This is a list of actionable content marketing tips.
In fact, these same strategies helped grow my blog to 304,265 monthly visits:
So if you want more traffic from every blog post that you publish, you’ll love this list of tips, techniques and strategies.
Let’s get started.
1. Publish “X vs. Y” Posts
“X vs. Y” posts are posts like:
- “Convertkit vs. MailChimp”
- “Paleo vs. Keto”
- “UberEats vs. Postmates”
And “X vs. Y” posts are a GREAT way to get more traffic to your site.
First, X vs. Y keywords don’t have a lot of SEO competition.
For example, I recently published a post optimized around the keyword “Ahrefs vs. SEMRush”.
Sure enough, that page rocked to the top of Google within a few weeks.
Second, people that search for “X vs. Y” keywords tend to be pretty advanced.
Think about it this way:
Somebody searching for “Ahrefs vs. SEMRush” already knows about SEO. They’re just looking for the best tool.
Which is why CPCs on “X vs. Y” keywords tend to be super high.
2. Link to Social Profiles in Outreach Emails
This is an EASY way to get more replies to your outreach emails.
All you need to do is add links to your social profiles in your signature.
Seriously. That’s it.
And there’s data to back this up.
When we teamed up with Pitchbox to analyze over 10 million outreach emails, we discovered that social profile links increased response rates by up to 23.4%.
Our data also showed that adding a link to your Instagram profile seems to make the biggest difference.
Which leads us to…
3. Use The Animalz Revive Tool
I boosted my organic traffic by 260% simply by updating and relaunching an old post.
How do you know which posts to work on first?
Enter: The (free) Animalz Revive tool.
This tool uses your Google Analytics to find pages with the biggest traffic drop.
When you find a page that’s dropping, you have two options:
You can revamp and relaunch the post like it’s brand new.
For example, we update and relaunch our “Guide to SEO This Year” every November.
Or, you can quietly update your content. In fact, last year we gave our guest posting guide a much-needed update.
And that single update boosted search engine traffic to that page by 17.68%.
4. Try The PBC Formula
Your blog post introductions are HUGE.
After all, they’re the first thing people see when they land on your post.
Unfortunately, most blog post intros are way too long.
Well, I recently developed a short blog post intro formula that works GREAT.
I call it: “The PBC Formula”.
Here’s the full breakdown.
First, you quickly Preview what your post is all about.
Then, you list out a bunch of Benefits that someone will get from reading your post.
Finally, cap things off with a Call-To-Action.
That’s all there is to it.
5. Publish “Power Posts”
When we joined forces with BuzzSumo to analyze nearly 1 billion articles, one finding stood out:
A very small number of “Power Posts” drive the majority of social sharing online.
Our data showed that 1.3% of the articles published are responsible for 50% of social media shares.
I call these high-performing articles “Power Posts”.
To be clear:
There’s no formula for creating content that will get shared like crazy.
(If there was, everyone would do it ? )
But when you publish epic Power Posts you increase the odds that people will share your stuff.
For example, we recently published a Power Post called: “How to Write a Blog Post: The Definitive Guide”.
This single post took 50 hours of work.
- 20 hours to write the post
- 15 hours to design illustrations and visuals
- 10 hours to take and edit screenshots
- 5 hours to code and assemble the page
But in the end, that hard work paid off.
Our Power Post brought in 10,555 visitors in the first week alone.
And a good chunk of those visitors were from all the shares we got on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
In fact, that single page has 5369 total social shares.
6. Write About Trending Topics
Let’s face it:
Most topics are SUPER competitive.
For example, take a super niche keyword like “seo site check up”.
According to Ahrefs, this keyword only gets 90 searches per month.
And it has a keyword difficulty score of 86.
It’s the same story with most topics nowadays.
By the time you write an article about something, there are already hundreds (or even thousands) of posts out there on that topic.
What’s the solution?
Write about trending topics.
Trending topics are popular topics that aren’t super competitive (yet).
And if you want to find trending topics, I recommend checking out a free tool called ExplodingTopics.com.
This tool lists out topics that are growing fast in 29 different categories.
That way, you can pounce on these topics before they really take off.
7. Include Native Content With Social Shares
“Share your content on social media” used to be a useful content marketing tip.
Today, most social media algorithms (like Facebook) bury posts that send users off of their platform.
While there’s no way to totally get around this, I recently found a little loophole that does help:
Post native content with your link.
For example, my social media posts used to just be my blog post title and a link.
And these posts would get BURIED.
Today, I write a little bit of native content to go along with the post.
This native content gives social media algorithms what it wants (original content and engagement).
And once the post starts to spread around the platform, you get what you want (more traffic to your post).
For example, this LinkedIn post got over 41k views.
And that’s mostly due to the fact that the post wasn’t just a link to my site.
My post had a little bit of valuable content to go along with my link.
8. Use Padlock Posts
You may have noticed these greyed-out posts in the Backlinko blog feed.
Internally, we call these “Padlock Posts”.
They’re basically normal blog posts that only Backlinko email subscribers can get access to.
And when someone clicks on a Padlock Post, a little popup appears that asks for their email.
And while it’s still early, these seem to be working REALLY well.
In fact, this Padlock Post has brought in 1,614 email subscribers so far.
9. Include a Keyword in Your URL
Keyword-rich URLs aren’t just for on-page SEO.
(Although they definitely help with that too).
As it turns out, including a keyword in your URL can increase your organic click-through-rate by up to 45%.
I should point something out:
Your URL doesn’t have to be a 1:1 match for the keyword someone’s searching for.
