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101 Ways Online to Promote Your Next Blog Post

101 Ways Online to Promote Your Next Blog Post

by Kim Roach

So…. you just pushed “Publish” on your blog.

Your masterpiece is now live.

Unfortunately, the only people who came to the party were your mom and your grandma.

You refresh your statistics every five minutes.

But that thing must be broke.

Or…

Maybe you just need a better plan.

Better yet…

“The Ultimate Blog Promotion Checklist”

101 ways to increase your traffic, comments, shares, and subscribers!

Follow this list. Print it out. Tape it to your desk.

And most importantly… Use it!

(Quick Note: You don’t need all of them 🙂 Even just a handful could get you to your first 1,000 visitors.)

Ok… enough talk.

Let’s get to work…

create irresistible content

1. Create EPIC Content.

Creating EPIC content is BY FAR the best way to attract thousands of visitors from social media AND from Google. Thousands of new articles are being published EVERY hour online. You must create massive value to stand out from the crowd.

I don’t care if you only publish 2-3 articles per month. Just make sure those articles are EPIC 2,000+ word blog posts that people can’t help but share. Then, spend the rest of your time promoting that content.

Resources:

How to Create Epic Content
Write Epic Shizzle
A Real-Life Example (and Analysis) of Epic Content Gone Viral

2. Write LONGER posts.

Blog posts with 2,000+ words have proven to rank higher on Google and receive more social media votes.

Here’s an interesting article on how content length affects rankings, backlinks, and social media shares.

3. Make Sure You Have an Irresistible Headline.

Your headline will determine whether or not people click on your article.

Your title MUST sell the click.

The headline is what people will see in their email, on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

One sentence that must grab people by the eyeballs and pull them into your content.

And don’t forget… your headline is surrounded by thousands of others. This is especially true on social media.

So make it count!

You’ve got ONE shot.

Resources:

How to Write Magnetic Headlines
101 of the Best-Performing Email Subject Lines

4. Send An Email To Your Subscribers.

Email is the HOLY GRAIL of content marketing. It allows you to build instant momentum to EVERY blog post.

It’s a bit like holding a magic wand. With the push of a button you can send thousands of visitors to your latest blog post, your latest podcast episode, your latest YouTube video, or ANY other page for that matter. Email trumps ALL.

Quick Tip: Send a second email 2-3 days later to the subscribers who DID NOT open the initial email. We’ve used this strategy in our own business to get a 1,000 extra visitors to some of our best articles. Simply change the subject line and the intro.

So simple… But so few people are doing it.

5. Use Rich Multimedia in Every Post.

Great content will get you in the door. But you also need BIG, beautiful images to make sure your article stands out. This is especially true since your featured image will be shown each time someone shares your article on sites like Facebook, Google Plus and Pinterest.

We are living in a world of Rich Media. Images. Video. Animated Gifs. Infographics. And Slideshare Presentations.

Bedazzle your content!

Resources:

53+ Free Image Sources For Your Blog and Social Media Posts

Learn how to create great photos in Canva!

 

6. Make sure your blog has social sharing buttons on EVERY post.

Sharing buttons make content 7 times more likely to spread.

Make it easy for your readers to share your content.

There are a number of WordPress plugins that make this super easy. My favorites include Digg Digg, Easy Social Share Buttons, and the sharing module inside Jetpack.

Social Media Syndication

Social Media has become one of the main traffic sources for the majority of blogs online. Here at BuzzBlogger.com – Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus drive over half of our traffic.

If you’re creating ANY kind of content online, you need to be engaging on social media.

It’s one of the best ways to spread your content around the blogosphere.

Like dropping a pebble in the water, the ripples can spread far beyond your own tribe.

7. Share your blog post on Twitter.

Twitter is a hot spot for sharing and spreading great content. It’s one of the first places that we share our latest blog posts. But there are also some cool tips and tricks you can use to maximize the traffic and exposure of your tweets.

Quick Tips:

  • First, include a great image with your tweet. Which allows you to immediately stand out in the Twitter feed. Recommend Image Size: 1024px x 512px(You’ll need a minimum of 440px x 220px for your image to appear expanded.)
  • Also be sure to ask for retweets in your post. Salesforce found that tweets that ask followers to “Retweet” receive 12x more retweets than those that do not. Use sparingly. But sprinkle it in here and there to maximize your reshares 🙂

8. Schedule 5-7 additional tweets to go throughout the week.


You can automate this using Buffer, one of my favorite social media tools.

One of the most prolific social media giants online, Guy Kawasaki, retweets his content four times (8-hours apart).

This allows you to reach more of your audience and hit multiple time zones.

But be sure to use different headlines and hooks for each tweet.

Resources:

How to Test Blog Post Titles with Twitter
17 Twitter Marketing Tips from the Pros

9. Optimize your hashtags with RiteTag.com.

Simply enter your tweet and RiteTag helps you choose the best hashtags for maximum traffic and exposure.

10. Share your blog post on Facebook.

Facebook is our top social media traffic referral. And although many people are claiming that the “sky is falling” from decreased organic reach in the News Feed.

The fact of the matter is… regardless of which social media platform you’re using, you’re never going to get 100% of your followers to see ALL of your content.

That being said, Facebook is STILL one of the best places to promote and share your content.

And it’s at the top of our list 🙂

To get the most out of your Facebook post, be sure to include a BIG, eye-catching image. The recommended image size is 1200px x 628px. This ensures that your image shows up nice and clear in the News Feed using the most possible virtual real estate.

How to Improve Your Facebook News Feed Performance

11. Post to any relevant Facebook Groups.

If you’re active in some related Facebook groups, you can share your latest blog post with the group. Just remember to do it sparingly. And above all, make sure you’re providing VALUE to the group FIRST before you share any of your own content.

12. Share your blog post on Google Plus.

I personally love Google Plus. Largely because of the interesting, intelligent conversations that take place there every day.

And it’s also one of our highest traffic referrals.

But should you be on Google Plus?

(Google Plus can send a LOT of traffic. But that’s only IF your target market hangs out on Google Plus. Where you spend your efforts should be directly related to WHERE your target market hangs out online. Is your audience on Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? Instagram?

Find out where YOUR community hangs out and focus your efforts there.)

You do NOT need to be everywhere. You need to be where YOUR market hangs out.

A lot of people get drawn into thinking they have to be on EVERY social media platform. They end up getting spread too thin and effective on NONE of them.

Resources:

A Complete Guide to Google Plus Marketing

10 Smart Tips to Leverage Google+ for Increased Web Traffic

How to Schedule Google Plus Posts

13. Share your blog post with 3-5 Google Plus Communities.

Google Plus Communities are the ‘secret sauce’ inside Google Plus.

They’re basically large groups of people based around common interests. Kind of like mini-forums.

First, start engaging with 5-10 related communities. By this I mean joining in on the conversation. Adding value. Voting up OTHER people’s content.

Like any social media platform – you need to provide VALUE first.

Engage first.

Then, whenever you have a really good blog post that you’d like to share – simply post a link to your favorite 5-10 related communities.

Then sit back and watch the traffic roll in 🙂

That’s the beauty of this particular strategy. You don’t need thousands of followers to tap into existing traffic.

Resources:

How to Post on Google Plus and Get Results – One of my favorite posts!
A Complete Guide to Google Plus Communities
29 Essential Tips from the Top Google Plus Geeks

14. Share your article on LinkedIn.


Be sure to share your blog post on your LinkedIn page. Include an optimized image if possible.

LinkedIn is the perfect platform for content related to productivity, careers, marketing, leadership, or success. You can browse some of the most popular topics on LinkedIn Today.

Resources:

How to Benefit From the LinkedIn Publishing Platform
Jeff Bullas Case Study on the LinkedIn Publishing Platform

15. Share your blog post in related LinkedIn Groups.

LinkedIn Groups are kind of like Google Plus Communities. They’re mini-forums centered around a specific topic. Plus, there are a LOT of interesting conversations going on in these groups.

Find related groups within your industry and start engaging! Comment on other people’s posts. Add value. And whenever you have a great new blog post, you can start a conversation and share it in a few of your favorite LinkedIn Groups.

Here are a few of my favorites…

B2B Content Marketers: 7,097 Members
Content Marketing Group: 9,652 Members
Social Media – 3,943,747 followers
Digital Marketing – Members: 620,113

You can also use groups to promote the content you publish directly on LinkedIn using the LinkedIn Publishing Platform.

16. Send out a LinkedIn Announcement if you have your own LinkedIn Group.

If you are a group manager, LinkedIn allows you to send up to one group announcement per week to your members. This announcement will get sent directly to their inbox and posted as a featured discussion within the group.

You could even do a weekly roundup each week of the best content from around the web.

Sending you extra traffic to your own posts and providing your readers with curated links on their favorite topic.

17. Share your blog post on Pinterest.


Your image is KEY here. Be sure to use a BIG, beautiful image with the title text in the image itself.
Images with text get more clicks because it lets the reader know that there’s more to see.

Recommended Image Size: 736px wide x 1128 px high

This size stands out nicely in the stream of pins. And it looks great on mobile screens as well.

Resources:

How to Drive Traffic with Pinterest

18. Share your blog post on Pinterest Group Boards.

Pinterest can send you a LOT of traffic.

But… it can be tough to get that first bit of momentum going.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution.

Pinterest group boards!

Pinterest group boards are very similar to regular Pinterest boards. With ONE very important difference. In addition to the board creator, OTHER people are also allowed to pin.

So it’s a collaborative board.

This allows you to get in front of a pre-built audience without doing months of hard work building your own following. Using Pinterest Group boards, you can quickly build your following, increase your repins, and grow your blog traffic.

But first you must be accepted as a contributor.

The instructions for becoming a board contributor are usually in the description.

Once you’ve been accepted, start contributing value to the group board.

Pin some good content. OTHER people’s content. Comment on other people’s pins. Engage with the community. Become a resource.

Then whenever you have a really good blog post to share, you will have earned the opportunity to pin it in the group board.

And they will happily pass it along 🙂

If you’re looking for popular group boards within your topic, my favorite resource is PinGroupie.com.

19. Optimize Your Open Graph Data.

Make sure your posts look great when shared on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Use the NextGEN Facebook WordPress plugin to optimize your blog post for social media sharing. This plugin allows you to customize your Open Graph data, Setup Pinterest Rich Pins, Twitters Cards, and more.

This ensures that when someone clicks on the retweet, like, or pin it button on your post. It will share the proper title, image, and description that YOU want to be shared.

Social Media Tips & Tricks

20. Find the best time to promote your content.

Optimize your social sharing using tools like Timing Plus and Tweriod.

Here’s a Scientific Guide to Posting Tweets, Facebook Posts, Emails, and Blog
Posts at the Best Time.

21. Pin your blog post to the top of your Facebook Wall.

Anytime you have a special blog post or promotion, be sure to “Pin” it to the top of your Facebook Wall.

22. You can do the same thing on Twitter.

Pin your latest blog post to the top of your Twitter Wall.

23. When you mention someone in your post, also be sure to @ mention them in your tweet.

This is one of the most effective strategies we’ve found for promoting our blog posts.

Be sure to link out to at least 25 well-known bloggers in your industry. I like to link to specific articles that provide extra value for the reader. That way whenever your blog post goes live, you can send them a quick email to let them know they’ve been featured.

Plus, you can also @ mention them in your tweets.

Pretty cool!

And a great way to meet new bloggers 🙂

24. Use popular hashtags in your tweets.

This should be used sparingly. But it can be a great way to get additional exposure on sites like Twitter and Google Plus. You can use RiteTag.com to help choose the best hashtags for your content.

25. Setup Twitter Cards for Your Blog.

Twitter Cards give you expanded options beyond what you get with an ordinary tweet.

It’s like a tweet with superpowers 🙂

You get 70 additional characters for the title, and 200 additional characters for your description. You can also use larger images.

But… it gets even cooler.

Twitter cards also allow you to capture email addresses (directly from the Twitter feed!)

The lead generation card allows your readers to share their Twitter email address with a single click.

Pretty cool!

Here’s an example…

Resources:

100+ Bite-Sized Tips To Get You More Social Shares (And Traffic)
The Complete Guide to Twitter Cards
Twitter Cards for Blogs: How to Set Them Up

26. Tag influencers in your Google Plus Post. (They will be notified.)

Google will instantly notify users when they’ve been tagged in a post. So be sure to ‘tag’ all the bloggers that you’ve linked to in your article. They will get a notification, come check out your articles, and many of them will then re-share it.

It’s way more tempting to share stuff that we’ve been featured in 🙂

27. Place links in the middle of your tweet.

Research has shown that links placed about 25% of the way through a tweet receive much higher clickthrough rates thank links placed at the end of a tweet.

28. Include a retweet link in your emails.

You can include a retweet link directly in your email so that your subscribers can easily share your article with just one click. You can do this using a cool tool called ClickToTweet.com.

Here’s a quick tutorial.

29. Include Click to Tweet Boxes in your blog post.

This is one of the easiest ways to increase the number of retweets you get on any article. Plus, they’re a lot of fun!

You can include 2-3 retweet boxes per article. Simply pull out the best quotes from your content and allow your readers to retweet those quotes with ‘one-click’ via a Click to Tweet box.

You can also do this using plain text as well.

30. Facebook Post Swaps.

Here’s a fun twist on the traditional ad swaps. You can partner with related bloggers and help share each other’s content. You share their content via a Facebook post in exchange for them promoting your content to their Facebook audience. It’s a win-win. And it’s a lot of fun!

31. Tweet Swaps.

Same idea here. You can partner with other bloggers to exchange tweets. This helps both of you to reach a new, extended audience.

32. Thank everyone who shares your content. (Because they’ll do it again.)

It’s a simple thing. But saying thank-you goes a LONG way.

You can find out the top influencers who have shared your post using free tools like Topsy and BuzzSumo.

Niche Social Bookmarking Sites

33. Submit your post to BlogEngage.com (Business)

34. Submit your post to BizSugar.com (Business)

35. Submit your post to Blokube.com (Blogging)

36. Submit your post to Kingged.com (Internet Marketing)

37. Submit your post to Inbound.org (Business)

38. Submit your post to GrowthHackers.com (Business & Growth Hacking)

39. Submit your post to Hacker News (Startups, Programming, Technology)

40. Submit your post to Dzone.com (Programming & Website Development)

41. Submit your post to Sharebloc.com (Business)

42. Submit your post to Filmwatch.com (Films)

43. Submit your post to N4G.com (Gaming)

44. Submit your post to Techspy.com (Technology)

45. Submit your post to 11×2.com (Sport)

46. Submit your post to DesignFloat.com (Graphic Design)

47. Submit your post to TheWebBlend.com (Web Design, Programming, WordPress, & Photography)

48. Submit your post to Care2.com. (Green Lifestyle)

49. Submit your post to Designm.ag (Design News)

50. Submit your post to InstantShift.com (WordPress & Design)

Social Sharing Communities

51. Share on JustRetweet.

This is my go-to site for getting our first 25-30 social shares.

JustRetweet is a social sharing community where members work together to promote each others content. You get credits for retweeting or liking other people’s blog posts. With those credits, you can submit your own content and get retweets, Facebook likes, and Google Plus One votes for your own content.

But you can also just pay for credits. This is what I personally do because it saves me a ton of time. Plus, it’s super affordable. You can buy 10,000 credits for $35. Or… if you just want to dip your toe in the water, you can buy 2,000 credits for just $10 bucks.

This is by far one of my favorite ways to get that first initial boost of traffic and social shares.

52. Share your content on ViralContentBuzz.

This is another social sharing community where you can earn credits and submit your own content for increased social shares.

ViralContentBuzz makes it easy to get more social shares on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and StumbleUpon.

53. Share your blog post on Triberr.

Triberr is another one of my favorite social sharing communities. It’s essentially is a community of bloggers who read and share each others content. Kind of like a huge blogging alliance.

But like all social platforms, you need to take time to engage and interact with the community first. Give first. Provide massive value and Triberr can send you hundreds of highly targeted visitors every week.

 

 

54. Submit your blog post to related Scoop.it pages.

Scoop.it is a content curation platform that allows users to create an online digital newspaper. Basically a curated list of content around their favorite topic – created in an elegant, magazine-style format.

Best of all though… content curators are always looking for great content to share.

And scoop.it makes it easy to recommend your latest blog post.

First you’ll need to sign up for an account on Scoop.it.

Then find a popular Scoop.it page around your topic. (You can use the search box to find hundreds of related pages.)

Then simply hit the ‘Suggest’ link at the top of ANY Scoop.it page.

If you’ve created some truly GREAT content, the creator is likely to share it.

And send some traffic your way 🙂

55. Submit your blog post to related Paper.li pages.

Paper.li is an online newspaper similar to Scoop.it.

They allow content curators to curate their favorite articles, photos, and videos all on one page.

You can search for related papers on their Newsstand.

They even have collaborative papers! (Kind of like Pinterest Group boards where multiple people can contribute content.)

Paper.li doesn’t have a ‘Suggestion’ form like Scoop.it. But you can find contact information for most of the curators on their profile page.

So when you have something worth sharing, I recommend emailing at least 10 of the top Paper.li curators.

Are you creating great content on a weekly basis?

If so, you can get hundreds of new visitors per week from content aggregators.

56. Submit your site to sites like AllTop.com, Affposts.com, AffBuzz.com, and AffDaily.com.

These are content aggregators that pull in the best content from around the web.

AllTop.com is perfect for ANY blogger because they have sections for almost every topic under the sun.

Simply find a relevant category and submit your blog at http://alltop.com/submission/

Or – if you have a site related to affiliate marketing, SEO, or blogging then you can get hundreds of new weekly visitors from sites like BloggerScope.com, Affposts.com, AffBuzz.com, and AffDaily.com.

Paid Content Promotion

Native advertising is going mainstream in 2015.

Paying a little bit to promote your content is like throwing gasoline on the fire.

You can ramp up your results quickly using Twitter, Ads, Facebook Ads, Promoted Pins,
Reddit Ads, and StumbleUpon Paid Discovery.

Let’s look at each in a bit more detail…

57. Promote your blog post using Twitter Ads.

Twitter allows you to promote your content directly inside the Twitter News feed.

You can target your ad to be shown to the followers of specific accounts.
So for example, I can show my tweet ONLY to people who follow Pat Flynn,
Frank Kern, Amy Porterfield, and Michael Hyatt.

I can also target by location, age, and gender.

This allows you to get your content in front of some highly targeted traffic.

They also make it super easy to split-test 3-4 tweets to see which one
performs best.

Another really cool feature that I LOVE about the Twitter Advertising platform
is they will actually tell you how all of your different targets are performing.

So if I’m targeting followers of @patflynn, @AmyPorterfield, and @MichaelHyatt,
Twitter will tell me the conversion rate for EACH individual handle.

So now I can tweak my ads for even better performance.

I would do cartwheels around the room if Facebook implemented this feature 🙂

Plus, Twitter also has the added benefit of potentially having a Tweet go viral.

If you’re just getting started with paid advertising, Twitter makes it super easy to dip your toe in. It’s like turning a water spout on your traffic.

Resources:

Case Study: How I got 1000+ clicks for $25 on a Twitter Ad.

[Case Study] – How We Got 198% ROI Using Twitter Advertising

How I got a click-through rate of 16% on Twitter Ads

 

58. Promote Your Blog Post Using a Facebook Ad.

Facebook offers some of the most targeted traffic online.

You can target moms who love scrapbooking, foodies in Virginia, or photographers over 40.

If you want to target males in their early 30’s who work for Microsoft, you can do that as well.

On Facebook, the sky is the limit.

If you have great content, it deserves an audience.

And Facebook ads are one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to do that.

Resources:

How to Use Facebook Ads to Promote Your Blog Content
What’s Working NOW in Facebook Advertising – A REALLY good video with FB Ad Expert Curt Maly.

7 Lessons Learned from 567 Facebook Ad Campaigns in One Year

– Bookmark It!

Why Every Business Should Spend at Least $1 per Day on Facebook Ads

 

59. Promote Your Blog Post Using LinkedIn Sponsored Updates.

LinkedIn allows you to reach the world’s professionals directly inside their news feed.

You can share and amplify your content via Sponsored Updates. As long as you’ve created great content, your blog post will start to spread naturally within the LinkedIn network.

LinkedIn Ads are definitely a bit pricier than the other networks. But if you’re in the B2B market, it’s a great source of VERY high-quality traffic.

60. Create a StumbleUpon Ad and Promote Your Content for 10 Cents a Click.

stumleupon

I’ve had good luck with StumbleUpon ads.

Where you can drive some huge traffic for just 10 cents per click.

And the cool thing about StumbleUpon is that it can also create a LOT of viral traffic as well. If the StumbleUpon community likes your content and continues to “stumble” it, then your content starts showing up organically on StumbleUpon.

So you can pay $25 on paid Stumbles and if you get a lot of up votes and your content gains momentum, you can get hundreds (and often thousands) of additional FREE visitors.

This is our goal whenever we create paid campaigns on StumbleUpon.

Plus, the cool part about StumbleUpon is that they often send traffic spikes to your website LONG after the initial campaigns.

We’ve used this more for our lifestyle blogs than for the IM market.

But we’ll be testing both in 2015.

61. Promote Your Content with Reddit Ads. (Untapped)

Reddit is a bit more “under-the-radar” than the other platforms, but it has a pretty cool self-serve advertising platform that’s surprisingly affordable.

You can advertise on almost any Sub-Reddit with a sponsored link. Your ad appears at the top of the page with your headline and a small image. Reddit has a flat-rate fee of $0.75 CPM for self-serve advertising. (75 cents per 1,000 views)

If you create a compelling ad and choose good targeting options Reddit can be an excellent place to promote your content and build your “retargeting pool”.

Quick Tip: Tell a story in the headline of your Reddit Ad.

Resources:

How to Make Your First $1,000 with Reddit Ads

The Ultimate Guide to Advertising on Reddit

The Advertiser’s Guide to Surviving Reddit

 

62. Promote Your Best Content with a Promoted Pin.

If you have a blog about fitness, fashion, weddings, home decor, gardening, crafts, homeschooling, or photography, then you MUST be on Pinterest.

You can also pay to amplify your content using “Promoted Pins”.

You can use promoted pins to increase your traffic and get more repins. If your pin gets a lot of organic engagement and repins, you’ll also end up getting a lot of free traffic as well.

That’s one of the biggest benefits of promoting your content on the top social media platforms. If your content gets a lot of likes, repins, and tweets, then momentum starts to take over. You can spark the fire with $25 worth of advertising and then let the organic side do it’s magic.

Resources:

How to Use Pinterest Promoted Pins

63. Amplify your content through sites like Outbrain, nRelate, Taboola, and Zemanta.

These are content discovery networks that feature your articles on sites like CNN.com, Forbes, ESPN and the New York Post. You select a daily budget. Max CPC. And you only pay when someone clicks on your article.

Plus, it’s super easy to get started. All you have to do is submit your RSS feed or upload a list of your URL’s.

Another excellent way to extend the reach of your content.

blogger outreach

64. Send a Personalized Email to 100 Bloggers Within Your Industry.

(This is THE most effective strategy we use for blog promotion – outside of paid advertising.)

In fact, if you ONLY used just this one strategy, you could still generate 90% of the results.

We’ve used blogger outreach to generate 10,000+ visitors to a single blog post.

Here’s our formula…

If you have a valuable piece of content that you want shared around the blogosphere, the very best thing you can do is to contact 100-200 related bloggers.

You can find related bloggers using sites like:

Topsy.com
BuzzSumo.com
Alltop.com
WeFollow.com
Twellow.com
CircleCount.com

Create a list of 100 influencer’s in your market.

You can do this within Excel or using a more sophisticated program like BuzzStream.

After you’ve built your list you’ll need to send a personalized message to each blogger.

This works out even better if you’ve included a link to their website in the article itself.

Here’s a sample email…

Subject Line: I Love Pat Flynn! (and your latest podcast 🙂

Hey Pat!

Just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know
how much I enjoyed your latest podcast with Neil Patel.

ROCKIN!

Shared it on Facebook and encouraged all of my readers
to listen in as well.

Also wanted to let you know I’ve included SmartPassiveIncome.com
in our latest blog post at:

http://mytrafficmentor.com/23-steps-to-100000-visitors/

Would love to know what you think.

Thanks so much for all that you do!

Cheers,

Kim

Resources:

(Step-By-Step) How to Find the Top Influencers
Blogger Outreach: How to Get Influencers to Promote Your Content for Free
23 Influencers Share How To Get On The Radar Of Influential People

barebones seo

I believe in Barebones SEO.

That means that my primary focus is on creating GREAT content.

That’s what Google wants most.

But there are also a few key things you should be doing to optimize your site (and your pages) in such a way that Google is more likely to reward you with traffic and high rankings.

65. Keyword Optimize Your Post.

One of the most important things you can do to optimize your blog post is to use a keyword-rich title.

Now, keep in mind here I am NOT talking about keyword stuffing.

I’m talking about making sure you have a title that includes the main keyword phrase that you’d like to rank for. Wrapped in an irresistible headline.

Here are a few examples…

The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing
100+ Content Marketing Tools
51 Bite-Sized Tips for Promoting Your Blog

I personally like to make sure that the main keyword phrase gets at least 1,000 searches per month in Google. I have a few other criteria as well but unfortunately that will have to wait for another article 🙂

If you’re looking for a few keyword research tools, my #1 recommendation is Long Tail Pro.

I also like to use SEMRush.com to quickly find the search volume for a specific keyword.

And if you’re looking for some long tail keywords, definitely check out Keywordtool.io.

66. Include a Related Video or Slideshare Presentation INSIDE Your Blog Post.

It’s no mystery that Google is looking for high-quality content.

One of the ways they measure quality is by how long someone stays on your website.

And one of the best ways to keep people on your site longer is to include a video inside your content. People simply can’t resist clicking that little “Play” button.

Plus, you’re also providing MORE value to your readers. And don’t worry if you don’t have your own video – there are 1,000’s of high-quality videos you can choose from on YouTube. Simply find one that will add value to your article and grab the embed code.

67. Optimize Your Internal Link Structure.

Although Google’s algorithm has changed drastically over the years, high-quality backlinks are still important. But many people don’t realize that the INTERNAL link structure within your own website is also very important.

You’ll notice that sites like Wikipedia and Amazon.com dominate the search engines. Often times it seems that they come up for nearly every keyword. But you’ll also notice that they have a MASSIVE internal link structure. Especially Wikipedia. Every page on their site has 50+ links to other RELATED pages within Wikipedia.

This has two benefits. One, it keeps people on your site longer. And two, this massive internal web increases the link juice to each page on your blog, giving you a bump in the search engines.

So go through your website and find related phrases INSIDE your content where you can link to OTHER blog posts within your own website. I recommend 5-10 internal (contextual) links per page.

68. Link to Related Articles at the END of Each Blog Post.

You can do this quite easily using a WordPress plugin like YARPP or Related Posts by Zemanta.

This is an easy way to keep people on your site longer AND provide extra value.

69. Make Sure Your Site Runs Fast.

Matt Cutts has made it clear that site speed is a factor that Google uses in their algorithm.

Their goal is to create the best possible user experience. And if your site loads slowly and they bounce back to the search results, they look at that as a sign of low-quality.

So be sure that your site loads quickly!

If you’re using WordPress (which I hope you are 🙂 you can use a plugin like W3 Total Cache to dramatically speed up your load times.

Also make sure that you optimize all of your images. Photos can really slow down your load times. But you can easily reduce the file size of any image using a tool like Kraken.io. They have a WordPress plugin as well.

You can also use a content delivery network like Max CDN.

Those 3 simple things will dramatically speed up your load times, improve your visitors experience, and possibly even increase your Google search rankings!

Resources:

15 Easy Ways to Speed Up Your WordPress Blog

70. Put relevant keywords in your image “Alt” tags.

Don’t forget your images can be searched too! So be sure to put relevant keyword phrases in your image alt tags. It also helps to put one in the filename. This will improve your on-page SEO but it can also increase your traffic from Google’s image search as well.

Recycling Your Content

71. Create An Audio Version of Your Blog Post.

Create an audio version of your blog post and distribute it through sites like SoundCloud, iTunes, and Stitcher Radio. You can record your blog post using free software like Audacity. Or you can simply record directly on Soundcloud. This gives your audience multiple ways to consume your content. Plus, it exposes your content to a new audience.

