17 Actionable Content Marketing Tips For More Traffic

17 Actionable Content Marketing Tips

This is a list of actionable content marketing tips.

In fact, these same strategies helped grow my blog to 304,265 monthly visits:

Backlinko – Monthly visits

So if you want more traffic from every piece of content that you publish, you’ll love this list of tips, techniques and strategies.

Let’s get started.

1. Publish “X vs. Y” Posts

“X vs. Y” posts are posts like:

  • “Convertkit vs. MailChimp”
  • “Paleo vs. Keto”
  • “UberEats vs. Postmates”

And “X vs. Y” posts are a GREAT way to get more traffic to your site.


First, X vs. Y keywords don’t have a lot of SEO competition.

For example, I recently published a post optimized around the keyword “Ahrefs vs. SEMRush”.

Backlinko – Ahrefs vs. SEMrush post

Sure enough, that page rocked to the top of Google within a few weeks.

SERP for Ahrefs vs. SEMrush

Second, people that search for “X vs. Y” keywords tend to be pretty advanced.

Think about it this way:

Somebody searching for “Ahrefs vs. SEMRush” already knows about SEO. They’re just looking for the best tool.

Which is why CPCs on “X vs. Y” keywords tend to be super high.

Aweber vs. Mailchimp – CPC

This is an EASY way to get more replies to your outreach emails.

All you need to do is add links to your social profiles in your signature.

Add links to your social profiles in your signature

Seriously. That’s it.

And there’s data to back this up.

When we teamed up with Pitchbox to analyze over 10 million outreach emails, we discovered that social profile links increased response rates by up to 9%.

Linking to Social Profiles May Slightly Improve Outreach Response Rates

Our data also showed that adding a link to your Instagram profile seems to make the biggest difference.

Links To Instagram, LinkedIn And Twitter May Lead To More Outreach Replies

Which leads us to…

3. Use The Animalz Revive Tool

I boosted my organic traffic by 260% simply by updating and relaunching an old post.

Organic traffic boost for White Hat SEO

Question is:

How do you know which posts to work on first?

Enter: The (free) Animalz Revive tool.

Animalz revive tool

This tool uses your Google Analytics to find pages with the biggest traffic drop.

Animalz revive – Advice

When you find a page that’s dropping, you have two options:

You can revamp and relaunch the post like it’s brand new.

For example, we update and relaunch our “Guide to SEO This Year” every November.

Backlinko – SEO This Year post

Or, you can quietly update your content. In fact, last year we gave our guest posting guide a much-needed update.

Backlinko – The Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging

And that single update boosted search engine traffic to that page by 17.68%.

Search traffic boost for guest blogging guide

4. Try The PBC Formula

Your blog post introductions are HUGE.

After all, they’re the first thing people see when they land on your post.

Unfortunately, most blog post intros are way too long.

Long post intro

Well, I recently developed a short blog post intro formula that works GREAT.

I call it: “The PBC Formula”.

The PBC Formula

Here’s the full breakdown.

First, you quickly Preview what your post is all about.

Blog post intro – Preview

Then, you list out a bunch of Benefits that someone will get from reading your post.

Blog post intro – Benefits

Finally, cap things off with a Call-To-Action.

Blog post intro – CTA

That’s all there is to it.

5. Publish “Power Posts”

When we joined forces with BuzzSumo to analyze nearly 1 billion articles, one finding stood out:

A very small number of “Power Posts” drive the majority of social sharing online.

Power Posts

Our data showed that 1.3% of the articles published are responsible for 50% of social media shares.

I call these high-performing articles “Power Posts”.

To be clear:

There’s no formula for creating content that will get shared like crazy.

(If there was, everyone would do it 😀 )

But when you publish epic Power Posts you increase the odds that people will share your stuff.

For example, we recently published a Power Post called: “How to Write a Blog Post: The Definitive Guide”.

Backlinko – Write a Blog Post Guide

This single post took 50 hours of work.

  • 20 hours to write the post
  • 15 hours to design illustrations and visuals
  • 10 hours to take and edit screenshots
  • 5 hours to code and assemble the page

But in the end, that hard work paid off.

Our Power Post brought in 10,555 visitors in the first week alone.

Write a Blog Post – First week visitors

And a good chunk of those visitors were from all the shares we got on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Write a Blog Post Guide – Shares

In fact, that single page has 5369 total social shares.

Write a Blog Post Guide – Social shares

Let’s face it:

Most topics are SUPER competitive.

For example, take a super niche keyword like “seo site check up”.

According to Ahrefs, this keyword only gets 90 searches per month.

Ahrefs – "seo site check up" search volume

And it has a keyword difficulty score of 86.

Ahrefs – "seo site check up" – Keyword Difficulty

It’s the same story with most topics nowadays.

By the time you write an article about something, there are already hundreds (or even thousands) of posts out there on that topic.

What’s the solution?

Write about trending topics.

Trending topics are popular topics that aren’t super competitive (yet).

And if you want to find trending topics, I recommend checking out a free tool called

Exploding Topics – Homepage

This tool lists out topics that are growing fast in 29 different categories.

