SEO Campaign Case Study: 1,117 Social Shares and 15% More Organic Traffic (In 2 Weeks)

SEO campaign Case Study“If we’re going to make this a success, we have to put a spin on it and make something different.”
-Mike Bonadio, star of today’s case study

As you’re about to see, Mike used Guestographics to create and promote a piece content that generated:

  • Over 1,000 social shares
  • 12 white hat backlinks
  • A mention in a highly-respected newspaper
  • 15.15% boost in organic traffic

The best part?

His client is in one of the most boring industries on the planet.

And today I’m going to show you the SEO campaign that Mike executed (step-by-step).

How Guestographics Make Content Promotion a Breeze

Earlier this year I showed you how Perrin used Guestographics to get a huge influx of targeted traffic to his new pet blog.

Infographic Referral Traffic

And because Perrin’s Guestographic generated a handful of white hat backlinks, his organic traffic skyrocketed:

organic search engine traffic comparison

You might be thinking to yourself:

“Sure, Guestographics work in an interesting niche like pets…

…but what if I run a site in a boring niche?”

Keep reading.

How Mike’s “Impossible” Client Almost Drove Him Crazy (But Didn’t)

A few month ago, Mike Bonadio had a problem.

You see, Mike runs an SEO agency based in NYC.

mike bonadio

And like many SEO agency owners, Mike uses 100% white hat SEO to rank his clients’ sites.

There was only one problem:

One of Mike’s clients, FCE Pest Control, was in one of the most boring industries imaginable.

Pest control.

pest control website homepage

I mean, how was Mike supposed to create compelling content about mice and cockroaches?

Who would ever share that stuff?

Or as Mike puts it:

Coming up with content for this client was a big challenge. Their niche is incredibly boring and has little tradition of content distribution, community or linking. Bugs? Who cares just get rid of them! I thought to myself, “If we’re going to make this a success, we have to put a spin on it and make something different.””</span

Mike Bonadio

Fortunately, Mike didn’t throw in the towel.

Instead, he rolled up his sleeves and got to work on creating a Guestographic for his client.

And the results speak for themselves…

1,117 Social Shares, 12 Backlinks and 15% More Organic Traffic (In 2 Weeks)

Even though the odds were stacked against him, Mike’s Guestographic campaign was a HUGE success.

The infographic he created for his pest control client generated 1,117 social shares:

infographic social shares

An influx of backlinks from 12 different domains.

referring backlinks ahrefs

(Including links from powerhouses like Lifehacker

lifehacker infographic placement

…and a popular newspaper website in Maine called The Bangor Daily News):

newspaper backlink

All these social shares and mentions generated a huge surge in referral traffic:

infographic traffic

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that all of these Grade-A backlinks boosted FCE Pest Control’s Google rankings.

In fact, these backlinks increased FCE’s first page rankings for high-converting keywords like “exterminator NYC”.

google first page search results

And because of this rankings boost, FCE’s overall organic traffic shot up by 15% in just 2 weeks.

sitewide organic search engine traffic google analytics

As you can see, you CAN succeed with white hat SEO…

…even if you’re working in a “boring” niche.

Or as I like to say:

“There are no boring topics. Only boring marketers” (Click to Tweet This)

Now that you’ve seen Mike’s impressive results, it’s time for me to walk you through the step-by-step process that he used.

Step #1: Publish a Useful Infographic
(In A Boring Industry? “Shoulder Niches” Save The Day)

Your first step is to create a compelling, useful infographic.

I’ll be honest with you:

This is tough.

Considering how many infographics come out everyday, it’s harder than ever to stand out.

And that’s assuming that you’re in an industry that’s actually interesting.

And if you’re stuck in a “boring” niche? It’s MUCH harder.

Well, that’s where “Shoulder Niches” come into play.

shoulder niche/shōl’dər nĭch/noun

Definition

1. A niche that is closely related to your site’s main topic.

Remember:

Mike knew that creating a straight-up pest control infographic would be content marketing suicide.

