Part 2: The 7 Deadly Wins

Welcome to part 2.

Before we talk tactics I want to help to re-frame how you view successful content. 

Think of a blog post as a watch.

What you see are the moving hands, ticking away the seconds, minutes, and hours of the day. 

On the surface, it is very simple. But if you wanted to make a watch – at least a watch that works – you’d know that behind the simple face is a great deal of complexity — myriad moving parts operating in unison to help you understand you are late for your Zoom meeting. 

So next time you see a successful article, consider the unseen gears and levers that went into creating what you see now. The research, the design, the analytics, the storytelling…

I think its ready to publish.

Sidebar: Why not Ads?

Before we begin, let me make one thing clear. If you want to guarantee traffic overnight:


You see, traffic isn’t actually the problem. Paid advertising will always be happy to send traffic your way. You just have to keep feeding it money.

On the other hand, ranking pages takes patience. It’s a long-term strategy. Results should be viewed in terms of months, not days. It’s not out of ordinary for a new site to take 6-8 months before organic traffic really starts to take off. 

But once you’re ranking, most of the hard work (and the expense) is over – save for some outreach and optimization.

Of course with a more established domain and less competitive keywords, it’s possible to hit the first page in weeks instead of months.

And once you get an ongoing stream of relevant traffic to your site, you can start to convert them into leads and customers.

So, without further preamble, here are the 7 Deadly Wins to take down your competitors and increase your share of traffic

The 7 Deadly Wins of Content Marketing

#1 – Topic & Keyword Research

“If you build target it, they will come”

Most businesses face-plant right out of the gate.

They write about topics that interest THEMSELVES, but they don’t validate (with professional SEO tools and insights) whether their audience is actually interested in and searching for the topic.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out this formula.

No search volume = No search traffic

Of course going the other way and only targeting high volume keywords can also lead to little-to-no traffic because you can’t crack the top of the SERP.

A killer-strategy, particularly for newer sites, is to instead create a cluster of content based on less competitive keywords that fall underneath a BEASTLY parent/primary keyword.

The low competition keywords will be easier to rank for in the early days while the grouping will show Google you have a depth of knowledge on the topic – each “lesser” keyword adding up to help you rank for the main body keyword that sits above the longer tail keywords. 

#2 – Convert That Traffic

If someone lands on your page, enjoys your content and leaves – is that a success?

Maybe they’ll remember your brand. Maybe they’ve bookmarked your site and will return. 

More likely, that’s the last time you’ll see them. 

It was fun while it lasted! 

“a vision without strategy remains an illusion”

Each article should have a PURPOSE in and of itself, while simultaneously being a cog in a larger traffic strategy.

Each piece playing a role in helping your business to GROW.

Today there are so many tactics and tools, the biggest challenging is knowing what to employ:

– Lead magnets
– Content upgrades 
– Smart popups 
– Chatbots
– Surveys
– Giveaways

Whether you’re trying to get visitors to sales pages, get their email address, contact you for a consultation (spoiler warning – that’s what I’m doing 😉) or retarget them with Facebook ads – there is a world of possibilities.

But “no strategy” is –


#3 – Create Compelling Content

This is where rubber meets the road.

Google’s algorithms are increasingly effective at working out content that matches search intent.

And users are increasingly adapt at spotting crap content that isn’t worth their time. 

If a visitor bounces after 10 seconds that’s going to tell Google that they didn’t find what they were looking for, or the content was poor.

Either way, too many signals like that and you’ve got an uphill battle.

Solving the search intent problem is pretty easy – get your targeting (audience and keywords) right and then write with those in the forefront of your mind. If you feel the need to make your title or meta description more “sexy” by lying about what the content is inside:


You promised “9 never seen before baking tips” so you better deliver or watch those rankings falls.

As for the content writing, I see many businesses creating articles internally – often giving the task to subject matter experts who are amateur writers. If tone of voice, flow and storytelling are not part of their arsenal – look out!

That’s just a recipe for MEH.

Another approach is outsourcing the writing, but agencies and freelance writers may not have the necessary knowledge or the dedication to become a genuine extension of your team.

