Internet marketing continues to progress just like many other aspects of technology. From its inception, content has played a major role in attracting traffic to your website and now there is an entire category related to this discipline. I’m of course talking about content marketing.
In the early days, content marketing was fairly easy to make work. It used to take very little effort to get a piece of content to rank in search. Currently, however, the content marketing game is becoming increasingly more challenging. The main reason for this is competition and noise. Much of what is put out on the internet today is regurgitated content that readers will quickly get bored with. Today if you want your message to stand out, you need to produce content that is both unique and engaging.
Here we will take a look at three techniques for developing content that is both unique and engaging. We will be covering each content strategy independently, breaking them down and explaining what’s involved and how to implement each one.
The content strategies being covered are:
- The Skyscraper Method
- Ego Bait Content
- Expert Round Up Blog Post
It is a common misbelief in today’s internet marketing world that the production of good content by itself is enough to achieve success. Sure, that might have been the case a few years ago but, now with the sheer amount of content on the web, it’s more complex than ever to create content that stands out and gets the visibility it deserves.
While your competition may be throwing cooked spaghetti against the wall hoping it sticks, you can skip to the front of the line by developing an advanced content marketing strategy that will produce consistent results time after time.
The Sky Scraper Method
One of the most effective ways to get a piece of content to rank in search is by using a method often referred to as the Sky Scraper method. The Skyscraper Method was first conceptualized by Digital Marketer Bryan Dean.
This method involves first starting with some strategy and a little competitive analysis.
Step #1 – Identify Competitive Content
First, you will want to find content that already exists online and that carries a message similar to the one you wish to convey to your audience.
Let’s imagine you develop content for a national travel brand. You need to come up with some new compelling content that is sure to attract new visitors to your website.
A good way to start your search is with a Google search operator. In this case, we are going to use the inurl: operator with the appended term blog. – inurl:blog
This tells Google to restrict your search to only show pages that have /blog in their URL.
The further addition of “travel” extends the query further ensuring that your results only fetch pages that are related to the keyword in quotes.
Step #2 – Qualify Competitive Content
Once we have added our target query to Google, we then want to scan a few of the top results identifying pages whose content we want to examine. In the case of this example, I’ll start with the first query in the results.https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blog/
Now that you have a website selected, you want to see what pages on the site perform the best.
To do this, head over to https://app.neilpatel.com/en/traffic_analyzer and put your target website address in the search box and hit search.
This presents you with all of the top performing pages, breaking them down by estimate visits, backlinks and social signals.
You want to review these pages by looking at their traffic, subject matter, and if one of them has a topic that is of interest, examine it further.
For this tutorial, let’s review the blog post titled “7 Cheap Ways To Travel Across Europe in 2018″.
To one-up this particular post, there are a few things you will want to consider.
Since this post mentions 7 ways to travel across Europe, you might want to write a post titled “10 Cheap Ways To Travel Across Europe in 2019”.
- 7 Cheap Ways To Travel Across Europe in 2018
- 10 Cheap Ways To Travel Across Europe in 2019
If you saw both titles in a Google search result page, chances are you would choose the post with 10 options that is also most up to date.
Step #3 – Examine the Post
Now that you have your title out of the way, examine the post itself. Look for ways you can make your post more up to date, in-depth, and thorough.
As the name implies, you are looking to one-up the competition and making sure your content rises above theirs. You will want to put a twist on your version of the content to make it more relevant, more interesting, and more in-depth than that of your competitor.
Increasing Word Count
One way to do this is by reviewing and then increasing the posts total word count.
To do this:
- Copy and paste the post’s copy.
- Head over to https://wordcounter.net/ and paste that text into the tool.
We see the post has 2080 words. This is your benchmark to beat. You now know that you need to create a more in-depth post.
Adding an additional 1000 words to the article will do the trick. Doing this means your post ends up being more expansive and covers more territory.
Next, you will want to see if there are any other opportunities to create a more expansive blog post.
- In the case of your competitor post, if it lacks video you might want to add relevant video content to your post.
- How about a nice infographic, this also could provide you with an edge and make your post more compelling than that competition.
Any opportunity to go bigger and better is going to go a long way in outperforming the competitor’s post.
Once you have this newly-created content with an improved twist, you will want to reach out to those who have already linked to either your competitors content or content that is similar or relevant in scope to your post.
