Content Marketing lessons from ‘The Big Boys’
|The amazing growth of blog site aggregators such as Digg over the last few years have given us some incredibly valuable figures on what actually makes a successful post. These sites have average daily site visits measured in the tens of Millions to a variety of content, and these figures can be mined to show the current state of the Blogosphere, and what is being not only looked at, but studied and shared by readers across the Globe. By asking questions of those that produce content on their own sites, and always seem to appear on these aggregator sites, we can find out not only what works now, but also the road taken to get this far.
Here are some of the most popular answers we have received from our questions:
1. Try, try again, and re-brand your posts.
Just like any other business, you have to ‘use your elbows’ and find yourself space online. Publishers like you to have a strong track record of successful posting and sharing, and they will trust these tried and trusted writers, rather than a newbie with a good one-off idea. The bad news, here, is that you have to persist and keep on persisting to create your own space with Publishers. A more positive way of thinking of it is that this job is getting easier with every post you write.
Why, because every completed post adds to your online Resume, so this year will be easier than last year to be heard. Remember that every writer started with their first post, it’s just that the online stars have continued to write, edit, and market, until their posts are shared as a matter of course.
A great way to do this is to maximize your exposure with different headlines. Your headline is the reason that people are reading you. Sure, the graphic you chose to accompany your piece helps, but your headline is the open door that people will walk through, if they like what they see. So, who are you talking to, what do they want to hear, how can you help them, and how can put that in multiple headlines? Sometimes over 20 headlines can be use with the same post to ensure that you are reaching as many readers as possible. Try and knock it out of the park with every headline, and then re-write them for multiple audiences.
2. Large Listicles, and proper testing
Buzzfeed features large list articles and picture collections known as ‘Listicles’. An example, that we have all seen all over the ‘net is. “100 Tips to Make Your business grow”.
Break this down: Here is a subject that you can use. It has so much information promised, that you should be able to use at least some of it. A list promises lots of one-line information that you can access without too much work. In other words, you won’t be here long, and you will end the exercise with new, fresh information. Finally, the subject matter is vague enough to help everyone, from the one-man tailor business around the corner, to the Marketing Manager of a Multi-National company.
Now, you have to test it. Think of a popularity contest, and there can only be one winner. Take your best five headlines, and re-word, re-work, and re-publish them, until you get a clear winner. In the past, I have let a headline ‘go’, because I felt it was the best I could do. Within a week, I had re-written them ,and re-published them, and the difference in Analytics was three- or four-fold. This may not mean much if your post gets ten views, but if you get it on a huge aggregator site that receives 10,000 views, then the total is eye-popping. Look at online tools to help you with Headline Testing – there are a few out there.
3. Stack images, and make your article shareable.
If a picture or graphic works, how do multiple pictures work? Think of infographics. They are extremely popular, because – just as I wrote above – they promise more of what the reader likes: Information in a fast, easy format that is good to look at. One of the most popular posts of 2014 on Buzzworthy with ‘stacking images’ has been shared over 15 Million times! How’s that for an engaged audience?
This also shows the power of re-sharing. How many times have you seen a shared item on Twitter , for instance, that has been re-tweeted, and is just a collection or list of pictures? It promises something that can be done quickly, and the reader will learn something from it. Don’t forget – of course – to add a share button, or CTA.
These are just some of the writing, testing and sharing possibilities open to you. They work, because those writers already streets ahead of you are doing them. It’s time to add these ideas to your writing, so that you can become one of ‘the Big Boys.’