Instead, he found a Shoulder Niche.

OK, so how did Mike find his shoulder niche?

First, Mike mindmapped industries that had something to do with pest control. Here’s what his mindmap looked like:

shoulder-niches

And when he studied these shoulder niches, one thing stood out:

Garden bloggers LOVED to write about eliminating garden pests.

blog content

In other words, Mike found a Shoulder Niche that people were interested in (“gardening”).

And he studied that shoulder niche to identify a popular topic.

And just like that — BAM! — Mike found an interesting topic that he could create content around:

Natural pest control for gardeners.

As Mike puts it:

Unlike pest control, I knew gardening was a topic people actually talked about online. So we married the two niches and came up with the angle of ‘pest control methods for gardeners’. That was a topic that a lot of gardeners and their readers actually cared about. ”</span

Mike Bonadio

3 Ways to Find Shoulder Niche Topics

If you’re struggling to find topic ideas, Shoulder Niches can be a lifesaver. Here’s how to find compelling topics in ANY niche.

1. First, enter a broad keyword into Buzzsumo

For example, let’s say you run a site that sells construction material.

It’s impossible to find anything interesting about that topic, right?

Wrong.

Let’s see what happens when we enter the keyword “construction” into Buzzsumo.

buzzsumo search

2. Scan the results for interesting shoulder niches and topics

Look at this. I found 3 killer potential shoulder niches that you could use…

Idea #1: “Construction Material of the Future”

content topic 1Idea #2: “Crazy Things People Have Found at Construction Sites”

content topic 2

Idea #3: “How They’ll Built America’s First High-Speed Rail System”

content topic 3

3. If you’re stuck (or just want more ideas), repeat the process at Google News

Here are some interesting construction-related headlines I found using Google News:

google news topic 1 google news topic 2

news topic 3And just like that, you’ve got a laundry list of awesome topics to work with.

Now that Mike had a winning topic in-hand, he got down to business on his infographic.

First, he created a visual mindmap of the topics he wanted to cover.

Each “branch” in his mindmap represented a section of the infographic. infographic sections

Then he filled in each section with insanely practical tips that gardeners could use.

Here’s what his infographic content looked like:

ig-content

Once Mike had his content ready to rock, he sent it to his designer.

The end result?

A fantastic infographic called, DIY Pest Control for the Savvy Gardener.

infographic animated gif

At this point Mike had a high-quality infographic live on his client’s site.

The question was:

Would anyone care?

Step #2: Create a List of People That Are Interested In Your Infographic’s Topic

The sad truth is this:

When most people publish an infographic, they cross their fingers and HOPE that it goes viral.

#facepalm

Mike knew better. He understood that any infographic — even a great one — needs content promotion.

And to give his shiny new infographic the exposure that it needed, he turned to a content promoter’s #1 weapon:

Email outreach.

And the first step of any email outreach campaign is to find people that already write about your content’s topic.

Here’s how Mike created his list of outreach prospects:

Mike knew that there was one specific group that was going to LOVE his infographic: Gardening bloggers.

So searched for as many gardening blogs as he could get his hands on.

First, he Googled keywords like “Gardening blog”.

google search string

Then he mined the top 40 results for quality blogs that write about gardening.

google search results 1

(This is simple, yet effective)

Next, he went to the blog directory AllTop.com.

alltop homepage

And he entered the keyword “gardening” into the search box:

alltop search

That gave Mike a list of over 40 hand-curated gardening blogs:

gardening blogs

Finally, Mike searched for “best blogs” articles.

“Best blogs” articles simply list the best blogs in a niche.

For example, Mike searched for “best gardening blogs”

example google search

And he found hand-curated lists of top-notch blogs in the gardening space.

Like this:

list of high quality blogs

And this:

curated list of blogs

All in all Mike found 97 sites that might want to check out his infographic.

