Hey, you there. I’m a nobody (right now) in content marketing.
It’s true, don’t you agree? If you’re visiting my blog for the first time; chances are, the closest John Chen you know is Blackberry’s CEO.
P.S. I’m not him. 🙂
That’s all set to change in the future, of course. *wink*
But almost everyone starts off as a nobody, don’t they?
We start off as a nobody in our industry, and we hope to climb up the ladder as we get more “street cred” – by releasing more and more content – and hopefully getting more people to read it.
But it’s getting incredibly hard to do so with every single day, as more and more people join the blogging arena.
As of this moment, there are 2 million blog posts published every single day according to Worldometers, and this figure is expected to rise in the near future.
That being said, it’s only natural that you have a certain fear whenever you think of starting a blog.
I mean, how can you ever hope to stand out from the competition when there are already people with similar content like yours, and they’re considered the leading authorities?
You can, and today, you’ll learn exactly how.
Who is this post for?
This post is especially helpful for new content marketers, new bloggers, and new entrepreneurs who are trying to gain traction and market presence with their blog, or their website.
It’s for the people who feel that they might be lost in the sea of competition online, and don’t really know how to gain the trust of their readers at the beginning, especially.
If you are new to content marketing, or you want to know the different tactics and shortcuts that you can use to gain traction and build trust with your readers fast, then this guide is for you.
Why did I write this guide?
In this article, I will outline seven simple steps that you can take right now to get people to pay attention to the content that you write, even if you are a new blogger, or a content marketer working for a new client.
More specifically, these are the problems that I want you to address together with me today:
- Getting past the fear of “I’m new to this blogging and content game”
- That it’s not possible for your blog to get traction since “everyone is already doing it”
- That the world already has enough influencers – they don’t “need me”
By the end of this post, you should be able to create content that not just adds value to people, but also gets past the barrier that you often might face when ever do you release content for the very first time.
#1: Understand the barriers to your content at the beginning
In order for you to truly understand how to create content that, even as a newcomer, will be interesting to your readers, you must first understand the potential questions and barriers that your readers have at the start.
That means that you have to go behind minds of readers, in order for us to pinpoint the questions that they have.
The most common barriers that I’ve come across in my line of work that readers have to new websites are mostly about credibility.
They might ask questions like:
- Who is this guy?
- Can his/her words be trusted?
- Is there any truth to the content that he/she puts out?
- Just another person who’s out to earn another quick buck?
- Could it be a scam, an affiliate?
If you’ve been online for a decent amount of time, chances are that you’ve asked some of these questions yourself when you visit a website for the first time.
That being said, this means that if you want to build trust in your content, and establish a relationship with your new readers, you’ll want to focus your efforts to do the following:
- Build trust in your readers
- Show authenticity and genuineness – you’re not out here for a quick buck
- You’re in it for the long run
- Show truth and loads of proof in your content
- Make it a point to share your story, to reduce the thought of associating your site with being a scam, or a rip off etc.
When you answer all of the questions that new readers have, you’ll start to build solid relationships with these readers, that will generate loyal buyers for a lifetime.
Do this now. Be completely honest with yourself when you go through this exercise:
- Does your site look like a ripoff, or does it position yourself as a legitimate source of information?
- How does the site position you, and your services? Do you try to help others first, or do you sell first?
- Do you keep on repeating your sales messages? How would you feel if you viewed the site for the first time?
- Do you point to credible information elsewhere on the Web, or is the content distribute for the “sake of it”?
#2: Create your content pillars
Before we focus on the actual creation of content, it’s important that you understand the importance of content pillars.
What are content pillars?
Simply put, content pillars are pieces of information that are scattered around your site, that contain key information about who you are, and starts to build some sort of credibility in your content.
In other words, content pillars are information that enhances and increases the overall value of your website, and adds credibility to the content that you put out.
But here’s something that you might not know.
Content Pillars don’t just apply to blog posts.
In fact, Content Pillars can range anywhere from web pages, to videos, or even podcasts. To put it simply, any piece of content can be a content pillar.
For example, here are some of the most crucial pieces of content pillars that a website simply cannot do without:
- About Us Page
- Home Page
- Your Author Bio
Why are these pages so important?
