The Three Pillars of Blog Traffic

One of the saddest sights online is blogs that have been abandoned by their creators. Many of these are authors who have been told that blogs will help them gather raving fans who will promote their books. These authors didn’t know that there’s nothing more important when starting blogs than getting traffic. Traffic is more important than content, more important than which software is being used to run a blog, more important than a fancy blog header or editorial schedule.

Though it’s true that the quality of content will make or break a blog, and software and design are important, getting traffic is a blog’s existential requirement. That’s because if a blog doesn’t get traffic, it will probably die. It will become one of those melancholy abandoned sites people stumble across online. We don’t want that to happen, because blogging, when done right, really does return amazing rewards to the authors who pursue it.

By traffic, what we mean is people: people who come and read articles, who participate in discussions, who share passions and interests. For authors who are trying to build communities and prepare the ground for future books, learning to integrate three drivers of traffic—content, social media, and search—will deliver results.

Content

The articles a blogger publishes are content. But bloggers need to make sure content attracts traffic. Each blog post needs a clear reason to exist and bloggers should ask themselves these questions before pushing the Publish button:

◗ Does it help someone solve a problem?

◗ Does it answer a question that a lot of people are asking?

◗ Does it make a necessary task easier or show a new way to do it?

◗ Is it written in a way that really communicates with the people who need it most?

Great blog content is unique, memorable, or helpful, or it answers specific questions. How-to articles, for instance, are highly valued by readers stumped by specific processes and can attract a lot of traffic. Product reviews have also become great traffic magnets, with millions of people relying on them for buying assistance. Interviews, opinion pieces, roundups of expert commentary—there’s no end to the kinds of content bloggers can produce if they know what their readers are looking for.

Social Media

A blog is the ideal hub to use when expanding marketing into social media. Social accounts are outposts to attract people who can then be encouraged to visit blogs for further information and engagement. Bloggers should ask these questions when evaluating their social media strategies:

◗ Do they provide their followers with great content, entertainment, links, or ideas?

◗ Have they become known as trusted or entertaining resources?

◗ Is there a good likelihood that their social media followers will heed their calls to action?

Savvy authors find people who are interested in their work on social media and then direct them to their blogs, building their own traffic—not just the traffic for the social media site.

Search

Although Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites now account for a huge amount of web traffic, responses to search queries remain the single largest source of traffic to blogs. Bloggers need to have specific strategies to boost their search traffic and should ask themselves these questions:

◗ Have they spent time making sure that what they publish reflects what people are searching for?

◗ Do they know the keywords that are most important in the subjects they write about?

◗ Do they know how to do simple search engine optimization (SEO) on their blog posts?

◗ Do they use blog metrics such as those provided by Google Analytics (a free program) to find out which efforts are having results?

Although SEO is a complicated science, bloggers don’t have to learn very much to start getting results. There are very few authors who seem to pay attention to SEO, and that’s a big advantage for those who do, as they may be able to rank quite well with just a little work.

The point is that people—readers, viewers, buyers—come for a reason. There has to be something to attract them, and they may need repeated exposure before they discover it. That’s part of the job of authors’ social media outposts: to spread the word about their great and useful content.

Getting these three elements lined up and functioning properly takes some work, experience, and thought. But, with the right content, intelligently written to be friendly to searchers in a niche and circulated within an active social media network, a blog will prosper.

Joel Friedlander is a book designer and author; he blogs about book design, marketing, and the future of the book at The Book Designer.

A version of this article appeared in the 06/26/2017 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: The Three Pillars of Blog Traffic
[“Source-publishersweekly”]

Better Lead Generation: Getting More Search Traffic with SEO

Better Lead Generation: Getting More Search Traffic with SEO

Now that you’ve got a good flow of visits and leads from your search engine marketing efforts, what better way to amp up your search marketing game than by optimizing your website and local presence for the organic, or unpaid, search results?

SEO is the perfect complement to your search advertising and can help you generate more traffic and leads from search results pages and lift the results of your efforts. But there are so many factors that go into search engine optimization, how do you know where to start? And what SEO tactics will have the biggest impact on your lead generation efforts?

