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Practically everyone who’s ever written for the web has asked themselves this question at some point: what kind of content gets the most traffic?
The answer, of course, is that it depends.
Even those with well-documented methods for analysing and determining which types of content are most successful with their audience can’t predict traffic patterns with 100% accuracy.
For example, a post about the power of listicles might do really well…until it doesn’t.
The following post you write might be a total flop until it suddenly isn’t and goes viral. It can be tough to tell what will work and what won’t, but some general trends can give you ideas about what kinds of content get attention.
Content Marketing Institute surveyed this, polling 628 SEOs across different businesses to understand what kind of content is the most efficient for link building, social sharing, and SEO.
They found that visual content, like infographics, webinars, and videos, were among the most successful, with articles and blog posts not making it in the top five. This isn’t terribly surprising; after all, we are a visually-driven society.
Top Five Types of Content That Naturally Attract Links
An infographic is one of the most shareable types of content on the internet.
People love to share infographics because they are easy to understand and usually contain lots of valuable information condensed in an easy-to-understand format.
Creating an infographic requires some design skills and creativity, but it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Many online tools can help you create basic infographics, like Venngage, Piktochart, and Canva.
Jubaer Prodhan, an SEO Specialist at Vendasta Technologies, reports unprecedented success with their infographics, generating thousands of backlinks and social shares.
How to Use Infographics for Link Building
The key to using infographics for link building is to create something genuinely original, after which you want to share it on social media and other web properties. You can also submit your infographic to directories and press release sites.
When you pitch your infographic to other websites, include a link to your site so people can easily find the source.
Creating a link-winning infographic is a three-step process:
- Pick a Topic: Ensure the topic is highly relevant to your target audience. You also want to make it as specific as possible. For example, rather than creating an infographic about “social media marketing,” you might want to focus on “how to use Twitter for business.
- Do Your Research: This step is critical. You need to ensure your infographic is based on data from reliable sources. All of the information included in your infographic should be well-researched and accurate. You also want to wireframe your data points to generate a logical flow down the page.
- Design Your Infographic: The design should be clean and professional. You want people to focus on the data, not be distracted by a busy or cluttered design. Remember to include a call-to-action (CTA) so people know what you want them to do next. The idea is to make sure your infographic looks pleasing to the eye and is easy to understand at a glance.
After you design and publish your infographic, the next thing to do is work on how you will distribute it.
Here are a few strategies:
- Social Media: This is a no-brainer. You want to post your infographic on your social media channels and encourage people to share it.
- Embed It on Your Blog or Website: You can also embed your infographic on your blog or website. People can share it on their site by simply copying and pasting the code.
- Email It to Your List: If you have an email list, send your infographic to your subscribers and ask them to share it with their networks.
- Reach Out to Industry Leaders: Another great way to get exposure for your infographic is to reach out to industry leaders and ask them to share it with their followers.
- Submit It to Directories: There are several directories where you can submit your infographics, such as Visually, Pinterest, and SlideShare.
- Pitch It to bloggers: Find bloggers in your industry who write about topics related to your infographic and pitch them the idea of writing a post featuring your infographic.
However you choose to approach it, the quality of data and topic relevance play a massive role in the overall success of your infographic.
#2. White Papers
On the heels of infographics are white papers.
Again, these types of content are highly effective for link building because they offer something of value that other people want to share with their audience.
A white paper is a comprehensive report or guide that covers a specific problem and offers a possible solution. It’s usually between 5-20 pages and is designed to be downloaded and read offline.
42% of SEOs say they have created a white paper, 60% of which found it effective for earning backlinks.
And, like infographics, quality and relevancy are key in white papers.
The best white papers are well-researched and offer insights not found elsewhere. They’re also in-depth enough to offer a comprehensive solution, but not so long that people will lose interest before they get to the end.
How to Use White Papers to Build Backlinks
It would be best to consider hiring a copywriter or ensure you have excellent writing chops before you can even think of writing white papers.
This type of content requires a higher level of expertise than most other types of content on this list.
Above all else, you want to do the following:
- Pick a Topic that Appeals to Your Target Audience and Speaks to their Core Needs: Remember, the goal is to produce something that people will want to read and share. That means you must pick a topic that appeals to your target audience and speaks to their core needs.
- Please Don’t Go Overboard with Branding: We understand that you want people to know that your company produced the white paper. But, resist the urge to go overboard with branding. Too much branding will make your white paper look like an advertisement, and people will be less motivated to read it (and share it).