Exploding Topics – Keyword overview

That way, you can pounce on these topics before they really take off.

7. Include Native Content With Social Shares

“Share your content on social media” used to be a useful content marketing tip.

Not anymore.

Today, most social media algorithms (like Facebook) bury posts that send users off of their platform.

Social Media Algorithms Prefer Native Content

While there’s no way to totally get around this, I recently found a little loophole that does help:

Post native content with your link.

For example, my social media posts used to just be my blog post title and a link.

Social share with link only

And these posts would get BURIED.

Today, I write a little bit of native content to go along with the post.

This native content gives social media algorithms what it wants (original content and engagement).

And once the post starts to spread around the platform, you get what you want (more traffic to your post).

For example, this LinkedIn post got over 41k views.

LinkedIn post views

And that’s mostly due to the fact that the post wasn’t just a link to my site.

My post had a little bit of valuable content to go along with my link.

Valuable content in LinkedIn post

8. Use Padlock Posts

You may have noticed these greyed-out posts in the Backlinko blog feed.

Padlock post on Backlinko

Internally, we call these “Padlock Posts”.

They’re basically normal blog posts that only Backlinko email subscribers can get access to.

And when someone clicks on a Padlock Post, a little popup appears that asks for their email.


And while it’s still early, these seem to be working REALLY well.

In fact, this Padlock Post has brought in 1,614 email subscribers so far.

Padlock post – Email subscribers

Not bad.

9. Include a Keyword in Your URL

Keyword-rich URLs aren’t just for on-page SEO.

(Although they definitely help with that too).

As it turns out, including a keyword in your URL can increase your organic click-through-rate by up to 45%.

Keyword-Rich URLs Correlate With A Higher Organic Click Through Rate

I should point something out:

Your URL doesn’t have to be a 1:1 match for the keyword someone’s searching for.

As long as the text in your URL is similar to the keyword, you’ll usually get a nice CTR boost.

Our method for seeing if keyword-rich URLs positively impacted CTR

For example, a few months ago I published a post called: “17 Ways to Improve SEO Rankings”.

Backlinko – Improve Your SEO post

My target keyword for that post is: “Improve SEO Rankings”.

Improve SEO Rankings – Keyword in title

Even though my URL doesn’t contain that exact term, it’s close enough.

Improve Your SEO – Keyword in URL

10. Add More Cuts to Your Video Content

People want videos that move FAST.

This is something that I struggled with when I first started shooting videos.

I wanted my videos to look “natural”. So I filmed entire YouTube videos with only one or two cuts.


And this made my videos move SUPER slow. My videos were full of “umms”, “aaahs” and “you knows” that slowed things down.

Today, my videos have 80-100 cuts each.

That way, each video moves along at a super rapid pace.


Which helps my Audience Retention stay nice and high.

YouTube video audience retention

11. Write Longer Headlines

Want to get more social shares from your content?

Try writing longer headlines.

The BuzzSumo study I mentioned earlier found that longer headlines are strongly correlated with high levels of social sharing.

This was true when we measured headline length in terms of word count:

Long Headlines Are Correlated With Increased Social Sharing

And character count:

Long Headlines (80+ Characters) Are Correlated With More Social Shares

We actually found that long headlines generate an average of 76% more shares vs. short headlines.

For example, this headline from one of our posts is 15 words.

Page Speed Stats post – Headline

Which may have helped that post rack up 2036 shares.

Page Speed Stats post – Social shares

12. Optimize Around Untapped Keywords

Most keyword research tools have the same problem:

They show everyone the exact same set of keywords!

What if there was a way to find untapped keywords that your competitors haven’t found yet?

Well, there is.

Here’s how to do it:

First, log in to the Google Keyword Planner.

Then, click on the “Start With a Website” tab.

Keyword Planner – Start with a website

And enter a competitor’s homepage…

Keyword Planner – Enter website

…or a blog post.

Keyword Planner – Enter blog post

And the tool will scan the page for keyword ideas

Ideas that most people don’t see.

Keyword Planner – Keyword ideas

Very cool.

13. Use Blog Post Templates

Templates can REALLY help you scale up your content marketing.

For example, whenever I start on a new post, I don’t open up a blank Google Doc.

Instead, I work from one of our proven blog post templates.

For example, when I sit down to write a case study, I use this PDF workbook to help me get the important parts on paper.

Case study PDF worksheet

Then, I transfer that to a Google Doc and start writing.

In fact, working from a set of templates has helped us scale up our publishing schedule. We used to publish a new post once a month. Now, we publish a new post every 2 weeks.

14. Use Emotional Titles

According to our analysis of 5 million Google search results, titles that pack an emotional punch get more clicks.

Emotional Titles Have A Higher Organic Click Through Rate

That said:

It’s possible for your titles to be TOO emotional.

That same study found that headlines with “Power Words” had a lower CTR.

Power Words In Title Tags Were Correlated With Lower Click Through Rate

So I recommend using titles that have some emotional sentiment. But if you go overboard, your CTR can start to suffer.

For example, this title is emotional. But it’s not “clickbaity”.

