#ContentWritingChat, Mark Traphagen, content marketing

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Content Marketing Sweet Spot: Content That Gets Both Shared & Linked with Mark Traphagen

Did you check out the latest #ContentWritingChat? If not, you’re in luck because we have a recap of our latest chat! We talked all about that content sweet spot and how to create content that gets both shared and linked so you can make the most of your content marketing strategy. Want to learn more? Keep reading!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Content Marketing Sweet Spot: Content That Gets Both Shared & Linked with Mark Traphagen

Our guest host this week was Mark Traphagen. Mark is the Senior Director of Brand Evangelism at Stone Temple. He’s also a speaker and author. He joined #ContentWritingChat to share his top content marketing tips with us, so you won’t want to miss the great insights he shared.

Q1: How much content builds both brand and SEO value?

So, exactly how much content builds both brand and SEO value? Find out what Mark and some of Tuesday’s chat participants had to say:

Mark’s answer? Not much. He feels most content is focused either on SEO or brand building. So many people are focused more on creating content for SEO purposes or increasing social shares, that brand building is an afterthought.

One thing to always keep in mind when creating content is to focus on providing value. When you provide value to your audience, it’ll increase engagement and sharing. People will want to link to you when you’ve given them something beneficial.

Quality over quantity every single time! You want to put out content regularly, but everything you publish should be high-quality.

Q2: Why are share metrics alone not the best measure of the value of your content?

These days, so many brands are obsessed with sharing metrics. They want to know how many social shares they’re getting on every piece they create and how many shares they receive on each platform. But the thing is, it’s not the best measure of how valuable your content is to your audience. Here’s why:

Mark makes a great point when he said that the majority of content that’s being shared is not actually being read. Yikes! That means that many times people are just sharing your content without knowing what it’s all about. In the end, that doesn’t help to build your brand.

As Brandie said, if people aren’t taking the time to read your content, they don’t receive value. They also don’t visit your website and they’ll never have the chance to convert.

As Sarah said, it’s more important to see people linking to your content, engaging with what you’ve created, and converting. Social shares don’t mean that any of those things are happening.

Sharing is definitely caring, but it’s important to see how much of those shares turn into engagement or some other type of conversion. You want to see results from those social shares for it to truly make a difference.

If people aren’t responding to your call to action, you’re missing out on money!

Q3: What is the importance of content that attracts good links?

How important is it to earn good links for your content? Check out these answers from the chat to find out:

As Mark said, if your content attracts good links, it’s a good sign that it was truly valuable for your reader. You want to see people taking the time to link to your work. Earning links is also much harder than getting social shares, so it’s a good overall measure of the success of your content.

If you’d like some extra reading on the subject, check out this post that Mark shared. It’s a study that shows backlinks are still powerful when it comes to SEO.

Sarah knows link building is an important factor of SEO. She said that links are essentially votes of credibility.

Good links can boost your credibility with Google, which can help you rank higher in search engine results. Who wouldn’t want that?

Julia knows that creating and promoting great content will encourage links to happen naturally. Moral of the story? Make sure you give your audience quality content that’s valuable to them.

Q4: What kinds of content earn the sweet spot of both shares and links?

As part of your content marketing strategy, we know you want content that earns both shares and links. So, how do you do it? Our audience shared the content types that they think work best:

Mark shared a link a joint study conducted by Moz and BuzzSumo. It’s definitely worth a read!

The study showed that opinionated journalism hits that sweet spot between links and shares. If you’re going to try it yourself, make sure you present a clear point of view and your take on the issue. The study also revealed that content with data-backed research often gets both shares and links.

Julia knows 10x content gets results! Read her post on Search Engine Journal to learn more about it.

Create content that answers those burning questions your audience has. When you provide them with valuable information, they’ll want to link to you and share it on social media.

The types of content that work for you will depend on your audience. As Kristen said, it should be customer-centric, evergreen, and high-quality.

Sarah also agrees that it largely depends on your audience. You want to figure out what grabs and keeps their attention. That’s what you need to create!

Content that is relatable and touches your reader on a personal level is a great way to earn links and social shares. Find out what resonates with your audience and create more of that to see results.

Tony knows valuable and informative content is always popular with readers. Include images, videos, and infographics to increase those links and shares.

Creating the right content at the right time and reach the right audience for a winning formula.

Q5: How do you craft question-answering content that hits the sweet spot?