Step #4 – Promotion
Before you start reaching out to those who might link to your content, you’ll want to create some buzz. This is done by promoting your new and engaging content to your existing audience. This means that once you start reaching out to others to link to your content, you will already have social proof established. Don’t’ stop there, send it out to your email list and share it on any relevant social channels, If you have employees, then share it internally with them as well.
Reach Out To Your Competitors Link Partners.
One way to get more traction to your post is to reach out directly to those authors and websites who have already linked to your competitor’s post.
Before doing this, you need to first identify who those link partners are. There are a number of backlink discovery tools on the market, but Small SEO Tools offers a free backlink checker.
Simply put in your target webpage and this tool will reveal all of the pages linking to your competitors’ post. Identify those pages where you might benefit from a link or mention, and prepare to go in for the ask.
Skyscraper Outreach Email Template
While doing some research on [Your Topic] I came across your page: [URL]
While reading that, I noticed that in your article you referenced an article titled [Article Name]
We recently wrote a similar post for [Current Year] that outlines a similar topic, but its a little more thorough: Here is a link to that [URL] if interested. It might make a great addition to your post.
Feel free to reference that if you fee it will add value and keep up the great work!
Promote It to Influencers
In addition to link outreach, it’s a good idea to reach out to websites who already reference similar content. A relevant Google search can uncover numerous outreach options.
As mentioned above, the first step requires that you find great content, improve it, and then reach out to website owners for backlinks. This helps you to attract both backlinks as well as social shares. Once you have done this, then you need to examine things more deeply to understand exactly what the user intent is. By understanding user intent, you can maintain the content and update it so that it continues to satisfy what your users are looking for.
Why This Technique Works So Well
There really is no reason to reinvent the wheel when there’s one that works well already. That is the basis of the Skyscraper technique and why it’s a strong tactic. You find content that’s already in demand, you improve upon it, and reach out to those that have already shown a propensity to promote similar content. Once you’ve developed content relevant to its related search demand, it’s much easier for your content to rank in Google.
What Is Ego-Bating?
Ego baiting is a strategy that has been used online and off. It is not a highly unique strategy but, it remains highly effective. In the online world, a lot of influencers jump at the chance for free promotion and added recognition, which is part of what makes this method work so well. With the boom of social media and the fact that there’s no end in sight to it, it is likely this method will continue to be extremely effective for some time.
To start, you want to find influencers or successful bloggers who have an active online following and whose audience is relevant to the particular group you are interested in reaching.
There are a number of ways to both find and commutate with influencers. To start, you might just want to do a Google search looking for an existing post that already references influencers in your target niche.
Usually, if someone has contributed to an interview, a resource list or roundup post, you can bet they will want to contribute to another.
Another great way to find potential influencers is to do a Google search for articles or post mentioning who to follow in your industry?
Once you have a list of influencers together, it’s now time to start reaching out. Often tracking down the websites or social media accounts of your target influencers is enough to get you what you need to reach out and ask for a contribution.
Now that we have covered the research and outreach process, let’s discuss the types of Ego Bait content we can develop.
Resource-based blog posts make for great Ego Bait and are also often very easy to construct. Often depending upon the subject matter, they won’t even require you to do a lot of upfront outreach. These type of posts are not only helpful and engaging to users but also open the door to reaching out to those profiled. After all, when someone with a substantial following sees that you have referenced them in one of these lists, you can wager that they will be more inclined to share it on their own website or social media accounts.
Arranging to do interviews helps in several different ways. First, when you approach someone to do an interview, you are essentially recognizing them as an expert or an authority in their field. This backdrop alone will often make them much more willing to provide you with their attention and time then they otherwise might be willing to do. The content that can be developed via expert interviews is valuable in and of itself, but a benefit to these kinds of engagements is some of your interviewer’s notoriety often rubs off on you. After all, you took the time to approach and interview them when many others might not have. You are one degree closer to them and your credibility benefits as a result.
When the interviews go well and good information is covered, you can pretty much rest assured your interviewee will share this content with their own audience. After all, it’s just more collateral they can use to boost their own brand.
As with anything, arranging for an interview does require some legwork. You not only have to call on experts until you get one that agrees to take an interview but, then you have to prepare so that the interview goes well. Remember, the point of this strategy is to create highly useful content that people consider to be trustworthy so, do your homework first. Be prepared with questions and get to know your subject and their roles and responsibilities before you start your QandA.
Interviews make for great content because they can be used in several different ways. The information can be produced as written content, it can be made into a video, or audio or even be presented as a podcast. Having content that can be used across different mediums is the trifecta. You can add more depth to your blog post by adding a video or audio multimedia, and since you have different mediums of content, you can also position each content type to its associated platform.
