Ryan's experience ranges from higher education to SMBs and tech startups. When not doing digital marketing, he's sure to be enjoying some kind of nerdy pastime.
The Tricks Top B2B Content Marketing Blogs Use To Get Insane Amounts of Traffic
Organic traffic is the backbone of most B2B Content marketing blogs. Sure, a post can go viral on social, but in a few days, that traffic goes away. An organic post, though, can drive traffic for years.
A lot of B2B content marketing blogs will write a shiny new blog post declaring blogging is dead. Yes, they post that declaration on their blog in hopes of driving insane amounts of traffic. This is just one of the tricks they use to drive traffic.
No, content marketers aren’t supernatural, even though it can seem like they conjure traffic at will. And, in this post, we’re going to pull the curtain back and let you see the real wizard and all the machinery they use to generate that traffic.
Traffic Tricks Used By Top B2B Content Marketing Blogs
While these are “tricks,” don’t mistake them for simple gimmicks. Top magicians use all kinds of gimmicks, but they perform their tricks so well you never notice them. Marketing is much the same way.
If you rely on the “gimmick” to be a shortcut, you’ll be like all the wannabe magicians on youtube, awkwardly palming their gimmicks while trying to make themselves feel like real magicians. Or, you can be the best magician, and learn to wield the gimmicks for their effects, and not for “quick wins.”
When you make these tricks perform like works of art, you’ll be able to drive insane amounts of traffic with them.
The Trick of the Topic
Have you ever pitched a popular B2B blog a guest post? You were probably rejected or ignored for the first few hundred submissions. It wasn’t because they didn’t like you. Usually, rejection comes because the topic was a poor choice.
The first thing B2B content marketers do is master their selection of topics. They only talk about what their audience is interested in, and they reject everything else.
I know it is cliche now, but this is really what buyer personas are for. You need to know what interests them, and what they are afraid of. No, you don’t need to know if they are dog people or cat people – for the most part, a lot of persona advice is just busy work. However, knowing the extrinsic and intrinsic motivators that are relevant to you make a huge difference.
Only create content that addresses a very specific interest, want, need, or fear of your audience. And, their wants are the least interesting, by the way. If you can address their fears, you will have their attention. They will click through and read your article every time.
The Trick of the Title
Once you have topics you know they are interested in, you must create blog posts around those topics. And, you can write the most beautiful post in the world, but if the title isn’t catchy, they won’t read it.
Too many people just jot down a title and run with it. However, B2B content marketers know that the title is everything because they know the job the title is supposed to do.
The title should sell the click. Period.
When you read the title, it should make you want to read the post. If it doesn’t, you need a new title.
If you’re reading this, chances are you were intrigued by the title and wanted to know about the tricks.
Some of the best B2B content marketers spend as much time on the title as they do the entire post. And, others I know write more than 50 variations of their title before they choose the final one.
When you learn how to write great titles, you’ve won half the content marketing battle.
The Tricks of SEO
Regardless of the post, you must realize that a lot of your long-term success is tied to organic traffic-people finding your blog post through a Google search, and clicking through to read your article. This is essential to increasing website traffic over the long-haul.
We’ve written a lot of articles on how to do SEO, and you can read them here. However, there are a few things you must nail down to have an SEO optimized article:
- A killer title with the key phrase included.
- A killer meta description with the key phrase included.
- A structurally sound URL with the key phrase included.
- Great usage of the keyword and variances in the H1, H2, and H3 tags.
- Keyword-rich image alt tags.
If you make sure every one of your blog posts checks off those five items, you’ll get organic traffic. Sometimes, for evergreen types of content, that traffic will still be rolling in years down the road.
The Tricks of Optimizing for Humans
It’s easy to get all sidetracked by search engines, and writing for algorithms, that you forget real people are reading these titles. For example, there’s a character limit in Google SERPS, and once your post title exceeds that limit, it gets truncated. But, I often exceed the limit.
Because I know some people will share the article on social, which will show the whole title. And sometimes you need more than 64 characters to make a compelling title. You have to use your guts, but sometimes you have to make sure and write for humans, and not just for search engines.
If your meta descriptions and titles are not interesting or compelling to you as a human, it’s a good sign you need to go back to the drawing board, regardless of how well the keyword fits. If you can get your copy to be interesting to humans, it will help your SEO through higher click-through rates.
But, if you don’t appeal to humans, it doesn’t matter how much the search engine algorithm likes it, it will eventually fall in the rankings due to its low click-through rate.
The Trick of the Jar
I want to be perfectly clear, I am in no way endorsing clickbait. But, you have to admire and appreciate the science of clickbait if you want to drive insane amounts of traffic. And, the art of the JAR, is a great way to do it.
No, I’m not talking about a cookie jar kind of jar, I’m talking about slamming on your breaks kind of jar. When your title, meta description, or blog intro can jar the reader in some way, they will click through. And, if the rest of the post delivers value, they will share it like crazy.