Recommended for YouWebcast, February 2nd: Behavioral Marketing Tactics to Drive Sales and Retention

Get on Google My Business

Google My Business is the first place you need to add your business information so your profile can show up for local, Maps, and organic searches on desktop, mobile, and apps. By making sure your business information is accurate and robust, you can help drive search traffic to your Google business profile, which can result in phone calls, in-person visits, and website visits that can all contribute to leads and sales for your business. Learn more about setting up Google My Business with our in-depth ebook.

Emphasize Your Local Presence

When a local search is conducted, search engines scan your website for local information, like your business name, address, and phone number (known as your NAP). So, by listing your contact information clearly on your site’s content and in the structured metadata, search engines can more easily find your website (and help you collect more leads.) Local SEO also includes making sure local directories (not just Google’s!) contain information about your business that’s consistent with your website. Since these local listings can show up as a link or Map result separate from your website, they help you grow your overall presence in search results.

Update Your Website Experience

Today’s search engine algorithms favor a positive and consistent website experience that includes mobile friendliness, simple navigation, fast load times, and relevant content. Not only will updating your website with these features help it index quickly for relevant searches, but it can also help keep visitors on your website when they find it and help them convert.

Publish SEO-Friendly Content

To show up in the organic search results for search queries related to your business, it’s important to do thorough keyword research, then create content for your website or blog. Make sure your content appeals first to your target audience, since search engines now have sophisticated ways to understand searches and no longer rely only on exact keyword matches. You should also optimize your site with keyword-optimized metadata including page titles, tags, and short descriptions that help search engines quickly read and index your site.

When you couple SEO and search advertising, you increase your chances of attracting more online searchers and converting leads into customers. Learn more about using SEO to boost lead generation on our website and download our free on-demand webinar below to learn five search marketing trends you need to know.

[Source:-B2C]

Google Maps On iOS To Have ‘Nearby Traffic Widget’

Google’s endless quest to create the perfect Maps app continues unabated with the release of another update pushed out to its legions of devoted iPhone users on Thursday. It was announced the new “Nearby Traffic” widget that pretty much does what it says on the tin, indicating traffic conditions along your route.

If you are that kind of person who wants to plan ahead and prepare various contingencies for traffic and whatnot, the latest update to Google Maps on iOS might something you might like. Google is now introducing a new widget in the form of “Nearby Traffic” which shows the current traffic around your location. This may help you detect what are the areas you can avoid for you to have a smooth drive.

Google Maps On iOS To Have ‘Nearby Traffic Widget’

According to 9to5 Mac, the latest update to Google Maps brings a new widget the displays traffic time for your location. The widget, seen below, displays a small map showing traffic congestion, with red depicting slow movement and green representing smooth sailing. Additionally, the widget offers up a description. Depending on conditions, the widget will read something along the lines of, “Light traffic in your area. Faster than usual.”

img_0609

In addition, the announced update today seems to remove the Travel Times and Transit widgets that were brought to Google Maps just last month. It’s unclear why Google removed them and if they’re coming back, but for now, Nearby Traffic is the only widget available.

Ubergizmo reported that the new widget will also give a very brief description about the traffic, like “Light traffic in your area” and “Faster than usual”. It has also the ability to search for places along a route while you’re using the app’s turn-by-turn navigation feature. From the navigation display, you can tap the “Search” icon and choose from “Gas Stations” and “Restaurants” criteria or search for a specific place.

How To Update Your iOS Smartphone’s Google Maps

In any case, if you have yet to update your app or download Google Maps for iOS, then head on over to the iTunes App Store for the latest update.

[Source:-iT]

12 WordPress SEO Hacks to Boost Your Business Website Traffic

article

We all want websites that are search-engine friendly. But sometimes when you are busy it’s easy to publish a new blog post and be off to the next thing on your to do list.

Over time, this can really hurt your SEO efforts. That’s why I’ve put together this short hit list of things you can do to boost your WordPress SEO.

Schedule these tasks in your calendar to make your blog traffic soar!

