Blogging is the most fundamental aspect of content marketing, since it’s basically like fuel to your car. Without regularly adding blog posts to your fitness business’s website, then you won’t be able to generate organic inbound traffic; however, if you are keeping up with your content schedule -then your website will be able to flourish from a healthy stream of new inbound visitors.
At the same time, it does matter what type of fuel you use to gas up that Camaro. If you’re using low octane gasoline, then you’re going to get low fuel efficiency. If you’re gassing up with the good stuff, then you can expect better performance. Same goes with blog content.
The 2 Types of Content
Depending on your strategy, there are two basic categories for the kind of content that you’d like to create…
- Short-term content – This is the kind you see on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. This type of post allows your content to show up in the news feeds to generate traffic over the course next few days (possibly weeks). For this purpose, most of your followers will be viewing these posts primarily via smartphones and various mobile devices.
- Long-term content – This type can also produce short-term results, especially if you already have nice following on social media; however, the primary purpose for your longer form blog posts is to snag the attention of Google and reap the rewards of organic search engine traffic via ‘SEO’. If you don’t yet have a strong social media following, then your long-term content will most likely start seeing traffic in the next 6-8 weeks.
The point in keeping these two content types in mind, while crafting your company blog’s strategy, is because it’s best to have a specific purpose for your posts before you send them into cyber space.
However, whether you’re producing long or short-term ‘text’ content, all of it (even image, video, infographic posts) need to have these 5 elements in order at least ensure that a post has viral potential. At the end of the day, this is the ultimate goal of a blog post on your fitness business’s website.
#5 – One Main Idea (Even If You’re Doing a ‘List’ Post)
It’s important for each blog post to maintain a single idea. There is sometimes a temptation to cram too many big ideas into one post -but the problem with this is the fact that you’ll end up losing your reader’s attention. Even if all of your ideas happen to be extremely well-thought out and applicable, having too many independently existing ideas will convolute your post and cause the reader to mentally ‘gear switch’ (ie. hitting the back-button). When this happens, you end up sacrificing momentum, and in which case, memorability. Simplicity in this sense, is key, because memorable articles get shared.
Listing articles (like the one you’re reading right now) must also still stick to a main, memorable idea. Just make sure that your tips and pointers act more like mile markers, rather than exit signs.
#4 – Citations, Proof, and Credibility
It’s easy to fly through a post, stating what you know -because what you know can benefit the reader. However, it’s not always enough to have good information in the post in hopes of winning over the reader. According to Darren Rowse of Problogger, even widely-recognized industry thought-leaders understand that their points are better leveraged when they cite credible sources and ensuring that the appropriate links are embedded with those citations if doing so is possible (see what I did there?).
There are also other ways to add credibility to a post, such as using infographics, charts, graphs, videos, etc., allowing the reader to have two mediums of credibility validation.
#3 – Formatting That’s Easy On the Eyes
One study that was done by Nielsen Norman Group showed that these days, people want posts that are easy to read. Essentially, they tracked the eye movements of readers and discovered that they tend to form an ‘F’ pattern: reading full sentences in the beginning and then skimming the rest.
“In our new eyetracking study, we recorded how 232 users looked at thousands of Web pages. We found that users’ main reading behavior was fairly consistent across many different sites and tasks. This dominant reading pattern looks somewhat like an F…”
This why listing articles, bullet points, numbered steps, and subheaders tend to help articles achieve increased viral performance.
#2 – Visual Pizzazz
Amanda Sibley of Hubspot makes several excellent points on why visual content tends to outperform text content in terms of short-term viral potential. The first stat that she cites came from a study, conducted by 3M and Zabisco, which said that the human brain can process images MUCH faster…
“90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.”
This is why it’s important that your blog posts include at least one image near the headline. If possible, it’s a fantastic idea to include other visual media throughout the post, as this will add credibility (as previously discussed) and breakup the article to make it easier to read.
#1 – CLICKABLE Headlines
What makes a headline ‘clickable’?
The object of a ‘clickable’ headline is in its ability to grab the attention of a reader, and immediately spark interest, curiosity, and the desire to further explore. Hubspot produced a fantastic infographic, which shows stats on headline elements that perform well (and others, not so well). If anything, it’s best to stick to these simple guidelines…
- Keep them as short as is feasibly possible.
- Avoid using cliches and overused words.
- Directly engage the reader.
- Use numbers when applicable.
- Question-type headlines perform well.
- Actionable steps, tips, and tricks offer a sense of immediate gratification.
These guidelines will increase the ‘clickability’ of your headline, thereby greatly increasing your odds of receiving optimal search engine and viral traffic.
Best Performing Blogs?
They say that to be a top-performer, it’s not a bad idea to learn about what other top-performers do -and then copy them.
So, if we were to take a look at the top-performing blogs of 2014, then you’ll see these three in the first three places: Buffer, Content Marketing Institute, and Copyblogger. What makes them uniquely good enough to beat every other blog on the web? I believe that it comes down to the fact that their information is extremely useful, while presenting it in such a way that is easily digested and shared…
And overall, that’s exactly what we’re going for. So, dear friends: go and do likewise.