Here’s what happened next…

Step #3: Send Your First Outreach Email

Now it’s time to get in touch with the people you just found.

When it comes to Guestographics, I like to use a two-part outreach sequence.

email outreach flowchart

Your first email is a “feeler” email. This email simply gauges the person’s interest in your infographic.

(That way, you’re not pitching your content to someone that’s not interested)

Here’s Mike’s feeler email script:

And here’s an example of Mike’s script in action:

initial outreach email

Interesting Side Note:

Mike tested two different outreach approaches for this campaign.

Mike sent one group the soft “feeler” email.

And he sent another group a more direct pitch.

(Here’s Mike’s direct pitch script)

direct pitch email script

Which do you think worked better?

The direct pitch got a 16% reply rate.

And the 2-step email sequence that started off with the feeler email?

40%.

outreach reply stats

Boom.

Bottom line: Send a quick “feeler” email before you pitch your infographic. You’ll likely bump up your conversion rate.

Pretty soon responses to your feeler email will start rolling in.

(Like this one that Mike received)

email reply

When you see these emails sprout up in your inbox, move onto the next step…

Step #4: Offer Up a “Unique Intro”

If you want an influential person to share your content, you need to answer the question that’s rattling around in their mind:

“What’s in it for me?”

And keep this in mind:

When a blogger publishes you infographic on their site, they have to write some new content to go along with it.

And they MIGHT get some traffic out of all that effort.

With Guestographics, you remove the potential waste of time and energy.

How?

You grease the wheels with a custom-made introduction.

That way — win or lose — they don’t have to do any work.

Here’s the email Mike sent to the people that replied to his feeler email with “send it over”.

mike email 2

As you can see, Mike’s response is short and to-the-point.

This email has a link to the infographic and offers up the custom introduction.

Simple.

Now:

When people reply to THAT email, it’s time to whip up a high-quality introduction.

Here’s an example of one of Mike’s intros (sent in HTML).

guestographic introduction

Once the intro is polished, send it over ASAP.

And here’s the email that Mike used to send his unique intro:

sending the introduction

Important Reminder: Make sure your introduction contains a single backlink back to your site. And you want to avoid spammy exact match anchor text.

Instead, your link should have branded anchor text…

branded anchor text

…or descriptive anchor text.

descriptive anchor text

Side Note: One of Mike’s big “takeaway lessons” from this experience was that — when you do outreach the right way — people are happy to hear from you.

As Mike told me:

One of the big takeaways from me was how receptive people are to email outreach when you add value and are not pushy in your approach. If you have something cool to share, people actually want to hear from you. Some will even thank you for contacting them.”</span

Mike Bonadio

Once your intros are sent, it’s time for the last step.

Step #5: Get Your Contextual, White Hat Backlinks

At this point you’ve sent your awesome infographic (with unique intros) to several people.

When those bad boys are published, you’ll find yourself with a handful of high-quality, contextual backlinks.

Nice work.

To give you an idea of what these links look like, here are two placements from Mike’s campaign:

example backlink

and

example backlink 2

All in all, Mike sent out 97 Guestographic outreach emails and got 12 total links.

(That’s a very solid 12.5% conversion rate)

Besides SEO, Mike noticed another benefit that came from all these Guestographic placements:

The placements led to a viral spread of his infographic.

(Well, as viral as gardening content gets :-) )

For example:

An editor at a newspaper website (Bangor Daily News) saw Mike’s infographic.

That editor liked the infographic so much he published an article about it (with a link back to Mike’s client).

newspaper backlink

How to Mike “Social Proofed” His Way to Higher Outreach Conversions

You just saw how Mike got a mention in a popular newspaper website.

Most people would have high-fived themselves and left it at that.

(Yes, it’s possible to high-five yourself. I just did :-) )

But Mike realized he could turn his big mentions into massive social proof.

