As a micro business owner or small business owner, it can be difficult to determine what you should post on your blog. In this article, I am going to show you the exact content that you should be producing so that your website will be not only found, but read.
Keeping this focus will cause your site to stand out in a crowded field.
In real estate, the a key phrase is location, location, location. With blogging it is:
Content, Content, CONTENT
Content is King. And nowhere is this any truer than business blogging.
Whether you are blogging, or are focused on YouTube or a Podcast, without content, you do not exist.
There is nothing to attract readers to and, therefore, no one to click on your links.
I am a member of over 20 Facebook groups for micro and small business along with affiliate marketing, and at least once a day, I see a post from a member that goes something “I don’t know how to get any traffic to my offer, and I am not making any money!”
They were lured into small business and entrepreneurship with a promise of a simple flip of the switch that would allow them to catch all the money coming out of the system. Add to this our want it right now, impatience as a society, and you have a recipe for success.
I can only share from experience what has worked for me and worked for several other affiliate marketers that have not been flashes in the pan and that have stood the test of time.
Developing a Habit of Content Creation
If you step back from this for a moment, this is not unlike facing a weight loss situation or exercise.
We want a magic pill; we want to spend thousands of dollars on the latest exercise bike or think we can be Chuck Norris by spending just 15 minutes a day on the Total Gym.
Nobody wants to hear that they have to get off of the couch, put down the fork, go to the gym for more than 15 minutes and work.
Work until they develop a habit.
Let’s talk about habits for a moment.
How long does it take to develop a habit? (it is a bit longer than you think)
66 Days. (21 days is a good start, but it takes at least 66 days to create the habit and increase the chances for it to hold.)
The habit of Content Creation is no different.
You have to plant the seeds to reap the harvest.
But just telling you to plant seeds or reap the harvest or write content or go to the gym without giving you a map would be ridiculous.
So here is your content creation map – what to write, how to write it, and how much of it to write.
When I approach Affiliate Marketing, I attempt to meet the readers on their turf. I don’t just sit down and plaster my website or blog with a bunch of unrelated posts.
I am trying to attract the attention of the reader so that I can assist them and provide valuable information.
I like to think of this as helping my readers from AFAR so that they gain an understanding of the Niche that I am covering.
AFAR is an acronym for the four types of Post that I create.
- Anchor Post
- Fact Post
- Answer Post
- Review Post
All of the post types that I am going to share with you are designed to do one thing for the reader. The reader is going to come to your website, and they are going to have a GAP in their current knowledge or understanding.
They have the desired result in mind, and they range anywhere from having a general idea of how to get to their conclusion to having no clue at all.
The way that they will express this gap is via the search term or keyword or phrase that they enter into the search system.
They want to lose weight and may have no clue at all how to go about it. They have more questions than answers. They need facts. They want to see the solution in action or see if what is being suggested to fill this gap works based upon a review. And they want to anchor their decisions and authority on the subject.
You are writing a post to bridge the gap—the gap between when the reader is currently on their journey and their desired result.
Writing one size fits all posts is not helpful to the reader and will cause them to leave your site. I don’t’ care how perfect your “keyword density” was on your page or website, If you didn’t bridge the gap, it was of no use. After a while, the search engines will catch onto this and not display your page.
The search engine is playing the same game. You go to a site like Google or Bing with the desired result and a gap. The better that the search engine that you select to use fills that gap based upon the recommendation that they make increases your chances of coming back to that specific site.
I might be dating myself, but the old search engine, Ask Jeeves, served the purpose of answering questions, but it did not fill the other gaps that readers had wanting facts and reviews and authority. Consumers made their choices and went elsewhere.
Anchor Post represents a significant portion of you displaying to the search engines and your readers that you know what you are talking about with regards to the topic.
In a way, this Anchor Post is very similar to the map in a shopping mall. It has to touch upon the subtopics that are available (oh, they have a food court), but it also has to address the main topic comprehensively.
Your voice, your value add, your twist on the topic is what will keep the reader engaged and locked into your site until the gap is filled, and they reach their desired result.
These Anchor Posts also set the stage for more in-depth posts and articles that will be posted and written separately. We are not trying to write War and Peace on one page, but enough to give the reader hope that we can get them to their desired results. If they don’t feel this way, they Bounce from your site. The search engines track this Bounce Rate, and if it is too high, then the algorithm knows that the reader is telling you that you missed the mark.
I created a post recently that gave the step by step guide to how to get started in affiliate marketing. In it, I listed six approaches that you could take to creating content.
These all fall under the AFAR system.
An Anchor post is an informative post that covers content n a specific topic. Furthermore, it can be broken down into additional sections and material that will appear in the site as multiple supporting posts.
This post that you are reading is an Anchor Post.
