January 13, 2020
Content marketing isn’t something you can afford to ignore. If you want to put your lead generation and conversion on auto-pilot without spending a fortune on ads, that is.
If you’re a regular on SiteProNews, I’m sure you’ve already seen all the stats and the reports that prove the efficiency of content marketing. You can re-check some of them here and pretty much anywhere else online, so I won’t dwell on this.
We’ve got bigger fish to fry today.
See, one of the biggest objections to content marketing is that it takes A LOT of time and effort. That’s true.
You can’t make a killing by publishing the odd 500-word blog post now and again. You need a consistent content strategy and a consistent publishing schedule.
However, the benefits of content marketing far outweigh the investment and the work you have to put in.
And, as they say, the beginning is harder. Once you’ve set the wheels in motion, it will be increasingly easy to get more ROI from your content efforts.
Let’s take a look at 40 quick and easy ways to 10x your blog.
(If you’re already blogging, this is the perfect read to breathe new life into your strategy and to find new ways to monetize your business blog.)
Ideation and Research
1. Why are you writing?
Don’t worry; this won’t turn into woo and mindset propaganda. Quite the opposite.
You don’t have to find the meaning of life and everything (we’ve got the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for that) through business blogging. But you do have to find the financial reasons for it.
So, in 2020, before you jot down a title or a blog post idea, ask yourself why you are writing it.
Who’s going to benefit from it? Is your audience interested in this topic?
Can you map this topic to your business goals? In other words: is there a chance for people reading it to turn into leads or paying customers for your business?
2. Whom are you writing for?
One of the easiest things to lose sight of is, ironically, your audience. We are so focused on getting ROI from our blog that we forget that this will never happen without targeting the right audience.
So, before writing a single word, think about your buyer persona and user intent. How are you helping them today? Why will they come back to your blog?
Sure, traffic doesn’t pay the bills but a large number of return readers is the first step toward excellent CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization).
When you’re out of topic ideas, go back to your buyer persona and re-analyze their needs and wants. What can you write about to match those needs and wants?
3. Thorough research makes for excellent blog content
You may be an expert in your field but you’re definitely not the only one. Make sure each of the topics you write about is extremely well-researched.
You need to link to third-party, high-DA websites, reports and studies in order to boost your credibility in the eyes of your readers and those of search engines.
4. Research your competitors
Your website or blog don’t exist in a void. There are other people writing about the same things and those are your direct or indirect competitors.
You need to be aware of what they are writing, especially when it comes to SEO – can you write better, more in-depth content than them?
But don’t spend too much time dwelling on your direct competitors’ websites. You will end up questioning your own choices and essentially plagiarizing their content or trying to steal some of their ideas.
And you want to have your own unique voice in content marketing, don’t you?
5. Create an editorial calendar
Spending hours every week wondering what you’re going to write about this time is exhausting and un-productive. The end of the year or the beginning of the year are excellent opportunities to create your editorial calendar.
It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated or fancy.
A simple spreadsheet with the following columns will do:
- Proposed title
- Main keyword
- Publishing date
- Outline (optional)
Pro tip: remember to leave some room for unpredictable content. For instance, when an unexpected event takes your industry by storm, you should be ready to blog about it at a moment’s notice.
6. Create evergreen content
As the name suggests, evergreen content is the type of content that ages well. It may not be relevant ten years from now, but it definitely has the potential to bring in traffic and leads for up to three years after the publishing date – especially if you update it frequently.
One example of evergreen content is this very piece. The ideas in it aren’t going to become obsolete any time soon and it will still be relevant to people looking to up their blogging game two years from now.
An example of perishable content is this piece about the Google BERT update. When this algorithm update was first rolled out, the post was very relevant and got a lot of traction.
With time, though, the interest decreased and this descending trend is bound to continue until Google rolls out another major update. By then the topic will be almost entirely irrelevant and will only have a historical value.
You can’t avoid writing on ‘perishable’ topics if they are relevant to your industry. But since you are NOT The New York Times, your goal is not just to keep up with the latest news.
Your goal is to create blog posts that have value for years to come – think about a 90% to 10% ratio in favor of evergreen content.
7. Don’t overdo it
Don’t commit to publishing more than you can comfortably handle. Some people recommend publishing 16+ posts per week while others swear by a single extra-long post every month.
Your ideal strategy is probably somewhere in-between. It’s always better to look for and hire top SEO content writers to handle the writing you don’t have time for in-house.