For example:

Mike’s infographic was featured on the health mega-site Mother Earth News.

blog title

As soon as the placement was confirmed, he started to mention this fact in this outreach emails:

outreach email with social proof

When someone sees a mention like that they think to themselves, “Well if Mother Earth News shared it, maybe I should too…”.

Pretty smart, eh?

Now back to Mike’s viral infographic…

Another example of Mike’s infographic getting shared around the web:

Quite a few people that saw Mike’s Guestographic shared it on places like Flipboard…

flipboard-share

….and Pinterest.

pinterest infographic

Which led to a healthy boost in their referral traffic:

google analytics referral traffic

(Not to mention the 15.15% boost in organic traffic that I mentioned earlier)

sitewide organic search engine traffic google analytics

Not bad for a single infographic, eh?

Now It’s Your Turn

You just saw how well Guestographics worked for Mike.

But for you to get value from this post, you need to take action on it.

And step #1 is answering the question:

How do you plan on using Guestographics to get more traffic to your site?

Or, maybe you’re not sure whether or not Guestographics will work in YOUR niche?

Either way, let me know by leaving a quick comment right now.

The post SEO Campaign Case Study: 1,117 Social Shares and 15% More Organic Traffic (In 2 Weeks) appeared first on Backlinko.

Source: backlink.io

A Data-Driven Guide to Creating Viral Blog Posts [Infographic]

When a blog post goes viral, there’s no magic or luck involved.

In fact:

According to new research, viral content tends to contain a few critical elements that push people to share.

I cover 21 of these elements in today’s data-driven guide.

Check it out:

viral_content_infographic

viral tweet button

Here’s my take on the research-backed tips from the infographic:

1. Use an (Odd) Number

Headlines with numbers are 36% more likely to generate clicks, according to research by Conductor.

Headlines With Numbers

And a study of 150,000 headlines revealed that odd-numbered headlines have a 20% better CTR than headlines with even numbers.

odd number headlines

Brian’s take

The next time you’re at CVS, take a look at the magazine rack.

You’ll see covers with tons of numbers, like this:

magazine number headlines

Magazines use numbers in their headlines for a very simple reason:

They work.

And you’d be hard pressed to find a headline on Backlinko that doesn’t contain a number.

For example, here are a few of my most popular posts over the last year:

Viral Marketing Case Study: How a Brand New Blog Generated 17,584 Visitors In One Day (5,142 shares)

headline example

16 Actionable SEO Copywriting Secrets That Will Drive More Traffic To Your Site (3,738 shares)

headline example 217 Insanely Actionable List Building Strategies That Will Generate More Subscribers Today (4,242 shares)

headline example 3

Bottom line? Numbers get more clicks.

But…why?

It’s because numbers give people something VERY specific to cling to.

Think about the difference between these two headlines:

“Techniques to Lose Weight” vs. “17 Techniques to Lose Weight Fast”.

The number “17” instantly makes the headline much more enticing.

What about the even number vs. odd number debate?

Sure, I occasionally use an even number in my headlines…

…but most of my posts use odd numbers (17, 21 etc.).

Like Outbrain, I find that odd numbers work a little bit better.

2. Use [brackets]

In an analysis of over 3 million headlines, Hubspot found using [brackets] in a headline bumped up CTR by 38%.

headlines with brackets

Brian’s take

I use brackets in my headlines all the time…

…and it makes a BIG difference.

Question is: WHY?

Brackets give people a “sneak preview” into your post.

Is your post an infographic? A case study? A free ebook?

The brackets let people know…before they click.

For example, here’s the headline from one of my recent posts:

headline with parenthesis

“(Two Step-By-Step Case Studies)” tells people what I have in store for you…

…which makes you more likely to click.

3. Use Short URLs

Marketing Sherpa found that short URLs are 2.5x more likely to attract clicks.

short url ctr

Brian’s take

There’s absolutely ZERO benefit to using long URLs like, site.com/05/01/2015/10-ways-to-get-lots-of-clicks-on-your-blog-post.