While I choose to call this type of post an Anchor Post, the Rank Math SEO Plugin and others refer to this as pillar content. (PFAR is not a very good acronym)
Anchor Posts are the foundation of your website. They provide you with another of benefits as well as showing a clear value to your readers. This allows them to search for and find information on a topic in one location.
Anchor posts are usually longer than other posts on your website, and they serve many purposes.
- Readers are more likely to spend more time on your site reading the post and also the related post that further expands on the topic.
- The content in these posts will rarely change. They are evergreen content that has the possibility of attracting readers for years to come. You get a high return on investment for your time spent.
- Readers are more likely to share Anchor Post and Fact Post on Social Media or other venues, increasing your chances for backlinks from other sites.
- They serve as an Anchor in Google’s mind, and this increases Authority. Authority for the page and authority for the domain. All of these factors into Google ranking you post higher in the search results than other posts or sites.
The way that you can show Google this relationship is via the linking structure of the site and between the pages.
As an anchor post, I am going to introduce the concept of link structure in this post and will expound upon it in other Fact, Answer, and Review Post. Those other posts will all link to this Anchor Post – Showing its overall Authority as an Anchor for the topic.
Don’t confuse this with the Category and Tags functions in WordPress. While these may help you group post for display, they serve a different purpose than I am describing here.
How Many Anchor Posts Should my Blog Have?
First, focus on one for the Main Topic. Over the first 77 days of content creation, my recipe calls for no more than 3 or 4 total Anchor Posts, supported by the other types of posts in my system.
Fact Post usually covers a sub-topic of the Anchor Post, or they can provide further information and facts about the Anchor Topic.
And they go much more in-depth on the sub-topic and provide facts and information that has been gathered or observed.
Many times these can take the form of Tips or Lists. We have all seen the catch titles that get your attention like “6 Ways to Link your Content for Success,” or “4 Types of Post Every Blog Needs.”
All of these Fact Post within a topic serves two purposes:
- They provide factual information on the subtopic.
- They reinforce the overarching topic.
A term I have used for over 15 years to describe this relationship is lesser light that shines on and points to the greater light.
A Fact Post is a lesser light that shines on and reinforces the greater light of the Anchor Post.
Your ability to do your own research on observations regarding the sub-topic covered by the Facts post will set it apart from others trying to rank for a similar term or topic.
The overall Topic that has an Anchor Post might be Baseball. The Fact Post will talk about The History of Baseball or the Rules of Baseball.
With the subtopic of baseball, you could:
- Provide Information on Complementary Items or Accessories.
- Provide How-to Guides (Tutorials)
The Information on complementary items Facts Post can provide a bridge to the reader to help them close their gap and get to the desired resource.
I remember seeing two particular posts in the past six months about the Sony A6400 camera. I read one that was full of facts and figures for the camera. It was beneficial, And then I remember that I read another article that talked about the need for a different grip or bracket and the post recommended some solutions to a problem I didn’t even know that I had.
The camera has a neat flip screen that is great for blogging and vlogging. You can flip the screen around so that you can see the screen when you face the camera. A few other cameras have this feature, but they usually flip to the side of the camera.
And if you are blogging with this camera, you can use a shotgun microphone mounted on the hot show location where you usually would install a flash.
Only one problem with this design. When you mount a microphone, like a Rode VideoMic Pro+ Compact Directional On-Camera Shotgun Condenser Microphone, it blocks a majority of the screen.
The first article that I read made no mention of this design flaw.
I clicked on the link for the recommended, complimentary item in the second article, and they collected a commission from the camera store for the sale.
They bridged a gap I didn’t even know that I had.
Guides and Tutorials are also a type of Fact Post that allows you to show your expertise on the topic and provide great information for the reader. These types of pages also have higher time on page scores, which is another of the over 200 factors that Google is monitoring.
Using the example of baseball and its subtopics, the Answer Post structure can meet the reading where they currently are and move them closer to their desired results.
Search engines use it to cater to entries like “Baseball rules.” Now the search engine is better designed to take the same type of search request that is put into the form of a question. “What are the baseball rules, and how do they differ today from 1970?”
The first search phrase pulls up MLB.com.
The second search question pulls up a completely different set of results.
How do you come up with ideas for Answer Post?
Brainstorming your topic is one way. Get out a pad of paper or step up to the whiteboard and do a brain dump.
What are the rules of baseball?
What are the positions?
Who won the World Series the most times?
You could also use a site called: Answer The Public. Once you get past the angry-looking character on the home screen of the site that honestly needs to walk the plank, you enter your subtopic and hit submit. The search for Baseball Rules returned 15 questions, 25 prepositions, 19 comparisons, 187 alphabetical words/terms, and 8 related.
Three of these questions stand out to me as being ideal for their own Answer Post. They would be about unwritten rules, the balk rules, and the new rules in 2020.
By providing Answers to Questions that the searcher and reader might have, you are providing added value that they can not get in other places.