NerdFitness – Emotional headline

15. Optimize Around Brand Keywords

“Brand Keywords” are just like they sound:

They’re keywords optimized around brands and products.

Here’s an example of one of our posts that’s optimized around a Brand Keyword.

Backlinko – BuzzSumo Guide

So: why optimize your blog content around Brand Keywords?

Because they’re usually NOT competitive.

For example, take a keyword like “BuzzSumo”.

According to Ahrefs, that keyword gets 49K searches per month. And it has a decent CPC too.

Ahrefs – BuzzSumo – Search Volume and CPC

Despite those impressive numbers, the keyword difficulty on this term is only 13.

Ahrefs – BuzzSumo – Keyword Difficulty

The downside of Brand Keywords is that you’ll never rank #1 in Google for that term.

And depending on the SERPs for that brand keyword, you may not be able to crack the top 3.

For example, we published this guide to the Google Search Console last year.

Backlinko – Google Search Console Guide

And considering that the top 5 results are all pages, #6 is about as high as this page will ever rank.

Even so, that post still brings in 1,126 visitors per month from Google.

Google Search Console Guide – Monthly visitors

16. Tell Relatable Stories in YouTube Videos

One of the powerful things about YouTube is that it’s a very personal medium.

Unlike a blog post, someone is actually watching YOU deliver your message.

Which makes it the perfect place to take your guard down. And reveal some personal tidbits about yourself.

For example, I try to include a 30-60 second little story in every single one of my YouTube videos.


Most of these stories share how I initially struggled with the topic that I’m covering in that video.

That way, I don’t come in like some know it all.

It shows that, like anyone, I had to learn things through trial and error.

As long as these stories are short and relate to your topic, you’ll find that your audience will appreciate them.

YouTube comment relating to a story

17. Write Compelling Meta Descriptions

No, Google doesn’t use the meta description tag to understand the content on your page.

But users use your description to figure out which result to click on.

Pages With A Meta Description Have A Higher Average CTR vs. Pages Without A Description


The copy in your meta tag will depend a lot on the page.

But here’s one template that tends to work well:

Meta Description Template Formula

And here’s an example of that template in action.

Meta description formula in action

Bonus #1: Reverse Engineer Your Competition

There’s a place for originality.

And creative thinking.

But there’s also a place for straight up copying what your competitors are doing.

And you don’t need their Google Analytics password to do it either.

In fact, there are a bunch of awesome content marketing tools that will show you what’s already working for someone else.

If your main focus is on link building, shows you where the top blogs in almost every niche get their links from.

Hubspot links from Detailed

And if you want to see a specific site’s most-shared content, BuzzSumo is the tool for you.

BuzzSumo – Backlinko, most shared content

Or maybe you want to see the pages on a site that bring in the most organic traffic. Well Ahrefs can hook you up with that info.

Ahrefs – Top pages by organic traffic

Bonus #2: Create Stats Pages

Stats Pages are a great way to build backlinks without needing to do a bunch of outreach.

Here’s why:

Stats Pages are optimized around “[Topic] + Stats” keywords.

And who tends to search for “[Topic] + Stats” keywords?

That’s right: bloggers and journalists!

And when they use one of your stats in their article, they’ll usually link back to your stats page.

For example, we published this list of email marketing stats a few months ago.

Backlinko – Email Marketing Stats post

And it quickly hit the first page for keywords that bloggers and journalists search for (like “email marketing statistics”).

SERP – Email Marketing Statistics

Which helped it pick up some solid links, like this one:

Email Marketing Stats – Backlink


What Do You Think?

Now I’d like to turn things over to you:

Which content marketing tip from this list was your favorite?

Or maybe you have a tip that I didn’t cover here.

Either way, let me know and leave a comment below.

  1. Brian, that’s are really helpfully tips, thank you! Can you make a post how to write blog post like you – short sentences, meaningful, a lot of useful graphics. That’s a magic and works like kids book!

    1. Thanks Rob. Yup, that’s the tricky part! I tried to make these super tactical so that they’re easy to put into practice. For example, tip #11 should only take about a minute to do.

    1. It depends on your CMS, theme, and email service company (Mailchimp, Convertkit etc.). But the basic gist is you need a way for your email service to forward current subscribers to the padlock post. And have new subscribers confirm their email first. From there, you need to hack your CMS so that your padlock posts stay in the same spot in your blog feed.

      So yeah, not super easy to pull off. But it can be 100% worth it.

          1. Thank you very much Alex, that plugin is the one I needed. Do you know any other alternative? To compare prices. For example, one that is lifetime. The monthly Capture & Convert payment is expensive.

            Best Regards

  2. Hey Brian! I am a big fan of yours and read all of your articles. I am starting a new blog and I would love it if you made a blog post about how to get users/traffic on your website if it is brand new.

  3. I am in the real estate and mortgage niche in San Diego – everyone talks about PPC, sending direct mail, etc — I focus solely on creating hard hitting, targeted long form blog posts. Brian, we use your site, and how you lay out how to do these, as our guides. I can say that 2 items that are “secret” you talk about. (1) Using a “Table of Contents” at the start of the article with clickable links (2) We added Schema Mark up – real estate — and these were HUGE game changers.