Resources:

How to Start a Podcast – Pat Flynn’s Complete Guide

72. Turn your article into a PowerPoint Presentation.

Turn your article into an engaging PowerPoint Presentation with a slide for each main point in the article. Then share and syndicate on sites like SlideShare.net.

(Quick Tip: Be sure to include a link back to your blog post in the description and in the slide deck itself..)

Resources:

Slideshare Traffic Case Study – From 0 to 243,000 Views in 30 Days

73. Convert Your Article into a PDF.

You can convert your article into a PDF using Doc2PDF.net.

Or you can quickly turn any blog post into a PDF using PrintFriendly.com.

Once you’ve done this you can submit your PDF to Document Sharing Sites like Scribd.com, DocStoc.com, and Yudu.com.

Some other popular document sharing sites include:

Slideshare.net
Issuu.com
WePapers.com
Empressr.com
AuthorStream.com
Calameo.com
Edocr.com
PDFCast.org

74. Convert your article into a video.

Video is becoming VERY popular online and it’s a great way to connect with your audience. You can turn any blog post topic into a video and upload it directly to YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

75. Do a Roundup Post.

Another fun way to get more traffic to your best content is to do a roundup post. You can do this at the end of each week (or each month) where you highlight the most popular content from your blog. You can also add some of the best posts from around the web as well. In our business we call it the Friday Golden Nuggets 🙂

This allows you to deliver some great value and drive some extra traffic.

advanced strategies

76. Run a Facebook ad to your OWN followers.

If you have an existing Facebook fan base, this is a great way to increase your blog traffic. Even just $5 or $10 can get your content in front of a LOT more eyeballs.

If you want to get the most out of Facebook, you’re going to have to pay to play. It’s just a different ballgame. But it’s well worth your time when you do it properly.

I recommend spending at least $10 per week to promote your most popular posts.

77. Run a Facebook ad to your email subscribers.

Here’s an easy way to increase your email open rate.

Did you know? You can upload your subscriber list as a ‘Custom Audience’ on Facebook. This allows you to advertise directly to your subscribers. As we all know, open rates have gradually decreased over the years. But you can double your open rates simply by retargeting your subscribers on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

78. Run a Facebook ad to your OWN retargeting pool.

Make sure that you have a retargeting pixel setup on your blog. This allows you to build up a “retargeting pool” of all the people who visit your blog. These are warm prospects. People who have read your content and are familiar with your brand.

Now, anytime you release a new blog post, you can advertise directly to your “retargeting pool” and bring in additional traffic and eyeballs.

Pretty cool!

(Lookout for retargeting to get even bigger in 2015. If you’re not already using retargeting, now is the time to start.)

79. Use Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences to promote content to people similar to your fans.

You can use “Lookalike Audiences” on Facebook to advertise to people similar to your fans. Or you can also create a “Lookalike Audience” that is similar to your subscriber list. There are a LOT of really cool features inside Facebook’s ad platform. Be sure to take advantage of the different options for reaching your target audience.

80. Allow your affiliates to share your blog post.

Here’s a cool idea for you. Allow your affiliates to promote your content. Then each visitor they send to your blog post will be “cookied” under that affiliate. So that if any of their visitors buy from you in the future – THEY get the commission. Win. Win.

81. Setup a retargeting ad on Twitter.

You can use Twitter to advertise directly to people who are on your subscriber list. Simply upload your subscriber list as a csv file and create a custom audience. Or you can also advertise to your retargeting pool. (A.K.A. people who have visited your blog in the last 30 days, 60 days, etc…)

Again… another way to get in front of a warm audience.

82. Use Content Upgrades to maximize lead acquisition from each blog post.

This is the #1 strategy we’ve found for converting blog visitors into subscribes.

It’s called a “Content Upgrade”.

Basically what you do is create a content-specific gift for each individual blog post.

This could be a PDF version of the post. A checklist. Extra video training. Etc…

The key is that your free gift MUST be directly related to the blog post their currently reading.

Next, you’ll include a download button at the top and bottom of the post that allows your reader to opt-in to get their free gift.

The best way to do this is using Leadpages. They have a really cool feature called “Leadboxes” that automates this entire process. So that whenever you click on the download button, a pop-up appears asking for name and email.
LeadPages will also automatically deliver the free gift.

Here’s an example…

Click the button below to see a “Content Upgrade” in action.


Resources:

The Complete Guide to Content Upgrades

How To Boost Conversions by 529% in 45-Minutes

The Content Upgrade: 21 Examples of the Strategy That’s Changing Blogging

83. Make Your Content Stand Out with Animated Gifs.

You can use a free tool like Recordit.co to turn screencast videos into animated gifs. This is a great way to make your content stand out from the millions of other articles that are published on a weekly basis.

bonus tips

84. Submit your blog post to tutorial sites.

Here’s an easy way to get some extra traffic.

Submit your latest blog post to tutorial sites like Tutorialized.com, Pixel2Life.com, Good-Tutorials.com and CraftGawker.com. This won’t apply to every niche, but there are hundreds of them out there!

85. Attach your latest blog post to your email signature.

WiseStamp allows you to create a professional email signature with your photo, your social media profiles, latest blog posts, and any other information you’d like to share.

WiseStamp makes your email signature stand out while promoting your latest content at the same time!

It’s not going to change the world. But it does grow your brand. Makes you look uber professional. And builds your traffic and following over time 🙂

86. Create an Instructographic for your blog post.

This is kind of like an infographic. (But a LOT simpler)

Here’s an example…

https://blog.bufferapp.com/advanced-content-tips-repurposing-republishing-sharing

Basically, it’s a cool graphic that summarizes all the main points in your article.

It can be as simple as a checklist.

And these types of graphics do VERY well on social media.

87. Use Solo Ads to Promote Your Content & Build Your Retargeting Pool.

Buy solo ads to promote your content. This is essentially another form of native advertising. A lot of people don’t think about buying solo ads in other newsletters to promote their content. We often go straight for the squeeze page when we’re paying for solo ads. But this can be a VERY effective strategy especially if you’re using ‘Content Upgrades’ to capture email subscribers. Plus, it also builds your retargeting pool.

Or… if you want to build your list first, you can put your content behind a squeeze page and then deliver the article on the thank-you page. This way your growing your subscriber list, building your retargeting pool, and promoting your latest content.

88. Share your blog post on related forums.

When I first got started online, forums were one of my top traffic sources.

And they’re still a traffic hotspot today as well. Where else can you instantly get your content in front of hundreds of people who are passionately interested in a specific topic?

This is some of the best traffic you can get online. VERY targeted.

Quick Story… When my dad started his business just over a year ago he used forums to drive the majority of his traffic. He’s in the Walking Horse industry. So he takes video at horse shows and training barns. He would then share the video in popular forums. This alone allowed him to get to 1,000 visitors per day in less than a month.

So find out where your target market hangs out online. Find the top forums in your industry and start providing massive value. You can also put your latest blog post in your forum signature file as well.

89. Answer related questions on Quora.

Quora is my favorite Q & A site online.

It’s a great place to get article ideas, hang out with smart people, and drive some extra traffic to your website 🙂

Simply go to Quora.com, search for questions that are related to your latest blog post. And then post answers to those questions (with a link back to your article at the end). The key here is to provide some REALLY good content in your answer. Don’t just copy from your article. But offer additional insights and tips. Make it at least 3-4 paragraphs so it stands out and gets more votes.

Answer 3-4 questions per day and you’ll see a nice bit referral traffic coming your way.

And some very high quality traffic as well. Lots of cool, intelligent people on Quora.

90. Republish your blog post on sites like Medium.com, Business2community, and Quora.com.

One of my favorite bloggers, JamesClear.com, republishes his content on sites like Entrepreneur.com, BusinessInsider.com, Medium.com, Quora, and the Huffington Post.

This multiplies your content exposure many times over.

I generally tend to keep my content on my own website but I think this is an excellent strategy to experiment with. Especially considering how much traffic it’s generating for James!

One thing to keep in mind… in order to direct traffic back to your site you should include multiple links WITHIN your article that point back to specific articles on your own website. You’ll notice James does this a LOT. Imagine how much less traffic he would receive if he only put a link back to his website at the end of the article.

91. Submit your blog post to Link Roundups.

Here’s a cool traffic trick for you…

This one is super simple and can bring you hundreds of extra visitors.

What we’re going to do is submit your blog post to Link Roundups. Also referred to as a “Linky” or “Link Hops”.

Link roundups are basically where bloggers curate their favorite blog posts from around the web. They’re generally published on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

So these are bloggers who are actively looking to promote great content.

And that’s where you come in 🙂

You start by finding Link roundups within your market.

Simply type in the following search queries on Google:

“Link Roundup”
“Weekly Link Roundup”
“Monday Link Roundup”
“Friday Link Roundup”

If you want to find blogs that are specifically related to your market, then you can add a modifier. Something like:

“Link Roundup” + marketing
“Link Roundup” + moms
“Link Roundup” + parenting

You can also use these same queries on sites like Google Plus or Twitter Search.

This will give you a list of related blogs that do weekly link roundups.

Now all you have to do is contact the blog owner and send them a link to your latest blog post.

If you’ve published truly great content, then there’s a very good chance that they will link to you in their weekly link roundup.

It’s super simple and can send you lots of highly-targeted traffic.

Plus, you get a high-quality backlink as well 🙂

 

92. Put your best blog posts into your autoresponder sequence.

Here’s an easy strategy for putting your promotion on autopilot.

Collect your best blog posts and put them into your autoresponder sequence. Use the title as you subject line. Include a short blurb in the email with a link to the article. Now you’ve put your promotion on autopilot. Your best articles will continue to get more and more traffic.

93. Use Snip.ly whenever you share new content across your social media platforms.

Snip.ly allows you to share OTHER people’s content and still easily bring them back to your own site. So for every piece of content you share on Twitter (even if it’s someone else’s article), you’ll have the opportunity to get a new visitor to your latest blog post as well.

Pretty cool tool.

94. Link out to bloggers with large followings.

One of the most effective things you can do (besides writing an EPIC blog post) is to link out to other bloggers WITHIN your post.

Find some of the best articles online that will add value to your blog post. And then sprinkle those links into your post. You can add them as a list of extra resources or simply link specific keywords to related blog posts.

I recommend linking to AT LEAST 20 other influential bloggers.

This gives your reader a boatload of additional value.

And… the people you link to are much more likely to share, retweet, pin, and like your content 🙂

95. Pitch your post to the press!

Keep an eye out for HARO queries that are related to your article. You never know… there might be an opportunity where your article could be uses as a source.

96. Use sites like Topsy and BuzzSumo to find influencers who are sharing content similar to yours.

I LOVE both of these sites. I use them a lot to find hot headlines and blog post ideas.

But they’re also great tools for blogger outreach. Simply find an article that’s related to yours, and Topsy will tell you the top influencers who have retweeted that content. BuzzSumo will do the same.

Use this list for your blogger outreach.

97. Search for related articles on Pinterest.

I like to browse Pinterest for related articles because often times I’ll find new blogs that I can reach out to. If they’re publishing content similar to yours, then that’s a wonderful person to start building a relationship with.

Then whenever you have a great piece of content, send them a quick personalized email to let them know about.

Over time, you’ll build a powerful blogging alliance of people who are happy to share your content.

98. You can do the same on Google Plus.

Search for related articles on Google Plus to find influencers who are sharing similar content as well.

99. Post your social media updates at optimal times.

To get the most possible eyeballs on your content, time your content properly for each network. Here are the best times for posting on each social media network.

100. Email the people who comment on your blog post.

Email your commenters to say “Thank-You” and politely ask them if they could retweet your content. You’ll be surprised how many are happy to do so!

101. Create a Flipboard Magazine.

Flipboard is a hidden gem online. It’s a social media content aggregation service with
over 85 million users!

In fact, if you publish good content on a regular basis, you may have already seen some
referral traffic coming from FlipBoard.

But I would encourage you to create your own FlipBoard magazine where you can curate
content and build your following. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can build your
followers on FlipBoard. Especially if you’re engaging daily and curating great content.

This gives you an additional platform to syndicate your content, drive traffic, and
establish yourself as a thought leader.

Plus… it’s just a lot of fun 🙂

Resources:

Amplify Your Marketing with Flipboard Magazines


Categories
Online Blogg Listings

Grow Your Search Traffic: 9 Types of Blog Posts Proven to Generate Organic Visitors

Grow Your Search Traffic: 9 Types of Blog Posts Proven to Generate Organic Visitors

Written by Neil Patel on October 6, 2015

web traffic

It’s no longer a surprise that 21% of B2B content marketers struggle to produce engaging content. What’s more, 7% of these marketers are having difficulty creating a variety of content.

All content is not created equal. Some content will make your search traffic skyrocket and improve your personal brand significantly.

Content is like a meal. No one eats the same kind of meal over and over and remains healthy, smart, and effective. In the same vein, if you continually write and publish the same type of content, your readers and clients may switch over to another brand or blog.

According to Corbett Barr,

If you’re working to build a loyal audience, you can’t afford to waste time writing mediocre posts.

The smart strategy is to understand your target audience, get to know what questions keep them awake at night, and take decisive action to provide them with the right answers.

With the right content, you can grow your search traffic. You don’t need 100,000 readers each month to become successful or get noticed.

Most bloggers can make a living online with 10,000+ monthly readers, provided that they meet the readers’ needs and the readers are happy to pay to learn from them. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C content marketer, blogging consistently and producing the right type of content will not only grow your search traffic, but will solidly establish your brand, too.

It’s one thing to drive organic visitors to your blog, and another thing entirely to engage and convert visitors into leads and customers.

When you decide to use other channels such as Google AdWords or Facebook PPC, you should be ready to spend some money. But when you embrace blogging with passion, you’ll spend less and get more targeted leads and customers.

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When you’re creating amazing content that people want to share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other communities, search engines will start to reward you soon with quality traffic.

Download this printable cheat sheet of 9 types of blog posts proven to generate organic visitors.

But what types of content should you create if you want to drive social engagement and organic leads? Below I’ve listed 9 types of blog posts that are proven to grow your search traffic faster

1.      Infographics

Infographics are extremely popular. A recent study from Unbounce revealed that in just 2 years, searches for infographics increased 800%. And you can use them to make your blog posts top notch, while building an active community.

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We live in an age of “big data,” which means there’s much you can learn from data – more than ever before. When it comes to digital marketing, using visuals will make your brand stand out.

According to Content Cloud, “People remember 80% of what they see and do, compared with just 20% of what they read.”

One study found that infographics were liked and shared on social media up to 3X more often than other types of content. They can also go viral within a short time.

This is how Piktochart explains Infographics:

Infographics [are] like Reddit’s tl;dr – but better.

Tl;dr which means “too long; didn’t read”, is widely used by Redditors on posts or comments which are long and wordy. This abbreviation will appear at the end of it with a single sentence to summarise the entire post. So if it takes too long to read a wall of text, just skip to the bottom for the tl;dr.

Infographic is a much better version of tl;dr. In fact, it is the fun and engaging version people actually read. Content is summarized with graphical representations, keywords, and concise data. This makes infographics easy to consume and fun to share.

It’s name sums it up: info + graphics = infographics.

People love to learn from an infographic, and even better, many of them will feel obliged to share it. Why?

It’s because the infographic is a visual marketing tool. As human beings, 90% of the information that our brains process are visual. Plus, 40% of people will respond better to visual information than to plain text. And infographic production increases by 1% every minute.

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Why should you create more infographics for your audience? Well, there are huge benefits. Jeff Bullas listed some of them:

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A few years ago when I discovered the branding potentials of infographics and started creating them, my organic traffic increased for both QuickSprout and KISSmetrics. It may not bring in overnight organic results for you, but keep at it.

For example, I noticed that whenever I publish an infographic on my blog, it’ll receive 22.6% less traffic in the first 90 days than regular blog posts. But over the course of 12 months, infographics receive 35.1% more traffic.

So how do you create infographics? Well, if you want a professional design that’s quite different from what you’ll get when you use free infographic design software, you should consider using Visual.ly. It’s a great. But it’s not cheap.

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Better yet, you can find and hire a professional infographic designer at Dribbble.com.

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I’ve also written a couple of tutorials for creating infographics. See the guides below:

Infographics aren’t blog posts. So if you’re going to use this strategy, you’ve got to integrate the infographic into a blog post. That way, Google will index the text on the page, and in turn drive organic traffic to your infographic.

Or you could break up your infographic into smaller pieces and use each to create a different and useful paragraph for your blog post.

Infographics can be expensive, so use them to generate leads and build relationships with your readers. Don’t just drive traffic to the page and let them go, just like that. You’ll be wasting a lot of money.

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2.      Unbiased Book Reviews

You can use a book review to attract clients and increase revenue in your business, because millions of people love to read books.

According to Pew Internet, “as of January 2014, about 76% of American adults ages 18+ said that they read at least one book in the past year.”

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A book review is a fun and simple way of discussing a book and adding your own take. The objective is to help readers make smart decisions, instead of wasting money on books that don’t offer real value.

Successful entrepreneurs and bloggers know the value that goes into an unbiased book review. It’s one quick way to tell clients and potential investors that you’re ready to work with them. Noah Kagan, founder of AppSumo and SumoMe, writes book reviews regularly. Take a look at his most recent:

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Did you know that 77% of people take time to read product reviews before they make an online purchase? They do that because they want to make sure the product is good – no one wants to waste their hard-earned money.

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Before we discuss what goes into an objective book review, let me ask you one question: What steps do you take before you choose a particular book to read? I’m willing to bet that you base your choices on:

  • The opinions of your friends
  • An endorsement from an expert or someone you respect
  • A book review published in a popular or credible source
  • A bestseller list
  • A new book from a bestselling author
  • Books that were picked out by editors

Other book lovers follow a similar pattern before purchasing a particular book.

If you’re an author, you know that book reviews are important. You know that without them, your book sales will languish. Consumers rely on reviews from other consumers before taking further action.

You could ask your close friends and family write reviews for your book. However, FTC regulations require that relationships between the reviewer and the author be disclosed as part of the review.

According to a new survey by Dimensional Research, “a whopping 90% of respondents who have read online reviews say that positive reviews influenced their buying decisions, while 86% of respondents’ buying decisions were influenced by negative reviews.

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This tells you that both positive and negative reviews are important when you’re writing a review. If you’re stuck and don’t know what to write about in your next blog post, you should seriously consider reviewing a book.

According to Trish Milburn, Award-Winning Author of Romance, Young and Women’s Fiction,

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, authors look for good opportunities to get the word out about their books.

So writing a review of someone else’s book in your niche is an excellent opportunity to build industry relationships.

Book reviews are also great marketing tools. Here are a few reasons why that’s true:

i).  Word of mouth: It’s easier to get word of mouth when people perceive that your content is valuable. By giving people a sneak peak inside another author’s book, you’re opening up a new channel where more people will come to your site or store, trust your message, and eventually become customers.

ii).  Social currency: This currency is a simple theory which states that people will do what they see other people do. When you write a book review on your blog or get others to write a review on your book at Amazon, more people will be inspired to buy it.

iii).  Trump the competition: While many bloggers are authors and give tips on getting a book published, you’ll stand out if you write an unbiased product review.

You can also use unbiased book reviews to find and attract a new audience from scratch.

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Torre DeRoche, a self-published author and blogger through diligent marketing and book reviews on her blog Fearfuladventurer.com negotiated a six-figure traditional book deal. After she published her book, Love with a Chance of Drowning, Torre has taken the international publishing world by storm.

Before publishing his bestselling book, The Four-Hour Chef, Tim Ferriss said that he polled 400,000+ followers on Twitter and Facebook with questions such as “what are your favorite 2 – 3 cookbooks?”

When he discovered that several respondents were choosing a particular title, Tim headed over to Amazon and did 2 things:

First, he identified the titles on the list with an average of 4-star reviews or higher.

Second, he read the “most helpful” critical reviews from those titles, with the goal of getting at least a 3-star rating.

Just like regular blog posts and articles, the headline of a book review must be compelling. So let’s assume that you want to review a book entitled The Audacity of Faith. Here are some of the headline ideas that could work:

The Audacity of Faith: 7 Shocking Truths That You Should Know

Book Review: One Step That Lead to the Publication of The Audacity of Faith

How [Author] Took The Audacity of Faith to the Bestseller List on Amazon

Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Audacity of Faith Book

A book review is one of the blog post types that will drive traffic and conversions to your site and business, but you’ve got to do it right, and keep some things in mind.

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3.      Thought Leadership/Opinion

In the real world, people connect with other people, not companies. The interest in thought leadership and opinion pieces is trending up. Do you know that Forbes.com now has about 1500 unpaid contributors?

A huge percentage of them are thought leaders in their respective fields. The website publishes 7,000 to 8,000 posts every single month. If your posts don’t drive traffic, you won’t get anywhere on Forbes.

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The truth is that your ideal customers are looking to read content from trusted brands, experts and companies. According to a recent survey by AMCF, 93% of respondents agreed that high-quality thought leadership content improves their opinion of the company.

There’s a lot of competition these days. More content is being created and published today than 5 years ago. Customers are overwhelmed. The information overload is way out of control. Thought leadership is the cure for content overload.

However, just because someone is popular or an expert doesn’t mean that Google will throw organic search visitors to them. You’ve got to do the right thing.

Thought leadership is a type of opinion post that cuts across the noise and delivers truth, practical steps, and an implied guarantee that what you say will produce the desired result.

Who is a thought leader? Let’s allow Google to pull the most accurate answer from its index:

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Therefore, thought leadership is the art of inspiring people through innovative ideas and empowering people with the ability to turn the ideas into a reality and replicate their success.

Bear in mind that this type of blog post is not for everyone. If you’re just starting out as a blogger or content marketer with no experience, you don’t yet have core internet marketing skills, or you haven’t conducted any experiments or studies, you shouldn’t write this kind of content – yet.

Thought leadership opinion should only come from people who have experienced a level of success or failure in their business and now knows what works.

Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, is a thought leader in the SEO world. Most of the ideas and advice that he gives in his Whiteboard Fridays are come from his years of experience, deep knowledge about user behavior, and expertise with search engine algorithms. You can trust his advice, put it to work, and get results.

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Other thought leaders whom you can trust are Brian Clark, Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Eben Pagan, Marie Forleo, Brian Dean, Pat Flynn, Michael Hyatt etc.

To be on the safe side, invest in your knowledge. Take courses to improve your knowledge about SEO, blogging, conversion rate optimization, email list building, branding, and so on.

You can go to Udemy.com or Lynda.com to learn new skills. Also, don’t forget to read some of my advanced guides if you want to master any internet marketing subject.

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Once you’ve built up your experience and improved your skills, you can then write this type of content. By that time, you should have built up a loyal community, and have people who trust your opinion in a given topic or subject.

4.      Third-Party Data-Driven Content

When I started blogging, I was fascinated by Jeremy “ShoeMoney” Schoemaker’s $132,994.97 AdSense check. At the time, a lot of people were eager to know how he did it. He didn’t quite give step-by-step instructions on how to earn a living from AdSense.

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I’m not sure about now, but if you can study Jeremy’s strategies and write a post with any of the headline ideas below, you’ll drive traffic and hopeful sell an ebook related to this.

Case Study: Step-By-Step Tutorial on how ShoeMoney Made $132,994.97 From Google AdSense

How to Make $132,994.97 From Google AdSense Just Like ShoeMoney

In this type of blog post, you leverage other people’s data or experiments in your post. For example, if your friend, partner, or competitors conducted an experiment, you’d simply take their results and create a post around it.

A few months ago, I shared a case study on how Shopify grew its revenue 10x in 3 years. I shared some lessons and tips from what the company management made available. That post was a hit and sent lots of organic traffic to my site, generating over 40 comments and 600+ social shares.

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If you want to leverage third-party data to write your blog posts, you’ve got to be careful where you get the supporting data. Unfortunately, fake data, statistics, and results are all around us on the web.

Instead, get your data from trusted sources. So let’s assume that you want to write a data-driven blog post on conversion rate optimization. Here’s how to get accurate data from reliable sources.

Step one: Go to Conversion Rate Experts. From the navigational menu bars, click the “clients and results” tab.

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Step two: Choose data. There are several client testimonials on the page, so choose the success stories that catch your attention and create a new post out of them.

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Third step: Create compelling headlines. Using this third-party data, you can create the best headlines for your blog posts. Here are examples:

Mobal Case Study: How We Tripled Sales Within 12 Months to $9.1 Million

How TopCashback Nearly Tripled Its Sales Using 3 Simple Steps

But that’s not all. You could easily create a new blog post from my recent article:

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First and foremost, read the post from start to finish. That way, you’ll understand what led to the success that I shared. Some of the fresh headline ideas that you can come up with from the above post are:

How Neil Patel Wrote 614 Blog Posts and Generated Over 700,000 Visitors Monthly

3-Step Plan for Generating 700,000 Blog Readers [A Case Study]

Case Study: How Neil Patel Generated 700,000 Real Visitors Through Blogging

There’s no limit to how far you can go when you’re ready to create useful and engaging content.

Don’t struggle to come up with topics or ideas for your next blog post when you’ve got ideas waiting for you right now. To find more accurate data from tech and marketing companies, you should visit Techcrunch.com and Inc.com regularly.

5.    Product Reviews

The same rules that apply to book reviews also apply here. But an objective product review can go farther, embracing software, services, ideas, or any physical product. Consumers want more reviews before they can trust you.

According to Bright Local, 32% of consumers out of thousands who were surveyed said they read 4 – 6 reviews before they feel confident enough to trust a business or brand.

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The rule of thumb is to be honest and write with clarity. If you’re an affiliate to any worthwhile product and have actually used or tested the product, you’re in the right position to review it.

However, you can get creative about it. Instead of writing a straightforward product review, you could write a tutorial to show your readers and customers how the product works. This is the same strategy that Matthew Woodward uses to generate passive income every month. Take a look at his recent income report:

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In August, John Lee Dumas, founder of Entrepreneuronfire.com, generated over $3000 from a Bluehost product review that he did over a year ago. Take a look:

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Remember that as long as your product review/tutorial is insightful, simple to understand, and applied you’ll drive traffic and increase your revenue. If you’re looking to sell more products, then focus on writing reviews or, better yet, tutorials.

When you write a product review or tutorial, you’ve got to have a mindset of helping others. Forget about the money. If you can teach others what they need to know, they’ll come to trust you.

Spencer Haws, founder of Long Tail Pro, is a smart content marketer. He runs a popular internet marketing blog where he details his failures and successes in business.

When you visit his Long Tail Pro blog, you’ll discover that his content is written with his customers and prospects in mind. He doesn’t push sales on readers. But he’s indirectly promoting his product. Here’s proof:

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6.    How-To Guides

The how-to guide is one of the most popular content types around. It’s easy to write and the perceived value is usually high. There are popular blogs dedicated to “how to” articles and nothing else. A typical example is howtocleanstuff.net:

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How-to headlines were the first thing I learned when I started blogging. The key is to make it in-depth, rich and useful if you want it to generate targeted clients and build your business. Otherwise, it’ll be a waste of time.

There are 6 steps to writing a “how-to” blog post:

a).   Select your topic: Be sure about your topic. If it’s about health, narrow it down to a subset of the health industry. If it’s internet marketing, what exactly is the topic?

Is it email marketing, product creation or building a Facebook page? Choose a narrow topic that you know you can write extensively on. You don’t have to be passionate about it, but you should know it in and out.

b).   Address your audience’s need: What major challenges are your readers going through? Do they need help with setting up a WordPress blog or increasing product sales? Your how-to blog post should address that.

c).   Research: To make sure that you write faster, spend time in research. Get all the facts, data and visuals for your posts.

d).   Write your outline: This is my favorite tip for writing fast. It’s time to think about the major thing that you will write about, then outline them. Place them in the right structure.

e).   Flesh out your draft. Fill in the gaps from your outline, using your research notes. Make sure you’ve hit each specific step in the process you’re writing about.

f).    Edit and publish. Proofread your post and clean it up as much as possible. Better yet, get a friend to look it over. Then publish it. And don’t forget to promote it!

A useful how-to blog post can get retweeted thousands of times on Twitter, and shared all over Facebook.

According to Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger and Rainmaker, these types of articles are some of the most sought after, linked to, and bookmarked content online.