Because these pages are the pages where a new visitor is most likely to visit for more information about you, the person who created the content.
In short, they are the support structure, or pillar structures of your site because they form the base of your site.
That also means that the copy on these pages have to be the most compelling pieces of content on your entire site.
According to Brian Dean of Backlinko, your About Us page is one of the most frequently visited pages of any website.
This also means that your highest chance of conversion and trust building happens on this page.
In other words, it would probably be super useful if you dedicate some time to build some really compelling copy on this page.
That brings us to the next step of this section – actually helping you to craft these content pillars.
Creating a Powerful About Us Page
The very first content pillar that you should focus on is crafting a powerful About Us page.
When done right, an About Us Page with powerful content can bring you the following benefits:
- Showcase your originality and build trust in your content
- Engages your audiences with a powerful story, and builds relationships with those that can relate
- Higher conversions (assuming your remember to put a conversion box like the one I have on my About Page)
Step 1: A convincing story
The first step that you need to take before you start crafting your About Page is to come up with a powerful story that is both convincing, but at the same time, believable.
According to Psychology website 2KnowMyself, here’s the reason why people tend to overexaggerate stories:
Each person has different psychological goals and unmet needs that he tries to reach and fulfill through every possible method. Because those goals and needs differ from a person to another the reason a person does something might be different than the reason another person does the same thing.
In other words, we exaggerate our stories because we want the other party to feel what we are feeling, even at the cost of making the story sound more dramatic than it really is.
But this is not the best way to go about doing it.
Instead, you should focus on writing the story as it is, then crafting it to add on elements that bring out the emotions that you are feeling, but in a believable way.
For example, my own About Page talks about my own journey in starting an events Company, Gallant, and how it led me to be able to understand businesses much better than my peers today.
I could have added in details about how I slept in the office (which is true), or how I ate scraps for weeks because I didn’t have enough money (which is also true).
But these are not relevant to the story, and if I add it, they become irrelevant, and start sounding almost too bad to be true.
Do this now:
- Write down the story of how you came to provide this service or blog today
- Is your content believable? Which parts of it is believable, and which isn’t?
- If you were a complete stranger to this industry, what would be your first impression of such a story? Disbelief, or trust?
Step 2: Focus on your journey, and your maturity
No one popped out onto Earth knowing how to do SEO, or write a blog.
There are elements in your story that led you to provide the service or value that you offer today.
These are the crucial points of contact that your readers and new visitors are looking out for to answer their deepest questions.
I see most people focusing on how many years they’ve been in that particular industry.
While that’s all good and nice, it doesn’t build a relationship with the reader.
In fact, it makes you look like just another fish out in the sea.
That’s why, when you’re doing your About Page copy, always focus on the journey, and the decisions that led you to provide this service today.
Not only does it build rapport with new readers, it helps others to understand your struggles and pains, things that they might be able to relate to, and convert as a result of.
Do this now:
- What decisions led you to provide this service today?
- What made you who you are today?
- What’s your journey? How did you end up providing the service today, and why do you still do it?
Step 3: The problem that you’re trying to solve
The next step is to make sure your About Page answers one of the most important questions that your new reader has:
What’s the problem that you are trying to solve?
Similar to writing a powerful LinkedIn profile, every powerful About Page aims to solve a main problem.
For example, Backlinko’s main problem that they solve is Search Engine Optimisation, and Brian Dean makes it a point to place it clearly on his About Page:
Neil Patel also makes it a point to display the main problem that he solves upfront on his Consulting Page: Getting his clients more traffic:
Do this now:
- Think hard: What’s the main problem that you solve for your clients?
- Run through it a second time – are you just listing down your services, or are you really focused on the main problem?
- Ideally, make sure that every single one of your prospects have that problem, and is itching to get it solved
Step 4: Your bigger contribution to society
Now, it’s time to think bigger.
You’ve just covered the problem that you want to solve.
But like I’ve mentioned earlier, if you don’t take steps to further differentiate your services, you’ll still end up looking like another fish in the sea.
This is where your bigger contribution comes in.
Simply put, your bigger contribution to society is an explanation of how different your business is positioned, and how uniquely positioned it is to tackle the problem that you’ve just mentioned.
To understand this in depth, you should first understand what a stakeholder map is.