    1. Hey Scott, that’s great! It’s always good to see someone using content marketing in local niches like that. It really does work! And as you’re probably finding, your competition is probably light years behind the stuff you’re doing.

      And yeah, adding a table of contents has been helpful for us in terms of getting sitelinks and for overall UX.

  4. Cool, Cool Tips brian.

    I jotted down all the main points. Here they are.

    Publish X vs. Y post.
    Link to Social Profiles in Outreach Emails
    Try the PBC formula
    Write about the trending topic
    Use padlock post
    Use blog post templates
    Optimize around brand keywords

    And others I knew before 🙂
    However, I’ve sworn to publish only power posts (and have proudly removed all the mediocre posts from my site :p )

    But I have quick questions–

    How can I create a padlock post on my WordPress website? (I’ve also featured it in my most recent article)

    Thanks a ton brian.

    1. Thanks Rahul. To answer your question: I addressed that before (in my reply to Brian’s comment). But basically, it requires some coding to work.

    1. Thanks Nathan. That’s good to hear. People seem to really like Exploding Topic Tuesday! I might write a post about it here soon.

  5. Great tips once again Brian. I’ll try your PBC formula and Padlock posts. Also using blog post templates sounds great if that’s going to speed up the content creation process. Wasn’t even aware that longer titles lead to more shares, I always tend to make it around 10 words max. Thanks

    1. Thanks Anthony. Blog post templates have been super helpful. It’s allowed me to double out blog post content production (still only 2 posts/month. But still).

  6. Hi Brian,

    Content marketing shouldn’t be hard. The only thing content should understand the users need and try to create content that visitors can relate.

    The content marketing tips you have mentioned in the post, are incredibly awesome, especially the Create Stats Pages method.

    I hope it will work for my client.

    Umesh Singh

  7. Awesome post!!!!
    Shared on Twitter…

    My very first week of email subscription and I got the blog post of my own niche… Thanks a lot for this post… Really helpful…

    Is there any blog post regarding the latest usage of WordPress that covers useful tools, plugins, widgets… especially for beginners?

    I have been writing content for others and want to start my own website using WordPress but it seems somewhat complex to me…

    If there is, let me know… It would be a HUGE help…

  8. Hey Brian, another great post! I do see people rank for a brand name and it seems to generate them traffic but do you have to choose a brand name related to your industry? For instance, I am in branding but if I rank for nike, won’t it be untargeted as they are looking for clothes or trainers?

    1. Hey Alex, thanks. I recommend choosing a brand name related to your industry. It doesn’t have to be a competitor or a site in your exact niche. But it should be a brand that your target customer searches for. For example, I don’t have an SEO software company, but I still want to rank for Ahrefs, SEMRUsh etc.

      Why? Because my target audience of professional marketers uses those tools. So this is a way to get in front of them.

  9. Great tips, Brian. I’ve been curious to see how your Padlock Posts have been performing for you since seeing them go live on the site. So I’m glad you shared those details.

    But my favorite tip from this list is much simpler than that: it’s the meta description template formula in tip #17. I know how important meta descriptions are, but I always feel like mine are a little lackluster regardless of how much time I spend on them.

    Seeing one broken down into a little template like you did helps quite a bit — not just because I can follow that exact structure for my own descriptions, but also because I can come up with my own templates for different types of content. It sounds simple, but it hadn’t occurred to me to do that before.

    1. Hey Kyle, thanks man!

      Meta descriptions are kind of strange. Google doesn’t always use them in the results. But when they do, it can boost your organic CTR by 50%+. So they’re 100% worth spending some time on.

  10. Another great piece of content, Brian. Thanks for always publishing information that helps us elevate our content marketing efforts!

  11. Again a great content Brian and amazing tool the Padlock thing. But how I can create a Padlock post on my worddpress site?
    But how Google can crawl this page?


    1. Thanks Claude. You basically need a coder. There’s no plugin that I know of that can do the job. Also: Google won’t be able to crawl the page. To me, that’s OK. I’m not trying to rank the content.

  12. Hey Brian,

    Awesome post as always.

    I do have a question for you about the padlock posts.

    1. How are you creating them? Are you using a plugin for it?

    2. Does the padlock keep them from being indexed by Google?

  13. Very impressive post Brian.

    Your PBC formula is very good to write an impressive article.

    I didn’t here about Animalz Revive Tool yet.

    I will use this tool to check my old posts.


  14. Thank you for publishing this awesome post! I am going to be using Animalz and also finding those hidden keywords through Google Keyword Planner! I am always struggling with finding Arts & Crafts information for blogs – you have given me some that will work perfectly!

  15. Hello Brian,
    Thanks for your email. Great ideas and usu-full help for most marketers. I am lunching a new blog site Ava’s Nook, scheduled for
    Mar. 30/2020. If you come a cross it, please let me know your thoughts
    Best regards

  16. Hi Brian,

    Great content as usual.

    When your SEO course “SEO The Works” will open?

    Also, I have a question:

    You optimized your SEO training page here in Backlinko with the keyword “SEO training”…

    Will this SEO training page rank globally in Google?