And long URLs create this problem for people that want to share your post on Twitter:

too long tweet

#notgood

As you may have noticed, I use VERY short (2-3 word) URLs here at Backlinko:

short URL

Why?

Actually, for three reasons:

First, a short URL gives people a high-level summary of what your post is about (more on this later).

Second, short-and-sweet URLs easily fit into social media posts.

Third, the URL is SEO friendly because it contains ONLY your target keyword.

For example, take my post On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page.

backlinko on page seo guide

The URL for that post is simply:

backlinko url

Boom. Simple, yet effective.

4. Use a Descriptive URL

A Microsoft study found trusted domains get 25% more clicks. Opt for example.com/cute-cats vs.  example.com/blog/post?id=5421!6g.

trusted domain ctr

Brian’s take

This guideline is very simple:

Your blog post URL should give people a short summary of your post’s topic…and nothing else.

A URL with lots of junk — like, example.com/postid=2891/why-you-use-confusing-urls — confuses people.

Confusion=fewer clicks. Fewer clicks=fewer shares.

How about an example?

A while back I published a post called, Ecommerce SEO Case Study: White Hat Link Building Without Any Content.

example blog post

That post is a case study that shows you how a Backlinko reader (Chris) built backlinks to his ecommerce client’s site.

Because the post was all about “ecommerce SEO”, I made the URL:

google chrome url

Also:

Yes, “Ecommerce SEO” described my post’s topic.

But it also happened to be my target keyword.

Thanks to the SEO-friendly URL (and a bunch of other factors), that post now ranks in the top 5 for “ecommerce SEO”:

google search result first page

5. Intro=Short Sentences

People only read 28% of a blog post, so you need to hook them fast.

Question is:

HOW?

Short sentences.

Dr. John Morkes found that short sentences boosted content readability by 58%.

short sentences readability

Brian’s take

Think about it:

Why would you spend HOURS on your headline…

…then turn around and slap together a weak introduction?

It makes no sense.

In my opinion, your introduction is more important than your headline.

Why?

Because your introduction is your ONLY chance for you to put a hook in the mouth of your reader.

And you lose someone in your intro, they’re NOT going to read on (or share your post).

Backlinko’s strong introductions are one reason that some of my blog posts have an “Avg. Time on Page” like this:

google analytics time on page

And short sentences are of the easiest ways to bump up the quality of your intros.

For example, take a look at my intro for this post:

backlinko blog post intro

See how I hit you with a flurry of short sentences?

Those super-short lines are one reason why that post’s Avg. Time on Page is over 7 minutes.

time on page 2

Now that you’ve built your intro with short sentences, it’s time for the next step…

6. Add a Colorful Image Above the Fold

Xerox found that colorful visuals made people 80% more likely to read a document.

likelihood to read a document

Brian’s take

When you add a colorful image to the top of your post, you INSTANTLY make your content more compelling.

That’s why I almost always include a colorful image at the top every blog post, like this:

blog post image

And this:

blog post image 2

Pro Tip: Make sure your image doesn’t push the content below the fold.

Here’s an example of I mean:

blog post image above the fold

That image of the guy running looks cool.

But it’s so big that it pushes the content below the fold.

And your reader has to scroll to read line #1, you’re going to notice a lot more bounces the next time you check Google Analytics.

Instead of an overbearing image, align your image left or right, like this:

image aligned leftThat way you get the power of the colorful image…without hiding your content.

7. Images=More Shares

Skyword research found that text content with at least one image generated 94% more views on social media.

images more shares on social media

Brian’s take

This shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Even though Skyword found that one image is better than zero…

…don’t hesitate to use a bunch of images in every blog post that you publish.

Because the simple fact is: people LOVE images.

They’re more compelling than text.

And they break up your content (which makes it easier to read).

That’s why I sprinkle in at least once image in my posts for every 200 words of text:

using images in blog posts

8. Images=More Credibility

A Claremont University study found that images — any images — boosted content credibility by 75%.

image content credibility

Brian’s take

The results from this study were REALLY interesting.

