How to Create Great Content That Drives Traffic

April 2, 2014 - Get free updates of new posts here

A few weeks ago I bookmarked the article 21 things related to SEO and was blown away by how much I learned. So I tracked down “Backlinko” as he’s known online, aka Brian Dean, and read almost all of his amazing content. His stuff was pure gold so I traded him 50 bratwursts and some beers (he lives in Berlin) for him to share this post.

Buckle up. You’re in for a ride.

* * *

(Click here for an easy to use checklist to finding great content)

I think you’ll agree with me when I say: Getting your content to stand out today is HARD.
In fact, according to one source, there are over 2 million blog posts published every single day[1].

In other words, when you hit your WordPress “publish” button, you’re one of 1,999,999 other people doing the exact same thing.

Despite the intense competition, you may have noticed that certain people are able to generate hundreds of Tweets, backlinks and visitors to everything that they put out there.
If you’ve ever wondered “how do they do that?”, you’re in for a real treat.

Because today I’m going to pull back the curtain and show you EXACTLY how to write (and promote) a piece of content that generates thousands of laser-targeted visitors to your site.

Let’s do this.

The Secret To Content That Gets Results in 2014 (and Beyond)

I launched my SEO-focused blog, Backlinko, in January 2013.

Today my blog is one of the top 100 business blogs online (according to Technorati). It also generates over 50,000 targeted unique visitors per month (and growing fast):

50,000 Targeted Unique Visitors

But things didn’t always go so swimmingly for me…

Because Backlinko was my first blog, I started out by devouring as much blogging advice as I could get my hands on.

Good idea, right?

Well, actually….no.

Unfortunately, most of the advice from so-called blogging “experts” is pure crap.

Here’s what my traffic looked like when I followed their BS advice, like “publish every week” and “write list posts”:

4 Months No results

That’s literally 4-months of my banging my head against a wall wondering why no one read my blog.

(You may not be able to see it in that screenshot, but I was averaging about 30 unique visitors per day. Not good.)

Fortunately, my story doesn’t end there.

Here’s what happened next…

How Reverse Engineering Saved My Blog

Needless to say, I was frustrated, discouraged (and as hard as this is to admit), close to giving up.

That’s when I decided to step outside of the “blogging about blogging” world and do something that I should have done from day 1: Study successful blogs in my niche.

In other words, reverse engineering.

And when I used their proven approach as my framework, my traffic shot up like a rocket:

Proven Approach to BloggingNow it’s time to show you the step-by-step process I used to turn things around…

…and how you can tap into the same approach to get more traffic to your blog.

A Proven Framework For Successful Content

If you’re serious about getting more traffic to your site, then you want to tattoo this 3-step formula on your forehead:

Step #1: Find content (in the form of blog posts, guides, infographics and videos) in your niche that has already done well. Click to Tweet

Step #2: Take what you find and make it even better.

Step #3: Promote your content directly to people that would be interested in it.

I call this nifty little system The Skyscraper Technique.

It’s as old school as blowing in Nintendo cartridges. But it works today…

…and will work as long as people publish content online.

Let’s jump right in.

(I created a simple Google Doc spreadsheet for you that you can use to keep track of things. Here you go)

Step #1: Find Successful Content In Your Niche

Most blogs struggle to get readers for one simple reason:

They publish content that they think will work.

I’ve actually heard bloggers say, “If I publish enough stuff, something will go viral and I’ll be set”.

Wrong.

As you’ve seen, that approach didn’t work out very well for me.

What should you do instead?

Find something that’s already proven to work.

Here’s how:

Flippa

If you’re not familiar with Flippa, it’s the eBay of websites and domains:

Flippa

And when people list a website on Flippa, they happily give away everything they did to build their website….

…including successful content that they’ve published.

Here’s how to mine Flippa for proven content ideas:

First, go to Flippa.com and search for websites in your niche:

Flippa Domain

You can also use their search field. Just make sure that you enter a broad keyword that encompasses your blog’s niche. So if you run a site about backpacking in Thailand, you’d want to search for “travel”:

Flippa Search

To make sure that you’re looking at sites that actually get decent traffic, limit the results to sites that get at least 1,000 visitors per month:

Flipp Visitors

Next look for listings that seem like a good match for your site.

Here’s one:

Flippa Match

Let’s take a peek at the listing:

Flippa Listing

Bingo!

Add this badboy to the Google Doc.

Then move onto the next strategy so you find even more proven content ideas…

Wikipedia

You might be wondering how dry Wikipedia articles are going to help you find killer content ideas…

Sure, the Wikipedia entries themselves aren’t going to get your creative juices flowing. But the references are a completely different story.

Why?

You KNOW that if a piece of content gets cited as a reference in Wikipedia, that it must have been popular (after all, an editor had to be aware of its existence for him or her to include it).

First, head over to Wikipedia and enter a broad-ish search term. So if you have a blog about weight loss, you want to use keywords like “fitness”, “nutrition” and “exercise”.

Wiki Search

The references in these super-broad topic Wikipedia entries won’t be much use to you (they’re usually links to academic papers and books).

These topics usually have a list of links to other Wikipedia entries that will have references that you can tap into:

Wiki Other Entries

For example, I found 5 blog posts and articles (in other words, not scientific research papers) cited in the Wikipedia entry for “Strength Training”.

Wiki Footnotes

At least 3 out of the 5 would make great blog post topics:

  • “Strength training sets: How many for best results?”
  • “The Metabolism Myth: There’s no biologic reason to get fatter as you grow older”
  • “The Rest-Pause method of bodybuilding”

And that’s just from ONE Wikpedia entry. If you spend 15-minutes with this strategy you’ll walk away with even more proven topics.

Reddit

Reddit may seem a hipster hangout where bored people waste their lives by leaving comments on cat gifs…OK, maybe that describes Reddit pretty well 🙂

But Reddit is so much more than that…

In fact, it’s an absolute gold mine for blog post topic ideas.

Here’s how to use it:

First, find a subreddit that covers what you tend to write about. Because Reddit’s search leaves a lot to be desired, I recommend using SearchReddit.com instead:

Reddit Search

If there’s a subreddit on that topic — which there almost always is — head over to it. If not, just check out threads that discuss your blog’s niche.

By default, subreddits rank threads based on what’s popular at that moment.

If you’re in a niche with a lot of big news (ie. SEO), then it makes sense to spend some checking out trending topics. But most niches don’t have breaking news every week.

For example, the dog training subreddit’s front page didn’t hook me up with any topics that I could actually use:

Reddit Bust

So if you don’t see anything promising on the front page, click on the “top” tab.

Reddit Top

This will show you the all-time most popular threads in that subreddit:

Reddit Gold

The all-time best threads handed me a bunch of awesome topics that had a track record of doing well (based on Reddit upvotes):

  • “7 Mistakes You’re Making in Behavior Modification”
  • “A list of urban agility tricks to teach your dog to make walks *way* more fun”
  • “Does Your Dog REALLY Want to be Petted? Consent Test”
  • “How to Be a Kid Dogs Feel Safe with: tips for teaching kids how to build bonds safely with dogs”

Content Curators

Why spend hours hunting for content ideas when you can have other people do the heavy lifting for you?

Thanks to the rising popularity of content curation, more and more bloggers publish content that’s nothing more than a hand-groomed list of awesome content ideas.

