Most people don't quite understand “Content Marketing.”
I think most people understand the concept…
They realize that content helps them be seen as an authority and that it might help them with the search engines but they don't quite understand how to really scale their business using content marketing.
The truth is that writing blog content is not an “If you build it, they will come” strategy.
You can't simply put up content and expect a ton of eyeballs to just magically appear on it.
It's important that content gets a bit of a “kickstart.” You need some way to drive the initial traffic to it, before it starts getting shared.
That initial boost is one of the biggest keys to content marketing success…
It's also the point that most new marketers struggle with.
The truth is that there are a countless amount of ways to drive that initial traffic…
…And to prove my point, I reached out to some of my friends who are genius content marketers and asked them what their best strategy is to drive traffic.
Many of these responses will give you actionable process that you can follow right now to kickstart your traffic.
To start, I asked a handful of friends this question:
“What is your best piece of advice for ensuring that someone gets eyeballs on their content?”
I later revised that question in an attempt to get even more detailed responses (more on that in a moment).
Here's the responses I received:
Lewis is the author of the Bestseller, The School of Greatness, and host of the podcast by the same name. His podcast, focused on business and personal development, is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes.
When I asked him the question he gave this response:
“Create something great that adds value and helps a lot of people… Those people will make sure others see it.”
Sean is a marketing consultant and online educator. He's very active on social media and has some massive engagement on his content. I'm constantly impressed by the amount of comments Sean gets on Facebook…
Here's what Sean had to say:
“It needs to change your life before it can change someone else's.”
I followed up with Sean to clarify and Sean added this:
“It's not worth eyeballs if it doesn't make an impact.”
Note from the editor:
Both Lewis and Sean make really good points. Content marketing is not about cranking out a ton of content that doesn't add value to people's lives. It's about creating a resource that's valuable for people and is worth sharing.
Too many people just create junk and wonder why no one's looking at it…
Be valuable or your content will never gain traction.
That being said, I wanted to try to solicit some more “step-by-step” type processes that someone could follow after they've created their immensely valuable content.
I opted to change up the question that I asked slightly in order to gain and share some valuable “tactics” that you can employ after your content is already created to generate that “kickstart.”
Here's the new question:
“There's a general notion out there in content marketing that ‘if you build it, they will come' and that all you need to do to succeed in content marketing is create great content. However, as we know, we need to give the traffic to that content a little kickstart to really get some traction… What is your go-to strategy to jumpstart the traffic to a piece of your content.”
I received some amazing responses from this one so get ready to take some notes because you're about to learn how to drive loads of traffic!
Ben is someone that I am constantly impressed by. The amount of courses and content his company puts out is mind-boggling.
His company puts out a ton of online training courses and killer marketing tools. He then uses content marketing to drive traffic to it…
Here is his process:
One of the most effective ways that we’ve been able to get our content in front of our target audience and turn that content into sales is by leveraging Facebook’s Boosted Post Feature on our Pages.
A lot of people have complained about boosted post over the past few years. Most of those people don’t understand the pure power behind how Facebook has upgraded this ad option.
You need a page with at least 3000 fans for this to be highly effective. The more you have, the cheaper your ads will be right out of the gate.
So this is what we do with every new piece of content.
1) We setup a post on Facebook with a link to our blog post. That post is typically the link and a one sentence comment on what the article contains. We don’t go overboard with text. We just comment on it like a normal personal sharing the article on their own timeline would.
2) We boost the post for 7 days at about $10 per day using the targeting and boost options right on our FB Page.
During that period of time the post will “mature” and start to get cheaper clicks. (your most expensive ad click cost usually come within the first 48 hours so it pays to have less of a daily budget until the ad matures and gets engagement. This will drive your cost down per click.)
3) After 7 days we evaluate the boosted post and see how it did.
If it doesn’t get a lot of interaction we just stop spending ad dollars on it.
If it does well, we take the same post and boost it again from the ad editor, but this time we set it at an ongoing rate of $10 per day.
