Let's start with a rather ubiquitous fact:
If you run a business online, it is difficult to succeed without content marketing. You just must be creating content or risk being outgunned by your rivals. And here's the thing about content marketing:
Creating blog posts on a regular basis IS the bedrock of every successful content marketing campaign. Running a blog for your business is great. As an inbound marketing strategy, blogging truly works. It can open up many opportunities and turn your business around for good.
Recent statistics by HubSpot reveal that marketers who blog consistently acquire over 120% more leads and are 13 times more likely to get a positive return on investment (ROI) than those who do not. Smart marketers understand this. That is why 55% of them say that blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority, according to the same statistics.
Now, here's the cold, hard truth:
Although blogging is great, it is not everyone who blogs that gets it. In other words, just because you “blog” doesn't mean you'll get results.
And that's not without a reason. Every successful blog is built on a solid foundation of content. Without creating *GREAT* content on a consistent basis, you may as well forget it.
Great content is not all about impeccable writing skills, although that's important. It's not all about great storytelling, although that could hold your readers’ attention for a while. Great content is really about creating content that perfectly syncs and resonate with your audience; content that pointedly answers their questions, solves their problems, and adds true value to their life or business. That is the type of content that attract visitors, get shared, get talked about all over the place, and get linked back from folks in your industry and beyond. That's the type of content that gets leads, grows businesses, and makes the money.
Creating this type of content begins with picking the RIGHT TOPIC. Why? Because one of the things that kill blogs the most is creating content on the *wrong topic*.
With the wrong topic, your blog won't fly.
And mind you, a wrong topic doesn't necessarily mean a topic that does not address your audience, but one that may address your audience, howbeit not a topic that has the potential to drive serious traffic and get your business to where you want it. We'll explain that in a short while.Now, you don't need to pull this type of topic from the sky. In fact, such blog post topics are right around you. You read them every day; you share them on your fave social platforms; you love them.
The fact is that in 99.9% of cases, there's no topic you would ever want to create content on that someone somewhere hasn't already written about.
The best approach to finding hot, super effective topics?
Write about your audience's PROVEN interests.
This means ditching the temptation to write about topics YOU THINK your readers might like, and actually writing on topics that have been proven by already-existing data to be popular. Below are the exact steps you need to take to create this type of blog posts every time.
STEP #1: PLUG YOUR KEY PHRASE INTO A CONTENT RESEARCH TOOL
The first step is to perform a thorough content research by keying your targeted keyword into a reliable content research tool.
For this, we love to use Ahrefs because of the enormity of the features and data it packs.Ahrefs is a powerful suite of tools for search engine optimization, content research, link building, and competitor analysis. It is actually one of the best that exists on the market today.
They have so many features that you can get lost trying to harness them all.
Content Explorer allows you to discover the most popular content for any topic — by backlinks, organic traffic, and social shares. It helps you find the most shared and 'linked-to' content, so that you can explore the best ideas for your new content.
So after signing up on Ahrefs, go to the Content Explorer tool and enter your desired keywords (or the URL of a competitor) and you will get a list of the most popular articles based on their "performance metrics" including the following:
Organic search traffic — which shows how many visits a given article is generating from search each month.
Social shares — which is collected from top social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Referring domains — which shows how many unique websites are linking to that article.
Ahrefs claims that “Content Explorer has over 2 billion articles in its index, and new ones are added every single day.”
With that, you are sure to get many thousands of articles for every keyword you enter.
STEP #2: STUDY THE MOST SHARED, LINKED, AND SEARCHED POSTS
After you've summoned the most popular articles on your targeted keywords via Content Explorer, it is time to analyze the results to see which articles are worth your time.
On Content Explorer, you can sort and narrow the results to bring out exactly what you want.
To do this, use the boolean operators and advanced search filters (search everywhere/in title/in content). Amongst other things, the search operators also allows you to include a term (boolean operator +) and excludes a term (boolean operator -) in the search query.
With this operators and filters, you can find the best results for specific types of successful content you want to create. For example, you may decide to create a blog post that drives Facebook likes, or an infographic that drives links, or a seasonal content piece that drives search traffic around the end of the year. You get the point, right?
Apart from this, Content Explorer also lets you filter the results by:
Additionally, you can dive deeper into each piece of content without leaving the tool. Just click on the “Details” button.
By diving deeper, you'll be able to access the following set of data about each content piece:
Organic Keywords — for knowing the keywords this piece of content ranks for in search.
Charts — for knowing how a piece of content performs over time in terms of backlinks, search traffic and social shares.
Backlinks — for knowing how many backlinks are pointing to a piece of content and where they’re coming from.
Referring Domains — for knowing how many different websites are linking to this piece of content.
Anchors — for knowing all the backlink anchor texts pointing to this piece of content.
All of this data are important for knowing how well your new content will perform.
You can also set a time frame. So for instance, if you want to browse all the articles a top competitor published last month or see their top posts from last year, you can easily filter your search results by date still in Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.
STEP #3: PICK POSTS IN WHICH YOU CAN ADD VALUE
After performing your content research, you now have a list of popular posts on other sites that have a proven track record of getting links, shares, and search traffic.
That’s obviously a piece of useful information. But you want to be sure that you don't end up sounding like a copycat. You want to publish content that’s unique and not regurgitate the ideas of other content creators.
How do you do that?
Well, the simple strategy is to choose a post that you can write on the SAME TOPIC, but give a better and completely DIFFERENT ADVICE. Let it be a topic that you can entwine your own unique story or experience into, to make it uniquely yours. Also, you definitely want to choose a different headline.
Put differently, you'll be following the same approach with the most popular topics in your space but give your own unique advice.
STEP #4: WRITE A BETTER VERSION OF THAT POST
Once you've picked the most successful posts, you are now ready to write yours. The trick is to write a better post than the most powerful post that exist on that topic.
Here are the five special methods that copywriters often use to achieve this:
Add more information to make your post more detailed and comprehensive.
Include more and/or updated statistics, data, and examples to backup your points more authoritatively.
Design your post more beautifully by including things like more updated images, an infographic, etc. Better design also includes organizing your points in a more orderly manner.
Make the post distinctive by basing your advice on your unique perspective as an expert.
Emotions get readers to become more attached to your brand. Drive up emotion by infusing your post with personal stories, experience, and personality.
You can decide to pick one of these methods, combine more than one, or go wild by implementing them all on your post.
Regardless of which method you choose, the bottom line is to create the best post ever published on that proven topic. Strive to make your post longer than the competitors’ own. Content Explorer even has a feature for checking the word count of the posts you're analyzing.
Now, don't get spoofed: This is no easy task. Usually, it’s a lot of work. But that is just a way to win the game of serious blogging.
Researching popular post models from your competitors can be the killer strategy that changes your blogging game for better.
Here's how it works in summary:
You stop writing about whatever comes to your head and focus on proven topics.
You study the competition using Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.
You create content much better than the rivalry.
But that, of course, is a very simplified look at this strategy. Not forgetting about the importance of promoting your content after creating it.
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