Are you struggling to drive traffic to your blog?
Is your content doing its job and getting you the exposure you're looking for?
In this post, I'm going to share how you can create the right kind of content that drives traffic.
Listen to This Episode
My First Blog
I started my online business on January 18th, 2008. It was the day I stumbled onto something called Freebie Trading.
I used Incentivized Freebie Websites that promised to send you free stuff if you complete offers and referred others.
It actually worked, and in my first year, I grossed approximately $29K.
Back then, forums were still a thing. It was the way I got business.
I was active on a Freebie Trading forum and spent tons of time providing value.
When people asked questions, I was there to answer and be helpful.
As a result, MANY of the freebie traders in the forums listened to what I had to say.
I was helping them solve a problem. They wanted to make money, and I helped them do that.
In September of that year, I stumbled onto blogging. I was so excited about it that I started my first blog – The Freebie Guy.
And from that blog, I made consistent content. Content to help freebie traders make money with freebies.
I already had an audience from the forums. My traffic was almost instantaneous.
But it wasn't accidental.
What causes traffic?
There are some things that you have to have right to get traffic to your blog. They are all very specific.
You need to have a:
- Specific audience you are trying to target. My audience was freebie traders.
- Specific problem you're helping your audience to solve. My audience wanted to make money.
- Specific content that you're creating consistently. I created content on how to make money with freebies.
- Specific marketing channels. I used the freebie trading forum that I was active in to let freebie traders know about my new blog.
- Specific actions for them to take. I wanted my audience to find my content so useful that they shared it with their friends.
If any of these components are missing, you will not get the traffic you want to get.
The Psychology of Sharing
To understand what kind of content you should create, let's look at an interesting study.
The New York Times Customer Insight Group did an extensive study on why people share online.
Here are the reasons they found:
- To bring valuable, enlightening and entertaining content into the lives of people they care about. Improve the lives of others.
- To define themselves. This is what I stand for/believe in.
- To grow and nourish their relationships. Keeps people connected to each other.
- Self-fulfillment – Satisfaction of sharing. Makes them feel valuable.
- To get the word out about causes they believe in.
- To get increasing amounts of traffic to your blog, you will want people to share your content.
Does your content do any of the above-mentioned points? If not, it's time to rethink your content.
Before you create
Before you start creating your content, it's important to know who you're targeting.
Sit down and write out who your ideal target person is. Some people call this your customer avatar.
In my case, my avatar is Christina Simmons. Listen to the episode for a detailed description and tips on how to come up with yours.
Creating your content
When it comes to traffic, your content is the most important factor.
A study done by The Aberdeen group showed that the annual growth in unique site traffic is 7.8 times higher for content marketing leaders than followers.
This is not something that you should take lightly. You HAVE TO start with great content, and then improve from there.
In your content, make Christina (insert your avatar's name here) the hero. How?
By using the points found by the study on the Psychology of sharing.
How can your content give Christina a feeling of self-fulfillment when they share it?
How can your content help Christina define themselves to others?
THAT'S the kind of content you should be creating.
Taking those principles into consideration, start the brainstorming process.
- Sit down and make a list of 30 – 50 topics by doing the following:
- Answer this question – What questions is she asking?
- Put them in a logical sequence
- Start writing.
For every piece of content, think about what's in it for Christina? What will she feel while reading/consuming?
Make your content EASY to consume
The easier your content is to consume, the more likely she will be to consume it.
Here are a few tips to help you simplify your content and make it more effective.
Have a clear, catchy headline.
Here's a fact that most bloggers don't like to hear.
Eight out of ten people will ONLY read your headline. That kinda sucks.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Spend a significant amount of time on your headline to try to make it as effective as possible.
Have an effective intro paragraph.
Your first paragraph is your most important paragraph. It's what gets Christina to keep reading.
Your first sentence is the most important sentence. It's what gets her to read the first paragraph.
Here are three tips to help you start off on the right foot:
- Start with a series of questions that illustrates the problem.
- End with a statement on the value she will get by reading your post.
- Or start with an interesting story that illustrates the point of the post.
Deliver on your promises.
The main content of your post should deliver on the promise made by the headline and intro paragraph.
This is where you provide value. Also, keep in mind that the purpose of each sentence is to get her to the next sentence.
Here are some tips for structuring your content:
- Break up your content. Use short sentences and paragraphs. Your paragraphs should not exceed 2 or 3 sentences.
- Use headings to highlight the different sections of your post. This also makes it scannable.
- Use bullet points where applicable
Have an effective call-to-action.
No post is complete without a call-to-action. It's not all about what you have to say.
Always invite them to take part in the experience. Here are some calls-to-action you can consider using:
- Leave a specific comment. You can do this by asking a specific question and asking them to weigh in.
- Share it with your friends on social media. Sometimes people won't share unless you ask. Ask and ye shall receive.
- Check out another related post. They've already demonstrated that they are interested in the topic. Give them more.
- Get a free resource by joining your email list. This is ALWAYS a good idea. Have something related to your content and use that as a list building opportunity.
- Buy a product/service. The fact that they made it to the end of your post says that they are very interested in that topic. If you have a product/service related to that topic, this may be a good time to pitch it.
- Whatever else you can think of. The sky's the limit here, so be creative.
Take advantage of what's trending/happening now
One of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert is to be relevant.
There's always something new happening in your industry and by sharing that in a timely way, you'd be surprised at what can happen.
To do this, you have to make sure that you are current and informed.
Read your industry publications and follow the news as it pertains to your industry.
Use newsjacking when appropriate. If there's something big in the news, cover it on your blog and share the word.
Sharing hot topics is a great way to drive traffic. But make sure to only do this in a way that provides value.
Consider a video-first strategy
There's one thing that's abundantly clear about where the industry going.
Early last year, Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview with Buzzfeed that he “wouldn’t be surprised if you fast-forward five years and most of the content that people see on Facebook and are sharing on a day-to-day basis is video.”
Later that year, Nicola Mendelsohn, who heads up Facebook’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa said in five years time Facebook “will be definitely mobile, it will be probably all video”.
Facebook and YouTube are in an arms race to dominate the online video space.
This is the time for us bloggers to pay attention and consider going all in on video.
IF you go the direction of video first, the same principles apply.
Also, still have written content along with the video for SEO purposes. Google understands the written word better than anything else.
Repurpose your content for greatest effect
One of the best ways to get more exposure for your content is by repurposing it.
Whenever you create content, convert it into other formats. Then, you can use it in multiple ways on multiple platforms.
This brings more exposure. In fact, it's such a powerful strategy that I will be going into depth on this in next week's podcast episode.
My question for you: How will you change your content strategy over the next few months?