As long as the text in your URL is similar to the keyword, you’ll usually get a nice CTR boost.
For example, a few months ago I published a post called: “17 Ways to Improve SEO Rankings”.
My target keyword for that post is: “Improve SEO Rankings”.
Even though my URL doesn’t contain that exact term, it’s close enough.
10. Add More Cuts to Your Video Content
People want videos that move FAST.
This is something that I struggled with when I first started shooting videos.
I wanted my videos to look “natural”. So I filmed entire YouTube videos with only one or two cuts.
And this made my videos move SUPER slow. My videos were full of “umms”, “aaahs” and “you knows” that slowed things down.
Today, my videos have 80-100 cuts each.
That way, each video moves along at a super rapid pace.
Which helps my Audience Retention stay nice and high.
11. Write Longer Headlines
Want to get more social shares from your content?
Try writing longer headlines.
The BuzzSumo study I mentioned earlier found that longer headlines are strongly correlated with high levels of social sharing.
This was true when we measured headline length in terms of word count:
And character count:
We actually found that long headlines generate an average of 76% more shares vs. short headlines.
For example, this headline from one of our posts is 15 words.
Which may have helped that post rack up 2036 shares.
12. Optimize Around Untapped Keywords
Most keyword research tools have the same problem:
They show everyone the exact same set of keywords!
What if there was a way to find untapped keywords that your competitors haven’t found yet?
Well, there is.
Here’s how to do it:
First, log in to the Google Keyword Planner.
Then, click on the “Start With a Website” tab.
And enter a competitor’s homepage…
…or a blog post.
And the tool will scan the page for keyword ideas
Ideas that most people don’t see.
13. Use Blog Post Templates
Templates can REALLY help you scale up your content marketing.
For example, whenever I start on a new post, I don’t open up a blank Google Doc.
Instead, I work from one of our proven blog post templates.
For example, when I sit down to write a case study, I use this PDF workbook to help me get the important parts on paper.
Then, I transfer that to a Google Doc and start writing.
In fact, working from a set of templates has helped us scale up our publishing schedule. We used to publish a new post once a month. Now, we publish a new post every 2 weeks.
14. Use Emotional Titles
According to our analysis of 5 million Google search results, titles that pack an emotional punch get more clicks.
It’s possible for your titles to be TOO emotional.
That same study found that headlines with “Power Words” had a lower CTR.
So I recommend using titles that have some emotional sentiment. But if you go overboard, your CTR can start to suffer.
For example, this title is emotional. But it’s not “clickbaity”.
15. Optimize Around Brand Keywords
“Brand Keywords” are just like they sound:
They’re keywords optimized around brands and products.
Here’s an example of one of our posts that’s optimized around a Brand Keyword.
So: why optimize your blog content around Brand Keywords?
Because they’re usually NOT competitive.
For example, take a keyword like “BuzzSumo”.
According to Ahrefs, that keyword gets 49K searches per month. And it has a decent CPC too.
Despite those impressive numbers, the keyword difficulty on this term is only 13.
The downside of Brand Keywords is that you’ll never rank #1 in Google for that term.
And depending on the SERPs for that brand keyword, you may not be able to crack the top 3.
For example, we published this guide to the Google Search Console last year.
And considering that the top 5 results are all Google.com pages, #6 is about as high as this page will ever rank.
Even so, that post still brings in 1,126 visitors per month from Google.
16. Tell Relatable Stories in YouTube Videos
One of the powerful things about YouTube is that it’s a very personal medium.
Unlike a blog post, someone is actually watching YOU deliver your message.
Which makes it the perfect place to take your guard down. And reveal some personal tidbits about yourself.
For example, I try to include a 30-60 second little story in every single one of my YouTube videos.
Most of these stories share how I initially struggled with the topic that I’m covering in that video.
That way, I don’t come in like some know it all.
It shows that, like anyone, I had to learn things through trial and error.
As long as these stories are short and relate to your topic, you’ll find that your audience will appreciate them.
17. Write Compelling Meta Descriptions
No, Google doesn’t use the meta description tag to understand the content on your page.
But users use your description to figure out which result to click on.
The copy in your meta tag will depend a lot on the page.
But here’s one template that tends to work well:
And here’s an example of that template in action.
Bonus #1: Reverse Engineer Your Competition
There’s a place for originality.
And creative thinking.
But there’s also a place for straight up copying what your competitors are doing.
And you don’t need their Google Analytics password to do it either.
In fact, there are a bunch of awesome content marketing tools that will show you what’s already working for someone else.
If your main focus is on link building, Detailed.com shows you where the top blogs in almost every niche get their links from.
And if you want to see a specific site’s most-shared content, BuzzSumo is the tool for you.
Or maybe you want to see the pages on a site that bring in the most organic traffic. Well Ahrefs can hook you up with that info.
Bonus #2: Create Stats Pages
Stats Pages are a great way to build backlinks without needing to do a bunch of outreach.
Stats Pages are optimized around “[Topic] + Stats” keywords.
And who tends to search for “[Topic] + Stats” keywords?
That’s right: bloggers and journalists!
And when they use one of your stats in their article, they’ll usually link back to your stats page.
For example, we published this list of email marketing stats a few months ago.
And it quickly hit the first page for keywords that bloggers and journalists search for (like “email marketing statistics”).
Which helped it pick up some solid links, like this one:
What Do You Think?
Now I’d like to turn things over to you:
Which content marketing tip from this list was your favorite?
Or maybe you have a tip that I didn’t cover here.
Either way, let me know and leave a comment below.