If you want to increase the chances of your blog post going viral, focus on the value. It’s all about benefits. Give value to your readers, ask them to share it, and they will.

Here’s one of the most popular “how to” blog posts with over 1 million social shares:

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One of the most popular blog posts that went viral years ago was “How To Write Epic Shit.” It was written by the one and only Corbett Carr, founder of Thinktraffic.net (now Fizzle.co).

The post generated over 80 comments, more than 2000 inbound links, and thousands of social shares. A few years ago, 80 comments meant real engagement. The post continues to climb the search rankings. In fact, it’s #1 for “write epic post.”

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When creating “how to” headlines for your blog posts, you could omit the “to” and replace it with “I” in order to make the post more like a case study or experiment. For example:

How to Write a 2000-Word Article in 2 Hours

How I Write a 2000-Word Article in 2 Hours

How to Drive 3900+ Organic Visitors to Your New Blog

How I Generated 5608 Organic Visitors to My New Blog

Finally, make sure that your “how to” blog post is fun to read. It has to be interesting, otherwise no one will read it.

7.    List Posts

Top list posts are the most shared and valuable blog post type that I’ve ever seen. In fact, Michael Dunlop generates over 100,000 blog visitors per month with top list posts.

A study by Conductor also revealed that many people prefers list posts and will respond to them better.

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In 2013, 9 out of 10 most popular posts that were published at eConsultancy, a premier UK internet marketing blog, were top list posts. In the same year, 6 out of every 14 posts on Lifehacker were list posts. List posts work so well, because numbers attract reader’s attention.

The reality is that top list posts can naturally catch the search spider’s attention. For example, when you search for any given keyword in Google, you’ll most likely find search results that contain a number and a list:

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However, there’s a downside. Since top list posts are so easy to write, you’ll face a lot of competition. Your list post might not generate any substantial organic traffic, if you fail to carry out due diligence.

So instead of writing about 5 ways to increase conversions, up the number to 17, 25 or 30. For example:

17 Checklists to Attract More Twitter Followers in 30 Days

25 Simple Ways to Increase Homepage Conversions

33 Effective Ways to Get More Email Subscribers Quickly

You’ll observe that I’m using odd numbers more than even in my top list headline ideas above, right? The reason is simple. Recent studies by the folks at Content Marketing Institute revealed that odd numbers perform better than even numbers and can increase your click-through rate by 20%.

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This also explains the secret behind Buzzfeed’s popularity. When you visit the site’s homepage, you’ll see a lot of list posts; they’ve been consistent with it for years. Take a look:

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And on Lifehack.org, 5 out of 6 articles on their homepage have a “top list” style:

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I also practice what I preach. My most recent blog post is a top list type. Take a look:

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You could turn any popular headline into a “top list” post. Or expand a list post to make it more compelling. The choice is yours. But rest assured that whichever route you take, as long as you tie your headline to epic content and stay consistent, you’ll increase your search traffic.

8.    Link-Love Pages & Resources

A resource is a “source of supply, support or aid” from which benefit is produced. It can be readily drawn upon when needed. Who says that you’ve got to write blog posts from scratch all the time?

Do you realize that all the topics that you’ll ever cover have already been written by other bloggers and industry experts?

You can easily curate their content. Best-in-class marketers are striving to create a variety of content, as well as the right mix of content for their readers.

This is why smart marketers curate 25% of their content – in order to meet the demands for high-value information from their customers.

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According to Curata, “76% of marketers use curated content on social media. It’s the most popular way to use this type of content.” Since there’s a huge amount of quality articles, links, videos, podcasts and online courses, you can find, collate and share them in your blog.

For example, Michael Chibuzor, founder of Contentmarketingup.com, recently shared the 10 most-watched TED talks on productivity. He simply captured the video screenshots, linked to the appropriate video on TED’s site and added his opinion about each of the talks.

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As far as Google is concerned, the page above has no duplicate content. But it does have some useful information and a ton of value for his readers.

Brian Dean also has a resource page where he linked to some of the best blog posts on link building:

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Let’s assume that you run a food and nutrition blog, and you’re interested in writing a resource – a page that contains the top 50 food blogs or articles online. To find these articles, just go over to Google and use these search strings:

Food and Nutrition + “Best food to eat”

Top food blogs + popular articles

Healthy foods list + food blog

Here’s a typical search result when I used the first search string:

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When compiling a resource post, you should endeavor to categorize the resources. For example, in the search results above, you can see there are foods that fight fatigue, foods that you should eat if you want your hair to grow, healthy travel diets, superfoods for weight loss, and foods for breakfast. Each of these foods should have its own category.

When you format your resource or post this way, you’ll make it fun to read, and the perceived value will be very high. Remember to open external links in a new tab so that your readers won’t move away from your own page.

Hootsuite, a social media management software company, has one of the best resource libraries out there. It’s epic and contains value for just about any niche or industry. All you’ve got to do is select your industry and the challenge your company or business is going through, and Hootsuite will give you a resource or guide that’ll meet your needs.

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Note: When creating a resource library or link love post, the content can be yours, from competitors, or from other brands. In the digital marketing world, the most popular resource pages were carefully curated, and the appropriate links referenced. You can’t do it all by yourself.

9.    Ebooks, Reports, White Papers

You can use ebooks, reports and whitepapers to grow your search traffic. Most bloggers are not doing this.

Quick Tip: You can use the content of your page, add visuals and data, then publish each chapter as a blog post.

Search engines can crawl and index the content of your ebook, and rank it highly if you do a great job. I know that you must have seen a PDF in Google search results before? Those are actually in the ebook format.

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Ebooks, reports, and whitepapers have become a popular marketing tool. If you’re not using them, then it’s high time you start. According to Pew Internet Center, overall book readership is stable, but ebooks are becoming more popular.

Almost half of readers under 30 read an e-book in the past year. It was found that 87% of e-book readers and 84% of audiobook listeners also read a print book in the past 12 months.

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Many people make a living from e-books and reports. Pat Flynn built authority and became a marketing force to be reckoned with after releasing his first ebook. Another popular book that strengthened his personal brand was Let Go.

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Brian Clark and Darren Rowse built huge email lists by giving away immense value in their reports and ebooks.

The guys at MarketingProfs used whitepapers to position their company as a resource on content marketing. And Nathan Barry generated $12,000 in ebook income in 24 hours.

Remember that if you want to use ebooks and special reports to grow your search traffic, you’ve got to give it away free.

That way, you’ll get a lot of people to share it and link to it. Eventually the ebook will rank well in search. And if you want to successfully redirect users who read your ebook/report, you should add links to your blog or landing page.

Better yet, you could publish each page of your ebook or report as a blog post. Or you could publish the first few chapters, and link to the main book. Either way, make sure that you’re providing immense value – because that’s exactly what your target audience wants.

Conclusion

There’s no longer a one-size-fits-all recipe for creating all your blog posts. Pro bloggers are respected because they’ve made up their minds to create a variety of content for their users.

Don’t be deceived by the flashy and luxurious lifestyle that some bloggers and internet marketing experts display. The truth of the matter is that these people work their asses off. There is no true success without hard work.

When you put in the hard work, you can earn passive income. But before that happens, you’ve got to do more work than anyone at a 9-5 job.

As you continually do that, you’ll double your search traffic, attract clients and retain them as well as improve on your personal brand.

Which of these blog post types have you created before? Which of them generates the most organic traffic to your site?

Categories
Online SEO Listings

How to Get 5,000 Visitors to Your Next Blog Post ~ without Google

How to Get 5,000 Visitors to Your Next Blog Post ~ without Google

by Kim Roach

So, you’ve created an EPIC blog post, hit the publish button, and then waited for the traffic to start pouring in to see your brilliant creation.

Unfortunately, all you heard were crickets. Of course your mom visited the site and said it was AMAZING. She’s your #1 fan 🙂

But she’s also the ONLY fan…

Because you’re missing a critical piece of the blogging puzzle.

It doesn’t matter how great your content is. Without actively promoting your content, your blog is STILL going to be a ghost town.

* Content is not king if nobody can see it. *

So you’ve got to flip the formula on it’s head…

Spend 20% of your time creating epic content. And spend 80% of your
time promoting that content.

I can hear the whiners now…. “But Kim, it took me an entire day to
create that blog post. I don’t have time to now go out and spend hours promoting it.”

If that’s the case – you probably don’t have time to build a successful online business and this article probably isn’t for you.

But… if you want to get 5,000 visitors to your next blog post… (WITHOUT Google) – then grab some coffee and let’s get ROCKIN 🙂

1. Twitter Tribes.

One of the first things I like to do after I publish my content is to ‘seed’ it inside a variety of Twitter Tribes.

One of my favorite Twitter Tribes is called JustRetweet.com.

JustRetweet is a social sharing community that works together
to promote each others content.

Kind of like a ‘you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours.’

But… the cool part is that they have a ton of content that you’ll be proud to share with your tribe.

Plus, they’ve also added support for Facebook likes and Google
Plus One votes.

The site works on a credit based system. As you share other people’s content within the community you earn ‘credits’ that allow you to get shares and retweets on your own content.

You can also buy credits – which are extremely affordable as well.

This is a super simple strategy for getting your first 20-30 retweets
and Facebook likes. Which will immediately kick off your first bit
of momentum.

Two other great Twitter Tribes you can join are Triberr.com and ViralContentBuzz.com.

 

2. Google Plus Communities

Google Plus is here to stay. After many attempts at building a social network to compete with the likes of Facebook and Twitter – it looks like Google has finally hit upon a winner.

And… it’s a great tool for driving hundreds of visitors to your
latest blog post. Regardless of how many followers you have.

That’s the beauty of this particular strategy. All you need to do is setup a good profile on Google Plus. You can then leverage existing audiences on Google Plus via Communities.

Communities are the ‘secret sauce’ inside Google Plus.

These are basically large groups of people based around common interests. They’re kind of like mini-forums.

Plus, it’s one of my favorite ways to find cool and interesting conversations on Google Plus.

You can search for related communities here:

https://plus.google.com/communities

Once you join some related groups – you’ll find out there are
actually a LOT of interesting conversations going on within Google Plus.

In fact, it’s becoming one of my favorite social networks. Plus, it’s a LOT less crowded.

And it should DEFINITELY be part of your content promotion checklist.

First, start engaging with 5-10 related communities. By this I mean
joining in on the conversation. Adding value. Voting up OTHER people’s content.

Like any social media platform – you need to provide VALUE first.

Engage first.

Then, whenever you have a really good blog post that you’d like to
share – simply post a link to your favorite 5-10 related communities.

Then sit back and watch the traffic roll in 🙂

 

3. Email Trumps All.

Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus can be very powerful tools for promoting your content – but your biggest media channel will ALWAYS be your email subscriber list.

We personally use our subscriber list to generate 2,000+ visitors
PER email.

Imagine the power of being able to send that much traffic simply
by pushing the ‘SEND’ button.

Your business should be BUILT on email. Building a community of
raving fans who look forward to your next email.

This is THE #1 asset in your business.

And it allows you to build instant momentum for EVERY blog post.

Additional Resources:

Pat Flynn’s Guide to Email Marketing (Part 1)
Pat Flynn’s Guide to Email Marketing (Part 2)
DropDeadCopy.com – The BEST podcast online about email marketing.

4. Facebook Sponsored Stories (In the News Feed).

Here’s one of my secret sources… If you want to promote your content quickly WITHOUT all the elbow grease, then Facebook Sponsored Stories are going to be your new love affair 🙂

This is one of the best ways to ‘seed’ your content and start gaining virality.

Promote your content using Facebook Sponsored stories in the News Feed.

This has become one of my favorite ways to generate highly targeted traffic on demand.

You simply post a new story on your fan page. (a.k.a your latest blog post)

And then you setup an ad to promote that post.

Using Facebook you can laser-target your audience by choosing exactly which Fan pages you want to target. So you simply choose 3-5 highly related fan pages that your post will be promoted to.

This is the ‘audience’ that will see your post.

But there’s one small tweak you need to make to get the best results. This is the ‘secret sauce’…

What I do is I first create my ad in the traditional Facebook Ad Manager. Then from there I go into what’s called the ‘Power Editor’ and customize the audience so that my story is ONLY shown in the News Feed.

This will give you MANY more visitors for a MUCH lower price.

Facebook is quickly becoming one of the best places to build and grow your business.

 

5. Content Syndication.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my secret spots for a quick injection of traffic. These are social communities (kind of like Digg in the old days) where you can share your content and vote / comment on other people’s content as well.

Here are my Top Picks:

BlogEngage.com
BizSugar.com
Blokube.com
Inbound.org
Kingged.com
DoSplash.com

Other Niche Social Networks where you can Share Your Content…

Care2.com
PFBuzz.com (Personal Finance)
Yakezie
Dogster
Catster
Gentlemint.com – Pinterest for men

But keep in mind the key to getting the most benefit out of any community is getting involved. (a.k.a not being a douche who just comes and drops your link.)

These are amazing communities with awesome people that you can meet. Plus, it’s great for sourcing content that you can share within your social media profiles as well.

Provide massive value to the community – and it will deliver massive value back 🙂

 

6. Content Aggregators.

If you’re publishing great content on a weekly basis – you can get hundreds of extra visitors from sites like AllTop.com, Affposts.com, AffBuzz.com, and AffDaily.com. These are content aggregators that pull in the best content from around the web.

AllTop.com is perfect for ANY blogger because they have sections for almost every topic under the sun.

So whether you blog about pets or parenting – this is a great passive
traffic pipeline you can tap into.

And the cool thing is they’re always looking for new blogs to publish.

Simply find a relevant category and submit your blog at:

http://alltop.com/submission/

Or – if you have a site related to affiliate marketing, SEO, or blogging then you can get hundreds of new weekly visitors from sites like BloggerScope.com, Affposts.com, AffBuzz.com, and AffDaily.com.

7. Scoop.it

Scoop.it is my one-stop shop for getting fresh new traffic to EVERY blog post.

Scoop.it is content curation at it’s best. With thousands of different topics and curators who collect their favorite content from around the web.

And the best part is – you can ‘suggest’ your latest blog post with just a few clicks.

You’ll see a link at the top of each Scoop.it pages that allows you to submit a suggested link. It takes all of 10 seconds to suggest your link.

If the creator of that page decides to share your link, it gets published and any followers of that page also get notified (instant backlink and high-quality traffic).

I recommend submitting your content to at least 20 Scoop.it pages for each new blog post you publish.

 

8. Forum Marketing. The unsung hero.

There are currently millions of conversations taking place around the web about parenting, photography, fitness, pet care, personal finance, traveling, and every other topic under the sun.

Forums are hot spots of conversation where like-minded people get
together to talk about their shared passions.

Making it also one of the best hot spots for generating laser-targeted traffic.

Create some good content, post it on a popular forum in your market and you can start generating traffic within 5 minutes of posting.

There is simply no other strategy out there that works this quickly,
this effectively, and completely for free.

Forum marketing is an unsung hero that can drive thousands of visitors per month in ANY market.

When I first got started online, this was the main strategy I used to start building my subscriber list.

When my dad started his first website I recommended that he do the same.

But he took it to an entirely new level.

Generating 14,000+ visitors per month in a tiny, weird little niche…

‘Tennessee Walking Horses’

He found what I like to call his ‘Big Kahuna’. One big forum with rapidly passionate members who LOVED his videos.

This was his main traffic source when he first got started.

Of course I encouraged him to also build a subscriber list so now
he OWNS the traffic and can funnel it at will whenever he sends out
an email. Forum traffic is like a honeypot. But you want to collect
as much as that honey as possible and store it up for the winter.
(a.k.a getting them on your subscriber list 🙂

So go to Google – find the most active forums within YOUR market, and start engaging with the community. Provide over-the-top value and link to your squeeze page or blog in your signature file.

I think you’ll be surprised at what a ‘traffic powerhouse’ this can be.

Plus, what’s nice about forum traffic is that it’s generally VERY high converting. The traffic is laser-targeted and converts quickly into subscribers AND sales.

We’ve seen a 10% conversion rate into sales from our forum traffic. (tracked using Adtrackz Gold)

Average conversion rate for a sales letter is 2%. Forums got us 10% because this is some of the most targeted traffic you can get.

It just doesn’t get any better than that.

Old-School is still ROCKIN!

9. Blogger Outreach.

I’ve saved the best for last 🙂

If you have a valuable piece of content that you want shared around
the blogosphere, the very best thing you can do is to contact 100-200
related bloggers.

You can find related bloggers using sites like:

Technorati.com
WeFollow.com
Twellow.com
FindPeopleOnPlus.com
CircleCount.com
AllTop.com
Topsy.com
FanPageList.com

Create a list of 100 influencers within your market.

You can do this within Excel or using a more sophisticated program
like BuzzStream or GroupHigh.

After you’ve built your list you’ll need to send a personalized
message to each blogger.

This works out even better if you’ve included a link to their website
in the article itself.

Here’s a sample email…

Subject Line: I Love Pat Flynn! (and your latest podcast 🙂

Hey Pat!

Just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know
how much I enjoyed your latest podcast with Neil Patel.

ROCKIN!

Shared it on Facebook and encouraged all of my readers
to listen in as well.

 

Would love to know what you think.

Thanks so much for all that you do!

Cheers,

Kim

 

Categories
Online SEO Listings

60,000 Visitors and Counting: How to Double Your Traffic With Infographics

60,000 Visitors and Counting: How to Double Your Traffic With Infographics

Written by Neil Patel on October 14, 2014

According to WebDAM, the human brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than text. And there’s more: 65% of your audience are visual learners. So what can you do to capture their attention?

What a lot of people are doing is that they are using infographics as a visual way to reach their audience. Infographics let you share complex information with your audience in a simple, image-based format.

According to Unbounce, demand for infographics has increased by 800% in the last two years. Here’s how the growth pattern looks:

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Copyblogger published an infographic in 2012 titled 15 Grammar Goofs. To date, that infographic alone has generated 6,000+ tweets, 49,200+ Facebook likes, 1,700+ LinkedIn shares, 1,700+ Google+ shares, a gargantuan 176,500+ pins and more than 230 comments.

That example shows how powerful infographics can be, but it’s not just about creating the infographic. To achieve success you also have to make sure the content is in sync with your business and you must promote it massively so you can get consistent quality traffic and inbound links. Otherwise you are wasting time and money, and who wants to do that?

Don’t let that happen to you.

If you want to create infographics with the potential to send 60,000 plus qualified visitors to your site every year, you’ll want to read this post from start to finish. I will walk you through everything you need to know for success. Here’s what I’ll cover:

  1. The Elements of a Good Infographic
  2. How to Come Up With Infographic Topics That Actually Work
  3. How to Create a Useful and Shareable Infographic
  4. Getting the Infographic Designed
  5. Distributing Your Infographic
  6. Testing Different Types of Infographics

Download this step by step infographic creation guide that you can use today to create your own infographics.

The Elements of a Good Infographic

Let’s face it. Not all infographics are created equal.

Some truly address users’ needs; others sink into well-deserved oblivion.

How do you make sure you deliver the first kind? I’m going to let you into a secret: the majority of the infographics that go viral on social media networks have three elements in common: a consistent method, a unique story and trusted statistical data. Pay attention to those as you create your own infographic and you will be poised for success.

1. Method: I’m sure you agree that the method you use to create your infographic can affect its perceived value. As with any other content marketing decision, the end user (prospective customer) is the person who matters most in your content marketing decisions.

Of course, you have a choice. You might decide to present the infographic by using sequential data, graphs, flow charts  – whichever you choose, here are some points to follow so that your good idea doesn’t go bad. Optima Worldwide has some enlightening examples of infographics gone wrong.

Make sure you also match your headline to your audience and topic. For instance, if your audience likes “how to” blog posts, they will probably love “how to” infographics. If your business is tech-related, your infographic headlines have to suit your tech-driven users.

2. Unique story: The second most valuable element of a good infographic is a story that connects with your readers emotionally. One way to do this is with familiar images. In the screenshot below, the marketing infographic features a character in a superhero outfit.

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That reinforces the message of marketing intelligence, strength and telepathy.

Even if your topic isn’t new, a unique story will spice it up and stir the emotions, says the Storytellers site.

Here’s an example of the power of storytelling. Even though it’s not about an infographic, it makes a powerful point.

About a year ago, Jon Morrow wrote a blog post at Problogger that changed the lives of virtually everyone who read it. It was centered around a story of how the author quit his job, moved to paradise and got paid to change the world.

That post went viral, and got 9,500+ Facebook likes, 2900+ tweets and over 150 comments. Just like Jon Morrow, you can supercharge your infographic by infusing story into it.

In fact, since 93 percent of the most engaging posts on Facebook are photo posts, telling a story in this graphic format makes it even better.

One option for your infographic is to tell the story of experiments you have carried out and strategies you used to achieve a result. But there’s another option – using other people’s trusted research to create a new story. I’m talking about using statistical data.

3. Statistical data: Most of your target audience won’t be interested in an infographic that’s just based on your personal opinion, without the data to back it up. If you want to establish trust, you need to communicate value with verifiable sources.

The truth is that with most topics, someone has already written about them. All you need to do is find and reference that data. If you look at infographics that really do well (like this and this) you will see that they all have multiple data points.

Using trusted statistical data tells potential readers that you’re not the only one who believes in a particular fact. Other industry experts can authenticate it too.

For example, Mr. A and Mr. K are both fitness experts. Mr. A believes that if you purchase his new video training course, you’ll lose weight fast.

Mr. K has a different agenda: his sales pitch is focused on what his training courses have done for other people like you in the past 3 months.

So he says to the prospects, “The training video will share 15 success stories of guys who have successfully lost up to 20 pounds in the past 3 months and the 3-step plan to get your own results.

Which of these fitness experts are you likely to buy from? I think Mr. K will definitely win, because he understands that data, visuals and proof are what his core audience wants. It’s the same with infographics.

How to Come Up With Infographic Topics That Actually Work

Your readers’ attention spans get shorter every year, according to The Guardian. And that means you need to deliver infographics that grab their emotions – and their attention. In this section, I’ll show you the best ways to come up with topics that inspire them to read further.

Basically, it’s all about the research – and here’s where you look:

1. Trending topics: What’s happening right now in your niche? Are there keywords you can target? Are people talking about the topic? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then you’ve got a worthwhile idea for an infographic. Use resources like Google Trends, Alltop’s Holy Kaw and others to find these.

2. Evergreen topics: Some topics never die. Year in, year out you see them in forums, Facebook pages, Twitter streams, LinkedIn groups and other platforms. Find one of these and you have a great topic for an infographic.

See if you can spot which of the ideas below is evergreen and which is a trend:

  • How to Install WordPress in 5 Steps
  • How To Customize Your Own Blog Design

If you said the first one, you’re right! That’s because while blog customization is not for everyone, anyone who wants to start blogging will want to read the tutorial.

Create infographics based on ideas your readers and customers are familiar with and want to know more about.

3. Controversial topics: If people are debating a hot topic that you can find information on, that’s another good candidate for your infographic. Here are three examples :

Why are these topics controversial?

First, they’re debatable. People who read these titles will be thinking:

  • Isn’t college education the best legacy for youths?
  • How on earth can someone lose 20lbs of fat in one month with no exercise – is it really possible?
  • Can someone truly start a business with no money? I mean zero investment? Personally, I doubt it.

If they’re asking questions about your article title, they’re already hooked, which is why this is a good technique for deciding on infographic topics.

4. Most viewed content: Find out what content is doing well on other sites and use that data to come up with infographic ideas.

For example, you can check out the most viewed YouTube videos, as Leading Media did, and extract insights that help you to choose topics.

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You can also visit document sharing sites to identify content that is doing well. There are thousands of trusted sites, but here’s how it would work with Docstoc.com.

Step #1 – Visit www.docstoc.com

Step #2 – Check the homepage for featured content chosen by the editors. Alternatively, if you don’t find a topic that interests you, search the site, using your target keyword.

Step #3 – Check the results for the top content.

The screenshot below shows popular content in the marketing and advertising niche. The infographic has had 3879 views since publication in July 2014; that’s more than enough for a profitable infographics campaign. Use the titles of popular content to inspire your own infographics titles.

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Of course, the title alone is not enough. Promotion is key. I’ll discuss infographic promotion in a while.

How to Create a Useful and Sharable Infographic

Once you have a topic, it’s time to create a useful and infographic. Everyone has their own definition of “useful” content.

I think useful content is well-researched with actionable tips for the reader, like the post you are reading now. For other people, useful content could mean short and simple steps required to achieve a particular goal. As I’ve said before, it’s all about what the reader wants.

Making it shareable is easier because there’s research from Buzzsumo, one of the kings of shareable content, that you can use to set benchmarks for infographic creation.

Buzzsumo  analyzed 100 million articles to figure out why some content was more shared than other content. The study found:

  • that including images increases the number of Facebook shares.
  • that infographics are among the most shared content.
  • that appealing to emotions results in more shares.
  • that people share what they find useful.

You can use the results of the Buzzsumo study to help you create a shareable infographic.

Let’s get back to the question of emotions for a minute. People take action based on what they feel, so you have to get them to feel.

This pie chart from okdork.com highlights the popular emotions you should invoke when creating your infographic:

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Amazement, amusement, anger – it almost doesn’t matter as long as they feel something. Make people feel and they will want to share that feeling – and your infographic!

Finding the data

As I’ve said before, the data is as important as the visuals in creating an infographic. So where can you find valuable, verifiable data? You don’t want to end up like the social psychologist accused of faking research results, do you. Don’t worry; depending on your industry, there are several data sources you can trust.

Research from professional bodies can be helpful too, as can corporate blogs and spreadsheets, documents and white papers from industry analysts.

The data you need to create a useful and sharable infographic content will be scattered around multiple sources and materials – it’s your job to find them, collate them and put them to good use.

How to structure and outline your infographic

When you have collected your data, read what you have aloud. Use your instincts to figure out if it seems useful or if you still need more information.

Knowing your purpose will also help you with structure. Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Does the infographic provide actionable advice? Many infographics are about giving information that readers can use. One example is this web redesign guide from Quicksprout.
  2. Is the infographic for entertainment? Perhaps you’re tapping into the “laughter is the best medicine” vibe, grabbing people’s emotions by evoking humor and passion. Mashable’s infographic on the cost of being Iron Man 3 is a good example of an entertaining infographic.

When you’re clear about whether you have the right data to suit your purpose, it’s time to start structuring your infographic.

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The image above from Crazy Egg shows the basic outline for an infographic. This is a good starting point, though it’s not set in stone. Be prepared to change the structure if that would better suit your audience or your purpose.

Still need more?

Labs42 provides an outline that it says has produced great results. I’ve fleshed out that structure with my take on what each section should include.

  • Header – This is where the infographic title or header will appear. This is where you use the advice I gave above on finding topics and titles to write something that will hook the reader. You need to be creative. Hubspot’s Corey Eridon says your title can either make or break the reach of the infographic.
  • Subheader (optional) – The subheader is optional, but if you use it, it is where you further explain the title. For example, if your title is “How To Monetize a Blog”, the subheading can be “A 5 Step Approach to Help You Make Money Today.”
  • Section 1 Header/Key message – You key message should be located in the first section of your infographic, right after the headline. This could be the main issue that people are struggling with relating to your topic.
  • Section 1 Supporting Data Points – This is where you start using the data you have collected to support your claims and give your key message meaning. You can also use charts, icons or images in this section.
  • Section 2 Header/Key message – In this section, you want to maintain the flow. Using our blog monetization example, if section 1 highlights the major hurdle bloggers go through when trying to monetize their blogs, you could expand on the point.
  • Section 2 Supporting Data Points – Support and validate every statement with charts and statistical data points. Don’t just tell people what to do, show them proven results.
  • Section 3 Header/Key message – In this section, add another key message for your readers. Ideally, let the message flow from section 1 and 2.
  • Section 3 Supporting Data Points – Support your key message with data points, charts, mascots, icons etc and other visuals.
  • Depending on your topic/idea, you can add more sections and back them up with data points.
  • Key Takeaway/Call to Action – Sometimes you can make an infographic clickable. But the more common way to include a call to action is by adding your complete URL. For example: “for more information, visit: www.yoursite.com”
  • Sources – List the websites where you got the data for the infographic. See the example below.

