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A Simple Way To Funnel New Traffic & Sales From Buried Blog Archives

LynnterryprobloggerIn this guest post internet marketer and full time blogger Lynn Terry of ClickNewz shares one of her newest tested blog marketing strategies.

On the current theme of Content Marketing, I have a super simple strategy I have been testing to increase exposure and profit that you’ll really enjoy. It’s simple, it’s free… and it works.

Darren gave us 9 ways to seed content to consistently grow our blog readership with each new blog post. This 10th method will bring you a lot of readers as well, without even writing a new blog post…

Putting Your Best Content To Work For You

If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time at all, you probably have some incredible posts buried in your archives. Even blog posts written only a month or two ago rarely get a new comment. Properly optimized posts might continue to receive new visitors through the search engines, but most of your content is buried – both in your archives, and in the search results.

I make a regular practice of browsing through my archives for pillar posts. I often repurpose these posts into articles for Article Marketing, meaning I make a few small tweaks and submit them to EzineArticles.com.

There are 3 good reasons to submit your better archives to EzineArticles:

1. A keyword-rich title on EzineArticles can easily get your article ranked very well in Google search results, as EzineArticles is a content authority site. If the article is not ranking well on your domain, or if you have a relatively new domain, this is a great way to get “indirect” top rankings very easily.

2. Each article you submit may include an author bio, or resource box, which will have a live link back to your blog. Readers and search engines alike follow these links, and inbound links will help your blog get indexed or better ranked.

3. Publishers search EzineArticles.com for great content to use on their websites, at their blogs, and in their email newsletters. In addition to getting more inbound links, you may also find your content in front of a very targeted audience.

Duplicate Content?

There are many theories about duplicate content, and possible penalties for using the same content in more than one place on the web. Most of these theories are completely unfounded. Read this if you’re concerned about duplicate content.

Basically, Google wants to offer a wide variety of results for any given search. If your blog post is not already ranking in the top 10 results for a specific keyword phrase, you can easily achieve an “indirect” top ranking by submitting the post to EzineArticles.com as an article with a keyword rich article title.

Taking it one step further…

This method has been working very well for me, so I decided to take it one step further. Instead of repurposing a great blog post into an article, I turned a couple of my posts into short reports.

It’s the exact same content, just a new format: PDF.

PDF files are very easy to create. You can use any number of free PDF converters. Or you can download OpenOffice.org for free, which will allow you to turn any document into a PDF file with one click.

Don’t be overly concerned with the length of the report. Even 3-5 pages of great content will make a very nice short report that you can give away.

You can also add a cover page, a copyright/disclaimer, and an about page to round it out if you like. If you want your report to go viral, be sure to include a paragraph that clearly spells out the giveaway rights to your reader.

The Results

I decided to try this with a great how-to post I had written for my blog. This particular post ended with a recommendation for Darren’s workbook titled 31 Days To Build A Better Blog. I didn’t do any fancy formatting, I simply copied the blog post and pasted it into a document – and then converted it to a PDF file.

The result? The PDF file converted readers into buyers almost 4x more than the blog post!

Thanks to that short report, I am nearing the $1,000 sales mark for a product that sells for less than 20 bucks – which makes for a nice little commission check… on just one post!

The obvious conclusion here is that a report, or a PDF file, has a higher perceived value. The exact same content, with the exact same call-to-action, has proven to achieve a much higher conversion rate in PDF format.

Using Reports For Links, Traffic & Sales…

You should use one of your new short reports as an incentive for your readers to subscribe to your newsletter or blog updates. This is a great way to increase your subscriptions, and therefore your readership.

You can use your other new reports much the same as you use articles, as well. Submit your reports to free ebook directories, the same way you submit articles to article directories.

Google will index PDF files, so the links within your report will count as inbound links to your blog. Your report may also rank well in Google, which is another great way to funnel new readers into your blog.

Tip: Don’t submit the report you use as your opt-in incentive in other places around the web. Your new visitors will be disappointed to arrive on your blog, subscribe, and receive the same report that brought them there in the first place. Mix it up!

Make sure you include a strong call-to-action in the PDF version of your content. If your content is not directly recommending a product, you can invite the readers to related articles on your blog – or to subscribe at your blog for more great free reports on the topic.

Browse through your blog archives today, and locate some of your best (buried) posts. Repurpose those posts into short reports, and put that great content back into circulation to bring in more readers – and make more sales!