You can find them using these search strings in Google:

best (keyword) posts

keyword  + “all time best”

keyword + “best 2013”

keyword + “top 100”

keyword + “top 50”

best (keyword) posts 2013

best content marketing posts

When you do, you’ll be rewarded with a list of some of the best content from the last year (or all time):

best content marketing posts results

It took me about 30-seconds to find the best content marketing posts from the past year…including a few topics that I would have NEVER thought of on my own:

29 Best Content Marketing Posts of All-Time

Easy, right?

Pinterest

By now you probably notice a pattern with the strategies I’ve listed so far.

What is it?

They’re resources that your competition isn’t using.

If you hang out on the same platforms as your competition (like Twitter and Facebook), you’re going to end up writing the same old stuff.

And I can guarantee that your competition completely ignores Pinterest. After all, most people think that Pinterest is nothing more than a place where mommies go to pin shoes and handbags.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. Pinterest actually drives more referral traffic than LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ (!).

To use it for content mining, head over to the Pinterest homepage and enter a specific-ish keyword:

Pinterest Search

First, take a look at the top pins (pinterest pins are ranked my repins, comments and likes):

Top Pins

Keep an eye out for any topics that have a lot of repins:

Topics with a lot of pins

Cha-ching! Looks like there’s a lot of demand out there for vegetarian, high-protein meals.

Here’s another one with over 1300 repins:

Pinterest-Smoothie-Time-Saver-Skitch_2

I really like this one because I would have thought that smoothies were already fast enough to make.

But I learned that super-busy health nuts may not have 7-minutes to make a healthy smoothie before heading out the door.

Based on this pin I’d make a blog post that lists smoothie recipes based on SPEED…

…which would stand out among blog posts like, “10 healthiest smoothie recipes” or “25 best tasting smoothies for bodybuilders”.

Pinterest: you rock!

Open Site Explorer

Moz’s Open Site Explorer shows you the authority of sites and pages on the web (based on inbound links).

But there’s a little-used feature that serves awesome content ideas on a silver platter: Top Pages.

First, grab a competitor’s site and enter their homepage into the tool:

Moz Open Site Explorer

Caption: We are nerdfitness fans : )

Then click on the “top pages” tab. This will show you their most popular pages:

Moz Top Pages

Keep an eye out for pages that have a lot of “Linking Root Domains” (a fancy way of saying “the number of sites that link to that page”):

Linking Root Domains

Linking Root Domains is important because, in general, it’s MUCH harder to get a link than a tweet or Facebook like.

So when you see a page generating 100+ links, you know that it’s a piece of content that people actually care about.

First Pagers

It’s not a cutting edge approach, but Google’s first page is one of the best places to find tested, proven content ideas.

So you’d be foolish to ignore it.

The Mozbar for Chrome or Firefox will help you get the most from this process. This handy tool shows you the Domain Authority and Page Authority of the results on the first page.

Mozbar for Chrome

The key is to find high-ranking pages that aren’t on super authoritative domains.

You want to find pages that have a relatively high Page Authority and low Domain Authority.

That usually indicates that the content is ranking based on merit…not due to the fact that the site is run by a Fortune 500.

The Mozbar SERP overlay feature shows you the Domain and Page Authority of every result:

Mozbar SERP Overlay

This for example would suck since major brands are highly ranked for “weight loss tips”.

For example, let’s do a search for “best workout headphones”:

search for best workout headphones

You’ll notice that a lot of the results have a high Domain Authority (above 60):

High Domain Authority

These can be content that you can take into step #2. But in general, they aren’t the best targets.

That being said, if a piece of content jumps out at you, check it out…even if it’s on an authoritative site.

Anyway, here are two examples of sites run by mere mortals that have been able to crack the first page for this competitive keyword:

Low Domain Authority

Low Domain Authority 2

If they can do it so can you!

That sounds cheesy, but you get the idea…

…low DA sites ranking for competitive keywords earned that spot with outstanding content. That makes them ideal for reverse engineering.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is an awesome (free) Swiss army knife of content marketing tools.

It’s most powerful feature? Its ability to find really popular content in any industry VERY quickly.

So it’s perfect for what we’re doing today.

BuzzSumo doesn’t replace the strategies I’ve outlined for you so far. But you’ll sometimes see topics in Buzzsumo that you’d otherwise miss.

So it’s worth playing around with.

First, head over to BuzzSumo.com, create an account and login. This will take you to your BuzzSumo dashboard:

Buzzsumo

Under “Filter by Type”, uncheck everything but “article”:

Filter By Article Buzzsumo

And choose “Past 6 months” under “Filter by Date”:

Past 6 Months Buzzsumo

Then enter a keyword into the search field. Because I’m drinking a cup of Peet’s coffee as I write this, let’s use the keyword “coffee”:

Search Buzzsumo

BuzzSumo automatically sorts content by total social shares (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.).

If there’s one network that’s particularly important for your industry (for example, Pinterest is HUGE in the cooking niche), sort by popularity on that particular network.

Sort By Pinterest Buzzsumo

Next, take a look for any content ideas that fit with your site:

Content Ideas via Buzzsumo

The great thing about BuzzSumo is that you can find a handful of promising content ideas after a 5-second search. In our coffee example, I found these awesome topics:

  • 11 Reasons You Should Drink Coffee Everyday
  • Your Coffee Pods’ Dirty Secret
  • Coffee intake influences breast size, study says
  • 21 Clever Uses for Coffee Grounds

By now you should have a spreadsheet or moleskin overflowing with content topic ideas.

Nice work 🙂

Before I show you what to do next, how about a little case study of this process in action?

Mini Case Study #1: On-Page SEO

After 4-months of struggling to get consistent traffic to Backlinko , I had my first little victory.

An infographic about on-page SEO:

On Page SEO InfoGraphic

It took quite a bit of outreach to get the word out (more on that later).

But it performed MUCH better than anything else that I’d published at that point on day 1.

Today, the infographic has over 450 tweets:

Over 450 Tweets

How did I do it?

Instead of guessing, I used a piece of proven content as my base: an infographic about on-page SEO published by Moz:

Perfect Optimized Page

When I looked for popular content about on-page SEO, this infographic popped up over and over again.

This piece of popular content showed me that:

  • People in the SEO space were still interested in on-page SEO
  • People preferred a visual format for on-page SEO info
  • People liked to read in-depth, text-based content that expands on the information in the visuals (which the original Moz post had)

So that’s exactly what I did with my piece of content. And because it was based on a proven framework, the content performed REALLY well.

In fact, this simple infographic has generated over 40,000 unique visitors (hence the title of this post):

onpageseo unique visitors

And unlike linkbait/BuzzFeed/NewsJacking style content, I continue to get 100+ visitors to that page every single day.

Step #2: Make Something (Much) Better

There’s this little quirk of human nature that I’m sure you’ve noticed yourself:

People are naturally attracted to the best.

Not 2nd best, not 4th best….the bar-none #1.

This is the “Skyscraper” part of The Skyscraper Technique.

At this point, you’ve found your tall skyscraper: a piece of content that soars above everything else out there.

Your next step is to bust out the heavy-duty cranes and add 15-stories to the top of it.

Here are 4-ways to do it:

Make It More Up-To-Date

Updating something is one of the easiest ways to add value to what’s already out there.

For some reason, people tend to let outstanding content rot…leaving it hopelessly out of date.

