3 Quick Ways to Improve Your Content Marketing Efforts

content marketing

If you write 1,000 great articles, your search engine traffic will skyrocket and you’ll make more money, right?

I wish that was the case. But after building 3 successful blogs, I’ve learned that writing great content isn’t enough. You can keep cranking out awesome content day in and day out, but that doesn’t mean your traffic will go up.

So how do you get your content to drive your traffic and, more importantly, sales? Here are 3 hard lessons I’ve learned that can help you improve your content marketing efforts:

Tip #1: Grab the attention of a drunk person

Titles matter! If the title of your content sucks, no one is going to read it.

So, how do you come up with great titles? You can either follow the headline templates, which are still effective, but not as much as they used to be because everyone is using them now…

…Or you can come up with your own unique title.

I usually come up with title ideas by reading magazines. The gossip ones really help me because they are able to grab readers’ attention and convince them to read an article that doesn’t have any proof to back up the claims they are making.

My buddy Jon Morrow has a different process than mine, and his is much more effective. He actually goes to bars to come up with title ideas. He’ll read out a few headlines to drunk people, and whichever grabs their attention is the one he uses.

I recently tested Jon’s method, and I have to say it works. I did a post about business philosophies last month, and it happened to be one of my more popular posts. It got almost 3 times more Twitter traffic than my average post.

I was originally going to call the article “11 business philosophies you ought to follow”. When I pitched it to a drunk person, his response was “I live and die by my philosophies”.

That quick conversation helped me come up with the final title of “11 business philosophies to live and die by”. When I mentioned that title to him, his response was,

“What are they mate? They must be good if you’ll die by them.”

I know it sounds weird, but start running your titles by drunk people. This strategy will work well for you as long as your titles don’t contain too much technical jargon.

Tip #2: Think like a searcher

Which piece of content do you think generates more traffic:

My advanced guide to content marketing that I spent well over $30,000 to produce and was read by 361,494 people when I launched it… or a blog post that I wrote about motivational business quotes that I created in less than two hours?

The one on content marketing, right?

Well, if you look at the screenshot below, you’ll see that the motivational business quotes article got read by 926 people over a period of 24 hours.

business quote traffic

And if you look at this image of statistics on the content marketing guide, you’ll see that only 500 people read it on that day.

content traffic

Sure, if you combine all of the traffic all 3 of my advanced guides get each day, it ranges between 2,000 and 3,000 visitors, but I spent well over $100,000 for all 3 of those guides… while that post on business quotes only took me two hours to write.

Do you know why? It’s because the business quotes blog post is more tailored around search engines than the content marketing guide.

Just think about it… are you more likely to search for “content marketing” or “business quotes”?

google trends

As you can see from the Google trends screenshot, more people are interested in business quotes than they are in content marketing.

When writing, don’t just think about people, but think about searches too. From keywords to queries someone might type into a Google search box, try to write content and titles that appeal to both people and search engines.

If you want to maximize your search traffic by pleasing both people and search engines with your content, check out this case study on Problogger. It breaks down how one company increased their organic traffic by 203.5% in 3 months.

Tip #3: A deal isn’t a deal, unless people think it is

Blog readers don’t like to spend money… there is no way to monetize them, right?

Sure, making a few thousand dollars here or there isn’t too hard, but no one makes millions of dollars from content, right?

In most cases you are right. Most people don’t make much money from their readers. It’s not because your readers aren’t interested in buying your products or services; instead, you just don’t know how to sell to them.

Two people who are really good at converting blog readers into customers are Ryan Deiss and Vishen Lakhiani. They do it so well that they even talk about how they are able to create income streams of over $15,000,000 a year without raising a dollar in venture capital.

One of the most interesting tactics I learned from Ryan is that a great way to convince people to buy a product or service from you is to offer a discount, but not by using the tactic in the image below:


The reason the image above doesn’t make you feel like you are getting a discount is because when you first see this product, you are seeing it for $127. It doesn’t matter that the product was originally priced at $297 because you never experienced the product selling for $297.

If you first drive people to a page that shows that the product is selling for $297 with no discounts, you may make a few sales. If you offer a discount a week later and sell the same product for $127 for a very short period of time, you should make a lot of sales because people originally saw the item for $297.