Best,
Lynn Terry
ClickNewz

p.s. I found this method to be working so well for me, that I contracted someone to convert and format my posts into attractive PDF files. You can easily outsource this task by posting a request on freelance sites, or on Job Boards at various forums.

If you would like to see an example of one of my repurposed blog posts, feel free to download How to Write a Product Review.

9 Things to Do To Make Sure Your Next Blog Post is Read by More than Your Mom

mom-blog.jpgTwo days back I explored the myth that all you need to do is write great content on a blog for it to get readers and introduced the idea of ‘seeding’ content rather than ‘forcing’ it upon readers.

Today I want to take the ‘seeding’ idea a step further and give a few examples of ways that you can do it – and in the process hopefully grow your readership beyond your immediate family (not that there’s anything wrong with Mom reading your blog).

I should say that while this post contains 9 ways to promote a blog post – that I rarely use all of them at once. Keep in mind that the idea of ‘seeding’ is not about forcing things but rather it is about getting things going and then letting something organic happen. You might need to put a little more effort into things somewhere along the way to keep momentum going (like ‘watering the garden’ helps a seed to grow) but the idea isn’t for force things.

So without further ado – let me share a few of the techniques that I use to ‘seed’ content:

1. Tweet it

I find that one of the most effective ways to get a link to a new blog post ‘out there’ is simply to tweet it. Tweeting a link is quick and easy to do – and if you do it well it can be quite effective at both driving direct traffic to a blog post but also in starting other little viral events on other sites.

The effectiveness of this does depend a little on the size of your follower group – but other factors you can have a little more control over include:

  • timing your tweets to be during peak times when lots of people are on Twitter.
  • doing a followup tweet to your original one (I only do this on important posts and usually try to change the wording so as not to annoy people too much)
  • the wording of your tweet (give people a reason to click it)
  • making your tweet ‘ReTweetable’ by not making it too long (I keep these seeding tweets to under 120 characters to leave room for people to retweet them).

I find that when something does well on Twitter (and not every post will) that it can often trigger a secondary event on a site like Delicious. This in turn can trigger blogs to link to my posts or other social bookmarking sites to pick up links.

2. Facebook Status Updates (and other social media)

This is of course similar to Tweeting a link. I’ve not had as much success with Facebook as a promotional tool for my blogs but know of a few bloggers in different niches who find it to be more effective. Whether it sends loads of traffic or not it can be helpful in an overall strategy.

Similarly I sometimes also use other social media sites like LinkedIn’s status update if I feel that the content I’m promoting is better suited to other audiences. Again – it depends partly upon the size of your network on these sites but even a small but relevant network on these sites can trigger other bloggers to link up or secondary organic submissions on other social sites by those in your network. You never know what impact sharing a link in these sites can have until you do it.

3. Pitch it to another Blogger

Is the post you’re promoting relevant to the audience of another blog?

This is a question I’m always asking myself as I’m writing blog posts. As I write I jot down the names of other bloggers that have an audience that might find what I’m writing helpful. This means that when it comes time to promote the blog post I have a ready made list of people to shoot out an email to to let them know about my post.

I don’t send these emails out often, nor do I send them out to the same group of bloggers repeatedly – but if I genuinely think my post is of high quality and that the blogger will find it relevant I will.

Check out these suggestions on how to pitch other bloggers for some more tips on how to do this effectively.

4. Pitch it to another Twitter User

This is similar to pitching another blogger but can have a great impact as well. In fact I recently had a link from a blogger who both posted on his blog and tweeted the link and the Tweet converted much better for me in terms of traffic.

The key once again is to make sure that the link is relevant to the Tweeter and the type of thing that you’ve seen them sharing on twitter with others.

5. Share a Link in a ‘Signature’

Many bloggers have links to the front page of their blogs in both email signatures and forum signatures – but what about directing people to an individual post? There are a variety of tools out there that highlight latest posts (feedburner has one) and they make a lot of sense to me because you’re sending people to standalone articles that you’ve written rather than a sometimes confusing front page of a blog.

6. Bookmark it

This is one that I don’t tend to do myself these days but I know many bloggers who do so I’ll include it. It entails submitting your post to a site like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Delicious etc.

