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How To Create Engaging Content – Jake and Ryan Call #4

How To Create Engaging Content – Jake and Ryan Call #4

It's that time again – for Niche Site Project Call #4 with Jake and Ryan.

If you listened to our last call, you know that Ryan is just about to select a niche and has really be digging into in-depth keyword research following the methods we've covered in the last 2 weeks.

As I always say, finding a great keyword is only half the battle.

The next thing you have to do is create content that deserves to rank for that keyword.

If you create thin, poorly written content that doesn't connect with your readers – it really doesn't matter what kind of keywords you find, you'll have trouble doing well in the search engines.

Here are the highlights of what we cover in the call today:

It's Not a Book

For the first-timer, it's easy to forget that creating a website – particularly one based on getting Google traffic by focusing on long tail keywords – is not going to be consumed like someone would read a book.

Nobody is going to come to your website on the home page and then start reading everything you wrote in sequential order.

In my experience, the vast majority of my traffic comes from search engines directly into specific blog posts. So it's my job to make sure that each blog post has a purpose – whether it's to monetize immediately through ads or affiliate offers, or to get them to join my email list through some kind of opt in.

In the Long Tail Pro world, an example of this might be a post I did about Weebly SEO. We successfully ranked near the top for the “Weebly SEO” keyword, knowing that many people who are using Weebly and trying to figure out SEO would likely be interested in the benefits of Long Tail Pro – if they knew it existed.

So this blog post lets us pull in thousands of visitors who've never heard of our product, and deliver a really helpful guide to what they are struggling with. In the process, we also introduce how we can help – the Long Tail Pro software, and encourage them to take a free trial.

Likewise, your content should always have some kind of purpose. In this call, I explain that to Ryan and encourage him to start thinking about what the purpose will be behind the keywords he's finding.

The other topic we spend quite a bit of time on is how to create interesting content that doesn't take an eternity to create.

Content Variety

Today's call goes in-depth on creating strong content variety on your website. Even though we plan on reviewing equipment and creating buying guides to generate affiliate sales, that isn't the only kind of content we're going to create.

Far from it.

We'll have a mix of different kinds of informational content that our audience will be interested in (based on keyword research), and inside of those informational pieces of content, we'll use a number of different formats that serve a special purpose.

This is a big part of what makes a website pass the eyeball test and look like a “real” website, as opposed to some ugly affiliate site.

Here are a few examples of the content types we discuss:

Crowdsourced Post

This is where you pull together opinions from experts in your niche and put them all in one piece of content. Usually this begins with you thinking of an interesting question or topic and emailing a bunch of respected people in your field and asking for their opinion.

Readers love this kind of content and it tends to get shared quite a bit. You are also able to make connections with other influencers, which is a big win for you.

Here is an example of a crowdsourced post.

Content Aggregator

The content aggregator is similar to the crowdsourced post in that it consists mostly of featuring others' ideas. In this case, you aren't really emailing people a specific question to answer, but you're curating the best ideas on a particular topic.

These are also relatively easy to put together, and bring a lot of value to your readers.

Here is an example of a content aggregator.

It goes without saying that you should always cite your source, and you'll notice in this example that they have the text “source” under each one with a link to where it came from. Personally, I try to always go beyond this and make it very obvious that the source of an idea is someone else.

So rather than just putting “source” with a link, I'll add a few lines of text before the image and really give a plug for the person/site who created the idea. Maybe I'd write something like “If your closet is a disaster, then you've got to check out the next brilliant idea from Spencer Haws – who is one of my favorite organization experts on the web.”

Embed Reactor

This post type is all about starting with someone else's content that you can embed on your site, and then add to it. This is usually something like an Infographic, YouTube video, or Slideshare presentation. Basically anything online that has an embed code or share button readily available – meaning they want you to share it on your site!

Then, below what you embed, you provide some kind of reaction. This could be adding to the ideas in the video, highlighting the most important points, disagreeing with the video, etc.