4) After a week of doing that we start to inch of the daily budget slowly. This keeps FB’s algorithm in check. When most people try to scale an add they put too much extra money into the ad at once. This actually throws the ad algorithm off and can result in your click cost going up.
By doing this, we get our content in front of our audience for an extremely cheap price. It typically cost us just a few cents a click in highly competitive markets where people are spending a lot more.
Justin Brooke is one of the pioneers in content marketing. He is actually one of the first people that I ever heard the concept of “Content Amplification” from.
His blog posts and content over the years has had a huge impact on the way that I do my own marketing for myself and our clients.
Here's what Justin had to say:
I like to pay for eyeballs to my content. The way I look at it, if you're hoping for traffic to your content then it's likely because you believe it will get people to become a lead or buy something.
Or maybe you write for fun? If that's the case, uhmmm… I got nothing for you.
So if you think your content will turn readers into leads and sales, why not just quickly pay for people to show up? Instead of waiting for the Google gods to bless you or trying to win the “I went viral” lottery, just pay a few bucks and see what happens.
If I had zero dollars, my next best thing would be to write content that I know a specific group of people would love. For example, 1 specific Facebook group. Study what they talk about for a few weeks. Then create a piece of content that they would go nuts over. For example, if it's a FB group about gardening you could write “We Asked 1,000 Gardeners for Their Biggest Secrets And All Of Them Had This One In Common.” No gardener in their right mind is going to see that as spam, let alone be able to resist reading.
I guess, in summary, write stuff that people can't resist wanting to read. And if you don't know how, then you just haven't done enough market research to know what they find irresistible.
Navid was actually one of the very first guests on my Multiply Authority podcast. We talked about the concept of “virtual summits,” a term and concept that Navid has helped pioneer. He's been featured in places like Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Eofire, So Money, Neil Patel and many more. He has a mission to show you what is REALLY working to build your profitable online business, wherever you’re starting. Find out more about his courses, summits, and expertise at http://www.navidmoazzez.com.
Here's what he had to say:
One of the most powerful books I’ve ever read was Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. And one of the best quotes in that book is, “Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
That goes for seeing your name in print or on a computer screen, too! EVERYONE likes to see nice things written about them. So, write great things about great people and let them know about it.
When I write an epic blog post, epic guide, or other piece of content, I include quotes and examples from other influencers. This strategy helps on several fronts:
- It makes the content better for the reader. More anecdotes and examples means more illustrations of the principle or concept I’m trying to convey.
- It lends authority. When you quote influencers, there’s an “Oprah” effect that makes you seem more of an expert or authority yourself (I even started this post with a quote from a respected expert… Doesn’t it make me seem smarter? 😉 )
- It makes it more likely influencers will share the content. If someone tagged you on Twitter and said, “Hey, I mentioned you on my blog today! Want the link?” I bet you’d say “Yes.” OF COURSE you want to see what someone else said… and you’d probably want to share it, too.
- It provides value for the influencer. I always include a link back to the influencer’s site so they will benefit from the inbound link. Everyone likes inbound links from valuable content, so it’s an easy way to provide value for someone I’d like to build a relationship with.
Of course, do this in an authentic and valuable manner — don’t just stuff a bunch of names into a post. That just looks stupid.
Make it valuable for the reader AND the influencer, reach out to the influencer via email or social media, and tell them they were included in your post. Ask if they want a link. If it’s a well-written, valuable piece of content, they’re probably going to share it.
So here’s my challenge to you: The next blog post you write, include examples, quotes, or anecdotes from 3 influencers in your niche. If you include me, tag me on social media or send me an email, and let me know you took my advice. Who knows? Maybe I’ll share your post!
Paul Clifford is the founder of several content marketing tools, including Kudani and Designrr. Both are tools that we use quite frequently here at Evergreen Profits. (Paul gave us a coupon code for Kudani – If you grab Kudani, use the code “MATT30” for 30% off the package that you choose.)
Paul actually wrote the book, Content Marketing for dummies and practices what he preaches, using proven content marketing strategies to drive traffic to his various software platforms.