Basically, it’s a map that shows the players that exist around you and your business.
With your business placed in the center, the parties that work around you consist of the following parties:
- Employee Families
The list is endless – and can change depending on the situation that surrounds you and your business.
To make use of this stakeholder map, you have to think of the unique position that your business is placed in, in order to solve the specific problem that you’ve outlined in Step 3.
For example, let’s say Elon Musk was trying to come up with an About Page for Space X, his space flight company.
The main problem that he tries to solve is space exploration, and making space travel a reality for man.
Let’s fill up the stakeholder map with what we know so far:
When you draw up your stakeholder map like that, it becomes very clear the unique positioning that Space X is in to solve the problem of interplanetary travel.
These unique points include the following:
- They have the backing of huge companies, and the government
- Some of the world’s best engineers work for them
- Their clientele are at the forefront of space travel (NASA)
Meshed together, Space X’s bigger contributions to society might then look something like this:
- We represent mankind’s push for interplanetary travel
- We combine some of mankind’s best minds to confront the next frontier
and so on, and so forth.
Do this now:
- Draw out your stakeholder map
- Fill up your stakeholder map with the different players that surround your business
- What unique position are you in, that can help you to deal with the problem in a unique way? How does it make you different?
Step 5: Why it’s important for the reader to take action and follow you
Lastly, you’ll want to wrap up your About Page with a convincing Call to Action, and give readers a reason why they should follow you on your jouney.
It doesn’t have to be fluffy, but it does have to make sense.
Some sample actions that you can ask readers to take after reading your About Page could be:
- Signing up for your newsletter
- Leaving a comment on the About Page
- Dropping you an email or a note
A good example of a user action was with one of my previous sites, where a reader randomly dropped me a note about my story that he had read there, ages after the site had been inactive:
Note: in order for me to get this response, I included a simple call to action within my About Page that went something like this:
If you found my story helpful, and you would like to share your story, please drop me an email at (insert email here) – I’d love to help fellow entrepreneurs!
The fact that I got this comment one year after the site was inactive proves that the elements that I highlighted earlier works – well.
Do this now:
- What feeling do you think your reader would have after reading your story, and About Page?
- Come up with a specific call to action that you want your reader to take after reading your About Page
- Are there any ways that you can refine your call to action, that would tie in with the story that you wrote in your About Page? For example, if you wrote your story in your About Page, can you tie your Call to Action with statement like: “Follow me on my journey, as I continue to solve this [problem]?”
Home pages are often used as landing pages for web owners to showcase the following bits of information:
- A short summary of the product/service that the website offers visitors
- The type of information that visitors can expect to find on the site
- Short writeup of why should readers trust the particular site
Naturally, just like the About Page, there are a few elements that you have to keep in mind, when you craft the content for a powerful Home Page.
Step 1: Powerful Images
If you want to keep your bounce rates low, and keep your new reader’s attention for more than 8 seconds, having powerful images that capture their imaginations is a must.
Ideally, here are some rough guidelines that you can follow, if you are sifting through images to use on your site:
- Eye-catching – does it have powerful colours that stand out? Use color meaning tools like Color Wheel Pro to find out the meanings of colors, and how you can use them for your site
- Related to Pain Points – Do your images explain what your content is saying? Is it relevant to the point that you are trying to make, or is it irrelevant?
- Contrast: Do the images have any relation with one another, or are they just a random mesh of images placed together, that make no sense whatsoever?
In order for you to understand this checklist in greater detail, let’s use a real life example – on my own home page.
The first thing that I make sure my readers see is an image of my face, to bring their attention to a few things:
- I’m positioning myself as the content guy here
- The image is relevant, because the image reinforces my positioning of “Bridging the gap between thought and the web”, an intense struggle many of my prospects face
- It’s eye-catching, because the entire background is white, placing me in the center of attention (i’m blushing already)
I deliberately placed my clients from countries that work with me the most (Canada, Australia and the US here), so that my readers can relate to these people, and thereby build trust in what I say.
Cartoons are placed here to create a fun, lesson-y approach, as opposed to being all serious, which I know some of my clients can get turned off by.
However, notice that you should always make sure that the cartoons are relevant to the statements that you make.
That brings me to my next point – the images on my home page are not added just for fun – each and every single element was carefully thought through and considered.
