Driving Traffic Depends on The Quality of Your Website or Blog
- How to Create a Website – Step by Step
- The Best Website Builders Compared
- The Best Web Hosting Companies Compared
- How to Start a Blog That Makes Money
- Learn How to Make Money Blogging
- The Best Blog Platforms and Sites Compared
Things to Know Before Jumping InBefore I share the types of content that will drive you more traffic, there are a few things you need to know: You don’t need to try all of these examples – different content types suit different brands in different ways. If you don’t think that a certain type of content will serve you, no problem. This list isn’t about must-haves. It’s about maybes. Don’t be afraid to try new stuff – I’ve found that some people shy away from new types of content because they think it will take too long, be too hard, or fall flat. I understand your apprehension, but I encourage you to try it anyway. Want to get started with a video? You don’t need to buy a green screen, editing software, or a pro-grade camera. Use your iPhone and your YouTube account. Start small and work your way up. Pick one and put it in your schedule – if you use a content marketing schedule, slot one or two of these into the editorial calendar for the next month. If you don’t plan it, you probably won’t do it. I challenge you to pick one and give it a try sometime in the next four weeks. This list is not exhaustive – I encourage you to think of content not in terms of types but ideas. The form that the content takes is secondary. The idea is primary. First, develop your idea. Then, determine what it’s going to look like. The variety of content is endless. Heck, you may even want to invent your own type of content. So, let’s get started…
1. InfographicsAn infographic is the presentation of information or data in a visual way. Its name sums it up — info + graphic. Infographics get shared more, viewed more, and loved more than most other content types. They are a powerful way to get your information out there in an explosively visual format. One study found that infographics were liked and shared on social media up to three times more often than other content. The viral potential is there.
How to do itIf you have a graphic designer in your professional network, tap him or her to make an infographic for you. Some graphic artists specialize in infographics. If you have it in your budget, you can use a service like Visual.ly. Infographics typically start at $1,000.
When to use itInfographics are perfect for communicating almost any idea or concept. Data, research, statistics, and findings work especially well.
Things to keep in mind
- Infographics can be expensive. The amount cited above — a thousand dollars — is pretty close to the standard price.
- Infographics used to go viral just by virtue of being an infographic. That doesn’t work anymore. Everyone is making infographics. Today, you have to make it really good to make it shareable.
- Make a gifographic. Gifographics use the infographic model but feature animated gifs instead of the static images of a conventional infographic. You can check out an example here.
2. MemesYou’ve seen memes. They’re easy to make. They’re viral. They’re hilarious. That’s one of the great benefits of memes — their humor. People love something that they can laugh at, share, and get a kick out of.
How to do it
- Memes don’t require graphic design skills. Meme Generator and Quick Meme are sites that allow you to add your own text to popular meme images.
- Memes may not be the best type of content to share on your blog, but they’re primed for social media outlets. Twitter, Stumbleupon, Pinterest, Reddit, and Tumblr (especially Tumblr) will help your meme to spread.
- Memes are just-because content. When the mood hits or a funny idea strikes you, go ahead and meme it.
Things to keep in mind
- They are adaptable. The great thing about memes is that they can be adapted for use in any niche. Your niche is neither too narrow nor abstruse to warrant its own meme.
- Memes can be low value, so don’t overuse them. When misused, they can devalue the message or brand that you’re trying to promote.
3. VideosThere’s a world of variety within videos. I could write a whole separate post on different types of videos. No matter what type it is, however, a good video communicates a message in a succinct and memorable way. Done well, a video can be extraordinarily persuasive. This video on Crazy Egg helps to bring in $21k every month.
How to do it
- Whether you create a video of an office tour, an explainer video, or a music video (it’s been done), you’ve got to get the script right. A video isn’t only about the moving picture; it’s about the words that you say or display. Check out a few more tips for making an explainer video.
- Put the video on YouTube and Vimeo. Both of these video sharing sites are great ways to garner social signals for SEO and improved results for video search itself.
Things to keep in mind
- Making a good video is not cheap. You can start small, of course, but contracting a video specialist or a camera crew can cost quite a bit.
- Videos aren’t supposed to be long. Two to three minutes is a good length.