Here’s how it went down:

The researchers showed people two versions of the same statement.

In version #1 the statement was text-only, like this:

statement

(By the way, these are actual images that I pulled from the study)

Version #2 also had the same statement…with an image:

statement with image

Amazingly, people saw statement #2 as 75% more credible.

By the way, Mona Lisa does have eyebrows…I looked it up :-)

Here’s the takeaway from this research:

People aren’t going to share content unless they think it’s credible.

And when you include an image– any image — you give your content’s credibility a shot in the arm.

In fact:

Whenever I use a statistic in post, I include a screenshot. The screenshots makes my stats more credible.

So instead of saying, “I increased my traffic by 111%” and leaving it at that…

…I’ll show a screenshot of my Google Analytics:

google analytics screenshot

But what if you’re not in an industry where screenshots make sense?

Remember:

ANY image will do.

Let’s say you wanted to convince people that blueberries reduce cancer risk. You’d include an image of blueberries with your statement:

image of a blog post

And you’re set.

9. Use Pro Images

Image quality makes a huge difference. An internal Marketing Sherpa study found that pro images received 121% more Facebook shares than”semi-professional” photos.

pro images shares

Brian’s take

OK, OK.

I just told you that ANY image boosts credibility, and therefore, social shares.

But what I didn’t tell you is that image quality makes a HUGE difference.

In my experience, “quality” means three things:

1. The image is a good fit for the topic.

2. NO cheesy stock photos.

3. The image is high-res.

As long as your image satisfies all three of these guidelines, feel free to toss it into your post.

10. Publish Long Content

Professor Dr. Jonah Berger found that longer content was 76.8% more likely to go viral. Aim for at least 1,500 words per post.

content length virality

Brian’s take

This is a biggie.

In my experience, long-form content CRUSHES short blog posts.

That’s why most of my posts rock word counts like this:

wordpress word count 2

And this:

wordpress word count

There’s a good reason that I publish long-form content:

It gets results!

Not only do you get more social shares, but longer content is more likely to rank on Google’s first page:

Longer Content

11. Use a “Featured Image”

Setting a featured image ensures your social shares include an image. Social shares with images get 150% more retweets on Twitter and 53% more Likes on Facebook.

retweets with image facebook likes with image

Brian’s take

Social media posts that have an image grab more eyeballs.

More eyeballs=more shares.

And you can easily ensure that social shares of your post have an image…

…with about 18 seconds of work.

How? The Wordrpess “Featured Image” feature.

wordpress featured image

Just click on “set featured image”:

set featured image

And choose an attention-grabbing image from your post.

choose an image wordpress

When someone shares your post on social media, your image will automatically appear:

facebook post

Done and done.

12. Include an Infographic

Data from BuzzSumo found that infographics generate 2.3x more social shares than how-to posts.

infographics social shares

Brian’s take

Infographics are dead?

HA!

Like any content — if you want your infographic to go viral — you need to bring it.

In other words:

Turning a lame post like “5 tips for Twitter marketing” into an infographic isn’t going to magically turn it into a winner.

But if you have highly-visual topic on your hands, an infographic can push it to the next level.

In fact, here are two infographics I’ve put out in recent years…

…along with some data on how they performed.

Infographic #1: On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page

backlinko on page seo infographic

(4746 social shares & links from 348 referring domains)

Infographic #2: Google’s 200 Ranking Factors (Infographic Version)

google ranking factor infographic

(5765 social shares & links from 189 referring domains)

Bottom line?

Infographics STILL work. But to go viral, they need to be awesome.

13. Put Share Buttons Above the Fold

A Google study found that elements above the fold are seen by 58% more people than those pushed further down the page.

visibility above the fold

Brian’s take

There’s a game I see a lot of bloggers play with their readers…

It’s called: “Find the share button”.

And it KILLS their ability to generate shares.

