1: Review Multiple Platforms to Find Popular Topics
To convert more customers or leads through blogging, you need to write about topics that interest your audience. If you’re struggling with this step, several tools can help you discover topics that are frequently shared on social media and searched for via Google.
BuzzSumo is a powerful content research tool that will help you learn what has performed well on social media in any industry. Both paid and free versions are available.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner, a free tool, shows you terms people are searching for on Google that relate to a keyword. You can use these relevant terms to find topics for your blog posts.
To get started with Keyword Planner, enter your keyword. Then add your targeting and apply filters.
In relevant Facebook groups, you can often discover interesting blog ideas from questions members ask. When you see a question that has been asked many times, you can add it to your worksheet as a potential blog topic.
To find Facebook groups relevant to your blog, select Groups on the left-hand side of your Facebook dashboard. Then choose Discover at the top to see a list of suggested groups based on the pages, posts, and groups that you’ve already liked, shared, or joined. Or use the top search bar to find groups relevant to any keyword or niche.
2: Rank Possible Topics to Determine Top Performers
Based on your research, you can decide which blog post topics you’ll add to your editorial calendar. To help you decide, create a spreadsheet to track the topics and questions that seem to be popular. Pulling together the following details in your spreadsheet will help you identify which topics are a good fit for your blog:
• Original blog idea
• Target keyword
• Number of monthly shares
• Number of repins and Facebook shares
• Notes about the problem the topic solves for your audience
• Notes about how the topic relates to one of your products. For example, a topic might lead to a sales funnel opt-in.
At this stage, you want to narrow your ideas to those that are both popular with your audience and align with your business goals. There’s no shame in sharing something valuable that helps your readers and grows your business. In fact, that’s why you’re blogging in the first place!
After you pick the winning topics, make additional notes about interesting content pieces so that you can start to frame an angle for your blog post. For each blog post topic, you might note the following:
• Title or headline
• Blog post URL
• Why the topic is helpful and what you like about it
• How you can improve upon content already available about this topic. For instance, do you see gaps that your blog post can fill?
3: Write for Readability
When writing a blog post, you might jump right in and start writing. However, with this approach, you risk rambling on and on and forgetting the original points you want to make. To write an easy-to-read post, start by planning and organizing your thoughts and then break the details into manageable chunks.
Before you begin writing, create an outline to help you stay on track and give your post an easy-to-follow structure. As you develop your outline, focus on delivering value to your audience/leads.
Make sure your blog post shows people how to do something instead of telling people what to do. Dive deep and give people easy-to-follow, actionable steps. Include screenshots and other images to help your audience understand what you’re saying.
Also, look through your notes and pinpoint how your blog post can deliver value that similar articles lack so your content stands out. For example, can your article be more visually descriptive? More detailed? Longer? How will you fill in the gaps in other people’s content? Be sure to aim for more than 1,000 words for each blog post.
When people read your blog post, you want them to be able to spot sections that interest them right away. As you write, divide your post into small chunks. Long paragraphs and blocks of text can make your post seem like hard work. Use small sections so readers can easily spot those that interest them. Use headings, bullets, short paragraphs, and short words (hard versus difficult).
4: Offer a Supplemental Content Upgrade
Now that you’ve set the foundation for your post, it’s time to build your audience and get more subscribers or leads. Remember that your goal for blogging isn’t readers, but customers. You want your blog content to be the first step in someone’s journey toward becoming a customer. That’s where content upgrades come in.
A content upgrade is bonus content that your readers receive in exchange for their email address. Content upgrades are similar to lead magnets in that you encourage people to opt in. They’re powerful marketing tools because they’re relevant to both your article and the intent of your readers.
Examples of Content Upgrades
The first step in choosing the right type of offer is to identify a resource that will extend the value of your blog content. Different types of content upgrades work well with different blog post content.
Checklists are usually one-pagers that are perfect for how-to and long-form articles. You can outline specific steps people need to take to achieve something. For instance, search engine optimization has a lot of moving parts. To help readers keep track of routine SEO tasks for every blog post, you could offer a handy SEO checklist as a content upgrade.