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Understanding color psychology

You’re almost ready to design your infographic but there’s one more issue to think about before you reach the design phase: choosing the right colors for your infographic.

Color choice can affect the impact of your message. Believe it or not, many content marketers and designers don’t understand the power of the color red. According to Color Wheel Pro, red is an intensely emotional color associated with power and action. That means you can use red on call to action buttons to increase conversion rates.

Check out the graphic below for more information on color psychology.

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And read my guide on how colors affect conversion rates so you can take charge of the colors you use for headings, hyperlinks and buttons.

Getting the Infographic Designed

Now you’re ready to design the infographic. There are two ways to go about it,. You could either design it yourself or you could simply hire a professional.

I’ll assume you’re not a professional infographic designer, so you will need to hire someone. Let me show you how to get a good designer without paying a fortune.

Hiring good designers is easier than ever thanks to the wide range of freelance marketplaces around. I’m going to show you how to find and hire great designers at Dribbble, Fiverr and Odesk, but these tips will work for any place where designers hang out.

Hire a good designer at Dribbble: If you want amazing infographic designs, Dribbble is a great place to start. It’s not cheap, but you won’t regret it.

Step #1: Visit dribbble.com

Step #2: Sign up for free and upgrade to pro membership ($20/year) so you can search the entire database and hire the best designers.

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Step #3: Search, using the filtering tools to find some suitable candidates.

Step #4: When you find designers you like, see if they have done something similar to the design you want. To do that, click the name of any designer. Here’s what you’ll find:

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Step #5: If the work looks good, click the “hire me” link. You will soon have a qualified designer to help you with your infographic design.

Hire a good designer at Fiverr: If you want to minimize costs, consider hiring your infographic designer from Fiverr.

Step #1: Visit Fiverr.com

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Step #2: Type “infographic” in the search box and click “find services.”

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The highest rated designers are shown first.

Let’s assume you decide to hire the first designer.

Step #3: Click the infographic placeholder to view the designer’s profile. Here’s the screenshot:

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Let’s analyze this designer and what you stand to get if you choose to hire him/her:

  • You get an amazing infographic. That’s what the designer claims, but do you know for sure? With so much competition, you need amazing content to stand out, so it’s important to assess this (perhaps by looking at other examples of the designer’s work).
  • The designer submits your infographic to 25+ high PR websites. Many of these are more like directories because they accept infographics from virtually everyone. But if your goal is to generate 60,000 plus visitors a year from your infographic, you can’t afford to ignore this bonus.
  • You get the design for just $5. You might think that $5 is way too cheap, but many of the highest rated designers are masters at what they do, and have the right software, icons, and toolkits to design amazing work for you.

Step #4: Read the pitch, so you can get to know what the designer has in store for you. What kind of person is s/he? Scroll down the Fiverr profile page and you’ll find more details on the designer’s services:

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Step #5: If you decide to hire the designer, look at the right side of the profile page and click “ORDER NOW.”

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You will get information about the average response time (5 hours) and how many people are ahead of you. In this case, it’s 62, so you will have to be patient. :)

Step #6: You will be redirected to PayPal to complete the payment. Afterwards, you’ll fill the order form with your title, data points and other information for the designer.

Hiring a good designer at oDesk: oDesk.com is a popular freelance job site where you can find highly qualified infographic designers. If you want several designers to apply, you must create your own job ad copy.

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Step #1: Write your ad copy – If you’re not a copywriter, you could simply model someone’s ad copy and create a better version for yourself.

Here’s a template you could tweak:

We’re looking for a professional who can design a good looking
infographic. If you’re interested and can deliver within
3 days, we want to work with you.
 
Please send samples of your past designs.
 

Step #2: Post a job – on the homepage, click “post a job” to begin the process of hiring a designer:

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Note: You must be a member of oDesk before you can post a job. Sign up for free, and then you can post your job.

Unlike Fiverr, where the rate begins at $5, you may have to pay industry rates at oDesk. Check out existing Odesk ads to see what businesses typically pay designers for creating infographics.

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When you have your ad copy, you can look beyond Odesk and post a job at any of these 7 freelance job sites to have more choice of designers.

How do you make your decision?

The first designer you see on Dribbble, Fiverr or Odesk may not necessarily be the best fit for you. Here’s what you need to think about:

  • Does your designer have at least some of these top ten qualities?
  • Does their design style fit with your brand? Check their previous designs to see. There’s nothing wrong with asking the designer to show you samples of past work.
  • Is the designer passionate about discussing your vision and your brand? If not, look for someone else.

Once you choose a designer, get in touch. Each site has rules about the best way to communicate with service providers. Usually this means communicating through the site. If you attempt to bypass this and get the designer’s email address, you could be banned.

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If everything goes according to plan, you will soon have an infographic. The next step is to put it on your site.

How to Format and Publish an Infographic on Your Site

In most cases, your designer won’t help you publish the infographic. That’s your job, and it’s pretty easy.

There are two options. The first is to keep your infographic private and just upload the graphic to your site, the same way you add photos to your WordPress site. But if your goal is more traffic, why would you want to do that?

Instead, you want to make it easy for people to share your infographic. According to Hubspot, the right social sharing techniques (more on this in the next section) can give your infographic consistent exposure.

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To get those benefits and generate 60,000 plus visitors a year, you need some HTML embed code so people can put your infographic on their own sites, with a link back to yours.

How to Generate the Embed Code

Before you generate the embed code, upload the full resolution image of your infographic to your blog post or web page. This is the page people who share your infographic will link to. Resize the infographic to fit your webpage or blog post, and set it to open in a new browser window – so that the reader can stay on your infographic page.

I’m going to show you how to use Siege Media’s online embed code generator to create your embed code:

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How do you fill the blank spaces in the screenshot above? I’ll show you.

  • Site Name: This is your domain name (www.yourdomain.com). When people share your infographic post, they will need to attribute it. Fill this box and your domain will appear at the top of your infographic. People may decide to delete this message, but it will still serve as a reminder that you need to be credited for your infographic. It’s not a public domain image.
  • Post URL: This is simply the URL where your infographic is located. This is the page people will link to when they start to share your awesome design. Copy the exact post address from your browser and paste it here.
  • Image URL: Go to the post, right click on the infographic and click, “copy image URL”. Copy and paste the address here.
  • Image Alt: This is important for SEO purposes. Simply type the name of your infographic e.g. How to increase your sales.
  • Width of image: What size is your infographic? Input the width here. As a default, 650px will work for most blogs, but readers can also resize the image if they need to.
  • Height of image: Don’t make your infographic too long, because it could reduce engagement. Leave the default as specified by Siege Media, and it will automatically adjust to the right width.
  • Embed box width: How wide do you want the infographic embed code to be on your blog page? You may decide to make this smaller than the infographic width. If the width of your infographic is 650px, you could make the embed code box 450px. It’s up to you.
  • Embed box height: Leave this set to default and it will automatically adjust to the width you specified above.
  • Preview: The preview shows how your embed code will look on your blog post/webpage.

When you’re done, copy the embed code generated and paste it into the html panel of your blog post/web page editor where you want the code to appear. Add it beneath your infographic to make copying and sharing easier. Include a call to action (like “share this image on your site” above the embed code.

This is what it will look like.

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You can find another HTML code generator at infographic journal. There are also several WordPress plugins that generate embed codes. You can also code the HTML manually (if you’re a WordPress code nerd) or learn how to generate the embed code in 5-steps at Hubspot.

Pro tip: It’s important you let your readers view the infographic in its original size so they can follow it easily. To do this, grab the URL to the full image and add a link below the infographic that says:  “click here to enlarge image”.

Distributing Your infographic

Infographics are massive – that’s no exaggeration.

Web Marketing Group shows that infographic creation is increasing by 1% every day. And the number of infographics listed in Google’s database has increased 800% in two years.

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That makes distribution essential for getting traffic benefits. Everyone loves a good infographic, but how do you get people to see yours? Here are some strategies to try

Hire someone from Fiverr to submit your infographic. Not all sites will accept it, but you will get a huge boost in traffic and inbound links. When I searched, there were some great choices:

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Submit your infographic yourself, using these lists as a starting point: 100 sites to submit your infographics.

Don’t know how to submit to infographics directories? Quick Sprout has an easy guide you can follow.

Upload your infographic to document sharing sites like docstoc.com, 4shared.com, scribd.com and killerinfographics.com for an extra traffic boost and inbound links.

You should also make WordPress sharing easier by using a social sharing plugin like Digg Digg. You can also install the Lightbox Plus plugin. It makes it easy for people to view a larger version of your graphic, and get more excited to share it.

Lastly, you should use other promotion channels. You can get your infographic noticed through other methods like blogger outreach, guest blogging and press release distribution.

Testing Different Types of Infographics

To get the traffic benefits of creating infographics, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. To find out, you need to test them.

The image next shows two infographic layouts. How do you determine which one is best for you?

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Just create two different infographics on the same topic, using the same outline but with different layout. Promote them simultaneously and see which one is most successful to identify the best layout for your business.

If you want to split test using different fonts, then Template.net’s top 50 fonts for infographics designs will be helpful.

Also, it’s true that your infographic will generate web traffic, but hits are not the major way to measure business growth. Page views and comments matter for marketing, but your main focus should be on growing your email list, attracting paying clients/customers to your offers, and selling your products.

According to Aberdeen Group, businesses that have a strong sales and marketing alignment achieve 20% annual growth rate. On the other hand, businesses with poor sales and marketing alignment have a 4% revenue decline.

Use the infographic you created to gain more qualified leads for your business and always optimize for conversions. You must align the promotion of your infographic and other content forms to boost your sales.

Conclusion

Creating and distributing useful infographics is no longer optional; it’s a business necessity.

I have leveraged infographics to generate over 300,000 readers to the KISSmetrics blog every month.

Piktochart provides a list of 8 types of infographics you probably should create at some point in your marketing career. This is a good starting point.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can still design a decent-looking infographic for free. Try infogr.am, visual.ly, easel.ly, piktochart.com, venngage.com and get your tools ready.

Have you had any success creating and distributing valuable infographics for your business?

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How to Use PPC Advertising to Diversify Your Traffic and Protect Your Business

How to Use PPC Advertising to Diversify Your Traffic and Protect Your Business

Written by Neil Patel on October 4, 2015

pay per click

Are you looking for ways to grow your business faster?

Content marketing and SEO are both great ways to attract visitors to your site. The only problem is, it can take several months, even years, to build your way up to an impressive amount of traffic.

There’s another avenue to success that is much faster.

However, there is also some risk.

I’m talking, of course, about paid advertising. In particular pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, where you pay a network every time your ad is clicked.

With paid advertising, you get the opportunity to reach parts of your target audience that were previously unreachable.

Did you know that the top 3 paid ad spots on Google results get 41% of the clicks on the page?

If all you focus on is traditional SEO, it doesn’t matter how high you rank, those 41% of searchers will likely never see your content.

But I get that PPC might be scary.

Ads can get expensive, especially if you’re targeting high value terms.

On top of that, there are many misconceptions that scare people about PPC more than they should be.

Misconception – Margins are razor thin: Most business owners and marketers try PPC once and lose money or breakeven. They conclude that there’s no money to be made.

But there’s a steep learning curve.

Once you get past those initial hurdles and mistakes, you can still achieve solid profit margins.

In fact, paid search advertising (the most common type of PPC) is one of the best marketing channels when it comes to ROI (judged by professional marketers):

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One of the main reasons that you can achieve such a good ROI with paid search, is because of being able to target keywords with a high buyer intent.

Consider that any query where a searcher is looking to purchase something usually has the maximum number of ads on it (e.g. “buy a toaster” will have several ads on it).

That means that for all the best keywords (from a revenue point of view), SEO results only get about 60% of the clicks. On top of that, those are the most competitive terms to rank for.

This is one of the main reasons why PPC visitors are 50% more likely to purchase something than those that go through the organic search results.

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Obviously, there’s much more to PPC.

And that’s what I want to show you today.

By the end of this post, I don’t think you’ll be scared of PPC. Instead, I think you’ll be ready and excited to give PPC a proper try and grow your business.

I’m going to go over all the main concepts of PPC that you’ll need to know. Once you understand them, it’s just a matter of digging a bit deeper on each concept and actually trying them out.

Are you ready to learn something that could take your business to a new level of profitability? 

4 Reasons to give PPC a try

How do you know if PPC is right for you?

Well, if you’re looking for what PPC can offer, you’ll know that you’re a good fit.

And in my experience, most businesses that are not growing as fast as they’d like can really benefit from even a small investment in PPC.

Reason #1 – It’s predictable: I often write about SEO and content marketing because they’re such great ways to drive website traffic (and capture leads).

But one of the major drawbacks of both strategies is that the results are largely out of your hands.

You may write a post that goes viral and gets tens of thousands of visitors. Or, you might write a post that gets 20 views. There are things you can do over time to minimize this variance, but it will always be there.

Alternatively, your search engine traffic could change drastically at any time. Maybe you get outranked for a few major keywords, or get hit with a Google penalty.

So while you can expect those sources of traffic to grow, you don’t know how much or how fast. And you also have to be prepared for setbacks.

With PPC, on the other hand, your visitors are directly tied to how much you spend.

Spend more, get more visitors.

If you want exactly 10,000 visitors, you can get exactly 10,000 visitors.

Reason #2 – You get results faster than inbound marketing: I’ve already briefly mentioned this. Even if you’re a good marketer, it’s still going to take 6-12 months to gain major traction with inbound marketing strategies.

With PPC, you can visitors to your website in hours, not months.

Reason #3 – It’s extremely easy to scale: How do you scale content marketing? You create more content.

But if you’re producing most of the content yourself, as well as doing promotion, there’s not a whole lot of extra time to do more.

You could hire someone to help you out, but then you need to worry about them matching your quality of content.

With PPC, if you’re having good results and want to scale up your efforts, all you do is raise your budget a bit (or target additional keywords/audiences):

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Reason #4 – More time to focus on the product: Here’s an often overlooked aspect of PPC. It doesn’t take much time to run a PPC campaign.

As you’ll see, there’s a bit of setup time, especially when you’re new to PPC, but you’ll get much quicker as you get up to speed.

Once a campaign is running profitably, it takes far less than an hour a day to keep it running.

Therefore, you can spend the rest of your time either creating content, or improving your product, which directly makes you money.

There’s much more than just Adwords

If you’re not too experienced with PPC, you probably equate PPC with Google Adwords.

You’re not far off, because Adwords is by far the biggest advertising network.

Google makes over $100 million per day through Adwords:

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You can get traffic in just about any niche because Google has so much traffic.

Additionally, Google is amazing for conversions, since you can target keywords with high commercial intent.

However, Google is not your only option.

Some businesses thrive on Adwords, while others struggle to make much of a profit. But when they try a different PPC network, they have great success.

The best network for you and your business will depend on your knowledge, niche, audience, product, and many other factors. The only way to find it is to give a few different ones a try.

So keep an open mind and consider other options.

Here are some of the other biggest networks that are fairly beginner friendly and might be worth a try.

Bing: Obviously Bing is nowhere near the size of Google, but by normal measurements, Bing/Yahoo! is still huge.

Its advertising network is also well-developed and offers many of the same benefits as Adwords.

However, Bing also usually has a lower cost per click (CPC), and often converts just as well. Obviously, this means that it’s easier to run a profitable campaign.

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For example, WordStream recently published that of their many clients, almost all of them were able to get lower CPCs on Bing’s network (about 33% cheaper).

If you’re struggling with the high cost of Adwords, you might have a bit less competition on Bing, without any big sacrifices.

Facebook Ads: The giant social media site has its own advertising platform that is pretty simple to use.

You can place ads directly to your content, landing pages, or to get “likes” for any of your shares.

For this article, I’m going to assume that you’re looking to drive traffic back to your website.

Paid advertising on social media isn’t based on keywords. You can’t target someone at the exact moment they want to buy a toaster. However, you can look at their interests and demographic information to connect with your target audience.

If you combine content marketing with Facebook advertising, you can create a powerful funnel that will lead to sales.

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LinkedIn Ads: While LinkedIn Ads work similarly to Facebook, the users act very different.

Since it’s more of a “professional” network, users often visit the site in the context of their jobs. They look for opportunities to network, hire, get hired, and grow their businesses.

Even though LinkedIn isn’t as big as Facebook, case studies have shown that LinkedIn is by far the best network to advertise on to drive B2B sales.

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LinkedIn Ads provide a great and unique opportunity to connect with those in charge of purchasing decisions for other businesses.

Adroll: Finally, Adroll is a third party PPC network that specializes in remarketing/retargeting (which we’ll get to later in this guide).

Adroll gives you easy access to all the other major ad networks with their platform, which can save you a lot of time.

As I’ll go over, remarketing is only getting more important as more and more marketers understand how useful it can be:

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Those are the “big” alternatives to Adwords, but there several other small networks that can also be great for specific businesses.

They typically don’t have the same volume of users, but usually charge much less.

I’d suggest getting started with one of the networks above, and then once you’re comfortable with PPC, you can try any smaller networks that catch your eye.

The art of PPC – Part 1: Channel your inner copywriter (or lose money)

Once you pick a network to focus your PPC efforts on, the next step is to set up your first project.

While it varies based on the network you choose, there are generally 3 parts of setting up PPC projects:

  • Ads – In terms of your project scope, the individual ads are the smallest. You need to create the physical ads that will be shown to users.
  • Ad groups – To keep things separated, you should create at least one ad group per product you sell. Within each ad group, you can test different ads to find the best one.
  • Campaigns – A campaign can contain as many ad groups as you’d like. It encompasses your PPC efforts for all your products. For example, you might run a Christmas advertising campaign, and create different ad groups for each of your products.

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It’s a simple hierarchy. Think of it like folders on your computer. You have one main folder for a campaign on your desktop, with multiple folders inside it for each product you have (ad groups), and finally the png files for each ad you create inside.

Start with campaign and ad group settings: When setting up any PPC project, you always start from the top and work your way down.

Again, it will depend on the network, but in general there are only a few simple fields that you will need to fill out here. And you can usually change them later.

First is your bid strategy, as well as the budget you’d like to spend (usually per day). Typically, you’ll want to manually bid for clicks, but you can also test built-in optimization settings (supposed to maximize clicks for your given budget).

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I advise you to start really small at first. Even a few dollars a day is enough to get started while you learn the ins and outs of the platform.

As you try out different ads and create profitable ones, you can increase your budget.

Next up are the advanced settings, which not all networks have.

You can schedule a start and end date for the campaign (or leave it to continuously run).

In Adwords in particular, you also have the option of rotating ads within a particular ad group. You need to do this to split test different variations of ads, which I’ll talk about later.

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The basic elements of most ads: There are usually up to 4 main parts of the actual ads you place.

  • headline – The title of your content/landing page (doesn’t have to match exactly)
  • description – Why the user should click on your link
  • URL/link – Where are you sending the user when they click
  • network specific elements – Things like sitelinks (#4 in below picture), likes, shares, etc.

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Some ad networks are more text based, like search engines, while social media PPC networks are typically more image based (they get a better click through rate):
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Your click through rate mainly depends on the headline and/or description of your ad.

There are 2 approaches:

  • relevance – On search results, ads that are as relevant to the query will get the best click through rate.
  • curiosity – On social networks, ads that invoke the most curiosity will get the best click through rate (can’t be relevant since users aren’t looking for anything in particular).

It’s not easy making great headlines and descriptions, which is why great copywriters are paid so much. However, you can learn if you practice writing powerful headlines and great descriptions over time.

Finally, you’ll often face limitations on how much space you have. For example, on Adwords, you’re limited to 25 characters for the headline:

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Always look up the character limit of the network you’re using.

Money is made or lost in targeting: Okay, I kind of skipped a step. I know you’re thinking: “what happened to ad groups?”.

When setting up ad groups, there are 2 main components: giving them names, and picking who you’ll target with ads.

I’ll assume that you can think of names for your ad groups, but the targeting is a bit trickier.

If you target the wrong people, it doesn’t matter how good your ads are, you won’t make money.

For search engines, you’ll have to choose keywords to show your ads for. There are 3 main types of keywords (with a few variants):

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If you pick the exact keywords you want your ad to show up for, you’ll have the highest conversion rate.

However, you might end up missing out on some great related keywords, which is why you might want to use phrase match keywords as well.

Phrase match keywords will show your ad anytime a query contains the keyword that you’ve chosen.

This can be bad, because you might show up for “buy coffee table cleaning supplies”, if your keyword was “buy coffee table”. Assuming your landing page sells coffee tables, this would never be profitable.

Here’s a tutorial to picking great keywords for PPC advertising on search networks.

What about social networks? Since there aren’t any keywords, you target users by their interests and demographics.

For example, if someone “likes” a page about coffee tables, they might be interested in buying a new coffee table.

Alternatively, if you’re selling driving training manuals, it might make sense to target those that are 15 or 16 years old, as they’ll be learning to drive soon.

On all these big social networks, it’s pretty simple to select demographics and interests:

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While picking interests isn’t difficult, picking the right ones is. It will take you some practice to get good at it, but here’s a guide to picking demographics and interests to get you started.

The art of PPC – Part 2: Your ads are only half the battle

Alright, so you’ve set up a killer advertising campaign, all done right?

Not quite.

If you’ve done well in that first step, you now have people clicking through to whatever landing page you linked. Hopefully at a relatively low cost.

If you’re advertising on search engine results, you want to provide the searcher with their ideal landing page, which is often a sales page if you picked your keywords correctly.

For example, if you advertised on the keyword “buy coffee maker”…

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It’s obvious that the searcher wants to buy a coffee maker. They’d probably appreciate a few different choices.

In this case, the landing page is perfect, because it’s a sales page for coffee makers. It’s going to convert visitors into buyers at a fairly high rate.

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But as we saw earlier, users on social networks don’t really have any commercial intent.

If you’re selling coffee makers, you can’t really link directly to a sales page.

Instead, it’s best to combine social PPC with email marketing.

Offer some sort of lead magnet on your landing page to capture your target’s email address. Then, send them valuable content, before finally pitching them on your product.

There are 2 main approaches that you can test, both of which can be successful.

The first is to use a standard, simple landing page. Offer them a bonus in your ad and have them sign up for your list to get it. You should be able to get high conversion rates if your landing page is good and your targeting is solid (30%+):

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The downside of this method is that many will unsubscribe right away or forget who you are.

The alternative method is to send them to one of your most popular posts. If you use content upgrades, you might have a post that converts at 10-20%, which would be perfect for this.

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Since they’ve already read your content, they will likely convert better later on.

However, you should try both, since either approach can be better depending on your specific audience and business.

The dream of “set it and forget” is a myth

Some marketers aren’t scared of PPC at all when they hear about it.

In fact, they’re the opposite – they’re too excited about it.

They hear that all you need to do is create a profitable campaign, and then increase your budget and you’ll make millions.

The truth is, it’s not that easy (even though those results might be possible eventually).

ROI always comes first: The fact is, unless you have a profitable ad, you can’t ever scale up. If you’re spending a lot on an ad that has a poor return on investment (ROI), you’ll just end up losing a ton of money, quickly.

Getting a profitable ad is one of the hardest parts of the process. Many never get past this stage.

All networks have some sort of reporting dashboard that will show you how much you’re paying per click, and possibly per conversion.

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That includes both search and social PPC networks:

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To determine your ROI, you need to divide your return (profit per sale), by the cost of getting that sale (conversion).

If you make $10 off of a conversion, and can get a conversion for $5, you’re in great shape and should spend as much as you can on that campaign.

But it takes $15 per conversion, you can’t run it profitably. Your goal for your first ads should be to get around breakeven ($9.5-10.5 per conversion), and then optimize it further (more on that soon).

Once you have a profitable campaign, there’s a catch. You can only scale up to a degree, because there are only so many people searching for something or with a specific set of interests.

From there, you’ll have to pick new keywords and interests to target. As you go further away from your optimal keyword/interest groups, your conversion rate will decrease (users are less targeted).

At a certain point, increasing the number of clicks you get will no longer increase your overall profit. That’s why you can’t just scale up and make millions.

Split testing is not optional: When it comes to PPC advertising, reducing the cost of your clicks by even a few percent can make a huge difference.

Split testing involves making 2 identical ads, except changing one element, like the headline or description. That way, you can know if that one change improves or decreases your results.

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What split testing will do is help you do is optimize your click through rate (CTR). Most advertising networks consider your CTR into how much you pay per click. For example, it is one of the factors in an Adwords’ quality score.

On top of split testing your ads, you should also split test your landing pages.

When a visitor lands on your page, you want to have the best chance of converting them into a subscriber or customer.

If you’ve never done split testing before, it will take a bit of time to learn, but the results will be worth it.

Once you know what you’re doing, this ongoing split testing won’t take much time. If you plan well and work efficiently, you’ll only have to spend a few minutes a day (on average).

All ads go stale: Say you optimize an ad as much as you can, and are making a healthy profit on your advertising campaign, are you set for life?

Unfortunately, no.

What happens over time is that your PPC campaign will become stale, and your ROI will decline.

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The main factors behind this are that competitors will catch up to you (sometimes even copying your ads), and that you often have a limited pool of target users. As you start advertising to the same users over and over, your ads become less effective.

There’s not too much you can do to combat this, other than to proactively create new ad campaigns as others appear to be getting less effective.

How to use remarketing to explode your business

What kind of conversion rate have you achieved on your website?

If you’ve done a good job at conversion optimization, you might achieve a conversion rate (ending in a purchase) of up to 10% (which is excellent).

The problem with that is that 90% of visitors, who are interested in what you sell, leave your site and never end up buying.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could specifically advertise to these 90% who are already familiar with your brand and products?

That’s what remarketing is. You put a pixel on your website that tracks who visits it. If they don’t end up buying something, you can use that tracking information to show them targeted ads on a PPC network (Adwords, Facebook, etc.).

And when I say targeted, I mean it. If you had a sales page about coffee tables, you could target visitors to that page who didn’t buy with ads about coffee tables.

Some businesses are able to achieve an obscene ROI using remarketing. For example, Watchfinder had a 1,300% ROI using remarketing in their first campaign. That’s not a typo – 1,300%.

The next time you’re browsing flights and hotel deals, and you see an ad for hotel deals in your Facebook feed, this is exactly what’s happening.

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You basically have 2 options. You can create a remarketing campaign on the PPC network of your choice, or you can create a remarketing campaign through a network like Adroll to target several networks at once.

The benefit of the second option is that all your visitors don’t use Facebook. But it’s very likely that they use Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or…you get the picture. Since time is an important factor, casting a wide net can be effective.

Let me walk you through the basics for remarketing on Adwords and Facebook so you can get an idea of what’s involved.

Remarketing on Adwords: While the term is often new and scary to advertisers, it’s actually pretty simple.

In Adwords, click on “shared library” in the left sidebar, and then select “audiences”. Click the blue “set up remarketing” button to get started:

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When you click the button, your first instruction will be to install the remarketing tag (the tracking pixel). Just copy and paste this on every page of your website like your Google Analytics script.

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Once you’ve done that, you can then set up specific ads to portions of that audience (i.e. people who have viewed a certain page).

Remarketing on Facebook: Facebook is one of the best platforms of remarketing due to how many users it has.

Many businesses get great results with Facebook remarketing. For example, a cosmetics company increased their PPC ROI by 2.5 times overall with remarketing.

Facebook has a fantastic walkthrough for setting up a remarketing campaign.

Start by going to your Ads Manager as usual. Then, click the “audiences” tab on the left side menu and create a custom audience. This will let you create an audience on Facebook composed of people who have visited your site.

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Again, you’ll get a tracking pixel that you’ll have to put on all the pages of your website that you’d like to track.

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Once you’ve done that, you can create your custom audience. You can pick just the people who visited a specific page, or even didn’t visit a specific page.

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Once you have an audience you can create your ads as normal to target them.

One final feature that is really cool is being able to create “lookalike audiences.” Basically, Facebook can look at your custom audience and see that they have a lot in common with other users (interests and demographic information).

Then, Facebook can make new audiences that will also be interested in your products, so that you can advertise to them. Essentially, it’s a near limitless supply of new prospects.

Conclusion

I understand why PPC advertising can seem scary at first, but it’s really not.

Using PPC to drive business to your website is a great way to diversify your traffic sources and protect yourself from any variance from SEO or content marketing.

