Writing a blog post is only half the battle. The other half is getting them to the eyeballs of the right people. The VYPER blog has been increasing at a rate of 77% growth month over month, and one of the main reasons is because we’ve started writing more content while promoting it in the right places.
Here’s a checklist that I personally use during my blog planning, creation, and promotion phase.
Phase 1: Planning
What topic should I write about?
Some marketers tell you to check BuzzSumo to find relevant topics or search for relevant SEO terms before you start writing. I disagree. I think the best content comes from personal experience and writing from the heart, not from finding topics from these sites. What do I know about getting articles that work?
My last online magazine (Amped Asia) to over 4 million monthly pageviews. Granted, it’s a little bit different now that I’m writing for a SaaS company rather than an entertainment magazine, but a lot of the same principles for good writing applies.
So instead of writing your next piece for the search engines or to fit in with what’s hot, why not think one step ahead? What are people NOT talking about and can you start a discussion around it?
What are people saying and is there a way you can disagree with them or form a counter-point? (Like what I just did here). You CAN use BuzzSumo, but make sure you’re using to to find inspiration, not to just copy the top-most shared content.
What’s the goal of this piece and how will I accomplish my goal?
Why are you even writing this blog post? Every blogger and content marketer should have a goal in mind for their piece, and use that goal to guide how they write. If you can quantify your goal that would be best, but it’s okay if you can’t.
For example my goals with the blog post you’re reading.
- Add 100 people to our subscriber list.
- Exercise my writing skills with long form content.
- Show off VYPER’s new content upgrades tool.
- Find content that resonates with the audiences at GrowthHackers / Inbound.
And how am I going to accomplish my goal?
- I’m going to link to a content upgrade, one of the best ways to promote a blog post.
- I’m going to make this piece over 2,500 words long.
- The tool is displayed prominently within the article and linked to.
- Goes hand in hand with #2, but I’m making this piece very long-form and detailed.
Is this topic something that I can write extensively in and something I have actual knowledge of?
Blogging is great, but most bloggers are just rehashing content that they read elsewhere. But the best articles on the web are ones written with authenticity and voice.
For example, even when Noah Kagan writes about something I might not be super interested in (like last week his newsletter was about how he had dinner with 2 people at his house… weird I know) I still read it because I just like him as a writer. Same with Neville Medhora (copywriting), Rob Walling (SaaS), and certain other influencers.
So with that in mind, you want to make sure the topic you’re writing about isn’t just something you researched just for the article. You want to make sure you’ve had personal experience. Case studies do super well because they show numbers and evidence that a certain tactic works.
Once I know my content, can I fit it into any keywords for SEO?
Now once you’ve got a topic in mind, you should look into fitting SEO keywords into your article rather than the other way around. Don’t force it though. You want the article to still come off natural.
With the latest Google updates, it’s much better to write a quality piece rather than write a piece with the aim of stuffing keywords into the article. HOWEVER, if you can naturally fit keywords into your article then do it.
Can I mention any tools or resources in my post?
For me, I look to include as many tools or resources into any post that I write. This allows me to potentially connect with the creator of that tool or get some friendly back and forth going.
But really this helps you do 2 things.
- Directly you can get Tweets or shares by the company you mentioned. Some of them will even be shouting your praises at the top of their lungs.
- You build rapport and possibly a relationship with the creator of the tool/resource. You never know when this might be useful in the future.
Phase 2: Creation
Write a first draft. Wait a day to look it over.
Write your first draft, but wait before you publish. I like to wait a day before I publish the article.
Can I link to any previously written content?
The more links you have to other articles in your blog bank, the more traffic you’re going to eventually get. This is magnified when you re-purpose the same content for LinkedIn, Medium, etc.
How can I 10x the value of this content?
This is something I’m doing more and more on the VYPER blog. Long-form content and huge guides are always your best bet because these rank well for SEO keywords and they get shared if they’re especially epic. It’s much harder to write long-form content, but if you can do it, you’re going to have a huge advantage.
That’s why blogs like Grow and Convert have been killing it with content — the owner Benji is willing to write INSANE amounts of in-depth content backed by data.
This stage is really the make or break point for your content. Average writers stop before they 10x their content.
In a world where there is a lot of content getting passed around and not much content that’s actually good, it takes the extra mile to have your content really stick with your audience. So when you think of it in that perspective, it’s not hard to make content marketing work, you just need to be within the 1-2% that really goes that extra mile with your writing.
Create a content upgrade for my piece of content.
A content upgrade is a blog-specific lead magnet that is very closely related to the blog post. You can simply create a PDF version of your blog post and use that as a content upgrade. I like to add bonus content to my blog post and then combine my post + the bonus content into one PDF download.
I use our in-house tool, VYPER Content Upgrades, to deliver the lead magnet and show a popup that asks for the email address. When you have a blog that has multiple content upgrades, this tool is very powerful to make it easier to setup multiple lead magnets on your blog. With providers like Mailchimp, you can only send a default “welcome” email.
That makes it hard to do content upgrades unless you’re going to link to every single content upgrade inside that welcome email. Then you run into the problem of your reader getting the same welcome email multiple times when they find new content upgrades on your website. It gets messy.
VYPER content upgrades handles this all for you AND incentivizes your reader to share the content upgrade in order to get bonus content.
Where can I add numbers / evidence?
People love proof. This is the reason why Nate Silver’s blog FiveThirtyEight has been taking off despite talking about a topic (sports) that we don’t always associate with hard evidence and numbers (he also talks about politics, but I mainly go on there for sports).
