Developing Great Content: Our Most Popular Posts

developing great contentWe haven't published anything about business blogging or content marketing for a long time. The reason for that is our website redesign and our domain name switch (what do you think?) We prepared for the possibility of having to repost everything, so we didn't want to post anything new only to take it down again. Now that everything is nearly done, we can get back to blogging.

As we move forward with this wonderful change, now may be a good time to evaluate our own business blogging and to see what's been done right and why they are the right things to do. Up to this point (not including this post), we have published 121 posts over the course of six months. Over this period of time, these 10 posts have accrued the most views and are considered the most popular posts. Here are these posts, starting with the most popular:

How to Blog: 4 Quick Tips to Writing Meta Descriptions

The 5 Ws (and H) of a Content Marketing Strategy

The Difference Between Advertorial and Editorial

Content Marketing Strategy: Having an Editorial Calendar

5 Business Blogging Best Practices

Business Blogging Tips: Why Small Businesses Need to Blog Often

Content Marketing/Business Blogging Intern Needed

How the Buying Process Affects Your Content Marketing

The 5 Ws and H of an Article Marketing Strategy

How to Blog: Tagging

What Made These 10 Posts so Popular?

Was it the title? Was the topic of great interest? Were they well optimized for search engines? Were they written so well that so many people found these posts engaging? If you take a look at each of them, you begin to see some common denominators amongst all 10 posts:

  1. Each post has a photo.
  2. Each title is optimized for one keyword or phrase.
  3. Each post is between 400 and 600 words.
  4. Each post is evergreen (except for one), or would still be considered relevant tomorrow or a year from now.
Those common denominators are important to consider when looking at what makes these posts so popular. Although they aren't the sole factors toward popularity, they are contributing factors since there are many business blogs that don't include photos, don't include keywords or phrases in their titles, and are too short or long to be engaging to reader. Let's take a closer look at factors that applied to some of the posts, but not all the posts, and how they brought these particular posts to the top of the list.




4 Factors that Can Make Your Blog Posts Even More Popular

  1. Content Amplification - A post from the list that sticks out is the one about needing an intern, since it's the only one that's actually about the company and not about business blogging or content marketing. Why did this one do so well? The story is that we needed an intern quickly, so we did a lot extra promotion of this particular post to get the word out about our need, a lot more than we would normally do with our blog posts. That's what did it for this post - we made the effort to drive traffic to it. Sharing your blog post more than once or twice can improve the publicity of the post.
  2. Lists Do Well - Four of the posts include a number in the title, indicating that the post is a list of the four or five things about x, y, and z. This works well because the title makes it clear what the reader is getting, and reading the article itself is easy because it's broken down into small, digestible parts. Lists do well because they can be a quick read, but they will do better if it's clear from the title that the post is a list (and what is in that list).
  3. Picking Less Competitive Keywords - The reason why the advertorial/editorial post did really well is because, it turns out, advertorial isn't a very competitive keyword. Neither are some keywords and phrases related to that, such as 'advertorials on blogs', 'advertorial+editorial', and 'what is the difference between an editorial and a news article'. Those keywords and phrases may not get a lot of traffic, but we know that those who do search for those terms will find our blog post, and will find it very relevant.
  4. Hitting the Pain Points of Your Target Audience - What makes the posts about the buying process, the editorial calendar, and the business blogging tips so popular? They touched upon some of the biggest pain points of our target audience (small business owners and decision makers having trouble with their business blogging, content marketing, and their online presence as a whole). Since the business blog is supposed to be for your customers and potential customers, then it's important to create content that is specific to them and their problems. By acting as that guardian angel, you gain their trust and you build thought leadership.
Overall, developing great content and having popular posts isn't necessarily about writing the next great American business blog. It's about creating content that your readers need and enjoy, and can find value in. There will always be popular and unpopular posts, so take the time to look at what you're doing right, and to continue doing that so every post of yours has a chance to be popular.