Like any element of your marketing efforts, the end goal of content marketing is to pull your prospects to take action. It could be signing up for your helpful newsletters or downloading one of your podcasts.
It sounds as simple as spreading peanut butter and jelly on sandwich bread, yes? Or is it?
Content Marketing Tips
To truly succeed in content marketing, you have to take it one content marketing milestone at a time. These milestones range from promoting brand awareness to thought leadership to lead generation. Before you fret over all of these micro-goals, website traffic needs to happen first.
In this blog post, you'll learn how to gain traffic in 7 easy ways, just like how Alice in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland got herself drawn to the rabbit hole!
Dig Your Content Rabbit Hole First
If you've been creating content for a while now but your brand's still unheard of, or if quality leads barely come by, it's likely because of two things: you have no documented content marketing strategy, or you don't have a system to measure the return on investment (ROI).
In their 2015 survey of content marketing trends and practices, the Content Marketing Institute team revealed that only 27 percent of B2C marketers have a documented strategy, whereas it's around 50 percent for the B2B folks.
How would you know you've been successful with content marketing if you don't even have a clear picture of how you'll accomplish success?
No wonder the same survey reported that only a measly 6 percent of B2B folks who have been relying on content felt that their tactics were effective.
Where do you start if you've lacked a robust set of strategy and benchmarks with content marketing?
How to Draw Your Readers to Your Content Rabbit Hole
Increasing traffic should be your first foray in setting content marketing benchmarks that will be included in your content marketing blueprint. This is where you start digging the content rabbit hole.
1. Nail your headline.
Don't just write a headline. Hammer it down to a tee!
Just by looking at the headline of your content, potential website visitors are smart enough to figure out if it's worth their time to click the link and give in to the lure of your content rabbit hole.
To get those headlines to do the heavy lifting for you, world's highest paid copywriter Clayton Makepeace talks of the four U's of stellar headlines:
Urgency - cite a reason for your prospect to click the headline immediately
Uniqueness - reveal something that your prospect haven't read or heard somewhere else
Usefulness - explain how your prospect will benefit from your content
Ultra-Specific - reveal what exactly they are going to get in your content
You can read more about his copy wisdom on headlines here, including 21 questions to ask before you write your headline.
But wait, do you really have to go through all those questions just for a headline?
Like most habits, you'll get used to it with consistent practice. This is why CoSchedule's Garrett Moon encourages content creators to write 25 versions of your headline. According to Moon, it helps you get rid of the bad ideas before you find that attention-grabbing headline. He further explains that it's quite similar to generating ideas where repetition, time, and perseverance will eventually pay off.
2. Create content that is appropriate for your audience.
Find out what type of content is the most appealing to your prospects.
Take long-form blog posts for instance. This type of content is frequently revered because it has been shown to garner more backlinks, rank well in Google, and boost conversion rates when done consistently.
What if your prospects are mostly teens? A lengthy blog post dotted with stats and figures is probably the last thing on their minds. If your content doesn't make sense to your target audience, the Mad Tea Party is just around the corner.
So how do you prevent the March Hare, the Hatter, and the Dormouse from confusing your audiences?
Developing buyer personas by asking the right questions is a good start. By doing this, you will be able to pinpoint which type and format are the most effective vehicles for your content.
Say you want to reach out to mothers of toddlers who have full-time jobs too. These women are less likely to have enough time to read your blog posts or watch your 10-minute YouTube videos. A short podcast that they can listen to during commutes or between chores is more likely to get their attention.
In addition, ask your audience! You can simply make a quick survey of your existing audiences (if you already have one). NewsCred listed 10 different types of content that you can experiment with as well.
3. Mind your SEO.
Think of SEO as the gentleman White Rabbit, who initially pique Alice's curiosity. When done correctly, SEO will pull your audiences to your content.
You don't have to be an SEO pro if you're still starting out with ways to gain more traffic. Start with these three simple SEO hacks to boost organic traffic to your content rabbit hole:
Do a simple keyword research and create your own keyword bank. Once you've done that, create content with long-tail keywords in mind. Tinkering with the Google keyword tool is a good start.
Share your social pages consistently and integrate social media links (hello plugins!) throughout your content. Haven't you noticed how a celebrity or organization's Twitter or Facebook account shows up on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs)? Currently, social signals strongly influence search rankings.
Create content by answering your prospect's pain points. Ultimately, you're still dealing with humans who are looking for answers, thoughts, or opinions. Create for humans first, search engine bots second.
We earlier wrote a quick Google guide to increasing website traffic here.
4. Share content more than once.
Next to search, social media is another trusty ally to help you increase traffic to your content. Sharing content more than once doesn't necessarily mean that you should spam your audience's Twitter or Facebook feeds.
In a Buffer post, Belle Beth Cooper explains that sharing content more than once increases traffic by hitting multiple time zones and reaching potential new followers.
Consider automation and develop a sharing schedule such as Buffer and Hootsuite.
Vary your social content by not repeating the title or first paragraph. Figure out your content's key point and play with them when sharing.
Test for certain variables (e.g. headlines, time of the day it was shared, accompanying images) and track your results.
5. Seek niche-targeting platforms where you can promote content.
SEO has died a thousand deaths (which fortunately are just exaggerated reports). Social media is poised to go next.
It's true that social media may have reached its tipping point. However, instead of ditching social media altogether, consider seeking niche-targeting platforms to promote your content. Reddit, Quora, and online forums are excellent examples.
Although you may have to study the nuances of each channel (e.g. forum rules, Reddiquette), it's definitely worth it for brands who are not afraidto boldly go where no man has gone before. To further convince you of this tactic, niche-targeting channels are also an excellent resource for you to find out your prospect's pain points.
6. Use images in your content.
What do images have to do with increasing traffic?
Wordstream's Elisa Gabbert revealed that two of her top 10 organic keyword referrers were from Google images. While Gabbert explained that most of the traffic are irrelevant and with first-time visitors not coming back, she cites Google Image Search as an easy win.
You can further push images as a traffic referrer through the following:
When creating a file name for your images, integrate keywords that you're ranking for if possible. Say you're targeting cozyCalifornia hotels, add this keyword to an image file name: "A cozy California hotel for weary travelers"
Mind your alt text. Short for alternative text, it helps your content easier to find via search through two ways: it provides a brief description of your image if it fails to load, and it signals search algorithms about your image and its relation to your content.
Look out for large image files. Google doesn't like it when your page takes forever to load. Resize images if you can.
7. Seek the influencers in your niche.
Influencers are people or organizations that people frequently look up to for updates and their valuable thoughts on your niche.
In hindsight, the websites and social media accounts of these influencers are your prospects' rabbit holes. Why not use a popular rabbit hole to lead people to yours?
How do you get into these influencers' radar? Figure out what type of content a certain influencer is sharing recently. Interact with them via social or send a short email and ask them about which content they'd love to see more in your industry. Once you have the necessary information, churn out content that is so good these influencers can't wait to share to their minions.
The Bottom Line
Building significant traffic through content takes time. Think of it as buying versus renting a house. Creating value-driven content consistently is like spending on home equity. Ultimately, your own home becomes an asset and will save you tons of money by not paying for rent in the long run. With content marketing, you don't have to pay for costly marketing tactics in the future because you already got yourself a cozy rabbit hole.
Kyjean Tomboc finished nursing school but found joy in plucking and stringing words to create value-driven content for brands in the health, life sciences, and lean startup niches. She loves everything strategic in creating content -- from CRO to SEO to SMM to UX (the Internet sure loves acronyms!). Her current obsessions include the human gut microbiome, A/B testing, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Kyjean is also a seasoned trekker.