I’m not all that analytical when it comes to the content I publish.

Table of Contents

My focus with content is as follows

It’s natural

I loathe robotic writing. I like it spiced up with personality but it also flows and reads naturally.

An example of unnatural is injecting keywords throughout so that it reads as if a grade three-person wrote it.

For example,

This AWeber review is very good. This AWeber review will teach you all about AWeber. This AWeber review is detailed with screenshots.** This is terrible writing.

It’s thorough

I expect the writers I hire to thoroughly research the topic. I can usually tell quickly if they’ve done their job. If not, I send it back for a revision. If it’s badly lacking, I punt them off the article and get a new writer on it. I then block the first writer so they never pick up my projects again. I expect writers to dig in and peel the onion topically so that it’s fleshed out and actually helpful. I love it when they get technical but then write the technical mumbo jumbo in a way that’s interesting. Yes, I’m demanding but when you pay $.06 to $.12 per word, you should be demanding.

It’s high-quality

If I see one grammatical error, I send it back to the writer and instruct them to comb through it in detail. I do not point out the error. I want them to comb through it The content needs to both engage readers and achieve the objective (inform, entertain, educate, etc.).

It is personable

Not all writers can do this, but when they can it’s awesome. I block writers now who can’t. Anyone can write a dry, boring, factual article. It takes a skilled writer to inject personality and excitement into writing. Some writers do it naturally. You know it when you see it. It’s a joy to read. Strive for this. Hire only writers who can do this.

What I don’t bother with:

Keyword density

Some SEOs talk about having keywords inserted in an article X number of times or makeup X percent of total words. I don’t bother with this. Maybe I’m shortsighted, but I don’t think so. I strive for natural content

I actually think it’s a good idea to hit related keywords and sub-topics. I used to use Clearscope for helping out with this. However, now that I pay more per word, I’m finding writers do a decent job hitting the relevant topics. If you’re writing the content yourself, Clearscope can be very helpful in ensuring your articles are thorough.

Word count

I don’t publish 3,000 words just to publish 3,000 words. I publish the number of words necessary to cover the topic. Sometimes it’s 800 words and sometimes ifs 5,000 words. Usually, it’s 1,600 to 3,000 words. That said, when ordering content, I stipulate a word count which is not always the best way to order content because either writer needs to fluff it up to hit the word count or they condense it too much to come under. Over time you’ll get a good sense of how many words are necessary for many topics in your niche, but when starting out, it’s not obvious. I still get it wrong here and there.

Article Intros:

I’m a stickler about intros. If it’s bad, I send it back to the writer.

My content briefs (i.e. instructions to writers) set out in detail that I’m looking for personable, exciting, and engaging introductions. I also prefer my writers to write in the first person.

My favorite introductions are those that include a personal experience or anecdote. If that’s not possible, I like intros to include topic-related facts and/or statistics.

For example:

AWeber currently has 50,000 users making it the second most used email automation software on the planet. In 2019, AWeber sent out 81 billion emails. Of those 81 billion emails, 1.3 million were from my email account. Yup, I sent out 1.3 million emails last year with a few clicks of the mouse. With $.02 per subscriber per email, that netted me $26,000. That’s the power of email automation with AWeber.

Article Conclusions:

99% of my articles do NOT have a conclusion. The one exception is a review or comparison article where I can give a verdict

Other than that I loathe paying writers for conclusions because usually they’re just rehashed fluff of the main article.

This practice of mine saves me a ton of money. If you don’t specify this (i.e. Do NOT write a conclusion) in your instructions, some writers will barf out 150 to 200-word fluffy conclusions. At $.06 per word, that’s $9 to $12 for garbage content that does not enhance your article.

Add-On Sections


I’m a big fan of what I call add-on sections to content. These are various content types you can add to articles that make them better. I’ve had many long-term readers tell me that the following is one of the most valuable bits of info they ever read online. Interestingly, I return to this list regularly.

