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Don’t Blog Unless You Use These Five Blogging Tools

Are you having a hard time coming up with ideas to blog about? I did at first and still do on occasion. Now there are all kinds of free tools to help you brainstorm about ideas and also see which topics are trending. Obviously it makes more sense for you to blog about trending topics in your niche since you want eyeballs – and lots of them – reading your blog. Don’t even think about blogging unless you use these five blogging tools.

Blogging Tool #1: Quick Sprout

To start, simply enter your URL or your competitor’s URL here. You’ll see a report that looks like this:

Quick Sprout Site Analysis Tool

When you click on the “social media tab,” you’ll see a table that shows all the pages on any given domain and sorts them by social shares. This is useful because if you want to see what blog posts are working well for your competition, just put in their URLs into the tool. The table will show you their popular posts.

By analyzing your competition with the Quick Sprout tool, you’ll gain insights into what is working for your competitors and the type of content you should be producing on your blog.

Blogging Tool #2: Buzzsumo

It isn’t easy to come up with topics to write about. Luckily, Buzzsumo helps with the task.

All you have to do is visit Buzzsumo and type in a keyword related to your industry. For this example, let’s use the phrase “content marketing.”

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo crawls the web for blog posts and indexes them all like Google. Buzzsumo then sorts the results by social shares and shows the posts with the highest share count at the top.

You will see what type of content has done well in the past. You can then come up with article ideas based on the list.

For example, one of the most shared titles was “An Internet Marketing Education in 16 Ebooks and 20 Emails. No Charge.” You could easily use this to write a blog post of your own and change the title to “Get Your MBA in Internet Marketing with these 16 Ebooks and 20 Emails.”

Blogging Tool #3: Open Site Explorer

Do you want more search traffic?

Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer is a useful tool because it sorts all the URLs within a domain by backlinks. And as you know, the more backlinks a website has, the more search traffic it will typically receive.

This helps you understand which of your blog posts are delivering the most backlinks. You should be writing more posts like those.

The tool also shows you the-most-linked-to posts on your competitors’ blogs. See what is working for them, and try to replicate that on your blog. When you do this, don’t copy your competitor. The goal is to one up them and create a better blog post. This way, you can email all the people that link to your competitor and ask them to also link to your post.

Blogging Tool #4: Emails

The best traffic source for practically any blog is email. You want to make sure you have all types of opt-ins on your blog to make it easy for people to add themselves to your mailing list.

Once you have a list, you can then email your subscribers through a service provider such as MailChimp, Aweber or Constant Contact.

As a general rule of thumb, you will want to notify your list of each blog post you release. But if you release more than three posts a week, you should consider a weekly blast to avoid flooding people’s inboxes and angering them.

Blogging Tool #5: Simply Measured

Simply Measured is a social media analytics platform and I like them because they have a handful of really cool, free social media analytics tools.

You can put in your social media handle in one of them, and the tool will tell you the best times for you to send a tweet or share a post on Facebook.

simplymeasured

Their reports will break down data such as:

  • Words and phrases your users want to see in social media posts.
  • Time of day they use these social media platforms. This way you know when to post.
  • Top users that follow you and the times when they log in.

The reason you want to use these tools is because you don’t want to tweet at 8 a.m. when all of your followers are on Twitter at 4 p.m.

Conclusions

Blogging doesn’t have to be hard. There are a ton of free blogging tools out there that can help you generate ideas and increase your readership.

Content Marketing: Don’t forget the marketing side of content marketing

Everyone is doing content marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 94% of all small businesses, 93% of B2Bs, and 77% of B2Cs use content marketing. That’s basically everyone.

However, not everyone is doing content marketing the right way. One of the quickest ways to kill your content is to do nothing after you take the time to write it.

Some people think that content marketing is all about merely creating content and waiting, a la field of dreams, for people to come and find it. This is the wrong way to approach content marketing and a good way to waste your time.

Creating content is only one half of the process of content marketing. The other half is the marketing part – getting out the word, spreading your message, and sharing your content.