If you’re excited and ready to get started with PPC, I suggest starting with one network for now. Get familiar with it and do some research so that you avoid common PPC mistakes that cost you money.

Finally, be patient.

Being able to create profitable ad campaigns is a skill. It will take time and practice to develop, but it can be well worth it.

If there are any parts of PPC that you still don’t quite understand, let me know by leaving any questions in a comment below.

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9 Essential Content Marketing Apps That Will Grow Your Blog Traffic

9 Essential Content Marketing Apps That Will Grow Your Blog Traffic

Written by Neil Patel on September 20, 2015

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If you want to grow your blog traffic, you have to fully embrace content marketing. You can achieve tremendous success in your business if you leverage the tools, applications, and software available online.

When it comes to apps, the monthly usage of apps and mobile web is alarming. According to Smart Insights, 89% of time spent on media is with mobile apps.

You can use apps to create content, automate content distribution, improve your site speed, and make content marketing a lot of fun (and profitable).

A statistic by ExactTarget revealed that 69% of B2B organizational goals is targeting lead generation. But how can you generate quality leads without blogging consistently? And how can you easily replicate your blogging success without tools and software solutions?

Smart marketers have reported that apps collect more accurate “intent” data from visitors—feeding better personalization features. And if you want your audience to appreciate your well-researched content, you have to use apps.

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In this age of stiff competition, good content will no longer suffice. Your content has to be above average, because your target audience knows better now. And they’re desperately searching for the content that will solve their problems.

With content marketing apps, you can brand your content to suit your target audience. Traditional advertising is giving way to content marketing—so the earlier you get serious about it, the better results you’ll get for your business.

A research study by BitQuirky found that 72% of digital marketers say that branded content is more effective than magazine advertisements.

Tumblr and WPP conducted an exclusive survey recently to know what readers are looking for on social media networks. Surprisingly, what they are looking for is content.

Each of the apps that you’ll read about next was designed to take your simple content and boost its perceived value. After all, you can’t say that your content is high quality until the readers say so or benefit from it.

Let these nine content marketing apps reshape your vision, guide you on the right path, and revamp your content into content that drives traffic and leads: 

1.   Buffer

If you want to become a productive blogger, a result-getting online marketer, and content marketing expert, then you need Buffer.

Social media marketing is a must for every content marketer because your customers and clients are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. According to Social Media Examiner, 83% of marketers say that social media is important for their business, and 59% of marketers are using social media for six hours or more each week.

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“What if scheduling a tweet, could be as easy as sending it now?”

Those were the words of Joel Gascoigne, co-founder and CEO at Buffer when he got fed up in October 2010 and began dabbling with a few social media marketing tools to help him schedule his tweets.

Back in 2010, there were not many social media tools that could schedule posts, tweets, and updates while giving the user the control. It was a heck of a lot of work. But that was the beginning of a great journey for this visionary entrepreneur.

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Chances are, you’re on Twitter. You keep your Twitter account updated on a regular basis. But you don’t want to stay awake until midnight just to post to Twitter because you found that your followers are usually logged on at that time.

If you want to schedule posts to your Twitter account anytime, anywhere, you need Buffer.

Some call it the social media assistant, while other people prefer to call it the social media robot. According to AppStorm, “Buffer is the best social networking tool today.” No matter what you call it, Buffer will help you upgrade your social media experience.

Buffer is a Twitter app and management tool that allows you to add Tweets to be sent on a schedule.

The beauty of Buffer is that you can manage multiple Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts from your dashboard. This is particular useful when you want to post an update or new content (video, podcast, blog posts, etc.) to your fans on these networks at one time.

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In your Buffer dashboard, you can connect several Twitter, Facebook (page or profile), and LinkedIn accounts with up to ten updates. You can also now share, schedule, and manage the performance of your pins on Pinterest.

Buffer is free to use. The free account is ideal for beginners to social media marketing or advanced marketers who just want to have a taste of what Buffer can offer. If you want to manage up to twelve social profiles, you’ll have to pay $10 per month. This will in turn give you unlimited posts in your scheduler.

If you’re a B2B company, or your B2C company seamlessly works with a team, you can add two team members to help manage your Buffer account. When there is so much to accomplish in a day or week, you can’t afford to do it all alone.

Once synced, this is how to add updates to your Buffer account from your Twitter account:

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From Facebook, it’s a lot easier:

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Buffer gives you total control from the dashboard and social media profiles. For example, like using the Twitter retweet button, Buffer will also appear as an option and you’ll see it within the Twitter retweet button dialogue screen, too:

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Note: Using powerful social media tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite can help you improve your social reach, and increase your credibility online. But these tools don’t take the place of building relationships and answering questions.

Buffer will not respond to the questions of your followers, though it can be helpful in scheduling and auto-posting the updates. So while I encourage you to use these tools, focus on building relationships—that’s the true definition of content marketing.

2.   Pocket  

When you find something you want to read or watch later, save it to Pocket and view on any device, any time. I’ll tell you more about Pocket in a moment, but first let’s see what reading can do for you as a content marketer.

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Reading is the only cure for ignorance. According to Read Faster, “It is estimated that the cost of illiteracy to business and the taxpayer is $20 billion per year.”

If you want to always create high-quality content, then you have to read aggressively.

Reading can make you a better writer, says Mary Jaksch.

Have you read a book (or e-book) in the past twelve months? Pew Internet statistics revealed that almost half of all readers under thirty read an e-book in 2014.

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“Read it later” reinvents itself. Pocket is similar to Readability, an app that enables you to save web pages for later reading.

You can view files later on iPhones, iPads, PCs, and any mobile device. Both are highly recommended apps that lets you shelve items to read and watch when the time is right.

In 2012, Save to Pocket was one of the top share buttons, generating over 1,000,000 saves and used by over 10,000 developers.

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This “read later” app is widely used by authors, book lovers, marketers, and researchers. If you want to make a mark in today’s competitive age, you’ve got to read widely. But the Internet as we know it today is so distracting.

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Often, you have plans to read a particular book, blog, or watch a video that will benefit you, but social media activities such as responding to Tweets, Facebook comments, chatting with friends and clients and the like might take away your attention.

A lot of things can steal your focus while online. Cat videos, recipes, interesting blog posts, and the latest news are some of the things that you have to be decisive about (do I read it? Do I skip it? Do I read it later?) when you stumble on them.

When you’re not consistently productive on your important tasks, you’ll inevitably end up procrastinating. As a result, you can’t get closer to your goals.

Sure, you can deal with the constant disturbances by blocking them out with applications that curb procrastination, such as Cold Turkey.

Better yet, save all that interesting or distracting content so that you can enjoy it later. This will give you a calm mind as you go about your daily activities, because you’re doing what is important.

Reading is the benchmark of leadership. You can dissolve writer’s block through reading extensively. Whether or not the book or material is relevant to your industry, you have to open your mind to new information. Every bit of information is an inspiration to a writer.

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How do you save to Pocket?

Follow these simple steps below:

i) Sign up for free: On the homepage, just click the “create an account” button, follow the simple instructions and you’re done.

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ii) Save web pages: Once you’ve signed up for Pocket, you’ll be able to download an extension for your browser. Now you’re ready to save your favorite web pages for later reading. When you’re on the page that you want to save, click the Pocket logo and click the “save” button.

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If your web page was successfully saved, here’s what you’ll see:

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Remember that you can also add “Read it later” to your WordPress posts. This way, readers can save to read later, instead of bookmarking the web page and never getting to it again.

3.   Sumall

It’s time to turn data into insights with Sumall. Sumall is an all-in-one social media and ecommerce dashboard. If you’re looking for tools that will make you the best social manager, ecommerce marketer, CMO, and digital marketer, this free software app can help you.

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You can have fun doing content marketing if you have the right tools. You may not have the budget to assemble a top-tier team that will constantly monitor your progress, but you can leverage tools.

Being able to measure everything is the next phase of digital marketing. According to Vincent Mifsud, Chief Executive Officer of ScribbleLive, it’s becoming very hard to connect with your audience through traditional methods of advertising.

“People are not connecting with your brand through different models, primarily on social media networks.” A research study by PricewaterhouseCoopers projected that in 2013 through 2018, the annual revenue for newspaper publishing will continue to drop, but online publishing will boom.

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There are important metrics such as analytics, reports, insights, and more that you need on a daily basis to effectively deploy your content strategy, generate qualified leads, and grow your revenue—but without the right tool, it’d be difficult to manually extract these all-important metrics.

When it comes to getting the most results out of your content marketing campaigns, what you need more than anything is to document your strategy.

According to Content Marketing Institute, 43% of B2C marketers with a documented strategy considered themselves effective, vs. 33% of B2C marketers who fail to document their strategy.

You can use Sumall to document your content marketing strategy, get insights and data about your target audience that will enable you grow your business.

Here are the simple steps on how to use the app:

Step one: Join for free. On the homepage, input your email address and password. Then click the green “GET STARTED FREE” button.

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Next, fill in your first and last name. Then select appropriate time zone that is relevant to you. Then click the green “GET STARTED” button again:

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Step two: Select the platforms you use. Remember that Sumall is an all-in-one app for managing your social media and ecommerce account. Once you’ve signed up, the next step is to select the platforms you use frequently (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Shopify). Just click on the platform and it’ll be checked. Then click “Next.”

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Next, connect your platform. Just click the “connect” button and you’ll be redirected to the site.

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Once you’ve connected all your social media and ecommerce platforms, that’s all you have to do. The next time you log back into your account, you’ll see analytics, charts, data, and insights about your campaigns and how to improve on them.

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Imagine what you can achieve when you have all the viable customer insights and data that you need to make SMART decisions. With Sumall, the reports from all of your campaigns across different social media sites are delivered to you on a platter.

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When you’re armed with customer insights such as the long-tail keywords that customers are searching with, the user intent, and the social engagements, you can easily optimize and increase your blog organic traffic.

4.   Google Docs Research Tool

Google has a built-in research tool for Google docs users. With this simple app, you can conduct research directly from your document environment without visiting the search engine, which saves time.

To become a productive blogger, you can’t afford to waste your time on research because there is a list of many other things that you must do. Getting things done on time is the hallmark of great bloggers.

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Research is the ultimate task for every content marketer. If you want to grow your blog traffic, creating content that is backed up by data is one way to stand out and prove that you’re an expert.

You can increase the perceived value of your content by linking out to authoritative sites. When that happens, your audience will benefit from your content and share it—because useful content is shared more than anything else.

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The challenge is this: getting actionable data that is accurate can be somewhat difficult for most people. You can read books, or take a case study from another firm.

But the easiest way to find data, relevant information, and scholarly and expert opinions on your subject matter is to use the search engines.

With the Google Docs research tool, you don’t have to leave or use search engines separately. You can access the search engines directly on your account and carry out your research quickly.

Follow these simple steps:

Step one: Log in to your Google Docs account (all you need is a Gmail account). Once you’re logged in, open one of your documents (e.g., an article). Then go the Tools menu > Research.

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Click the Research tab. A panel will open on the right side of the page. Start a search by typing into the search bar.

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Let’s assume that you’re writing an article about “growing B2B sales.” In order to find data, expert content or case studies to back up your article, just plug the keyword into the search box. It’ll look like this:

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If you were doing research in Google’s search engine, you’d have to open the web page, then copy the link from the browser. Using the Google Docs research tool, you just have to hover on the search result of your choice, and click “insert link.”

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5.   Word2CleanHTML

I create an immense amount of content.

Blogging consistently can generate up to 126% more leads and 434% more inbound links than companies that don’t blog. This was/is my driving force each time I write a blog post. It may not bring results today, but it’ll pay off in the future.

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My goal has always been to write more content for my blogs. I also wish that I could write more guest posts, because that is one of the easiest ways to generate fresh traffic and qualified leads, but time is short.

So what I usually do to maximize my time is to use tools such as Word2CleanHTML to clean up my article.

Often I write articles using Microsoft Word or Google Docs. These two text editors are user-friendly, but they also have their downsides.

For example, when you copy the article/post from these text editors and paste into WordPress, there can be broken links, unwanted spaces, annoying special characters you never bargained for, and more.

Then you’ve got to spend time to sort out these errors. But time is precious, and you don’t want to waste any of it—not even a few minutes, because they add up to a few hours over the course of a year.

Word2CleanHTML can make your content writing and formatting easier. It’s a simple tool that converts your Word or Google Docs text into clean HTML that’s ready for WordPress.

To show you how this simple tool works, I pasted a small text section of my older post (not created in WordPress) into the tool. Then I clicked the “convert” button.

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If I decide to paste an article that I wrote in MS Word into WordPress, this is what it would look like:

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Honestly, this looks ugly.

Now take a look at the code generated by the tool:

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Now the post is ready to go. You can now select all the code and copy, or just click the “Copy HTML to clipboard” below and copy the code to WordPress. Then click publish and you’re done. This saves you time, and helps you format your posts for easy reading.

6.  Hemingway App

If you’re looking for a tool that can highlight common errors in weak writing, then you need Hemingway App.

This basic editing app not only identifies problems in your writing, but it also groups them into different categories so you know exactly what needs to be fixed and how to do it.  The categories are:

Hard sentences: If any section of your sentence or paragraph is hard to read, it’ll be highlighted so that you can edit it.

Very hard sentences: Hard to read sentences shouldn’t be in your writing because readers will find it difficult to understand your message. Eliminate “very hard sentences” makes it easier for your readers to understand your post.

Phrase: The purpose of writing is to communicate ideas and thoughts using familiar words. When you use jargon or uncommon words that readers aren’t used to, you defeat the purpose of your writing.

The Hemingway App gives you an alternative word or phrase. For instance, in place of “utilize,” you can substitute “use.”

Adverbs: An adverb modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb. Too many adverbs in your writing make your content weak, and people will be lost while reading it. Avoid words such as hopefully, intentionally, obviously, etc. If you can, remove adverbs from your writing altogether.

Passive voice: The editor also highlights phrases or sentences written in passive voice. Passive voice has some negative effects for writers. For example, it increases wordiness, and removes the active voice of a narrative. If you have to write in passive voice, don’t overdo it. Aim for two or fewer instances.

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So instead of using “the name of the man’s wife is Janet, which is the correct expression, you should use “the man’s wife is named Janet” or the “man’s wife is Janet.” These three sentences convey the same meaning, but the styles are quite different.

Passive voice:

the name of the man’s wife is Janet

Active voice:

the man’s wife is Janet

Hemingway App editor may not grow your blog’s traffic directly, but by formatting and creating content the user wants, you’ll increase your search and social media traffic.

Now let’s see the app in action.

I just pasted two paragraphs from an older blog post. Let’s look at the grading and how it can be improved.

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As you can see from the screenshot above, the grading is 8. The lower the grading, the better. The goal is to lower your grade to 6 or 7. That way, you’ll be assured that your content is easy to read. When you write as simply as possible, you’ll reach a wider audience and build a successful content marketing campaign. Looking at the screenshot, you can see that some of my sentences are “very hard to read.”

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Since these sentences are so hard to read, all I have to do is edit the sentence structure and make it shorter. When I do that, the highlight will be removed, and my grading will reduce drastically.

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A readability grade of 6 is great. Of course you can lower it further, but it’s better than 8 or 9. Just by restructuring the sentences, and shortening them, I improved the content’s readability.

If you’re not an editor or copy editor, you can use the Hemingway App to identify common grammar errors and make them better.

To save time, you can paste your entire article into the editor. Or you can start with the introduction first, tweak and make it better, then move on to the next paragraph.

If you continually use this tool in your content creation, you’ll become very good at writing, editing, and formatting content for your target audience. It’ll become second nature and then you’ll no longer need this tool.

7.  Skitch

When it comes to driving traffic to your blog, you have to be strategic with the type of content that you create. Ninety-four percent of B2B marketers use content marketing to drive leads and increase sales. But that content has to be well-written and deliver immense value to readers.

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If content marketing (primarily blogging) helps 94% of marketers to grow their business, why do we still have bloggers who struggle to get 100 visitors per month, and are broke as a result?

The reason isn’t all that hard to understand. It’s because all blog posts are not created equal. The majority of marketers out there are now investing heavily in creating more in-depth content. According to Curata, 71% of marketers will spend more money on content marketing this year.

If you desperately want to increase user engagement, drive qualified customers, and generate more social shares, do your best to switch your content strategy to the data-driven blog post.

In other words, create blog posts, articles, and other types of content that are backed up by data, case studies, screenshots, research works, and customer insights (from surveys or polls).

To prove that a data-driven content approach works, RummyCircle conducted a Time Series experiment to automate the document uploading system. They helped increased KYC verified players by 1200% and it keeps increasing.

I don’t write any blog post without capturing screenshots that will explain the points that I’m making. I see a lot of blog posts that would have been made better if only the author captured a few screenshots and annotated on them. Take a look at one of my recent posts:

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So how do you capture screenshots of a website, chart, or data?

Use “Skitch.”

Skitch is one of the popular Evernote Apps. It’s easy to learn and very useful. If you’ve been reading my posts, then you must have seen Skitch at work:

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All of those red or pink arrows, annotations, horizontal and vertical lines, circles, and more are being created by Skitch.

Skitch is free, and you can download its Evernote dedicated page:

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Whether you’re writing a case study or sharing a personal experiment that you carried out in your business, you need to capture screenshots. You need data and you have to annotate on your graphics with Skitch or Evernote’s web clipper.

Through a data-driven approach, Kohl’s, a department store, used an indoor positioning system that “walks the aisles” with their customers.

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This strategy is powered by mobile technology and allows shoppers to subscribe for promotions the moment they enter the store. While shoppers are still in the store, and throughout their visits, customers receive real-time lifestyle content based on the products they’re searching for.

For example, if a customer has subscribed to receive information via the Kohl’s mobile app and they’re lingering in the home goods aisle, Kohl’s knows that sending relevant content to this perceived customer will help increase the likelihood that they will make a purchase.

Rust-Oleum, a company that manufactures protective paints for homes and offices, also proved how blending content, integrated media partnerships, and data-driven marketing can ignite consumer motivation. By using data to make smarter decisions, Rust-Oleum got a one million person interest-based retargeting pool, three million project engagements, and took unit sales to +40% YOY.

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8.  ThingLink

Are you creating interactive content yet?

According to DesignHill, 70% of marketers say interactive content is effective at engaging visitors/buyers, and 88% of marketers say interactive content is effective at differentiating their brand.

Apps are one of the interactive content forms that you can use to engage your customers. Mobile or desktop apps receive staggering engagements in today’s market. Take a look at the millions of downloads that apps generated:

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If you’re only creating blog posts, then sooner or later you’re going to lose some of your blog visitors. When it comes to growing your blog’s traffic, you have to think outside the box. You’ve got to follow proven trends and create content that your users will not find elsewhere.

Most of the time, the difference between two objects is the dimensions. For example 2D objects are flat, while 3D graphics show the depth, height, and width of an object and thus, the quality and value is increased.

In the same vein, creating interactive content is one way to differentiate your content from the mills out there. When you write blog posts, don’t stop there. Create interactive content such as a Slideshare presentation and embed it into your post.

Some of the interactive content that you can create today includes:

  • Interactive infographics
  • Quizzes and tests
  • Polls and surveys
  • Assessments
  • Calculators
  • Interactive white papers
  • Galleries

Smart marketers use blogging to generate leads. But they don’t create just blog posts, they embed interactive content into it. That’s the reason why blogging and case studies that communicate with potential customers are the best content marketing tactics for acquiring leads and increasing revenue.


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If you’re ready to improve user engagement with interactive content, then you need a tool that will enable you to create them.

ThingLink is an application that allows you to create a specific type of interactive content: clickable images. This is much more than putting a link in a picture, but putting multiple links, images, and more interactive elements in it.

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Here’s an example of an image that VerticalResponse created using ThingLink:

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ThingLink will add more entertainment to your graphics, images, and blog content. So it’s important that you learn how to create interactive content with this tool, so that you can take your blog to the next level.

To see the interactive nature of the image, click the link below:

https://www.thinglink.com/scene/622209039320743937

9.  Canva

I like to call this the “canvas of graphics.” If you’re not familiar with Canva, it’s a tool that bloggers who aren’t professional designers can use easily.

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It allows you to design custom images that look awesome. And you only have to spend few minutes to get it done, compared to an alternative graphic software out there.

You need Canva because your users are human beings. And as such, they’re visual beings. Their deepest desire is to learn new things through images. The human brain processes graphic information 60,000 faster than plain text, and 90% of the information that is transmitted to the brain is visual.

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That’s why using interactive content is a sure way to connect and establish a deep rapport with your target readers. With Canva, you’re not restricted on the size of your image.

With your custom canvas, you can add texts, shapes, icons, pictures, etc. It only takes a click of the button and your professional looking image is ready for your blog or content campaign. If you want to edit any image or text, just click on it:

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To add images or shapes to your canvas (the white space for designing your work), you can use the search engine that’s built in. And once you find the shape that you’re looking for, click on it to add it to your Canva.

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To get the best out of Canva, you should learn how to design custom images for your blog posts. By the time you’ve mastered the tools and best practices, you should be able to create an attractive image like this one from Pat Flynn:

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The earlier you start using visual assets to communicate and convey your message, the better for your brand. In fact, using custom images can improve your blog’s traffic. According to Canva Design School, articles that use one image for every 75–100 words get shared the most.

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The immense power of images can’t be overemphasized. When you start using Canva to create custom images, you’ll see an improvement in your Twitter and Facebook shares.

When Buzzsumo looked at 100 million Facebook posts over the last 3 months, they found that those without an image generated an average of 164 interactions (shares, likes, comments), while those with the right image had an average of 375 average interactions. Images work.

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Conclusion

Growing your blog’s traffic always sounds more important than improving conversion rate. But which is better? To get more traffic or optimize your existing traffic?

I’m confident that if you use any of these nine essential content marketing apps, you’ll open up a new channel for generating quality visitors to your blog. But as they come, make up your mind to convert them into ardent blog readers and customers.

Of course, you can’t achieve any significant result in your online business without the right content. There is no shortcut or alternative to creating content.

As a blogger and content marketer, even though you decide to use Google AdWords PPC or Facebook Ads PPC to grow your audience, you’ll still require high quality content to nurture the same audience.

So what do you do? The best approach is to use these apps and tools to get customer insights, and then create the content that will answer their questions. That’s how to succeed at content marketing—especially when there is so much competition against you.

Which of these tools and apps have you found helpful for growing your blog’s traffic?

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6 Strategies That Will Grow Your Leads By 113% Online

6 Strategies That Will Grow Your Leads By 113% online

Written by Neil Patel on September 15, 2015

grow

Without leads, your business will most assuredly fail.

Leads are the qualified prospects who can become customers and ambassadors of your brand, if you play your part right. Sure, a firm may have several important goals, but 66% of organizational goals focus on lead generation.

Marketers, particularly B2C marketers, rely on several channels to drive leads to their businesses.

But often, these channels don’t yield results that they can bank on. If you’ve spent a lot of time creating content hoping to attract the right leads, but you still aren’t getting results, it can be discouraging. But hear this: you’re not alone.

At one time in my content marketing career, I struggled to acquire leads. Growing leads was a different topic entirely.

Today, I want to show you proven hacks that will grow your leads by 113%.

What do your customers want? Once you’re able to answer that question and tie it to a high-converting landing page, you’ll consistently generate leads. Growing your leads will always be easier if most of your attention is focused on syncing your landing page with your other marketing channels.

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No matter what channel you’re using, HubSpot’s statistics found that 54% more leads are generated by inbound tactics than traditional paid marketing. This also means that you have to give top priority to creating the right content.

Struggling with your lead generation process? Apply these 6 hacksto grow your leads significantly.

Once you’ve committed to that mindset and approach, implement these six lead generation hacks to grow your leads faster. 

Hack #1: Lead generation starts at home—review your homepage messaging

For most marketers, their homepage receives the most visits. Tandberg (since acquired by Cisco), a leader in the field of teleconferencing, increased its lead generation by 50% from a simple homepage CTA that blended with other elements such as the headline, subtitle, images, etc.

If you’ve been actively promoting your site, your homepage will be getting visitors from referring sites, social media sites, search engines, and other sources.

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Nick Eubanks generated over 100,000 visitors per month, and the majority of that traffic went straight to the homepage.

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Stuart J. Davidson also shared how he reached 140,753 page views within twelve months, since he relaunched his blog in November, 2013. Since the homepage receives a tremendous amount of traffic, don’t you think that reviewing your homepage messaging will help you generate more leads?

I’m confident that it works. For example, Alex Chris, founder of Digital Marketing Pro, said that one of the areas he reviewed, which led to over 400,000 visitors per month to his site, was the homepage. This led to several thousand leads, too.

He showcased five sticky posts together with a list of the latest posts. He also added a must-read section on his sidebar, which is important if you want people to find your best content the moment they arrive at your blog homepage. This is how Chris’ homepage looks as I write this article:

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Although the sidebar usually shows up on every page on most WordPress themes by default, you can permanently set it for your homepage only.

On the flip side, if you have an offer (e.g. an e-book, a report, software) on your landing page, you’ve got to ensure that your messaging (copy) and offer are in sync.

There should be a form of agreement such that visitors will not be confused when they get to your homepage.

Just take a look at Backlinko.com. The homepage page headline and call-to-action targets the same keyword, “traffic.” When people visit this homepage, they’ll immediately see the topic of the site and what Brian Dean can help them with:

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Another example of a homepage that has consistent messaging from top to bottom is Big Brand System. This blog is about branding, and nothing else.

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Note: The purpose of this section is to help you blend your homepage message with the objective of your entire business. This means that if your business is about car repairs, your homepage and offer that potential leads will get should be the same—or have the same concept.

Unbounce drives the message home on its homepage. It’s all about building a landing page, publishing, testing, and optimizing it to generate the best leads possible.

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Hack #2: Link to your webinars directly in your content

A webinar is a relatively low-cost way to get your useful message in front of a targeted audience, one that actually asked for it when they registered.

A small consulting firm used webinars to generate over 100 new, qualified leads and resulted in six opportunity-based meetings, which in turn led to $50,000 in services being discussed.

And 52% of marketers believe that webinars and seminars are the most effective methods for generating targeted leads.

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If you can host a webinar and link to it directly in your content, your leads will take you more seriously because you’ve provided value before asking them to register.

This is quite different from a webinar landing page that doesn’t offer much value to the user.

For example, the screenshot below shows how Quality Matters links to its webinar registration page from within its success stories (a blog post).

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The challenge that most people have when they host webinars is getting enough people to register. But you can drive webinar registration by linking directly to it. Uberflip knows how to invite blog readers to register for upcoming webinars right from a post. Here’s an example:

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If you’re not using webinars to drive leads to your business, you have to start today. – Lewis Howes

When people are engaged, magical things can happen right on the spot.

Engagement is the sole purpose of hosting a webinar. According to Adobe, the average attendance duration for a 60-minute webinar is 54 minutes. Stay time (duration) is influenced by the ease of entering into the webinar, the topic, and whether attendees stick around during Q&A.

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If you want to take your lead generation to the next level, you have to consider hosting a webinar. Successful internet marketers know the power behind a well-planned webinar.

You can generate leads, nurture them, and build a thriving business solely with webinars. According to a recent survey conducted by ReadyTalk, 30%–40% of webinar attendees are turned into leads.

Webinars have been my number one strategy for growing KISSmetrics’ visitors to 518,399, and 16,394 from 77 webinars.

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There’s no doubt that bringing the right people together in a virtual platform increases trust, leads, and sales. And no matter what your industry may be, you have to recognize that people want to belong.

People want to learn from the experts.

And you don’t even have to be an influencer to successfully host a webinar.

The most important factor in increasing user engagement is how useful your webinar is.

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In fact, 38% of attendees will stick around if your topic is hot and what you’re sharing with them will yield significant results in their business and life.

If you’re a B2B marketer, one of the most effective ways to generate qualified leads apart from word of mouth referrals is webinars. When you bring people together for the sole purpose of educating them, you’ll generate hot leads.

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However, you need to make your webinar a part of your content. Naturally, your blog readers, email subscribers, and customers might have developed an emotional connection with your content. When they’re reading your post, they have a mindset that you’re only interested in solving their problems.

Blogging is a great way to build trust. If you want more people to register, reserve their slot, and attend your webinar, then you have to establish a level of trust with them. That’s when blogging comes into play.

