First off are you a good writer? No really, are you?
Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of coaching many aspiring internet marketers – from those just breaking into the field to those who were starting to plateau and needed good, solid kick in the pants. The one struggle I’ve had with students is that some of them are simply terrible writers. I can tell them how to start a blog, how to drive traffic, create great headlines, build a following and more, however, I can’t tell them how to write well. It’s frustrating and almost embarrassing to have to tell a student that they need to get back to basics and figure how to write a conjoined sentence and the proper use of “they’re vs. their”.
If you can’t write well then you need to get a little education on the subject, study a few books, or outsource a review of your article to a copy proofing service. You don’t want to build up your blog with video’s, product reviews, images and such and then hit the visitor with an article that doesn’t flow and is nearly impossible to read. I hate to start this post off with all that but I’ll save a lot of people’s time out there by simply telling them they might very well suck. If you want an honest opinion on your writing then ask a few trusted friends or family members to review your articles and give you an honest critique. Now… for those who have the natural gift of writing, let’s get to it.
Why All of Your Articles Need to be Compelling
This one is a no-brainer. Obviously you want your readers to love the post they’re reading and make them want to come back for more. If they do indeed like what you’ve got to say or the review of a product and you can hold their attention throughout the entire article then you’ll have the following opportunities:
- They’ll socially share (Facebook Like or Tweet) your article with 100’s of their friends giving it a ton of exposure.
- They may click on an advertisement within your copy (cha-ching!)
- They may hop over to your Affiliate Products and buy the product you reviewed.
- They’ll sign up for your RSS feed or Feedburner feed and get your future posts delivered to their e-mail inbox (future, lifelong cha-ching!)
- They might sign up for a paid course you’re offering that goes into more detail/instruction on your topic (cha-ching!)
- They’ll permanently bookmark your website in their web browser.
- You may get a link back from other people’s blogs (known as a backlink) which helps rank your article higher in the searches.
- They’ll “like” your YouTube videos which will get them ranked higher in the search engines, thus driving more traffic
- And MOST Importantly… The search engines will see all this fuss going on, assume you’re the go-to source on your topic, and consequently rank you higher for all your efforts.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The content of your blog truly is king. Focus all of your efforts on creating compelling content and you’ll do just fine in the world of internet/affiliate marketing.
How do You Go About Creating Compelling Content?
We assume you’ve already read our previous how-to article titled “How to Write a Killer Headline – A Lost Art Form in the Dirty World of Internet Marketing”. If you followed along with that guide then you’ll already know how to get visitors to click on your link in the search engines. Now the task at hand is to keep them on your page for as long as possible to get them to buy/share/click on whatever products or info you’re selling to them. Let’s go though the content creation part first and then go through content enhancement along with my top resources & tools.
My Top 5 Methods to Create Compelling Blog Posts
- The Twist – “The twist” is the type of review post where you tease the reader in the first paragraph and review the product and then hit them with your recommendation. For instance, the first sentence of the post may read something like this… “You may be thinking of picking up the hottest red widget this holiday season, but this one big drawback may have you thinking again…” If I love the product but it’s a little bit expensive to some people then I’ll use that as my counter-positive argument. I’ll end the article with “While it is a little expensive, you truly get what you pay for in the red widget… I know mine will be a staple in my collection for years to come”. Remember, we’re blogging about something we love but we’re not hippies and we want to build a solid income here. Play the part of the salesman a bit and use a little psychology.
- The Controversy – Everyone loves controversy. From the dawn of mankind it’s been in our human nature to love a little bit of controversy and holy smokes… are people opinionated. From politics to celebrities, every major news agency has followed suit on this principle and focused on controversy- making the evening news more of an animated tabloid rather than anything worth watching. We can do the same with our content. We guarantee you that you’ll get more social shares, more comments and more traffic if you write a few controversial articles. Remember… any press is good press but just remember to keep your dignity and not get too controversial or you may end up losing your audience.
- The Instructional – Do you have a tip or trick that you think people would love to learn about? Then write about it! Around 80% of searches on the web are geared towards the “How do I…” types of questions and by answering them you’re gearing up your blog up for massive amounts of traffic and more eyeballs on the products or ad’s you’ll be promoting. Combine an instructional article with a video and image walk-through and you’ve got a winning article that will be producing solid revenue for years to come.