My buddy recently tried this with his real estate website, and he was able to increase his monthly revenue by 316%. This is also the same reason Groupon works because you know you are getting a good deal when you buy from the site.

Discounts and deals are a great way to monetize your reader base, just make sure they know they really are getting a deal. Putting a few slashes through a price isn’t enough. Your readers need to know that this is a deal of a lifetime and they need to jump on it now.


There are other ways to increase your traffic or generate more sales from your reader base, but I’ve found the tactics above work extremely well. You just have to get a bit creative and be willing to think outside the box.

Content marketing isn’t rocket science… Even if you don’t have a marketing bone in your body, there is no excuse for you not to grow your traffic and make money through content marketing.

What are some other ways you can improve your content marketing efforts?


  1. Ishan Madhav :

    Finally, something that struck my attention once again . . . Amazing Neil

  2. Neil, I agree with you Title really matters. A great content with a poor title is not effective.

  3. I shall be trying this headline creation technique tomorrow night…!

  4. That stuff on deals is awesome. I would have thought the image of the discount price was effective. I will take this onboard and implement.

  5. Joseph Michael :

    Great stuff Neil! Your point about a deal isn’t a deal unless you make people think it is was brilliant. I have never thought of it that way before but will be testing this out in an upcoming product. Thanks!

  6. Rohit @ TechTage :

    “Think like a searcher…”

    Amazing stuff. Simply awesome from a marketer’s perspective. 🙂

  7. Neil, You give us ultimate guide for creating content that converts 🙂

  8. As usual, great information. Shared this one around the office.

  9. Thank you Neil for this great post,It’s a real challenge to attract visitors to your site but it’s the biggest challenge to convert then into customers.
    Thanks again

    • Raphael, well said!

    • Sarah Bauer :

      And therein lies another way to improve your content marketing efforts – improve your CTA’s! It’s great to offer up loads of useful information and entertaining content, but we can’t forget about why we’re doing it in the first place – to convince customers to take the next step with our company!

  10. Damiso Lockhart :

    Hello Niel,

    I found your website through a email you sent. I’ve been in SEO for the past few years and I’m very glad I found your website. The blog makes for an extremely interesting read.



  11. Thanks Neil! Going to spend more time on effective titles.

  12. Anmol Makkar :

    Hello Neil, again an awesome article. Sometimes I feel my titles don’t work at all. So I need a small suggestion.
    I was about to write an article on TweetDeck, tell me which is the better title can be like
    ” Your full guide to TweetDeck : Most powerful Twitter tool”
    or ” Why you need TweetDeck to maintain your Twitter profile ”
    Currently I also made many other titles to use but I found these two best, which one you think. ?

  13. Enstine Muki :

    Hi Neil
    Your example of a drunk person is really funny and attractive. Unfortunately, I have not seen one drunk person where I live since the beginning of this year. I may have to start going to bars too 😉

  14. Great article Neil. I did the same with the subject lines with email outreaches and it did wonders when I addressed the problem they are facing head on. Of course, it did help that I told them what they were doing sucked and was not benefiting them at all. Some were offended but most wanted to know more.

  15. Thank you Neil for this great post,
    ”A great content with a poor title is not effective.”

  16. KenKen The Champ :

    Actually that was a very interesting end to your post today… And that is that a “deal” promotion is so much more effective when your customers have seen and had the opportunity to buy at a higher price first…

    You can create a whole marketing strategy/funnel behind that right there alone… Especially if you sell a higher-priced info product or service…

    I could go on and on about it but I won’t for now… Anyhoo thanks for the aha moment of the day.


    • Ken, very true. I think providing a service at a reasonable price and getting great results goes a long way!

  17. Great post (as always)!
    Love Tip #1 … usually I’m drinking in the evening when I get your updates and almost always the title grabs my attention and they even are not in my sphere of work (since I’m a designer, not a marketer) 😀


  18. I found the last point very interesting about offering a discount.
    How do you show the readers the particular value they are seeking? I believe Groupon works because I’m familiar with the value of the item before the discount. For example, if Groupon is offering a “Steak Dinner for Two” for $20 at Ruth Chris Steakhouse, I’d be more inclined to purchase because I’m familiar with the brand but more importantly, I’m aware that a steak there runs about $40+. So, I know I’m getting a deal without having to be convinced.

