In an online world that has more than 1.2 billion websites, you may think it’s impossible to rank on page one of Google.
Buy, hey – the good news is only a small fraction of those websites are active and have a strategy for boosting traffic to their sites. While it will take a lot of hard work, it definitely is not impossible to compete online.
Here are 17 content marketing best practices to boost traffic, increase engagement and shares:
Boost Traffic By:
If you want to increase traffic to your website then you have to give people new (and good) reasons to visit it. You do this through blogging consistently. Don’t believe me? Check out these stats:
- Brands that create 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month.
- Blogs give websites 434 percent more indexed pages and 97 percent more indexed links.
- Blogs on company sites result in 55% more visitors.
2. Creating content offers or lead magnets
Another way to increase traffic through content marketing is through, you guessed it, creating more content. Lead magnets or content offers are big pieces of valuable content, such as ebooks, white papers or templates that you give readers in return for their email address. Usually, these types of offers become “evergreen” pieces of content on your site. Evergreen content means the content is so good that people keep revisiting and may even bookmark the page hosting this content offer.
3. Social media marketing
Now that you have a blog and content offers, it is time to drive traffic to your site through social media marketing. Share your blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest – whichever platform works best for your audience.
4. Social Bookmarking
While social media is great, social bookmarking is better. On average, 24 hours after a link is shared on Facebook, it gets 5 percent more likes, while after a link is shared on StumbleUpon, it gets 84 percent more stumbles. Share your posts and content offers on social bookmarking websites, such as StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit and Inbound.org or Growthhackers.com.
5. Email marketing
Have you ever heard the saying: “the money is in your email?” If you haven’t, now you have. The money is in your email. I felt that was worth retyping. Once you collect those email addresses from your content offers and lead magnets, consistently email your list new and ONLY good content that they will find valuable. This may include links to your blog posts and new content offers that they may like depending on where they are in the marketing funnel.
6. Comment marketing
Most people view comment marketing as an easy way to gain links and exposure in a spammy way. Of course, it’s only spammy if you make it. According to B2C, when utilizing comment marketing, you should:
- Add to the conversation with valuable insights or comments.
- Keep it personable, not robotic.
- Mention someone by name to establish a connection(s).
According to Newsjacking.com, newsjacking is the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story and generating tons of media coverage and social media engagement. For example, let’s say the Apple Watch is trending across the Internet on multiple platforms right now. It would be the perfect time to write an opinion piece on why you think a $10,000 price-tag is ridiculous (or not) for the gold Apple Watch. This would, hopefully, get you traction to your website.
Drive Engagement By:
8. Asking a question
Asking questions on social media platforms or at the end of blog posts are extremely easy ways to increase engagement where you want it. Here’s Post Planner’s advice on asking questions to drive the most engagement:
- Keep it short.
- Create polls with a short list of choices (Y/N or A/B/C).
- Keep it entertaining and light.
9. Including a call-to-action (CTA)
Lead users to the next action you want them to complete by providing a CTA at the end or in the middle of blog posts. The right copy, color, button sizes and fonts are known to dramatically increase conversion rates, which you can read more about here.
10. Writing killer headlines
On average, eight out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only two out of 10 will read the rest, according to Copyblogger. Your goal as a content marketer is to get your audience to click on your article then keep reading all the way through to your CTA. This doesn’t mean create clickbait. If you need help writing headlines, read this, use this and read this.
11. Including optimized photos
Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets, according to Buffer. Always include an image with your posts, and clearly, your Tweets. Make sure you optimize an image for every platform. What I mean by that is: resize your image based on the photo dimensions of each social media platform. Canva.com is a good tool to use to to do this.
12. Writing about a controversial topic
People love reading controversial posts so jump on a hot topic and input your opinion. Before you do though, I suggest you read this post before hitting publish. If you need a few (or 200) prompts for controversial posts then check out this list by NY Times.
13. Utilizing influencers
Influencers are industry experts and community leaders, who tout a large (and active) social following. When 92 percent of consumers trust their friends and family more than ads, it’s a great time to utilize the “f-factor” – that’s ‘f’ for friends, fans and followers who influence a consumer’s buying decision. You can utilize influencers in a few ways, including:
- Interviewing them on your blog
- Partnering with them to write an ebook or guide
- Building a relationship with them by sharing and retweeting their content
14. Captioning this photo
It doesn’t get any easier than “caption this” photo posts. Simply find a funny baby or cute animal picture; write “caption this” and share on social media. Boom. Instant engagement.
Increase Shares By:
15. Adding social share buttons
This is a no-brainer. If you want people to share your content then you must make it easy for them to share it. Sign up for addthis.com or SumoMe, and install the code or plugin (if you’re using WordPress) to get free, social share buttons on the side or top of your website.
16. Creating shareable images
No, I don’t just mean create awesome photos. What I mean is, literally, make your photos easily shareable. I recommend trying Slingpic. Slingpic is an image widget that instantly makes your photos easy to share for your website visitors, which means more visitors to your site.
17. Just asking
My last tip is pretty simple. Just ask your audience to retweet, reply or like to your post. If you have trouble coming up with creative ways to ask then consider purchasing Post Planner. I used this when I started out managing social media accounts, and it really drove engagement and increased shares for my clients. You may want to give it a try yourself, if you’re a newbie, like I was.
Which content marketing best practice did I miss? Let me know in the comments below.