One of the hardest things about blogging is coming up with ideas for content.
You’ve seen them, I’ve seen them, and we’ve all seen them. Whether from corporate blogs, to personal blogs to blogs attached to ecommerce sites or stores, it’s the dreaded content drought. Blogs that start off with a bang, then fall off a cliff when suddenly no content gets published anymore.
More often than not, this happens before the blog even gets it’s readership off the ground. You’ll see post after post of content with no shares and no comments. As a writer I’ve been there, and I can sympathize with how frustrating that can be.
But as an ecommerce business owner, you should not give up. In fact you cannot give up, since blogging and content creation are so vital in any good online marketing strategy.
I’m going to share with you a great technique that will not only help you never run out of content ideas but also ensure that the content you create will be high quality, and highly shareable. It’s become known in online circles as the “skyscraper technique”.
It’s a pretty simple strategy actually, and like many effective strategies, it’s made up of 3 simple steps.
1. Find something that works
2. Make it better
3. Promote it
So what exactly does that mean? Stay tuned.
Step 1: Find something that works
The first step in the skyscraper technique is to find something that works. What does that mean exactly? It means your first step is to do a bit of research.
You want to do some research to find articles in your domain that have previously gotten a high level of engagement and a high level of social shares or comments. While you could try to pinpoint these posts via Google or just by manually browsing through blogs you may read yourself, there is an easier way. There are a number of tools that can help you do this.
One that I like is called BuzzSumo
It’s a great tool that allows you to search for content by topic. Even better, it shows you the social engagement numbers of the content it finds. Here’s an example.
Now with those results I can see the type of “ecommerce marketing” content that has performed well in the past.
Let’s take a closer look at result #3 “7 Tips for Improving Your Ecommerce Strategy”.
This article looks like a prime candidate for skyscrapering. So now let’s go to Step 2.
Step 2: Make it better
One thing that was appealing about the article we selected was the format. Research will show that list based articles are not only high performing, but as a writer they are often easier to create. Instead of having to write one long form piece, lists allow you to break up your posts into smaller digestible chunks. In this case 7 of them.
The outline of the post is as follows:
1. Create a user oriented experience
2. Design services you’d want to use yourself
3. Customer feedback is crucial
4. Utilize social media
5. Invest in mobile
6. Incentivize customers
7. Be ever evolving
So now with that rough outline, what you want to do is try to improve on the original, following a similar format.
There are a number of ways that you can improve on each tip. First and foremost, if your writing style is different and you can add whatever personal slant you can onto a piece that in itself, can drastically refresh a piece of content. By the same token, if the piece is not brand new, you there is also an opportunity for improvement by simply updating any statistics or findings in the post.
Finally adding additional multimedia or case study examples is another simple way to upgrade a post and put your own spin on things.
Now, finally the last step.
Step 3: Promotion
There are a number of ways to promote your blog content. Simply put, you need to be putting as much, if not more effort into promoting your content as you do creating it. While there really are no silver bullets to guarantee “going viral”, there are a number of best practices to keep in mind when you’re promoting blog content.
First, get your timing right. The obvious place for promoting your content is in social media. But if you have a number of social media profiles it’s important to keep in mind the different behavior and timing that works best in each channel.
Some info from HubSpot shows the following:
Time: In the afternoon between 2pm and 4pm
Frequency: 3-4 times/day
Time: During the workday between 10am and 4pm
Day: Monday through Thursday
Time/day: before and after business hours. Not on weekends
Second, spend some time trying to get a killer headline. Believe it or not, there is a bit of a science behind headlines and that science is why we all, at one time or another, find ourselves clicking on the content we see from the likes of Buzzfeed and Upworthy. While much of this takes some getting used to, a simple formula you can follow is:
number + keyword + adjective + promise
For example: 7 Super Duper Ways to Spice Up a Turkey
Finally, when it comes to Twitter in particular, pay attention to the hashtags that are trending and may be relevant to your content. Hashtags are an often overlooked (and simple) way to help ensure your posts are getting in front of the right audience.
And there you have it, a simple 3 step process to help you create great content that will be shared!