1. Add Facts

I love this technique. I forget to do it way too often, yet as a reader of websites, I love it when they toss in some interesting facts regarding the topic. You’ve probably seen this done… you’re reading along and then there’s a little box or highlighted text with an interesting fact on the subject. I love this and so I do it occasionally. It’s a great way to enhance your content.

Mind you, this won’t add piles of words to your content, but it will make it more interesting.


TIP: One of the best sites for statistics is Statists. Check this out – it’s amazing. I haven’t ponied up for a premium subscription but I think it’s only a matter of time.

2. Add a quote or two

If you can find a terrific quote or two relevant to the topic, put it in the article. This is an easy and fast way to make your content more interesting.

TIP: you might consider putting the quote in an image so that people can pin it Quotes are a very popular type of pin.

Example:

Making money from blogging requires you to do only two things: drive a lot traffic, then maximize the income from that traffic

• Cost to implement: $0

3. Data (Charts and Tables)

This is something I’ve added to quite a bit of content in my niche sites extensively in 2017. In fact, when I can get my hands on enough data, I create dedicated data-focused articles.

TIP: Leverage data by adding it to many blog posts

If you’re able to get plenty of data in your niche and create dozens or hundreds of tables or charts, you can incorporate bits and pieces in many articles. This enhances each article.

What is data?

Data is usually in the form of numbers such as statistics, volume, percentages, etc. Within every niche, there are loads of data. The trick is finding accurate sources.

A collateral benefit of data

Charts and tables can attract links. I publish my charts as images and if another site uses it, chances are they’ll source it with a link.

What if you can’t find data?

Get your own.

How?

Create piles of polls and collect responses. Use those responses as your data from which you can create tables and charts. If you have an email list, you can create surveys and have them fill them out. That too is excellent data.

Each niche is different, but when you turn your attention to gathering and finding data relevant to your niche, you’ll soon learn that there is a goldmine of information you can use, leverage, and publish that your audience will love.

Example:

Auto niche:

The amount of interesting data you could write about is crazy. You could compile tables of vehicle sales volumes, recall information, car accident data, horsepower comparisons, 0 to 60 mph comparisons, popular colors and so much more. All of this is information people interested in cars would want to read.

Each niche is different, but turn your attention to what kind of information the industry would collect A really good starting point is the annual reports produced by publicly traded companies within the niche. These reports are a wealth of information. Get all the annual reports for all the companies in the niche and you’ll be swimming in reliable data (unless they’re cooking the books).

• Cost to implement: $0 to 1,000s. Depends on how much research is involved and who does it. If you outsource it, it could cost a lot of money but it could be worth it if you get a lot of data that you can incorporate into many posts.

This is just one more really great way to incorporate fantastic content on your site that attracts links naturally.

4. “Pros and Cons” Section

You can add a Pros and Cons section to many article topics. What I like about the “Pros and Cons” addition is it’s a very high-value snippet of info.

You can keep it short or make it expansive.

If you find the Pros and Cons section turns into 350+ words, you might consider publishing a stand-alone article focusing on the pros and cons. You can link to it from the article in which you considered inputting the pros and cons.

• Cost to implement: $0

If you’re in a visual niche, add a photo gallery if possible. If it’s a massive photo gallery, you may want to add a few images and then link to a dedicated photo gallery.

Cost to implement: $0 to $100. Depends on which photo gallery tool/plugin you use.

6. Additional Resources Section

This chunk of info could be many things including:

• Links to cornerstone content;
• Links to related articles on your website;
• Links to related articles on other websites;
• Links to relevant products and/or services; and/or
• Suggested books for further investigation.

Cost to implement: $0

7. Poll and/or Quiz

I love polls and quizzes on websites. I enjoy taking them and I enjoy offering them to readers. Fortunately these days there are many software options to create really good polls and quizzes.