There is no guesswork here – simply running through the checklist that i’ve outlined earlier will make your images flow just as perfectly as I did.
Step 2: Short, Emotive Summaries
The next thing that you have to make sure your home page has are powerful, short, and emotionally strong summaries.
Why? Because home pages is like your elevator pitch in the following ways:
- Make it too short, and you lose the attention of the reader because of the lack of depth
- Make it too long, and you lose the attention of the reader because you’re too boring
- You only have a few seconds to capture and convert the reader, so each sentence needs to be powerful and to the point
That being said, the next challenge is to actually find the secret sauce to writing your home page content.
Contrary to what you might think, this process is simpler than you think.
They consist of the following steps:
- List down as many points as you can
- Consolidate these points into one generic and large point
- Write down that point
- Add power/trigger words
- Refine and adjust the copy
Naturally, we’ll use my site as an example again.
Let’s use the simple checklist that I’ve given you above on this first page capture.
List down as many points as you can:
At the start, I needed to find as many pain points that my readers have.
I might come up with the following list:
- Don’t know what to write
- They don’t know how to write
- How to start on a blank piece of paper
Consolidate these points into one generic and large point
The next step that I need to do is to summarise these points into one single point, so that I can use it as my heading.
Obviously, from what I read above, it seems like my readers generally have the problem of connecting their thoughts onto paper, or publish on the Web.
I decide to use this point as my generic and large point.
Write down that point
Next, you’ll have to write down the point somewhere (the Notepad App on your computer will work just fine).
You might end up with something like this:
This blog helps people to start writing better, and connect their thoughts to actual written content
Add power/trigger words
Obviously, with the statement that we’ve just written above, it seems hard to understand, and isn’t as powerful as it should be.
Therefore, we need to add in power words.
Power words are words that trigger an emotion in the reader.
You can use this list to find the power words that fit your heading best.
For my case, I will use the words “Bridge” and “Gap” to further add value to my heading.
Although they are not strictly power words, I know that they summarise my heading perfectly, and so they will work just as well here.
Refine and adjust the copy
Last but not least, you’ll have to refine and adjust the copy, so that it’s clear and straight to the point.
For my case, I end up with what you see on my page now:
“Bridge The Gap Between Thought And The Web”
Step 3: Credibility and Trust
Since a home page is a page where you showcase what’s different about your site, a home page should also include different credentials and testimonials that add credibility to what you have to say.
This step is relatively easy to do, and consists of 2 simple parts:
- Logos of Featured Content or past clients
You already know that my home page has 3 of my past clients and their testimonials about my work:
I also made it a point to include logos of brands where my clients came from:
These all add up to build trust and credibility to my home page, which in turns adds value in the eyes of the new reader.
Step 4: Call to Convert
Finally, you’ll want to include a call to action in your home page, just like your About Page.
You can do that with Plugins like Thrive Leads, or Optin Monster.
Again, make sure that the offer you place in your Home Page opt in is relevant to the content that your home page has for maximum effect.
Now that we’ve covered your About Page, it’s time to move to the next content pillar, which is your Author Bio.
The author bio is an important element on your website as well, because it gives the reader that extra bit of information that he or she needs to understand the person behind the content.
As a default on most WordPress Applications, your author bio would mostly appear alongside your blog posts, or after your content.
An effective author bio consists of the following elements:
- A powerful explanation of your belief
- A list of companies that you have previously worked for, or with
- A number of years of experience that you have in that particular industry
- Some fun facts about yourself
When done right, content pillars are powerful bits of information and content that can take your new content to the next level, and establish credibility that your new website desperately needs
Let’s take an in-depth look into my author bio, and see how I’ve answered the different elements.
A powerful explanation of your belief:
Through writing about my experiences with professionals and brands, i’ve already indirectly listed down my beliefs that everyone should be able to express themselves clearly on print.
A list of companies that you have previously worked for, or with
The number of years of experience that you have in that particular industry
Also stated in my author bio.
Some fun facts about yourself
I used the words “black belt in the art of content weaving” to position myself as a powerful content creator, but I also make it a point to help my readers visualise what that actually means.
Instead of using critically acclaimed writer, using a term like “black belt” helps people who are new to the industry better relate and understand the level of mastery that I am at with content.