When you swoop in and make a cutting-edge equivalent, your industry will thank you in the form of links, social shares and traffic.

For example, I found this outdated article on the first page ranking for the keyword “coffee health benefits”:

Harvard Coffee

This sentence pops out at me right away:

2004 Harvard

2004 and 2005? Looks like Haaavahd was too busy celebrating the 2004 Red Sox world series victory to update their article.

Despite being very out of date, this page has generated links from authority sites like The Huff Post and LiveStrong.com.

Needless to say, there’s been A LOT of coffee-related research over the last decade.

And a post that summarized the current state of coffee research would absolutely crush it…assuming you spent time promoting it (more on that later).

Make It More Thorough

Let’s face it: people today are super-busy.

And they don’t have time to go from post to post to post to learn how to save money on gas.

They want ONE resource that gives them everything they need to know…all in one place.

Back in 2010, the Paleo diet was blowing up in a big way. Thanks to pioneers like Mark Sisson, there was no shortage of awesome information about this increasingly-popular diet.

There was only one problem:

You had to read 10 posts just to find out what you were supposed to eat for breakfast.

That’s when Steve at Nerd Fitness dropped an A-bomb on the fitness community with his 4300 word beast: The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet.

Nerd Fitness

To date that post has received a ridiculous 2,000 comments and 520 backlinks.

One stop shopping FTW!

Or how about Jon Morrow’s 15k word Google Authorship Handbook:

Google Authorship Handbook

15 thousand words…that’s as thorough as it gets.

Step Up The Design

There’s no other way to put this:

When it comes to content marketing, design is more important than the content itself.

Yes, you read that right: more important. In fact, it’s not even close.

Research has shown that there’s zero correlation between people reading and sharing content. Which means a good chunk of people share content without even reading it.

If they don’t read an article before hitting the tweet button, what makes them think “I need to share this”?

Three things: topic, headline and design.

So the better your content looks, the more people will share it.

Fortunately for you, most of your competitors probably sleep on design. Which is a HUGE opportunity for you.

Let’s take the email marketing niche as an example.

Most of the email marketing guides out there are simple-looking blog posts, like this:

Email Marketing

This design isn’t bad…but it’s not going to impress anyone.

On the opposite end of the design spectrum, CopyBlogger has a page about email marketing that’s as well-designed as a webpage can get:

Email Marketing New

Although this page is more or less a squeeze page, its world-class design has brought in over 1,000 tweets:

Email Marketing New Social Share

Or how about Neil Patel’s legendary series of Advanced Guides, like his Advanced Guide to SEO:

Neil Patel Adv SEO

Design this good isn’t cheap. But you don’t necessarily need to drop 5-figures to tap into custom content design.

Even investing a few bucks for custom header images, which is something social media bloggers like Ian at Razor Social do for almost every post…

7 Extremely Useful Video mktg tools

…or custom diagrams like this one from Runner Girl

Runner Girl Diagrams

dramatically increase the perceived value of your content.

As you can see, stepping your design game up doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

In fact, I drop $15-$20 per post on a nice custom image for every post at Backlinko:

Definitive Guide to Keyword Research

It’s the best $15 that I spend every month. This image makes my content look 10x more professional. And pretty images catch eyeballs in crowded Twitter feeds 🙂

But like most things, the more you put into your content’s design, the more you’ll get out of it.

Bottom line: quality design makes your content stand out and — as Derek Halpern taught the internet marketing community — seem more trustworthy.

Write Better

I know I just said that most people won’t read your content before they share it…

but many will.

So it’s worth writing stuff that people, you know, actually enjoy reading.

Fortunately, most people write copy that’s drier than a piece of sandpaper in the desert.

That means — like with content design — there’s a HUGE opportunity for you to stand out with engaging copy.

(Neville’s Kopywriting Kourse helped me find my voice when I launched my blog. Highly recommended if your blog posts sound like a 9th grade history paper.)

Mini Case Study #2 : 200 Ranking Factors

Sometimes you’ll come across a piece of content in your industry that’s just BEGGING for a good old fashioned butt whooping.

That’s exactly what happened to me last year.

I was checking out the results for a few keywords related to Google’s mysterious ranking factors, like “Google ranking” and “Google’s ranking factors”.

This page by Vaughn’s 1 Pagers was ranking #1 for almost every single keyword that I searched for:

Vaughns Summaries

Vaughn’s guide was the most through summary of Google’s ranking signals online at that point. It listed an impressive 118 ranking factors.

The thing is, Google has confirmed on several occasions that they use over 200 ranking factors.

So where were the other 82?

Well that’s when I decided to roll up my sleeves and get cracking on a post that would document all 200.

The result? Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List:

Googles 200 Ranking Factors

To date this post has brought in over 58,000 visitors:

googleranking visitors

And generated over 900 backlinks from 246 different sites:

936 Backlinks

Like the on-page SEO guide that I showed you earlier, traffic still comes to this page from Google, blogs and forums every single day.

Here’s How I Did It

As I said before, there are 4 main strategies for improving content:

  • More updated
  • More thorough
  • Better designed
  • Better written

One thing I didn’t mention is that:

The more you improve the content, the better results you’ll get.

In other words, you should beat what’s out there on every level that you possibly can.

And that’s one of the reasons my Google Ranking Factors post was so successful: it beat Vaughn’s post in almost every category.

Up To Date

Vaughn’s guide was first published in 2004…more than 10-years ago. He also hadn’t updated the post since 2012:

Vaughn Copyright

And when I dug through the content, I found something in desperate need of an update (for example, the page didn’t mention anything about Google Penguin under the “Google Updates” section).

In my post, I made sure to include lots of newer ranking signals (like social signals) while only including classic ranking signals (like PageRank) if they were still relevant.

That way, it would be readily apparent that my guide was more up-to-date.

More Thorough

This was A LOT harder than I thought it would be.

I knew that I wanted to hit all 200. That was simple enough. But let me tell you, it was very, very hard to pull off.

That being said, I was motivated by the fact that I knew that my super-comprehensive post would actually perform for me (thanks to the proven track record of Vaughn’s post).

After over 20 hours of work, I finally hit the 200 mark.

But simply naming 200 ranking factors wasn’t going to propel me head and shoulders above Vaughn. I needed to step my game up in a big way.

I noticed that Vaughn’s guide didn’t have a lot of explanation for ranking factors in his list:

Vaugh Guide Ranking Factors

So I made sure to include details and references for each and every ranking signal:

Details and references

So if you have a competitor rocking the house with her list of 20 gluten free waffles recipes, you can beat her by publishing a list of 50…

…or publishing a list of 50 with unique images, insights and nutrition facts.

That extra level of “oomph” will leave no room for debate: you have the most thorough content.

Better Designed

As you’ve probably noticed from the screenshots so far, Vaughn’s guide looked like a 1998 Geocities page:

Better Design Vaughn Guide

A simple blog post would have beat the pants out of this design.

But I decided to drop $20 on Elance and buy a few custom banners to break up the blocks of text:

Page Level Factor

These banners boosted the perceived value of my content without having to splurge on a massive design and coding project.

Here’s a template that you can use on Elance, ODesk or People Per Hour to get affordable custom diagrams:

I’m about to publish a blog post about YOUR TOPIC and need a set of 5 custom headers to break up the content.

I want something with a similar style to: LINK TO EXAMPLE. All of the banners should have the same style so they’re tied together.

