Data from Hubspot has shown that businesses that blog generate 67 percent more leads than businesses that do not blog.
However, a major challenge is getting people to actually read the content you’ve published; content, no matter how great, is pretty much useless if you can’t get your target audience to read it.
How do you know what will resonate, and how do you ensure a maximum number of people read this content, in the process creating more awareness about your offerings?
Having published over 600 articles on two blogs in the past few years, I’ve come to terms with the fact that 90 percent of my articles will only get a few hundred views at best, with the others getting maybe a few thousand views at best.
Only a select few articles have exceeded the 10,000-views mark, and even fewer articles have exceeded the 100,000-views mark; however, carefully analyzing the super successful articles, the ones with over 100,000 views, has led to me discovering how to increase blog traffic by creating content that, on average, gets at least 10,000 percent more views than general articles.
The key is to create resources, such as this resource guide by Digital Current’s Jayson Akers, instead of just offering advice.
Here are two key case studies that prove the effectiveness of this.
Case Study #1: Writers in Charge (3 Articles and an Average of 100,000 Views Each)
The first case study is from Writers in Charge, a blog dedicated to writers over the world.
Almost four years ago, I published an article titled “30 Websites That Pay Writers.” This post is different from others on my blog, though, because it is resources-oriented and gives people actual resources they can use instead of just tips.
The article featured 30 websites that publicly announced that they were paying writers, and it included all necessary details, such as the amount they were paying, the payment mode, and their instructions.
The article was a little over 2,000 words, and it was published when the blog was getting an average of 25,000 monthly visitors.
At this stage, while articles on Writers in Charge average 600 views the month they are published, this article significantly outperformed the average article with 2,969 views the first month it was published.
Here’s a screenshot of traffic within a month of the article going live; also note the average time on page of 17:01 minutes.
The article went on to get over 25,000 views within a year of its publication. Here’s the screenshot:
It’s now been viewed by over 200,000 people in less than four years of its publication. Here’s a screenshot (the screenshot shows 152,000 views since tracking was lost on the site for a year, but another analytics service reveals a little over 60,000 views for the same article within this period):
Seeing the success of this article, I repeated the process and compiled a similar article featuring 45 sites that pay writers, and its success was similar to the first one: 4,664 views within a month of its publication, over 40,000 views within a year of its publication, and over 100,000 views in two years.
Here’s a screenshot of traffic to the second article within a month of publication:
In the spirit of doing more of what works, I published a follow-up to both articles, featuring even more websites, this January 2015, that ended up getting 6,289 views within a month of its publication (screenshot below), and that has gotten over 15,000 views within four months of its publication, already on track to outperform the first two articles.
Case Study #2: Effective Business Ideas (a Mega Resource With Over 20,000 Views in Its First Year)
The second case study was on Effective Business Ideas (formerly Guest Blogging Tactics), and it involved a mega-resource blog featuring a list of around 500 websites that accept guest posts.
The resource article was published at a time when the blog was getting an average of 500 visitors a month and when most articles were getting a maximum of 50 to 100 views monthly, since it was a new blog. But their article got over 300 views within a month of its publication.
Shortly after publishing the resource article, on its strength alone, monthly traffic increased to an average of 2,000 monthly visitors within four months, and then again to an average of 4,500 monthly visitors in another four months.
Below are two screenshots; the first one shows growth in monthly visits the year the resource article was published, while the second one shows growth in monthly page views. It’s easy to know when the resource article was published.
Here’s the traffic screenshot:
Here’s the page view screenshot:
Eventually, the list of blogs in the article that accept guest posts got 15,436 views within a year of its publication, and it has directly resulted in five figures in income for my freelancing business; the second closest article to it got 616 views.
The Power of Resource Content
The above case studies are not the only instances of successful resource content I’ve experienced, but I highlighted them because they stood out.
In over five years of blogging, I can’t remember seeing an instance of resource content that has failed.
Most businesses and bloggers struggle with their content marketing strategy because their content is basically a recap of what another blogger has written, and it only offers tips for readers. The problem is that readers have most likely come across the same tips you are sharing dozens or hundreds of times before and, while they do want to take action, they are unable; perhaps because they don’t know how, they find it difficult, or for some reason just can’t take action.
A resource article brings the action right to them; instead of saying, “look for websites that pay writers and apply to write for them,” you’re saying, “here’s an actual list of websites that pay writers.”
Instead of saying, “guest blogging is good for marketing, so look for blogs that accept guest posts and submit to them,” you say, “here’s a list of blogs that accept guest posts in 25 different niches; make your choice and send them your guest posts.”
Instead of saying, “look for good universities and enroll to further your education,” you say, “here’s a list of the 50 best universities, their ratings, and how/where to apply.”
A resource makes it extremely easy for readers to take action by presenting all necessary tools and information to them; in exchange, they bookmark the resource, share it with their friends to look cool, and can’t stop talking about it. That leads to more traffic, social shares, and increased search rankings.
How to Create Your Own Resource Article
Here are some tips for creating a resource article:
Step 1: Look for a common pain point your readers have that has largely been only addressed through tips and advice.
Step 2: Create a resource that solves this common problem.
While resources could contain links to where readers can take a certain action, they don’t have to; the aim is to present everything necessary to take action in one place, so that their research ends on your site, and they have everything they can act on as soon as they finish reading your article.
For example, instead of just telling people to monetize a site with ads, a good resource could be a list of various ad networks, their pros and cons, how to apply to the ad networks, and direct links to do so.
Instead of telling people that they can exercise to lose weight, a quality resource could be one featuring 20 exercises you can do to lose weight, how to do them, and what you need to do them.
Even more, a resource could be a spreadsheet, plug-in/add-on, tool, or something that can’t be directly presented in an article; the aim is to give readers what they can act on right away.
How to Promote Your Resource Content
Quality resources tend to take on a life of their own; people don’t have a choice but to keep reading, sharing, and linking to them.
The resources from the case studies I shared earlier in this article have been linked to hundreds of times, and they now get at least twice the traffic they got their first month every single month.
Two other good examples of resource articles are the lists of top universities in the U.S by U.S. News and Forbes, with ratings, cost information, and other necessary information to help you make a decision on applying to a university of your choice without leaving their website; pretty much any student researching universities will come across this in one way or the other.
Over time, your resources will become naturally popular since they are solving key problems; however, here are some quick tips for promoting them:
- Promote it using every available channel. Before taking external action, you want to make sure that you’ve fully exposed your resource content to your audience and share it everywhere.
- Promote it on LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn is one of the top sources of referral traffic to my resource articles on Writers in Charge; I promoted them by looking for groups where writers are active, and I shared them there.
This has led to hundreds of shares, with several people thanking me for sharing the resources with them; LinkedIn has been a top source of readers to my blog because of this.
- Email other bloggers about it. Most bloggers won’t respond if you email them about a generic article on your blog, but it’s different for a resource article.
After publishing my resource articles, other bloggers aware of them linked to them on their blogs; most likely, it is something they needed as well, so I was solving their problems. They also increased their clout by sharing it with their readers.
If a blogger makes a point in an article suggesting their readers take an action that your resource article solves, ask them to include your resource article.
- Reference it in guest posts. This was a strategy I used with the resource of websites that pay writers. I did a few guest posts shortly after it was published, and whenever I talk about writing for pay I linked to the resource article. This resulted in direct links from my guest posts, more awareness from readers who further linked to it on their blogs, and a massive increase in search rankings as a result.
Resources are not difficult to link to in your guest posts, even inside the content itself. Resources complement points in your article, and as a result it is much easier to link to them without appearing to break any rules.