I really love online marketing that focuses on capturing loyal, focused email subscribers. In my first year on Blog Tyrant I got over 4,000.
And one of the things I noticed was that the type of post structure I used had a real impact on how many people subscribed by email.
Let’s take a look at five link bait post structures that really get people motivated to read, share and eventually give you their email.
Is link bait a dirty term?
I know a lot of bloggers think that link bait is a little bit dirty, perhaps a bit black hat.
Well, its not.
You see, for something to get lots of backlinks these days it needs to be high quality. So if you are writing a post with the goal of getting more backlinks you are (most of the time) writing something highly useful, funny or engaging.
Link bait is not a dirty term. To be successful it requires content that helps people. [Tweet this quote]
The 5 link bait post styles
So let’s dive in and have a look at five post styles that have helped me get more email subscribers.
5. The niche-narrow series
The first structure I want to talk about is one that used to be extremely popular but is now harder to come by – the niche-narrow series.
Darren Rowse used to do these all the time and a lot of bloggers followed in his footsteps. But in an era where many bloggers are writing big long posts or just filling up their blog with guest posts I have been noticing less series posts.
And remember, these things can often take a week to write when done properly. So it is a big undertaking.
But the thing is, people subscribe by email extremely quickly when they think there is a bunch of other posts coming up in a series that has really piked their interest.
Some key things to remember when trying to get subscribers this way:
- Make it exhaustive and targeted
As I always say, you need to write your posts in a way that makes them feel like the topic is almost exhausted. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be long, just leave your readers feeling satisfied but motivated about a very particular niche topic.
- Make the first part enticing
The first post in your series really needs to set up the ones to follow. This means emotion and other psychological triggers need to be present.
- Add a call to action
At the top of each post in this series make sure you have an italics section that tells people to subscribe by email if they want to get the other parts.
One of the best ways to find out if this post structure will work for your blog is to send out an email broadcast message with Aweber to announce a small 3 part email series where people have to subscribe to a different list to get involved. See how many numbers you get.
4. The resource-rich list post
One of my favorite type of posts to write and read is one that uses the old list post structure to promote a lot of resources for the people reading.
These posts have always been link bait (meaning they get lots of back links) and share bait. But they also get a lot of email subscribers because people love to feel connected to someone who knows a lot of cool things/people in their chosen area.
Its like knowing the hip indie kid who finds all the cool bars and coffee shops.
You’ll find that if you write a useful list post with a lot of useful links you will position yourself as a bit of an expert and people will sign up to see what other cool little secrets you have to offer. [Tweet this quote]
3. An incentive-based guest post
The third post structure that has worked very well for me is a guest post that is based around an offer or free give away that is available on my own blog.
I have written about this little technique a few times now – its called a funnel.
Basically the idea is that you introduce people to free eBook or blog style on your guest posts so as to funnel them back to your email list.
Some tips to make this work well include:
- Making your backlinks well thought out
It’s okay to include links to your own site in your guest posts. You should chose anchor text that is a phrase that is well linked to your offer so when people click it and arrive on your blog they are already primed for your offer. This also helps you rank on Google for your funnel term.
- Avoid general posts
Posts need to be very specific for this strategy to work. We aren’t trying to impress everyone, we just want the attention of those people interested in your email list offer.
- Consider a specific landing page
If you are really clever and prepared you will add a link on your guest post back to a specific landing page that you have built specifically for readers of that individual guest post. You can welcome them by the referring site’s name and tell them about you and your email list. Personalisation is key.
I have done posts on Problogger using this strategy that have brought me over 100 subscribers in a day. Here is one you might like to check out for some examples.
2. The 2000+ word guide to [topic]
If you write 2000+ words of a very specific topic and your post has good basic English and a bit of personality you can’t fail.
These posts really get people’s attention.
If you take a look at any blog in the past ten years that has rocketed to success in a short time (think Dosh Dosh, Viper Chill, Smart Passive Income, Blog Tyrant, etc.) you will notice that all of them focused on huge posts that provided massive value to readers for no fee or gimmick.
Some of my posts were well in excess of 5,000 words. That is an eBook right there.
Now, it is important that you aren’t just rambling on in order to make your post look good. Each word, sentence and paragraph needs to add some value for the reader.
Make sure you do things like:
- Break up the content
Use dot points and lots of paragraphs and headings to break up the content and make it readable.
- Link out
Link out to other big blogs in your post so that the get the attention of the big boys as well as providing extra resources for your own readers. These links make you look more valuable.
- Keep focused
James Chartrand from Men with Pens often corrects my guest posts for being too wafty and
brilliantaloof. Make sure you stick to the topic at every turn.
- Use photos
Make sure you use photos and images to help illustrate your points and draw the eye down.
- Know your brand and style
Don’t try and write different style posts all the time. Find your voice and make sure your posts all look and feel the same. It is part of branding.
Now people can get sick of long long posts if you don’t do them right. It is extremely important that you add a lot of value and solve a lot of problems if you want to get more email subscribers from the event.
My advice: don’t publish any post half-baked. It’s a big waste of your time. [Tweet this quote]
1. A trial and error story with findings
The last post structure that works extremely well these days for getting more email subscribers is a trial and error study that imbues your own personal story in the findings or post.
As I always say, people become loyal to other people, not brands. So when you share your own personal story on a given topic or event you capture people’s hearts and minds.
So what is a trial and error story with findings?
Basically it is where you share something that you tried and the results that you obtained and how the experience felt/worked/impacted/affected you.
Some examples include:
- Income statements
People love to read income statements if you are running a “make money” blog. It shows the person behind the blog and keeps things inspiring. Check out Pat’s for an example of how to mix the story and the figures.
- Blog changes
Are you changing something on your blog? Perhaps a sidebar or posting schedule? Talk about why and what the results were. Here’s an example from when I changed my sidebar.
- Real world examples
Has something happened to you in the offline world that applies to your blog? Write about how the two connect and share how it affected you. This guest post from Jon Morrow was (I think) the most popular in Problogger history.
People love to learn new things and they love following people who are experimenting (even failing) with new ideas and opportunities. Share them with your readers and watch how many more loyal email subscribers you get.
Over to you
Have you ever used a particular style of link bait post structure and noticed more email sign ups? Please leave a comment and tell me about it.
Photo: © Kalvis Kalsers