Find out what 400,000 articles taught us about content engagement
When I first started tweeting, I struggled to think of even a single tweet. What would my new Twitter audience care about? Why would they care what I was doing or thinking at any given moment?
Fast forward many years and I’m now tweeting dozens of times a day, surpassed 120,000 tweets overall, and have grown a Twitter audience of nearly fifty-two thousand fans.
How’d I do it? Where’d I get all those tweets?
One of the best compliments to an active, growing Twitter community is a source of original, helpful content.
In other words, you should be blogging and powering your Twitter with that blog content.
But Twitter isn’t all blogging is good for. Maintaining a profitable blog that publishes high-quality content consistently can help your website rank for hundreds – or even thousands – more keywords in Google search results.
The problem is, like anything else we want to do for our business, blogging takes time and experience to work well.
You can, however, get help making your blog as successful, and profitable, as possible!
Here are the steps we’ll cover:
Whether you’ve already started your profitable blog and business or not, this is a critical consideration. Determining who your blog is for will not only help you be more effective in your writing, but also ensure that none of your blog posts are wasted on a disinterested audience.
That starts with having a specific, narrow topic which you plan to write about.
It may seem counter-intuitive to be so highly focused, but the broader your topic, the more diluted your content will be. Which means that it will be harder to become “known” as an authority.
As part of my blogging community training, we spend a lot of time educating new bloggers on the importance of market research. We’ll use tools like SEMrush and Buzzsumo to research their niche ideas and determine if they’re viable. All before writing a single post or even building a website.
That’s how important this step is.
The Topic Explorer can help narrow down a broad subject area by suggesting related topics to write about.
Let’s say you’re thinking of launching a profitable blog dedicated to North Carolina hiking. Just run a search for “North Carolina hiking” through the Topic Explorer and check out the related themes:
It looks like western NC – specifically Asheville – is a hot spot for hiking. Using this info, we might want to choose Asheville hikes as a niche and consider possibly expanding to South Carolina hiking as well.
Now that we have some ideas, we could use the Content Analyzer and Question Analyzer to explore our potential niche a little deeper – just to make sure it’s viable.
After using the Content Analyzer, it looks like this topic earns a lot of engagement. Notice the green score on the right? That’s called your Evergreen Score. It tells you how well the topic stands the test of time: the higher the score, the better your chances of earning long-term engagement for the topic.
It also looks like there are a lot of general “best hike” blogs but not so many on niche topics like Asheville spring hikes, tips, or important things to know. That’s a good sign.
Now let’s head over to the Question Analyzer to see if we can dig up some narrower content ideas. While I know it seems like we’re spending a lot of time analyzing content, this is an important step. We need to figure out not only if there’s a market for our topic but also an opportunity to expand the topic.
What if the market is saturated already?
Oh yeah, there are tons of great ideas here: rewarding hikes, hikes while it’s muddy, isolated hikes, waterfall hikes, hikes to propose, etc.
The Content Analyzer can be used to compare topics. Look for the number of articles you will be competing against, as well as the number of social shares for each topic.
Once you’ve decided on your core topic, it’s time to think about your audience.
What are they like? What are their interests?
Most importantly, what are their issues and pain points?
The more accurately you’re able to describe them, the better prepared you will be to write to them.
This process often involves the creation of “personas” so that you can attribute whatever descriptors make sense, whether that’s demographic, geographic, or just the psychological points I mentioned.
The Influencer tool comes in handy here.
On Twitter, it looks like people follow Karen Chávez for her hiking tips and updates:
Hm, one of our audience’s pain points could include running into bears while on a hike with their dog.
We would also want to check out the comments and engagement on these Facebook pages to build our audience personas:
After you’ve begun creating content around your core topic, written for your targeted audience, it’s important to measure the success of that content.
So make sure you’ve set up Google Analytics and are regularly reviewing your content’s performance.
Which posts and topics are performing best? Does the demographic data within Google Analytics for your actual audience match what you were hoping to attract in your target audience?
You can use social media platform insights to measure your social posts, as well as the makeup of the audience you’re building there.