It’s such a smart blog because he backs up everything with charts and numbers, and he’s really become the talk of the town in the sports blogging world. It’s completely different from the coverage on places like ESPN and Bleacher Report.
Re-think your headline.
If your headline is something like “The Guide to Social Media Marketing” – then scrap that sh*t and come up with something new. Make it exciting, make it lively, make it fresh. I like Neville Medhora’s blog on copywriting for tips on this.
My iteration for the headline for this blog post was
- The Ultimate Blog Promotion Checklist
- The Blog Promotion Checklist that Grew Our Traffic 77% (added numbers)
- The “4-Phase” Blog Promotion Checklist That Grows Our Traffic 77% Every Month (added a word with quotes to add intrigue)
Phase 3: Promotion
Send it to your newsletter, and ask them to share it with their friends.
Activate your current audience to read your post and share it with their friends, thereby spreading your content virally.
Did I mention anyone in the blog post? If so, contact them, tweet them, etc.
Like I’ve said already, cold outreach to the people in the blog post can help you get comments, get views, and get engagement. Ideally you’ll want these people to share it with their networks.
Re-purpose for Medium.
Medium has an official plugin for this. I haven’t cracked the code on Medium yet, so I’ll probably follow-up this blog post with more when I figure out how to use Medium properly. This is one of the growth channels I’m currently looking into.
Re-purpose for LinkedIn.
Great for posts that are business oriented. I don’t think too much about this channel, I just get about 20-50 hits per article by re-posting it here. Great because it’s native content so LinkedIn helps give it a boost. Great when you have thousands of connections on LinkedIn that might be reading your content.
Great when you have thousands of connections on LinkedIn that might be reading your content.
Re-purpose for Reddit
Reddit loves self-posts, which means don’t just link to your blog post from Reddit (most subs consider that to be blog spam). Instead make a “self post” which is basically your blog post rewritten as a Reddit post. Remember how earlier I told you to link to other posts in your blog? Well here’s where that comes in handy.
Tip: Use Reddit converter to easily transform a blog post into Reddit formatting.
Also read our other article on promoting via Reddit.
Add it to my library on Recurpost (you can also use MeetEdgar) so my post keeps getting in my share queue.
Post it up in various Slack chats.
There’s communities for many topics nowadays. Most Slack chats have a channel or two for self-promotion. Post them in here when you have a new blog post. Here’s a good list of Slack groups you can join.
Post in various Facebook groups (if it’s allowed).
This is powerful if you can swing it. Most Facebook groups disallow posting content, but if you’re friends with the admins you can usually swing it. Here’s a blog post where I talk more about posting within Facebook groups.
Post it on Hacker News.
Still trying to get this one to work. Sometimes I get 1k+ visits, sometimes 50-100. Either way it’s free traffic so there’s no reason NOT to post it up here. And you don’t have to be tech-focused for this to work.
Post it in relevant other communities.
Share on my personal Facebook.
Seems like a no-brainer, but just share it on networks you have access to, like your own personal Facebook.
Email link roundups.
There’s a new type of newsletter out these days which contain purely links to other sites. Find link roundups in your niche and try to get your post listed in those roundups.
Put it into Triberr.
My co-founder worked on this tactic, but Triberr is basically a community where you can share other people’s posts and they’ll share yours. Traffic exchange type site, but it works within niches like entrepreneurship, startups, etc. So you’ll end up getting some relevant shares.
Promote it on Quuu promote.
If you want to put any budget into it, Quuu promote is great if you fit within their categories.
Get on Twitter and tweet your post to relevant users.
I use automation tool Audiense to automatically send a tweet when someone follows me. Usually it says something like, “Hey I just wrote this new blog post on X, would you give me your thoughts? Thanks!” (In fact you might be reading this blog post because you got my Tweet).
Phase 4: Evaluate (Months Later)
If this all seems like hard work, it is! In fact it’s hella hard, which is why most people don’t do it.
Anything that’s ever been worthwhile has never been easy.
That’s also why IF you do decide to write amazing long-form content, you will end up reaping the rewards of it.
Don’t get discouraged!
The first few times you post are not going to get you anywhere.
But let’s say you’re reading this article a few months later after you’ve already published a couple posts. It’s not too late to re-purpose those posts and keep the benefit going.
Find the posts that have gotten the most traction.
Find the posts on your site that have done the best for you as a blogger. We use Google Analytics and search by landing page.
Add these posts to an autoresponder for new subscribers.
We use Drip to automatically send new subscribers a sequence of posts consisting of our best quality posts.
Repurpose content into SlideShares.
This is something that takes a while to do, which is why it’s in the bonus phase. Wait until your content has died down a bit then turn it into a powerpoint slide for SlideShare. It’s slow at first, but over time you can get 100s of views.
I’m working on this tactic currently, and my first SlideShare has gotten 71 views. Not great, but it’s better than nothing and I’m pretty sure it will scale as time goes on.
Combine blog posts to create a killer lead magnet & then promote your lead magnet.
I combined multiple blog posts in the past and turned it into one large lead magnet.
Then I promoted this heavily over all the channels I just talked about. This was a tactic I did heavily at my last startup PhotoWhoa, which was a daily deals site for photographers.
It was great because I didn’t have to write new content, but I still got a lot of new emails. In fact we grew our email list by around 20,000 emails using this tactic.
Here’s an example lead magnet we made by combining a bunch of articles.
Content marketing and blogging isn’t just spray and pray. By being extremely focused with your content and make sure you’re moving the needle every time you type a sentence.