I have polls and quizzes displayed site-wide as well as very specific polls and quizzes for individual articles. My site has tons of these. To date, I’ve had 92,000+ poll votes plus thousands of people taking the quizzes.

8. Table of Contents

Whenever I have more than 5 headings, I add a table of contents toward the top of my posts. I use the Table of Contents Plus plugin. I love the table of contents as a reader of longer articles and so I figure my readers will appreciate it as well.

At the top of this post, you can see an example of the Table of Contents Plus plugin in action.


• Cost: $0 (free plugin).

9. Summary

If your article is extensive, it never hurts to write a summary at the top. That is a nice way to give readers a bird’s eye view of the article.


• Cost to implement: $0

10. Social Media Embeds

Plenty of large sites do this regularly, especially for news. They will include Twitter posts or FB posts or Instagram posts that support or enhance the news item.

In fact, social media roundups are very popular with top-tier publications (i.e. Buzzfeed) so take that as a hint that doing them can be very good for sites.

One social media round-up I like is embedding salient Twitter posts on a particular topic. Same with Instagram. For example, an article about “How the Kardashians Spend Their Millions” can be created by a series of Instagram posts showing the Kardashians traveling, dining out, partying, etc.

I think ifs important that you inject some editorial content in between the embeds to infuse humor, context, etc.

11. Videos

This is too obvious, but I’ll include it because it really is a great way to add a ton of value to an article. You can embed YouTube videos anywhere to make your article better.

12. “Cost” Section

You can discuss the “Cost” of a topic more often than you think.

For example, I could finish this article with a “How much does doing this cost?” or I could add that to each individual item in this list For this article, the best option would be to add the “cost” to each item in the list because each will vary.

However, if your article discusses something in a more singular fashion, you can discuss cost generally at the end

Example: Auto niche

Suppose you cover cars that go from 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds, you could discuss cost extensively. In this case, the cost will be high because those are mostly high-performance cars that cost more. You could present cost as a range and explain briefly the differences in price. If you get sufficient data, you could create a chart measuring costs against 0 to 60 mph. I’m sure there’s a correlation that could be charted between the higher the cost, the lower the time for a car to get to 60 mph.

• Cost to implement: $0

13. FAQ Section

This is a classic and it’s one I do a lot.

Almost any topic could have an FAQ section added. In some cases, you’ll regurgitate information buried in the article and highlight it as a question and answer. In other instances, your questions and answers may be information not included in the main article.

Regardless, the FAQ is a great way to provide concise and helpful information to readers.

Cost to implement: $0

14. “What is it?” or Definitions Section

You never want to assume your readers know what you’re talking about. Many article topics could include a “what is it?w or “Definition” section to help clarify the concept or terms.

Example:

Content (def.): something that is to be expressed through some medium, such as speech, writing, or any of various arts.

15. “How-To” Section

Usually, this would make up an individual article because how-to topics are usually fairly lengthy; however, in some cases, it may be simple and may fit in nicely in a longer article.

TIP: Any time you want to include a how-to section, check YouTube for a video too. I find there are how-to videos on pretty much everything.

• Cost to implement: $0

16. Personal Story/Anecdotes

I think this is a highly overlooked way to personalize what are usually fairly mundane topics. My niches aren’t super exciting but the information helps people. Most websites offer the info in a fairly dry manner so one thing I do often (not always, but often) is to kick off the article or gallery with a personal anecdote or example of how the topic applies to me. This turns dry content into something more personal. I also enjoy writing these types of intros much more than the usual boring intros.

In fact, I instruct all writers to not include an intro. This saves me money on word count and it gives me a chance to personalize the article, which only takes a few minutes to do.

Frankly, writing services are decent at writing on concrete topics but are usually bad at writing engaging introductions.

• Cost to implement: $0

17. Dress Up Images so They’re More Informative

If your article is even a bit visual, you can mark up photos with arrows and text to help explain or inform. This takes a bit of time to do, but when it’s applicable, it’s a huge value-ad.