Please place a bid and your turnaround time for the banners.

Better Written

Let’s face it:

A list of 200 algorithmic ranking factors can get really boring really fast.

Vaughn’s guide had very matter-of-fact descriptions of each ranking signal. For example, Vaughn describes “keyword density” with this:

keyword density

Accurate…but not engaging.

I worked hard to make the post informative AND interesting. In other words, I wrote it less like an academic paper and more like an insanely-long blog post.

Step #3 : Get The Word Out

Here’s the deal:

If you want to get people to share and link to your content, you need to hustle to get the word out. Period.

In other words, the old “publish and pray” approach doesn’t work…unless you already have a massive audience like Seth Godin.

Fortunately, content promotion isn’t rocket science. It’s just a lot of hard work.

This is how you tap into it…

Find Likely Linkers

As the name suggests, Likely Linkers are people that are likely to link to your content (or at least share it on social media).

Here’s how to find them:

Find Passionate People

Let’s say that you just launched your very own travel blog.

You noticed that a competitor’s site crushed it with a post 2-years ago titled, “20 of the World’s Best Taco Stands”.

You followed steps #1 and #2 from this post and published a thorough, well-designed and up-to-date version of that taco stand article called “50 Taco Stands You Have to Visit Before You Die”.

Who are you going to reach out to?

Well, you could contact other travel sites. And you might get some love that way.

But you’re sometimes better off finding people outside of your niche that are passionate about that content’s topic.

For example, Noah may not be the first person that springs to mind when you want to promote something on a travel blog.

Although he’s interested in travel, millions of other people are too. Besides, Noah is best-known for validating business ideas, AppSumo and helping to build startups like Facebook and Mint.

But he’s the perfect person to reach out to.

Why?

Like most people, Noah has interests that lie outside of what he’s best known for:

Noah Thought Bubbles

Namely, the man loves tacos.

So if you mentioned him in a post about traveling AND tacos, he’d share your content in a heartbeat.

Here’s a real life example:

I recently published a guide to keyword research that was aimed squarely at SEOs and bloggers.

But I noticed another group that also had an interest in keyword research: fiction and non-fiction authors.

Most authors today realize that the best way to promote their book in the 21st century is to create a presence on the web. And that naturally lead to an interest in SEO.

So I emailed a blogger in the “here’s how to write and promote a book” niche and showed him my guide.

He loved it so much he mentioned it in his email newsletter, which brought in a few thousand high-converting visitors to my site:

Newsletter Mention

Not bad for a single email 🙂

Pre-Linkers

Want to find people that are very, very likely to link to your content?

Look no further than people that have already linked to similar stuff.

Because you have something objectively better than what already they’re linking to, asking for a link to your content is an easy sell.

How do you find who’s linking to your competitor’s content?

These three tools do the job well:

Moz’s Open Site Explorer

Majestic SEO

Ahrefs

I prefer Ahrefs because it’s super easy to use and has an up-to-date list of links.

First, grab the now-inferior content’s URL and enter it into the tool. Click on “Search links”:

Site Explorer

Under the “Backlinks” section of the sidebar, click on “External”:

Backlinks

This will show you a list of sites linking to that page:

List of sites linking

If you find a site that’s a good fit, send them this email script:

Subject: Quick question about SITE NAME

Hey NAME,

I was poking around SITE today and came across your article: ARTICLE TITLE.

Great stuff!

I noticed that you mentioned OUTDATED CONTENT. I also love that article.

In fact, it inspired me to create a more thorough and updated version:

YOUR URL

I’d be tickled pink if you’d consider mentioning it on your page.

Either way, keep up the awesome work with SITE NAME!

Cheers,
Your Name

A lot of people ask me, “What’s the conversion rate with this sort of outreach”.

Well it depends on…

  • How much your content rocks the house
  • Your content design
  • Whether or not you reach out to the right person (for example, a multi-authored blog)
  • What time/day you reach out to them (Tuesdays through Thursdays in the afternoon are best)
  • How much time you take to personalize each email
  • What industry your in (hippie niches like green living and music link out more often than corporate industries like insurance)

That being said, if you do everything right, you’re looking at a 5%-15% conversion rate. For some people that’s not worth the time and energy.

But to me, outreach is some of the highest-ROI time you’ll ever spend on your business. The links you get from outreach will send you referral and SEO traffic for years.

Thank You Emails

I’m sure you mention a few influential people in almost everything you publish.

But do you ever reach out to them and let them know about it?

Well, rather than hope that these influential people see and share your content, why not give them a quick heads up?

That’s where the Thank You Email comes into play.

It’s just a quick message to a) let the person know they’ve been mentioned an b) thanks them for their contribution.

Skeptical that a few emails can make a difference for your business? Right here on OKDork, Peep Laja recently revealed that these simple emails helped him grow his blog to 100k monthly visitors in less than a year.

I use almost the exact same short-and-sweet script that he does:

Hey NAME,

Just a heads up that I mentioned you here: URL.

Thanks for the awesome post 🙂

Cheers,
Brian

Easy, right?

Forums and Boards

Most marketers sleep on forums because they’re not some cool new hipster social network.

Well you know what?

Forums are still popular…really popular.

(If you think about it, Reddit is more or less a high-tech forum)

Industry forums are one of the few places you’ll find hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of people interested in your topic all in one place.

Just publish an ultimate guide to natural makeup removal?

Why not head over to MakeupTalk.com, where there are over 1000 makeup lovers discussing the ins and outs of makeup at any given time:

MakeupTalk

Or how about the very active CruiseMates.com Forum, where people hang out to talk cruises (yes this is a real thing).

Cruisemates

You get the idea: there’s a forum for every niche…including yours.

Now you can’t just create an account and drop links in every other thread. That spammy stuff will get you banned in a heartbeat.

That being said, you don’t need to be a thousand-post veteran, either.

Even a week-old account with a few helpful posts is enough.

Here’s how I used forums to promote a piece of content at Backlinko (and how you can do the same thing):

First, I used these search strings to find forums:

keyword forum

“keyword” + “board

keyword + “powered by vbulletin”

Next, I evaluated the forums based on a) how many people were online at any given time and b) the activity of the forum. You can find these two tidbits of info on the homepage of most forums:

whats going on

If I found that the forum had a few hundred people online at any given time AND lots of active discussions, I created an account.

Now that you have an account its time to participate adding tons of value.

There’s no shortcut here: answering people’s questions builds your reputation VERY quickly by users and moderators as a helpful member of the community.

Finally, create a new thread announcing your new piece of content.

I prefer to copy and paste a short and sweet version of the post into the thread itself. That way, you’re actually providing some meat to the userbase on the forum itself.

Just put a link at the top or bottom of the post that says, “If you’d like to read more, here’s a link to the full post”, like this:

backlinko forum

I’ve done this a few times for blog posts at Backlinko. These forum threads brought in a rush of traffic before I had any audience to speak of. And they continue to drip traffic to my site every single day.

The Next Step

We’ve made it even easier to Create Great Content! (Click here for an easy to use checklist to finding great content)

I hope you learned something new from my post. But more importantly, I want you to put this strategy into action.

When you do, you’ll actually be excited to publish something because you KNOW that it’s going to do well.

But that can wait a few minutes.

Right now I want to know what you think.

Have you tried reverse engineering content before? How did it work out?

