A problem I see a lot with new affiliate marketers who have already set up their website and their initial pages is that they can't get beyond that. Even though they did lots of research and are confident their niche can make money, they suddenly they don’t know what to write.
It happens to people who have been working on their blog for a few months, too. Perhaps they have had some good post ideas and found some good keywords, but traffic still isn’t good. What do they do next?
In my experience, you just keep creating content. I have always found that over a long period of time, a blog with a ton of content will rank for a bunch of stuff, and at least some of that stuff will be high ranking. From that point, you have traffic you can funnel to money pages, or use that initial traffic to generate more ideas, and tweak the direction of your website.
Step 1: Your First Brainstorm
The first thing to do is to sit down and have a brainstorm session. I write down everything that I can come up with. Often if you sit down for an hour or two in the afternoon you can come up with a couple hundred ideas in one session.
I start by opening up a text document, and I’ll write my initial ideas here. For example, if I have a vague idea for writing about beer making equipment or beer recipes for my home brewing website, I write it down. It doesn’t have to be a perfect idea right away. In this brainstorm session, I just kind of dump everything onto one page—and you can do the same. You can come back to this and pick out the best ideas later.
I could write down “how to promote yeast online” or something simple like “kegerators are expensive”.
Once you have a list going and you feel comfortable with where it’s headed or you can’t think of anything else to add, you can move on to the second step in the idea generation process: using a keyword generator.
Step 2: Using the Keyword Generator
The ideas from the brainstorm session are usually broad. Entering them into a keyword generator will draw up more specific ideas that can be used as blog posts.
The idea is to enter the broad keywords that you brainstormed into the system and browse through the keywords it suggests. I like to look at the keywords and how they relate to traffic. Pick the keywords with the highest traffic and add them to your text document. You can also include low traffic keywords, but I quarantine them to use at a later time.
You can also look at the QSR, which means ‘quoted search results’ and is a measure of competition. Sometimes I don’t even look at the competition if I think it’s a good keyword. For example, ‘all grain brewing equipment'. I don’t really care what the competition is because I know that it’s a good keyword to write about, it’s a longer keyword, and I think it’s something I just eventually want to target. If it's high competition, I'll write a pillar post, 2-4 thousand words long. If it's low competition, I'll write a 1200 word post and link back to it a couple times from future conetnt.
Not every keyword has to link to an affiliate website. Sometimes it’s just about driving traffic. Even if there are no affiliate programs for a good keyword, I’ll often use them to drive traffic to my website where people can find the things that I am promoting. Driving traffic from low competition pages to high competition, high value (converting) pages, is a basic sales funnel strategy.
At this point I’m just looking for keywords, not necessarily keywords that I can monetize right away. That comes later in the process for me. We’ll talk about that in just a bit.
Step 3: Add interesting categories as you do your keyword research
As you browse through the keyword suggestions, you’ll find some that are interesting enough to be their own categories. In my search for beer making equipment, I came across an idea for non-alcoholic brewing and another one for making beef stew with beer.
I add the most interesting ones to my list with a mental note that I can do separate searches for these keywords when I’ve finished working with the topic I’m currently focusing on. For example, I could start a keyword search for cooking with beer when I’ve generated all the ideas I want for beer making equipment.
You can expand the list of possible categories by brainstorming about related topics that don’t necessarily focus on your initial keyword. You’ve got to get into the mind of a person who is potentially searching for your website. Not everyone who is interested in home brewing will be searching for home brewing. They might be interested in hobbies for retirement, self-sufficient living, or how to save money. The ideas you come up with in this second brainstorm will help fill in your list and give you more keywords to use for generating more ideas.
Step 4: Utilizing Google Instant
Using Google Search Suggestions
When you’ve finished working with a keyword tool and you feel like your list is growing, move to Google Instant. For this step, all you have to do is type in your keyword into the Google search bar. The dropdown box will show you what people are searching for related to that keyword. The search engine basically finishes your sentence, and lets you know what real people are searching for online. Pick the most interesting ones and add them to your list. (If you’re really desperate for topics, you can take them all.)
Searching on Google Instant will work in the same way as using a keyword generator, and you can find new categories as well as new keywords to search for. In my search for beer brewing equipment, I came across kegging, which started a whole new subcategory for my searches.
Before you leave Google Instant, play the alphabet soup game. For this exercise, simply add a letter ‘a’ in front of your keyword in Google Instant. Write down any interesting keywords that show up. Then delete the ‘a’ and add letter’ b’, then ‘c’ and work your way through the alphabet. It’s surprising what can turn up by simply adding one letter at a time. Now put the letters in the middle of your phrase, or at the end of your phrase.