    I mean: Will it rank several countries Google?

    As most of the time Google might shows local SEO training results…

    Please answer.

    1. Hi Rintu, thank you. We plan on opening up enrollment for SEO That Works in a few months.

      To answer your question: most “SEO training” results in the SERPs are for online training (not local). So we should hopefully rank globally for that keyword.

  17. Hey Dean, I read the entire post and found it super insightful.

    Writing content isn’t enough. Rather writing contents with a proper strategy on the table makes or breaks SEO’s goal. That’s where this post will come handy for me, Dean.


  18. Dear Brian,

    how Do you implement the “padlock – posts“ technically ?

    I have an already existing detailed guide with >70 visitors a day and it would be cool, if I could implement this technique for this post.

    The people come directly with the URL to this post.

    Kind regards,


    1. Hi Lorenz, I talk about that in the comments section here. But it should be relatively easy to padlock a public post like that.

  19. Hey Brian, awesome tips, as per usual, thank you! Question: how highly would you prioritize allowing comments on our blog posts for SEO purposes? We do a lot of product reviews, and do quite well on the SEO front, but have never allowed comments on posts as I haven’t wanted to prioritize responding/managing spam, etc. BUT, starting to wonder if the SEO value is worth it. How would you decide whether or not to do this? Thanks!

    1. Hey Paul, thank you. I honestly don’t think comments have a direct SEO benefit. But they can indirectly help in a bunch of ways. Plus, you get to build a cool community like we have here at Backlinko. So to me, the moderation issue it worth it.

  20. Hey Brian,

    Thanks for sharing this in-depth post on content marketing tips.

    I love the idea of updating old blog posts using the Animalz tool.

    Will definitely check it out and see how it works for me.

  21. As always, your information you deliver is gold. Thank you Brian! I truly appreciate the work you do.

    I am going to try writing longer blog post titles to improve social click through rates.

  22. Great post as usual Brian. You’d have elevated this to the status of epic if you’d provided examples of “great” and “bad” approaches for each tactic. For example, you’d say newbies do this, while a pro would do this. As a newbie in SEO and content marketing, such examples would add more clarity.

    1. Hi Paul, thank you. I honestly don’t think newbies and pros should take different approaches. If something works, it works.

  23. Wow Brian, love all your tips. Thanks for this awesome post! I thought I read once in one of your posts (maybe on skyscraper content?) we should use power words in titles, but here you prove they can harm your ctr?

    1. Hi Stephanie, thank you. Power Words can help CTR in social media. But, as it turns out, not so much with Google organic.

  24. You are reading my mind, everytime you write a blog its exactly what I am busy with at the moment. Im struggling heavily to keep producing content. I spend to much time over editing the post to make it look perfect. Then the next day I do it again.. I hope the post templates can help me out 😛

    1. Hey Tim, on the other hand, it’s OK to spend time editing and improving your post. It’s tough to get your content to stand out. So that extra effort can be worthwhile.

  25. Hi Brian, Once again You’ve managed to open up my mind to some new stuff..
    I tried the optimizing untapped keywords technic but unfortunately came up with pretty much the same keywords. I suppose it has to do with the competitor I ran my check on. I’ll give it one more shot soon. Thanks anyway.

  26. This is great stuff! My company writes a lot of guest posts for link building, so we’re always looking to improve our titles so we get better rates of placement with our publishers.

  27. Hey Brian,

    Awesome post. Thanks for always creating greatness! Definitely going to use these tips for my website!

    Question – how many people do you have on your team? Do you have in house people or do you mostly outsource everything in order to create your high quality content?

    1. Hi Isaac, you’re welcome. I’m going to break that down in a future post that’s coming out soon. But the short answer it: I write every word myself. But I get A LOT of help with every other step of the process (design, editing, tech etc.)

  28. Hey Brian, interesting reading as always. I own a niche media in the engineering sector, problem is no one is advertising anymore so even if I could get a lot of traffic to the site with these techniques it wouldn’t help, any ideas?
    Also I’m no engineer so writing high quality content that our audience will fine useful is really tricky, and it would cost a lot to get an engineer/journalist to write it and probably impossible to find one anyway! Pretty stuck tbh 🙁

  29. I’m happy to have received this post in my email. Reading it has unveiled free helpful tools to change the way I blog and bring a turn around so I can share in your success stories some day.
    The Animalz and Explodingtopics tools are now my new friends.
    Thanks again Brian Dean.

  30. “We discovered that social profile links increased response rates by up to 23.4%.”

    Why do you think this is, Brian? Seems odd to me that this would help convince someone to respond, but I assume there’s a reason for it.

    1. Hi Matt, my theory is that it makes your outreach seem more human. More and more people are blasting out generic emails from generic accounts. And having social links in your email shows that you’re a living, breathing person.

  31. Hey Brian,

    I saw most of the time X vs Y type of keyword doesn’t have search volume. But getting traffic from when people search just to know about the X keyword.

    Thank you for all the content marketing tips.