You jar people by doing something unexpected, and challenging the status quo. For example, let’s say you’re sitting in a cafe sipping coffee, and someone walks in wearing a full clown costume and talking really loud. You will notice him, you will listen to him… at least for a few moments.
The same thing happens when someone is looking out the window and gasps, “oh no!” All the neural signals of your brain are at attention, and you will listen to that person, you will follow their gaze, you will figure out what they are concerned about.
If you can jar your reader, you will get their attention. And, in an age where we are blind to so much marketing on the oversaturated internet, standing out is important.
If you can get your title, meta description, or intro to make the reader say, “wait, what?” you’ve won.
Now, you have to deliver on that. If not, it’s clickbait. But, if you can make the rest of the article ride the momentum the JAR creates, you will get a lot of clicks and shares.
The Trick of the Pillar
This is an SEO trick, but it works very well. First, if you want to rank for really great keywords, you have to create content that deserves to rank for those keywords. That’s the only way to do it consistently, and for the long term. However, knowing a few SEO tricks does increase your chances and the speed at which Google will appreciate your content enough to rank it.
People call this method a lot of different names, like topic clusters, etc. But, the basic idea is that you need a pillar for your content, and then you need to support that pillar with a lot of legs.
If you want to rank for Organic Traffic (a pretty competitive term) you will need a really great piece of content – one that deserves to rank. But, even that might not be enough to compete with high authority sites like Forbes. But, with a little supportive work it could.
We create a lot of what we call Pillar Content – which is basically massive pieces of content. For an example, see this post on WordPress vs. HubSpot.
That’s our pillar. And we created it to deserve top ranking for that keyword term. Now, a lot of other talented marketers are trying to get it too. So, we create a lot of individual pieces of content that link to that post to give it a bit of an SEO boost.
Like, I just gave it an internal link, which is a signal to Google we think it’s very valuable for that term.
A long time ago, people used to use blogging networks to build external links to their money sites. So, they would have hundreds of small blogs, and they would spin a single article out with a link to their money site, and post it on all these blogs. Then, Google would see hundreds of backlinks, and give that page a boost. This method doesn’t work anymore, because Google will eventually figure it out and slap you with a penalty. It’s just a matter of time.
However, on a much smaller scale, you actually do the same thing on your blog. Except, instead of building a bunch of external links on spammy blogs, you’re building a bunch of internal links on your own blog. And, Google actually wants you to do this.
No, an internal link isn’t as valuable as an external one, but they still give pillar pages a boost in the rankings. And sometimes, a little boost is all they need to rank at the top.
The Tricks of the Open Loop
This video shows the power of the open loop, albeit in a very slapstick kind of way.
Thanks to Kiefer Sutherland and the writers of 24, we have become very familiar with the word Cliffhanger. That “oh no, what happens next?!” is the perfect open loop.
People binge-watch Netflix for hours on end, because they're “one more episode” ends with an open loop, and they have to watch the next episode to close it. Then, the next episode ends with an open loop, and the process repeats until they lose they emerge from their Netflix cocoon three days later, un-showered and smelly.
There are a bunch of ways your content can create open loops to drive “mini conversions,” or the small steps it takes to convert a lead.
It starts with the meta description. If your title is compelling, the meta description needs to open a loop. If you don’t get anything else from this article, this is the one thing you must get, and it’s this: the…
See what I did there?
If you look at our meta descriptions, almost all of them end in a…
Yeah, they all end like that. It creates an intense desire to finish the sentence.
Deep down, you are all Sheldon Coopers, and you have to finish the knock before you can do anything else.
The next place to use the open loop is in the article intro.
Too many people give away their entire article in the introduction. That’s madness!
You want people to click-through and read the article so they get exposed to your calls to action. That means, getting them to click-through to the actual post page. A powerful way to do this is to build intrigue into the article intro, and then leave the loop open.
If your title is “The One Thing That Can Change Your Life,” don’t make the rookie mistake of “previewing” that one thing in the intro. There’s no reason to read your post if you tell me what it is before I click.
Instead, use the intro to talk about how powerful that one thing is, and how it usurps everything else. Make me super curious about what that one thing is, but do not reveal it before the click. Use the open loop, and my cat-killing curiosity to get me to your page.
Using These Tricks The Right Way
Remember, these tricks work if you execute them well. The bad side is, you can execute them well, and cross the line into annoying clickbait spammer. Don’t do that.
Whatever tricks you pull to get the clicks must be satisfied by the content behind the click. The content you tease with tricks must be valuable enough for me to appreciate the trick. Otherwise, I will not like you, I won’t appreciate the time you have wasted of my life. And, I will never become your customer.
But, if you can intrigue me to click through and visit your website, you’ve won battle number 1. Now, if you can deliver a lot of value once I’m there, you’ve won battle 2. And, most people who win battle 2 are able to win battle 3, which is to create new customers on-demand.
Use these tricks, get traffic, delight that traffic, get customers.
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