his dad’s credit card to play xbox with him –


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

<--facebook pixel--> <--facebook pixel end-->