4. GuidesA guide is a detailed and fairly long piece of content. Think of it as an epic blog post. It goes beyond the length, style, and approach of an ordinary blog post. My Advanced Guide series are some of the most popular types of content I’ve ever created. When you check them out, you’ll discover that they have more visual flair and are much longer than my blog articles.
How to do itWriting a guide requires a good writer, a good designer, and a good idea. The writer needs to produce top-tier content. The designer needs to know how to present that content in an attractive way. And the idea has to be something that your audience wants. You may wish to present the guide as a downloadable PDF.
Things to keep in mind
- Guides can be a helpful bait for harvesting email addresses: “I’ll give you this awesome guide if you register your email address.”
- A guide needs to look good. Make sure you recruit the services of a capable designer as well as a writer. Readability has as much to do with layout and presentation as it does with great writing style.
5. Book reviewsA book review is a simple discussion of a book plus your take on it. You recommend good ones, critique not-so-good ones, and share the value that you glean from them. Book reviews are great because they help to position you as a thought leader.
How to do itA book review can be as complicated or as simple as you want. I suggest a short-and-simple 7-point format:
- Introduce the book: 1-5 sentences.
- Introduce the author: 1-5 sentences.
- Summarize the book’s major points: 1-3 sentences per point.
- Share what you liked in the book: 1-5 sentences.
- Share what you didn’t like about the book: 1-5 sentences.
- Recommend it (or not) to your readers: 1-3 sentences.
- Provide a call to action: Link to the book.
Things to keep in mind
- Book review content works best if you have a readership that is inclined to read books.
- Book reviews are especially helpful for thought leadership if you’re able to review new releases or pre-releases or interview the author.
6. Opinion post (a.k.a. “Rant”)This style of post is substantially different from your typical blog post, mostly due to its tone. You may be used to publishing a careful and researched discussion of a topic. The rant or opinion, by contrast, may be stronger and more expressive. The more vociferous your position, the more it’s going to get read and shared.
How to do itOccasionally, write a strong first-person take on a hot topic or big issue. It could be your opinion on a major industry change. I did this when Matt Cutts announced the demise of guest blogging. When you address popular topics, you’re able to get stronger search potential and shareability.
Things to keep in mind
- This should not be a daily thing. Someone who is constantly sharing his or her opinions or ranting about a topic can become odious. Use with caution.
- Be civil. Don’t let your opinions degenerate into people bashing. “Rant” does not equal “angry.”
- Be clear about what you’re doing — that this is your opinion, your take, your position — and be humble about it.
7. Product reviewsLike the book review, a product review can help establish authority and leadership in your industry. Every industry has its unique array of products, software, and services. When you engage key developers, manufacturers, or service providers, you gain recognition and respect. All you need to do is share your experience with the product and provide your recommendation.
How to do itHere’s a pattern for the product review:
- Introduce the product
- Introduce the producer
- Describe the product
- Share what you like
- Share what you don’t like
- Provide your recommendation
- Provide a call to action
Things to keep in mindIf the product is a physical item, you may want to have a video component to the review. A video allows you to take a hands-on approach to the product as you review it. Take product reviews to the next level Many product reviews are biased, lack credibility, and aren’t very convincing. The reason why this is so is because it’s difficult to create a good one. However, if you actually care about creating great content, that means there is an opportunity here. Before I get into what an amazing product review is comprised of, I’ll give you a chance to look at an example. The following video is a review of the best kitchen blenders: This channel, “America’s test kitchen,” is one of the few that understand what an actual useful review looks like. They’ve done a great job with the kitchen niche and have several high converting videos with hundreds of thousands of views. There’s no reason why you can’t do the same (although it doesn’t necessarily have to be video content). What’s in a great review? In order to create a review of this level, you’ll have to include things that aren’t normally included:
- actual product examples
- useful test results
- clear comparisons
- Link building tools
- Rank tracking tools
- Marketing courses
- Dining room tables
- Lawn mowers
- Cat food
8. How-toThe how-to is one of the most popular types of content, especially in my niche. On my blog, I write a lot of how-to guides. How-to articles have awesome long tail search potential due to these popular long tail query introductions: “How to…” and “How do I…?”