Anything I missed?

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


190 responses to “How to Create Great Content That Drives Traffic

  1. Nate Shivar Reply

    Noah & Brian – thank you for this post. The detail is amazing & really useful.

    I’d add 1 other resource – the Internet Archive. Often really amazing content will disappear with an expired domain name, new CMS, etc. You can plug the URL into the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and see the actual content that needs to be re-built.

  2. Adam Dukes Reply

    Just an awesome, very detailed post Brian! Great job! I am a fan of Backlinko and did not know you lived in Berlin. For some reason I thought you were state-side. I like the simple email template for letting people know you’ve linked out to them. I link out a lot and I have reached out (in the past) to people before to let them know, more often then not, they share it. Need to start doing it with every post.

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, Adam. Yup, I live in Berlin (but I was born and raised in The States).

      That template is deceptively effective. As you’ve seen firsthand, it does the job 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      Thanks Erich. Glad you liked it. There’s definitely nothing wrong with content creation. I’m sure you publish great stuff.

      I find that sometimes people are actually TOO creative and forget that there are already awesome ideas already out there for the taking.

  3. Loz James Reply

    Great stuff Brian

    This is one of my favourite articles you’ve written – loads of actionable detail that I’m going to re-read with another pint of real ale 🙂

    The tip about Flippa is superb!

    Cheers

    Loz

  4. David Cheng Reply

    Woohoo! We’re in it. Seriously though, I cannot tell you how helpful blog posts like this and Brian’s have been in driving traffic to ShareBloc. We crib from the best and give H/Ts. Thank you for a great post!

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      Yeahhh Dave. I’m pumped to hear that you’re getting real world results (most people just read and don’t actually implement anything…props for putting in the work).

      And the h/ts are always appreciated 🙂

  5. Lacy Reply

    Incredible post! I try to educate people about how SIMPLE and ridiculously effective it is to email people you mention, but few listen! I linked to a recipe on MindBodyGreen from my food blog recently, emailed them to let them know, and they asked if I’d like to guest post—one of the most coveted guest posting sites in that niche. Easy peasey!

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      You rock Lacy!

      I actually think the simplicity trips people up. They think it’s TOO simple to actually work. But as you showed, good things happen when you reach out to people.

  6. Timothy Reply

    Brian,

    I can tell that you put a lot of time, thought and effort into this – and it shows. This is definitely one of the best SEO posts I’ve ever seen (and I’ve read hundreds of them). I plan to implement many of these strategies in my own business.

    Another good source that I’ve found for identifying ideas for content is BuzzFeed & other viral marketing sites like ViralNova & Upworthy. While I don’t agree with everything they publish, it’s a great place for getting ideas for headlines to promote, as these websites get tens of millions of visitors every month.

    I also have started using a site called Similarweb for finding related sites in a given market. For instance, I sometimes type in a popular website into Similarweb & Alexa and look to see if there are any related websites that are also popular.

    -Timothy

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Timothy 🙂

      Good call on BuzzFeed/ViralNova and Upworthy. Most marketers think that they’re too cool to learn anything from those sites. But they’re absolutely CRUSHING it right now so it makes sense to see what they’re doing over there.

  7. Gene Eugenio Reply

    As a content relations manager and content creator, this is EXACTLY the kind of content that makes me smile. Also, the fact that you shared it with interested influencers on social networks and Inbound gives this piece lots of juice. Bravo! I especially like how your headlines are set up – 1) start with overall theme of BENEFIT to reader 2) personalize it (I, you), 3) use NUMBERS to make it more immediate. Keep up the awesome work, Noah.

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      Happy to put a smile on your face, Gene. Thanks for pointing out the benefit and specific headline. That’s something I didn’t have room for in the post so I’m glad you brought it up here. Headlines are Über important!

  8. Doroteya Reply

    Well, this was not only very useful and informative, but you also managed to put in one article the whole process of quality link building. Great, thanks for your hard work.

  9. Afzal Khan Reply

    Hi Brian,

    As always your posts are very helpful and add value to the online community. Read your last post 21 SEO Techniques You Can Use Today to Get More Search Engine Traffic and was thinking to get some detailed information on some of the techniques. Thanks Got it here with some new stuff!

  10. Eugene Hennie Reply

    Hey Brian & Noah. Thanks for this. I am doing now as we speak. How much do you use Stumble Upon . I notice a long of book content there. Does using the Skyscraper method help you when you sit down an create completely original content? How much time do you put into outreach?

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      Awesome Eugene. I actually haven’t ever used SU for content mining, although as you said, it’s probably a great place to look.

      Honestly, Eugene, there’s no such thing as “completely original content”. All content comes from something that already exists. But the difference here is that you’re basing your content on a PROVEN idea 🙂

      I spent at least 5-7 hours on outreach per post…usually longer.

  11. Laura Heisman Reply

    Hello
    I have read the article but I stopped when I entered flippa.
    I have not seen any references to a blog post where they have got lots of visitors.
    I have reviewed the websites bad?
    thanks

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      It takes some digging, Laura. But if you sign up for alerts, Flippa will tell you when a site in your niche goes on sale. Then you can check out the listing to see if they drop any secrets.

  12. Marcin Reply

    Brilliant stuff. I understand that you are properly rewrite the articles, chop and change, add value etc. My problem is that when I tried that I still ended up with something too similar to the posts that I got inspired by. And then chicken out and not posting it as I’m afraid that people would think that I just copied someone else’s articles. Any thoughts or help with that please?

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      You bring up a really good point, Marcin. There’s a fine line between copying and using other people’s content as a base. But if you feel that it’s too similar, I’d add some of your own flavor to it until you’re confident that it’s unique.

  13. Hunter Boyle Reply

    Man I must say this is gonna be a rockstar of an infomercial/ blog or whatever you can think of about blogging that ever resided on digital space-blogosphere .:) Kudos to you.Frankly It really panned out .Super awesome. Yes I sound super excited but thanks to you and this awesome post.

  14. Hunter Boyle Reply

    /** exclude this ..:) Sorry for posting again. there was a typo…**/

    Man I must say this is gonna be a rockstar of an infomercial/ blog or whatever you can think of about blogging that ever resided on digital space-blogosphere .:) Kudos to you.Frankly It really panned out well .Super awesome. Yes I sound super excited but thanks to you and this awesome post.

  15. Romain Reply

    This post is so good I won’t share it :p
    I always thought making original content with something that doesn’t exist elsewhere was the good strategy, and it worked a little bit for me, but the problem is that by doing so it’s really hard to write frequently.

  16. dave Reply

    Hey Brian

    Fantastic post. I headed over to your site (honestly, for the first time). One thing that really surprised me was that your site only shows 5 pages indexed when I go through previous posts.

    Is this for real?

    You’re getting all this traffic with just 20 posts? Am I missing something? It almost seems mathematically impossible.

    I know that I shouldn’t be asking these questions because they’re probably not the point, but I have to ask

    How long do you spend on each post?
    How often do you publish a post?

    It looks like you update posts quite a lot (the last post on the blog was updated March 13th 2014 and I saw other updates as well – what’s sort of the idea there?

    I mean consider this post
    http://backlinko.com/the-definitive-guide-to-keyword-research

    This is an awesome post filled with great designs and functionality – realistically, could any non super human blogger be expected to put this together?