I don’t tend to do this any more as I find many of these sites have algorithms that penalize a site if it’s submitted by the same person over and over. What I do instead is occasionally shoot a link to another user of these sites in the hope that they’ll submit it for me. Having said this – I also find that as your traffic grows the submissions become more and more organic from regular readers so there’s less need for me personally to be involved in these types of ‘seedings’ in social bookmarkting sites.

7. Guest Posts

Another method that I’ve seen a number of bloggers using with real effect lately is to link to your important blog post in a guest post on someone else’s blog.

Most people who guest post on another blog tend to link back to the front page of their blog in the byline. This is a good general link to get but if you have an important post that you’ve written that relates to the guest post you’re writing you should find a way to incorporate a link to that post – either as the byline link or if the blogger allows it – within the blog post itself.

8. Give readers an easy way to share it

Hopefully with some of the above techniques you’ve got a few readers over to your blog – now you want them to share it with others.

There are many ways to make your blog post ‘sharable’. I tend to use a combination of templated techniques as well as a few custom ones that I add to posts once on posts that I think will do well on social media sites.

  • Templated techniques – there are many ways to build social media buttons into your blog. There are heaps of tools and plugins that will do this for you. The key in my experience is not to have too many buttons/options but to choose just a few that relate well to your audience.
  • Custom techniques – if I notice that one of my posts is starting to do well on Twitter or Digg or some other social media site I generally will either add an extra button to a post or add a text link pointing people to where they can tweet or digg the post. I find that these more obvious little additions to a post can often tip it over the edge to a viral traffic event.

9. Newsletters

This is a way that I often ‘tip’ posts that are doing OK over the edge into a viral traffic event. It usually works like this:

A – I write a post that I think MIGHT do well as a viral post

B – I time the publishing of that post for a Thursday morning – an update goes out via RSS to my subscribers

C – I use some of the above techniques to get the post seeded (Twitter, Facebook etc)

D – I wait until the post is submitted to Digg and then add a Digg button to the post (or some other social bookmarking site)

E – I then send out a newsletter to my list including a prominent link to the post

What I find is that without the last step (sending a newsletter) the post can do quite well – but when I send the newsletter I quite often see a ‘tipping point’ with the post and it’ll go viral on multiple social media sites at once on the back of the extra traffic that I’ve been able to send to the traffic via the newsletter.

2 Final Words of Advice

Let me finish with two words that I think are key to much of the above – persistence and relationships.

1. Persistence – There’s a real need for persistence in seeding content. Much of what I’ve described above are things that I’ve been doing for years and they’ve only become more effective the longer that I’ve done them.

My experience of finding readers is that it is all about momentum. In the early days to find just a handful of readers can be a real challenge – the above methods may not bring thousands of people through the door – however the 10 than they do bring in on your first day could lead to 100 next month which could lead to the thousands in the coming year.

You may get lucky and your seed may grow into something big in the early days of your blog – but even small results can grow slowly into big things over time. Each reader that you bring into your loyal readership is important because they have a network of their own that they could help spread word of your blog to.

2. Relationships – The other key to much of the above is to be as relational as possible. Much of the above relies upon people sharing your posts with others once you alert them to the existence of your posts. So put aside regular time to grow your network, to build a presence on sites like Twitter, to build trust and influence on other sites outside of your blog – this networking can pay off in a big way over the long term. Just do keep these other social networking sites in perspective – they’re not the main game themselves but should be used to build up your home base.

The Power of Trust – a Living Example

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about Trust here on ProBlogger. Over the weekend we published a post on how to develop bulletproof Trust – last week I talked about Trust as an essential part of good affiliate marketing – the week before we linked to a great book coauthored by Chris Brogan on being a Trust Agent – in fact as I look back on my archives form the last two months I see I’ve talked about Trust inadvertently 10 times in posts.

Today I received an email from a guy who I trust a lot – (I’m not alone in trusting him).

Many of you already know him – he’s built a great name for himself over the last few years and who has walked the fine line as someone who makes money online yet doesn’t sell out. While many bloggers go for the quick dollars with little regard for their readers – this guy has consistently delivered value over the years while also building a very successful business.

The email that this blogger illustrated perfectly the way that Trust and Credibility do pay off when building online businesses.

You see he’s about to relaunch an amazing membership site and has begun to talk about it on his blog and offer a few great free bonuses for signing up to the early notification list.

The site is supposed to launch in the coming week but based upon numbers of those on the pre-launch list it looks like the site’s going to be a sellout before they even open it up to the public. This is the power of Trust.