In the video, I share a number of other content ideas like this. The source of several of them, including the 3 above are from the folks at Digital Marketer. I highly recommend checking out their post with tons of blog post ideas.

Watch the video for more content examples: 

If you would rather just listen to the audio from the call, you can download it here.

As stated in the video, now is the time for Ryan to make a decision on his niche and buy a domain name. This will allow him to start creating content around the keywords he's finding and start picking up traction.

I'm really excited about where we are in the process, and the more keywords and ideas I see Ryan add to our spreadsheet the more I'm convinced he'll be successful with this.

It's likely that our next update will be after Ryan sets up his WordPress, so we can show what plug-ins and customizations we've done for the site.

Related Projects:

28 Comments for this Post

  1. Larry

    Larry

    Another great coaching call. I love the series so far!

    A question to the mentors, Jake, Perrin & Spencer,

    When/if you outsource (to a VA) some of the more manual work, like posting on WordPress or adding the images or links once the content has been completed, how do you go about letting them access to the WordPress site?

    Do you just give them the password and let them be free to modify everything (ie. all pages, posts, design, etc.)?

    Or do you use something that just lets them post & modify (ie limited access, for security)?

    Thanks.

    • Jake Cain

      Jake Cain

      Hi Larry,

      Yes, you’d typically want to give them a user role of author or editor (not Admin) so they just have access to mostly the pages/posts.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Give them an author or editor account on wordpress. Its a wordpress setting.

  2. Ciara

    Ciara

    Jake, the link to the blog post ideas is a goldmine! Thank you for that. Question- what is the theme you were recommending? Thrive?

    • Jake Cain

      Jake Cain

      Hi Ciara – thanks! I can’t remember where I mentioned a theme in this call, but yes, we’re going to be using a Thrive Theme so that was probably it.

  3. terry

    terry

    Really nice video as always, and Im very love to learn some side knowledge beside dig keywords whole day, for example, the curation ideas, there is no doubt some guys earn tons just using this method, and share on social media platforms, and this exist years and will keep alive till forever, all about keep doing things.

    so back to the project, Im so eager to see the progress of this NSP 3, and I think its better for me to quick push myself and follow up your guys.

    terry

    • Jake Cain

      Jake Cain

      Thanks, Terry!

  4. Alex.

    Alex.

    Thanks Jake for the great insight.
    I love you people and the knowledge I am gathering from this project is massive… I guess it could have taken me years to gather the whole package…
    Keep the sharing spirit up!
    Thanks a bunch.

    • Jake Cain

      Jake Cain

      Thanks, Alex. Glad it’s helpful.

  5. Tony

    Tony

    Jake,

    Thank you for sharing the Digital Marketer link. That is a really cool resource.

    One question. Based on your experience, what is the optimum amount of product discussion / review type of articles a site should have? Would you say 80% is good?

    You mentioned that targeting “how to” type of keywords is easier (with less word count) and those kind of articles should be included on the site, but obviously those won’t bring in revenue.

    So what’s the perfect mix do you think?

    • Jake Cain

      Jake Cain

      Hi Tony,

      That’s a good question. I usually mix in a fair amount of those “how to” posts, particularly for very low KC stuff. They definitely can bring in revenue as well, even if it is just Adsense clicks – but they add up when you have quite a few of these posts.

      I’d say for my sites, I don’t have anywhere close to 80% product/review focused stuff. I’d say 20-30% is that very product focused kind of content. So maybe 1/3 affiliate stuff, 1/3 how to or low KC stuff, and 1/3 more shareable lists and things like that – to give you a rough idea.

  6. Martinos

    Martinos

    Really helpful video Jake.

    I’m in a niche where I’m going to struggle for content to be honest, so I love some of the ideas that you’ve suggested here. I think the idea of involving other people in your niche via quotes, or interviews or things like that is a great idea, as you get the benefit of their ideas as well as most likely a backlink to your site!

    Keep those tips rollin’

    Martinos

    • Jake Cain

      Jake Cain

      Yep, some people who would never do a guest blog post for you might be open to being interviewed via email – which in effect gives you a similar result.