    If you don’t mind me asking, is this the type of thing that you were able to accomplish now that you’ve grown and probably have the team and the funds so shell out for stuff like this? It’s the same for Neil’s definite guides, those things cost 5 figures to make.

    Additionally, I feel like features must be playing a pretty big role right? Like this guest post must have sent loads of traffic your way. Now, it’s a fair argument that you had to write the great content first BEFORE the feature came, but still, how large a role have they played in your success?

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      Glad you liked it, Dave.

      Onto your questions:

      You’re getting all this traffic with just 20 posts? Am I missing something? It almost seems mathematically impossible.

      Yup, 20 posts (plus a page or two) bring in all the traffic. Quality vs. quantity.

      How long do you spend on each post? Around 20-hours
      How often do you publish a post? Once a month

      It looks like you update posts quite a lot (the last post on the blog was updated March 13th 2014 and I saw other updates as well – what’s sort of the idea there?

      To make sure everything is relevant to people that read it.

      I mean consider this post
      http://backlinko.com/the-definitive-guide-to-keyword-research

      This is an awesome post filled with great designs and functionality – realistically, could any non super human blogger be expected to put this together?

      Anyone can do it. It just takes a ton of work. The content in that guide took 35-hours to put together. Not many people will do that.

      Is this the type of thing that you were able to accomplish now that you’ve grown and probably have the team and the funds so shell out for stuff like this?

      That definitely helps, but it’s not necessary. As I mentioned in this post, a little bit of design investment goes a long way.

      But still, how large a role have they played in your success?

      A huge part. Without guest posts like this it would be hard for people to find me.

  17. Ray Noppe Reply

    Very refreshing finding information that actually tells you how to do it not just what to do. I have read a tonne of articles on getting more traffic and they all mirror the same dribble. Amazing, please keep up the good work.

  18. Mustafa Khudmiri Reply

    Awesome post Brian. So many unheard of strategies; it’s actually overwhelming. However, it just proves once again that great stuff is often right in front of us but we tend to overlook it.

    A small suggestion though. I think you could use a Table of Content plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/content-table/ or http://wordpress.org/plugins/table-of-contents-plus/ to help readers jump to their sections of interest quickly. This is HUGE!

    Great job! 🙂

  19. Josh Reply

    Thanks for this! I’m not really a blogger, just have an undermaintained blog on my Recording Studio website about sessions and tips for people who are coming in to make music, but this has my wheels spinning bigtime.

    Main takeaway: Quality vs. Quantity is the way to go (that’s what I like to hear!!!)
    Other takeaways: All the great tips on improving the quality of your posts (and getting it out there)

  20. Alejandro J. Reply

    I really REALLY liked this post, I wish the tools shown here were available in Spanish (I’m from Mexico and I also started a blog in Spanish a few weeks ago), specially BuzzSumo. And I also like that the post itself is an example of SEO, design and content quality.

    Cheers!

  21. Jonathan Hague Reply

    Lot of good stuff here. 40,000 visitors isn’t always going to happen, but it’s a good target to shoot for. I think many small companies are of the mind that merely getting their website and some generic content out on the web is enough. They just think about using Google ads or the types of companies listed at BuyFacebookLikesReviews to merely buy attention rather than investing some time creating some actually good content. Good content that reaches out to people emotionally is how brands can really create a good deal of success for themselves.

  22. Shalu Sharma Reply

    Great information here. I was a fan of Backlinko but never realised that you hardly post there any more. I like the idea of finding something that is already there doing well and making it bigger and bolder – this has lots of potential.

  23. Lewis Reply

    Absolutely stellar guide and insight into reverse engineering here Brian.

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again, the model you have, the frequency and the quality vs quantity really is a winner. You content is on another level and it shines through.

    I think this is worth a read 2 even 3 times over and then come back some more as you try out each strategy. I mean the Pinterest tactic really got me thinking…there is so much scope for content, finding great articles and resources and creating an awesome piece that will smash it out of the water.

    I think the final element where most people struggle is on just that…getting exposure. I mean 30+ hours for a guide and just posting it to your blog is only half of the job done.

    Thanks for writing this.

    – Lewis

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      Thanks Lewis. It’s a model that’s worked for me. I think some people prefer to publish more often…and hey, that can work. But for people struggling to get traffic to their blog, I recommend to at least TRY the quality over quantity approach.

  24. LeslieZ Reply

    Hey Brian, what a super thorough post! I definitely picked up some gold nuggets. I particularly like the idea of where to get content for your blog that you know is already popular.

    I’ve bookmarked your post, as I’ll need to reread it to make sure I don’t miss anything. I won’t claim to use it all, but I’ll definitely put some of it to use.

    Thanks Brian!

  25. Ann07 Reply

    I must say that your guides are really amazing and your opinions are correct. It’s tough to make my content on top of the rank. That’s why I wonder how other bloggers manage to generate an increasing number of visitors as time goes by on their website. Thanks for revealing the secrets on how to exactly write and promote a piece of content that generates thousands of visitors to my site. Keep up the good work!

    Best,
    Ann

  26. Abhishek Tavasalkar Reply

    This post is like the ultimate guide to create content that gets targetted traffic. I am very much glad Noah you traded 50 bratwursts and some beers to Brain Dean and he wrote this amazing article.

    I am really surprised the way Brian explained everything in detail just like any blogger would expect. Even supporting his claims by using budding images.

    i really love such kind of article and this article here really made my day. I am so upset that I didn’t land on this article much earlier. This article would have saved all the bullshit I’ve read on the Internet on increasing and generating traffic.

    Would really keep visiting Backlinko and OKDORK back and forth and learn awesome tips from Brian Dean and from Noah you too.

    Have a great day!

  27. Oral Seymour Reply

    Good stuff, ver detailed. One quick suggestion, next time you are including links to other sites, set them to open in a new window, that way I can go and look at the links but still have your site open.

  28. Elmarie Porthouse Reply

    Brian, I love the fact that you mention that not all strategies (like posting once a week… or even more) always work best. I can attest to the fact that it’s not always about quantity. I have a website I haven’t been paying much attention to since I’m spending most of my time on another website I own. But when going back to it, I realized that an article I wrote when I started writing online two years ago, still gets more hits on a daily basis than anything I have written since. I didn’t know anything about SEO, keyword research or even building links at the time. I just wrote an article about a subject I am passionate about and after two years it still gets hit after hit. It just goes to show that sometimes you just have to follow your gut. The strategies are just icing on the cake.

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      Thanks for sharing, Elmarie. That’s absolutely the case: your BEST (not most recent) stuff gets you the most traffic over the long haul. And your experience is a great example of that.

  29. Dimitar Reply

    Brian, thank you for this detailed guide on how to get content ideas, I’ll definitely try them for my niche. And Noah you’re doing great job posting this high quality info (for which I’d gladly pay). Stay both awesome 🙂

  30. Cristi Vlad Reply

    Besides being one hell of a great post, I’d recommend engaging with people by trying to make them comment on the post , as well as use social media platforms to spread the world out

  31. Amanda Reply

    WHOA – holy moly! I cannot tell you how amazing this is! Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge on this topic, that’s wicked! The tips in here are totally solid and I now have 14 tabs open at once of all the stuff you mentioned – and I already added Mozbar to Chrome – sweeet! This might be the best learning day of the last 5 years for me (I eat learning for breakfast)! I have no idea if that made sense, but I am pumped right now! Hence the madd amounts of exclamation points. Again, thank you thank you thank you. I’m making a list of next steps and getting down to business.