I actually do these myself. I don’t worry about making it beautiful. I just open an image editor on my Mac and add text with arrows.

If you’re a perfectionist (I’m clearly no perfectionist) or you’re way too busy to do this, then hire a graphic artist or get on board with DesignPickle to do this for you.

Cost to implement: $0 to $370 per month+. DesignPickle costs $370 per month, but if you cranked out several of these each month it could well be worth it. Hiring a graphic designer could cost more (or less).

19. Graphic Version of the Post

I’ve started doing these for my longer posts with plenty of images and sections. The graphic is a synopsis of the content with a focus on the images but includes the headings and in some cases some of the text.

I pin these. I guess you could call this an infographic, but my approach is to basically turn the post into a graphic.
Cost to implement: $0 to $l,000s+. It all depends on who you get to create the graphics

20. Editor’s Comments

I noticed that Authority Hacker does this when they have guest writers do the content. I think it’s super smart and highly effective because it reads a bit like a conversation.

Obviously, this only works when it’s a guest post or it’s publicly made known that it’s not you who wrote the article. Of course, you could make it look like 2 people contributed as well to incorporate this effect.

Basically, you just add highlighted sections, often in the form of a content box where you indicate it’s an Editor’s Comment and then you add your own insight or praise or criticism or personal story to that part of the article.

This could easily be done for every article simply by manufacturing the effect. You the writer write the article. You the editor, comment on it It s a great format and technique.

• Cost to implement: $0

21. Expert Opinion or Quote

Almost any article could benefit from the input of an expert in the field. It could be a short answer or a longer contribution.

One huge benefit of links being so valuable for SEO is that whenever you need a contribution to your article, your offer of a link to them is a very good incentive. Unless they are totally clueless about SEO, most people will be delighted to provide a 2 paragraph answer to a question in return for a link.

When you contact experts, especially small business owners or professionals, you might consider briefly explaining that you’ll provide a link to their site and that such links are good for helping get ranked higher in Google search rankings.

22. Embed a Map

If your content includes mention of a location, why not embed a Google map? It’s free and takes about 30 seconds yet can be a very helpful chunk of content for your readers.

Add product tables

This isn’t a new idea, but it is a good idea for content that discusses multiple products. I do this for quite a bit of product-oriented content.

You can use an Amazon product table plugin or use the free TablePress plugin. Either way, you end up with some great user-friendly content that can earn decent money if you incorporate affiliate links.

23. Embed a podcast

I’m currently publishing a podcast for one of my niche sites. I embed each podcast in the applicable blog post.

You can embed your podcast or podcasts from other folks. Ifs a great way to increase time on site.

Types of Articles

I’ll wrap this long lecture with a quick list of 40 different types of articles you can publish. While not all apply to all niches, many wills. In some cases, you can combine different types into one article or publish them separately.

  1. Listicle
  2. Best Of
  3. Product Reviews
  4. Mistakes to Avoid
  5. How-To Guide
  6. News
  7. Checklist
  8. FAQs
  9. Common Myths
  10. Industry Analysis
  11. Industry Forecast
  12. Research Data
  13. Interview
  14. Video
  15. Infographic
  16. Photo Gallery/Slideshow
  17. Event Announcements
  18. Community Spotlight
  19. Thank You
  20. Future of the Organization
  21. Expert Roundup
  22. Business Survey
  23. Comparisons
  24. Guest Posts
  25. Case Study
  26. Solutions for Common Problems
  27. New Product Announcement
  28. How to Choose
  29. Glossary
  30. Best Tools or Resources
  31. Op-ed
  32. Definition articles
  33. Curated content
  34. Personal stories
  35. Polls, Surveys, or Quizzes
  36. Buying Guides
  37. User Generated Content
  38. About / Profile Article
  39. Timeline
  40. Social Media Roundups

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