  • Post New Stuff Regularly
    Google has a bias towards fresh content. Part of Google’s algorithm looks at how new the content is and gives preference to more recent results. So publishing original content on a regular basis is important.Also size matters when it comes to content. Generally longer content ranks higher than shorter content. So strive to make your post at least 500 words.
  • Create a Keywords List
    If SEO is a priority, then you’ll want to develop a keyword list. This is basically a list of keywords and phrases that describes your products and services. These keywords should include words from search terms that are more likely to be used to find your offerings online.Google has some incredible tools to make keyword research easy including Google Search, Google Suggest, Google Instant and Google Wonder Wheel.
  • Install an SEO Plugin
    This will allow you to set keyword-rich custom titles and Meta descriptions for your posts for search engines.A couple of popular SEO plug-ins to consider are All in One SEO Pack and WordPress SEO by Yoast.Again, this is something your web designer or an SEO professional can easily install for you.
  • Hand Submit to Search Engines
    What good is a site if no one can find it? That’s why getting listed in Google and the other popular search engines and directories is one of the most effective ways of getting free targeted traffic to your website.You have probably seen lots of automated submission services where you pay a small fee for them to submit your site to hundreds of search engines. These services not only won’t help – they can actually hurt you.Almost all of these free directories never send an actual visitor to your website and getting links from them can hurt your ability to rank in the real search engines like Google and Bing.

    The best practice is to manually submit your site to search engines yourself. WordPress makes this easy once you set up an account in Google, Bing and Yandex Webmaster Tools.

    If unsure, just ask your webmaster or SEO Specialist to set up these accounts.

  • Add Tags to your Posts
    WordPress, straight out of the box, comes ready to embrace search engines. The tags features is one of those SEO friendly features you should take advantage of.Be sure to add relevant keyword-rich tags to every post you publish.
  • Leave Comments on Other Blogs
    Start linking more to other people’s posts on their blogs and encourage them to link back to you.One search engine factor that Google considers is backlinking. A website that has more backlinks is considered more of an authority site and gets higher rankings.
  • Block Spam Comments
    When people leave comments on your blog, it counts as content to Google. So if you have a website about DIY crafts and someone leaves 5 comments about “cheap enhancement pills’ that ruins your keyword relevancy and hurts your rankings.So blocking spam comments from posting to your blog will improve your SEO – as well as make your real blog readers happy.
  • Use Image Alt Tags
    For each image you use in your post, ensure you add the Alt tag to help them rank better in image searches. This is another excellent place to put relevant keywords.Google has an image search function that works in pretty much the exact same way as the webpage search with keywords and relevance. So adding Alt tags helps Google find and include your images when someone does an image search.
  • Tweak Blog Post Titles
    If you quickly wrote titles to your blog posts before, take time to review them first before publishing.Your blog post titles are vitally important to your SEO rankings so compare the keywords used to your keyword list and make your blog titles more keyword rich.
  • Add Social Media Sharing Buttons
    When Google sees a blog article is getting a lot of posts and shares on social media, it boosts the ranking of that blog post.So making it easy for readers to share your posts helps others Tweet and share your great content!
  • Update Your Theme
    Not all WordPress themes are SEO Friendly and the free WordPress themes may be hurting your search engine rankings because of this.Having a premium WordPress theme ensures your content will be indexed by the search engines, since the developers have taken special time to optimize every aspect in terms of both security and SEO.It’s smart to make sure your theme programming isn’t bloated with inefficient code that slows down page load times.

[Source:-B2 C]

Google Maps iOS update brings ‘Nearby Traffic’ widget, pit stop function

Google Maps, Google maps ios update, Google maps v4.25.0, Goole maps ios widgets, nearby traffic ios widget, add stop on google maps, new google maps ios features, navigation, technology, technology newsGoogle’s latest update to the Google Maps app (v 4.25.0) on iOS brings forth a new feature: “Nearby Traffic” widget. The update brings optimisation for the iOS 10 widgets functionality, and also adds a new feature that will make it easier to find a place to stop during a ride.

The ‘Nearby Traffic’ widget does exactly what it says on the update, and gives users information of traffic conditions near their location in real-time without having to open the Google Maps app. It will be able tell you if there is light or heavy traffic in your area, and also display any delays you can expect.