Here's Paul's favorite strategy:
The easiest free way of doing this is by creating a quality curated article from trending and relevant content that solves your audience’s problems. Here is an outline of the process; first incorporate influencer curation into your content. By curating a paragraph or some key points from a post written by an influencer in your market, you are achieving 3 things.
One – you’re giving your reader great value by selecting and delivering the best solutions for their problems. Two; You are giving a backlink and traffic to the influencer your curated from. Three – Better Google results as your post will rank faster.
Kudani makes the process of finding trending content easier and helps you curate content providing the correct attribution back to the source. The last big benefit is you’re creating a longer article of a handful of curated elements which enables you to produce longer and more engaging articles. (Longer posts generate more SEO and traffic)
Now comes the interesting part. By now you will have curated an article from several influencers and have the opportunity to reach out to them and ask them for a mention or tweet. Most will appreciate you sending them traffic and links and will gladly tweet your post to their audience. If you have 5 influencers mentioned – then you have 5 times more potential for traffic.
Nick Loper probably has a larger mental database of ways to make money than anyone I've ever met… That's because he runs Side Hustle Nation, a site and podcast about the various ways that people make extra income on the side.
His blog and podcast have become huge resources for anyone looking for “side hustle” income streams, mostly due to the content marketing strategies that he employs.
Here's his best tip:
So it's actually similar to the round-up post strategy employed here, but the most effective posting strategy I've found this year to get a lot of eyeballs is the “Epic List Post.” My two most popular posts of the year are “The 134 Best Udemy Courses for Entrepreneurs, Freelancers, and Side Hustlers” and “The Sharing Economy: 200+ Ways to Make Extra Money in Your Spare Time“.
These posts probably both took north of 40 hours to research, write, and format, but they're so juicy people can't help but share them. It's not like 5 Things I Learned About Entrepreneurship From My Dentist or The Top 10 Things to do in San Francisco … it's like trying to build something an order of magnitude bigger.
Plus, when you hit publish, you automatically have 100 people to message — as I'm sure you'll do with this post — and say “Hey, I featured you in my latest article.” That's 100x more people who might like to share your work than on a “regular” post.
Tony is the host of the “Turn Your Problems into Profits” podcast. He teaches his clients how to generate high-paying clients from your blog. Not only does Tony use content marketing, he uses it to generate clients that pay him upwards of $6,000 to $10,000 for consulting and coaching.
Here's Tony's advice:
“Wrap Your “Pill” In a Piece of Cheese…
If you try and give a dog a pill that they need, they usually won't take it and spit it out. But if you wrap it in a piece of cheese, they'll scarf it right down.
Far too many people try to serve up content around what they think people need rather than what they actually want.
Everyone wants to get, keep, or get rid of something in their lives.
When your content implies it's something that can help them get something, keep something or get rid of something…they're way more likely to consume it.”
Stefan James runs Project Life Mastery, a blog and YouTube channel about becoming a better you. He discusses topics like business growth, fitness, personal fulfillment and more. He makes over 7-figures per year through his Amazon book sales, course sales, affiliate marketing, investments and more… And he lays it all out in his monthly “goal reports”.
Over time, Stefan has built a massive platform that has made generating traffic pretty easy for him.
Here's what he had to say:
My strategy for getting eyeballs to my content is nothing extraordinary. Just simply ensuring that my content is extremely high quality, has a benefit-driven headline that captures attention, is optimized the best it can be for SEO, and then shared to everyone and anyone that can benefit. When you're an influencer and already have a following, it's easy to get eyeballs to it – as I simply just share to my following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, e-mail list, etc… and then if the content is really valuable, others will share it for you and the rest will take care of itself.
Parham is one of the few people who I've seen do extremely well using LinkedIn Pulse as their content marketing platform of choice. Parham focuses on building his personal brand as well as the brand of his agency through carefully crafted and researched content over on LinkedIn.
His branding and web development agency, Infinite Communication, have helped well-known companies become even larger of a presence online through creative branding, web development, and even through content marketing strategy. Parham is a guy to pay attention to in the marketing world. He's a thought leader and branding expert.
