Your company regularly publishes blog posts and although you’ve generally been pleased with their content, they’ve failed to provide much of an ROI in terms of driving traffic or improving conversion rates – with perhaps, a few exceptions.
Since the subject matter contained in those posts is valuable, relevant to your brand, and basically sound, you don’t want to let them go to waste.
Nor do you have to.
It’s simply a matter of turning them into authority pieces, and that definitely includes the best ones – those “exceptions”.
It’s not that hard to do.
You’ll be building on the material you’ve already published, and the results can be pretty amazing. Your new authority pieces will rank higher, drive more traffic, keep visitors engaged, and be regarded as valuable source material.
Plus, you’ll have demonstrated your amazing ability to turn ugly ducklings into swans.
After you’ve updated your original blog, used it as the foundation for an authority piece, and published your new authority piece, you’re going to turn it into a traffic-generating machine.
Here’s how you go about it.
How to Turn an Existing Blog Into a Traffic Generating Machine
First: Bring Your Blog Up to Date
Bringing an existing blog up to date can be time well spent. You’ll already have a foundation to build your authority piece on, plus it would probably take more time to create one from scratch. The search engines will look kindly on your blog’s improved freshness and extra value, list it closer to the top, and reward you with a spike in traffic.
- Grammar – This is a chance to improve your site’s UX. It’s also an opportunity to fix those nasty little spelling and grammar mistakes you hadn’t noticed before. They really stand out, don’t they? While you’re at it, shorten up those 40 to 50-word sentences. While some English majors might call it cheating, using semi-colons can be helpful.
- Readability – Make your content more readable with subheadings. Subheadings allow readers to scan without getting lost. And use bold and italics for emphasis, when it’s really
- Broken Links – A law of thermodynamics states that things you build inevitably fall apart. It’s called entropy. With a blog, it’s called broken links; search engines frown upon them.
- New Data – Improve the accuracy of your content by replacing turn-of-the-century, or even 3 year-old data and statistics with 2019 data. Not all users may be interested about what happened in 2015.
- Keywords – Check your keywords to see if optimization is in order. If you’re revising and adding content, you may need to see if any keywords are out of date or if new ones are in order.
- Publish and Promote – Promote your new blog as you would if you had created it from scratch. If you’ve done a good job of updating, it will be as good as new anyway. Add a note at the bottom to indicate when your updated blog was published so users will know they have up-to-date information.
- Multimedia – Do a voice recording of your updated blog to create a podcast you could use as bonus to grow your email list. Or add (up-to-date) photos and videos. You could also use your updated blog as the basis for a slideshow.
Next: “Meat It Up” to Add More Value
Adding value to a blog by adding substantive material generally makes it longer; perhaps much longer. That can be a good thing, since longer has proven to be better.
2,000+ word high-quality blog posts typically perform better than shorter 500-word ones since they are usually perceived as providing more value. Longer content is also more apt to get social media attention.
And, publishing a longer, more comprehensive post that delves deep into the intricacies of a user’s interests or concerns will paint you as an authority on the subject and authority within your industry.
Which is, of course, why they’re referred to as authority pieces.
Would you jump to a dozen different websites to collect important information you’re looking for when everything’s right in front of you in a single, well-written and authoritative blog?
Not when you have a choice.
In addition to convincing readers, you’re an authority on the subject at hand, longer, in-depth articles attract more backlinks (to the delight of search engines), they tend to rank higher in search results, and they get more shares on social media.
Adding “meat” to a blog post involves adding content that provides added value to that post. That added content can come from several sources, but in every case, it must be relevant.
Beefing up your blog involves –
- Re-reading your original post. What information could you expand upon and what additional information could you present that will add greater value? You could expand upon your blog’s primary insights or lessons by providing greater detail or additional insights, making them more easily understood, or adding images or infographics.
- Doing intensive research; This is critical if you expect to be perceived as an authority figure. Digging into data and facts will help you avoid basing your “expertise” on a series of generic statements you’d find in most other articles on the topic.
- Creating a well-defined structure to build your message around. Readers don’t always read a lengthy article from start to finish without skipping around. A well-defined structure allows readers to jump from one section to another without getting lost. The flow of the article is important, and subtitles can be used to good effect.
- Once you’ve defined a structure, start writing. Save editing, making changes, and adding links or multimedia for later.
Don’t worry about writing too many words. It’s easier to cut back on content than to try to add it later. How long is too long? It’s the value of your content that counts, and the more you can contribute the better. Blog posts are getting longer year by year. The average blog length in 2017 was just over 1,100 words. In 2014 it was 800.
Back in 2011 it was fashionable to write shorter blog posts and stuff them with keywords. This approach worked with the search engines even though keyword stuffing makes for terrible reading. Fortunately, the search engines caught on to the scheme. Today, Google not only takes value into account but intent as well.
- Post It. You’re satisfied with your newly created authority piece. Now it’s simply a matter of posting it and your work is finished.
It’s time to add a content update. This is where you put your new authority piece to work for you so you can realize the greatest possible return on the time and effort you invested in creating it.
Finally: Add a Content Upgrade
To avoid confusion, a content upgrade in this context isn’t the same as a content update. It’s about the extra content you provide that upgrades the value your blog’s visitors receive – in return for their email addresses.
In this case, the extra content could be your newly-minted authoritative piece, just as you wrote it or in a different format. However you present it, it’s intended to give your visitor extra value – for free.
Your content upgrade needs to be relevant to the content in your blog, and your authoritative piece certainly is. It could also be an entirely different article that has a different take on the subject of your blog; as long as it’s relevant.
What form could your content upgrade take?
- Your authoritative piece in a PDF format.
- An audio version of your authoritative piece.
- The subject matter of your blog/authoritative piece reformatted as a cheat sheet or a checklist*.
- A video or brief video tutorial.
- A detailed infographic.
Or, whatever else you could think of just as long as it provides added value and is completely relevant to the subject at hand.
Checklist* was highlighted because one is easy to create, it provides a summary, and it’s action-focused.
Content upgrades are currently a hot item for one simple reason – they work!
A Summary of Your Accomplishments
- You’ve made changes to your original blog to bring it up to date, you’ve made other fixes or improvements, republished it, and notified your email recipients that you’ve done so.
- You conducted additional research on the subject matter of your blog and used your findings to create and promote an authoritative piece that expanded on and added value to the subject matter and encouraged social media sharing and backlinking.
- You can provide a free content upgrade to your site visitors in exchange for their email addresses and add extra value to your original blog in the process.
As the social media folks like to say, if your authoritative piece/content upgrade is really good, it might just go viral.
We’ll be more than happy to provide an extra set of eyes for you if you would like someone to review your authoritative piece before you publish it, or your content upgrade before you offer it.
If you need assistance of any kind in delivering this type of added value to your visitors and customers, we’re always more than ready to help. Reach out to us today.