8. Quality over quantity
This one comes naturally from the point above. If you have to make a choice between the two, make sure you always opt for quality and not quantity.
The internet is full of crappy or mediocre content. Don’t add to it. Be a voice that’s worth becoming an authority in your field.
9. Keyword research
Again, since you are not The New York Times or Bill Gates, you need to attract new readers to your blog constantly.
There’s no better way to do this than SEO.
Always perform keyword research before you write. Try and find the sweet spot between a decent search volume and ease of ranking for that keyword.
Perhaps not all your blog posts will rank in the top 10 positions. But that’s OK.
SEO is also a long-term and compound game. This means that the more you write and the more time that passes, the better your chances for ranking higher – even for older, evergreen pieces.
10. Use long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are much easier to rank for and much easier to match to user intent. Thus, you can boost both your SEO and your CRO in one single swoop.
The content trends for 2020 and beyond show us a clear increase in voice search and mobile search. This means that people will use search engines in a way that’s more natural and closer to how we usually speak to each other.
Think “how to create a content strategy from scratch” instead of “content strategy” as a main keyword.
11. LSI keywords
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords aren’t synonyms to your main keyword but rather related to it. Like “Windows 10”, “Azure”, and “Satya Nadella” are related to “Microsoft”.
Researching and using these keywords in your blog content helps with providing context to your article. It sends signals to search engine bots about how to categorize it. For instance, in the above example, Google bots will know that your article is about Windows, the operating system and not replacement windows.
You can read more about how to research and implement LSI keywords in my guide here.
12. Use your main keyword in the title
Use it exactly as it is, without any changes if possible. But never sacrifice readability and sounding natural to inserting your keyword exactly as it is.
If it doesn’t sound natural enough, perhaps you should change the keyword, not push it.
13. Use the keyword in the first paragraph
…or in the first 100 words of your text. The key here is to make sure that your topic is clear from the beginning – to both the reader and search engines.
Again, this should come natural.
14. Use the keyword in the last paragraph
…or the last 100 words of your article. Finish as strong as you started out.
15. Use the keyword in your subheadings
An exact match should be in at least one of your H2s. As for the other subheadings, try to add variations of the keyword.
Again, don’t overdo it and don’t over-optimize.
Which brings us to:
16. Steer clear of keyword stuffing
For years, keyword stuffing was the norm in SEO. You’d churn out these zero-value 300-word pieces that repeated the same keyword ad nauseam. And you’d rank for that keyword.
But, thankfully, those days are over. Search engines can spot keyword stuffing and will penalize you for it.
So make sure that you NEVER go above 2% in keyword density. Rely on LSI keywords and related keywords instead.
17. The ‘People also ask’ section in Google search
Ever looked at it carefully?
The ‘related searches’ or ‘people also ask’ section in Google can actually be your blog outline. This section tells you exactly what people search for in relation to your core keyword.
It’s a free, super-easy trick that most people choose to ignore because today’s trends tell us that the more expensive a keyword research tool is, the better it is. Don’t be one of those people!
18. Create a meta description
The meta description is designed to give people a quick overview of what your post is about and entice them to click on it. If you don’t create it yourself, search engines will automatically pull something from the article.
Why take that chance?
19. Use the keyword in the meta description
Again, an exact match is ideal here. Try to add it as close to the beginning as possible to make the topic clear from the get-go.
20. Use the keyword in the image alt tags
At least one of your images should have the exact keyword in their tags. Use variations of the main keyword for all your images’ alt tags, titles and descriptions.
21. Link to third-party websites
Substantiate your claims by linking to other high-authority websites, reports and studies. External linking helps with both SEO and credibility.
Make sure that your links have proper text anchors and that they open in new tabs – you don’t want to send people away from your own website.
22. Internal linking – link to your own website
In your blog posts, link to other posts or pages where appropriate and relevant.
You can even add CTAs and link to your sales page.
As before, though, don’t overdo it. You don’t need more than one internal link every 300 words or so.
Using the right anchor text is crucial here – you want to make sure that you send the right signals to search engine crawlers. The anchor text should be an exact match of the keyword for which you want the blog you are linking to to rank.
Writing epic blog content
23. Spend some time polishing your title
Even if your post ranks high in SERPs it will be useless if its title doesn’t entice people to click on it.