#3 Use data to back up your content
The first thing that people are going to ask if you are new in the industry is whether you are credible or not.
That’s why you should always pay extra attention to data when you’re just starting out online.
Having data to support your statements not only shows credibility, but it also demonstrates that you are well researched about the problem that you are solving, and about your industry in general.
But, as the saying goes, using data is easy, but finding and using the relevant data is hard.
To find the right data for your content, you first have to understand what data really is.
Put it simple, data is results gathered from testing, is proven by experts, and generated using modern tools like software and data mining programs.
Studies have also shown that when you use data in your content, readers naturally view your content to be more valuable, authoritative, and more trustworthy.
But, when do you use data?
Write data driven headlines
It’s well known that out of blog visitors, 8 will click on your headline, while only 2 will read the content.
That being said, crafting headlines that are data backed, and chock full of information helps you to attract the attention of readers and let them know that what they’re going to read is full of factual information that they can use for their business or life.
For example, my data backed post on Ramit Sethi’s style of writing was a 6,000+ word blog post that was full of data points that I analysed using Analyse My Writing.
The post includes data captured from the various points of his content, which I then used to create conclusions about the way that he writes, and what you can learn from it.
I then named this post as “How to write like Ramit Sethi: A 6,837 word data backed case study”, which is a pretty decent headline because it shows that I don’t jump to conclusions before writing the post; but use evidence at every point.
A post that was so convincing, it seemed as though Ramit was right behind me when I wrote the post, giving me instructions on exactly how he wrote:
Use data to back up a claim
Whenever you make a claim in your content, especially when you’re just starting out, it’s important that you back it up with the relevant data.
What do I mean by claim?
Well, broadly defined, a claim is simply the following:
- When you take a point of view
- An opinion, or perspective on a particular topic
For example, if I were to write a blog post about content writing, I might want to start off my blog post with a claim that most people are having difficulty with writing blog posts.
Is that a claim? Let’s break it down.
- Is it a point of view? Yes, because there are people out there like Neil Patel, Brian Dean and Jon Morrow, who obviously don’t face that problem
- It’s my opinion – People who read my content might agree or disagree, depending on their own content creation progress
Therefore, this means that I need to find data to support my claim.
Let’s go step by step to find out how you can do this too.
Step1: Finding the right data
Finding the right data for your content is simple.
The Internet is full of information, numbers and data that is updated constantly.
Use this to your advantage.
To start off, you can find valuable information by doing some simple Google Queries like:
“Your niche” + “reports [year]”
“Your niche” + “trends [year]”
“Your niche” + “statistics [year]”
Let Google do the work for you, and pull up the information that can help you piece together a powerful content piece.
Here are some proven ways to tell if the data that is displayed is good enough to build authority in your content:
- Is the information free from bias?
- Who consolidated the data? Is it from an accurate source?
- Who participated in the data exercise? Who were surveyed? Are they relevant to your content?
- Is there anyway that the data might be skewed in favor of some agenda?
Once you see a piece of information that you can rely on, and can enhance the credibility of your content, you can simply place that information inside your draft.
Step2: Place the data in the right places – understand your audience
After gathering the data for your content, you need to find a way to place the data in the right places.
To do that, the first thing that you need to do is to understand the reader that you are talking to.
You need to understand the reader for the following reasons:
- So that you know the specific questions that they ask, so that you can place data behind it
- Their objections, so that you can use data to counter them
For example, suppose my reader is Mike, who I know needs content marketing done.
However, I know that Mike has tried to outsource his content marketing before, and it didn’t work out.
Therefore, a very strong objection that Mike probably has is that content marketing doesn’t work, which I know to not be true, of course.
If you were to pitch to Mike, and grab his attention with a claim like “Content Marketing works better than ever for small businesses”, you might have his attention, but not convince him.
Instead, backing up your claim with statistics like: “95% of small businesses who failed at content marketing admitted that it was due to a lack of planning.”
This data does a few things to Mike.
- It captures his attention: Failing at content marketing is a common problem; he’s not the only one facing it
- Mike thinks: “Oh, maybe it’s because the previous firm didn’t do their planning well enough; there’s still hope.”