This functionality is already available for Android users, and appears in the notifications area whenever Google Maps assesses moderate to heavy traffic. In case the traffic is light, the information that will be shown would be ‘light traffic in your area’ or ‘faster than usual’.

To add the ‘Nearby Traffic’ widget to your iOS device, simply swipe right on your home screen and access the widget. Then, scroll down to the bottom and select edit. Then you can add the Google Maps widget to your existing ones, and move it around for optimum placement. iOS already has two other widgets that allow you to find ‘Travel Times’ to home/work and a ‘Public Transport Nearby’ widget.

Read: OnePlus 3T launched in India: Sale date, price, specifications and features

The new update also brings the ability for users to search for nearby places (like restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores and petrol pumps) while they are using the turn-by-turn feature navigation in the Google Maps app. Once you have started your journey, you can simply tap on the search icon on the top right and select any of the options to ‘Add Stop’. This eliminates the need to turn off navigation just to look for pit stops along the way.

Google has been hosting an aggressive advertising and marketing campaign in India. Billboards with Google Maps adds, especially on how to use the service in Hindi are all over Delhi, and the product has emerged as very useful one in India. The offline maps feature has also proved to be an important one.

In the capital, Google Maps is probably the best way to gauge traffic conditions, given the kind of traffic jams that take place on a daily basis. Now the new widget in iOS should make it more convenient for users who are relying on Google Maps for their daily navigation.

[Source:-Tech i.e]

Google Maps v9.39 adds a handy traffic widget and hints at live data about busy places [APK Teardown + Download]

Google Maps made it into the update cycle this week, bumping the version number up to 9.39. This update appears to be a bit lighter than many from the last few months, but it’s not completely lacking improvements. There’s a new shortcut that can be used to jump directly into the traffic screen. A quick teardown also reveals a potential improvement to the busyness chart on many locations. As always, we’ve got a link below to pick up the APK.

What’s New

Unofficial Changelog:

  • New traffic widget

Traffic widget

2016-10-14 17.39.292016-10-14 17.37.442016-10-14 17.39.15

Thanks to the millions of active smartphones roaming around the planet at any given time, Google is able to create a fairly accurate image of what traffic conditions are like. A few weeks back, Google added a new notification to warn users about potential traffic issues before they get on the road, linking it to a screen with a map with the current traffic situation. If that notification wasn’t quite timely enough, the new version of Maps introduces a more consistent way to get back to that screen at any time with a handy shortcut for your homescreen.

There are two ways to add the shortcut to your homescreen. To begin with, it’s located in the regular widget/shortcut list, so there’s no need to even open the Maps app to track it down, unlike the Timeline shortcut (for no obvious reason). If you end up on the traffic screen through the notification, you can also drag the card upward to find a suggestion to add the shortcut.

Teardown

Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android’s application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information. It’s possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that plans could change or may be canceled entirely. Much like rumors, nothing is certain until it’s officially announced and released.The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don’t expect to see these features if you install the apk.

Live busy-ness scale

2016-10-14 20.28.13nexus2cee_Screenshot_20160924-113543

Left: current view in Maps. Right: live data from dogfood version of Google Search.

The scale showing popular times can be a handy way to figure out if you’re about to walk into a restaurant or other public location and find it packed to the brim with people. However, the scale can occasionally be misleading, especially if there are special events, recent changes, or some other factor that’s either driving people to the same place, or possible away from it. If you’re really trying to judge how full a place is before walking in the door, you really need up-to-date information… And that’s exactly what Google Maps has in store.

<string name=”BUSYNESS_LIVE”>LIVE</string>

It’s really no surprise this feature is coming, the same thing recently turned up in a dogfood version of the web interface for Google Search. There’s not much to look at for evidence – just a single string – but as the screenshot above shows, it doesn’t take much to make the confirmation. The line is named busyness_live, which shares the same busyness prefix found in the other strings used with the popular times chart. It’s safe to assume the two charts will look the same, given that the two versions are generally identical.