    How would one do this with an information product, training etc.?

    ps. I can picture a bunch of QuickSprout.com readers with clip boards in big cities running around the bar districts asking for feedback on titles! (I’m crazy enough to try it!!!!)

    • You show them value by driving them to page that shows a higher price. You don’t offer a discount right away…

      That way you know that the original price was a lot more money.

  19. Another One Bites The Dust :

    Neil, I think of you as a legitimate business world personality. You do not need to associate with the likes of Ryan Deiss and Vishen Lakhiani.

    I consider them both to be part of ScamWorld. It doesn’t matter who they have gotten their picture taken with, they are the ones trying to touch the hem of legitimacy by associating with you.

    • Thanks for providing feedback. I don’t know either of them well, but so far my experiences and encounters with them have been delightful. We share knowledge and give each other advice.

      I know for a fact that they are trying to continually create better products/services.

      • A Certain You :

        I am well impressed with the article and your response to the fellow who doubted Ryan Deiss’ legitimacy. You are a great man. Will work to be able to meet you someday.

      • Another vote against Mr. Deiss. Yes, he has shared for free some very helpful information almost three years ago, yet overall he does not seem to be thought very well of, he received a grade of “B-” from http://www.imreportcard.com.

  20. Online Marketing HQ :

    Amazing ideas Neil. Just at a time when we are looking for the best of content marketing ideas to grow our traffic and monetize them..

    Thanks for the sharing of those strategies.

  21. Love this. Especially the example of how to discount a product so the consumer feels like they are getting a deal.

  22. Keith James :

    Hi Neil, great article but I really thought you were going to take a different approach. There’s a lot of great content out there that nobody reads. Relying on search engine traffic alone is not enough. You really need to spend at least half your content marketing efforts in promoting your content. I actually advise my clients to spend 40% of there time creating great content and the remaining 60% promoting it.

    I also have to agree with the other commentator’s thoughts about Ryan Deiss. I’ll stay away from libelous comments but you also lost a few points with me.

  23. Inspiring Citizen Sareena :

    Hi Niel,

    Another amazing post!

    The point about deal really do struck me. Something I can try out.
    Your tactics to generate title is also interesting and funny 🙂 . I may have to ask my husband Rafi to go to bar before he post the next article 😉

  24. Love #1! Will have to try this. Also interesting about the slashed prices. Will test this. Thanks!

  25. My main focus while building our blog is to come up with witty and interesting headlines. How does one go about finding “trending” search topics? Google Trends is useful, but only if you know what to look for already.

  26. Hi Neil…

    I know here my question is quite off topic but i want to ask! 🙂 I have noticed that in your every post of “quicksprout” your blog title is start with “figures” such like 3quick ways, 7 simple ways, 10 check, 7 steps.. Is that any funda to use this type of title ??

  27. Adesanmi Adedotun :

    To successfully write for a reader, title post is the top-most priority to be considered.

  28. Thanks for the post. I agree with u that the title place a great role and it should be interesting to attract the readers. I also liked very much your discount concept for the products.

  29. Hi Neil,
    Nice article. Today the major problem among the writers is content marketing. Here, you give 3 Quick Ways. It is needed information and thanks for sharing.

  30. With more a billion blogs, it takes a lot to get traffic. These methods you have mentioned will always be useful even in a thousand years.

  31. Alex / Office Kitten :

    Article titles are the most difficult thing to write I find. You can either go into sensationalist mode “Why Twitter Will Save Us All From A Horrifying End!!!!!!!!!” or you can be dull as dishwater, “Twitter Is Good For Business” which I don’t think anyone would read anymore. Be punchy and reasonably dramatic, I think that’s the best bet! Just don’t over do it.

  32. Anil Agarwal :

    Neil, I have to admit I’m really bad in writing headlines for my blog posts. I hardly spend any time in researching for a perfect headline idea for my blog posts. I need to do something in this regard.

