February 28 2018
In the age of content saturation, most businesses are going to struggle to create a blog post or static website page that has a serious impact. The facts are simple — millions of blog posts are written every day. Tens of thousands of images are uploaded to Instagram every minute. At this point, the Internet has seen it all — if you want to get noticed, you can’t just push some half-baked blog post out the door and expect it to gain traction.
Unfortunately, the way most folks go about addressing the saturation issue is simple, yet flawed — they just keep producing more blog posts or website pages. There is some merit to this method — we know that blogging a lot has benefits — but the truth is, if you have some content that is already performing for you, amplifying your existing content can take you a lot farther than pumping out a bunch of new content. From an SEO standpoint, we know that search engines notice and reward old posts that are regularly updated, allowing those older blog posts to reach new audiences.
But we’re not writing for search engines — we’re writing for humans. Humans might have already read your post, and it can seem like adding content to an existing post is a game of diminishing returns. Fortunately, that’s not the case. Most people are willing to revisit written content they’ve already viewed — if it has been updated and now provides more value.
Further, when someone who hasn’t viewed your blog post or static content before stumbles upon it, the more work you’ve put into that content over time, the more likely you are to impress new visitors. So amplifying your content makes sense, both from an SEO perspective and from a UX perspective — that being said, let’s clarify some terms.
Amplification and Distribution Are Two Different Things
Just so we’re on the same page here — when I talk about content amplification, I’m talking about the process of improving your existing content to make it more useful and valuable. What I’m not talking about is distribution — the process of getting your content out in front of the people who are going to consume it. The purpose of this post is to show you how to do something very specific — how to take a piece of written content that’s already working well for you and improve it.
Usually, this is a blog post, but it can also be a static page on your website. What you do to distribute that content is very different, and it generally involves a completely different set of skills — you’re going to need some SEO work, some social media work, some PPC work, some influencer marketing work, some email marketing work, and a big dash of luck, to get your content in front of the right folks at the right time. That being said, distribution is worthless if your content is awful. Honestly, who gives a crud if your content is viewed 10 million times if no one likes it enough to buy anything from you, to contact you, to even share the content? And what good is it for a blog post to be shared all over the web, to show up in search results, if it’s not actually helping your business or your goals, if the quality of the content is so low that no one wants to take the next step?
And even if generating traffic is your only goal, low-quality content is going to attract low-quality traffic. If you’re trying to get people on your site to view and interact with ads or to click affiliate links, you need awesome content the encourages visitors to stay on the site and interact. Simply put, amplification of your content also amplifies your distribution efforts — your content is the base, and if you make the base awesome, everything you do afterwards will be more effective.
Let’s dive into the methods.
#1 Find Every Skimpy Argument or Explanation and Expand
This is going to be the main way you amplify your content — expand on what you’ve already written. We know that Google and other search engines prefer content that’s in-depth. In practice, that means longer posts or pages are generally going to rank higher. From a UX standpoint, we know that users actually like long pages and blog posts a lot more than some folks would have us think.
Generally speaking, short posts have a short lifespan. They’re nice to read, but they’re usually time-dependent and not likely to have staying power — think opinion pieces or blog posts about recent events. For instance, probably 99% of news articles generated in the last week are going to fade in obscurity, but the few articles that delve deep into subjects that stay relevant in the months and years ahead, those articles are going to stick around, and it will be worthwhile for the writers of those articles to revisit them and expand.
On the other hand, the blog posts you’ve written that continually drive traffic to your website (and especially the posts or pages that drive engagement, leads, and even sales) are doing so because they’re valuable to your readers — they’re doing an excellent job of helping your readers understand a problem. Instead of writing a new page or post on the same subject as your most popular content, amplify the existing content — expand the explanations that you only covered briefly, strengthen the arguments at the heart of the content, and, simply, write more about the subject and cover it in more depth than the existing content currently does.
#2 Add Images That Explain Processes or Illustrate Points
Most blog posts and pages are light on imagery, and even posts that have a lot of images often don’t use as many images as they could to illustrate their points. Content that explains a process is often severely guilty of this — if you’ve written a page or post that’s describing some sort of process, that takes a reader through a series of steps, you need to have imagery to illustrate those processes. There’s a simple reason for this — images take a lot of work, especially custom images. However, if you’ve got an stong post that’s generating traffic and leads, it’s probably worth your time to amplify the strength of that post with some imagery.
In practice, it might look something like this:
- Images of facts or statistics
- Illustrations of processes
- Images of places or people referred to in the content
- Breakdowns of products or services
Images add to a reader’s understanding of the concepts that your blog post or static page addresses. Most people learn best through a combination of written text, images, and video.
Speaking of video…
#3 Add Videos That Illustrate Concepts and Expand on Points
Written content paired with illustrations can only take you so far — for many people, video is the best way for them to learn. Because you’re embedding a video in a written piece of content that already has images, your video doesn’t have to be long or require a high level of detail. In fact, short 5-to-30-second clips that illustrate a single point in your blog post can be perfect for readers — they’re not required to sit through long videos that take them away from the reading process, but they’re able to more completely visualize and understand a concept than they could with images and text alone. Here’s a perfect example — let’s say you’ve written a post on how to replace the battery in a specific model of car.
Sure, you can write instructions on how to do this, and images can help, but what if locating the battery is difficult to do in the first place? Images can fail at their job in this case because they’re static — if your engine has a large, plastic cover, readers who are skimming might not realize they need to remove the cover to find their battery. A video shows the entire process of locating the battery in only a few seconds.
If you add video to explain some of the key concepts in your content, you make that content more useful, more valuable, and more likely to benefit from distribution efforts.
Amplify Your Content, Then Worry About Distribution
If you want your distribution efforts to succeed, start by amplifying your content. Your best pieces of content deserve some love and attention. When you make them stronger, you increase the benefits from your efforts at sharing on social media, promoting with PPC, utilizing influencer marketing, and pushing that content out to your email list. Simply put, the more effort you put into the content itself, the farther your distribution efforts are going to go. Some folks don’t have to work very hard at all to get their content shared and linked to in a big way — that’s because their content is so awesome that people can’t help but rave about it.
But social media and email marketing are just the beginning — to really kick some tail at distribution, you need to go beyond social.