The role of webinars in the sales process can’t be ignored because most companies have experienced higher sales when they hosted a webinar.

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The more useful and interesting your blog posts are, the better. Consequently, when you link to your webinar from within your content, it’s a sign that you want to offer more value to your readers without giving them the idea that you’re out to make some quick bucks.

When you have the attention and trust of your attendees, you can recommend a product or service that’ll help them. You have a responsibility to qualify your leads and map your leads’ buying journey. Every stage of the customer buying process is important during the webinar.

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Yes, you can sell, but there is a smart way to do it, especially when you’re mindful of your brand and reputation. You don’t want anything that will hurt it or separate you and your audience.

Here’s exactly how to sell during the webinar:

i)  Welcome questions: For each webinar that we host, both at KISSmetrics and QuickSprout, we usually leave up to 30 minutes for questions.

Without a doubt, this is a sure way to tell attendees that we care about them, not their money. It created a stronger bond that led to more qualified sales and customers in the long run.

ii)  Give value before asking for anything: Whether you’re hosting a webinar, writing a blog post, or speaking at an event, you have to offer tangible help before asking for the sale or any other thing that would require the attendee to move out of their comfort zone (e.g., purchase your product).

Educate them. Use interesting storytelling methodology to engage them, while you address the questions that are occupying their minds. You can then pitch your offer because you truly believe that it can help them further.

iii)  Launch a poll: Polls can foster engagement and improve customer satisfaction. Polls are simple survey questionnaires that look like this:

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For example, through a poll, Tomoson found that nearly 60% of marketers plan to boost influencer marketing budgets.

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Similarly, you should use polls during your webinar. In the course of the webinar, we usually ask attendees to respond to a poll. Our most common question in the poll is

  • Are you interested in our product demo?

And because we use GoToWebinar, it’s easy to see the attendee report that indicates their core interest. You can then forward the report to your sales page and tweak the offer, copy, and call-to-action to maximize sales.

iv)  Ask people if they’d like to try your product during registration: At KISSmetrics, we found that our biggest sales come when people are registering for our webinars. Before their registration completes, we usually ask

  • Do you want a demo of our product?

Offering a demo led to 10% more conversions than the free trial.

v)  Make them an irresistible offer: If you want to make more sales or acquire better leads, you have to offer your attendees what they can’t resist. If your offer is great and timely you’ll see an increased sales conversion that ranges from 5%–60%.

image14Remember that when you sell or recommend an offer during the webinar, you need to brand your slides. In other words, your company logo, colors, and icons should be used prominently on the presentation design.

When you do that, your brand will always stay fresh in attendees’ minds. And this is a priceless and efficient way to get the sale the moment you ask for it.

vi)  Premium content: Another proven way to sell during the webinar is to offer premium content. It could be your new training videos that you haven’t released on YouTube or a few chapters of your upcoming book.

To grow your business and nurture a passionate audience and customers that will stand the test of time, you’ve got to feed them with premium content.

This is the type of content that offers tremendous value and scarcity.

This means that users can’t find it elsewhere, not even in a Google search. Hosting to a webinar and linking to it from within your post is one of the ten most effective ways to promote your premium content.

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A webinar is quite different from a blog post, video, or podcast. According to Ascend 2,

When you compare all the lead generation tactics, webinars are the second most effective form of premium content for digital marketers.

Yes, you have to have a dedicated webinar page on your site, but always link to your old and new webinars within your content. Our dedicated page now accounts for over 20% of our webinar leads per month.

Don’t forget the purpose of this section. It’s not about hosting a webinar, but linking to your past and future webinars from within your content because you want to establish contact with first time visitors to your blog and cement the relationship that you’ve got with your customers.

As Ivan Gaye puts it,

As you continually give amazing value to your attendees and fill your pipeline with targeted leads, something magical will happen—sales will increase and your business transforms into something significant.

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Finally, if you want more people to register for your webinar, so that you can get more leads to your business, you’ve got to partner up with influential bloggers and leverage your homepage (which always attracts the most views).

You’ve also got to blog about your webinar and link to the landing page from your blog posts and market your webinar through social media. Additionally, don’t be afraid of paid media, and promote your webinar through keynote speakers.

Linking to or citing a high-value webinar within your content will position you as a go-to expert in your industry who cares about people. Several marketers who applied this technique have succeeded wildly at lead generation. For instance, Kamila Gornia generated 1,500 hot leads and 100 buyers in two weeks with no ads.

See also:

Hack #3: Use Google as your login

You should use Google as your login because you can personalize your efforts.  Effective marketing can be efficiently deployed when you see and address your customers not as a group, but as individuals. That’s why SugarCRM and Trello believe in connecting with individuals.

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Flickr has over 112 million users because they allow users to sign up using their Yahoo! account. Yes, just the email address is all that’s required. Take a look:

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Most digital companies have not been using this hack to get more leads. The truth is that Google is popular, and most bloggers, content marketers, and online entrepreneurs have a Google account.

The social world has brought us convenience across the web. Our full names, residential addresses, phone numbers, and more are now stored on trusted sites such as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter. This has made it possible for marketers to create a flexible and simple sign-up flow.

You can acquire more customers to your business by limiting the amount of information that they need to input in the forms. That’s how successful companies are built. It can work for you, too.

These days, you don’t need to request much information from your prospects before they can become qualified leads. Better yet, you don’t need them to fill a long form before you can keep in touch with them.

Since they’ve got all their personal details on trusted sites like Facebook and Google, you can just ask users to sign up using those sites. For example, you can sign up with Facebook if you want to join Pinterest.

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Since Pinterest started using this strategy, they’ve increased their users. Pinterest now has over 50 billion pins and millions of active, loyal users.

Vimeo, a video sharing social media platform, also allows users to join with Facebook. Their personal information is pulled from their Facebook accounts, greatly simplifying the sign-up process.

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Using Google to login has been one of my hacks for growing responsive leads. For example, a few months ago, I used the technique on my QuickSprout homepage.

I just asked users to login with Google. It increased my leads tremendously. My CTA button looked exactly like this a few months ago:

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Note: One of the reasons why Google has billions of search users is because with one Google account (Gmail), you can log into Google Analytics, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Docs, Blogger, and more.

In the same vein, other digital companies that allow their target audience to come aboard using Google, Facebook, or another popular social media platform through an API will likely get more leads.

Hack #4:  Specialize: Separate your lead generation team from your sales team

If you want to convert the visitors that come to your landing pages, you’ve got to continually test out your landing page elements such as headline, subtitles, bullet points, call-to-actions, and more.

One study showed that 57% of companies had problems finding the skills to optimize the copy on their web pages. You’ve got to keep testing before you can get it right. A/B testing is not negotiable.

But there’s an aspect of your content marketing strategy that you have to set limits on. It’s about who’s in charge of generating leads and who manages the sales.

To grow your leads by 113% or more, you have to “specialize.”

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What does that mean?

In his classic book, Is It Wise To Specialize?, author John O’Sullivan shares the powerful influence of specialization on a child, and how early sports specialization can have an effect on a child’s athletic performance.


O’Sullivan recognized that we’re always tempted to do more. Life itself will push us beyond our limits, but we must learn to specialize. Niche down and identify areas where your strength is loud.

Embrace your strength and work on perfecting your weakness.

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When it comes to lead nurturing, which is an all-important aspect of running a successful online business, you’ve got to separate your lead generation team from your sales team.

According to Marketo, lead generation describes the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing [a] sales pipeline.

On the other hand, the sales team is primarily concerned with the exchange of goods and services for money; it’s the action of selling something.

As you can see from the two definitions, lead generation isn’t about selling. Sales also doesn’t dwell so much on stimulating interest, because that aspect is being coordinated by the team in charge of lead generation.

After selling to a customer, the sales team also has the responsibility of initiating a great customer experience that leads to a high rate of customer retention.

Retaining the customer is important if the business wants to thrive. According to Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rate by 5% increases profit by 25%–95%.

Don’t just be concerned about customer acquisition; retention is even more important.

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Each marketing practice requires a different mindset. For example, the team in charge of lead generation creates awareness for a product.

They also inspire, educate, and persuade prospects to take action. But the sales team is responsible for increasing the revenue of the organization.

If you’re a B2B marketer and your company wants to stay ahead of the competition, you can speed up customer acquisition and retention. For example, Fulcrum helped one of their clients, a leading manufacturer of blood glucose monitors, to acquire 6.5 million active customers, which also led to $40 million in incremental profit annually.

Top brands like CineWorld have a separate team for every marketing activity. When Cineworld wanted to increase customer retention and cinema admissions, they decided to review their unlimited affinity card scheme.

Working with Atos, Cineworld now has a complete solution for managing current customers, acquiring new ones, launching affinity card products, and generating new revenue streams.

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In a nutshell, there is a high level of specialization at Cineworld. Facebook, AT&T, AirBnB, and several other brands operate this way, and thus they’re able to add thousands of new customers to their business on a daily basis.

Limelight Department knows how to specialize. This has been the core reason why their clients are happy.

For one, Limelight helped increase the conversion rate for American Concealed overnight by 9%. American Concealed uses the same budget for both advertising and marketing, but the results were significant because they specialized.

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Remember that the objective of having a separate team that will handle lead generation and sales is to improve your customer satisfaction.

That’s truly where the profit lies.

If your customers are dissatisfied, they’ll switch over to your competition. On the other hand, Salesforce found that 91% of highly satisfied customers will refer a friend to your business.
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Hack #5: Use strong verbs to write powerful headlines that draw attention

A verb is a “doing” word. Or better yet, it’s an “action” word.

If you want to create a lasting impression in your writing, you have to draw attention with verbs. But first, answer this question:

What makes a headline powerful?

Well, the structure, keywords used, length, topic, and, most importantly, the action word (verb) that appear in a given headline are the factors that would evoke curiosity and persuade people to click.

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If you can give adequate attention to crafting your headline, you’ll not only generate targeted leads, but there’s a possibility that your search rankings will improve tremendously.

Copywriters all over the world know the power behind a well-crafted headline. It’s the same reason why Ted Nicholas believes that 73% of buying decisions are made at the point of the headline. And eight out of ten people will click your headline if it catches their attention. So what are you going to do about your headlines?

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No matter the platform — your blog, social media networks, other blogs (when you write a guest post), or when you create any type of content that will drive leads — you’ve got to make sure that your headline contains strong verbs. According to Wikieducator, you’ve got to put muscle in your writing by using strong verbs.

A strong verb is a specific, descriptive verb used in writing. Strong verbs are used to convey a direct message. You’ve always got to have it at the back of your mind that we live in a fast-paced world.

Think about it. We’re all about fast Internet, fast websites, fast food; we want everything now. There is no time to wait. Now, imagine how impatient your target audience will be if your writing isn’t straight to the point or doesn’t offer any immediate reward.

So how can strong verbs enhance your writing?

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When you use strong verbs in your headline, first it’ll make you a better writer, and your writing will be concise and descriptive. This is exactly what your prospects want.

Here’s an example of a weak verb in this sentence:

  • She is going to school

Though the sentence is correct, it’s weak. We can omit the “is going” and replace it with a strong verb. The question that you need to ask yourself is, how does she go to school? Does she crawl, skip, walk, run, ride a bicycle, etc.?

Let’s make the sentence better by including a strong verb:

  • She walks to school
  • She rides to school
  • She skips to school

In the same vein, instead of using weak verbs in your headlines, you should replace with a strong verb. That way, you’ll convey your message or idea in a more concise and captivating manner.

Examples of strong verbs are:

  • Nurture
  • Terminate
  • Improve
  • Increase
  • Revive
  • Change
  • Expand
  • Boost
  • Attack
  • Focus
  • Write
  • Drive
  • Engage

I use strong verbs in my blog post headlines all the time. Take a look at my recent post:

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But I’m not the only one who understands the power behind strong verbs. Authority content marketers like Brian Clark and the entire Copyblogger Media team uses strong verbs to craft headlines that you can’t ignore. Take a look:

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Seth Godin, the renowned author of over fifteen bestselling books, also uses strong verbs to write his captivating blog posts. Take a look:

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Note: Strong verbs in your headline will not grow your leads by 113% by themselves. But they can add flavor, meaning, strong conviction, and clarity to your headline so that your readers and potential customers will relate to your message.

Having strong verbs in your landing page headline, blog post headlines, and more will increase your conversions, especially when you test it out.

For example, at a time, CityCliq, a company that provides low-cost, search engine optimized webpages for businesses, ran an A/B test. They used VWO software to test four different versions of their landing page headline:

  • Businesses grow faster online!
  • Online advertising that works!
  • Get found faster!
  • Create a webpage for your business

At the end of the A/B test, the fourth headline version, which sends a direct, more descriptive, more relevant, more concise and clear headline, outperformed others. It generated a 90% increase in conversion rate.

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In addition to using strong verbs in your headlines, you also have to focus on length. Headlines that are too long tend to be easily forgotten or ignored.

According to a recent report by the Guardian, an international news agency that has been creating headlines for decades, found that headlines with just eight words generated the 21% click-through rate than longer headlines.

But if you can’t come up with headlines of exactly eight words, a study by Nielsen Norman Group revealed that headlines between five and nine words seem to garner higher click-through rates, too. So the next time you write a headline, make sure that you integrate strong verbs.

It’ll improve your writing and evoke curiosity in your readers.

Hack #6: Create an irresistible offer and syndicate across blog communities

Ultimately, you want to get people to say “yes” to your offer. As marketers, that’s exactly what we want.

Dean Rieck shared the six ways to get people to say “yes,” and it boils down to creating a top notch and high-value offer. This simple formula explains it better:

High value offer + persuasion = irresistible

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If you have difficulty growing your leads, it could be that your offer isn’t compelling. It’s not irresistible.

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How do you see an irresistible offer? Chris Guillebeau shared a unique perspective on it:

A compelling offer is like a slice of orange at mile 18. It’s a marriage proposal from the guy or girl you’ve been waiting for your whole life. An offer you can’t refuse is like the $20,000 Bonderman Fellowship offered every year to graduating seniors at the University of Washington.

You want them to say yes to download your latest e-book, yes to your email forms, yes to your webinar, yes to your premium physical product on Amazon, and more.

An irresistible offer will help you attract clients and retain them. To do that, follow the irresistible offer rules as laid down by Jonathan Mead, founder of Paid to Exist.

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Remember that when your offer is scarce, relevant, in high demand, and exclusive, it becomes desirable.

People will naturally want to get their hands on it.

For example, in 2004 when Google launched a private beta of their free email service (Gmail), only 1,000 leaders were invited to share their honest opinions. These leaders were also allowed to invite their fans, friends, and family to test out the free email service.

Guess what happened during the initial beta phase of Gmail? Demand was high, because it was exclusive to a group of people — not to the whole world.

At a point, Google started selling Gmail service. In fact, its eBay invitations were sold at $150 and other specific accounts sold for thousands of dollars.

Isn’t it funny that a free email service can be sold for $150 or more, just because it was exclusive, robust, and praised by thought leaders? That’s the power of an irresistible offer. When you offer one, your prospects and customers will see the gap between their problems and your solutions.

image27If you’re looking for an idea to create an irresistible offer for your audience, let me give you an example. Let’s assume that you created a report that will help people save on money on plane tickets.

People read, apply your tips, and share their success stories on how they saved $200, $380, or $350. Many others can testify of the ease of securing their tickets at a reduced cost.

As you can see, the report is compelling and offers some practical advice that works. In this case, the length of the report doesn’t matter. Even if it’s only twenty pages, it’s an irresistible offer because anyone who wants to save on airplane tickets will be attracted to the report.


Domino’s Pizza has an irresistible offer. Tom Monaghan was on the verge of bankruptcy when he strategized on how to take his company to the next level. It was a risk, but a single promotional idea changed everything: 30 minutes or less… or it’s free.

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Most people ordered Domino’s Pizza just because of the terms. (They’ve since dropped the guarantee.)

BlueHost also offers irresistible offers—their web hosting plan starts at $3.49 per month, whereas other competitors such as A Small Orange, Godaddy, and Hostgator start at $4.00 per month.

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The difference may not be clear to you, but to a total beginner who just started out with a site, this is compelling because they can save some money. Your compelling offer has to be something that people want to buy.

In the same vein, if you want to get more email subscribers, your lead magnet has to be highly valuable, free to download, and exclusive. A typical example is Michael Hyatt’s:

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In order to be sure what offers will be irresistible or weak, you’ve to test it out. In his book, How to Create Irresistible Offers, author Robert W. Bly says that it’s possible to improve the response rate to your promotions anywhere from 10%-90%, just by creating and testing different offers.

Derek Halpern also uses a powerful lead magnet to persuade people to join his email list. Though a lot of people don’t like pop-ups since the majority of them annoyingly disrupt reading, his offer (headline) makes a bold promise, so people tend to respond to it, especially first time visitors.

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In all, the way people perceive your offer will go a long way in persuading them to become leads or drive them away. Perceived value can be applied to your lead magnets for building a list. You could attach the value of the offer that you’re giving away for free.

That way, people will be excited to get it, if not for any other reason than the value they perceive in it. Here’s how I use it on the QuickSprout sidebar:

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Conclusion

Don’t get fooled by just any fancy lead generation tool out there. Use tools for the right purpose—automation.

But remember that driving quality leads and engagement to your business will take time.

Building a real business takes time. You’ll expend energy, and you have to move out of your comfort zone.

You need data-driven content to nurture your leads, and if you want to maximize your time, you have to repurpose your content and expand your reach so that you can drive fresh leads to your business.

You may not grow your leads by 113% in a week, but with consistency, you’ll likely surpass that milestone.

“Hacks” are not some magical push-button tactics that don’t have a strong foundation. On the contrary, they’ve been proven to work and many successful brands and industry leaders still use them to acquire new leads and convert them into customers.

Real satisfaction comes from what you learn in the process of applying these proven lead generation hacks.

Same thing goes with increasing sales. You have to make up your mind to learn along the way, because your customers believe in you—and you can’t afford to let them down with outdated advice.

What other lead generation hacks have worked for you? Share your case studies, questions, or opinions.

 

 

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17-Point Content Marketing Checklist – Boost Your Engagement online

17-Point Content Marketing Checklist – Boost Your Engagement online

Written by Neil Patel on September 5, 2015

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Content marketing is a proven strategy for generating leads, increasing sales, and building engagement with your customers. If you’re still skeptical, or if you aren’t using checklists to help you accomplish your content marketing tasks, this article is for you.

As reported by eMarketer, an April 2013 survey of U.S. marketing and advertising executives by MailOnline revealed that 70% of brands and 77% of agencies used content marketing for advertising purposes during the previous year.

It’s not just marketing and advertising executives who’ve discovered the benefits of a content marketing campaign.

According to Insideview, B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads on a monthly basis than companies that don’t. And a whopping 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles—and not via advertising.

If content marketing isn’t a part of your overall marketing strategy, you should reconsider.

If it is part of your strategy, you can increase your campaign’s effectiveness by using a proven checklist. 

Definition of Content Marketing

Content marketing is a marketing method based on the creation of relevant and valuable content to drive a specific call to action—usually to attract and retain customers.

Large group of people symbolizing direction , progress,growth.

Let’s see the definition that Google pulled out from its index:

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Content marketing has proven to be effective for attracting and delighting the customer on a consistent basis.

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The demand for content is greater now than ever before, but producing quality content requires significant research, time, and effort, especially when you don’t have a team helping you.

In fact, it’s become such a huge challenge that 44% of businesses still struggle to produce the kind of content that engages prospects and customers.

However, when you use a proven checklist to guide your efforts, you’ll cut your mistakes by half, leaving more time and energy for increasing engagement with your prospects.

For example, Pepe Jeans, a global fashion brand, increased both its international influence and customer engagement on Facebook when they improved their post frequency and created localized content for specific geographical regions. They increased comments on posts by 70%, boosted engagement by 48%, and grew their Facebook fan base to over 2,000,000.

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Whether you want to improve your social media influence, build a loyal blog audience, or achieve any other marketing goal, you should use this checklist or give it to members of your team to effectively plan, set up, and measure the effectiveness of your content marketing campaign.

1.    Have you Identified the needs of your target audience?

Who is your audience? Identifying your audience’s needs is critical to your success.

In his book, The Ultimate Marketing Plan, Dan S. Kennedy said that social media has changed the way we talk to our customers. He also said that you don’t have a business until you understand your customers.

The chart below from Dali shows that over 75% of Starbucks’ revenue comes from customers aged 18–40, who most likely own a smartphone. So Starbucks isn’t wasting time, money, and effort by marketing to everyone. Rather, they target a specific group of people.

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There are millions of pieces of content out there, but if you’re not speaking the language of your audience, they won’t read yours. Consequently, all that hard work will be in vain.

According to Visual News, WordPress users publish over 347 posts every single minute. Your content will only get added to the slush pile, unless your content fulfills a single objective: to meet the needs of your target market.

Content that isn’t aligned with buyers’ needs is responsible for the 44% failure rate of any failed marketing strategy. That’s why it’s crucial to fully understand the needs of your target audience before writing your first draft.

This is potentially game changing. It destroys the myth of hauling out content to see what sticks, and forces you to streamline your content to the people who matter most, in the format they engage with most.

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How do you identify the needs of your audience?

a) Create a survey: A survey, which can be prepared online or offline, is a simple tool for taking feedback and comments about a subject. Here’s the result of a survey to determine the reason why people travel.

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Surveys are very effective for identifying the needs of your target market and can be instrumental in driving traffic, generating sales and increasing the long-term growth of your business.

There are plenty of free or inexpensive tools that you can use to create your online survey. SurveyMonkey is quite user-friendly and offers short surveys free of charge. Most email marketing services, such as Getresponse or Aweber, also come with built-in survey templates.

What questions you ask in your survey will depend on your goals and objectives. However, for an effective survey, follow this six-step process (by Surveygizmo):

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To assess the needs of your target audience, regardless of your niche, your survey should ask these three questions at a minimum:

1)  Audience demographics: This will help you better target your marketing messages to fit your target audience. Your survey can address any of these demographics:

  • Age range (e.g., 20–35)
  • Income (e.g., $10,000–$50,000 annually)
  • Location (e.g., America, Europe)
  • Occupation (e.g., freelancers, marketers)
  • Education level (e.g., college, graduate)
  • Other demographics (e.g., lifestyle: travel)

2)  Their biggest desires:

  • What is their greatest desire?
  • What problems would they like to solve?
  • Would they pay for this problem to go away or to achieve these goals?

3)  What courses/products/articles would you like for to create?

This question kills two birds with one stone. Not only will you find out what your audience wants, you’ll also get some guidance on exactly how to best grow your business.

Another best practice to observe when creating a survey is to use both open-ended and close-ended questions. Open-ended questions give respondents the opportunity to speak their minds. These kinds of questions can begin with any of these words:

who, what, where, when, why, how questions - uncertrainty, brainstorming or decision making concept, colorful crumpled sticky notes on cork bulletin board

Here’s a comparison of open-ended and close-ended questions:

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b) Send an email to your list: Once you have created and proofed your survey, it’s time to send it to the contacts on your mailing list. This is the easy part.

Simply send your audience a quick email asking for their help with your survey. Tell them why it’s important for them to take the survey—explain what’s in it for them. You can also offer a free gift for everyone who responds, or offer a drawing for a bigger prize.

Here is an email from Eric Conley asking for reader feedback from his mailing list.

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Note: If you don’t have an email list, it’s not too late. You can start today. An email list is evidence that you’re building a business that will thrive in the future. It’s also the only solution to the endless cycle of pursuing traffic, leads, and sales.

 

c) Spy on your competition: competitive audit begins with discovering your competitors’ best keywords (i.e., the keywords they target that are ranking highly) and their best traffic sources.

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If you find that your competitors are dominating the search results, you could also determine the number of their indexed pages. How does this work?

Here’s an excerpt from a post I did for Entrepreneur:

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You can take it a step further and discover how much influence your competitors have on social media networks. For instance, how many social shares do they get for each published post?

Here’s how to find out: visit buzzsumo.com. Type your keyword (e.g., content marketing) into the search box:

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Buzzsumo provides more ways to narrow down your search with its Advanced Search options and filter. You can get tips to find exact phrases, multiple words, content by author name and other statistics that can be used to strategically map out your own content.

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d) Visit niche-related forums: You can also visit a forum where topics in your industry are actively discussed. I prefer to start my search from established social media platforms.

Start by logging on to Linkedin. Type “forum + content marketing” in the search box.

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This search brought up 88,550 results on LinkedIn, but we want to focus on the result for Groups.

Let’s click on one of the groups, “The content marketing forum.”

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From the comments on this question, it seems that this group is engaging and willing to respond to comments.This is a forum where you can ask questions to identify the needs of your target market.

Another tactic worth trying, especially if you have limited time available, is to sign up for a free account on Quora, select the categories you are interested in, and get question suggestions from community members.

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2.    Do I need to redefine my content strategy?

A defined content strategy complete with specific goals is the backbone of any content marketing campaign. Publishing one-off articles absent a proper strategy-backed campaign is the equivalent of spinning your wheels: you’ll expend effort but get no closer to your goals.

This is why B2B companies with a documented strategy are 25% more effective more effective than those without a documented strategy.

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The content strategy that you develop and how you deploy it largely depends on the information you got from your target audience in step 1, above.

Let’s take a cue from the needs of our target audience above to plot out content strategy.

  • Audience Statistics: Say this was the snapshot of your audience stats after readers took your survey:
  • Age range: 30–50
  • Niche: Internet marketing
  • Competitors: problogger.net, becomeablogger.com
  • Engagement via: Facebook, G+
  • Needs: blogging, content marketing

From these results, you can figure out what to focus on:

  • Subscribe to 5 or 10 blogs in your niche and follow them on social media as well.
  • Focus on the keywords your competition currently ranks for and target long-tail keywords to increase your chances of ranking highly in Google.
  • Pay more attention to your business page on Facebook.
  • Write more posts on content marketing.
  • Consider hosting a webinar.
  • Plan your content to attract, engage and connect customers.

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Attract: There are several ways you can attract your target audience, including a recent favorite of mine: writing data-driven posts.

Data-driven posts are especially helpful for building authority with your readers. When you can prove to your audience that you’re not just writing off the top of your head but rather have done real research and can back up your content with solid facts, you increase the chance of building your audience and earning their trust.

Another way to garner more attention for your content is to take the advice of advertising guru David Ogilvy and create provocative and powerful headlines that get clicked. In fact, the headline takes up 80% of your marketing dollar.

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Engage: If your content is merely attracting people to your page without engaging them, you will experience a high bounce rate and might even be penalized by Google.

So many business owners make the mistake of just building their content strategy around producing content and not considering how the content will engage with readers and lead them to a specific action.

Connect: Another way to attract attention is by emotionally connecting to your target audience.

Jon Morrow was able to connect emotionally with his target audience by sharing his personal story, “On Dying, Mothers and Fighting for Your Ideas,” with them.

Because he was able to find a point of connection between his story and audience, that post has received over 5000+ shares, opened up business for him, and has become a point of reference for other sites as well.

Your story doesn’t have to move people to tears in order for you to connect emotionally with your readers. It doesn’t even have to be your story. You can interview one of your successful clients, for example, and share that story on your website.

3.    Do I need to create a content map?

A content map helps you stay focused on your goals as you plan your content. Think of it as a kind of Google map that keeps you on the right path and immediately helps you retrace your steps if you get off track.

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Some of the questions to ask yourself as you prepare your content map include:

  • What should be the reader’s biggest takeaway after reading this content?
  • How do I make this appealing to my target audience?
  • Where do I need to incorporate media and what type of media?
  • What resources do I need to create appealing content?
  • Do I create content myself or will I need help? Should I outsource, and if so, how much?
  • How can I repurpose this content?

Another process that can help you is concept mapping, in which related ideas and concepts produce a graphic image showing the connection between ideas.

Concept mapping will become very useful for smooth transitioning of one idea to another, especially if you are going to be doing a lot of research as you write your post.

If there is a disconnection in your content, your readers will notice. You can avoid that by following the six steps of concept mapping developed by the Web Center for Social Research Methods.

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4.    How do I keep a flexible workflow plan?

You can create and maintain a flexible workflow plan by planning weeks or even months in advance. Your content that has been previously mapped out will give you the best post ideas and outlines.

You should also practice the fine art of delegation–something 86% of content marketers have already embraced.