How to do itFirst, identify a common problem. Then, come up with a solution. The model is simple:
- Introduce the problem
- Introduce the solution
- Discuss each step of the solution
- Summarize the discussion
- Provide a conclusion
Things to keep in mind
- The options for how-tos are inexhaustible. Think of one topic that reflects something you do on a daily basis. Next, write a how-to article based on that one issue. It could be industry specific or more general: “How to reply to every email in one minute or less” or “How to optimize your robots.txt for search engines.”
- The more thorough your explanation is, the better. Diagrams, videos, and pictures can all help enhance the how-to blog.
9. ListsLists have endless appeal. We’re wired to love them. Chance are you’re going to see or read an article today that involves some sort of a list — “5 Security Breaches You Need to Know about,” “17 Ways to Rank Higher in Google in One Month.” Hey, you’re already reading an article with the title “15 Types.” From the ancient Ten Commandments to modern lists of everything, numbered ideas are as popular as ever. You can’t go wrong with this content type. Even popular magazines use list appeal to sell issues:
How to do it
- Pick a topic, then pick a number. You’re halfway to creating a list. A good example of this is this post on 7 ways to increase your rankings without leveraging content marketing.
- When you write your list, use this simple format: introduce the topic, list your points, and provide a conclusion.
Things to keep in mind
- The more detailed your list is, the better.
- Long lists are good too.
- There’s no magic number for an awesome list. Odd numbers, round numbers, any types of numbers — they all work equally well.
10. Link pagesA link page is simply a post that provides links to great resources around the web. The great thing about link posts is that they spread link love to other sites, provide your own site with authoritative SEO signals, and assert your thought leadership within your field.
How to do itA link page, often called a link roundup, is simply a list of links. Write down the title of the article, hyperlink it, and number it. Done.
Things to keep in mindIt’s helpful to add your own blurb or introduction for each link you provide. Although not necessary, it’s a good way to put your own spin on a topic or add a bit of value to the discussion. Besides, if a post is particularly good (or bad), you may want to point this out.
11. EbooksAn ebook is long content packaged in a different format, usually as a PDF. Ebooks are often a downloadable product, available for free in exchange for joining a mailing list. Producing an ebook helps to strengthen your authority within a field, and it makes for a powerful method of sharing your knowledge with others. When e-books first hit the marketing scene, people put a ton of value on them. A high perceived value means that readers will invest more into consuming and applying the content as well as sharing it. But as you know, everyone has an e-book these days. They still hold a bit of extra perceived value over blog posts, but not too much. However, some e-books are truly great, and those still get a lot of attention. I’d like to show you how to create a special type of e-book that will automatically get thousands of visitors and shares. The idea:
Create an e-book where one influencer in your niche writes one page. The final book will be a 20-page book written by 20 experts (just using 20 as an example).Essentially, it’s an expanded expert roundup. Instead of just contributing a couple of lines to answer a question (and all experts answer the same question), your experts will each be writing a chapter of the book. Here’s an example: This is a great example that showcases the power of the technique. Stoney deGeyter, from Pole Position Marketing, put together an e-book of “link building secrets”. He was able to get 20 different industry professionals to contribute one secret each. Some of these were also influencers. Even though they weren’t all influencers, he got some solid results. He saw that all influencers who contributed to the book shared his other posts (along with the book) with their followers. On top of that, most of them also linked to the book, which is a nice bump in high quality backlinks for Stoney. Stoney also mentioned that he saw a spike in traffic, although he didn’t say how big (but probably pretty considerable). And one final benefit is that he now has relationships with 20 influencers/professionals, which could lead to some great opportunities in the future.
How to do itThere are three main parts to producing an e-book like this:
- Come up with a good topic
- Find influencers willing to contribute
- Organize, design, and format the content into a book before publishing
- 9 Formatting Tactics That Will Double Your Readers’ Average Time on Page
- 5 Advanced Formatting Tips to Maximize Time on Site and Conversions
- The Complete Guide to Designing Visually Stunning Content (Even If You’re Not a Graphic Artist)
- leave comments on their blogs
- engage with them on social media
- send them emails (with questions or comments—get on their email lists first)
Hi (name), I wanted to quickly offer you an exclusive opportunity. I’ve already got (influencer #1) and (influencer #2) to agree to participate. (book details here…)That one line gives you instant credibility if those influencers are well known. If they want to do the project, it’s probably worth at least reading a bit about. Using their names will boost your response rate by an incredible amount. Once you’ve done this and you’ve got your target number of participants (expect to email 50-100 of them initially), put together the e-book and publish it. When you send your contributors a link to the book, most will help you promote it. You should still do your own basic promotional work—expect better than usual results in this case.