The best blog titles:
- Offer a promise – like teaching you how to 10x your blog
- Have numbers – like 40 tips
- Arouse curiosity
- Ask a question that shows the writer knows their audience
- Describe a common pain point – ‘Are you sick and tired of inescapable pop-up ads?’
- Announce a guide – ‘How to get rid of annoying pop-up ads in 10 easy steps’
You can get more ideas about how to create great headlines that go viral here.
24. Create an extra-strong intro
You have just a few seconds to convince the reader to keep going. In less than 100 words, you have to follow up on the promise in the title and show that the article below is going to deliver exactly what the reader is looking for.
Tell a funny story (but make it quick, OK?), make a joke, say something outrageous – whatever works for your audience and their preferences.
25. Go long-form
Remember what I said above about 300-word keyword-stuffed blog posts being dead and buried?
That’s true in more than one respect.
Backlinko found that the average word count of blog posts ranking in the first 10 positions is 1800+.
It’s been years since I published something shorter than 2000 words on any of my agencies’ blogs. The best-performing of our articles (even on a brand-new website like Copywritech) are mega-long, 5000+ words guides.
Long-form content WORKS.
But it has to come naturally, just like keyword insertion. Don’t add tons of fluff just to hit a word count.
See, a post like this, with A LOT of tips for blogging needs to be long. But a blog post about Pantone’s color of the year rarely needs more than 500 words.
Because this is not about the word count itself. It’s about being exhaustive on a certain topic. If you’ve said all there is to say, if your post is the most comprehensive one on the web about a certain topic, you will win both readers’ hearts and the cold, robotic ones of search engine bots.
26. Write naturally, like a human
I’ve said it before: if human readers love your content, so will search engines. But this isn’t about search engines.
It’s about writing in a manner that entices the reader to keep going.
Write as if you would explain your strategy or a new concept to a friend.
Do it naturally, with empathy and consideration for your reader. Don’t be too curt because you assume they already have some of this knowledge but don’t take their time for granted by dragging it for too long.
Give examples, illustrate your hypotheses and support them with arguments and research.
27. Make the text easily skimmable
This post is rather long. And I assume that most readers know some of these points. But I can’t say for sure who knows what.
So I’ve divided the tips into categories – because some readers may know all about SEO writing but very little about topic ideation. While others may need to learn more about promoting their content because they already know all about SEO, ideation and more.
Other ways to make your content readable and skimmable:
- Use bullet points as often as possible
- Use subheadings
- Insert videos and photos as often as possible
- Make full use of punctuation to control and alternate rhythm. It works.
28. Use short paragraphs and phrases
Convoluted phrases are hard to read, especially for readers who are commuting or multitasking. Long paragraphs turn into walls of text and they can be tiresome to our eyes.
You rarely need a paragraph to be longer than two phrases, three at the most.
Sometimes even a single sentence can be enough.
29. Let go of the jargon
You don’t want to make your readers feel inferior to you. Quite the opposite. You want to empower them.
So cut down on the jargon and use plain and simple language that’s easy to understand for everyone.
Nobody wins from complicated words and language: people who already know the terms will think you are showing off. And it will still be harder for them to read your piece than a ‘normal’ piece.
People who can’t understand your lingo will get annoyed and close the window faster than you can say wanna be my lead?
If you’re writing for technical audiences (like engineers, for instance), go ahead and use jargon and get technical. Otherwise, even the most complicated of technologies should be explained in language that’s easy to understand for everyone.
30. Add a CTA
Don’t assume that everyone knows that you are blogging to get clients for your business and not just because you enjoy it.
Let them know.
Tell people what you are selling.
Each of your blog posts should have a CTA. It doesn’t have to be a sales pitch with the goal to turn them directly into paying customers, but it has to move them forward in their buying journey.
You can invite them to download a whitepaper, join your mailing list, check out your sales page or subscribe to your YouTube channel.
Whatever your CTA is, it has to be powerful and strongly connected to your business goals.
31. Engage your community in the comment section
Yes, most blog comments are spam. But not all of them.
And user-generated content is gold for SEO and credibility.
So allow comments on your blog. You can do it through the Facebook plugin – it’s easier to filter out spammers when they cannot hide behind an alias.
Make sure you answer each relevant and on-topic comment. You want to keep the conversation flowing and get as much user-generated content as possible.
Blog content distribution and promotion
32. Park most of your content on real estate that you own
It’s great to leverage other platforms, websites and media outlets (see below). But you should never put all your eggs in a basket that you don’t own.