- “Maybe this guy can help me, since he knows about this problem”
You see the difference that data can make?
To understand your reader, you need to know what questions they currently have. You will get to learn this in point number 4.
Step 3: Place the data in the crucial points of your content
Now that you’ve figured out who your reader actually is, it’s time to place the data you’ve gathered in the right places throughout your content.
Generally speaking, I tend to place data in these crucial places:
- Where I’m trying to make a point to my readers
- When I can sense that the point that I’m trying to make it somehow objectionable or dubious to my readers
- When I can sense that the data can enhance the value of my opinion
#2: Find people who are already consuming similar content
When you’re a new blog, or you just started out blogging, it can be hard for you to gain some new traction to your site.
That being said, how do you actually get people to read your content?
One technique that I found to be particularly effective is getting people who’ve consumed similar content to yours, and pitching out to them to read your post.
Step 1: Go to Buzzsumo
Go to Buzzsumo, and type in the content topic that your post is about.
A list of articles will pop out.
Choose the content that is most similar to your article, and move to Step 2.
Step 2: Get the people who are already sharing similar content
These people who shared similar content to yours are people who’re likely to be interested in the content that you’ve written, because they shared it before!
Click on View Sharers (you’ll have to create a Trial Account here), and you will see a list of people who’ve shared the particular content piece on Twitter.
Next, you’ll want to export this list of people.
Step 3: reaching out to these people to get them to see your content
This is the fun part. In this step, you’ll craft a simple Outreach pitch that entices them to want to read your content.
This pitch can either be sent on Twitter, or on email.
From my experience, I’ve had way more success with email, than with Twitter messages, simply because Twitter is chock full of robotic messages, so the chances that your messages will be ignored is extremely high.
A sample email that you might want to set up my go something like this:
Hope you’re doing well!
I found out that you’ve previously read a blog post covering LinkedIn Profiles here!
I’ve also made an awesome 8,327 word guide on Creating A Powerful LinkedIn Profile that’s more comprehensive and updated.
You can check it out here: https://www.contentrific.com/powerful-linkedin-profile/ Kindly share it if you find it useful.
I look forward to hearing from you!
#3: Use influencers to spread the word for you
One of the big scary myths of online marketing is that influencers are somehow untouchable on the Web.
They are, assuming you don’t know what you’re doing.
Having influencers to back up your content is a great way to put trust behind your words, and show your new readers that you are a trustworthy source of information that they can rely on.
Furthermore, when an influencer promotes your content on your behalf, it’s the most powerful “online juice” that you can expect for your site – simply because the influencer is staking his/her reputation on the line for you.
That also means that it’s always a good idea to be extremely clear about your intentions when you approach an influencer.
Step 1: Find the influencers in your niche
The first step is to find the influencers in your niche.
You can do this by doing a simple Google Search:
“[your industry] + list of influencers”
“top [your industry] influencers”
Once you’ve figured out who the influencers in your niche are, add them into your list of people to reach out to.
Your aim is to appeal to their good faith, so that they can share your content for you later on.
Step 2: Create attention – the good kind
The first thing to do is to get the attention of influencers in your niche.
You can do so by commenting on their content, engaging them on Twitter, or or just sending them as simple email telling them how good the content areas.
For example, I’ve been very blessed to be able to build a relationship with Sam Hurley, the ranked #1 top digital marketing influencer before my blog was created with the following methods:
A: I reached out to Sam on LinkedIn, and asked for digital marketing advice
Take note that at this point, I didn’t know that I was going to start a blog one day.
The question I asked Sam back then was simple:
What does it really take to create a powerful online Digital presence?
And we continued the conversation for months thereafter just on LinkedIn.
B: I also made it a point to comment on Sam’s content and engage him
Next, I made sure that I took the effort to reach out to Sam and engage in his content, which also shows that I did my homework, instead of blatantly asking for links.
C: I made sure to hint at my upcoming site
Throughout my conversation with Sam, I made it a point to drop hints about my site, and what I was doing. This also pre-empted Sam when the first blog post was launched.
Step 3: Share with influencers posts of value
Once you’ve built a strong relationship with the influencer, it’s time to create content that the influencers don’t just share out of goodwill, but because it’s truly valuable to their audience.