  32. I am not really sure how to apply many of these tips for my blog and my niche. I write about parenting and emotional health. E.g. on Exploding Topics .com there’s nothing I could actually use.
    Most of my topics are quite emotional, so I guess that’ll be my favorite.
    And I didn’t know about the need to include native content on social media. I never post a link alone, but now I’ll know I need to focus on more actual information in the posts themselves.

    1. Hi Natalia, that’s true: Exploding Topics probably won’t have great topics for every niche. And yeah, posting native content has made a huge difference for me (especially on Twitter and LinkedIn).

    1. Hi Katharine, you’re welcome. This post took a while (not quite 50 hours like some of our guides. But still). So I’m to hear that glad you found it useful.

  33. Great post Brian,

    Looks like you’re getting a whole lot of feedback about the padlock posts… An opportunity there for a topic maybe?

    Would love a good ‘how to’ guide on creating padlock posts.

    Ever since I first saw yours I knew that they would be a really great spin on the bribe-to-subscribe idea, and a fantastic opportunity to boost email subscribers w’out super annoying pop ups (which seem to definitely be on their way out finally!)

    Keep up the great work Brian.

    1. Hey Geoff, thanks. Yeah, I should probably create a video or a post on that. It’s a little bit tricky because everyone’s site is different.

  34. Hey Brian,

    Great article!

    Really digging that “create stats pages” idea you mention.

    It makes sense too because bloggers need data!

    I recently wrote one on “eCommerce Stats” and ended up ranking number one in Google.

    Didn’t expect that:

    But, I sure hope it pays off.



    1. Hey Chris, nice! If you monitor the links to that page in Ahrefs I can almost guarantee that you’ll start picking up some links real soon.

  35. Hi Brian, you’re post blew my hat off of my head.

    Love your practice trumps theory down to earth-style [much what I’ve got in mind for my own niche, words].

    Value? For one like me, gold.

    Favorite tip? Once I recover my hat, I’ll figure it out. In the meantime a glorious 5-star all the way.

  36. It has to be said that your site provides the most helpful content by far. I have never been bored or had that feeling of, “Why am I wasting my time”; and that is extremely unusual in today’s overloaded content bouillabaisse. Thanks man!

  37. Hey Brian,

    Great Article !!! I wrote so many blogs but worried about not ranking.

    This article makes me want to update all my old posts.

    I am very impressed with X vs Y posts, PBC Formula, and Padlock post. Let me try these tips on my blogs.

    Great work Brian.

  38. Hello Brian, fantastic article. When you update an old post, as a percentage, how much of the article do you change? After you republish the post, how long before you started seeing an increase in traffic?

  39. Dear Brian,
    Hats off. Amazing post like every time. Content marketing is crucial for a website’s SEO. And you have provided outstanding tips on content marketing. Definitely we are going to implement these strategies in our content marketing campaign.

  40. Hello Brian
    I have read many Digital marketing (SEO) blogs on backlinko mostly, but i need to learn about SEO advance technique like site architecture building for ecommerce site with also some content marketing tips for building ecommece site products specifications with providing help to improve our main focus keywords.
    Your content matters a lot to all the digital marketing learners
    Thanks Brian

  41. Hello Brian, Thanks for these working content marketing strategies, but I have one question about the point “Compelling Meta Descriptions”, Google always tries to show the best-suited meta desc in google search so most of the time they pick up desc from the content itself. So how can we say that user will visit the site after seeing the “compelling meta desc.” if google will not pick it?

    1. Hi Ravindra, that’s true: Google won’t always use the meta description that you write. But in my experience, if you have a good one, they will use it pretty consistently.

  42. Brian Dean becoming a brand of digital marketing..🤔🤔🤔
    This name has been printed in my mind🤣🤣🤣
    50 hours writing a post oh my god…What diet do you take for it.. I’m going to read that article….

  43. Thanks Brian for sharing these actionable Content Marketing tips. Establishing an online presence these days through the way of SEO, social media is getting tougher day by day. Applying these tips in content marketing strategy will give an edge over the competitors.

  44. This is great stuff. My favorite part in your tip, is that you spent 50 hours on this article. When I spend 2-3 hours, I get exhausted. My lot of sites still doesn’t get good traffic, although they have good contents. Now, I understand, writing blog is not just couple of hours and thousands lines of work. It requires lot of fresh contents, dedications and organization. thanks again.

    1. Hi Deepak, for sure. The best bloggers that I know spend A LOT of time on each post. Maybe not 50 hours. But definitely more than most.

  45. As always, your information you deliver is gold. Thank you Brian! I truly appreciate the work you do.

    I am going to try writing longer blog post titles to improve social click through rates

  46. Thank you Brian. I learned a lot of amazingly useful things from you, including the fact that you actually take time out of your schedule to reply to each or most comments on your blog. Your contribution to the world is incredibly powerful and I get a ton of inspiration from that.

    1. Hi Momen, you’re welcome. Replying to comments from my readers is super important to me so I plan on doing that for as long as I can.

    1. Hey Jason, there’s no one best theme for everyone. It kinda depends on what you’re looking for and what type of design that you like.

