Today, I'd like to show you how to build the foundation of your site's content strategy - one that continuously grows organically.
Expect to higher organic backlinks, more shares, and better outreach opportunities.
This means you'll need to pay attention and follow these 5 crucial elements of content marketing:
- Keyword Audience Fit
- Content Metrics to Watch
- An Editorial Balance
- Repurposed Content
This is a plan I've refined a couple times by now, so I think you'll be quite finished with the finished product by the end. Now, let's go through each of these elements one by one.
Keyword Audience Fit
There are two paths you'll take when creating a content plan: Write what you want & Write what your audience wants
When you write for yourself, you're thinking of only what you'd like to write.
When you write for your audience - you're helping them find what they're already looking for.
In other words, remember to separate the difference between what you think is true and what you know is true from the data. Keyword audience fit is about being unselfish and writing for the audience.
Create a persona, if you have to. Nothing wrong with that. Think about the 'voice' your writing has and become the Avatar.
Analyzing the SERPs
Just because you're writing in a certain voice for your audience - doesn't mean you ignore the metrics provided by your keyword tools. (Remember to check multiple tools.)
You do want to pay attention to the type of posts that come up (video, text, featured snippets, etc.)
Each SERP comes with a certain lean. Either towards ecommerce sites, affiliate sites, and more.
As Amazon affiliates, we generally look towards whether it's an ecommerce lean or an affiliate lean. Meaning how many of the results are an ecommerce site with a shopping cart or how many are affiliate sites like ours.
I think as the SERPs evolve, we need to pay more attention to other factors like videos, ads, featured snippets and whatever else Google throws our way.
Keep rolling with the punches if you know what I mean?
Look at the search results of the keywords you are targeting and see what voice those articles have and which keywords lean in your favour.
Content Metrics To Watch
As you get your content written, you want to keep in mind the tactics you'll use to keep a reader engaged. This is as general as the typical format of your posts to how many times your interlinking every 500 words. Yes, it can get that granular!
Just like the metrics you keep track of when you're analyzing keywords, you need to be aware of your contents metrics.
Here are the top 5 numbers to watch:
Time on Site: How long are people staying on your site for? This is called the session's duration in Google Analytics. This tells you how long people are surfing around your site and if you look at the flow of the traffic, you can see where they usually go to next. You want this metric to move up.
Retention: You can think of retention as more than just increasing your time on site. It's numerical and can be counted by something as simple as getting more opt-ins for your email list. You want a retention metric like email subscribers to move up.
Brand Searches: This is something you don't have to track intensively, but it is the one thing that separates any niche site from an authority site. Without diving into what the differences are since it's more philosophical than anything, I like to make the fine line that all sites are niche sites until you have brand searches. Then you've made it.
Backlinks: There's no need for me to explain this, but your backlink growth is where most of your constant content growth will come from. Even though Google is hoping to move away from its dependency on backlinks as a top indicator, it's crazy to think of a better way to do it. Ahrefs has a simple way to explain this, they measure how fast your backlinks are growing vs. everyone else. You want this metric to move up.
Conversion Rates: How many people are you sending to Amazon and how many are buying from your links. This goes into a bit deeper of a conversation, but to keep it simple - think about increasing clicks to Amazon first and then the pages and products you recommend. Go as deep as refining the landing pages of the products. If it's a crappy landing page, do you think someone is going to look around or click back to your site? Either way, it's too risky to even conceptualize because you should just make sure you send your reader to a page that can convert.
SECRET TIP: A well-optimized page for an Amazon listing contains bullet points, high definition big images, good ratings and reviews, plus is an Amazon prime.
Creating An Editorial Balance
As an Amazon affiliate, you're going to create 3 types of content for your site:
Commercial: This is content that is meant to generate income and has some sort of monetizable plan forward. Generally, this is affiliate content such as product roundups (best and vs. articles) and individual product reviews.
Information: These are more questions posed by the members of your niche. You can still monetize an info article with affiliate links, but its main purpose is to answer a question that isn't directly associated with buying something.
Link Bait: These are the types of posts that are meant to attract links, this goes from creating 'ultimate guides' to 'top lists.' A top list for a running shoe affiliate site would be 'top running blogs of 2017'. If you want a great list of blog post ideas, download this list from Digital Marketer and keep it in your back pocket.
As you can imagine, the most common question that arises at this point is how much should you have of each type of content?
Of course, there's some of you out there that think 100% commercial content is the best scenario you could create. And to be truthful, it is.
But that's not going to fly with Google. You need to build a site with a 'good mix' of different content in order to avoid a thin content penalty.
In the ideal future, your site should have about 33% or 1/3 of each type. But that's not going to happen at any point because you're always going to be working on your site in one segment or another. Most sites have the ability to expand much further than expected.
The question you should probably be concerned with is "which order should I produce content in?"
If you can create commercial content first, you are going to be much better off - especially at the beginning. 1) Because your content needs to age a bit and 2) You want to get your site making money as fast as possible.
Create commercial content first, then information content, then link bait stuff.
Working In Sprints
If you know a bit about software development, you might be familiar with 'scrum sprints.' This is where you work for a month straight on getting a certain feature of a product out in time, however viable it might be.
You can build your content like this as well and from that angle, there are 4 areas you can focus on:
1) Research: This is the part where your searching for keywords, related bloggers to do outreach for, whatever it may be. But every part of your content starts with some form of research
2) Producing Content: As we mentioned above, you can work in sprints to complete your 3 types of content. First your commercial, then your informational and then your link bait. Create an editorial calendar in something like Trello, Google Sheets, or Google Calendar and just start knocking out content accordingly.
3) Tasks: This is a somewhat random category, but it's very much applicable. After you've built your content, you may choose to go into a link building sprint. If you have tons of content and a bunch of backlinks, you might want to go into an SEO audit sprint. Better yet, go into an Amazon affiliate audit. Making sure you are still aligned with Amazons TOS.
4) Tools: A tool sprint helps you reduce costs and teaches you to use the tools for a limited period of time. For example, tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs can be on the expensive side so you can always bulk up your research into a one-month sprint and get all that you can out of them. Of course, you'll need a plan to do so and that's where the research part comes in again.
Don't think that you are limited to 1 sprint either. You can do multiple sprints at the same time, but I wouldn't recommend doing more than 2 at a time. Switching tasks can often hinder you since multitasking just isn't possible for humans to do well.
Your affiliate site is essentially a mini-media company. That means you have to think like the 'big-boys' and do what they do. But only leaner.
Your content types fall into 4 categories:
- Images (infographics)
You can take all of the content you produce and turn them into other forms. For example, create a video from a popular infographic or vice versa. You'd be surprised how much you can get from this element if you just think outside of the box.
Tip: Take snippets of content from popular posts, infographics, and podcasts - then turn them into a video and run an outreach campaign for the embed.
Your Turn - Run Your First Content Sprint!
Now that you have an idea for the voice of your content, the perfect avatar, metrics to watch, and your editorial calendar in place - you need to start working in sprints.
The concept of sprints should get you up and running with a deadline to meet your goals.
When you mix sprints with repurposing content. You have yourself a content marketing machine that's constantly generating stuff people want to know more about.
I hope these 5 elements have been actionable and you intend on putting them into use. If you're looking for the next step in applying this strategy, you might want to head over to our niche sites selection. These are starter affiliate sites for you to expand upon, whereby we find low competition niches for you and build sites according to our experience (we've built over 500 so far.) Afterwards, you'll get training and access to our private community of customers so you can apply what you've learned.
If you have any questions on the 5 elements, please leave a comment below.