- Endeavour to Inform and Educate: The best white papers are those that educate and inform the reader. They offer insights and solutions that people can’t find anywhere else. Make sure your information is objective and backed by data.
Once you’ve created your white paper, it’s time to start distributing it.
Your argument should also flow towards a concluding paragraph, restating your claim and summarizing the main points you made.
- Include Visual Aids: People are likelier to read and share a white paper that includes visual aids, such as charts, graphs, and images. These visuals make complex information easier to digest and help drive your main points.
- Revise It Until It’s Perfect: Don’t publish your white paper until it’s perfect. Your editing process should include multiple rounds of revisions, as well as proofreading by someone who hasn’t read the white paper before.
- Make Sure It’s Downloadable: Include a download button on your site so people can easily download and share your white paper. You also want to make sharing easy by including social sharing buttons.
- Promote It Like Crazy: Your whitepaper is of no use to anyone if no one knows it exists. So, promote it like crazy! Send out a press release, share it on social media, and reach out to influencers in your industry, asking them to share it with their audience.
Your white paper should be research-driven and offer valuable insights that your target audience will find helpful.
Once you have a solid draft, it’s time to start promoting it.
Here are a few strategies:
- Share it on social media: This is a great way to get the word out about your white paper and generate some initial buzz. Use relevant hashtags and tagging to reach as many people as possible.
- Reach out to influencers: If you can get influencers in your industry to share your white paper with their audience, you’ll reach a whole new group of people who might be interested in what you have to say.
- Send out a press release: A well-written press release can generate a lot of attention for your white paper. Just make sure to include some catchy quotes and statistics to grab people’s attention.
Include it in your email signature: Have you ever thought about including your white paper in your email signature?
That’s a great way to promote it passively and ensure people see it every time you send an email.
#3. Data/Research-Driven Posts
Data-driven posts are another great way to generate traffic. These posts rely on data and research to make a point, and they can effectively drive traffic to your website.
Nothing beats cold, hard data. People are always looking for information they can trust, and what better way to show your credibility than by using data?
And while 70% of marketers say they find data and research to be very effective in their content marketing efforts, only 54% actually use data in their posts.
So, if you want to stand out from the crowd, start using data in your posts.
Here are a few tips:
Your data-driven post needs to have a great premise.
What are you trying to show with the data?
What point are you trying to make? If you can’t answer these questions, then your post probably isn’t worth writing.
You can start by identifying the burning question in your audience’s mind. After that, you want to create something they can share, reference, and return to.
Ideally, this will be something that impacts your industry as a whole.
Find The Right Data:
Not all data is created equal. When you’re looking for data to support your claims, make sure to find reliable sources.
Look for data from credible organizations and avoid using obsolete or outdated data.
And if you can’t find the data you need, consider conducting your research. A small survey or study can go a long way in making your data-driven post more impactful.
Pre-business Market Tests:
After developing a killer premise, test it on social media, forums, or even with friends and family. See if people are interested in what you have to say and if they think your data is valid.
That will help you fine-tune your post before you start writing it. And it’ll also give you a good indication of how popular your post is likely to be.
Large Sample Size:
When you’re conducting research, make sure to use a large enough sample size. The more data you have, the more credible your claims will be.
If possible, aim for a sample size of 1,000 or more. That will give you a good indication of what the general population thinks and feels.
Cite Your Sources:
Make sure to cite your sources in your data-driven post. That will show people that you did your research and also help them verify your claims.
And if you’re using data from a survey or study, include a link to the full report. That will give people all the information they need to make an informed decision.
Have a Plan:
Before writing your data-driven post, make sure to have a plan. What points do you want to make? What data are you going to use? How are you going to structure your post?
Answering these questions before you start writing will make the process much smoother. And it’ll help you create a more cohesive and well-rounded post.
Part of the reason research-driven posts work well as cornerstone content is that they can be updated easily. As new data becomes available, you can update your post to include the latest information.
They’re also versatile and can be repurposed into other formats like infographics, eBooks, and even podcasts.
Webinars are another great way to generate traffic and leads. They’re live, interactive, and allow you to build a relationship with your audience.
Though not as effective as infographics and white papers, webinars are still an effective link-building strategy. In fact, 56% of marketers say webinars are effective.
Most marketers use webinars to connect with their target audience. They’re a great way to nurture leads and move them further down the sales funnel.
And because webinars are live, they allow you to build rapport and trust with your audience.
You can use webinars to provide additional pain points, address lingering issues, and, most importantly, engage with your target audience in a more dynamic Q&A format.