Now you have thousands of potential ideas, and enough content for many years to come!
I can do that for all of these keywords. At this point in my beer making equipment search, I had around 280 keywords on my list. That’s 280 blog post ideas, which is crazy. Depending on how often you post, that could keep you busy for at least a year, and maybe two years. The more time you spend researching, the more keywords you’ll have to use as topics for your blog posts.
Step 5: Make Similar Keywords Different Post Topics!
A lot of the keywords you’ll come up with are very similar. For example, my list had craft beer brewing equipment, home beer brewing equipment and DIY beer brewing equipment. If you write posts so that they match the keywords exactly, your posts will be almost the same, and you’ll get bored.
One strategy you can use to prevent boredom is to split up the topic between the keywords. I try to make the topic of the posts different even though the keywords are so similar.
For these very similar keywords, I brainstormed and came up with three completely different titles. The focus of the first post is on the costs of beer brewing equipment. The second post is going to talk about the most essential items you need to have in order to brew beer at home. The third idea is to discuss brewing very simple beer recipes using items you already have around the house.
This gives you an idea of how you can create very different posts even with very similar keywords.
Don't just mix up the post title and rewrite the same article. It's a waste of your time. I discuss this further in my post titled Don't Waste Time With These Keywords.
Step 6: One More Basic Tip
Keep the list on your text document. At the bottom, start a new list called ‘new ideas.’ Every time you think of a new idea, write it down on that list. When you run out of blog post ideas, you’ll already have a list to start your keyword research with.
As you do practice this, as you get involved in the communities and the forums you participate in, and as you write blog posts and come up with your own questions, you’ll find that you are generating more and more ideas for blog posts on your own. Even if you’re struggling for ideas right now, be patient with yourself. You’re going to have a ton more ideas as you go along. The more work that you put into your blog now, the more ideas you’re going to have later.
While a beginner brewer might only be able to write about how to properly use yeast on brew day, and advanced brewer can break down the differences between Brett B and Brett C yeast, which is a “wild yeast”, and rarely used in commercial beers.
An Advanced Technique for Rank and Monetizing
Since creating content is all about getting people to your website where you can promote your affiliate brands, I wanted to add one more idea for raising your rank. Not everyone is going to be ready for it, but if you’re not quite to the point of monetizing your site, just keep this in the back of your mind for a later time.
Take a look at all your different ideas. Choose one or two that you want to monetize that relate to one of the main topics you want to discuss.
Let’s say that in this beer brewing equipment category I find two main threads. One of them is going to be about beginner’s kits for brewing. I’m going to make a page that’s going to break down all of the essential materials you’re going to need for a beginner’s kit for brewing beer. The other will be a post about gas vs. electric brewing, and I’ll pick a top system for gas brewing and a top system for electric brewing to discuss.
The next step is to write about ten posts that relate to the essential beginner’s kit for brewing and then write ten posts about gas brewing and electric brewing. They don’t have to even match closely, as long as you can mention the main post and link to it.
This “spider web” technique is just creating supportive content for your main money posts, and this kind of focus can help you internally link properly, thus helping rank, but also create a cohesive structure to your website which some SEOs have referred to as siloing.
Monetization and traffic
These ten posts don’t all have to be monetized. You don’t have to put affiliate links in all of these posts, because you’ll be using them to drive traffic to the pages that are monetized. Link all of the posts related to beer brewing equipment to the essential beginner’s kit post, and monetize that one.
This way it doesn’t really matter if my essential beginner kits post doesn’t rank. I have ten other posts that rank and can send traffic to it. This is one reason why finding lots of low hanging fruit can eventually lead to sales.
Do the same thing with the gas vs. electric brewing equipment. Monetize it and link the other posts to this page to drive traffic to it.
Conclusion: Start Small and Let it Grow
Let’s say a sustainable living post you wrote that links back to beer making equipment only gets ten visits per month. Ten visits a month isn’t even one visit a day. But when you multiply that by the number of other posts linked to the main post, you all of a sudden have 100 possible visitors who maybe are going to buy or are maybe going to look at your essential beginner’s kit.
And that’s just one page. Now we do the second page, and now we have 200 possible visitors who are maybe going to look at stuff that is for sale on your site. If you do this enough times with enough different topics, you’ll start getting enough traffic to make money from your websites.
This is getting into some of the deeper specifics of what I’m going to be doing on my site, but hopefully you can see how this can relate to your own sites. I hope it helps you with your won planning for blog post ideas and then how to monetize them.
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