Me?

I make put my social share buttons where you can’t miss ’em.

Not only are they prominently displayed above the fold:

backlinko social share buttons

But the buttons follow you as you scroll down the page:

scrolling social share bar

Here’s the takeaway:

If it takes someone more than a half-second to find your share buttons, put them in a more prominent place.

(Like above the fold)

14. Get Emotional

A study published in the Journal of Marketing Research found content that elicits the emotions “awe”, “surprise” or “anger” was 28% more likely to go viral.

emotional content viral

Brian’s take

If you want your content to go viral, there’s one thing you need to keep in mind:

“Sharing content is an emotional decision” — Tweet This Quote

In other words, the more emotionally stirred up someone gets, the more likely they are to share.

And Dr. Berger found that 3 specific emotions — awe, surprise and anger — stimulated the most shares.

Here’s a real-world example of a post that presses all three of these emotional buttons:

Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List

google ranking factor blog post

Because the post is stirs up people’s emotions, it’s generated 12,347 shares and links from 935 domains.

Let’s dive into the emotions from this post that got people all riled up.

Emotion #1: Awe

Like I mentioned in item #10 from this list, long form content makes people feel a sense of “awe”.

And considering this post clocks in at 5600 words, it definitely fits the bill.

wordpress word count 3

Also, I didn’t just list out each ranking factor.

I included a brief description for each and every factor on the list.

google ranking factors items

This insane level of detail=more awe.

Emotion #2: Surprise

The fact that someone sat down to list out 200 ranking factors surprised a lot of people.

blog comment

(I even surprised myself. That post took WEEKS to put together)

Emotion #3: Anger

I didn’t intend to upset anyone with my Google Ranking Factors post.

But you know how people online can be…

Even though I clearly stated that the ranking factors are “controversial” and “speculation”…

blog post introduction

…some people still got bent out of shape.

angry commentIn fact, a lot of those angry people shared my post to just say, “I hate this post!”.

And those “hate shares” led to more traffic for me :-)

15. Mention Influencers

Link to influential people in your post (and let them know about it). A Columbia University study found that for your content to go viral, influencer shares were”critical”.

Brian’s take

Here’s the secret to getting an influencer to share your content with their audience:

Make them feel awesome.

How about some proof that this approach actually works?

A while back I published a case study that revealed how Jimmy generated 36,282 visitors and 1,000 email subscribers from a single post.

content strategy case study

In that case study I pointed out that one of the main reasons Jimmy’s post went viral was that he mentioned a lot of influencers.

But he didn’t just mention influencers and call it a day. He reached out to let them know.

In case you’re curious, here’s the email that Jimmy sent to the influencers that he mentioned:

heads up outreach email

And an example of one of their responses:

outreach email response

Pretty cool, right?

16. Publish Between 8am and 12pm

Shareaholic found that 27% of all social shares occur between 8am and 12pm EST.

social media shares time

Brian’s take

I’ve found that 8am-12pm is the “sweet spot” to maximize shares from a new blog post.

There’s a simple reason this time works so well:

8am-12pm is one of the few times where the entire world is awake.

For example, when it’s 11am Eastern in The States, it’s:

Pacific Time (US): 8am

Midwest (US): 10am

Europe: 5pm

Asia: 11pm

Because I have readers from around the world, I tend to publish my posts around 8am Eastern time.

That way, everyone has a chance to see it.

17. Use Hashtags

Dan Zarrella analyzed 1.2 million tweets and found that hashtag-containing tweets boosted retweets by 55%.

hashtags retweets

Brian’s take

There’s not much for me to add here.

When you find a simple way to boost retweets by 55%, you should take it every single time.

And adding hashtags to your tweets couldn’t be simpler.

If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, just click on the “share” tab…

yoast seo plugin

…and toss a hashtag or two in the “Twitter Description” field.

yoast social

18. Use “Scannable” Text.

Like short paragraphs, subheadings and bullet lists. Dr. Jakob Nielson discovered that “scannable” online content boosted readability by 47%.