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You can prepare:

Pre-written scripts: These scripts can be used for pitching, sending responses, sending reminders, and other commonly repeated tasks. These kinds of templates can help you achieve a flexible workflow plan.

Work responsibilities: If you have a team in place for content marketing, it’s important that each team member have their own specific work responsibilities, rather than just a vague description of “working on content marketing.”

Use a timer: Every task should be assigned a start time and end time. To keep your workflow flexible, remember Parkinson’s Law, which states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

5.    Have I addressed my customers’ FAQ?

The best way to create a successful content marketing campaign is to gain customer insights and understand the needs of your target audience, as we discussed in item #1.

There’s a simple tool that business owners have used over the years to publish viral blog posts, make bigger sales, and create life-long customers. Best of all, this tool is free and accessible to anyone.

It’s called frequently asked questions, or FAQ. It’s basically just a list of questions that your audience will most likely ask about what you’re offering, together with your answers to those questions.

Pat Flynn has a great FAQ on his Food Truck Growth Kit:

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An FAQ is used to reduce the number of questions coming in to your sales team as a result of something you put out–for example, a product for sale. You can also consider using a SAQ, or “should ask” questions.

I first heard about SAQs from bestselling author Mike Koenigs, in his book Author Expert Marketing Machines. They’re the questions you wish people would ask you. They are what make your content unique and position you as an authority.

6.    Have I made my site readable?

What’s the point of having great content if your users can’t read it? Here are some basic rules to give your customers a pleasurable viewing experience with your content.

a) Tag properly: The main topic should be your first level heading, and your subtopic should be heading level two. Use bold and italics as you compose drafts in Word or Google Docs to call attention to a word or sentence.

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b) Use the right font face: There are thousands of fonts available, but you’ve got to be careful choosing among them. You obviously want fonts that are really easy for the user to read.

You should also consider the “personality” or “tone” of your fonts, and make sure it matches both your niche and your brand. For example, the font a musical artist uses for designing his posters may not work well for marketers or law firms.

c) Analyze a niche-related site: To check the best font for your website, pick a favorite website in your niche and check which fonts it uses:

  1. Highlight a paragraph
  2. Right-click on your mouse and click “inspect element”
  3. In the right box, you will be able to see the font family, font size and weight.

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7.    Have I included visually appealing images?

According to 3M Corporation and Zabisco, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. But don’t use just any stock photo for your post.

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Ensuring your content is visual-centric will increase engagement with your readers.

There are several sites where you can find great images to pair with your content. You can also make them yourself. Check out this in-depth guide: How to Make Custom Images for Your Blog Without Hiring a Designer.

8. How do I generate viral content ideas?

After the team at Moz analyzed a large sample set of headlines from different online publications, they discovered that headlines with numbers are preferred over other headline styles by 36% of users.

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They also found that different factors contributed to headlines going viral, such as the headline’s emotional impact on the user.

You can also visit sites like Buzzsumo and Ahrefs to see what’s trending in your industry. However, there’s another avenue for generating headline and content ideas that’s somewhat underused: Amazon.

Here’s how you do it: visit Amazon.com and type a keyword (e.g., content marketing) that’s related to your niche into the search box:

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The marked result in the screenshot above talks about a global perspective on content marketing and was published in late 2014. This means that the information that it contains is relatively recent, and with 69 five-star reviews it’s probably fairly relevant.

On the book’s product page, Amazon gives you a sneak peek of what the book is about. Click on the book cover and scroll to the table of contents to get some of the ideas discussed in the book.

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As you review, you’ll undoubtedly think of comments and questions, as well as related concepts, all of which you can use to plan your next piece of content.

9.    How can I grab attention with openings and paragraphs?

On average, your headline is read five times as often as your body copy. Clearly, your opening paragraph, as well as the rest of your content, also plays a part in getting your content read.

I’ve analyzed the posts below for opening elements that you can incorporate into your posts.

a) Open with a story: Go tinybuddha style and open your post with a story. The technique of storytelling was used effectively in this post, titled “Dealing with Loss and Grief: Be Good to Yourself While You Heal.”

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b) Open with a confession: Do you have a secret that you’ve kept for a long time? Why not reveal it in your opening? Pamela Wilson knows exactly how to do it:

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c) Open with attention: The first line of your opening is a teaser. It should scream “Read Me.” Here’s an example:

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Other points to consider as you craft your opening:

  • Do not write misleading openings.
  • Make sure your paragraphs are well spaced.
  • Test varying paragraph lengths. A good rule of thumb is a minimum of two lines, with a maximum of eight lines, as you’ll see in the examples I used.

10.  Can data-driven content increase my credibility?

Your content will be taken seriously when it’s backed up with accurate facts and supporting data.

Journalists are good at taking data and turning it into meaningful information. But once they get the data, they’ll filter it for the real juice, visualize it, and then use storytelling to get the information to the public. You can do the same.

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So how do you get data for your posts?

a) Get data from an influencer: Influencers have access to an army of resources—not to mention an army of assistants working on researching their posts. To get data from an influencer, bookmark posts you think will be useful for your future posts and perhaps save them in Evernote or some similar app.

Then in the future, when you’re writing on a similar topic, revisit the post and let it help you uncover additional resources with the data you’re looking for.

b) Sign up for Google alerts: Stay abreast of trends by signing up for Google alerts. Whenever there’s news on a topic you’re following, Google will email you with the news. Bookmark these pages for future reference.

11.  Do I need to optimize for SEO?

Yes, you do.

The importance of SEO can’t be overestimated. After all, you want your content to be discovered by the right people in the search engine results.

The tips provided here will not automatically rank your post at the top of Google’s SERPs, but they can increase the chances of your post being found on Google and thus direct more search traffic to your content.

Keyword research: Before you sit down to write any post, spend some time doing keyword research. Visit Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find the keyword variations you can easily rank for.

On-page SEO: You should properly tag your posts and meta descriptions. Also, always avoid stuffing your post with keywords to avoid the “Google penalty.”

Write optimized meta descriptions with some of the keywords used in your post (no stuffing) and keep it under 150 characters so it will appear fully in search engines.


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By targeting long-tail keywords, you’ll have a greater chance of ranking highly in Google.

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If you consistently publish quality posts targeted for long-tail keywords over a period of time, you’ll definitely dominate the search engine. However, focus on the user intent, not necessarily the keywords.

Off-page optimization: Too many business owners spend very little time on off-page optimization. And yet, it is very effective. Off-page optimization is all about getting quality links to your web pages. Some of the ways you can earn/build high-quality links are:

  • Guest blogging
  • Creating ego bait (e.g., top list expert posts)
  • Media outreach, social media
  • Broken links strategy

Write conversationally: Conversational writing is an effective SEO practice. It’s hard, after all, to write outstanding content when you’re actually writing for a bot. When you write conversationally, it’s much harder to stuff keywords into your post.

12.  Do I need local channels for promotion?

Promoting your content through local media channels is still a viable tactic. New survey data from the Yellow Pages Association and two research partners, Burke and comScore in their Local Media Tracking Study, show that print and Internet yellow pages combine to produce the greatest audience reach of any medium for consumers seeking local business information.

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In order to kickstart your local media promotion, you first have to understand the audience that you’re targeting. It’s not a global audience, so you have to ensure that you speak their language.

a) Visit your local newspaper stand and identify the sections where you would like to be featured. (Other local outlets you can target include radio stations, TV segments, and local conferences.)

b) Flip to the editorials to find the editor for that section. After you identify the local channels of promotion, you can create a plan to pitch the editors in charge of that section.

13.  How do I get started with a social media strategy?

You need a social media strategy if you want to generate loyal leads and customers.

It’s a top content marketing approach and it’s extremely effective in content distribution. A 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends study credits 84% of Australian content distribution to social media.

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Social media isn’t rocket science–you can start with a very basic strategy. The trick is to find one thing that works and do it consistently.

To start your social media strategy, follow these five steps:

  1.     Open a business account on the social media platform where your target market hangs out.
  2.     Schedule posts and be consistent.
  3.     Pick the best time to post.
  4.     Encourage user engagement.
  5.     Measure results.

It’s critical for your success to pinpoint the right time to post your content on social media. When you understand social media timing, you can apply it to your posts.

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14.  I need to reach out to key influencers in my niche—how do I begin?

As a newbie blogger or business owner, it’s not easy to get the attention of influencers—but it’s far from impossible.

Once you’ve got the right data and you’re able to communicate effectively, as well as show them how they can benefit from your campaign or idea, you’ll get their attention. After all, just like you, influencers want to increase their reach and grow revenue.

There are several ways to get the attention of a blogger, but here are a few pointers:

  • Comment on their posts
  • Write a fan note
  • Offer to work for free
  • Write a guest post
  • Write a thank-you note
  • Follow them on social media
  • Feature them on your blog
  • Be helpful
  • Buy their products
  • Attend networking events at which they’re speaking

You can use Topsy to find social media influencers in your industry. Click the INFLUENCERS tab, type in your main keyword (e.g., internet marketing), then click the search icon.

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Next, select your preferred expert:

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When you click an expert’s picture, you’ll be taken straight to their Twitter feed. From there, you can find their blog or site and follow.

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15.  What steps do I need to take to create an editorial calendar?

To avoid falling off the content grid, create an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is used by bloggers and publishers to keep track of and control the publication of content in a given time period (say, a month, a quarter, or a year).

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You don’t need to get fancy—though you can. You can just use your computer’s calendar app or Google Calendar.

So with your content strategy in mind, pick a calendar and then start filling out this information:

  • What day of the week is most suitable?
  • Which platform should each piece be published on?
  • What content theme will you follow?
  • Which team member should you assign content to?
  • At what time?

The editorial calendar gives you an overview of what is planned for your content in one month, three month or even six month intervals. An editorial calendar can make your life much easier, as it did for Lacy Boggs, and make writing a lot easier as well.

16.  Do I have to set metrics for measuring results?

Yes, you do.

There is a saying that “whatever is not measured cannot be improved on.” And this is as true for content marketing as it is for life goals. Growth metrics begin at the moment when you “meet” the customer and go right through their post-purchase experience.

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Setting metrics is a valuable gift to give yourself and your business. It can even serve as an energy boost on days when you feel too discouraged to pursue your goals.

Setting metrics can be free and as simple as:

  • Installing Google analytics in your WordPress dashboard
  • Checking the insights on your Facebook page
  • Keeping a simple spreadsheet to record your lead-generation activities

Or you can use advanced premium options such as:

  • Tracking links with a link tracker tool
  • Using a content relationship management (CRM) software
  • Hiring a community manager for Facebook marketing and using software to track progress

Which metrics you set depends entirely on what you are trying to measure, the level of detail you require, the purpose of measurement, and the size of your business.

Also, note that when tracking results, there are some results that don’t make much of a difference for your business and some metrics that you should definitely not worry about until you have grown your list to a significant size.

Instead, focus on actionable metrics that will impact your bottom line (e.g., grow your list, acquire more leads, increase sales, etc.).

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Some of the metrics you should consider tracking are:

a) Conversion rate: Are you converting at least 10% of your website visitors? Are they signing up to your mailing list?

b) Bounce rate: Do people find your content interesting? Are they engaging with your content or are they hitting the back button?

c) Targeted traffic: It’s not enough that your traffic increased to 100,000 visitors this month. If the traffic isn’t converting, it’s probably because your brand message isn’t clear and your message means different things to different people.

Spend some time on your Google Analytics account and you’ll definitely come up with actionable data for decision making, such as sessions, users, page views, and average session duration.

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17.  How do I build a content marketing campaign?

When you want to take your content to the next level and boost engagement, you’ve got to create a campaign. The word “campaign” isn’t new to Facebook advertisers, Google AdWords advertisers, and PR professionals.

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A campaign, whether it relates to marketing or content, simply means a coordinated series of steps that are aimed at yielding bigger results.

According to John Rampton, one of the elements of a winning campaign is understanding who you’re marketing to and creating useful, and preferably evergreen, content for them, which will continue to satisfy user expectations and continually grow your traffic.

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From the Google analytics dashboard, you will see the bounce rate, the conversion rate, and the site that’s sending you the most traffic. From there, you can see where your referrals are coming from, in what regions, and at what time of the day.

With all the tools available to measure your content marketing efforts, you can avoid the mistakes you made in your first campaign and laser-focus on the activity that brought you the most results.

Conclusion

Attracting an audience of people who’ll believe and trust you doesn’t happen overnight. You have to stick with it and be willing to continually learn. The marketing world is constantly changing, but the basic needs of the target audience will always remain the same.

Great content draws people’s attention. Content marketing is the most effective tactic for generating qualified leads and engaging your audience.

Whether you’re going to focus on social media or search engines, the rule basically is the same: answer your customers’ questions and you’ll win their hearts.

How do you create engagement with your content?

17-Point Content Marketing Checklist – Boost Your Engagement online

Categories
Wordpress

List of 32 Free WordPress Themes For Effective Content Marketing

List of 32 Free WordPress Themes For Effective Content Marketing

Written by Neil Patel on September 3, 2015

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You already know that WordPress is a popular CMS, and most content marketers love it. According to WpTavern, “50% of all WordPress themes on ThemeForest have generated up to $1,000 per month, because both beginners, intermediates and expert online marketers need a theme.” Are you on WordPress?

A recent statistics from ManageWp revealed that, “22% of U.S. registered domain names will run on WordPress.” And for each of these domains to become active, it needs a WordPress theme.

The question is, “how do you choose the right WordPress theme when there are so many out there?”

Trust me, it’s not as easy as you think. When I started blogging, one of the crazy activities that killed my productivity was checking out new themes. I couldn’t just place my mind and hand on the right one for me. But I know better now…

Did you know that your success as a content marketer goes beyond writing great content? There are so many factors that will ensure you’re always at the top of your game.

Your attitude to work, the way your market your content and most importantly, the look of your blog all plays a key role.

When we talk about improving your WordPress blog load time, 95% is given to the theme that you currently use. In fact, WordPress usage takes more than half of all other CMS platforms:

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Investing in a professionally-looking theme is important, but what if you’re just a beginner and you’d prefer a free WordPress theme that still looks gorgeous, can you find one?

Sure you can. I deemed it necessary to write this article, because these days I get a lot of emails from my readers who would like to know where they can find the right WordPress themes that will aid in effective content marketing.

Trust me, I’ve you covered. Without much ado, here is a list of 32 professional WP themes that you can download at no cost: 

1.    Sparkling [PreviewDownload]

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It’s time to sparkle your blog. If you’re looking for a flat design, clean and professionally-looking theme, Sparkling may just be the right one. It was developed using Bootstrap 3.

This modern theme has a frontend framework feature that optimizes it to display well on smartphones, desktops, tablets and other devices. This WordPress theme is unique from the millions out there because of its pixel perfect design, full-screen slider and widgets that you’ll fall in love with.

Truly, ‘Sparkling’ is built to have a premium layout and every content marketer who prides content above everything else will benefit from it. If you’re looking for SEO-friendly theme, you’re lucky.

It’s Sparkling. It’s Schema compatible. Google will have no other choice than to follow your blog. Most of the free and paid plugins out there are supported such as SEO by Yoast, W3 Total Cache, Quick AdSense, Akismet, Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms etc.

For effective content marketing, you need a WordPress theme that hands control over to you, such that you can add, modify or delete any plugin, section or modify layout as you deem fit.

Whether you’re interested in using the Sparkling WordPress theme for your personal or corporate business, you’ve won the jackpot. It’s the ideal theme that cuts across different industry such as education, business, web design, marketing, health & fitness, and more.

2.    Dazzling [PreviewDownload]

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Dazzling is an unrivaled a responsive theme. It’s developed using Bootstrap 3, and comes with an optional full-screen slider. This is useful when you’re building your first corporate or portfolio site.

This flat theme has mint green accent colors and will inspire you to daily to embrace the best side of content marketing. Personally, I’m fond of this theme because it’s clean, unbeatable and will enhance your personal brand. What’s more?

Startup entrepreneurs, CEOs and Public Speakers will benefit from the full-screen slider, because they’ll use it to showcase their keynote speeches.

Dazzling modern theme can help you improve your online reputation because of its great features. Your online reputation is something that you’ve to always improve on, because 87% of people believe that your reputation is an important part of a company’s reputation.

Dazzling WordPress theme includes added optimization for a lot of the essential plugins out there such as All-in-one-SEO Pack, JetPack, Contact Form 7, and more.

3.    Red Captik [PreviewDownload]

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This is a professional theme that comes free of charge. Red Captik contains modern functionalities that will enable you to structure your homepage sections, and make your “above the fold” visible.

You can use Red Captik for virtually any subject, because there is no limitations whatsoever. I know a game enthusiast who currently uses this theme, and a gossip blogger who also makes use of it.

If you’ve useful videos on YouTube, you could also use this theme to send visitors to your channel and engage them.

4.    Travelify [PreviewDownload]

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Travelify is a sleek WordPress theme that comes free. Although it has some premium functionalities which give you the ability to change the theme layout (full, no sidebar, or wide).

The theme is mobile responsive, modern and you can use it for virtually any subject or business objective. For example, if you’re a content marketer, Travelify puts value on your content and highlights them for your readers to enjoy.

It’s a pixel perfect design, with a featured slider which you can turn off with a single click. The flexibility that the theme offers enable you to alter its layout until it suits your objective. You can also use a background image to make this theme customized to your brand.

5.  Ascent [PreviewDownload]

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Ascent WordPress theme is designed with responsiveness in mind. This means that it’ll appear well on Tablets, Smartphones, Laptops, Desktop of all sizes and any other device. The innovative technology used is based on CSS3 and HTML5.

What I like about Ascent is the richness of the slider that appears above the header. In other words, your pictures get an added optimization that would make them stand out from the rest. If you’re a photographer, an information marketer or a content marketer, you can use Ascent to improve user experience.

This theme has been downloaded over 30,000 times, making it one of the most popular WordPress themes that is professional and free.

A right and left sidebar gives you added flexibility, and this team is translation-ready. This is essential if you’ll be serving a wider audience in different languages.

6.  Auberge [PreviewDownload]

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Do you struggle to create the right content for your customers? you’re not alone. If you want to attract and nurture an audience with your blog, then you need variety of content. According to Whatech, 9% of B2B marketers struggle with producing variety of content.

But let’s assume that you’ve created variety of content, how do you showcase all of them in the right manner? You need the right WordPress theme, and Auberge may just be the right one.

This impressive Auberge WordPress theme is free, professionally-designed and it’s currently used by over 30,000 blogs. The overwhelming quality and usefulness of Auberge makes it a one-stop theme for those who want to expand their content marketing reach.

Auberge is built around a mobile-first design concept, which makes it 100% mobile responsive. One vital reason why you probably should consider this theme is because the content can be easily showcased on Retina Displays that have high resolutions.

A challenge that most site owners have when they’re trying to showcase their best content is resizing and compatibility issues, which severely drowns the value of the content.

The theme would suit every niche, but it’ll serve a better purpose restaurants and cafe pages. When constructing your pages, you can use the Beaver page builder plugin. You can download and use the lite version at no cost.

7.  Onetone [PreviewDownload]

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Onetone is a streamlined WordPress theme that’s based on CSS3 and HTML5. It helps you simplify your layout, because one single page can be used to manage different information in a professional manner.

As a stylish, modern, flat and flexible theme, Onetone gives you the opportunity to alter and personalize your experience, and every other element while giving customers the experience of a lifetime.

Onetone is great for business purposes. You can individual sections (such as gallery, about, services) from the admin panel. Depending on your business objective and brand building objectives, you can upload a favicon and logo to make branding much more easier.

One last thing, Onetone WordPress theme is SEO-friendly. This makes it possible for search users to find your content and web pages. If you like, you can add Parallax scrolling, custom backgrounds, fonts and icons.

8.  Awaken [PreviewDownload]

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Awaken WordPress theme is free, and has a 4 out of 5 star ratings. If you’re fond of a minimalist design, this theme is for you. Because it’s extra white spaces push your content to the forefront, and eliminates distractions.

Awaken is a magazine theme which includes two widget areas. The posts are also showcased using three distinct widgets.

The layout of this theme is constructed using Bootstrap framework, with mobile responsiveness in mind. In particular, mobile users will benefit from your blog if you use this theme.

Other essential features of Awaken is the nifty slider. The theme options panel gives you added flexibility, which enables you to change theme color, font attributes and links.

9.  Constructzine Lite [PreviewDownload]

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Constructzine Lite is a stylish, flexible and modern WordPress theme that will serve your content marketing needs, because it has a clean and validated code.

This means that no matter your technical skill, you can edit, and structure your theme to display your content well.

With the basic HTML/PHP knowledge, you can structure your content display area. If you’re not a skilled developer, you don’t have to worry because the theme options panel enables you to update your settings such as logo, colors, social links and more.

One other feature of Constructzine Lite WordPress theme is that it gives you the rare privilege of customizing different sections on your homepage such as services, about, products, careers. This theme is great for corporate websites and entrepreneurs who want to be positioned as experts in their chosen industries.

The theme is compatible with some of the popular browsers (e.g. Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome). It’s seo-friendly, mobile responsive and multipurposeful.

10.  The SSMAG [PreviewDownload]

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SSMAG is a mobile responsive, plug and play WordPress theme that has a grid based layout. Content creators will find this theme useful, because of its feature which positions your content to go viral. It has a well-designed social share buttons.

The design layout is optimized to engage readers, and cause them to explore your site further. SSMAG was created in 2015. The custom widgets to display text and HTML elements.

Apart from being browser compatible, SSMAG theme supports embedded video, which will play a vital role in explaining what your blog is all about, instead of your featured image on a post page.

11.  BookRev Lite [PreviewDownload]

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In its true sense, bloggers are actually telling a story. Because their posts have to flow from one section to the other. In the same vein, writing product reviews is a skill that requires storytelling.

BookRev Lite WordPress theme is well-crafted with the end user in mind. It’s unique, and designed for book reviews. When you use this theme, you can review any book, display it in the right hierarchy and give users the opportunity to leave feedback about their favorite books.

As a book reviewer, you can monetize your blog content through Amazon affiliate links, and also promote books from other online book stores. BookRev Lite theme has a powerful theme options that enables you to tweak and set the theme’s functionality to your taste, without touching the code.

Remember that when it comes to call-to-action or opt-in box, the placement plays a key role in either improving your click-through rate, boost your conversion rate or decreasing it. In the same vein, how you position your books, and product reviews will determine how much engagement you’ll create with your users.

12.  Esteem [PreviewDownload]

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Most beginners to blogging are looking for a WordPress theme that will showcase their portfolio or samples so that potential clients can find them easily. If that’s what you’re after, Esteem will be right for you.

Esteem is a simple and easy to use theme that offers unlimited theme color options, so that you can change the feel and look of your site to stand out from the competition. Esteem theme comes with 2 custom themes.

One of the themes is custom-built to display your products, portfolio or services. You can upload and set your custom logo, site title from the theme options panel.

If you want to gain traction, nurture a loyal audience and establish your brand online, you should leverage the Esteem theme customizable header image.

13.  Accelerate [PreviewDownload]

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Who says that you can’t find a modern WordPress theme with a premium look for your site? Well, Accelerate is right here to fill that spot. Accelerate is a super flexible theme that is suitable for portfolio, personal, travel, corporate or business services sites.

If you’re an artist like a photographer or illustrator, you can use the fullscreen slider to showcase your best works.


Accelerate theme sends a strong clear and strong message to your target audience, through its flat and straight-forward design that blends perfectly with your content (video, blog posts, audio etc).

Accelerate is fully responsive, and displays well in any type of mobile device. Moreover, the theme is retina ready to enhance your audience viewing experience and lower bounce rate.

14.  Ample [PreviewDownload]

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It’s time to personalize your blog with this eye-catching and professional theme. Ample is a free minimalist and multipurpose WordPress theme that comes with a feature-rich options for customizing your layout, and setting the right metrics for your site.

Building your personal brand is an essential part of running a successful online business. So it’s necessary to customize your site by adding a professional logo and relevant header text that will appeal to your target audience.

Ample multipurpose WordPress theme is suitable for business or personal use and will play well in any industry, but it’s particularly useful for authors, freelance writers and book review writers.

15.   WP-Premium [PreviewDownload]

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If you’re familiar with Copyblogger, you’ll agree with me that their first theme looked similar to this theme. I also know a few bloggers who started out with this theme, but later changed when their business grew.

Why am I saying this? Well, it’s to let you know that WP Premium free WordPress theme provides a richer experience for the end user, provides premium functionality and trendy look.

If you’re looking to start a serious blog, you should consider using WP Premium. It’s 100% responsive, which means that your texts and images will display smoothly on any device where your visitor is viewing your site from.

This theme is powered by Foundation – a front end framework that’s flexible, user friendly and professional.

WP Premium takes a content-first approach. The homepage widget areas let’s you manage your sidebar, header, navigation menu and footer. Other functionalities are a wide selection of widgets such as the author widgets which displays relevant information about the author or blog owner.

You also have the advertisement widget for monetizing your blog content with AdSense, ClickBank, CJ and any third-party affiliate network that supports HTML code and CSS.

16.   Quickstart [PreviewDownload]

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This is a free and professional theme from Gabfirethemes.com. What differentiates this theme from others is the fact that you can structure your blog layout as you want it to be.

Your category page doesn’t have to be a bland list of articles, you can now put the right content there and re-engage your audience. From the themes control panel, you can select alternative header templates quickly. No coding experience is required to effect this change.

Localization support is also enabled, because Quickstart was designed to appeal to international and local site owners. It supports multiple languages, and it’s compatible with WPML’s multilingual plugin.

There is also another feature that makes this theme unique. The Gabfire module: This is an extended functionality that enables users to embed videos and default post images, so that the difficulty associated with embedding YouTube videos for instance is eliminated.

Quickstart free WordPress theme is equipped with a single post image slider, category templates, page templates, advanced control panel. It’s search engine optimized and mobile responsive.

17.  Transhik [PreviewDownload]

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Transhik sure has some amazing functionalities that you’ll love. This is a professionally-looking theme that would have sold for $39 or more, but you can download and use it for free.

It has a clever ‘above the fold’ slider that displays your best and latest works. If you’re an author, you can use this to showcase your book. If you’re an artist such as a photographer, an illustrator or web painter, this sleek slider will be very much helpful for you.

Transhik free WordPress theme displays your content using the default font face that’s clear and professional. If you’re an intermediate blogger or online entrepreneur and needs a sophisticated theme that has all the modern functionalities intact, Transhik may just be the right one for you.

18.  Onesie [PreviewDownload]

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As the name implies, Onesie is a flat and free WordPress theme. It’s a one page responsive theme, which can be used for business or personal purposes.

It adapts to different screen sizes, making it possible for your texts and images to display perfectly on iPads, iPhones, tablets and other mobile devices including smart watches.

Onesie is easy to customize. You can change the background image to whatever you want. The header images can be customized to your taste, create custom navigation menus, choose the right font and layout design for optimal user experience.

Onesie is browser compatible, which means that it displays perfectly on popular browsers that your target audience will most likely be using such as Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and more. It also contains standard theme features such as the theme options, automatic updates and translation-reader functionality.

19.  Path [PreviewDownload]

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You can use Path, a free and stylish WordPress theme if you’ve a multi-author site and magazine-related sites.

One powerful functionality of Path is that you can use the built-in WordPress custom header to manage the feel of your site, control the logo and other branding aspects of your site, as long as it’s in agreement with WordPress and Hybrid Core.

Several plugins such as Gravity Forms, Social Path, SEO by Yoast and more. No matter your industry, as long as you’re passionate about building a community, creating viral content and generating leads for your business, you can use the Path theme.

20.  Questan [PreviewDownload]

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Blogging is first and foremost a mindset. If your theme looks professional, it’s going to give you a mindset that makes you think as if you’re on top of the world. You might be a beginner, but it wouldn’t make any difference – because you’re already on the right foot.

Questan is a powerful and premium WordPress theme that you can download for free. It’s designed by ZJTThemes.com.

This is one of such themes that would have been sold for $39 or more, but the company deemed it necessary to give it away. While it’s still free, you’ve to download it for your next blog.

It’s mobile responsive, seo-friendly and contains theme option panels for customizing your blog layout so that your content gets the #1 attention. Because that’s exactly what your target is after.