Download

The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

[Source:-Android Police]

The 6 Types of Content That Will Boost Traffic and Engagement

The 6 Types of Content That Will Boost Traffic and Engagement

In a fantastic post on Distilled, author Hannah Smith talks about the importance of creating content that is goal-driven—that is, what you create should be driven by what you want to achieve.

She explains that in order to succeed, most websites will need four key types of content:

1. Content to entertain

Most content marketing efforts focus on education and helpfulness, and while this is a great track to take, as I’ll discuss below, it can also be a missed opportunity to interact with readers and connect to them on a very basic human-to-human level.

Content that entertains is often funny, frequently highly shareable, and often is able to quickly transform a “company” into a “group of people just like me.”

This aspect of just like me can be crucial in building trust and separating the true fans from the random visitors. As Hannah explains:

Content which has been created to entertain might not be directly related to your products/services, however in order to do its job, it does need to appeal to your target audience.

2. Content to educate

Content that’s created specifically to educate achieves the same goals as content to entertain, but is often a next step in showing readers and potential users why your website or product is worth sticking around for. While content to entertain appeals to a reader’s emotions, content to educate appeals to their rationality.

Content to educate is what we go for here at Buffer with posts such as the one that you’re reading. Again, shareability is key with content that’s meant to educate.

3. Content to inspire

In inspiration contagious? It can be when done right, when something you publish resonates with so many people so quickly that they can’t help but pass it on.

Inspiration doesn’t necessarily have to be quotes on a picture.

In fact, the best kind of inspiration often comes in the form of case studies, customer testimonials and stories of failures and challenges that successful people have faced along the way.

4. Content to convert

Content created for the purpose of conversion is typically meant to nudge a reader in the direction of some sort of action, for instance, signing up for a newsletter, taking a free e-course, or buying a product.

This infographic by Distilled shows how your content can be divided up into the above four categories:

the-content-matrix

6 Types of Content To Experiment With on Your Blog

1. Infographics

It’s been proven repeatedly that human beings are, by a large majority, visual learners. Speaking to the power of images, one study showed that after three days, a person would retain only 10-20 percent of written or spoken information but almost 65 percent of visual information.

Another study showed that an illustrated text was 9 percent more effective than text alone when testing immediate comprehension and 83 percent more effective when the test was delayed.

It’s no surprise then, that readers not only enjoy looking at infographics, but are much more likely to remember them and the information contained in them. This makes infographics a particularly good type of content to use on your blog or for your brand messaging. They’re digestible, they’re good to look at, and sometimes they can be a lot of fun. Infographics are particularly good when you have data-heavy research or numbers and statistics that can make for dry reading.

The best part about infographics? They get shared, and shared frequently. Up to three times more often than other content, according to this study.

visual-content-other-sensesSource: http://www.mammothinfographics.com/why-infographics/

When creating infographics, remember to:

  1. Focus on quality and visual appeal: While there are several free tools for creating infographics, if you’re not skilled at the art of visual design or don’t fancy learning now, investing in a professional to create one really great infographic will always trump creating many mediocre ones.
  1. Have fresh content: Though it can be tempting to create an infographic from regurgitated research, we suggest you always go for new and fresh ideas that haven’t previously been shared (or shared widely). New research or studies in your industry that haven’t yet been released can be a fantastic way to share new content. You might have some numbers or theories from your own research, too. Or put together findings from companies that aren’t well known. Whichever way you choose to do it, remember to make your infographics fresh, current, and relevant for your readers.
  1. Be generous. It can be a little counterproductive to spend time, resources, perhaps even money in creating an infographic only then to keep it exclusive to your own website. By their very nature, infographics are meant to be shared widely, and you’d truly benefit from yours if you make them shareable. A great way to do this is to include the embed code on your website with the infographic, so that for anyone who might want to use it, it’s simply a matter of grabbing it from your website and pasting it on to theirs.

Here are some examples of infographics that we’ve highlighted before. at Buffer:

2. Lists

Brands and bloggers are now discovering what women’s magazines have known for decades: Lists work. And top 10 lists work even better.