  32. Grant Reply

    Don’t skimp, but peruse this article, again and again. I’m putting strategies and tactics into my site. Thanks Brian and Noah for sharing this.

  33. Chris Reply

    Thanks guys for such an informative and helpful post with real action steps to take. I just started a new blog and was dreading the content creation end of it. It is very inspiring to see such great results can be achieved without posting content every week like I was taught by the old school method. I am a quality over quantity kind of guy so this was perfect!

  34. Sadie Reply

    Whoa, Mind BLOWN. Dude these are amazing tips and I am bookmarking this page for sure. I love all these tips even the handy Google Doc. I think I am going to go get a Tattoo of this URL on my face so I don’t forget it! Ha. Thanks for sharing.

    1. P Dom Reply

      Sorry typos in previous reply! This is probably one of the best blog posts written on online marketing in 2014, heck you could even rank it as a complete course!

  35. sarah Reply

    For someone just starting a blog, this article was extremely informative and inspiring. Thank you SO much and I can’t wait to put these tactics into motion.

  36. Rey Villar Reply

    I’ve been involved with content generation for more than a decade, and I have to say this is solidly in my top 10 of blog posts for content strategy. I absolutely love the “skyscraper” approach. I’ve used some of the tactics mentioned, but this definitely goes a lot further than I’ve tried. I’m definitely going to make this required reading for my SEO writers.

    Thanks again for the post. Definitely worth the bratwursts!

  37. Cristiano Leoni Reply

    Hi Brian,
    I really found this post useful.

    Indeed, I worked out the Flippa technique by myself a few weeks ago, and I found myself taking notes every night about good ideas… it’s striking how people could make a little trasure out of often cheaply hosted sites built on good niches and good (perhaps also lucky) approach.

    I believe your approach is successful, hope it proves as such tome with 5 digits monthly visits sooner or later.

    Best of luck!

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      Happy to hear that, Cristiano. Yup, Flippa is an absolute gold mine. Definitely a bit hit or miss (it depends on what auctions are happening when you go there), but worth checking out.

  38. zabor ilenta Reply

    Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s tough to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and appearance. I must say you have done a amazing job with this. Additionally, the blog loads very quick for me on Firefox. Exceptional Blog!

  39. Ray Cassidy Reply

    Well, you’ve really put some value into this post Brian. One of the points that really popped out was the Flippa connection. I’d seen this before but it hadn’t been explained very well and I wasted a lot of time trying to find useful content hints. Your explanation of the process is very clear. Hats off to yourself and Noah.

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      Cheers Ray. The Flippa technique can be a crapshoot: it all depends on what auctions are taking place when you login. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. I appreciate it 🙂

  40. Tariehk Reply

    Great comprehensive article about how to get traffic. I think a lot of people will not take the time to do content publishing the way you are suggesting because it takes too much time, and most people want to get results too fast. However, since Google is so much smarter then it use to be, I think there is no choice. Also, I think it is good because there will be more quality content on the Internet and not a lot of junk.

    1. Brian Dean Reply

      Good points all around, Tairehk. This takes A LOT more work than publishing random content. But as you pointed out, the ROI is definitely there when it comes to traffic and SEO.

  41. Chiara Reply

    thWow, this post was so amazingly long and useful, couldn’t help but comment.

    Surprised, but that part about design is really true. I used to be a cheapo and tried to put up a “landing page” using a free wordpress theme. Nobody read it. But when I put up a landing page using Leadpages with the same copywriting skillz, everyone said my copy was amazing. Crazy.

    Anyway, thank you for this post. Bookmarking it (because Noah says I shouldn’t waste time writing a blog at the start 😛 And sharing to Sean Ogle’s Location Rebel community. Thanks again, Brian!

  42. Grant Draper Reply

    I seriously thought my new blog was off to a good start. Now I’m not so sure. That post was awesome. It’s the first thing I’ve bookedmarked since I’ve had Chrome 🙂

    A lot of the stuff is stuff I use here and there, but the outreach side was particularly useful. Post promotion, rather than post creation, is not something I’m that familiar with & is certainly where I’ll fall short I think. Like you say though, that probably means content needs to be better. Feel free to check out my latest posts & let me know what you think?

    Very well structured & will be reading again.

      1. Grant Draper Reply

        Definitely. Had a response from Onboardly, a Retweet from DomainSherpa/Search Engine People & a link from Upcity – nothing huge but a few small wins in the first week. That’s about it. I’m just doing little bits at a time. Hard work getting my head back in the writing, especially editing – blurry 🙂

        All the best,

        Grant

  43. Todd B Reply

    Awesome post and very useful. You can’t just create content anymore. The promotion is more than half the battle and like you said most people won’t get out of bed for 5-15% but that’s what really gets the content over the edge.

  44. Sujeet Patel Reply

    Wow, this has to be one of the most detailed guides I’ve come across, and I’ve already bookmarked it for future reference. You make some great points, and I’ll definitely be putting more than a few of these tactics to use!

  45. Greg Reply

    Brian this is article is fantastic. I helps dispel lots of the mystery of how posts get so popular. My only concern is finding a niche (and maybe there are more than one?) for where I want to be blogging in relation to my new video production company – humanusmedia.weebly.com. I think if I start moving though I will begin to uncover some things. Thanks again!

  46. Rambo Reply

    Thanks for this epic wealth of awesomeness. This is pure gold (or cash, or bitcoin)! Can’t wait to read more of your great content.

  47. Hein Reply

    A really great post. Already found some nice keywords. I’m from the Netherlands. Can I translate (in my own words) some of your tips in Dutch?

  48. Aayushi Reply

    Great Article by Brian. it’s Really Helpful and Enjoyable Post for Every Blogger. Thank you very much for Sharing with us.

  49. Muhammad Ismail Reply

    Hi Brain
    This post took at-least 3 hours of me while reading due to my illness. I would like to say that you have added all the efforts and love in making of this post. first time i came to know that i am missing too many thing while writing a content. Thank you for such a nice guide.
    Keep your hard work up.

  50. Jon Reply

    Wow . . . never knew about BuzzSumo. Have been using it for the past hour finding some AMAZING ideas. This is a wonderful post . . . now I need to get off BuzzSumo and start writing!

  51. Emily Reply

    Hi Brian! This post is gold. I plan on using all your tips going forward 🙂

    Unfortunately, I am unable to download your checklist for finding great content. I am prompted to enter my email address, and then I am redirected to a page with the post “5 Tips for Cold Calling.” Thank you!

  52. Sally P. Reply

    Gotta say THIS (your) definitive and invaluable guide is the absolute premier SEO primer on best practices for the Internet. Your post focuses on how to pinpoint relevant top Internet topics trending TODAY and how to find them with simple-to-use FREE research tools. Using your easy “How to” step-by-step illustrated instructions steps, I can now build accurate key content goals/strategies/content quickly to zero in on my target clients and their audiences accurately. Knowledge is power and yours is pure GOLD. Honestly, I can’t thank you enough for generously sharing your in-depth expertise and hands-on experience with us all. I treasure and trust your SEO “Tricks of the Trade” without question. I can’t thank you enough for simple, factual advice that will help me excel in my new Content Creation freelance business.