Here's his advice:
When my content does supremely well is when it emotionally connects with people – it not only teaches people something valuable but also makes them feel empowered by reading it. That is why I write the content for my circle, because if my circle connects to it and finds it valuable then I know they will be the initial wave of people who will share, like or promote the content.
Before I hit publish, I message my close colleagues to view, like, and share my content right away because if the content doesn’t stay on people’s feed then it won’t have as many eyeballs. Another valuable factor is that I have strong relationships with a few influencers – so when they share my content the # of views double or triple.
Lastly my secret sauce is using a personal photo of myself as the header photo – again its about connection and it does it much better than a generic stock photo, which I think actually turns people off.
Tom is the head of content marketing for the brilliant content re-syndication tool, Edgar. Edgar itself is actually an amazing tool to generate traffic to your content. It allows you to load up a library of all of your content and it will continually re-post that content over and over again on social media at set intervals, ensuring that your older content constantly gets new eyeballs.
Here's what Tom from Edgar had to say about getting eyeballs on content:
Social media promotions are great and all, because you can share something again and again over time to keep a regular trickle of visitors coming in, but when you want a surge of traffic to a new piece of content, it's hard to beat email. Every week, we send out a newsletter promoting our most recent blog posts, and we reliably get a huge traffic bump on the days we send them out! (Plus, all those readers means a big surge of social shares, too.)
This is why building an email list should be one of your top priorities as a content marketer. Whether you're offering a free download, a product trial, access to a webinar, or anything else in exchange for email addresses, every person who joins your list is a person who has demonstrated interest in what you have to say. As you add more of those people to your list over time and regularly send them your new content, you can increasingly drive more traffic, get more social shares, and develop an eager fanbase of subscribers who want more of what you have to offer!
Dai Manuel is a lifestyle mentor and personal fitness educator. He uses content marketing to attract people to his training and his books. He is a speaker and has been featured all over in the media in the fitness world.
His blog and the content that he puts out is a large driver for the traffic he receives and the success he has had.
Here are Dai's words of wisdom:
My typical strategy is to connect with like-minded people in my tribe. Over the years I’ve built some online communities and I continue to nurture those relationships to this day. When I write a new piece of content I share on my typical channels including Twitter, IG, Facebook, Snapchat etc… but I tend to find some of the best shares and traffic is from the communities I’ve mentioned above.
Pat has one of the most popular blogs and podcasts on the topic of internet marketing and growing passive income. Through selling courses, affiliate marketing, podcast sponsorships, and book publishing, Pat has built a 7-figure per year online marketing empire.
All of this success is a direct result of Pat's content marketing efforts on his blog, podcast, and YouTube.
When I interviewed Pat Flynn, we had a little discussion about traffic strategies.
Pat is a big proponent of building relationships and then leveraging those relationships into traffic…
Here's some quotes that I'm pulling from the interview:
“Getting links from other sites is important. There's a couple of ways to do that. Obviously, just writing great content on your site so that it gets picked up… but also building relationships with other people… Or retweeting other people who look up to you on Twitter and sharing other people's articles on Facebook and connecting with them, sending quick messages and getting on their radar.”
Pat also recommends roundup posts, like the one you're reading right now…
“Another thing to do to get on people's radar is these roundup posts where you pull a list of maybe 20 of the top most influential people in your niche and have them answer one question. More than likely they're going to share that because they're featured on it.”
Finally, Pat also mentioned that just posting all of his content to Twitter has been a really effective traffic source for him.
Jay is a content marketing thought leader. He's also someone that I've learned a ton from, especially in the area of content repurposing. He did a show called “Jay Today” over on his Convince And Convert blog that he then repurposed in something like 10 different ways to make sure he was getting eyeballs on the content from everywhere. It was amazing and taught me a huge lesson in the power of repurposing your content.