Twitter Analytics offers a lot of information, and you can benchmark your audience against the rest of Twitter.
Here’s an example from my Twitter Analytics page:
Now that you know who you’re writing for, it’s time to think about how you write.
Think about how you talk, for a moment.
What language do you speak? Do you have an accent? Are you funny or serious? Short or long-winded? Do you prefer to quote classical authors or contemporary movies?
“Everything I learned I learned from the movies.”
― Audrey Hepburn
Combine all of those elements and more, and the result is most accurately described as your personality.
Your profitable blog should have a personality as well.
Whether that completely mirrors your own or is more refined to represent your brand, is entirely up to you.
If you’re not sure what you want your voice to be, start by reading other blogs in your niche, or even outside your niche, and take note of those that have a style you enjoy. And consider whether your audience would enjoy them as well.
This is why looking at popular profitable blogs in your niche is helpful because you already know your target audience appreciates something about them.
Heading back to the Content Analyzer, we’d want to read all these top-performing posts thoroughly to understand their voice and why our audience likes them:
Make it a habit to read your blog posts out loud after you’ve written them.
Not only will you find necessary edits, but you’ll also gain a greater appreciation for the style you write and identify points to change.
If you already have a profitable blog in place for your business, you can skip this step. But if not, there are a few technical points that we need to address if we’re going to be assured success.
First, it’s critical that you own your own blog, which means paying each year for a domain name and hosting.
That also means using Facebook or a free blog platform like blogger.com is not acceptable.
Those free platforms are fine if you’re blogging for fun, but a professional blog requires a professional environment. Not only will it be more powerful and secure, but it also conveys the appropriate message to your audience.
Then there’s the blog itself. For most instances, we recommend using WordPress as it’s incredibly easy to set up and easy to use. You can use a theme to control the look & feel and install plugins to add additional functionality.
With WordPress set up on your own hosting account, you’re ready to start writing and publishing.
When it comes to writing blog posts, there are several questions that often come up.
While there are no rules about blog post structure, here are a few recommendations to make them easy to read (and easier to write):
The average blog post is about 750 words, and that’s a good length to aim for most of the time.
However, be advised that according to research done by BuzzSumo, “long form” content performs better.
Specifically, articles with 2000+ words tend to be shared socially far more often than shorter articles. And yet, there were 16x more articles written at less than 1000 words.
Which means more people are writing shallow posts, leaving you plenty of opportunities to create more meaningful, in-depth content.
However, there’s another caveat to that: your niche.
The Content Analysis tool shows us that in some industries, under 1,000 will earn the most engagement. In others, the top-shared posts hit between 2,000 and 3,000 words per blog.
For our topic, Asheville hikes, it looks like 1,000 to 2,000 words is ideal.
There’s no exact answer here. How often you should publish depends on your niche, size, and goals.
HubSpot found that if your goal is to drive organic traffic, for example, small bloggers can stick with three to four posts per week while large blogs should shoot for closer to five.
It takes time and consistency to build a reputable and profitable blog – whether in the eyes of Google or your audience.
So, rather than answer the question of “how often should I blog?” arbitrarily, we can use data and business goals to determine the ideal frequency.
If you’re content with achieving that exponential level of traffic a year from now, then blogging twice a week will suffice.
If, however, you want to ramp up your content marketing within, say, 90 days, you’re going to need to create a lot of content far more rapidly – but don’t ever sacrifice quality for quantity!
Either way, you’re going to need dozens and dozens of ideas for blog posts.
If you want people to actually read your blog, you’ll need to publish your content when people are most likely to see it.
Is your audience most active Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday?
For our topic, Asheville hikes, it looks like people like to read blogs on Thursdays perhaps as they’re planning weekend activities.
Tuesday also would be a smart day to publish so we can spread our posts out over the week.
Brainstorming ideas and writing about topics that occur to you is OK, but if you’re pushing out four posts per week, you’re going to need a more scientific approach.
Start with using available tools to help you not only come up with ideas of what to write about but also view data on how much those topics are actually in demand.
There’s no point in writing about topics no one is interested in.