The blogger is Brian Clark of CopyBlogger – the site is TeachingSells.

brogan-clark-rowse.jpg

Chris Brogan, Brian Clark and Myself – Image by technotheory

Brian has worked his butt off over the years to build value for his readers and it’s about to pay off big time with the sell out of TeachingSells. But it’s not happened by accident and it’s not happened over night.

Brian has offered valuable content, free reports, he’s spoken at conferences, he’s networked and he’s promoted others for little or no return. Yes he can write copy like few others and has one of the best marketing brains going around – but watching the relaunch of TeachingSells and seeing the results he’s getting – there’s something much deeper going on here than Clever Copywriting or Marketing.

Underlying them is Trust, Credibility and Authority. It’s no wonder people are scrambling to get involved in the things that he does.

Note: TeachingSells (a course on how to build an online business through teaching others) launches later this week but is likely to sell out before it goes to a public launch.

To ensure you get the opportunity to join (and to get some of the best free reports, interviews and videos that I’ve seen) you need to signup to the pre-launch list. As mentioned – this gives you access to some great free content that I’m seeing a lot of people utilizing already with real effect. I personally am really getting a lot out of the case studies Brian uses – there’s so much food for thought that I’m seeing great ways to extend my own blogs that I’d not considered before.

The Myth of ‘Great Content’ Marketing Itself

One of the common misconceptions that some new bloggers start out with is that in order to find readers for their blog all they’ll have to do is regularly write quality content.

  • “Great content will market itself” – a statement I heard one speaker make at a blogging conference last year.
  • “Write it and they will come” – a motto I’ve heard a number of new bloggers sharing as a secret to their yet to be found success.
  • “Quality Content = Readers” – an ‘equation’ I saw being written about in one online blogging course recently

Each of the above statements has elements of truth to it. Many bloggers have built successful blogs on the back of great content. However there are almost always other factors at play.

The reality is that many blogs produce quality content that doesn’t get read. The reason isn’t that the blog’s not worth reading – but in many cases it’s because nobody knows to go read it.

Here’s the thing…..

Letting your content market itself DOES work IF you already have an audience to help with that process by spreading word of it through word of mouth – but if you’re just starting out and don’t yet have a readership the reality is that YOU are the only person who knows your great content exists.

Word of mouth can still play a part in your finding of readers – but as YOU are the only person that knows about your great content YOU need to be the one who starts the process and starts the process of getting the word out.

It’s time to hustle and get word out about your content.

Seeding Content

Later in the week I want to highlight 9 methods to do this – however today I want to start with a more general suggestion that comes from my own experience of getting content read

Seed it – Don’t Force it!

Perhaps it’s just my personality or style – but I find that sometimes less is more in the blog post promotion game. Here’s how I’d chart the effectiveness of my blog promotions vs the amount of effort (or aggressiveness might be a better word) put into the promotion.

promotion-effectiveness-effort.png

Let me flesh this out a little:

  • In my experience if you only put little effort into your blog promotion you get little results. This is what I talk about above – if you don’t let people know about your posts how will anyone find them?
  • If you put in too much effort into it and get too aggressive with your promotion you can also get little results. In fact sometimes when you’re too aggressive you can actually go backwards and hurt your site.
  • For me it’s about putting in some effort – but not getting too full on about it. It’s a real balancing act at times.

I like the term ‘seeding’ to describe how I try to promote my content.

I’m not really a great gardener but I do know that in order for me to have a new plant grow in my garden I need to go to some effort – but that if I do too much I can actually hurt the growth of the plant.

To have a plant grow I need to plant a seed, I need to ensure it gets water, I can give it some fertilizer, I need to give it a little protection from my kids digging it up…. but after that it’s up to the seed and the environment to make it grow. It takes some effort – but there comes a point where I need to step back and let the seed do it’s thing.

This is similar to my experience of promoting content on blogs. Often it takes me getting the ball rolling but if I force things it can actually have the reverse effect.

As I look back on some of the biggest traffic events on my blogs there’s been a real mix of my own promotion (usually to start the process) and a more organic thing happening. Sometimes I push too hard and don’t get results – other times I don’t push enough and get little return also – however getting it right can lead to incredible days of traffic.

Update: read the continuation of this post at my next post in the series – 9 Things to Do to Make Sure Your Next Blog Post is Read by More than Your MOM