Because they have more incentive to share the post well, and are more likely to share it more than once.
My post on LinkedIn Profile Writing, for example, was a gigantic resource that is super valuable to anyone with a LinkedIn profile.
This means that the post is highly relevant to the majority of Sam’s audience, who are working adults and professionals.
It was shared by Sam very kindly for a grand total of 3 times throughout the day, so that its effect was maximised on Twitter:
This not only maximised my reach, but got my post over 80 engagements in total. Not bad for a first blog post.
At the core, remember that influencers are not dumb.
They know a link request when they see one, so make sure your approach is friendly, and polite.
Don’t ever ask for links upright, or chances are, your email will just be ignored.
#4: Find out your reader’s deepest desires, needs, fears and wants
Everyone has problems.
Right now, my biggest problem is getting my word out to as many people as I can, simply because this website is a new one.
Similarly, if there was a itching problem that you need to get solved, and someone new were to come to you with a specific solution to that problem, broken down step-by-step , wouldn’t you pay attention to at least what he has to say?
The best part? If you have been working in your niche for a long time now you would know what these problems are already.
If you don’t, you can start off by finding your audience’s deepest fears, wants and desires by asking yourself the following questions:
- What keeps your audience up all night, and wonder if the sky won’t come crashing down the next moment if this particular problem isn’t solved?
- What does your audience fear deep down?
- How important is it for them that these problems are solved? What happens if they don’t get the problems solved?
After you’re done asking yourself the questions, list down the points and problems that you find down onto your content strategy, or any content planning document that you work with.
#5: Answer the most basic questions
Most bloggers and entrepreneurs start off in content marketing thinking that they should come up with billions of case studies, impressive reports and so on.
They couldn’t be further from the truth.
Instead, you should always focus 80% off your content marketing efforts and answering the simplest questions that your audience has.
Why? Because when you write for a blog, chances are the highest number of visits to that post are going to be totally new beginners, and these are your highest converting readers.
In other words, if you write a complicated and sophisticated post that is full of jargon, you’re just not going to appeal to this group of people, and lose out on bunch of valuable traffic.
That means that if you want your new blog to generate as much visitors as it does subscribers, then you’ve really got to zoom in on the beginners in your industry.
Take a look at my own statistics, for example.
67.5% of visitors to my site are new – this means that it’s pretty much safe to assume that these are visitors who are searching for answers to their problems – and chances are, these problems are generally basic questions that make them Google for an answer in the first place.
Luckily for you, this step is normally much easier than SEO, since it’s more focused around the user’s intent, rather than the search engine’s intent.
To find out what are the most basic questions in your industry is actually quite simple, and there are a few ways that you can get around doing it.
Step 1: Do a quick survey
If you have an existing clientele that you’ve worked with in the past, then creating a survey is probably one of the most effective ways of generating some questions that you can work with.
To create a quick survey, go to Typeform or Google Surveys.
Both require you to sign up for an account, but it should take less than 3 minutes, if you are fast enough.
After you’ve set up your account, you’re ready to begin creating your survey.
When you come up with a list of questions for your survey, you’d want to make sure to include the following key points:
- What are the most common questions that come to your mind when you think of [your industry?]
- Why do you struggle to solve this problem?
- Specifically, which part of this problem do you find it a struggle to solve? Why?
You will want to note down the answers that you get, and place them in your content planning document.
Step 2: Brainstorm as a group
Next, if you operate in a group, you can always get a list of these ideas by doing a group brainstorm.
A group brainstorm is simply a sit down session with your team, where the team comes up with a list of questions that your readers or prospects might have, so that you can create content around it later on.
Coschedule uses this process to generate a ton of useful questions that each group member thinks might be useful to their audience.
Step 3: Search on Forums
Lastly, Forums are a great way to come up with a list of questions that your readers have when it comes to your niche.
That’s where the power of Quora really shines.
Firstly, you’ll want to go to Quora, and type in your niche or topic.
Next, click on the right topic, and you should be redirected to the topic page.
Based on this topic board alone, there are over 3,000 questions that you can choose from, and these are all user intent questions – meaning they are actual questions that users are searching for.
#7: Content Hack: Comment Fishing
This is a new trick that I have found to be quite useful, especially for bloggers who are just starting out and content marketing.