Such tools include:
Let’s run our topic, Asheville hikes, through the BuzzSumo keyword research tool:
Let’s run our topic, Asheville hikes, through the BuzzSumo keyword research tool:
Blue Ridge Parkway, Blue Ridge Mountains, rock climbing, waterfalls – these are all awesome ideas.
Digging a little deeper we find some dog-related topics and specific hikes like Craggy Pinnacle and Mount Mitchell. Those long-tail keywords are great because we’ll face less competition in the Google search results.
You can also write about trending topics. While you will not be able to plan these types of articles in advance, you can determine that you’re going to be open to possibilities and plan accordingly.
That means following industry news sources and journals and making sure that you have a flexible schedule to grant time for writing about such topics.
Here’s what we have trending for hiking right now:
The most important type of content for your profitable blog will be posts that are specifically related to your sales funnel(s).
You see, every buyer for every business must go through a standard sales funnel.
As they move through the Awareness and Interest phases, down into the Decision and Action phases, you can and should have relevant pieces of content available to help them.
The most important of which is the Bottom of the Funnel – that’s where potential customers decide to buy from you!
Through a combination of popular topics, trending topics, and content designed to educate your prospects, you can easily fill a content calendar for months.
With Google Analytics in place, you can then track your sales and funnel results.
You’ll also need to figure out how you’ll monetize your blog (if that’s your goal). You already went through the work researching your audience and their pain points. For Asheville hikers, bear spray, personal defense tools, and hiking gear might be smart choices.
Let’s see what questions your audience has about water bottles, for example.
Your content for the bottom of the funnel might include a list of best insulated water bottles for hiking or a review for Hydro Flask with an affiliate link, for example.
After you publish a piece of content, of course, you’re going to share it to all your social profiles. But how do you get other people to share your content?
First, make sure that you have great social sharing buttons. That means having buttons that work, of course, but also have some of these traits:
Social Warfare is a splendid example. When you have social buttons for the networks your audience prefers and can show them that other people are sharing your content, they’ll be more likely to share your posts as well.
Speaking of sharing, one of the social networks that benefits bloggers the most is Pinterest – especially for our topic of Asheville hikes. But only if you prepare your posts accordingly. That means:
Tall images perform the best on Pinterest as they stand out in the feed, while multiple images will give you (and your readers) different images to pin to different boards.
The Content Analyzer will tell you which platforms are best for your specific topic.
Up until now we’ve talked about planning and structuring your blog so that it will attract readers, and even touched on some social media points.
But the most critical audience-building activity for your blog is to work on growing your email list.
Your email subscribers are readers that you’ll be able to communicate with over and over, whether that’s for new content or sales or other important information.
Start with a newsletter subscription option. The email marketing solution you choose should have forms that you can embed into your sidebar or footer so that visitors can subscribe from anywhere on your site.
Next, start to develop “content upgrades.” These are digital downloads that complement and supplement your published content.
An example might be a PDF version of this article. You can also offer workbooks, swipe files, and other similar resources. For our Asheville hikes topic, we might create high-quality downloadable maps.
Such offers require a different signup form so that you can email subscribers the promised content.
Finally, every once in a while, you’ll want to create pieces of content that are only available via email.
A great example would be an eBook that you write and then simply introduce via blog post. Readers have to have the full eBook emailed to them if they want to read it.
Again, a dedicated subscription form will do the trick!
With Wishpond, I’m able to create popups and landing pages and funnel all of those subscribers into appropriate lists and autoresponders.
As we said at the outset, if you work on creating valuable blog content, one of the side effects is that you’ll be able to use that blog content to power your Twitter presence.
Not only can you tweet links to your latest posts, but you can also quote and reference your blog posts over and over again. The more posts you have in your archive, the more often you can tweet about them!
Now, are you ready for your free gift?
I recently wrote How To Start A Blog: The Ultimate Guide – I called it the ultimate guide because it’s a nearly 100 page eBook packed with detailed explanations and examples of everything we’ve covered here today, and more.
You can read the full blogging guide here, as well as download a free copy of the eBook. (See what I did there? That’s a content upgrade!).
Good luck with your blog!
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