A couple of years ago, marketing scholars Mathew S. Isaac of Seattle University and Robert M. Schindler of Rutgers University searched the term “top [number]” in Google using all numbers 1 through 100. Those ending in zero dominated, followed closely by those ending in five.

inline-i-topten-pipp

They argued, in the Journal of Consumer Research, that people largely exhibited a so-called top 10 effect, that is, we have a tendency to lump things into round-number groups and viewing everything outside them as inferior. So the difference, they say, between items ranked No. 10 and No. 11 feels enormous and significant, even if it’s actually quite minimal or unknown.

In an interview with Co.Design, they say,

“Our own experiences sort of led to this impression that if it’s not in the top 10, then it’s in the next category. The overall idea is that numbers generally are considered to be equidistant, but subjectively they’re not.”

What does this mean for you?

  1. Create lists.
  2. Create more lists.
  3. Keep creating lists.

In fact, given that 30% of all blog posts are lists, you’re unlikely to go wrong.

When creating lists, however, remember to:

  1. Meet a need: Try not to create a list for the sake of creating a list, but because it will help your users and readers solve a problem or fill a need.
  1. Experiment with numbers: While top 10 lists are, and always have been, popular, lists of dozens, sometimes hundreds of resources, tips, and strategies, often tend to do very well also, especially online, where users can save them for later and refer to them as they move through the list.
  1. Make them skimmable: Lists are frequently skimmed through and not read, so make sure to number them and headline them nicely so that someone who’s looking through quickly can still get a bulk of the information they need.

Here are some examples of lists that have worked for us at Buffer:

  • Find Your Strategy: 6 Actionable Social Media Strategies From Successful Brands
  • ‘What Should I Post on Facebook?’ 12 Facebook Tactics Working Right Now
  • The 43 Best Books and Twitter Accounts to Inspire Your Social Media Sharing

3. Case studies and success stories

We’re wired to love stories and the benefits of storytelling are well documented.

The best kinds of stories almost always follow a three-act structure, a model used in screenwriting that divides a fictional narrative into three parts:

  1. The setup: This is where the world is created and the level set for what people are expected to do, be like, and behave like. This act shows what normal life looks like in this world and by the end of act one, something happens to disrupt this normal life and cause our protagonist to jump into action or make a decision.
  1. The confrontation: The second act is where our protagonist must find solutions to his or her problems, only to keep finding bigger problems and bigger bottlenecks. The protagonist does not yet have the skills or experience, perhaps even the confidence, to deal with the problems that are thrown in his or her way. In order for the protagonist to succeed, they must learn a new skill, have a new experience, or have a eureka moment that elevates them to the level they need to be in order to make their world right again.
  1. The resolution: This is the final act. The story is brought to its most intense moment and the final climax. Victory has arrived, and the protagonist and other characters have a new sense of who they are.

Source: http://www.nownovel.com

Why am I telling you about storytelling?

Because if you approach your customers and users as protagonists and tell their stories with all the highs, the lows, and the dragons they have beaten down to get to their success today, you will find amazing resonance with the rest of your audience.

People may want to hear about the awesome features of your product, and you should definitely tell them. But try telling them stories, too, about people who built businesses while vanquishing their own personal demons, finding mentors, and eventually reaching the summit with a new sense of self. Share with them the trials and tribulations of your customers and users; indeed, tell them about yourself.

While case studies can be told in a number of different formats, it is one of the rare content formats that is almost exclusively designed for storytelling. It can be very helpful to take advantage of that.

When creating case studies, remember to:

  1. Talk about failures and successes: Case studies, and any stories really, are much more relatable when they’re about real people, and real people almost always experience failure before they experience success. When you talk about how your users have succeeded with your products or services, don’t also forget to mention the journey they took to get there.
  1. Make it about them: A case study is not about you or your product, it’s about how your product aided in the journey of a person. The story is about them. Remember to keep that focus on them with your product only being a small part of the equation.

Here’s a fantastic case study that achieves results without being salesy:

How One Couple is Making $600,00 Per Year Selling Digital Products

4. How-to guides

When you’re thinking of writing a how-go guide on your website, go long. The perfect post is known to be 1,500 words but the more in-depth you go with an idea or topic, the meatier it is, the more likelihood that it will get read and shared.

