There are few things we like more here at Siege Media than picking up something new—something new that drives us to improve our process, do things more efficiently for our clients and generate more results.
It’s not easy to come by, as for every post on content marketing that offers something new, there are 40 more that say “add images to your tweets”—a concept you’ve probably heard 400 times in the past year if you’ve been paying attention.
So that said, here are 15 content marketing tips we’ve been utilizing in the past few months that we hadn’t really used before that. Hopefully a few of them help you improve your own process.
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1. Send Paid Traffic at Converting 3rd Party Sites
Look through your Analytics. Do you have referring traffic driving sales? Preferably, do you have referring traffic driving sales from a site that’s not an affiliate? If so, you’ve got the perfect opportunity to test sending traffic from a content recommendation service such as Outbrain.
Posts that come from sites that aren’t your own are the perfect customer testimonial/referral on recommendation services—users won’t realize you are “nudging” them to check out the content and, because the review is authentic, you may be able to instantly generate additional profits.
The above post by Dan Shure was the first time I had ever heard of this in practice. Dan told me Yesware started sending Outbrain traffic at his post in bursts. Not a surprise—this is a great testimonial from Dan, and one that no doubt resulted in many signups for Yesware.
Check out the below screenshot Dan supplied me. Since publishing, Yesware has sent over a million visitors to the post. Depending on what they managed to pull off for CPC, Yesware likely spent between $100,000 and $1,000,000 sending traffic to Dan’s site. The strategy works.
2. Use Facebook Dark Posts on Localized Content
People talk about using Facebook for targeted, demographic targeting all the time. It’s a powerful marketing tool, but for those trying to build a massive audience, the real ROI comes from finding the “nodes”—that is, the audiences whose majority friendbase also shares the same interest.
For example, targeting CEOs is not that interesting for a “jumpoff”, because they will likely not be connected to many others, at least as a percentage of their total friends. If you want viral distribution, you’ll need to connect to people whose majority friendbase has similar interests to them.
For that reason, city-focused information is one of the powerful uses of the tool because most of our Facebook-focused network is in surrounding areas, creating a potential high-distribution opportunity for all content focused on an area.
If done right, with good content, you should easily be able to price out a boosted dark post for less than one cent per interaction. Compare this for strong demographic targeting not focused at cities, which is great for generating sales, but not as much for building a big audience.
3. Facebook Comments on Posts with Local Intent
For the same reason, you enable “node” effects with your comments if you use Facebook. Comments show up on the news feed on occasion, and if similarly minded people see a friend who engaged with a regionally-focused post, there’s a higher probability for distribution simply based on the edge effect. If the audience isn’t connected, Facebook comments don’t have much of an advantage over other platforms.
There’s no requirement to force Facebook comments only, though. Sites like Movoto use the 1-2 punch of Facebook comments on top of regular ones, enabling them to use an email call to action and also encourage comments from those who might not use Facebook.
4. Reply to Tweets Sharing Your Content/Audience
One of the subtle but powerful features available to you on Twitter is the ability to reply to a tweet and then “push” it back to the top of the timeline for people who share an audience with both of you. This can create additional visibility and is an acceptable practice—after all, thanking people is an okay thing to do.
Of course, do this sparingly. If you said thank you to every single person who shared your content, it wouldn’t come off as genuine, and otherwise it would annoy your shared followers.
I do it in spots where people genuinely deserve a thank you, such as saying something extra nice or if their tweet specifically caused a large burst of traffic to our content. I probably would have said thank you anyways, but the extra traffic nudge definitely doesn’t hurt in terms of incentivizing a response.
5. Remove Non-Necessary Sharing Buttons
Sharing buttons are very frequently overbearing and lead people down the wrong tunnel. If you look at Analytics and 99% of your social traffic is from Facebook, why in the world would you give people the option to share on Twitter? Your audience is on Facebook, and it’s clear your content can be amplified there—while on Twitter it falls on dead ears.
By giving “single-silo” audiences multi-tier options, it’s very possible many of them will share on a network where nobody will care. Not everyone is a sophisticated marketer who knows where their interested audience is. We need to “nudge” them into the right pathway where our audience hangs out, and if they see they can only share on Facebook, there’s a higher likelihood they might share there.
This has been proven by businesses like Movoto, pictured above, and also OKCupid, who specifically revealed tests on removing share options that increased net reach.
6. Realize True Opportunity with Page-Level KWR
Content marketing is often about picking the opportunities with the biggest true audience. Keyword research often stops short because it looks at one keyword in isolation—which can often do the long tail a disservice.
SEMRush has given us a path to better understand true keyword potential by allowing us to dump URLs that are ranking into their tool and then find out all the keywords they’re ranking for, which sometimes can take a term with only a small amount of searches look like a gold mine because of the many different opportunities available to them.
This can be especially valuable for convincing executives to invest in content—if the true potential of ranking for a topic is much higher than one keyword would originally show, it’s more likely you can get buy-in from the people making decisions with their checkbook. It can also help you prioritize topics in order to grow traffic faster.