Let’s break apart content marketing into its two main components parts:

  1. Create content.
  2. Promote content.

Which of those two are you doing or not doing? If you do a lot of promoting, but just a little of creating, then you are probably more successful than a company who does a lot of creating, but very little promoting.

Content promotion is just as important as content creation.

How do you promote your content? Here are a few easy ways to promote a single blog post:

  1. Email newsletter
  2. Marketing email to a landing page
  3. Tweets. Be sure to tweet it several times and ask for retweets
  4. Google+ posting
  5. Facebook posting
  6. Sharing in LinkedIn
  7. Find influencers in your industry who can also share your content
  8. Pitch site owners and other bloggers to see if they will share your content
  9. Mention your content while commenting on other sites

If you aren’t doing any promotion, I recommend adjusting the amount of time you spend on content creation and allocating half that time to promoting your content.

 

List Posts Done Right – Ten Steps To Social Share Stardom

Have you noticed that list posts (top ten lists) dominate the Internet right now? That’s because, after infographics, list posts get the most social shares. They are so popular there are blogs entirely devoted to list posts.

Because there is now so much competition, you have to make sure that you write consistently great list posts.

Average Shares by Content Length

List Posts Done Right – Ten Steps To Social Share Stardom

Step 1 – Use the right number of items

Average Shares by Content Type

Average Shares by Content Type

How many items should you have in your list post? The number is 10.

Ok Dork and Buzzsumo analyzed 100 million articles. The most popular posts featured the following number of items: 10, 23, 16, and 24 (in this order).

The difference in popularity is significant. List posts containing 10 items got four times more shares than the runner-up – posts with 23 items.

Step 2 – Make your list scannable

The whole rationale behind a list post is for someone to digest the information quickly. This means if your post isn’t scannable, you’re doing something terribly wrong.

Just look at this post… You can figure out the main points I am trying to convey by scanning each headline.

You don’t have to read any more than the headlines if you are short on time.

Step 3 – Write an introduction

Just because you are writing a list post doesn’t mean you can start the post by going directly into your first point. You have to woo your readers a bit. Let them know what the purpose behind the post is and why they should read it.

Next time you are writing a list post, make sure you include an introduction.

Step 4 – Include pictures

A picture really does say a thousand words. By including a picture, you will help people better understand the points you are trying to get across.

However, the images must be relevant, and they can be data-oriented. For example, I used a graph at the beginning of this post to convey how successful list-based posts are.

Step 5 – Do not place lists within lists

This list post has 10 main points. Do not place lists within lists. If you want to break down specific points in your list, use bullets. But be warned.

Readability is a huge component of how well your list posts will do. If you add lists within them, you will lose your readers and social shares.

Step 6 – Write a conclusion

At the end of your post, you need to summarize the main message.

By adding a conclusion and clearly labeling it as a conclusion, you’ll be able to get 10% more of your visitors to read your content.

Step 7 – Engage with your readers

A list post on its own is not engaging. Engage your readers by asking questions. Use the words “you” and “I” within your posts to help create a conversation and keep people engaged.

Step 8 – Go into detail

A list post needs to have about 2,000 words. Remember that the whole point is to actually engage and teach something?

Longer posts that make sense and have good content are rewarded with more social shares and higher search traffic.

Step 9 – Make your list tweetable

By making each of the list elements within your post tweetable, you’ll get 30% more tweets on average.

A simple way to integrate this within your blog is to use Click to Tweet.

Step 10 – Optimize for the right audience

Writing a list post for consumers is much different than writing it for businesses.

Businesses want more details and information than consumers do. Consumers have shorter attention spans and just want to see the information as quickly as possible.

For example, if I were writing a list post for a consumer blog, I would use more visuals than anything else. On the other hand, if I were writing for a business blog, I would use more stats and data.

To get a good sense for writing for consumers versus businesses, you should read this checklist.

Conclusion

Writing list posts isn’t rocket science but there’s an art to it. If you pay attention to the 10 steps above and use the solutions I supplied you with, your search and social share traffic should increase.