  33. The drunk test is good. They won’t think about it too much and go straight off first instinct – which is how we browse through blogs and articles now a days. The headline has to catch your eye IMMEDIATELY or you’ll zoom right past it.

  34. He was here itself working on the same business.

  35. raman bathina :

    The first point in your post give a boost for writing great articles.I’m always try to search like an user before writing a post.Thank you neil.

  36. Very useful guide for content marketing. But a thing which I’ve noticed in your blog is that you publish trackbacks under all of your posts. I want to know that what If we don’t accept or approve trackbacks or pingbacks at our blog? Is there any harm to that link juice if don’t approve a trackback?

  37. Thank God for drunk people. 🙂

    PS: Not sure if I should be proud or ashamed to get credit for that strategy. 🙂

  38. Mouad Boukil :

    Hi Neil,

    I like the drunk people’s technique but it is so weird when you go out and demand to a people which headlines they love mostly when they know no ideas on the subject but it stays a good technique…

    I read about headlines before a months and I saw a study that says that people love number on the headlines… here is some headlines that you can keep on mind :

    – [number] things that you should know about….
    – The strategy that made me [number] $
    – 3 advices about making content…

    Thank you Neil.

    • Mouad, glad you found it helpful. I definitely agree with the numbers and advice suggestions, they really do catch people’s attention.

  39. Wow Niel great stuff. Simply awesome from a marketer’s perspective. 🙂

  40. do you think humor works in every kind of blogs?

  41. Great tips sir. These tips are surely going to be the turning point for driving the traffic to our blog.

    Thanks a lot sir for sharing such a useful piece of advice.


  42. Charles Rivers :

    Awesome Tips,

    Thanks again Neil for another great piece of content. I recently started a blog myself and I will certainly have a edge reading your material.


  43. John Harvey :

    A title suggestion from drunk,

    Great innovation dude!!!

    Actually its cool..

    Great tip to increase business…

  44. Carlie Hamilton :

    I know that I suck at titles. I really love your drunk person idea, although drunk people can sometimes be easily amused. Then again, they also tell it like it is.

  45. Varun Chopra :

    I am not getting traffic on my blog. But i have heard about it before that Title matters a lot. But i was in confusion that how to select an effective title which attracts visitors. Buy here in your article i like your technique of selecting title. I like Your article and try to implement these techniques on my blog too for attracting visitors 🙂
    Thanks for such an informative article Neil Patel 🙂

  46. Thanks, Neil, for lots of useful info — as usual. I was surprised to read that most people chose the short blog post over the free download on content marketing, though I realize now that “short and sweet” is in line with what my readers want, too.

    Like I have heard many times, “Don’t sell people what they NEED; sell them what they WANT.”

    We all want those delicious, crunchy bite-sized pieces of motivation from recognized business leaders — and we’ll generally choose them in preference to what we really NEED, which is educational content on how to become one of those experts.

    If we flit around the ‘Net, indulging our craving for nuggets of motivational wisdom, though, we will never increase our earnings to the level we desire.

    The real money is to be found in acquiring the skills we need to produce value in our chosen marketplace — and that is to be found in reading, digesting, and implementing useable content.

    That’s why your smart readers will go back and devour your guide for creating content. I’m willing to bet your $30,000 investment will pay off for both you and me and many others.

    Thanks, Neil, for your generosity and good example of how to create success.

    • Paul, great point. I think short and sweet — as well as to the point is essential for any article on the web. Thanks for reading 🙂

  47. Craig Davies :

    Thanks Neil for this great piece of content. I recently launched a blog myself and was looking for some ideas how to increase traffic to my site. Glad I came across you site to night, look forward to reading further posts.

  48. Neil, I agree with you Title really matters. A great content with a poor title is not effective.

  49. First of all i would like to say that this is my second time visiting your site and I’m glad i spend another 5 minutes on reading a good article. Guess what…was the title of your article that really catch my attention:). When it comes to headlines and titles is always hard to come up with something that really pulls someones attention, especially this days when everything happens so fast. Thank you for the great info you share with all of us.

