“Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.”
W. Clement Stone
Part of the reason many people fail with content marketing is that they blindly create and rarely pause and ask why they're creating at all.
What will this blog post do for you and your readers? Why is this video worth watching and worth your time?
Get into the habit of having a definiteness of purpose before you create any piece of content and your path to success will become much more linear. Although much of the content you create won't pan out like you hoped, the overall trajectory of your content marketing will be much more consistent.
When I say, "purpose," I have 5 literal types. They cover everything that content marketers value and if you're making content without knowing which type it is, it will not be as effective.
Here are the 5 purposes with examples.
#1 Organic Traffic Bait
Organic traffic bait posts are focused on attracting relevant, organic visits through search engines. Primarily Google and primarily in the native region of the website, but traffic outside of these demographics is more than welcome.
These posts have the potential to rank highly on Google and receive a lot of clicks from multiple semantic keywords.
Although it's fantastic to rank for higher difficulty terms, it's quicker and easier to rank for keywords with low competition. Every niche is flooded with blog post topics that could almost immediately drive organic traffic.
Example: YouTube Banner Size by VlogNerd.com
This blog post targets low competition, high search keywords like "youtube banner size" and "youtube banner template."
This post topic allows a lower authority blog log vlognerd.com to rank quickly and drive a large amount of visits without a lot of proactive link building.
#2 Super Fan Builder
This sort of content is extremely valuable but is unlikely to drive a large amount of organic traffic. Solves an exact problem for fewer people but they will love you for it.
These sorts of articles are perfect for sending to your "owned traffic" sources such as your mailing list or your social media channels.
This article means little to people who don't sell on Amazon but if you do, it's a game changer.
This is definitely the article that gets the most compliments from my followers. It does get a small amount of organic traffic, but not much and that's perfectly fine.
The goal here wasn't to make any money or go viral. The goal was to take a small segment of my followers and turn them into huge fans. I highly recommend that you read the short piece 1,000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly to fully grasp why this is so powerful.
#3 Share Bait
These are pieces that can get large amounts of traffic but through social sharing rather than search engines. These posts are things that are unique, creative, timely or extremely interesting that others want to be first to share.
They are things that people would love to read but might not have ever typed into a search engine.
This is like when you're introduced to a new song. You didn't know exactly how to find it but some how it landed in front of you and you love it. If you're like most people, you'll want to share it with others.
It can be easier to create this sort of content with video and audio mediums since they rely less on search intent and people are used to stumbling upon great content rather than actively pursuing it .
This article has been shared over 8,000 times on Pinterest. That means it's getting regular traffic without being seen often in search engines.
Creating share worthy content takes practice. For inspiration, regularly check out sites like BuzzFeed.com and Lifehacker.com to see how they do it. They are the gold standards of share worthy content.
#4 Backlink Bait
As much as I hope search engines find better ways to identify what content is worth ranking first, backlinks seem like they're here to stay. This means we have to be deliberate with creating content that attracts them.
Some articles are much more likely to attract backlinks because they contain some unique data or takeaway. These help boost the entire blog by building domain authority.
Here are some characteristics that make a post more likely to get backlinks.
This article is a backlink magnet. I've linked to it myself in the past.
It does a great job of gathering important data points that people who create content on the topic of email marketing would love to reference. Smart (and ethical) bloggers always cite their sources and when they do so, this article gets a backlink.
This article has driven more high quality backlinks than many high quality websites have across all their pages.
One post like this that drives a massive amount of high quality backlinks can catapult your blogs authority which will have a ripple effect that will improve your rankings across all of your content.
#5 Buyer Intent
These are pieces of content that target hot traffic that is ready to buy. A majority of your sales will come from these posts. These include posts that include things like
- "alternative to"
- "coupon code"
- "free trial"
Anything that signals someone is ready to buy or is strongly considering buying something. Read more about these keywords that sell here.
Although these are the "bread and butter" for earnings, they can be difficult to rank due to the fact it's hard to get anyone to link to your clearly monetized content.
Example: ConvertKit Review by Fool.com
This article is selling the email marketing tool ConvertKit and is aiming to rank for many high buyer intent phrases like "ConvertKit review," and "ConvertKit Pricing."
Keep in mind, this article is extremely well done and from a very high authority website and it still only gets a few dozen visits per month!
These pieces are hard to rank but there is gold at the end of the rainbow if you can.
Two Things to Keep in Mind
There is more to post purposes than might meet the eye.
Content Can Have Multiple Purposes
One post can fit more than one purpose. Some articles do indeed accomplish all 5 (although they are unicorns). If you can make a piece of content accomplish multiple goals, then by all means, do so as long as it doesn't dampen the overall impact of the content. Sometimes, focusing on just one type of purpose will be optimal.
All Content Should Drive Actions
With few exceptions, you should always try to turn traffic into followers on other owned platforms. This means including relevant calls to action for visitors to join your mailing list, subscribe to your channel or follow you across other social networks.
Sometimes, the traffic you're driving isn't a fit for an owned audience. For example, if I write blog posts that simply syndicate the latest funny memes, collecting emails is not likely worth the cost of the subscriber. If I'm intent on creating this sort of content, I will need to make sure that I can get them to click on a display ad or some other form of on page monetization. Without that, I am not getting paid to create and I'm not growing my brand. That is of course fine if if that's what you want, but I doubt that's why you're reading this.