  7. nicher

    nicher

    Really enjoyed the call and thanks for the great info.

    However, I have to differ with you saying that because a YouTube video is “public” that it’s OK to take screen shots and post them on your blog as part of a tutorial. Linking back to the YT video or to the owner does not change anything. Taking screen shots for a tutorial would seem to bump up against several copyright laws and concepts of fair use, including reproduction, alteration, creating derivative work, competing with the copyright owner (which is not YouTube) and restrictions on commercial use (posting to a commercial blog is commercial use–this may be OK for the whole video because of the YT license (I don’t know if it is OK), but creating and using stills is different.

    It’s not even OK with all CC licenses to post to a commercial blog. Even some public domain materials have restrictions. Wikipedia’s license allows commercial use of images from Wikipedia, and you can purchase commercial rights from stock sites or sometimes directly from artists. But stuff that’s “public” is not at all the same.

    While there aren’t always clear answers, I’d be very careful, as having a copyright holder sue you can really be a bummer even if you end up winning.

    Links:

    http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/fair-use-youtube/62896

    http://lifehacker.com/193343/ask-the-law-geek–is-publishing-screenshots-fair-use

    “reproduction for a commercial purpose may push the secondary use closer to infringement and farther away from fair use.”

    • Jake Cain

      Jake Cain

      Hi there – so I’ll throw out the somewhat obvious disclaimer that I’m not an attorney or expert in copyright law. So if a reader is doing something borderline or that you aren’t sure about from a copyright perspective – I’m not the guy you want to ask.

      As for embedding videos in the first place, I know YT basically gives users the ability to turn off the embedding of their video https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/171780 – so I think if the ability to embed is there, you are in the clear.

      For taking screenshots, I think it’s a little fuzzy and gets into the fun idea of “fair use” which I saw some people debating over at DigitalMarketer.com where I originally saw this idea. One of the factors mentioned is that it’s generally ok “if a reproduction is used for comment, criticism, news reporting, scholarship, teaching and research” http://screen-capture-software-review.toptenreviews.com/copyright-fair-use-and-screenshots.html

      Which to me seems that if you are embedding the video and taking screenshots to supplement “teaching” via your written content you might be okay. I do know what you’re saying about the commercial purpose and how that comes into play – so I think using those screenshots with a direct commercial intent like on a sales page or something sounds problematic.

      Either way – thanks for the input. If anybody is looking for a final “yay” or “nay” on whether you can use screenshots, etc. on your site – I’d refer you to someone who does that for a living…

      • nicher

        nicher

        Thanks for the response and for understanding.

        Agree that asking a lawyer is ideal. You can also contact the video owner and ask for written permission to do what you want.

        Another thought I had is that when you embed a video, which is permitted as long as the copyright owner has allowed the embed code), YouTube can keep track of where that video is and in theory protect the copyright owner from unauthorized use of the video.

        But when you make screen shots and host them on your own site, the copyright owner is losing control of his or her own content, and you’re then using the images without permission. The owner has only agreed to video embeds. It may be OK in some instances to use some images under Fair Use even in a commercial setting (again, ask a lawyer about each case), but these are images where it’s debatable whether it was OK to create them in the first place.

        It doesn’t matter if the blog page it’s on is a sales page. If a blog exists primarily to make money, or if the blogger is blogging as a professional in a niche, then it can be considered commercial. The image doesn’t have to be used as an ad or directly sold or on the same page as the ads or affiliate links.

        Even with no ads or affiliate links, if the blogger is using the info as part of their profession, to advance their career in any way, such as offering services, the use of images on the blog can be considered commercial use of them–it’s a case-by-case basis kind of thing.

        Things aren’t really so bad. If you want to have a how-to and not embed the video, you could pick a how-to video that doesn’t have a lot of instructions unique to that video (there are only so many ways to caulk a tub, for instance), modify the information a bit (such as you’re allowed to do with recipes–make it your own–rules would vary with videos–if you are making an octagonal birdhouse and only the videomaker makes that kind of birdhouse, I’d avoid that, or make it an 11-sided birdhouse and change other things as well), use your own words in the tutorial, and if you want images, create a few illustrations, even if they’re stick figures.