Ebooks are ideal for blog posts that are part of a series or related to a theme that will take readers on a journey. You might have a three-part series in which you show readers how to accelerate their online business growth. Because the blog posts are related, each serves as a separate chapter and leads seamlessly to the next.
Spreadsheets help people organize research, brainstorm, plan, or manage systems and processes. When you share a Google sheet that’s related to a blog post about planning and workflows, readers have something to refer back to and share with their team.
Workbooks help your audience go beyond learning about a concept and start putting what they learn into action.
5: Create a Content Upgrade in Canva
You can create any type of content upgrade with Canva. The steps here use an ebook as an example. To get started, create an account with Canva. Next, use the Blog Graphic as a template. To resize the graphic to US Letter so the format is similar to a book, select Resize from the top menu and select a size.
6: Add a CTA Button and Opt-In Form to Your Blog Post
To prompt your blog post readers to download the content upgrade, you need a graphic button that grabs people’s attention and inspires them to click. You can create this button in Canva, too.
To start, create a new design using any template and resize it as a Twitter post. Next, upload the PNG of your ebook cover and add it to the button. Including an image of your content upgrade reminds readers what they’ll receive when they click the button.
Next, change the background color so your graphic button will stand out in your blog post. Add lead-in copy and a square shape to use as the background for your CTA copy. In this example, that’s the turquoise rounded rectangle with the text, “Yes, Please Send!” Make sure both the lead-in and button copy compel readers to take action.
When you’re done designing the button, download it as a PNG file and upload the file to your WordPress Media Library.
In addition to the button, you also need an opt-in form. The opt-in form is what people see when they click your button. To create the form, you can use tools such as Sumo, Thrive Leads, or Leadpages. This example uses Leadpages to create a leadbox where blog users can enter their contact information to receive the content upgrade
To start, log into Leadpages, select Leadbox, and add a name for your new leadbox. Next, replace the template image with the image of your ebook cover.
Add a heading and customize the design of your text and button. To change the heading style, highlight the text and click in the blue bar to access the edit tools.
The standard template includes a phone field, which you can easily remove by selecting the integration button in the left sidebar. While you’re there, make sure you integrate the form with your email marketing service and test that it’s working correctly.
When you’re ready, publish your leadbox. In the publishing options, copy the script in the Image Link section, which is the code you need to add the leadbox to your blog post.
After you set up the button and the form, you can add them to your blog post. With your blog post open in WordPress, you add the leadbox code and point to your button image within that code. In the text editor, paste the leadbox code where you want your graphic button to appear. Then replace the image source (src=”=s0″) with the URL for your button image.
To get the URL, select your button image in the Media Library, and copy the URL that appears in the top right, as shown in this example. Then in the leadbox code, paste the URL in between the quotation marks for the image source. When you’re done, people who click the button see the leadbox and can opt in.
Ideally, you want to give readers several reminders to download your content upgrade. Place the button directly after your introduction, in the middle of your post, and again at the end of your post. You can even include different content upgrades to give people many different options, assuming that each free offer is relevant to your post.
Tip: You can use the list of people who opted into your upgrade to create a custom audience of people you can market to on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. On Facebook, you can also use your email list to create a lookalike audience.
7: Build a Free Resource Library From Past Content Upgrades
After you have 10 or more content upgrades, you can combine your upgrades into a resource library or welcome pack to give email subscribers an even bigger bonus. Subscribers benefit because a resource library provides all of your free content in one place. Accessing the library is much easier than downloading each free resource individually.
Creating high-converting content upgrades takes time and effort, but that time is well spent. Content upgrades are an exceptional tool for building your email list and should be seen as an investment in acquiring future customers.
By following the tips in this article, you can create free content around topics popular with your audience, and the products and services you offer. You’ll also lead people to a sale through a natural, organic process because you’ll know that your audience truly wants your products.