To up your affiliate marketing commissions, you need more traffic, so once you know your audience, you can hone in on the content that’s most relevant to them — and what will move them to click through and buy your eBay product recommendations. In this second installation of a three-part series, we bring you some brilliant ideas from internet innovator, blogging expert and owner of several seven-figure online businesses, Syed Balkhi, from his recent presentation on increasing blog/website traffic at Social Media Marketing World. Today’s post focuses on how to create winning content that works – and converts.
Syed Balkhi has a rule for creating content that is not only readable and shareable, but that also moves people into action, like clicking on your eBay affiliate links.
Don’t write for search engines, write for people.
Now, there’s a very important caveat, too:
Write for people, but with search engines in mind.
It all begins with being systematic in your topic (read: keyword) research. You need to know what key questions/challenges/pain points your audience has in order to deliver just the right content.
Start with taking a good look at Google Analytics, which not only shows your important demographic information, your top (and bottom) performing content, and keywords that brought people to your site, but also precisely what people are searching for once they’re on your blog or website.
And if you’re not in the habit of periodically using Google’s keyword tool, Keyword Planner, get on it – it’s one of the most basic SEO tools and a great place to start.
If you want to take your keyword and topic research a step further, check out AnswerThePublic.com. This incredibly visual, data-rich, free tool gives you a ton of useful information about what people are searching for, and how you can better answer the public’s queries.
For example, let’s say you have a blog about affiliate marketing. When you go to AnswerThePublic.com, you can “ask the seeker” to suggest content ideas based on your keywords. When you put in “affiliate marketing” and your country, you’ll get visualizations and data about the questions, words and phrases that are related to your keyword(s).
You can use this deep, insightful information not just to do a better job with your SEO, but also to come up with post topics that will resonate with your readers.
Once you have a smart and strategic idea of what topics work, the next step is to familiarize yourself with the various types of content that work best, which include:
1) Pillar articles
Balkhi is a proponent of building your pillar articles, first and foremost. Great for SEO, social shares and referral traffic, pillar articles are evergreen (meaning the information in them is as timeless as possible), in-depth, lengthy, detailed, and most importantly, provide exceptional information and value to your readers. Pillar articles establish your authority and become those posts that you link back to time and again. Keep in mind that sometimes the content in pillar articles needs to be updated, and it’s always a good idea to keep such articles fresh.
Examples of pillar articles from Balkhi’s sites include: The Ultimate Guide to Boost WordPress Speed & Performance and Ultimate Wordpress SEO Guide for Beginners (Step by Step).
2) How-To Tutorials
How-to articles have built in search and are especially good for long-tail SEO (those niche search phrases that are normally three-plus words long). A good example of a recent “how-to” article from Copyblogger is How to Run a Sustainable Writing Business (Where the Backbone of Success Is Simply … You).
Infographics pair eye-grabbing visuals with informative, brief text. Considering that people do 323% better following directions with text and images than those following directions without illustrations AND that infographics get loads of social shares and generate referral traffic, they’re well worth including in your content mix.
This combo of a list and an article is avery popular type of post that gives easy to consume “snacks” of content, and normally includes snappy subheads, fun images or gifs, and short descriptions. When done well, listicles are perfect for social sharing, traffic referrals and outreach. An example of a listicle is, The 8 Best Twinkie Listings On eBay from Buzzfeed, written when we thought it was the end of Hostess Twinkies.
5) Refresh and repurpose old articles
From your backend analytics, you should have a good idea of what content has performed the best over time. Periodically take a peek and pull out those top performers, update the information, add an “Updated” tag to the title, and voila! You have effective content that stands the test of time and keeps your organic SEO fresh and growing.
Once you know what kind of content you are creating, the other key step is to come up with compelling headlines that make people want to click through to read your post. Balkhi recommends a couple of free tools that can help you predict how effective your headline will be:
The Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) Headline Analyzer from the Advanced Marketing Institute scores how powerful (or not) your headlines are when it comes to hitting a deep, emotional nerve with your potential audience. It also provides you with which emotions – intellectual, emphatic and/or spiritual – your headline copy most impacts.
CoSchedule also has a free headline analyzer tool, which looks at the overall structure, grammar, and readability of your headline, as well as other aspects including length, sentiment, and even how your headline will appear in Google and in email headlines.
Finally, once you’ve got a good idea of what content you want to publish, Balkhi recommends that you plan out a consistent calendar. While he uses Asana (which has a free version), CoSchedule is also an all-in-one marketing calendar that has a low-priced “solo marketing” tier for bloggers and solopreneurs.
Honing in on the content your readers care about is the second step in making your blog or website a traffic magnet. Next week we’ll look at techniques and strategies to shine a spotlight on your work and you, too, in order to drive more traffic to your site through outreach and promotion.