That is the perfect opportunity to show off your product or service in action and get people excited about what you have to offer.
However, webinars do have their downsides. They’re time-consuming to produce and require a lot of effort to promote.
You must ensure a large enough audience to justify the time and effort required to organize a successful webinar.
Additionally, not everyone is comfortable speaking on camera or live streaming. If you don’t have the resources to hire a professional, you may want to consider another content format.
How to Use Webinars to Generate Traffic and Leads
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at how you can use webinars to generate traffic and leads.
- Start with a plan: Before you do anything, you need to have a plan.
- What topics will you cover?
- Who is your target audience?
- What format will your webinar take?
Answering these questions before you start will smoothen the process.
- Promote your webinar: Once you have a plan, it’s time to start promoting your webinar. The goal is to get as many people as possible to sign up.
You can promote your webinar on your website, social media, email list, and even through paid advertising.
- Make it engaging: If you want people to stick around for the whole webinar, you need to make it enjoyable. That means having a dynamic presentation with plenty of visuals.
It also means having a well-rounded panel of speakers who can address different aspects of the topic.
- Follow up with attendees: After the webinar, follow up with attendees. Send them a thank you email and provide links to any resources or information they might find helpful.
You can also use this opportunity to promote your product or service.
- Analyse the data: Take some time to analyse the data from your webinar. That includes everything from sign-ups to attendance rates.
Not only are they popular, but they’re also practical. Videos can help you increase brand awareness, generate leads, and even close deals.
And with platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, creating and sharing videos is easier than ever.
Thanks to social media, you can reach a large audience with just a few clicks.
However, creating videos does require more time and effort than other content formats. And not everyone is comfortable being on camera.
You need to get into the viewer’s head and understand what they want to see. What problems are they trying to solve?
What information are they looking for?
Your videos must be high quality and offer value if you want people to watch them.
How to Use Videos to Generate Traffic and Leads
- Address Customer Pain Points: You can use videos to address customer pain points and answer common questions. That is a great way to build trust and credibility with your audience. Go through forums and social media to see what questions people ask about your product or service. You can then create a video that addresses those questions.
- Product Demos and How-to’s: Product demos and how-tos are another great way to generate traffic and lead with videos. People love watching videos that show off products in action. And they’re also interested in learning how to use those products. Create a video demonstrating how your product or service works. You can also include a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of the video to encourage viewers to buy your product or sign up for your service.
- Develop Your Brand Identity: You can start by ensuring your videos are high-quality. That means having excellent production value and polish. You want your videos to look professional and be engaging. You also want to include your signature bumpers, colours, and logo in your videos to develop your brand identity.
- Include a Call to Share: Include a call-to-share (CTA) at the end of your videos to encourage viewers to share them with their friends and followers. That is a great way to generate organic traffic and reach a larger audience. Use YouTube cards or annotations to make it easy for viewers to share your videos.
- Optimize Your Videos for SEO: Like any other type of content, you need to optimize your videos for SEO. That means including keywords in your title and description. You also want to include transcripts and closed captions to make your videos more accessible.
- Promote Your Videos to the Right Audience: You can use social media and email marketing to promote your videos. You can also run ads on platforms like YouTube and Facebook. And don’t forget to embed your videos on your website or blog.
What Makes a Great Content Idea?
So, how do you decide what makes a great content idea?
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Timeliness: Is your content timely? Is it relevant to what’s going on in the world right now? If so, you’re more likely to generate traffic and engagement.
- Originality: Is your content original? Or has it been done before? If it’s original, the chances are good you’ll stand out from the crowd.
- Format: What format will your content take? Will it be a blog post, infographic, video, or something else? Choose a content format that’s most likely to resonate with your audience.
- Length: How long will your content be? Long-form content tends to perform better than short-form content. But that doesn’t mean you should write a novel. The key is to strike the right balance between informative and concise.
- Topic: What topic will you cover? Make sure it’s something your audience cares about. You can use keyword research to see what issues are being searched for the most.
- Headline: What’s your headline? A great headline can make or break your content. It needs to be eye-catching and relevant to your topic.
- Value: Does your content offer value? Will people learn something from it? If so, they’re more likely to share it.
- Emotion: Does your content evoke an emotion? Positive or negative, emotions can be a great way to get people to pay attention to your content.
- Entertainment: Is your content entertaining? The more fun your content consumes; the more people are likely to share it.
The Wrap Up
So, there you have it! The kind of content that generate the most traffic.
Now it’s time to put this advice into action and create content that drives you closer to your goals.