If it’s traffic that you’re after then you need to start with the end in mind.
Basically you want two things links and shares.
For this type of content you probably need to spend more time on planning your outreach and promotion it than you do on creating the content in the first place.
But done right, the benefits can be huge.
There are some proven content frameworks for this type of content and the name of the game here isn’t necessarily to come up with anything incredibly original, revolutionary or groundbreaking.
The trick is to bear in mind what you want the end result to be links and shares. Following on from this you need to identify who is going to give you what you want.
Think about it - of the following who is more likely to give you Links & Shares?
Your potential customer who has several social media accounts but no online presence (i.e. a blog)
Influencers, bloggers and experts in your niche who have a blog and an engaged audience on social media
Of course, the answer is clear.
If you want traffic then your target audience are the bloggers and experts so your content needs to be built for them.
You’re probably familiar with this format and you may have referred to them. Heavyweight and authoritative long form content (5,000 to 20,000 words), they are powerful tools for getting links, shares and to establish authority on an area of interest to your audience.
As well as being Content for Traffic this is Content for Authority.
Of course you’ll need to do your homework but there is a repeatable formula that you can use to create them.
In terms of the subject, avoid the temptation to go too wide as it may just be too broad to be covered in one Guide. For example, if you sell jewellery, rather than the ‘Definitive Guide to Jewellery’ you should focus on a more narrow subject such as the ‘Definitive Guide to Engagement Rings’.
The beauty of this approach is that you can then extend this to other sub niches such as choosing a diamond.
Try to resist the temptation to focus purely on product either. Leave that to your product pages.
Instead, use your Buyer Persona and Buyer’s Journey to understand areas of interest to your audience and create your guides around these subjects.
Also, don’t just create one ‘Definitive Guide’. This is your chance to claim authority in your niche.
Someone needs to be an authority and it might as well be you. So think around the subject, identify which content gets the backlinks and gets the social shares and look for inspiration.
But don’t think it has to be your voice with 100% unique and groundbreaking insights and opinions. Part of your strategy involves reaching out to experts, quoting them and linking to great content.
A good example is to think about your favourite museums and art galleries. Did they create the great works on display? Of course not. Their role is to be great curators.
You need to think of your Definitive Guides in the same way you are curating great content and bringing it together to support your opinions and insights.
They involve quite a few hours of effort to research, create and promote but they will work for you tirelessly over the coming months and even years to bring qualified traffic to your site.
Is it alive? Is it dead?
That’s the question that seems to hover over guest blogging. It’s just one of the latest episodes in the SEO arms race between Google and a determined SEO community.
Who knows for sure? Except....
One thing is for sure.
Google wants good content and they are not about to start punishing you for creating it whether on your blog or someone else’s.
The key lies in choosing your guest blogging targets and developing relationships. Inclusion on a respected, authority blog that is well curated and has an active audience is worth all of the effort involved.
It’s going to be much, much easier if you follow some simple, straightforward steps suggested by Ramit Sethi. Here is a summary of his guidelines:
Your blog pitch must not be a product pitch
Think of the blog audience write for them, not about you
Your opinion is important but where appropriate provide data to back up any claims
Longer posts stand a better chance they have more room to investigate an issue
Pitch before you post
Check previous guest posts to understand the preferred style and feel
Provide previous examples of your work
Don’t just link to your work
Don’t submit thin, lightweight content
Don’t make it all about your opinion no one really cares
Good content takes time to write don’t set aside an hour or so
Include the right links to your website
Send ready to publish content make it copy and paste easy
List based content continues to be some of the most popular content year in year out.
It seems we just can’t get enough of them. Easy to digest, fast paced, fun and with engaging headlines they are easy to share and deliver exactly what they say they will.
Whilst it would be a mistake to write them off as being too lightweight, you probably shouldn’t go to the other extreme and build your entire content strategy around them.
There’s also a really important reason that list based content is here to stay and that is because we all love a good headline. It’s just wired into us and that is not going to change any time soon.
So starting with your headline you have the chance to really grab your audience’ attention. Even if you are not an expert copywriter there are several tried and tested list-based headline techniques that you can employ.
Likewise building up your list based content is pretty straightforward and does not require you to be a great writer. The important point is to choose the right subject and headline and the rest will flow from there.
You can have a ton of fun playing around with different lists and finding a particular angle to view the world from. These can be incredibly engaging and share worthy.
A close relation to the Definitive Guide, Crowdsourced Content is a piece of content built around expert opinions from influential bloggers or industry experts.
The beauty of Crowdsourced Content is that you are able to reach a new audience, make connections and build authority.
As with list based content though, it should play a role in your overall strategy rather than being the central pillar. If overdone, your experts could get fed up with being ‘hit on’ too often and there is always the danger that your own voice could get drowned out.
Everyone loves to be recognised, even the influencers and top bloggers. So what better way than by creating a really useful piece of content as well as getting on their radar than by giving them some extra recognition.
OK, this approach does comes with a warning because it runs a fine line between admiration and sycophancy.
It’s probably wise to choose this approach once you have a more established online presence in your niche.
What’s best iPhone or Android? Windows or Linux? People love this type of comparison and usually each one has their own fanbase supporting them.
This type of content allows you to position yourself as a neutral judge presenting the case and allowing people to either make their own minds up, or use it to determine which is the best option for them.
Another point is that you can compare several options at once using questions to guide people to the right answer.
When done well a great infographic presents complex data or tells a complex story in a simple manner.
Considered by some to be a bit dated these days, infographics still have a role to play in generating links and shares as long as you follow certain rules.
When done badly it just comes across as a jungle of facts, figures and images.
In some ways infographics have become victims of their own success and it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd but it can still be done.
Of course, things never stand still and if you want to stand out in a crowded field then you might want to consider a Parallax Infographic. It’s a technique that can be applied across an entire website or adapted for a single infographic. If you’re considering going down this route then you will find it to be significantly more expensive than a traditional infographic.
Let’s face it, creating content takes time, effort and money. So one way to get a ton of great content is by using a contest to encourage users to come up with that content for you.
Obviously you need to keep your side of the bargain and offer a prize and other incentives, but contests can be great fun, they can engage your clients and their friends on social media and really spread the word about your business.