Content promotion is a new drug.
“You should spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time promoting it”, – I don’t know who was the first to say that, but the whole content marketing world had gone crazy ever since.
That’s because it sounds like the answer to all your problems.
The reason you’re not getting traffic is not because your content is poor, but because you don’t promote it enough.
And so thousands of bloggers went writing mediocre articles and using every promotion tactic they know to distribute them.
I’m sorry, but things don’t really work this way.
Where do the readers come from?
Open your Google Analytics account and tell me your Top 5 traffic sources.
Let me guess what’s there:
- Traffic from Google;
- Direct traffic;
- Some big website that links to you.
Now “traffic from Google” and “direct traffic” are self explanatory. What about the other three?
Did you ever think how people from Facebook and Twitter end up reading your article?
That’s because someone shared it with them!
- You get traffic from Facebook, because people have enjoyed reading your article and they have shared it with their friends;
- You get traffic from Twitter, because people loved your article and they tweeted it to their followers;
- You get traffic from another website, because the website owner thought your article is worth linking to.
Now where am I going with this?
It’s not YOU promoting your article with different promotion tactics.
It’s your readers, who are promoting your article to their friends and followers.
Thus, if you want to get tons of traffic – you have to make your articles “contagious”!
How “contagious” articles work.
You write a new article and then you share it with your email subscribers.
If your article is not “contagious”, none of your email subscribers will share it, and the article won’t reach any extra audience.
But what if your article is so good, that it makes people want to share it?
Your email subscribers will share it with their friends;
…and then friends of your email subscribers will share it with their friends;
…and then friends of the friends of your email subscribers will…
I guess I’d better visualize this for you:
As you can see from this graph, “contagious article” will reach a lot of extra people, for any initial traffic that you bring to it will be naturally amplified.
And besides, the most effective content promotion tactics are based on reaching out to influential people and making them share your content with their huge audience.
Well, influencers never share mediocre articles. You have to pitch them something “contagious”.
4 Steps To Crafting “Contagious” Articles
How do you create a kind of article that people would love to share with their friends and followers?
Well, people love sharing things that make them look good in the eyes of their followers.
This concept is known as “social currency” and it’s based on the idea that what we talk about influences how people see us.
And here’s how you create the kind of article that people would love to be associated with.
Step #1: Find a proven idea
Why would you want to guess the things that might make your audience “tick”, when you can just use an idea which worked for someone else?
There’s a cool tool called Buzzsumo.
Type any keywords and it will give you a list of most shared articles based on these keywords.
Step #2: Improve that idea
Stealing ideas from other people won’t get you very far… unless you know how to “steal” properly!
The trick is to rework the idea that you’re trying to “steal” to a point where people can no longer see the resemblance with the original.
Here are two best ways to do that:
- Do a thorough research and write a more in-depth piece than the original one;
- Take a totally different angle and offer your unique perspective.
The first one is also known as the “Skyscraper Technique”, which I’m sure many of you have already heard of.
Chris Lake openly shares where the idea of his infographic came from and I didn’t see anyone accusing him of stealing someone else’s idea. That's because he had to basically recreate if from the scratch.
Step #3: Use Visuals
According to a study conducted by Moz, articles that contain visual content attract more links:
But that doesn’t mean you can get away with just throwing a few related images in-between your paragraphs of text.
The catch is to create your own unique images, which other people will then use in their own content and link to you.
Remember my “contagious article” visualisation? I’ve paid $15 to have my friend design it for me.
But if you don’t have any web designers among your friends you can always go to Upwork and quickly hire someone.
Here’s another visual that I’ve got for $5 from Fiverr:
Can you believe you can get a professional comic for as low as $5?
As you can see, creating custom visuals is something anyone can afford. And the best part is that you can reuse your visuals unlimited amount of times:
- use them in your guest articles (like I just did);
- post them on Twitter and Facebook;
- use them in your presentation slides;
- use them in your ebooks.
Step #4: Use Copywriting Techniques
People don’t actually love reading.
If they could just plug a cord into their heads (like Neo in The Matrix movie) and upload all the information they need in a split of a second – they won’t ever bother reading.
So every time you write your article you should be fighting for their attention.
When people share your article on Twitter or Facebook, all their followers see is the headline.
If it sounds enticing – they will click it. If it’s not – you’ve just lost your reader.
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy” / David Ogilvy
Grab this awesome list of headline formulas and make sure to apply them when writing your next article.
There’s no better way to deliver a message to someone other than tell him a story.
Think Bible – all the great knowledge in this book comes in the form of stories.
Stories allow the reader to empathize, which creates a connection between you and your audience.
Take a look at this article by Jon Morrow, which got shared over 3000 times on Facebook alone.
It’s not the idea, that made people share it with others (the idea of this article isn’t new).
It’s the empathy that comes from reading Jon’s story, and people can’t help sharing emotional things.
3. Sound bites
One of the best ways to make people share your article is to recap it in a single catchy sentence and make it tweetable.
If you look at the blog of Michael Hyatt you'll see that he ends every article with a catchy quote that you can tweet just by clicking on it:
Just do a search on Twitter for that quote and you'll see how many people are actually tweeting it:
You can easily create tweetable quotes on your own blog using a WordPress plugin called Social Warfare (aff link). And if you want these quotes to be really good looking, consider using a premium WordPress plugin called TweetDis (disclosure: this plugin is my birth child).
So you’ve got traffic. What’s next?
Now you know the exact steps to writing articles that bring tons of traffic to your website.
So what are you going to do with all that traffic? What are your business goals?
Some people make money from banner ads and traffic is pretty much all they need.
But what if your goal is to grow your email list or make sales? It would be silly to waste all that traffic you’ve worked so hard to get, right?
That is why you need to learn how to write articles that convert readers into email subscribers or sell the things that you need to sell.
Just recently I’ve published a nice guide that teaches you exactly that. It’s called “The Guide To Strategic Writing” and I invite you to check it.
And I’d love to hear your opinions on the concept of “contagious articles”!
Do you think “content is king” or promotion is more important than the actual content?