  47. As usual, I’m loving your content Brian.

    I see a lot of questions regarding the padlock posts. We had something similar when I worked for It does requiring coding. But people can do a “poor man’s padlock.” Basically, you have a blog post that summarizes the content you want padlocked, then give people an opportunity to sign up for your email list. Have the confirmation page link to a password-protected page with the needed content. Naturally, it’s not as graceful and clean as a padlock. But if the goal is to collect an email address, it works.

    1. Thanks Ron! Very cool. I’ve seen something similar at ESPN for their ESPN+ product. It’s actually in many ways more enticing than a padlock post because you already sort of get hooked with the first section.

  48. Very helpful going through all this, step by step, without getting lost.
    Is it likely to work for ‘not for profit’ blogs and web sites such as this UK-based mental health site, which is for getting people out of depression, anxiety and stress, etc. without drugs?

  49. Brian, very helpfully tips, thank you! I not sure about the 11th point, but will try out this, earlier I have used only 30-55 characters in the Title and your post also have 50-55 characters 🙂

  50. My favorite tip from this marketing plan? The padlock posts and short, engaging blog post intros. I am so tired of publications giving 80% unnecessary, LONG introduction before providing the core information, hinted in the Title. I get it that we all need low bounce rates and time on page, but jeez am I tired of reading such posts and desperately scrolling to the last two paragraphs to read what this is ACTUALLY about. Thanks for the awesome tips, Brian!

    1. Hi Gregory, thank you. As an avid cook, I hear you on the long intro thing. Some of those recipe intros are literally 1500 words!

  51. Great post!
    The graph for the statistic about how adding social links on outreach emails increases response rate seems wrong, it looks like the response rate is about 5% without social links and 23.4% with social links – which doesn’t match the text. It’s also different in the article with the original study that you linked to. Is the graphic done wrong or am I misinterpreting it?

    1. Thanks Ruti. I just double checked and I think you’re right. I think it’s mixed up absolute and relative numbers. I’ll have that changed.

  52. Love the content as always Brian. Just to further elaborate on point #7, I have had a lot more success with publishing some awesome native content and then putting the link to your post in the first comment. This has increased my LinkedIn engagement quite a bit.


  53. Wow Brian, love all your tips. Thanks for this awesome post! I thought I read once in one of your posts (maybe on skyscraper content?) we should use power words in titles, but here you prove they can harm your ctr?

  54. Really useful content Brian. I try most of the your suggestions. The first “vs” thing I tried last month and I got a pretty good response and increased traffic to my blog. I wrote those articles based on your skyscraper technique. I used most of your content writing suggestions. Here is that article:

    Keep sharing such useful content. Really helps a newbie like me.

    Thanks & regards,

    1. Hi Jannis, you’re welcome. Yup, I’m really happy with how Exploding Topics has done so far. It seems to be helping lots of people find untapped topic ideas.

  55. Hi Brian,

    Sometimes went one thinks he knows it all, then he realizes that there’s more to learn. Your article is epic, and I have learned a lot from it. I tried the Animals tool and could not get over it. Same with other tools, such a GKP. I have been using it, but you came up with a new angle for identifying unbranded keywords through competitor analysis, and your blogging templates. That’s fantastic.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Moss, thank you! Yeah I pretty much test a bunch of things and report what I learn here on the blog. So most of this stuff it new to me too.

  56. That’s a really fantastic guide. I’m going to have to bookmark it and come back again.

    I have a slightly weird question re: updating old content. Say you’re using one URL for an old blog, and one URL for business, and you’ve decided it’d be better to update the best posts from the former on the latter… Would you recommend canonical links (assuming not that much would actually be updated) or are 301 redirects better? I worry 301s would reduce the overall SEO juice the blog is getting, but if I can push that to the newer URL… Not sure. Or are plain updates of similar content better? Or is there too great a risk it’ll be detected as plagiarism of yourself? Oooh, decisions, decisions.

    Anyway, great ideas. Thanks!

    1. HI Rose, I’d have to see the exact situation to be sure. But in most cases you’re better off with a 301 redirect if you’re essentially “moving” content from one page to another. But if you’re just updating content, I’d keep the URL as it is.

    1. I have a video on that exact thing coming up. It might surprise you. Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss it.

      1. Hi Brian. I saw that video and found it very helpful. Though page speed does have some impact on ranking it’s just among the other 200 ranking factors. It’s very difficult to cover all the factors but like other important SEO ranking factors, page speed rule can be followed by every website owner.

  57. Trending topics get a great number of traffic, but they get out of trend after a certain period. Is it right to write only on trending topics or can we create a blend of trending topics and those topics that get traffic forever?
    BTW love ur blogs brian

  58. Always an epic post of actionable tips for your followers. Thank you as always, Brian.

    If you have two blog posts on your site that are loosely related – do you think it would make more sense to take the one that’s performing better or has a better link profile and combine them to that URL with newly written content?

    1. You’re welcome, Scott. It depends on their rankings. If they’re both ranking well for their respective keywords, I wouldn’t combine them (even if one is doing better than the other). But if one isn’t ranking at all, I would consider combining them into one page. But I’d forward the weaker one to the URL with the better link profile/performance vs. creating a third URL.

