Make Your Inbound Marketing Strategy More Effective with Compounding Blog Posts

January 12, 2017 Doug Milnor

Inbound marketing strategyBusiness blogging can be a real challenge. Producing high quality content over an extended period of time requires forethought, careful planning, and a lot of effort. However, anyone well versed in inbound marketing strategy will tell you that blogging is well worth the effort.

Here's the thing, though. Some blogs are a lot more valuable to your organization than others. If you want to get the best possible results from your blogs, aim at creating compounding blog posts.

What Compounding Blog Posts Are

Typically, when you post a new blog, you will see a surge of traffic for the first few days and then a decline in traffic over time. This type of post is called a decaying post, because it does not continue to generate traffic for a long time.

On the other hand, with compounding blog posts, traffic builds over time. HubSpot notes:
"The signature characteristic of compounding posts is that they eventually surpass the initial traffic that they generate soon after publication. Compounding posts may not necessarily be blockbusters when they're first published, but their structure and substance are so relevant that they continue to deliver value and grow traffic organically -- no additional marketing needed."
Organic traffic grown over time with no additional marketing investment sounds pretty good, right? It gets better. In a study of blog data from 15,000 companies, HubSpot found that even though only one in ten blog posts are compounding posts, they generate 38 percent of website traffic. That statistic makes it easy to see why producing compounding blog posts is a smart strategy.
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How to Write a Compounding Blog Post

Compounding blog posts create ongoing traffic because the content resonates with the reader. So, the specifics of writing compounding posts will vary from industry to industry, and even from company to company.

There are, though, some general patterns that HubSpot's study revealed that seem to apply to all compounding posts. Here are some of the guidelines for creating compounding content:
  • Compounding posts are evergreen: Generally, posts that generate more traffic over time are the ones that answer a question the reader has. They are based on common, recurring questions your customers or web visitors express.
  • Compounding posts are broad in scope: There is a place on your blog for highly topical subjects or blog posts that appeal to a very narrow segment of your audience. However, compounding posts are broader in nature and they tend to offer tactical advice that appeals to a broader mass audience. To illustrate, HubSpot uses the topic of bad breath. A compounding blog post might be "How to Get Rid of Bad Breath for Good", whereas a more topical, narrow (decaying) post might be "New Study Shows X Percent of People Have Bad Breath."
  • Compounding posts have compelling, to-the-point titles: Compounding post titles use good SEO practices. They are direct and compelling, and they use words that would be included in a typical search query about the topic. Some common good words to use in compounding blog titles are phrases like "How to", "X Best Ways to", and "X Top Tips for", and so on. Remembering that compounding blog posts typically answer a question the searcher has, it makes sense that the titles of such posts would include "what", "when", "how", and "why".
  • Compounding posts are visually appealing: Generally, a wall of unrelenting text is a turn-off for readers. So, compounding blog posts typically make good use of visuals, including images, graphs, charts, bulleted lists, and bolded subheads to improve the readability of the posts.
  • Compounding posts follow the Goldilocks rule regarding length: The length of a compounding blog post depends on your industry, your topic, and your target audience. Like Goldilocks says, it should not be too short or too long. It needs to be just right. Your post should provide sufficient information to answer the reader's question, but not so much information that the reader is inundated with superfluous content. A quick look at your top-performing blog posts will give you an idea of what length post appeals most to your audience.

The Bottom Line

To get the most from your blog content, it is smart to include content that has a reasonable chance of becoming a compounding post. Broad topics that are evergreen in nature are best. An eye-catching, instantly informative title is also essential. Sprinkle in liberal amounts of visual appeal and keep your length in line with what your readers prefer. If you follow these guidelines, you will find that some of your posts will continue to generate traffic for months or even years to come.

If you enjoyed and benefited from this content, contact us to discuss some other great tips to improve your digital marketing strategies.

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