Jay has advised more than 700 brands since getting started in online marketing in 1993. He is also the New York Times best-selling author of five books, the most retweeted person in the world among digital marketers, the second-most influential person in content marketing, and a certified BBQ judge.
Here's his killer tip:
Take your best content ideas and turn them into Slideshare presentations. Slideshare is one of the best opportunities for content exposure, and has the advantage of built-in lead generation tools.
Joe is the creator of the Content Marketing Institute, an absolutely brilliant website all about content marketing. He is one of the leading experts and educators in the world on the topic. He's also the author of my personal favorite book on the topic, Content Inc.
Here's Joe's quick piece of advice:
Yes, spend about 5 times more on promotion than creation (paid and free).
You are correct, if you build it, they won't necessarily come
Arthur is the founder of D4Y Brand Builder, an agency that works with clients to create marketing campaigns which allows them to scale their businesses. In 2009, he was part of a launch called Free Blog Factory, that was part of a web based reality show featured on front page of Orange County Register. He worked with celebrity talent like Hulk Hogan and Alfonso Robiero and big companies to create more conversions in their businesses.
Arthur reached out to me because he had a really killer traffic strategy that wasn't yet mentioned in this post and wanted to share it with you… And I'm so glad he did because this is some killer stuff!
Here is what he had to say:
We build community pages on Facebook (not to be confused with brand pages). Things like a community of people that love talking about their favorite show, or dog breed, or music genre versus a public profile, like Petco or Taylor Swift. Typically, on average, a Facebook page will have about a 10% reach rate per week, and an engagement rate that is too low to count. Most people do not put enough emphasis on interacting with their fans and providing high quality content that the audience loves to consume. Most of our pages average a minimum Reach of 200-300% of the total page likes per week, and an engagement rate of at least 80%.
Here is an image of insights for a page in the entertainment niche with just shy of 325,000 fans that Arthur sent me:
This page has created over 1 million pageviews to our content site just in the last 7 days. And 2 of the top 4 most shared articles ever for the broad keyword on BuzzSumo.
This is the traffic on the site in the last 22 hours. We use a tool called Siphon Cloud, and its pretty epic, because what most people dont know is that a lot of traffic is not only fake and bot traffic, but not tracked by google (private, vpn, trac phones, etc). Many times 2-4 times more traffic then that tracked by google analytics… The beauty of our strategy is that we only have 11% fake traffic, compared to the average of 25-35% because our traffic builds real, and legitimate communities, people want to interact with!
I couldn't create this whole post and NOT include myself in the mix…
My favorite strategy to make sure that I get eyeballs on my blog posts is actually multi-part.
First, in every single blog post that I write, I make sure to talk about and link to a few businesses or people. I mention people that inspired the post or that I pulled excerpts from and then I link back to their websites.
I then shoot a message to these people on Twitter and tag them when I share the post on Facebook. This makes them aware that I'm talking about them and, hopefully, encourages them to share the post (people love when others are talking about them).
Next, I create a “boost post” on my Facebook fan page, targeting an interest that I think would enjoy the post. Usually my boost post is between $10 and $15 for a 3-day boost. I only blog about once per week, so this process only costs between $40 and $60 per month.
Finally, I mail my list with a link to the post.
Obviously, everyone doesn't have a list yet… Make sure you're always building one and this step will become a bigger and bigger portion of your traffic over time…
I outline a step-by-step of my favorite strategy in this content curation post.
Note from the editor:
After rounding up these responses from my friends, I wanted to dive deeper and find some common answers from some other big names in the marketing world…
Here's some other responses that I came up in my research….
Tim doesn't really talk about marketing tactics much. He's much more about deconstructing habits of people. However, back in 2009, he gave a presentation at Wordcamp called “How to build a high-traffic blog without killing yourself.” In this video, he divulged some of the tactics that he used to get some initial traffic to his blog.
At about 20 minutes in, Tim talks about SEO.
When he writes his first draft, he ignores SEO completely… He then goes back, uses the Google keyword tool to find popular keywords, and then replaces words throughout his posts with more highly-searched keywords.