7. Get More Aggressive on Reddit with IMGUR
Reddit does not like marketers. But they do like content. One way to balance the two is to open up your potential to promote on the service by submitting infographics/visualizations to various subreddits with IMGUR. By doing this you can get a lot more aggressive with your distribution strategy as it’s not nearly as promotional of an activity in the eyes of Redditors.
It’s definitely not optimal in terms of branding or awareness, but in (almost) all situations, one impression is greater than zero. Some very very high traffic subreddits will not respond to domain submissions, but they will respond to IMGUR submissions. Include the source URL at the bottom and monitor people stealing the image and you can definitely see a few more pickups that you would not have otherwise using this strategy.
8. Find Most Shared Content on Buzzsumo & Submit to Reddit/StumbleUpon
Have a new client? Just got a new job? Don’t pay attention to Reddit at all? Want to know how to increase website traffic instantly?
Well, Buzzsumo is an opportunity for you. Find the most shared content for your site on the tool, and then submit it to the appropriate subreddit/StumbleUpon interest to capture some immediate, relevant traffic.
For example, let’s take the site The Kitchn. The Kitchn is a big publisher in the food/home space. When I input them into BuzzSumo, I see that a post about sandwich cakes (whaa?) is their most shared post in the past year. Reddit has a /r/sandwiches/ section that is moderately popular. To show an example of the process, I had a friend submit the post to the subreddit yesterday— and now, voila:
Both Reddit and StumbleUpon audiences are insensitive to dates, which makes this technique perfect for both networks. It’s a go-to for any new client we start with that might have been investing in content in some capacity before talking to us. It’s a proven
9. Hybridize High CTR Titles with Optimized URLs
There’s definitely something to not over-optimizing these days. If you have your keyword in the front of the title tag and the URL is an exact match, you’re asking for an over-optimization penalty. But what we’ve seen—and found—is that the most optimal combination is one in which you are still well optimized in the URL, but the title—while still relevant for the keyword—isn’t nearly as strict about placement.
This works perfectly because your title, especially with blog posts, are incredibly important for the marketability of the post. Even if you wanted to use the keyword near the front, it’s likely the fact that you did that will prevent full reach for your content.
But if you move it down the title to write something more marketable, suddenly you’ve got a chance for full distribution (see:links) that, when combined with a more-optimized URL, will help your chances of ranking.
As seen above, I particularly like the way Brian Dean of Backlinko is employing this strategy with frequency. He does his best to get his keyword near the front (where appropriate), but when it’s not possible, he has no problem moving it down to make for a more marketable post, such as with the list building post title tag shown above.
10. Shock People with Video Outreach
After being introduced to Vsnap by Jon Cooper (as told to him by Michael King), I was blown away. Vsnap is a service that allows you to easily create and share videos with people, with its main application being sales. For outreach purposes, it has similar use.
The service isn’t perfect in a lightweight mode. You have to email the link to yourself and then share with someone else, and the aesthetic of the URLs you get aren’t great—but the methodology is so unique that it could make you stand out in a world of really basic, boring email templates.
When talking to Vsnap, they recommended using it at the second contact, where you’ve established an relationship. This syncs perfectly with the two-step blogger outreach process we recently described on this blog.
Used in the right industry and for high value prospects only, Vsnap could make outreach significantly more effective for you. It’s still early, but this space is definitely one to watch as it comes to outreach.
11. Use Search Intent to Optimize Outreach
When working on a post revolving around a niche concept, such as “birthday party games”, our outreach team was struggling. The piece was not generating many links despite us having made what we thought was a pretty good piece of content.
Suddenly Caroline Gilbert, a PR Specialist on our team, had the idea to search “in the moment” kind of queries—last 24 hours/last week/last month kind of searches that surfaced people actually planning a party. These people converted at an astonishingly high rate. And no surprise, these were the exact kind of people that would be searching for terms like birthday party games down the road.
Example searches for a query like that:
- “throwing a birthday party”
- “birthday party”
- “having a birthday party”
For other content types and applications:
- Real life events: “my office holiday party” (+ time frame search for more relevant results)
- Beginner/novice activities: “starting my garden”
- Nostalgia/in the past posts: “my childhood toy”
- Finding future holiday interests: “Valentine’s day gift guide” can relate to Mother’s Day down the road
It was a lightbulb moment. Generally, we had been thinking more macro—pitching blogs on entertaining, hosting parties, and etc. While relevant, they weren’t nearly as interested. Our goal to best optimize for placements was to find people about to make that exact same search we were building content around—and then pitch them before they thought of it.
These kinds of opportunities would end up converting better than anything we had ever pitched.
The catch is there are fewer of these opportunities. The good news is they revolve, and if you can keep an eye on them using tools like Fresh Web Explorer, you can exploit the immediacy of their intent. It doesn’t make sense for every piece of content—for example, it’s unlikely you’ll find someone writing about struggling with list building, but for the right industry/content type (such as lifestyle), this can be a great prospecting opportunity.