Things to keep in mind
- A good ebook has a really good title. Spend time curating the best title in order to garner more readers.
- Design is clutch. Ebooks without colors, graphics, and great formatting are considered not worth reading.
- I suggest creating both a PDF version and an HTML version of the ebook. An HTML version allows you to embed video, audio, and other resources.
12. Case StudiesA case study explains what your product or service is and how it helped a client. The case study basically says, “here’s what we do, how we do it, and the results we get.”
How to do itTo create a case study, follow this model:
- Write a summary of the study and a preview of the outcome.
- Explain the challenges that you had to overcome or the problem that the client was facing.
- Write out the solution you provided. Make it clear and explain it in a step-by-step way.
- Discuss the results of your solution and the ways in which it was successful.
- Provide a conclusion and a call to action.
Things to keep in mind
- Write your case study in such a way that it doesn’t come off as pure marketing.
- Make it a story. “Case study” sounds pretty bland, but a good case study is really an inspiring “success story.”
13. PodcastsPodcasts had their phase of popularity, and they’re still a great form of content. Plus, they’re not hard to create. Many people listen to podcasts during their commute or exercise. You have a chance to spread your message farther and better using this format than a lot of other formats.
How to do itCreating a podcast is simple, provided you have a decent microphone and some technical knowledge.
Things to keep in mindAs with any media publication, be sure to accompany the podcast with content. For example, announce it on your blog with a bit of a discussion. Share information about new podcast releases and provide an overview of the topic. You may even wish to publish the transcript of the podcast. This helps to add SEO value.
14. InterviewsEvery field has its leaders. When you’re able to interview a leader, you can garner a lot of respect from others in the field, not to mention huge amounts of traffic. Interviews are unique. No one else has this information — only you.
How to do itFirst, you’ve got to invite the interviewee and set up a time to talk. Once you’ve done that, here’s a good format for conducting the interview:
- Introduce the interviewee. Generate excitement and anticipation.
- Ask a question. Let the interviewee answer.
- Continue with the question and answer format until conclusion. If intriguing points come up during the discussion (and you’re adept at thinking on your feet), you may wish to chase down the point with further questions.
- Conclusion. Be sure to thank the interviewee and provide a call to action for your audience.
Things to keep in mindIf your interview is audio or video, be sure to provide a written summary or an overview of the interview.
15. Research and DataTerms like big data and machine learning are thrown around a lot these days. Technically, big data refers to collecting and analyzing ridiculously large sets of data. But for the average person (or marketer), I think it’s fair to say that analyzing hundreds of thousands, or millions, of data points could fall under the “big data” umbrella. The reason why analyzing large sets of data is so interesting is because it can reveal new and interesting findings. Anyone can make simple connections. Writing about SEO? Writers should include their target keywords in their content. By now, that’s obvious to 99.9% of the SEO community. Most of the simple observations have been made in any niche because anyone can make them. But some observations and findings can only be made by analyzing a larger set of data. This means that you need some programming skills (or the budget to pay a developer). In other words, very few marketers can produce these findings. This, of course, makes them even more valuable. An example: Let me show you a great example of using big data to create incredible content effectively. In 2014, OkDork published a post that revealed the results of their analysis of 100 million articles. They wanted to find out why content goes viral using data. They were able to observe some really interesting correlations such as: Needless to say, this was a breath of fresh air compared to all the other information on creating viral content that simply suggested that all you need is to create curiosity. And the community response was as expected. After being published, it attracted hundreds of comments and thousands of social shares: Analyzing such a large set of data lets you draw data-driven conclusions and use them to give advice. This gives your content much more credibility than it would have otherwise. How to do it: I understand that this type of content can be intimidating. Analyzing big data is something that is completely foreign to most marketers and business owners. But everything is scary to most of us at one time or another. Even basic link building was once thought of as something complicated and abstract. It’s those who are willing to put in the