The vast majority of your blog posts should be published on your own website. You are in charge of it and the chances of it disappearing against your will are very slim (if you take the necessary security precautions).
Every month, a new video from an Instagram influencer who cries their heart out because their account was deleted pops up. You don’t want to be that influencer.
If a platform disappears, you will always have your own domain to fall back on.
33. Guest post
Having your own domain doesn’t mean you have to stick to it exclusively. In fact, you should always be on the lookout for new guest posting opportunities.
Some of my agencies’ best clients have come from guest posts like this one.
They liked what they read, scrolled down to the bio section and reached out to me and my team.
And this is just the cherry on top – the easiest to quantify benefit of guest posting.
Other benefits include:
- New backlinks to your domain
- New subscribers to your email list
- More referral traffic to your website
- A sudden boost in SEO and ranking (especially if you guest post on a high-DA platform)
- Increased brand awareness for your business
- Boosted authoritativeness
34. Email newsletters
Published a new post? Make sure the first people to see it are the ones on your email list. Make this one of the perks of subscribing to your newsletter.
This is one of those VERY straightforward but often forgotten content promotion tactics. You can even automate it if time is a sensitive issue.
35. Social media posting
The next stop for your recently published blog post should be your social media profiles. Let your followers know they’ve got a new awesome piece to enjoy.
Pro tip: don’t just publish once and then forget about it. Not all your followers are online at the same time.
Use a social media management tool to set the post about your new article to be re-published once per week, once per month or once every two months – depending on how much you usually publish on your social media channels.
This way, you make sure that the post makes the rounds and reaches as many of your followers as possible.
36. Social media ads
Organic reach on Facebook and other social media networks is almost dead. So if you don’t have a huge following, your post will probably end up ignored.
Invest a small budget into boosting every new blog post you publish. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just enough to get the ball rolling. Sometimes, even as little as $5 or $10 is enough.
This will generate enough engagement so that the network algorithms start showing it more organically.
37. Reach out to the influencers/websites you quoted
Everyone loves a boost in their reputation. And being quoted by someone else is a proud moment for anyone.
Let the people you quoted know you appreciate their expertise. In turn, they will most likely share the post on their social media channels.
And, if things go really well, they might even return the favor and quote or link to your website in their content.
38. Ask for links to your posts
OK, this one is a sensitive one. It can easily be botched if you’re too pushy.
Let’s say you read a round-up post about the best blogs in a certain field. You can reach out to the writer and ask them to consider yours too.
Or you can ask the writer of a blog on a similar (but not identical!) topic to consider linking to one of your articles as a source.
See how I emphasized consider? That’s because you’re in no position to make demands. You can ask nicely but don’t follow up, don’t send a million messages on email and social media – don’t nag!
39. Repurpose content
A blog post can easily become an infographic.
A webinar can be turned into a series of blog posts.
More blog posts on similar topics can be put together and form an e-book.
You get the gist. The idea is that you can get more with less.
When you repurpose content you spend less time on ideation, vetting and researching topics. And you have the added bonus of reaching audiences that prefer different formats.
Check out this article for more ideas on how to repurpose content.
40. Go off the beaten track
Almost everyone sends emails and publishes new content on social media. Of course, you can differentiate yourself through better copy.
But you can also choose less-known channels that aren’t yet crowded by your competitors:
- LinkedIn and Facebook groups
- Product Hunt (for certain industries)
- Google My Business
Keep an eye on the new and evolving platforms. New content promotion opportunities appear every day. You just have to seize them before everyone else does.
How to skyrocket your blog – final thoughts
I could have written more than 100 of these tips. But the goal of this article wasn’t to overwhelm you. It was to show you that there isn’t a single way to get ROI from your blog.
There are countless ways.
If you mix and match the tips above until you find the formula that fits your needs, you may even discover that the combinations are infinite.
You just have to have a clear strategy in mind and be clear about who your audience is.
Need help with boosting the ROI of your blog? My team of skilled writers and marketers can help you with both strategy advice and SEO blog writing. Let’s talk!
Adriana Tica is an expert marketer and copywriter, with 10 years in the field, most of which were spent marketing tech companies. She is the Owner and Founder of Idunn. In October 2019, she also launched Copywritech, a digital marketing agency that provides copywriting, SEO content writing, and strategy services to companies in the tech industry.