        Or, you could embed the YT video without screen shots and discuss the content in your own words, and get people to engage. That would be in the spirit of why people upload and share their videos. It benefits both the video owner and the blogger.

        Again, thanks for all the info, I get so much out of this blog and I don’t mean to be playing “gotcha.” I work in a field where I’ve had signed (or not signed) contracts dealing with all kinds of rights, some of which blow my mind and I would never have thought of before. I’m not a lawyer but when faced with such a contract, if the money is substantial I do hire one!

        • Jake Cain

          Jake Cain

          Yep – I was wondering if you were some kind of lawyer or something. Haha.

          I feel like the discussion of screenshots and things is the source of endless “what ifs” – Like people who have sued Google for having copyrighted images in their image search results, or even the legalities of something like Pinterest, where I could easily pin something from your website and pick the image I want to use from your page. Obviously nobody is granting permission for somebody to pin their stuff, but I guess nobody would complain because you’re kind of promoting their site.

          But I would think one could technically say “hey, I didn’t want you to share my blog post on Pinterest.”

          I think the same could be said of Facebook, where if I share a link to your site it will pull in your featured image by default.

          This kind of stuff leads me to believe spirit of how you do things and perception are really important – maybe not from a legal perspective, but in the eyes of the person who made the video.

          I’ve reached out to many people over the years to give them a heads up that I featured them and maybe used screenshots, a head shot of them from their bio, etc. and I just really make an effort to put their work in the best light on my blog, linking back to them, etc.

          I don’t recall anyone ever responding to say “Take me off your page” – mostly they respond and thank me for featuring them.

          Anyway, I’m probably a little off topic at this point – but it just seems like there are a lot of gray areas with things like using a screenshot.

          I was actually going to add the same thing you ended with, which is when in doubt – maybe just go with embedding the video and doing written content or using other images. This would be kind of like the “embed and react” I talked about.

          Maybe we’ll call that the safer play!

  8. Jim R.

    Jim R.

    Wow… What a great post and video! They are both jam-packed with useful information. Thank you so much for sharing this with the Niche Pursuits community, it has truly helped me think and plan what to do for my little website that I am developing as I follow along with the three students.

  9. Nishant

    Nishant

    Hey, your article is not only informative but also impressive. I was not aware of many things mentioned above by you! I have never come across such an amazing article so far. Your article managed to glue me till end. I hope the tricks and video posted by you is going to help me a lot to develop my website!

  10. Ryan

    Ryan

    I really liked how you used Sweethome’s website as an example of how to do a good review post. I got a head start on my website (1 year old now) and am implementing the tactics you guys talk about. It is slow going because, like Ryan I have a full time job(s) and have children at home.

    What I noticed is that my bounce rate for some of my review articles were high and when I was in the number 1 position for these I was making decent money ($400-$500 a month from only a handful of articles). I have now dropped a spot, or two in some cases and it shows in my earnings. Probably due to my high bounce rate, I assume.

    Anyways, I am going to take much more time to make them A LOT MORE in depth from now on (like the example you have shown) because I want to make these once , which saves time in the long run. Of course I will update them as needed but doing the majority of the work the first time around and maintaining reader engagement, time on page, etc. to have a better end result.

    Will you guys be talking about how to analyze the data (time on site, bounce rates, etc.) so we can recognize and address potential issues regarding conversions and other aspects? Thanks for the series, it is very interesting and highly motivating!

  11. Matt Not Cutts

    Matt Not Cutts

    Great information Jake! Great call!

    Although I have many well paying sites at this point (thanks to Spencer and all of you) I always am learning new things.

    Thrive Content Builder is amazing and I am so grateful that you mentioned it. What a great product.

  12. Gary Riccio

    Gary Riccio

    Great work Everyone! Thanks for letting us ride along with you. For me, this has been a most effective method for learning about and understanding keyword research. Many Kudos!