Basically, this technique leverages on existing content that is similar to yours out there, and it’s almost a sure guaranteed way for you to find new readers, who are already interested in what you have to say, fast.
How it works is simple:
- We check whether the competing site has dofollow links to the commenter’s website
- If it does, then we trace back the comment to the original commenter
- Then, we extract the right information about the owner
- Send them a customised pitch about your content, so that they’ll follow through and read it
Step 1: Google for Competition
The first thing that you should do is, assuming you have already created your content, search online on the web for your topic.
Let’s say I’m trying to do a search on Evergreen Content, which is my previous post.
Step 2: Open the top 10 articles
Next, you would want to open the first 10 articles that you see on Google.
This is simply because these are the articles that are ranking for your ideal readers as well.
Briefly scan through the piece of content and see if it’s relevant to the content that you have already created.
In this case, the Hubspot evergreen content article is a perfect competitor for my Evergreen post.
This also means that reaching out to the people who read it is going to be a sure winner.
Step 3: Scroll down to comments section
Next, you’ll want to scroll down to the comments section of the post.
Here’s the tricky part.
You’ll have to figure out if the comments on the site are dofollow links.
In other words, you have to figure out whether or not you’re actually redirected to the commenter’s site when you click on their name.
For example, in the Hubspot post, I can hover over a particular commenter’s name, and click on it – and I will be directed to that commentor’s page.
The next step is simply to scroll down to the comment section and see if the name of the commenters have a link to it.
For example, I can click on this particular person’s name, and I will automatically be redirected to the persons website.
Finally, the last step is to extract the contact details of all this website owners.
You can do this easily by going to Hunter.IO, Which is basically an email extraction tool that gives you up to 150 credits per month to use. One email extracted is counted as one credit.
Copy and paste the URL of the site that you’ve just been redirected to, into the search box and click on “Find email addresses”.
You should see a list of email addresses popping up.
Now comes the fun part.
It’s time to put together an outreach email that pitches them to read your blog post.
A sample outreach email might go something like this:
Hope you’re doing well!
I found out that you’ve previously commented on a blog post covering Evergreen Content!
I’ve also made an awesome guide on Evergreen Content that’s more comprehensive and updated.
You can check it out here: https://www.contentrific.com/evergreen-guide-evergreen-content/ Kindly share it if you find it useful.
Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you!
#8: Create a case study on yourself
Who is the best example to do a case study on when you’re starting out?
Yourself, of course!
You see, most people think that the story is boring, and don’t deserve to be a case study.
They couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, as Gary Vaynerchuk put it, you should always not just focus on the end product and marketing, but put the focus on your journey, and how you got there.
In other words, doing a case study on yourself and finding interesting content to share about your journey is not only interesting to your readers, but it also allows them to relate to similar experiences.
It’s simpler than it looks.
It really is. All you have to do is follow the checklist:
- What is an interesting angle or take that you can package your experiences?
- Is there a lesson or takeaway that you would give to others who starts off on your journey today?
- List down a greatest achievement or setback that you’ve faced in your journey so far?
The point is: Creating a case study doesn’t have to be as formal or challenging as you think.
In fact, being honest and open about your failures and mini successes can go a long way to building a strong relationship with your audience.
#9: Build a journey, not an authority.
At the end of day, the key thing that you want to focus on especially if you are new to online marketing, is to build your content around your journey, and not as some kind of Guru in the market.
So often I’ve seen people try to establish themselves for what they are not, and they fail miserably because of it.
The world, in my opinion, has too many gurus right now, and too little real connections going on.
In order to truly build any form of authority, you need to find a way to build credibility and share your story with your readers – the journey is your gateway.
I hope that this post has been useful to you and your path to find the right way to get the word out about your content if you are new to online marketing.
Remember that at the end of the day, people byproducts, not search engines.
You should always focus on your learnings, your setbacks, and the minor successes that you have gotten out of your journey in your industry.
When you do this right, you start becoming genuine in the eyes of your readers, and you can be sure they’ll be your loyal buyers for life.
Did you enjoy this post? Did you find it valuable? If you did, please share it with your friends or colleagues who might be interested in taking the online marketing to the next level.
What are the message that I miss out? Leave your comments down below!
I read every comment.