- The Curation – I don’t do this too often but I know others that do this very well and make a good amount of income from curating content. Content curation is essentially re-hashing other people’s articles or content into your own format. News agencies do this all the time and it’s great for us when we have writer’s block. Now… content curation is not “copying and pasting” but instead you’re adding your own twist to it. As an example, think of the article title: “The Top Fall Wedding Ideas Found Around the Web” All you’re doing is recycling the photos and content to make a list and saving people time from having to browse all over the place to find all the ideas. Get it?
- The Top Ten – Everyone loves a good top 5 or top 10 list. Many publications such as Men’s Health have caught on to this fact and much of their magazine is simply a giant collection of top 10 lists. The top ten list builds excitement, has the reader thinking you’ve saved them the time by researching for them and works very well to sell the products or information in your top 10 list. Don’t go overboard with these types of posts as your reader will catch on and the effect will be diluted – make them compelling.
How to Dress up Your Content to Make it Extra Compelling
Now for the nuts and bolts of creating compelling content. The following suggestions aren’t just for the readers but also for the search engines as they too like to see you putting extra effort into your content.
Add Interesting or Original Photos
A picture is worth a thousand words, or a thousand bucks in your bank account. Try to get a few photos peppered throughout your content which is a very easy task with the recommended wordpress blogging platform. With the advent of photo sharing sites “pinterest.com” and “instagram.com”, compelling photos have never been more important for your blog posts. I have an outdoor product review site that I run and every other weekend in the summer I’ll go out in the woods and do a photo/video review of a product. Each time I do so I know that I’ll make 1000% times back on that product I purchased to review. Now I’m at a point where manufacturers send meproducts to review… but I digress.
If you don’t have photos or can’t take any of your own to match your article then check out http://www.sxc.hu – a free photo sharing site with hundreds of thousands of photos that you can use however you’d like. Pro Tip: the search function is far from superb on sxc.hu so be sure to use broad terms. Also, sort by “downloads descending” and change the per page images to “60” in order to save yourself some time while hunting down images.
Warning: Be very careful if you use Google Images to search for images or grab images from other people’s blogs. It’s very scary to get a letter in the mail saying you’re being sued for using a rights-managed photo on your blog.
Add YouTube Videos
Not only will videos keep people on your page longer but you’ll also increase the video view count by embedding the video in your article, your video will rank higher in the searches with the more views it has, AND you’ll have a thumbnail of your video next to your listing in the searches which makes it stand out from your competition. With the advent of the smart phone, videos have never been easier to shoot and share.
The easy way to create a video – to create a compelling slideshow video for your blog you can use Animoto.com which has many templates, songs and transitions to choose from. Plus it has the dual purpose for everyday use by allowing you to create fun slideshows for friends and family when you’re not blogging.
What I use – ScreenFlow is a simple, fast and effective way to produce compelling screen captures when you need to record what you’re doing on your computer. At just $99 it has paid out 10 fold on the small investment I made in purchasing it. If you don’t have a MAC you can also use Snagit and Camtasia although they’re far more expensive then Screenflow and not as intuitive (steep learning curve).
Add Sub-headers to Your Content
Sub-headers break up your content and make it more digestible for the average reader rather than one long run-on article. I mix it up between H2 and H3 tags which you can find on your wordpress visual editor. The way I write articles is to write my sub-headers first and then go back and fill the article with the content underneath each. I find it helps me organize my thoughts better.
Sub headers help the search engines determine your article topic and its relevancy.
Add Bulleted Lists
Bulleted lists help pull out the important points of your article so the reader can skim through the important parts. They also tell the search engines that you have something important to say in your article so more attention is paid to those call outs. Many WordPress themes like our recommended Thesis Theme have built-in list generators that allow you to choose fancy check marks and arrows.
Linking out from your blog is important for the search engines to see your blog as looking natural. Although you might be tempted to link only to your other articles on your blog, link out to external resources such as wikipedia.com, government sites, manufacturers, etc. I try to include at least one or two “link outs” in each article.
The most important thing when writing compelling content is to be true to your readers. Don’t give a positive review to a product that you know is terrible, just so you can make a few bucks. It’s not worth ruining your reputation for and your goal is to create a dedicated community within your blog, not an angry mob. Go ahead and review a few products that stink and be very clear to them not to buy it, they’ll love you for it and it will come back to you in income down the road. So what are you waiting for? Go create some compelling content for your own blog!