Medium’s research on this shows that an ideal blog post comes in to be a 7-minute read, which is approximately 1,600 words:

We do how-to guides pretty regularly here at Buffer, where we’ll take all the elements we’ve discussed so far—infographics, lists, etc.—and play with them, but we use them in the context of long, detailed blog posts that tell you everything you need to know about the topic at hand.

A great way to think about how-to guides or longer blog posts is to think of them as list blog posts with only two or three bullet points, where you’re diving really deeply into each of those bullet points.

When creating how-to guides, remember to:

  1. Solve a problem or fill a need for your specific audience: A detailed how-to guide is only helpful if it actually solves a real problem for your audience. If your audience consists of solopreneurs who have been in business for 5+ years, a tutorial on setting up WordPress is probably not going to help them much. A tutorial on building additional passive revenue streams, on the other hand, might be exactly what they’ve been looking for.
  1. Break it up: When things start getting too complicated in your how-to guides (as they often do), break them up visually by creating checklists, quotes, and simplifying with the help of bullet points. Long guides, especially those that run 3,000-5,000 words as some of ours do here at Buffer, can be especially difficult to read if they’re also then written in large chunks of text.

Here are some examples of how-to guides that have worked for us at Buffer:

  • How to Create a Social Media Marketing Plan From Scratch
  • How to Choose the Right Stock Photo for Your Next Project
  • The Eternally Clickable Headlines of Buffer (And How to Write and Find Your Own)

5. Personal stories

It is no secret that when it comes to social media, emotion rules the day. It stands to reason then, that if you’re creating content for your audience, getting them to engage with it on an emotional level is a fantastic way to connect with them.

  • Personal essays: Stories told through the lens of an experience you’ve had in your life that taught you something or changed you as a person.
  • Opinions/rants: Handle this one with care, but sometimes, going against the grain and taking a stand against a position everyone else is taking can be a good way to get some attention and share your ideas and theories with the rest of the world. A very good example of this is James Altucher, who is known for his controversial ideas on why not to buy a house or invest in your 401k.
  • Inspirational tales: Whether yours or someone else’s, the best way to engage emotion is to show or tell someone that touches them deeply. A lot of inspirational stories have a way of doing this. Educating your audience is a fantastic goal. Inspiring them to take action of what you’ve taught them might be an even better one.

When sharing personal stories, remember to:

  1. Inspire, not bait: It’s easy (and tempting!) to rant about things for the sake of riling up emotions, but this is almost never a good idea unless you actually care about an issue and are passionately sharing a thought you hold. Readers can see through attempts at garnering clicks, which leads to a lack of trust in your content and therefore, your brand.
  1. Be vulnerable: Writing instructors will often tell you that there is one, and only one, secret to good writing: Be vulnerable. Open yourself up. Allow for the idea that someone may disagree with and perhaps even criticize your work. As it happens, at Buffer, we believe that too.

Here is an example of a personal essay that my friend Jennifer Lawler posted on her blog that will take your breath away:

For Jessica

6. Resources and Tools

A list of resources and tools can be a fantastic way to deliver value to your audience while simultaneously working with a content type that isn’t quite as time and work-intensive.

The best resources and tools lists tend to go long. At Buffer, we tend to prefer giving users a choice of every resource we can get our hands on and letting them make the decision for themselves based on their preferences.

When creating lists of resources and tools, remember to:

  1. Create longer lists: Longer lists tend to do better in this category because they tend to deliver more value and cater to a wider variety of users than just a quick list of five or six resources.
  1. Don’t forget the visual aspect: Especially for blog posts of this nature, it’s very easy to forget to think about visual elements. Those are important, however, because they can help break up the text and make for easier reading.

Here are some examples of resources and tools lists that have worked for us at Buffer:

  • The Big List of Twitter Tools: 91 Free Twitter Tools and Apps to Fit Any Need
  • 19+ Free Tools to Start Your Podcast From Scratch
  • 37+ Tips and Resources for Building a Fine-Tuned Content Marketing Machine From the Ground Up

 
[SOURCE :-entrepreneur]