12. Advanced Egobait for Improved Distribution
You might have noticed the glut of useless influencer roundup posts in the internet marketing space. Everyone has seen them and many of the bigger names (such as Rand Fishkin or Wil Reynolds) are probably getting pitched daily for at least one or two of these.
Similarly, a “best blogs” or “people to follow” list for people like this just aren’t going to resonate—they’ve seen it and they understand the tactics. The same things apply down the river too—high influence people in adjacent verticals understand the games, and simply including them in roundups will not be enough to incite a share.
That’s not to say egobait can’t be used to your advantage. Here are some “advanced” concepts that go beyond the vanilla ideas that aren’t likely to result in shares from bigger influencers very consistently:
- Mention things people are associated with – In our last infographic about the sites with the most valuable search traffic, we knew many people seeing it would likely work at those companies. Not surprisingly, we saw several shares from people working at companies mentioned bragging about their work. This same concept applies when someone “brags” about the city they live in.
- Use imagery associated with people likely to see the post – Whether it’s a screenshot example from Twitter, a random photo, a website they own or something adjacent, subtle mentions like this can go a long way towards a share—if you’re confident that person or people in that organization might end up seeing it. There’s also definitely something to people going crazy for images drawn of themselves.
- Involve distribution options in the editing process – Nick Eubanks is a really smart guy—if you’re not following the content he’s putting out, you should. At multiple points, I noticed him asking people for feedback or contribution to posts he was working on. While people weren’t always going to have time to help, there’s no doubt that Nick asking improved the probability that that person was going to share once it was live. And of course, the benefit of a peer review can’t be understated.
It doesn’t always make sense to use egobait in a post directly, but it’s possible to use it indirectly to your benefit by getting people whose shares you could use involved in the process.
13. Don’t Monetize Until You Rank
Generating links to your content is tough, yes. It’s even tougher when you’re trying to making money from people on the spot. You can make it easier by pressing pause on monetizing until you rank better and have done sufficient outreach in order to generate the links needed to do so.
You shouldn’t just flip the switch/completely swap the landing page experience when you turn monetization on, but if you can keep it pretty similar and maintain similar engagement (which is very possible)—you can make it a lot easier to rank for highly competitive keywords in the long term.
Of course, this is not a liberty a lot of people are lucky enough to have—most need to make money early. But if you have that liberty, your long term returns will likely be that much greater.
14. Use Tools for Optimal Reddit Submission
It’s easy to lazily submit to your favorite subreddit whenever needed, but if you do it at the wrong times, you’re unlikely to hit the maximum reach possible. Busy subreddits are busier at given times, and your content also needs to have the longest “window” of activity where people are most likely to see it.
We’ve seen RedditLater, but didn’t like that the tool made you think. It outputs nice graphs, but requires some interpretation. Tell me when to submit, not to decipher a graph! So, we rebuilt the tool and added functionality that suggests the best times to submit according to your timezone.
Combine it with the RedditLater scheduling tool, and you’ve got a potent (and lazy) way of gaining more traffic. View our tool by clicking the image above or going here to test your favorite subreddit.
15. Buy Your Way Into Relevant SERPs
Wil Reynolds reintroduced me to this idea at a recent meetup. You’ve got to be really, really clever to be a company that offers a service/product that can still rank for “best X” kind of SERPs—that is, plural searches where users want to see a 3rd party review products and/or services.
Consumers don’t want to see you, because what they want to see is an unbiased, 3rd party opinion instead. Google has figured this out, and for that reason most of these SERPs are pages from third parties—the TripAdvisors, Yelps and lead gen companies of the world.
This doesn’t mean that you should give up getting traffic from these searches except through PPC. These can be highly monetizable traffic sources if you can buy ads on the organic listings. For example, let’s take the “Things to Do in San Diego” SERP. SanDiego.org owns the second listing with the following page.
If you were a San Diego based tourism business that advertised on that page, using the ad in the right sidebar, you could definitely drive some targeted traffic to your company. The same goes for the TripAdvisor “things to do” page on the same SERP (and so many others).
Even better, because this is so targeted, it’s possible you could reach out direct to SanDiego.org and negotiate a better deal that cuts out Google. Not every company will go for it because of Google’s ease of use, but it’s worth doing if the ad is converting well for you.
Take this same concept and apply it elsewhere. SERPs like “best car insurance companies”, “best airlines”, “best credit cards” and etc. all have opportunities. Even on the head term pages like “laptops”, Google will often diversify with a third party offering reviews. Don’t see this as a competitor, see it as an additional opportunity to drive business.
Continue to Iterate and Improve
Occasionally our team will look at our process and actively look at ways to improve it, even if things are going well. In Predictable Success, a business research book that looks at the traits of consistently successful companies, it was found that those in that successful center area continued to innovate—and make it a process to think about doing so.
Those who didn’t, fall to the right of the curve. And when innovation stagnated enough, some fell even harder to the right and went out of business. Don’t let your company be on the right side of this graph.