Tim also suggests StumbleUpon as a very effective and cheap traffic source to kick off the blog (about 23:50 in). This post is from 2009 and I haven't heard much about StumbleUpon recently… However, that doesn't mean that it's not still an effective strategy. Definitely something to play around with!
Finally, Tim suggests writing about evergreen topics instead of posting items related to current events. Evergreen content will only pick up traction over time while news-based content will fade quickly.
I dug and dug to try to find a concrete traffic strategy from Gary. He's obviously a big fan of social media and putting his face everywhere. In one video that I found (which you can watch here) he discussed how Facebook was a huge traffic driver for him…
Here's what he had to say:
“Facebook is actually probably one of the biggest drivers of content awareness outside of itself to other destinations in the world right now…”
“I have a pretty big foundation of 150,000 fans on that page, but there's people that I've seen post content that have 800 fans, and enough people shared it and enough people liked it, enough people commented on it and shared it not only within Facebook but outside of it, that it created a fire. Facebook is content awareness infrastructure…”
“I think it's one of the singular best ways, and so I would highly recommend making an investment in Facebook fan pages, recognizing the distribution opportunities that it creates for content you're putting outside of its network.”
James is currently one of my favorite authors. His “Choose Yourself” books are phenomenal. He's got a great blog and a couple of awesome podcasts… So he's constantly needing to find ways to drive new traffic to blog posts. Luckily, he's written quite a few times on the topic.
Here's some tips I've picked up from James:
“1. Comment on every blog related to your site. be helpful and don't be annoying.
2. Syndicate your content to the top blogs in your niche.
3. Create a fan page for your niche and share your stuff there.
4. Self-publish a book in your niche.
5. Answer questions on Quora.
6. Link with others in your niche on LinkedIn.”
From the blog post: How To Get Traffic To Your Site
In another post, he dug deeper on the topic… The idea is to build a platform of people who pay attention to what you do… Then traffic becomes easy.
Here's a quote where he further elaborates on syndication:
“Syndicate – write for other blogs. Write for the Huffington Post, or the top blogs in whatever field you are interested in. I’ve syndicated my material on at least 10 other popular blogs and tried to syndicate on others that said, “no” (famously, the Harvard Business School blogs where they passed around my material and I saw at the bottom of the email chain, “And yet another”.)
Do this consistently for a year. You will get a following. Note it won’t be a big enough following to generate a good living from ads. But it will give you a launching pad to think about other business ideas. Someone once told me: “all you need is 1000 true fans to build a business”. So you will get your 1000 true fans. And then you can decide what to do with them.”
The above quote is from “How Do You Get Traction From Your Blog.”
Content Marketing Recap
Here's some quick bullets to help distill some of the common responses about driving traffic.
- Focus on creating high quality content first. This is the most important rule. If it's not valuable people won't read it, they won't share it, and it will never pick up traction.
- Share your new piece of content on social media… Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn at the very least.
- Don't be afraid to pay to get the initial eyeballs. Facebook boosted posts are a relatively inexpensive but effective method for amplifying your content to get the initial traction.
- Mention others in your posts or curate other's content. You can then tell people they've been mentioned and they are more likely to share.
- Create a community of people that are interested in helping each other out. Tap that network to help share with each new blog post.
- Create the occasional roundup post (like this one), contributors are likely to share the post, creating a highly viral piece of content.
- Make sure you are always focused on building a mailing list so that you can easily bring people back to the site in the future.
- Repurpose the content that you create on other platforms to create new opportunities to be discovered.
Follow those rules along with the more detailed steps from the experts above and you will always be able to kickstart and drive a large spike of initial visitors to your content, leading to new opt-ins and more sales.
Make sure you bookmark this page. This will be an ever-growing resource. I'm going to continue to chase up experts and influencers for responses and I will constantly update this page. You will want to check back often.
Want This Done For You?
At Evergreen Profits, we offer much of the above tips as a service to clients. Get in touch if you'd like us to take over some of your content marketing efforts for you.
We also have a course on even more content marketing strategies, you can learn more about that here.