A single Answer post could also be structured to answer several questions in one article. By using the WordPress headline structure, you can increase the chances that your post shows up as the results for multiple different phrases and keywords.
A Word or Two About Keywords.
Keyword research has its place in this process. Keywords give you some clues as to the direction that you should take regarding a topic. But keywords should not be the end-all and be all. You don’t write just for keywords. You write to the audiences. An excellent keyword research tool like KWFinder can help you find keywords that will reveal topics and subtopics that are getting traffic already that you can target. You target them by using the AFAR method.
I have gotten to the point where I can look at a post or article and tell if it was written to educate me or if it was written to satisfy a keyword. I don’t spend much time on the keyword-focused pages, and from the changes that we have seen from Google over the past few years with the Panda and Penguin updates, they feel the same way.
Keyword tools can also show you some of the reviews and comparisons that you can be focusing on.
Review Posts further support the topic and subtopics that you are spotlighting in the Niche.
Review Posts can:
Provide Comprehensive Reviews
Provide Comparisons to other Products
Document Actual Experiences – Hands-On
How does the AFAR method differ from other ways to blog?
How does this differ from the typical way of thinking about blogging? Some think of blogging as sitting down and sharing ideas in a free form manner, along the lines of the episodic structure.
From the reader’s standpoint, this might make perfect sense. A reader visits your home pages, reads article one, and then moves to number two and three, and so on.
But remember, every time we are creating content, we are writing for two audiences.
- The Reader
- The Search Engine
I could have written the best content in the world, and if no one sees it, does it matter.
And do I really care how they get to my content? No. Just as long as they get to my site and my topics niche (and stay awhile)
My success over the years has come from taking this approach to content creation.
As a real estate agent, when I blogs, I answered questions, I did reviews on amenities. 95% of my visitors on my site never visited the home page.
I like to think of it this way, and it may work for you. The FAR in AFAR is what they call Long Tail within the SEO realm.
People are not just going to type in Baseball into Google and be taken to my site. I will never be able to compete with MLB.com or ESPN.
But if I write a post that answers a question like “What is a Split Finger Fastball?” or a post comparing Fenway Park to Tropicana Field, then I have a chance of not only showing up in the search results but appearing at or near the top.
What Size should the AFAR post be?
I follow this rule of thumb when it comes to posting sizes and the number of words that I need to be shooting for in my Post.
Anchor Post = 3000+ words
Fact Post = 1500-2500 words
Answer Post = 1200-1600 words
Review Post = 1500-2500 words
None of these are hard and fast rules. They do provide me with guidelines, and they also help me with my time blocking and scheduling. I know if I am going to be doing an Answer Post, I can knock that out in an hour or two.
If I am considering an Anchor Post or Review Post, I might break these into a couple of sessions over the course of a day. And for the reviews, I will be recording information as I go through the review process so that I have it ready when I sit down to write the post.
Your ability to master content creation will be the foundation of your Affiliate Marketing success.
We are not taught about creating content in school.
And it is so easy to get caught up in the flavor of the month’s social media network.
Speaking of social media, they all require content, so don’t think that just because you are going to use another system vs. blogging that you are going to avoid working with content. It is not going to happen.
How many of each post type should I create?
I took the time to put together this schedule for you as part of your Treasure Map for Success.
I recommend a schedule that is broken into two sections. The first section gets you launched and off the shore, and the second section allows you to start to develop the content creation habit and get some wind in your sails.
Phase One – Launch
The first 11 posts should consist of:
- 1 Anchor Post
- 2 Fact Post
- 5 Answer Posts &
- 3 Review Post.
This will all be focused on the same topic and subtopics. This phase allows you to communicate with your two audiences your intent and your authority regarding the Niche and topic.
But this just gets you started.
Phase Two – Develop the Habit and Set Sail
The next 66 posts will take you through a 66 day period designed to create your habit for content creation and build your content muscles and endurance.
The second phase of the post will consist of:
- 3 more Anchor Posts
- 21 more Fact Posts
- 21 more Answer Posts &
- 21 more Review Post.
This will give you a total of 77 posts for your new venture.
- Anchors = 4 total Topics will be covered the niche
- Facts = 23 total Facts, How To Guides, Top or Best List and Tutorials
- Answers = 26 total Answer to Questions of Subtopics
- Reviews = 24 total Reviews (Product/Service, Comparisons, and Complementary items.)
After the first two phases, we stay consistent with the creation. I like to rotate every week or every other week between the Facts, Answers, and Reviews post with one each per week or one each every two weeks.
When you add a new topic, it is time for another 11 post bursts to support that topic to establish Authority in this new topic.
This same structure and schedule will work on YouTube. And if you wanted to take it a step further, it provides you with an outline for each of your Podcast Episodes.
We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. This is very true regarding the topic of content creation.