    Also want to give a shout-out about Long Tail Pro Platinum. Fallen in love with the program and couldn’t live without it. It’s taken me from keyword darkness and confusion to seeing some light at the end of the proverbial keyword tunnel. And thanks for the links for other cool tools like Thrive Themes.

    My niche is the biotech field. I am working on a blog to position myself and my company as an authority in my field rather than monetizing (for now). Was hoping to get your feedback on Domain Authority Scores versus Low KC and Low Page Authority scores.

    When I do my research on the broader keyword phrases, most sites on the first page of google have low KC values (at least 3 – 4 below 20, some in single digits), low page authority (25 or less) but regarding domain authority, most of the low KC/PA sites have a DA of 31-49. (There is occasionally one doppelganger site with a DA less than 30).

    Some sites are larger equipment vendors in the industry with a page or two on the topic. Some are organizations. Many of the pages are over 10 years old and haven’t been updated for 10 years. Also, the content on these pages is weak and irrelevant (especially if you wanted to solve a real problem on the topic being searched for). I even noticed that one of the sites that currently ranks for several keywords is basically a lead capture page with a downloadable guide book that is only 6 months old.

    I am starting with the long tail keyword phrases because there is great opportunity to rank there. Was just wondering, based on your experience, what your thoughts might be about targeting the shorter, higher volume keyword phrases assuming the above scenario (when everything else is weak except the DA)?

    If there looks to be enough weakness that I might be able to rank for those keywords, I would like to go for it…but if the better course of action is to work up to them over time, I will stay focused on the long tail phrases. While I might be passionate about my topic, I really want to be even smarter about my keyword strategy.

    Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • Jake Cain

      Jake Cain

      Hey Gary,

      That’s a very good question. I’d definitely go after those shorter phrases as well, based on what you describe. In fact, you can probably kill 2 birds with one stone by doing one piece of content that targets both the short version and the long tail version of the keyword.

      Maybe you do the ultimate guide to whatever the main topic is – and then in that you have subheaders that address some of the closely related long tail keywords. If you create a long, helpful guide – you should have a good shot to rank for both the short and long version of that keyword.

      • Gary Riccio

        Gary Riccio

        Hi Jake

        I really appreciate the great feedback.

        You confirmed the thoughts circling around in my head.

        That’s a terrific recommendation on creating my own Ultimate Guide and using it to target both sets of keywords. I’m already started on it.

        Many Thanks!

  13. Doug Cunnington

    Doug Cunnington

    Great post & call, guys! I have found the Crowdsourced post (i.e. a Round Up post) works really well.

    Round up posts are so common on internet marketing blogs that I don’t think they are as effective there as they used to be.

    However, if you are in an industry that doesn’t have many roundup posts, then you can really stand out. And, it’s great for networking!

    Keep the great content coming

    • Jake Cain

      Jake Cain

      I totally agree. Non-tech industries are much easier to pull this stuff off, particularly for outreach to get links and shares because not many people do it.

  14. Kevin @ MyDogLikes

    Kevin @ MyDogLikes

    Amazing episode! I absolutely loved your rundown of the different types of engaging content. You gave me soooo many new ideas!

    We have long tried to set ourselves apart in our niche with the length of our articles (typically 1500+ words) and the quality of the photography. It takes a lot of time, but we have seen our posts consistently reaching the first page for the targeted keywords.

    After several weeks of work, I just published what would be considered a pillar post (6000+ words) a few days ago. It is a list post or “ultimate guide” with tons of internal and external links. I am extremely excited to see how this performs over time as it spreads through social media and begins ranking in search.

    I think I am going to go for a crowdsourced post next with input from other influencers in our space.

  15. Dan

    Dan

    Hey Ryan good stuff yet again!

    I had a question about the “content aggregator style” : when you use this how do you get photos? If there are good photos in other locations on the internet (pinterest, blog, etc) do you embed or take these photos from their website or from pinterest and link back to them? (Is this fine legally) to use pictures in this way.

    Thanks so much. Dan

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