Personally, when it comes to complicated topics I find collaboration works best.

Squeeze the expert for all their knowledge and then let the writer weave that cold info into a spicy article that hooks from start to finish.

Don’t just be. 

Be Memorable.

#4 – Make Words Count

In most cases, 200-300 word articles aren’t likely to land on the first page for a competitive term.

The average for top positions (and again, every industry is different) is closer to 2,000 words.

Longer articles provide (in theory) the opportunity for more valuable content. And sure, more opportunity to waffle and bore your reader – that’s a given – but that’s why you need writers who know how to hook readers from start to finish.  

Plus, the more you write, naturally the more keywords you can rank for.

Look at these numbers from an almost 9,000 word beast from BeardBrand as an example:

BeardBrand traffic

Not only does it rank for almost 7,000 keywords, over 2,000 of those keywords are in the top 10 search results. If they were paying for that traffic it would cost them approximately $15k every month. 

Bravo, beardy folk, bravo.

Now, I’m not suggesting you should supersize to that extent – first see how long-form the content is in the top SERP positions for keywords you want to rank for. It’s possible shorter articles may be better for a certain topic. 

But let the research guide that. 

Don’t HALF-ASS a 500 word article that will be dumped on the junk pile of articles that never did anything for their businesses 5 seconds after hitting “publish.”

Create the most value-packed resource on the subject and visitors (and Google) will reward you for it.

“the difference between something good and something great is attention to detail

#5 – Optimize On-page

You’re going to want to – but don’t sleep on on-page SEO optimization.

Yes, H tags, alt tags, meta descriptions, TF-IDF — they are boring to most people.

But they’re also really important. So find someone who is passionate about the technical details and let them go to work. 

An SEO optimized article will speak Google’s language to help you rank for your chosen keywords and give you the edge against your content competitors.

“knowledge is of no value unless put into practice”

#6 – Dig Into The Data

You’ve made in this far.

So there’s a good chance you’re enjoying this guide. 

(or you’re my mom – hi mom!)

I’ve put a lot of thought and time into creating this article but if it doesn’t engage you and drive business then, ultimately, it has FAILED.

And studying the cold, hard data will tell me that. So think carefully about your content, particularly:

  • What success looks like
  • How to measure it

Don’t be precious – don’t make assumptions. Let the numbers inform your and improve your marketing.  

But while data has the ability to strike fear in men, it can also…

set you free.

By holding up an objective mirror to your work.

By tracking your progress.

By revealing your faults.

And identifying your success.

Data enables you to analyze the past, impact the present and project the future.

#7 – Internal & External Linking

“a cold call is a dish best served warm”

When it comes to backlink prospecting, I actually can’t fault a small business for ignoring this approach.

It’s hard to do well.

  • Asking for, what is essentially a favor, can feel embarrassing.
  • Scaling the process typically results in very impersonal approaches.
  • And it requires genuine technical know-how, tools and management to scale efficiently.

But – when it comes to Google ranking factors, backlinks (quality dofollow links at least) are still one of the most powerful ranking factors. It’s pretty simple: the more people link to you, the better your article looks to the cold beady eyes of Google bots.

Once you have a backlink you gain some of the linking site’s domain authority. So a link from the New York Times would be a massive boost whereas a link from your friend Fred’s blog probably won’t move the needle much.

Still appreciate the hell out of you, Fred!

The term for this flow of authority is called “link juice.”

Don’t look at me like that – I didn’t name it!

Yes, backlinks will be created naturally, as your pages begin to rank and people find (hopefully) killer content.

But a) you can create content that is more likely to gain natural links and b) an outreach strategy can supercharge that process, help your pages rank faster, and also yield direct traffic from the linking sites.

Summary + Bonus Win

There you have it – if you can focus on as many of the 7 Deadly Wins as possible, I know from experience that your business blogging efforts will finally make an impact on Google search and, consequently, your bottom line. 

Know that you know the areas that need focus, there are plenty of great resources out there to help you learn how to maximize each step.

But if you’re looking for a helping hand – in the final part you’ll find a SPECIAL BONUS as well as your CHAMPION.

Team Up.