What is a Round Up Post?
A Round Up post is a blog post with complications of various expert answers. They typically position a single question or a small set of questions to a series of people in a set industry. In the case of the question being presented, each industry representative provides an answer. Often, the collection of answers derived results in a post that is both expansive and informative. That means it is much more likely that this post gets shared online.
Round Up posts make for great content because they are fairly easy to manufacture and after all, most of the content is created by those you are interviewing. Round Up blog post are also the perfect excuse to reach out to industry leaders, you can place your own expert answer in the mix, thereby boosting your own credibility and brand amongst the group. Being that Round Up posts are yet another type of Ego-Bait they come with a built-in incentive to share. If you showcase someone and their opinions, getting them to share this content across their own network is not all too difficult.
Step #1 – How Do You Create A Roundup Post?
The first step, which is key to a successful Round Up post, is selecting the right question. Often, questions that address a significant pain point or those whose answers are generally debated make for great subject matter. It’s also important that the question itself allows for an expanded answer rather than just yes or no. Whenever you create a question, try to position it around a major pain point or position it in such a way that it encourages those being asked to tell a story or expand on how they have come to their conclusion. By setting up your questions in this manner, you are almost guaranteed compelling content.
Let’s say, for example, we want to do a post targeted at the adventure travel market. A question we might pose to a panel of expert travel bloggers could be something like ‘what advice would you give first-time backpackers?’ or you might ask ‘what would you do differently if it was your first time backpacking abroad?’.
Any question that both informs and entertains the audience and gets your subject matter experts to expound further, will go a long way towards ensuring your Round-Up post gets traction. Because each response is slightly different and subject matter experts offer up their own experience and insights, you are left with content that is both engaging and interesting.
Step #2 – Begin By Putting Together A List Of Experts
You can do special searches for ‘Round-Up post’, ‘experts share’ or ‘top experts to follow’ in the particular niche you are wanting to find experts in to come up with a list of past Round-Up posts or other resources calling out industry experts.
- travel roundup post
- travel experts share
- top travel experts to follow
After putting together, a list of 10 or more experts, start to organize your outreach strategy. The more experts you can contact the better because some of them won’t respond or may take more time to reply than your post accommodates. Even so, if you have done your homework and gathered a large collection of experts, it is very likely that you will get several great responses.
Step #3 – Outreach
To increase the likelihood of success, you will want to make it as easy as possible for the expert to respond. To do this, you should put together a questionnaire form that easily fills it in and returns it to you. Tools like Google forms or JotForms make this step pretty quick and simple.
When you prepare your form, make sure it not only includes the questions that you want to be answered but, also other pertinent information you wish to collect in your post. This might mean you include fields that capture their social media profiles, email address, website or any other info that you want to reference or include in your Round-Up post.
Skyscraper Outreach Email Template
Once you have for the form created, you are ready to draft up a Round-Up post outreach email.
I wanted to send you a quick email asking if you would be interested in contributing to a new post our team is putting together.
We would love to feature you.
Here is the question: [Question]
Please submit your response using this Google Form: [Google Form URL]
I’ll be sure to include a link to your website and will be sharing the post with our [Social Media Size] social medial followers.
The deadline to contribute is [Deadline]
Thanks in advance!
Step #4 – Prepare Your Post And Make It Go Live
After you’ve gotten back several responses from the experts you contacted, it’ll be time to prepare and eventually push the post live. After doing this, you will want to contact each of the experts that took the time to contribute and let them know the post is live. Remind them that if it would be helpful for their own audience that you are happy to have them share a link to the post on their various social media accounts. For this, you might use a social link generator like https://www.sharelinkgenerator.com to make the processes easier.
In the email, you will want to make sure that you thank them for their contribution and tell them that their help will be greatly appreciated by the readers. Its also a good idea to let them know that if they are interested, you would love to consider them as a source for your next round-up post.
As you can see, it’s no longer about simply having content or having the right SEO keywords and phrases. You can draw the traffic to you but, you need authority and engagement as well. Using these techniques in your content marketing strategy will help your posts stay relevant for far longer.
You don’t have to choose only one of these methods, a varied approach is best in dominating the search engines. Perhaps do a post using the Skyscraper method, ego-bait some influencers, and reach out to experts all in the same post. Perhaps do a post using each technique. No matter which you choose or how you combine them if at all, you cannot fail following these 3 key marketing techniques for winning online.