Coming up with good content ideas is getting more difficult. Isn’t everything has already been written? How to stand out? How to get ranked and shared to generate traffic to your content?
It all comes down to how much effort you are putting into your content, how much you enjoy writing on what you are writing, how much expertise (and experience) you have in your chosen topic and why you chose to start a blog in the first place.
However it all starts with the article ideas you choose to develop into great content. Here are a few essential steps to increasing your traffic by creating high-quality content:
1. Use The Right Tools To Research The Perfect Topics
First of all, you need to write things people actually want to read about. That is harder than it looks, because everyone is trying to do the exact same thing. Your saving grace will be putting your own spin on it, but you have to start from stage one if you are going to get anywhere.
Here are 4 tools that will help you to come up with a great article idea
SERPstat is a newer tool in my toolbox but I just love the features they are putting out. Here are two I am always using before starting writing an article:
Find Keywords Your Competitors Are Ranking for and You Are Not
SERPstat has a cool “Missing keywords” section that will show you which keywords your competitors have success with while your site is nowhere to be found.
Mind that this report only works for URL (not domain report)
Now just think if any of these keywords can be turned into great content.
Find Keywords You Can Improve Your Rankings for
When searching for the domain name, proceed to “Tree view” section. There click “Filters” and under “Domain position for a keyword” select from “10” to “20”. This will show you which keywords your site is currently ranking for on page two of Google SERPs
Now think how you can expand the topic to write a good follow-up to link to your second-page ranking URLs to improve their positions.
BuzzSumo makes it easy to see what has already been written on your chosen topic and how well it went. I love their sorting options letting you see most tweeted, most shared and most liked articles.
You can also limit results by time frame which is very useful because you can research how well covered your topic has recently been.
3. Seed Keywords
Seed Keywords helps you engage your friends and followers into suggesting related keywords for you. The tool lets you create mini-surveys to share via social media and email for your followers to help you brainstorm more ways to search for your topic
4. Your Old Content
Another good source is your own blog. Use Google Analytics to find out what articles did the best in the past. Your highest viewed, shared and commented on will tell you what your audience cares about. That will send you in the right direction. You just may have to tweak things to start really getting down to the nitty gritty of what your readers are craving.
That is where the other tools listed above can help. Once you have some general topics that they like, you can start searching for related interests in your industry that are making waves elsewhere.
Tip: For Google Analytics, navigate:
Behavior -> Site Content -> Landing Pages
to get to your most popular articles. You can also use “Secondary dimension” option to see the source of traffic for each of your popular articles:
Note: SERPstat has that option to. Just navigate to “Top pages” after searching for a domain name:
5. Title Generator
Now that you know your keywords you want to focus on, try to come up with a catchy title. Tweak Your Biz title generator is a good place to try. Even if you don’t find an exact title to copy-paste, you’ll at least get inspired.
Here are more resources to help you come up with a catchy title.
Social media and niche communities are always full of content ideas either. Make sure to monitor Twitter, search Facebook and Pinterest whenever you need to be inspired. Keep an eye on niche social media communities (e.g. Ello for artists, Good Reads for book lovers, etc.) as well as local communities (Dir Journal, Patch, etc.) to keep those content ideas coming!
2. Learn The Fine Balance Between Sensational and Sensationalist
I hate, hate, hate clickbait! It is nothing but over hyped garbage that never delivers on what it promises. Sensationalist headlines are nothing new in the media, but online they have become raving monsters that have taken over blogs.
Does that mean sensational headlines are bad? No! There is a difference between the two: one delivers on its premise, the other doesn’t. But both catch the eye and make people want to read it.
Here is a good example:
New Law In (Your City) Has The Country In An Uproad [Image of half naked woman standing by a police car] – This is clickbait; there is no way it will deliver on its premise.
10 US Laws You Won’t Believe Haven’t Been Repealed [Picture of two clowns in half-dress being arrested] – This is sensational, but likely to deliver on its premise.
3. Get Some Answers From The Experts (That Your Readers Are Dying For)
Being an unrepentant lover of roundup posts, I am going to take a moment to point out my favorite one. Why is this my favorite? Because it has over 90 experts all giving incredible, usable tips that anyone can apply to their own strategies. Not a bunch of hot air from wannabe big shots who don’t actually know what they are talking about.
Expert roundups are an insanely great way to increase traffic (but only if you don’t overuse them). Not least of all because those experts are likely to share it on their own blogs and social media profiles.
I use MyBlogU to generate more answers for my group interviews. My requests can hang there for months until I am happy with the number and quality of responses. Then after months of collecting quotes and tips, I may use the content as the filler for when I am away traveling.
Here are a few more cool features of MyBlogU interviews you may want to check out.
4. Get Visual, Visual!
Finally, we have visual content. Effective, beautiful and powerful, blogs and social networking profiles alike have been obsessively trying to come up with the formula for the perfect one. I don’t think that exists.
All that matters is you are giving your visitors something to look at that they find shareable. With the prevalence of Pinterest, it is more important than ever to make sure that extends to your blog, and not just your Twitter account.
Here a few of my favorite visual marketing examples as well as image creation tools to check out.
A few awesome ideas for visuals:
- Create venn diagrams (Here’s a great example of a cool and easy venn diagram)
- Visualize percentage with charts (Look at Sitegeek.com for the perfect example of effective visual marketing with charts)
- Create annotated screenshots and visual quotes
And here are a few tools to create animated visuals and tutorials.
5. Rinse and Repeat Consistently
If you want to see you blog growing, you’ll have to come up with new content consistently. I don’t say weekly (or even monthly). Depending on your style and industry, you can create one epic article every two months and see thousands of shares each time.
Consistent new content means tapping into new audiences and marketing channels. Never stop exploring!
To keep yourself going, consider creating a content marketing dashboard.
I use Cyfe to keep track of my ideas, future plans, current stats, etc. For me, it includes my to-do list, content ideas (using my Google spreadsheet which integrates nicely into Cyfe dashboard), my Google Analytics referrals, and my primary social media channel stats.
Do you have any tips to put on this list? Any ideas on boosting blog traffic and shares? Let us know in the comments!