21.  Calenotis Magazine [PreviewDownload]

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Calenotis Magazine WordPress theme comes free of charge. It’s ideal for any type of project.

If you’ve just launched your book (whether ebook or hardcopy), or you want to create in-depth content that will generate organic traffic for you, this magazine theme will do the job right from the very beginning.

Calenotis is a popular theme used in the health and fitness industry. Majority of the internet marketers out there aren’t aware of this theme. If they were, why are they not using it?

But the good news is that you’ve the chance to use it while it’s free. The fullscreen slider will house your best works, latest pictures, upcoming programs and more. This theme was designed using the minimalist principle “omit needless things!”

The default font size for the body text may not be that legible, but with html and CSS experience, you can always change the size of your text to suit your users.

22.  Magi Portfolio [PreviewDownload]

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Magi Portfolio WordPress theme looks very much like the Transhik theme. Magi is free, responsive and has a stylish frontpage slider where you can showcase your best works. This theme also supports modern web tools and plugins.

Site speed is one of the Google ranking factors that you’ve to always consider. This theme is super fast. Your users will thank you for it.

The single post area is professionally-laid out, and font style and size and carefully set to make maximum impact. A true modern theme that’s used by tens of thousands of users, and fits well into the modern business world.

23.  Typepress [PreviewDownload]

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Typepress is a free and colorful WordPress theme. People are driven by colors. In fact, in the psychology of colors, certain colors have proven to improve click rate on call-to-action as well as increase sales.

If you’re looking for a free theme to use on your blog that will be colorful, agile and has all the powerful functionalities to build your business, Typepress could be your answer. It was developed by Arm Studio, and released for free to the world.

Browser compatibility is one feature that makes this theme a resourceful one. No matter the browser that you or your users are using, they’ll not have issues reading your content, watching videos or downloading your report. Even on mobile devices, mobile users will enjoy navigating your site because of it’s mobile-friendliness feature.

24.  iPad Fieden [PreviewDownload]

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Make no mistakes about it, iPad Fieden WordPress theme isn’t limited to iPad or mobile phone sites. It’d also be great if you run a tech-related blog. Take authority sites such as Techcrunch for example, they’re built from the ground up to appeal to tech and startup users.

In the same vein, iPad Fieden was designed to help your users navigate your site as they scour and read through the pages of your useful content. Of course, no matter how great a theme looks, if your content is not helpful, users will not respond as they’re supposed to.

So if you decide to use this free WordPress theme to build your business, you’ve to be determined to continually publish high-quality content. Because when you do, the powerful functionalities of iPad Fieden will bear fruits and position you as the go-to expert in your niche.

25.  Business [PreviewDownload]

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When you mean business (a site that will make you money), you’ve to consider a theme that was designed for that. There are several ways to monetize and make money from a blog.

That said, do you know that the manner by which you place your affiliate links, promotional banners and other call-to-action plays a vital role in your conversion rate?

Absolutely. It does!

Business WordPress theme may be free, but it comes with premium functionalities that makes it easier to advertise on your blog like a pro. Apart from the monetization aspect, the single post are given top priority as well.

You can customize your logo, header image, background color or image. The drag-and-drop slideshow interface gives you an added experience, and your users will fall in love with it.

26.  Eliaten [PreviewDownload]

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Eliaten is 100% free to use. It’s a magazine theme, and has features that enable you to optimize your homepage and add important sections such as about us, our portfolio, products and careers.

The front page image slider is ideal for showcasing your latest completed projects, clients that you’ve worked with, testimonials and some of the works that you’re proud of. It’s a Javascript slider, easy to use, easy to configure and manage.

When it comes to branding, Eliaten is flexible. You can upload your logo in the header section, and it’ll be seen clearly because the space provided is large.

The navigation menu items can be tweaked to your taste, and you’ve total control over the background color or background image. Eliaten free WordPress theme is mobile responsive, seo-optimized and suitable for personal, business or corporate blogs.

27.  Basic [PreviewDownload]

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At some point in your blogging business, you’ve to focus on getting the right content out, attracting a loyal audience and answering their questions. At such points, you may not need a fancy theme, except you’ve enough money to buy a premium theme. But you can use this Basic theme.

You may think there is nothing special about ‘Basic’ free WordPress theme, but that’s not true. Most successful marketing blogs are built on minimalist blog designs, with the primary focus on the content and user.

If you’re just starting out with WordPress, you need to start with a theme that you can learn from, not a sophisticated one that requires a level of coding experience.

The layout of Basic free WordPress theme is super simple, giving you the freedom to customize the look and feel of your site. You can achieve this through the Themify options panel.

This theme was designed with features that will take you from where you’re in your content marketing career to a new level. The lightbox gallery, RSS, footer menu, 5 theme skins, social icons, child theme support, and more will enhance your blogging experience and that of your users.

28.  Design [PreviewDownload]

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As the name implies, Design is a free WordPress theme that I’ve seen at work on several industry blogs. It’s well designed, and has the modern features to bring your content alive.

One of the challenges of content marketing is producing engaging content. Even if you succeed at creating the right type of content, how do you present it to your audience? What format will be best for me?

Sure, asking them is the easiest way to find out what they care about. But again, they may not be honest with their responses.

But what if you can cut through the chase, use the different widgets for the header, sidebar, footer and single post to showcase different content types such as videos, Slide Presentations, blog posts, e-books and more?

Then you can track how many clicks each of these content generates. You don’t need any magician to tell you what your users want, because numbers don’t lie.

29.  Genfes [PreviewDownload]

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Genfes is the right WordPress theme to use for your niche blogs. For example, if you run a digital camera reviews blog, you can use this theme to display your best shots, edited works and more.

This theme takes a content-first approach. It places a thumbnail at the left side, while your blog post appears at the right.

The right sidebar is clean, and optimized to boost clicks on your affiliate and sponsored banners. Of course you know that the more clicks you receive, the more money you’ll make, depending on the nature of the program.

30.  Live Wire [PreviewDownload]

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I like Live Wire WordPress theme because of two things: it’s free and clean. It’s primarily designed with mobile in mind and includes advanced options panel for structuring your layout. It supports Hybrid Tabs, post formats, Gravity Forms and so much more.

Live Wire has features that makes it possible for you to customize several elements such as your navigation menus, layouts, CSS and even your background.

The theme also includes breadcrumbs, sticky posts, translation-ready capability, featured images and more.

31.  Lola [PreviewDownload]

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Lola free WordPress theme is specifically made for serious bloggers who want to improve their blogs. This theme was designed to conform with the latest version of WordPress, streamlined, and influenced by Tumblr.

Having a theme that looks similar to a web 2.0 site could enhance your blog. And when that social media web 2.0 platform is Tumblr, you know that you’re heading somewhere with your business.

As a high-quality theme, Lola is sleek but the developers kept it minimalist design style that always put content first. It’s 99% mobile responsive, which means that any device can display this theme perfectly and smoothly.

Other features that you’ll likely enjoy are the Right Sidebar, Two Columns and Lola gives you the ability to structure your page layout and design it accordingly.

32.  Fullby [PreviewDownload]

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To be honest with you, Fullby was developed by the inspiration of Twenty Fourteen, one of the popular themes that has over 1 million downloads. A first glance, Fullby gives you that feeling of a professional, because of its layout design.

The framework for this free WordPress theme is based on the latest Bootstrap framework. This is a grid style, lightweight and fully responsive (displays well in any mobile or desktop device).

You’ll also like the lightweight theme which includes two customizable images and the featured option for the posts can be structured exactly as you want it.

There is a good platform for your content, and the galleries and video that is supported makes this theme a favorite for most celebrities. Well, if you’re a blogger you’re a celebrity too.

This Fullby free WordPress theme is fully optimized for search engines, and has in-built functionalities for your single post page and custom sidebar.

Conclusion

There you’ve it, the 33 professional free wordpress themes that will make your content marketing effective. Remember that it doesn’t matter the industry where you belong, inasmuch as content is King, design is the prime minister.

Gone are the day when people only focus on the content of a book or site. Today, people actually judge a book by its cover. Most of the New York Bestselling Books out there are one of the best packaged books. They didn’t win those awards because the author happens to be the best writer.

When you give ample time to choosing the best theme for your blog, especially at the beginning, you’re establishing your foot in your industry. Your brand becomes noticeable to your target audience, and trust me, that is priceless.

If I decide to go on, this article will be endless. But I know there are thousands if not millions of free wordpress themes that you’ve used and found valuable. Tell us the name in the comment box, and your reason for choosing it.

List of 32 Free WordPress Themes For Effective Content Marketing

Categories
Online SEO Listings

How to Build 100 Quality Links Online Without Writing Fresh Content

 How to Build 100 Quality Links Online Without Writing Fresh Content

Written by Neil Patel on August 25, 2015

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Links are still very important to site owners. Recent Google algorithm updates only shaped a new context for legitimate link building.

The search engine uses links to gauge the importance of a web page. And you can’t afford to ignore organic search traffic. According to Search Engine Journal, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.

It’s true that when your web page ranks at the top of organic search results, you’ll get 33% of the searchers and building more incoming links gets you to the top faster.

But many bloggers and content marketers think that you can’t get high-quality links unless you spend hours creating useful content.

That may be true if you don’t know any other strategies. But I can tell you that most of my incoming links didn’t come from my content.

No matter how people feel about link building, Google still cares about natural and quality links.

Millions of people search Google every day for information related to the topics you address on your site. But how can you get these people if your web page doesn’t have enough links?

You may not have the time to create all the content in the world, but that shouldn’t stop you from “earning” links.

Here’s a breakdown of the proven tactics that will help you get links without creating new content.

Tactic #1: Curate High-Quality Infographics

When people create an infographic, their goal is to get other people to promote it for them, thereby giving them additional links, traffic, and authority.

For example, if you want to embed one of my recent infographics, you don’t have to get my permission. All you have to do is visit the web page where the infographic is located, scroll to the bottom, and copy the embed code:

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When you embed this HTML code on your web page, the infographic will appear as though you created it yourself. Now you’re ready to engage your target audience with a piece of graphical information that you didn’t labor over.

Infographics are powerful link drivers.

OK, I know I’ve talked about infographics a lot, but trust me, I’m not going to stop. Every other day, I get a reader asking me how to leverage the power of infographics to get the right incoming links for their own sites.

In fact, someone just asked on Quora, “how to optimize infographics the right way to drive organic traffic.”

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I’ve used infographics to grow my traffic and brand awareness. In 2010, when we started publishing high-quality infographics on KISSmetrics, we generated 2,512,596 visitors and 41,142 backlinks. And links are still coming in from infographics that we created months ago.

If you want to create infographics like the ones on my blog, then you’ll have to shell out $1,000 or more. I use Visual.ly to create attention-grabbing infographics. But since we’re not creating new infographic content from scratch, you can curate.

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Your target audience is looking to you for a flexible content mix they can easily follow.

They perceive you as an expert, and they’ll trust your strategy.

Content mix simply means the formats or modes by which you nurture and engage your audience. According to Curata, 25% of your content should be curated, 10% should be syndicated, and 65% should be created from scratch.

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Most marketers are already taking advantage of content curation. 76% of marketers use curated content on social media.

But don’t just curate blog posts and articles – do the same with infographics. It’s the most popular way to use this type of content.

Find 3 – 5 high value infographics, use Skitch or any screen capture software to take the section that’s relevant to your current idea, and use it.

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Now that we know the importance of content curation, especially when it comes to infographics, where can you find these infographics to curate?

i).   Go to Google Images: Type your main keyword + infographic – e.g., “how to monetize a blog + infographic.”

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ii).  Analyze your results: From the results page, choose the infographic that you’d like to curate.

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When you click through to the page where the infographic is, you can easily use your screen capture software to cut the exact section that you want.

However, it’s important to make sure to link to the original infographic and if possible let the author know about it. For example, the infographic section below was extracted from Blogging.org:

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If you take time to dig through Google, you’ll find thousands of high-quality infographics that you can curate. Always look for the embed code – 94% of infographics will have it.

You can also find newly-designed and professional-looking infographics from submitinfographics.com:

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Many marketers who spend lots of money to create fresh infographics don’t know how to push the resulting graphics to the right audience.

That’s where you come in. Help them promote it and get some of the traffic, links and authority for yourself. Zig Ziglar said it best:

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You can get more infographics to curate from:

Just as you can with articles and blog posts, you can do a lot more than simply share infographics. You can create a SlideShare presentation with the ideas and data included in the infographics.

Or you could make a short video or record a podcast to explain how the infographics work (of course, you’d take the points and explain them one at a time).

If you add unique text-based content when you embed someone’s infographic on your web page, you can then submit the page to blog networking communities such as Blokube.

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So does curating infographics help you generate authority links to your site? Absolutely!

Right Casino, a casino comparison website, spent £250 to design a valuable infographic. They added a bespoke embed code, and used their brand name as anchor text in the copyright section. After reaching out to several industry players, they generated 10 links.

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WordStream also got its infographic published on CNN. When Techcrunch discovered that a media site had curated it, they followed suit. Ultimately, WordStream generated over 20 links to its site.

And Ann Smarty generated 10 links to her infographic in just 2 days.

When you curate infographics the right way, you’ll:

  • Establish thought leadership
  • Increase brand visibility
  • Boost SEO

Here’s the chart:

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Curating infographics is a surefire way to stand out from the crowd. While others are curating blog posts and videos, you can establish authority by taking a piece of infographic and making the most out of it.

If you intend to repurpose an infographic “as-is,” make sure you get permission from the owner. And never forget to credit the right source accordingly.

 

Tactic #2: Earn Additional Links with Repurposed Content

It’s estimated that the corporate spend on content marketing exceeded $118.4 billion in 2013, but 64% of B2B marketers are still struggling with creating engaging content.

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If you don’t have enough time or money to outsource content creation to professionals, your best bet is to repurpose the content that you already have.

If you’re a big fan of Marvel, you’ll agree with me that this Disney-owned brand has been repurposing content for a long time. Marvel was originally focused on comics. But a few years ago, their strategy shifted towards a series of superhero films, like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Avengers.

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These films were blockbusters on their own, but Marvel took it a step further by repurposing the films in a number of ways:

  1. Blog posts: These posts published on Marvel.com gave fans additional information on characters and cast.
  2. Podcasts: Marvel has a special podcast called “The Week In Marvel.” Marvel films are condensed and pushed out as podcasts so that fans can listen to their favorite films while driving or on the go.
  3. Games: Most of the superhero characters have become gaming legends
  4. Videos: Marvel has an active YouTube channel and their playlists feature the interviews with the crew and cast, as well as trailers and television commercials.
  5. Images: If you check out Marvel’s Instagram and Pinterest pages, you’ll find galleries of images from their films.


Content is still king when it comes to building a web presence and nurturing a targeted audience. You achieve this by listening more, talking, sharing, and engaging with your ideal customers. The empowered audience chart below from the National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America explains it better:

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Remember that the purpose of every piece of content that you publish is to be read by thousands of people. The question is, are you achieving that purpose?

If link building was all about writing fresh content, then only a few bloggers and marketers who love to write or can afford to outsource would get the best links. But it’s not so. You already have everything you need to get the right links if you can leverage your old content.

As a content marketer, you have to understand that your brand is your identity. It’s your advantage in an increasingly competitive industry. Your customers want content that will appeal to them.

According to Our Social Times, 44% of users will unlike brands on Facebook for putting out posts frequently, and 19% of them will also leave a brand if their content isn’t relevant and useful.

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Long Range Systems was struggling to reach its target audience with the right content. The company’s been actively involved in content marketing, but something terrific happened when it started repurposing its content.

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The company increased brand awareness and gained industry-leader status through content repurposing.

No matter what industry you’re in, you can take advantage of this opportunity that many brands are missing out on and repurpose your content in a way that will suit your ideal customer.

The moment your customers perceive you as an authority, they’ll advocate for you, even when you’re not there. This is the true objective of marketing.

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According to Convince and Convert, you can turn 1 piece of content into eight. Most people approach repurposing as if it’s the same thing as republishing – but it isn’t.

On the contrary, repurposing content automatically makes that content unique and more appealing to your audience.

For example, if I turn my 1000-word blog post into a video presentation and upload it to YouTube, plain text becomes visual and Google won’t treat it as duplicate content. I’d also change the title to make it 100% original stay completely off Google’s radar.

Jay Baer does this well. Jay’s popular video training is my favorite channel for learning about the latest trends in social media marketing. Each “Jay Today” episode is transcribed using SpeechPad, a transcription service.

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Then Jay’s team will rework the headlines (titles) into 3 compelling and 100% unique headlines.

Jay will then post the video and written content on Medium, LinkedIn, and his blog. In fact, from one 5-minute video, the content will be repurposed in 10 different ways and distributed to the right people.

Content marketing isn’t “one size fits all.” You’ve got to find ways to generate leads, gain traction, and earn quality links without creating fresh content on a daily basis.

Blogging is a surefire way to attract paying customers and nurture them. This is why 76% of B2B marketers blog regularly. Blogging regularly doesn’t have to mean publishing fresh articles daily or weekly – it could also mean taking your old content and giving it a new look and home.

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Using a piece of content (e.g., a blog post) once isn’t the best way to go. It can use up your marketing budget, without any significant results. It’s almost impossible to build a thriving business when you’re not reaching your target audience in a way that they find irresistible.

Some recent data by Kapost, which was compiled by Heidi Cohen, showed that 75% of ideas on average are turned into a content asset, published once, and never reused or repurposed again. That’s a waste of good content.

There are lots of platforms you can leverage for content promotion. The most effective and efficient marketers use 7 social platforms to reach their target audience on average. Don’t just tweet your blog post or share the link on Facebook and call it a day.

Red Bull is another brand that understands the power of effective content marketing. Over the years, it’s achieved tremendous results while tapping into social media platforms to reach its customers. So it’s not surprising that Red Bull is repurposing content.

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Red Bull has 30 different multimedia channels that it uses to distribute different kinds of content. From one blog post, it usually creates articles, podcasts, video clips, image galleries, interactive infographics, ebooks, and more.

Remember that the rationale for content repurposing has to do with the way people read. When you know how people learn, you can engage them with the right content.

According to a Columbia University study, active learning leads to better understanding and retention of new topics. Active learning simply means being personally involved in a lesson, or in the content being shared.

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In the same way, when you discover there are people in your target market who prefers to learn via visuals, then you’ll make more video content. If they prefer to listen to audio, then you’ll record more podcasts.

And if your target audience prefers to read, then you can focus on blog posts, e-books, articles, white papers, swipe files and more.

Publishing useful content – whether you wrote or created it from scratch or not – is what helps you get the links that will improve your search rankings and user experience.

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See also:

Tactic #3: Start a Conversation Around Your Popular Posts

Have you had any popular posts in the past 3 to 6 months? I’m sure you have.

Yet most bloggers and content marketers fail to fully leverage their more popular posts.

Engagement metrics that help you gauge the popularity of a piece of content include comments, dwell time, social sharing, and conversions.

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The very fact that your post got over 100 comments, or achieved any milestone that you’ve set as a benchmark, means that you’ve got to take that post and run with it – spark up a discussion around your popular post.

If you didn’t publish a video or image on your popular post, make sure to add those before the discussion starts. You’ll get more engagement with visuals.

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Myspace used to be one of the most popular social media networks around. It was flexible and easy to use, and users could publish a post and get thousands of people to read, share, and link to it from their sites.

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To create social media engagement these days, you need to challenge ideas. According to Lifehack, “challenging ideas is the way to evolve and create new ideas.”

Customer engagement is all about gauging the needs and desires of your customers and giving them the exact solution they’re craving.

This is because 61% of consumers’ buying decisions is influenced by custom content. You really need to revitalize your customer engagement strategy.

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Top marketing blogs understand how to revitalize a popular post to get links. For example, every other week, Moz scours through its archives for posts that gained traction when published within a specific period of time (e.g., 3 months, 6 months up to 1 year).

Then it’ll republish the content, add a unique introduction, or personalize the post – even if it was originally a guest article. For example, in the screenshot below, you’ll notice that the post was promoted from YouMoz, another popular blog owned by Moz.

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You could even change the date of your popular post in order to convey that it’s been updated – as long as you update the content to match current data and facts.

Another blogger who understands how to spark some new life in an old but popular blog post is Brian Dean. Some time back, he published one of the most popular posts in the history of SEO, entitled “Google Ranking Factors: The Complete List.” Recently he updated it.

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If you observe closely, you’ll see that Brian’s in-depth and high-value post already has over 6,000 tweets and 3.3k Facebook likes.

Don’t forget that this was the same post he published almost a year ago, but he continues updating it. Each time Google adds or changes one of its ranking factors, Brian quickly edits his post to make it current.

This post is still earning natural and valuable links. A lot of people still cite and recommend the post to their fans, readers, prospects, and customers.

In fact, there’s so much discussion going on around this popular post that it went viral. In the past 60 days, it generated over 118 inbound links:

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Here are some of the simplest and most effective ways to trigger new conversations around popular content:

i). Community syndication: Syndicate your popular posts on digital marketing and blog communities. These communities have thousands of members who can promote your content. An example is inbound.org:

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The red highlighted section above is a recent post from Moz. Moz syndicated the popular post on Inbound.org and already, 134 persons are on it. That’s a decent amount of engagement, and the post is only going to gain more traction and links from other industry blogs.

ii).  Push it to the top: This is easy to do. Just locate the popular post and pin it to the top of your blog. Encourage your readers to leave comments, ask questions, and share their opinions.

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iii). Upgrade your popular post: In this case, you simply take your blog post that is already popular, create a SlideShare presentation or video, upload to SlideShare or YouTube, then copy the code and embed on the same web page as your popular content.

That way, you can promote both pieces of content, increase your odds of getting natural links as a result of the new content format and upgrade, and also establish yourself as a skilled digital expert.

You could even find a relevant and insightful TED video to embed alongside your popular post.

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TED videos may be better for your popular posts because they’re from world-renowned experts, unlike YouTube where anyone can upload videos, with greatly varying degrees of quality and authority.

Tactic #4: Leverage Email Outreach to Connect

You know that email marketing is powerful, right? It’s the only marketing method that outperforms social and search by a long stretch.

When you approach email marketing the right way, not only can it increase your revenue, but it can act as a gateway to getting backlinks from influencers.

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Your target audience wants custom content. So this is the perfect time to start using dynamic content to deliver highly personalized experiences via email.

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There’s nothing terribly complex or fancy about email outreach. It’s been around since the early days of the internet. Job applicants have historically done it – by sending a resume to a company, you’re expecting a response – that’s true of all email outreach.

Gleam, a small startup in Melbourne, Australia, has mastered email outreach. Like every startup with big plans and a limited marketing budget, it struggled to reach influencers, founders, and marketing personnels.

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But as soon as Gleam embraced email outreach with the focus on “relationship building,” it saw a 90% response rate from founders, 50% response rate from marketing teams, and 10% response rate using feedback forms and “contact us” features.

Honestly, getting links through email outreach sucks. It’s time consuming, but it’s easy to measure.

For example, you could send out 20 emails today requesting for links from other bloggers. If any of your recipients reply and includes your link on their post, you’ll know through a pingback or a notification from the person.

But before you start reaching out to bloggers, content marketers and site owners, you’ll want to do a few basic things first:

i).  Use Yesware: This works best with Gmail. Before your email is sent, you’ve got to set up tracking for your email, and Yesware is perfect for this task. I’ve been using it for a long time. You can use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of every email address.

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The good thing about Yesware is that it’ll show you which subject lines are clicked the most, based on your history.

ii).  Send emails at the right time: The time that you send your outreach emails matters a lot. Your ability to know the perfect day and time to push send helps determine your open rate.

Depending on your industry, the optimal time may vary, but we have data from reliable brands and email marketing companies to work with.

According to Experian, “Tuesday is the best day to send email, because emails sent on Tuesdays have the highest open rate compared to other weekdays, and email open rates usually increase after 12.00 p.m., with the most active period being between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.”

When you’re sending emails, adopt the mindset of an inbound marketer, not an outbound marketer. The chart below clarifies the differences:

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Once you’ve got the basic elements ready, look for bloggers who are likely to send you links.

If you write an expert roundup post highlighting the thoughts of different industry experts, you’ll increase your chances of getting more links from those experts. That’s because we humans like to reciprocate.

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But we’ll discuss how to write an expert roundup post some other day, because this guide is about leveraging all the resources that can get you 100 quality links.

But rest assured that even if you get only 10 high-value links through your email outreach, your rankings will improve and Google will trust your web pages more. Consequently, Google will send you more organic users. If you’ve been targeting long-tail keywords, you’ll start ranking for them, too.

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Follow these simple steps to find the right blogs in your market:

Step #1: Go to SEMrush.com – On the homepage, plug in your main keyword (e.g., blog strategy). Then click the “search” button:

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Step #2: Analyze top organic listings – These high-ranking sites are your competitors, and they’re the right blogs to get links from, since they’re related to your subject or theme.

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As you can see, the sites dominating Google organic results are likely candidates and therefore, they qualify for your outreach email.

However, you don’t have to contact the blogger and just ask for the link. That wouldn’t produce the desired result. What you want to do instead is find broken links on any of your competitors’ web pages.

First go to Google and search for this string:

intitle:”blogging business” inurl:”links”

Here’s what you’ll get:

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I’m interested in the highlighted result because it contains links to several other blogs and web pages. When you get to the web page, here’s what it looks like:

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From these links, you need to find broken links. And how do you achieve that?

Step #3: Go to brokenlinkcheck.com. Plug the resource page URL into the search box and click “find broken links” button:

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Step #4: Analyze your broken links – If you scroll down the result page, you’ll see all the broken links and their sources.

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Now it’s time to send an outreach email to the blogger and request that they replace one of the broken links with a link to your own web page that’s active, useful, and relevant.

There is another important aspect of email outreach you should pay attention to: Before you can send the emails, you need to know the first or full names of your recipients.

That way, you can address them properly. Don’t address them as friends, because friendship isn’t cultivated on the first contact that you establish with a stranger.

So let’s assume that you found a broken link on a popular blog such as Problogger.net or Marieforleo.com, and you want to contact the author. The question is, how do you known Darren’s or Marie’s email address?

Let me quickly show you how in 2 steps:

Go to VoilaNorbert: This is a simple tool to helps you find the email address in a site easily. Plug the person’s first and last name and blog URL in the spaces provided, and click the green button:

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Step #2: Copy the person’s email address. “Norbert” dug around and found the right email address. Here:

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The salutation you use in your outreach email matters a lot. By Reputation conducted a research study and found that personal salutation (e.g., “Hi Jane” or “Hello Neil”) increases close rate by 6.52%, and leads to an increase in response rate of over 20%.

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The next step is to write your emails.

Many people are good at writing blog posts, but don’t know how to write persuasive email copy. The skills are quite different.

If you’re not confident of your email writing skills, you can use the templates below:

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Here’s a broken link email template that works:

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Note: You don’t have to send “broken link” emails only. There are times where you’d need to send a simple link request email and it could get you the link that you need. Here’s an example:

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I’ve been using these two email templates for years, although I’ve since tweaked each, since a lot of people now have access to the one above. But you can model it. I typically get a 6 – 7% response rate from these emails.

A lot of brands, ecommerce stores and content marketers have benefitted from email outreach.

For example, Leaflet Missal, a Catholic gift company, increased total sales by 8%, saw an increase in sales during the peak holiday shopping period, increased annual transactions by 2.3%, and grew the number of visitors to their site by 45%.

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Make sure that you’re a real person before sending an email to any blogger, content marketer, or influencer.

This means that you’ve got to use your real name, picture, and phone number. Studies found that including your phone number both on your blog and your email will increase your response rate.

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Conclusion

Earning quality links without creating fresh content is one of those areas you’ve got to consider critically. You may not have tons of time to write engaging content or the budget to hire a proficient writer – many bloggers don’t.

Yes, I’ve been writing unique content for over a decade and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. But even so, there are times when I’ll experience writer’s block or simply don’t have time to write a 2000-word article, even in 2 hours or less.

Content will never cease to be king, but promoting the published content is queen. Content promotion is every bit as valuable a skill as writing. It’s marketing your content that generates more leads, more indexed links and increased revenue for you, not just creating fresh content.

That’s why we have more New York Times bestsellers than New York Times best authors.

Have you ever built a valuable link to your web page without fresh content? How did you do it?