  59. Hey Brian,

    As always awesome post. I check my GSC and found “Untapped Keywords”. GREAT tip. I was also able to find new post ideas that I was not covering.
    Also, I noticed you use some words in CAPITAL. Why? What’s the reason behind this?

  60. This is awesome, Brain. Larry Kim (from WordStream) is right that you are Unicorn among a sea of donkey SEOs. These are really nice content marketing tips and I will follow them at Target River. Thanks a lot, man. Cheer!!!!

  61. Great tips, now it’s a matter of finding the time to get them all incorporated into my content writing hours. I’m definintely going to start doing more X vs. Y posts, never even considered those! Thanks for this insight Brian.

  62. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the great tips, as always your content is one of a few that I stop to read it entirely. Quick question: do you have any post directed to those who are starting a new blog right now? Really appreciate it!

  63. Hey Brian,

    How do you decide whether to do X vs Y or Y vs X? E.g. why Convertkit vs MailChimp and not the other way around?


  64. Hi Brian,

    I appreciate your tips. I’m just a newb at this. I haven’t even ventured into adding video content yet. When you say “add cuts” to your video, it seems like the cuts make the video clip more choppy. I have a hard time understanding how that attracts more viewers. Can you explain?

  65. Point 7. Good practice is to put URL leading to your arcticle in comment. Works perfectly on Linkedin. To be precise: write a post with a few sentences connected with arcticle, and then comment it with a link.

  66. Awesome content as always Brian, thank you so much!

    I just wanted to let you know that your locked blog pages are a great idea; however you may want to double check on them. I’m a subscriber, but it wouldn’t let me read the post. When I clicked on it, nothing popped up. Thankfully I read this post and had to go back and search through my emails for one you sent me a long time ago.

    While I was happy to do this because I took your course, if it’s too complicated for most people they’ll give up, so I just wanted to let you know there may be some potential issues with that system.

    While I’m here I just wanted to let you know how much you’ve changed my life and career and I can never thank you enough for this information.

    Keep up the awesome work and have a great day!

    1. Hey Allison, you’re welcome. And thank you for the heads up. That was a bug with out software. Sorry about that. It’s fixed now so we should be good to go!

      Also: no worries at all. Happy to have helped you with your success 👍 👍 👍

  67. Great guide as always! I’m off creating blog templates right away, such a no-brainer really, but solid advice.

    Here’s a topic for you, when and how to remove spammy backlinks. I know that would help me alot and it’s pretty hard to find any good information on that topic..

        1. We actually work with a freelance graphic designers to get those made. I’m not 100% sure what software they use.

  68. When I start writing content the first thing that makes me a headache is how I can write an intro so blog readers will keep enjoying reading the whole article. The PBC formula here you describe is cool to solve my problem.
    Thank you.

  69. Thanks Brian, excellent article how to build his own content strategy 2020! I´m in the video and motion design market, any special tips I can give my clients when they implement their videos?

  70. Hey Brian,
    I appreciate how transparent you are; taking 50 hours to craft this post – amazing!

    OK, from this post, I’m going to adopt your PBC formula.

    Thanks Brian!

  71. Hello Brian!
    Awesome post. I liked the idea of adding more cuts in the video. I haven’t thought about this. Actually I am not so perfect in this field and have recently started. It will really help me in sorting out my issues.
    Thank You!

  72. There’s so much here to unpack I don’t even know where to start. It’s a “semester in a post.” Wow, so much great stuff here, but I think I’m most looking forward to digging into Animalz Revive.

  73. Thanks Brian, Very helpful and easy-to-read detailed post, will be definitely use this
    Publish X vs. Y post.
    the PBC formula and Write about the trending topic

  74. Hey Brian! Thank you SO much for providing these really helpful tips and guides! Your content really helped me out with my job in digital marketing, and your website is my go-to if I ever want to review the best strategies. I’m hoping to use these tools to also publish and promote my own content too!

    I have a quick question regarding content marketing: I’ve checked out your tips on marketing content such as blog posts & YouTube videos. And right now, I’m helping with marketing & promotion for an artist who’s working to publish his own web-comic series! Do you have any tips or advice for the best ways to promote or market visual content like artwork or web-comics?

    Thank you again for all the help!

  75. Hey Brian,

    Really useful insights and guidelines. Since I am in the process of creating content for my newly eCommerce website this article is a great starting point.

  76. Adding social profiles to our email is one of the old traditional method to get leads. Thanks for sharing the tool names like pitchbox which we could really try and workout. Do you have an alternative for hubspot which is really expensive for email marketing and followups?

  77. Another great guide from you Brian!

    Thanks for inspiration, I especially think that trending topics and X vs. Y articles are good ways to create relevant and interesting content for your visitors.

  78. Wow, great article Brian. These tips are “a must”, and still we forgot to do all of them in order to improve traffic to our blog. I liked the part about cutting the video, it’s a bit more job to go and edit the whole video, but the end result is much better. I’ll have to try those “Padlock Posts” on my blog and see if there will be any results, it seems very effective.

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