How to Win the Content Numbers Game

It's time to face facts: Everything is a numbers game. From fantasy football to digital advertising campaigns, we yearn for more numbers and more analytics. Content marketing is no different. On a podcast called ConversionCast (it's a great one if you haven't subscribed), the host Tim Paige and guest Brian Dean (from Backlinko) spent an entire episode talking through the tactics and metrics behind a single post from Dean that garnered more than 5,000 shares on social media.

I, like many, was transfixed by the information. Why? Because all of us in the online content game are desperate to find the magic formula to get our numbers up. Five thousand shares is what we all want.

Experts-such as Michael Hyatt, Derek Halpern, Dean, and more-point to specific techniques to get the numbers we all desire. And here's a little secret: It's not hard; it just takes time, attention, and action. Here is a synopsis of my favorite actionable techniques from around the web to boost your numbers in a hurry.

Build your email list-This is, far and away, the top technique from every expert and nonexpert out there. If building your email list is not a top priority in your business, it needs to be.

Email lists are the holy grail of marketing (for now anyway-texting to smartphones will soon take that mantle, in my humble opinion). Offer something of value to your audience. Use a simple MailChimp data capture form, and start an email list today. It will be your most valuable sales asset, period. This is not a best guess-this is a fact.

Teach-What do you know that your audience doesn't? Better yet, what are they starving for? I have referred to Gary Halbert's most famous advice before: "Find your starving audience and feed them."

Take the skills you have built during your career, and put them down in the written word, blog posts, videos, Sanskrit ... whatever. There is always someone coming behind you who would benefit from your expertise.

Find the pain-We are all consumers. There is nothing better than finding the right product at the right time that solves a problem. Creating content about painful problems can set you on a path to true success. The world's most successful entrepreneurs are successful because they find the pain and provide meaningful and useful solutions.

Headlines, headlines, headlines-Part of content success is how you name or title your piece. Many experts-including a couple of my favorites, Jeremy Frandsen and Jason Van Orden from Internet Business Mastery-say you should take as much time or more on the headline as you do on the content itself.

Formulas such as the "How to" headline (How to Write Compelling Content), the "End Result Plus Time Period Plus Overcome Objections" headline (Lose 20lbs in 5 Days Without Exercise), or even the "List" headline (Seven Ways to Change Your Life Now) are the toast of the content world. Why? Because they work. That post in which Dean scored 5,000 shares led off with "200 Ways ..."

Give until it hurts-Not literally, but give, give, give. Try to give away a resource guide or some piece of content all of the time. Ebooks and PDFs in which you teach or share insider secrets are the types of things your audience will soak up.

Always put your contact information and an email autoresponder link at the end of your ebooks or PDFs, because you never know who will read it. And as we talked about previously, building your email list is key.

See what quality content already exists and make it better-Do not be afraid to review existing popular pieces of content, polish them, and make them your own. I am not advocating plagiarism (shame on you!). I am saying to look at experts you admire, find what worked for them, improve or tweak their concept or structure, and make a similar piece of content in your own niche.

As this year comes to a close, remember that it's a numbers game, and you can either be playing the game well or be floundering with little traffic and little influence. It will require persistence and discipline, but in the end, the more your content takes on the tactics previously mentioned, the more you will succeed. Happy Holidays!