work to learn how to use what scares them that get a leg up on everyone else. You can wait a few years when there’s a more accessible way to study big data, but that’s when everyone else will hop on the trend too. Or you can get on it now and get huge results. If you’re willing to put in a bit of extra effort and overcome a few obstacles, it will pay off. Assuming you can’t do the analysis yourself, there are two ways you can put together content like this. Way #1 – Hire a developer/programmer: You can’t analyze hundreds of thousands of data points by hand, no matter how smart or hardworking you are. Instead, you need to create a program that can do the analysis for you. Depending on the difficulty of the analysis you’re trying to do, as well as how easy it is to find the data you’re looking for, this can take anywhere from 5 hours to 100 in most cases for a typical programmer. Where can you hire one for this type of job? Try any of the main freelancing boards:
- (optional) budget – if you specify your budget, the applications will come from programmers who charge around that amount
- the project goal – describe what data you want to analyze and what you’re trying to determine from it
- anything you have to help – if you’ve already located a data source, it’ll make their job a lot easier (no need to scrape sites for data)
A few weeks ago someone sent me a link to the BuzzSumo website. It is a gold mine of data regarding what content is the most shared across any topic. Cha-Ching. So I reached out to the company to help understand what the main ingredients for insanely shareable content are.The end result is that BuzzSumo helps create the content and provides the data (essentially a guest post), but you get to look amazing in front of a large audience. It’s a win-win. Companies that already use big sets of data are starting to recognize the potential of content marketing. BuzzSumo is one business that I’ve seen really hop on it, collaborating to produce similar articles, like this one with Moz where they analyzed 1 million articles in different ways. This is a perfect opportunity to start connecting with these companies in your industry before it becomes a more common tactic.
16. Become a scientist (at least for a little while…)Science typically deals with complicated subjects, and there’s always an expectation of rigor—an expectation that quality comes first and that tests should be done as accurately as possible in order to ensure a useful result. And this relates to great content. Great content reveals new information that the creator discovered, hopefully while conducting valid tests that will help others do the same in the future. While you don’t need to put on a white lab coat, consider doing your best impression of a scientist and conducting your own research. How to do it: Step #1 – Come up with a hypothesis: All studies start with a hypothesis, a guess about what will happen if you do something. The general form for one is:
I think (action) will result in (what might happen).Not every hypothesis turns out to be true, but when one does, you’ll have the data to back it up. You’ll have to put some thought into this, but I’ll give you a few hypothetical examples of hypotheses to give you an idea of what you’re looking for:
- I think guest posting will grow our blog traffic by X%
- I think I can eat at McDonald’s and still lose weight (which actually happened!)
- I think doing push-ups every morning for a month will allow me to do 100 push-ups per day (by the end)
- I think you can grow a tomato plant in 60 days by using Procedure XYZ
- how you will track results (e.g., daily weigh-ins)
- specifically, what you will eat (the procedure)
- any other rules that will ensure that no other factors are influencing results (e.g., maintain your usual level of exercise)
17. One type of content that’s more practical than the restThe final type of advanced form of content is one that I think every business should try (if applicable) at least once. And that advanced form of content is a tool (yes, I consider them as content). If you remember the old Quick Sprout homepage, you know that I have a tool that analyzes web pages. It gives you a quick SEO, speed, and social score: I’ve written about the results in a full writeup before, so I won’t go over them again in detail. But to sum things up, despite the tool costing much more than I expected, it still brought in a ton of backlinks and business, producing a very solid return on my investment. You don’t need to create a tool as complex as my analyzer, but even a small tool that can accomplish one useful thing for your audience will get a lot of attention. How to do it: Step #1 – Come up with the idea: Tools solve problems, so that’s where you’ll have to start. Make a list of as many problems or difficulties your readers face on a regular basis as you can. For me, I noticed that SEOs had a hard time doing a few things:
- checking if a site was optimized for search engines
- making repeat SEO reports for clients
- combining evaluations of multiple areas of their marketing efforts (e.g., SEO, social, etc.)