Scannable Content Readability

Brian’s take

I’ll admit it. I’m a HUGE readability nerd.

Because the fact is this:

If your content is hard to read, people won’t read it.

That’s why I stick to 1-2 sentence paragraphs:

single sentence paragraphs

Lots of subheadings:

subheading

And bulleted lists:

bulleted list

I suggest you do the same.

Because when you add all this up, you’ll have content that’s super easy to read (and skim).

19. Be Insanely Practical

Dr. Jonah Berger found that highly-practical articles are 34% more likely to go viral.

practical articles viral

Brian’s take

It was hard for me to accept this at first, but here it goes…

People don’t care what you think.

Sure, if you’re a huge name with a million followers you can get away with blog posts like: “Let’s Call SEO Content Marketing From Now On” and “Here’s What I Think About the Paleo Diet”.

But if you don’t have a huge following?

Your content needs to be insanely actionable.

I built Backlinko from zero to 100k visitors/month on the back of very practical blog posts.

In fact, the #1 complement that I get has nothing to do with how handsome I am :-)

It’s that my content is “actionable”.

blog comment 2
blog comment
blog comment 3

Bottom line:

If you want your blog post to go viral, make sure it contains lots of meaty, actionable stuff.

20. SEO Tag Copy=Adwords Ads

Adwords ads are designed to maximize clicks. Base your SEO title and description tags on Adwords ads to maximize traffic from search engines.

When your content shows up in search engines or on social media, two things can happen:

Thing #1: People click on your result

Thing #2: People click on something else

For your content to go viral, you need to maximize clicks to your post.

And to do that?

You need compelling title and description tag copy.

But how do you know what to put in your title and description tags?

That’s easy: just use Adwords ads.

google adwords ads

Brian’s take

Remember that click through rate makes up about 70% of Google Adwords’ Quality Score.

(In other words: the higher your CTR, the better your Quality Score)

So you better believe advertisers work their tails off to maximize their CTR.

And when you use their copy in your meta tags, you have a result that people love to click on.

For example, let’s say your post is about “app marketing”.

You’d simply search in Google for “app marketing”:

google homepage search

And use the words and phrases that show up for Adwords Ads…

google adwords ads

…in your title and description tags.

title and description tags

21. Ask People to Share.

Include a CTA at the end of your post…and make it personalized.

Hubspot found that targeted CTAs (“Share these weight loss tips”) outperformed generic CTAs (“share this post”) by 42%.

custom call to action

Brian’s take

You’d be surprised how many shares and comments you can get simply by asking.

That’s why I include a “leave a comment” CTA at the end of every post.

For example, I recently published a post that shows people how to increase traffic.

backlinko blog post

And at the end of the post, I toss in a hyper-targeted CTA:

targeted CTA

Note how I don’t say something generic like, “leave a comment”.

The CTA is VERY specific to what the person just read.

Like Hubspot found, I notice that the hyper-targeted CTA works GREAT.

In fact, that post has over 400 comments:

blog post counter

In this example I my CTA was to leave a comment.

But the same rules apply for social shares.

How about an example?

Back when I first launched my Definitive Guide to Link Building, I included a targeted CTA to tweet it out:

tweet call to action

When someone clocked on that link, a pre-populated tweet appeared:

prepopulated tweet

And that super-targeted CTA generated A LOT more shares than if I said something generic like, “share this”.

Here’s What To Do Next (Your “Homework”)

It’s important to me that you don’t skim this guide and then pop over to Facebook.

I want you to actually use the information.

So today I have some “homework” for you.

Leave a quick comment below to let me know which technique from this guide you plan to use first.

For example, your comment might look something like:

example blog comment

So leave a quick comment right now.

The post A Data-Driven Guide to Creating Viral Blog Posts [Infographic] appeared first on Backlinko.

Source: backlink.io