  53. AJ Reply

    Insanely thorough, you had me hanging on every word. I find the difficulty with all this information is figuring out how to execute effectively as in manage my time. And when to stop promoting a post and work on the next one. Anyway, huge thanks for all the info. Doing more outreach tops my list.

  54. Oretta Norris Reply

    Ooooo wee! This post has stoked my enthusiasm for your guess appearance on Pat Flynn’s Breakthrough Blogging, Google hangout this week.

    What is even more impressive than the above info, is that nowhere are you charing or making money from any of the stellar info you are sharing online.

    When I first discovered Backlinko, I spent a weekend on your site and I didn’t see a single affiliate link, no course promotion or professional services being offered anywhere.

    As I tweeted you before, thank you for your generosity, it is most appreciated.

  55. Jon Bowes Reply

    Wow that was absolutely fantastic! Thank you so much for this article. I am just starting a blog and already working on creating some epic reworks of old content that I KNOW will absolutely crush it.

  56. Marina Darlow Reply

    Bookmarked.
    This is the first post I ever read about SEO, because the decision to become an online business is about a week old. Seems like I chose right, following the “quality over quantity” idea. You do have everything and then some in one post.

    Wow. So much information, I’m a bit overwhelmed, but going to make a detailed plan and implement your strategies step by step.

    By the way – here is living proof great content generates traffic for *years*. It’s September 2014, 5 months after this post was published.
    Thanks, Brian!

  57. Gen Reply

    Hi Brian, I was forwarded this article by a friend and have spent most of today reading it. Thank you! It’s a gold mine of information and I’m feeling much more encouraged I’ll be able to generate traffic than I was this morning. Very much an amateur here, so nothing useful to add, just my thanks 🙂 Cheers, Gen

    1. Debbie Reply

      Terrific information – clear, concise and totally makes sense. So here’s my question and I hope its not somewhere in the body of this content. I get that these strategies will increase exposure – but how to convert that to sales? Is it strictly a numbers game?

  58. Victor Reply

    Hi Brian,

    I’m from Brazil and own a fashion blog here.

    Thanks for the great content!! I’m gonna share it with the blogger to help her to creat relevant content.

    Do you know if the tools you’ve suggested (Reddit and Flippa, for example) are relevant for the BR market?

    Thanks,

  59. Hawk Phil Reply

    This post is awesome and too bad I ran into this way too late in the game. Everything is good suggestion but I have one question though: I found it hard to execute on the “cold email” part though. The reason is there are so many options and sometime it took days just to dig out all the contacts and emails. Most of them are wrong or not accurate. Some are high candidates but no email and only Twitter. What is your recommendation to make this step less “tedious” than it already was? Is there a way to automate the process?

  60. Laurence Griffiths Reply

    Wow. This article has blown me away, absolutely killer content. Took me about 2 hours to walk through each of the actions end to end, although one of the best investments I’ve made with my time for a while. I have 101 new ideas for my blog content now. Thanks Noah!!

  61. David Martin Reply

    Loved the post so much! Will definitely work on this tomorrow and implement your strategy to help my site grow. I’ve read a lot of post and all sorts of things about “proven SEO strategies” and I’m always let down. You on the other hand Brian! Write awesome content that jumps out at me like no-other, definitely will be touching base with you and let you know how my work is doing.

    Keep up the good work Brian!
    Cheers

  62. Dan Sacapano Reply

    This article is a genuine “KEEPER!” I mean, the wealth of information is virtually overwhelming in a truly good way. I felt like a kid who suddenly found a wad of big denomination bills inside a bag with his name on it. You don’t spend, you invest in yourself with what you find, learn and apply!

    It’s quality and value rarely found for FREE! The content alone is worth “camping out” on and assimilating it all and then implementing the practical actionable steps which are clearly explained and made simple to understand. How do you thank people like Noah and Brian who have an Abundant Mentality and willingly dish out their nuggets of golden tips? Thank you Noah and Brian for such an awesome educational article!

  63. Jane Cui Reply

    Thanks Noah and Brian! This is a really helpful post

    Wow Brian, I feel like I see you everywhere on the internet on every single Marketing blog! How do you do it all?

  64. Matt Philleo Reply

    Wow! The tip on contacting websites based on interests and getting links from them is thorough and innovative. That’s some real meat I can dig into. I’m looking forward to putting it into practice. Thank you for the great post!

  65. mimi Reply

    To think I almost passed this up… This is a treasure trove for the freelance content provider. It is also something to chew on for the online platform builder that has an eye on content-based online platforms.
    I feel richer (i.e. money-in-the-bank richer) just going through this (and the comments!). Now to take some action and build that wealth!

  66. Claudiu Reply

    Hi Noah, this is an amazing post thanks for the great advice, I find it extremely useful. I decided to apply a selection of this advice and techniques to my blog. Cheers, Claudiu.

  67. Alex Maina Reply

    This is what I’ve been looking for the past 2 months. Absolutely a game changer. I’d stopped doing online work to relax for some time. On coming back I knew I had to get back into the program as they say. Unfortunately the content I was able to find was the same ol’ same ol’

    Boy I’m I not glad I decided spend more time online today. Then I read this and have to say, absolutely brilliant. Ooops I may be repeating myself.

  68. Billy Reply

    This is great. The sort of thing that once you read it you realize you knew it only you hadn’t put it together. I see that you spend, combined 10+ hours on an article (research, promotion, all that) and drop money on the content design… so it begs the question; are you making any revenue on your blogs with this method?

  69. Craig Riley Reply

    Thank you very much for breaking down the Skyscraper Technique. I have tried to do this in the past but I have not gotten great results. I shall give it another go.

    Cheers

  70. Tim Logie Reply

    great content, i worked through it to check it out and i am very impressed. Thx for the step by step guide that us non techs can follow. shamefully, i feel like an expert now…LOL

  71. Joydeep Dam Reply

    Brian and Noah,

    This post indeed has the smell of epicness 🙂

    I devour this like a choco croissant and I made a pdf as my constant guide on building up a successful blog.

    Thanks for writing and sharing!

  72. Deep Reply

    Incredible. Awesome.
    Great to know that such simple research can help you find great post tiles and write share worthy contents. Finding right title and share worthy topic takes lots of time anyways and then you have to do it every week.
    Thanks for sharing this gem.

  73. Gary Dobbs Reply

    Going To Create Content That Generates 400,000 Target Visitors Thanks To Brian Dean at Backlinko and Grant Cardone The 10X Rule

    How Do You Like That Headline? LOL 🙂

  74. Ronnie Reply

    Great Post Indeed!

    These days, with so such of competition around, writing epic content is crucial. But it is sad to see, that most of the people are still not focusing on this most important factor.

    As far as I know, catchy headline with problem solving content, can reach huge audience very quickly and can attract good quality Backlinks.

    So, we really should focus on content.

  75. Norman McCulloch Reply

    Wow, I am amazed at all of the information you have included in this post. I have been reading many differnt blogs in the last few weeks and I must admit that your posts are rich in content and look very nice! Thanks so much for this valuable info! I just learn so many ways of getting content ideas, and all in one place, here on your blog!

  76. Madala Rakesh Reply

    Hi Brian Dean,

    Good Analysis regarding content ideas. simply an Awesome article, I have ever seen. I am a regular reader for your blog backlinko. Good job!

    This information really helpful to me. Thank you.