  50. The effective strategy in selling the product to your customers are selling values. Now a days customers are becoming very smarter. They know how much you cost to design or manufacture any product, so when you are finalizing the price please assure that it is decided on market price. Also see whether it’s creating any value to the customers. These are the few things which will help you to sell your product instantly. Take the customers benefit is the priority of your business.

  51. David-Africa Opportunities :

    Great post. The trick with the drunk person tactic is to make sure you don’t get drunk yourself so as not to forget the best headline:)

    I like the point about the pricing points. I have seen the discounting all over the internet but it doesn’t move me much. I actually usually think, “if you have such a great product and you are just launching it, why should you give me such a huge discount from the very beginning?”

    I will use your strategy and see because I think once people are familiar with a higher price point, they will be more wiling during a temporary discount window.
    Thanks for all the help Neil.

  52. Cool article Neil, like always!

    I’ve set up a blog section for my site and was wondering what the frequency and volume for articles should be. The more the merrier ? I’m actually trying to strengthen the ranked pages by internal linking these articles. You thoughts on this would be so cool..

    • Sunil, I think rather than frequency you should focus on quality. Quality post will always get the most buzz 🙂

  53. futurefirsthomes :

    Neil I am totally agree with u. nice concepts

  54. sincerely i don’t have words to thank you amazing content + great effort = no coment 🙂

  55. Ann-Elizabeth :

    Great article once again, I especially like that bit about “Grab the attention of a drunk person” for article titles. This is so true! I find that incorporating a bit of humour into your writing makes a very large difference for promoting.

  56. Re: Your Quote Page Argument

    Obviously you’re happy with the increased traffic that a quotes page can bring. I’ve seen that time and again. But I would think the content marketing guide precipitated more purchases, no? Do you have any insights as to moving from page views to purchases when it comes to quotes pages?

    Thanks, Neil. Freaking love you guys.


    • Yes, the content marketing guide is much more relevant and probably caused a lot more purchases. I can’t be 100% sure, but I am going to guess it did.

      The reason being was that I wasn’t fully tracking all of my conversions when I first wrote the business quotes article.

  57. Yeah Great tips this post is even an ultimate guide.

  58. Love your posts, Neil.

    One problem that I’m facing right now is, measuring the ROI of content marketing efforts from my company’s blog and through guest posts.

    I do have content efficiency report added in customization in GA. But it is very difficult to find actionable insights from the data, especially because most pages that appear in the data are general website pages, like pricing page, etc.

    If I have to check only the performance of my blog, how do I do that? And if I do have blog-specific data with me, how do I analyze that to improve my content efforts as well as increase the sale of our product?

    I am an experienced writer but I’m a novice in content “marketing” and am really confused by all that I’ve read about measuring the ROI of content marketing efforts.

    Can you PLEASE do a post on this some time soon? Will be really looking forward to that.

  59. Sarah Ingram :

    Thanks Neil for such a brief and simple article.The content is really superb.Nowadays company knows that their marketing strategy needs to be improved a little bit.And your article provides perfect guidelines to them..

    Great work..

    • Sarah, I am glad you enjoyed the post. I like to outline the main points so people don’t get caught up in details that are irrelevant. Let me know if you have any questions.

  60. I do agree with you that the title really matters. agood content with a not good title is not effective.

  61. Leigh Hopkins :

    Great tips! In regards to blogging, there are many benefits that content marketing can bring, such us helping you establish thought leadership, building awareness and support, and improving SEO.

  62. For the content marketing, you should come up with something that really catch eye balls. Title is the first step, even more important than the content. Always think from the customer’s or reader’s side.

  63. sultankhan1212 :

    I like to outline the main points so people don’t get caught up in details that are irrelevant. Let me know if you have any questions. https://gplusfollowers.com/get-more-google-plus-followers/

  64. Great tips Neil I always love to read your blogs thank you for sharing amazing content.

  65. Indeed a great article from you sir

  66. Again a very much Informative stuff loaded in an article sir. Thank you for sharing it with us.I will use those techniques and try to improve my content marketing.
    Thank you !

  67. Thanks Neil, That’s a lot of effort you put there for us and I really appreciate you once again for the Tips. Thank You.

  68. Good to be here and to hear about this perfect post. Thanks for share this with us,SEO will help me to raise my website

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