When creating content, it’s so important to address and answer the common questions your audience has. If you want to learn how to do it and get major results that hit the sweet spot, keep these tips in mind:

Pay attention to what your customers are asking. If you want to create content that answers their questions, you need to get to know them first. Figure out what they’re asking, then start creating.

As Mark said, one of the best ways to do this is to refer to your sales and customer service team. Find out what questions they get from prospective customers. He also suggests looking for questions in blog comments that have gone unanswered. Create a blog post that answers them.

You truly need to take the time to get to know your audience and understand their needs if you want to create content that resonates with them.

If you aren’t sure what your audience wants, don’t be afraid to ask them. Talk to your audience and your team members to get ideas. Figure out what people are talking about and what they’re looking for from you. Sending out a brief survey is a great way to get responses.

Julia knows research is a must to figure out what your audience wants. She uses BuzzSumo, Quora, and Answer the Public to find hot questions in her industry.

Once you’ve found the questions you want to answer, you need to provide amazing content that gives an answer. Kristen said to deliver detailed solutions that go above and beyond what others are writing on the topic. This is sure to help you stand out and earn you those links and shares. Put your unique spin on the content as well to really make an impact.

Q6: Why is content with a strong opinion sweet spot content?

Mark previously mentioned that a study showed opinionated content hits that sweet spot of both links and shares. But why does it get such major results online? Let’s find out:

Mark said people want sources that back up their own opinions and thoughts. People are also drawn to opinionated content because they want to engage with it. They want to agree with what was said or challenge it.

You never know what else might come from creating opinionated content. Outside of links and shares, you could land speaking gigs!

Julia said that strong opinions and taking a stand is the content of today and tomorrow. When you share your opinions, you being to attract your tribe and build a fan base.

Many people like to find those who are like-minded. Isn’t it great to discover someone who feels the same way you do about a topic?

Erika said opinionated content is authentic and can define the brand and what it stands for. Strong opinions also illicit an emotional reaction in readers, which can trigger engagement.

Andy’s advice is to be different from the crowd. Don’t be afraid to offer an alternative view on a subject.

Strong opinions are sure to get people talking. They might agree or disagree with what you have to say, so be prepared for an increase in comments of people voicing their opinions.

Q7: Why is original research great sweet spot content?

Original research is also a great way to earn links and social media shares. Here’s why your audience will love it:

Mark said original research helps to prove a point, which often encourages people to share it and link to it. It’s also a great way to build your brand’s credibility and authority.

Kristi agrees that original research can build your credibility. It shows that you care enough to take the time to conduct the research, which your audience will appreciate.

Do you want to be seen as an authority in your field? Try doing some research of your own! It’s a great way to get people coming back to your content time and time again.

Original research means you have something new to say. That’s sure to attract plenty of links and shares on your content.

Zala said original research is a great way to provide fresh, new insights for your audience.

Kristen knows conducting research might be labor intensive, but your audience will certainly appreciate the information once it’s published for the world to see.

Content Marketing Institute and BuzzSumo are two brands that really stand out with their own original research.

Q8: Why is adding original insights to trending topics a sweet spot strategy?

Should you add your own insights to trending topics? Absolutely! Trending topics are great to add to your content marketing. It’s perfect for hitting that sweet spot with your content and here’s why:

Because so many people hop onto trending topics, you need to provide an original take on it in order to stand out from the crowd.

If you’re going to jump on a trending topic, you have to act fast. Don’t wait too long, otherwise you risk missing out on a great opportunity.

Adding your own insights is a way to boost your credibility and authority in your field.

It’s a good idea to put a fresh spin on trending topics by adding your own insights. It’s a great way to differentiate from what others are already saying.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

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write podcast E17 Mark Traphagen

The Write Podcast, Episode 17: Mark Traphagen- His SEO Story, Tips on Video Storytelling, & Creating Content That Builds Your Brand & SEO

In this week’s episode, I had the privilege of sitting down with Mark Traphagen. He and I have “talked online” for a considerably long time, including hanging out back on when it used to be the new coolest kid on the block.

Mark is the Senior Director of Marketing at Stone Temple Consulting – he got started in SEO “by inventing it!” (Just kidding, his next ingenious remark is that he isn’t the Al Gore of SEO.)

In today’s awesome podcast, I talk to Traphagen about his story and beginnings in SEO, and how he turned something he stumbled into to become one of the foremost content creators, marketers and digital experts in the industry today! It’s a story you won’t want to miss. Then, we dial it up to chat all things storytelling, SEO, and even selling online (“never push your product. Work to be at the forefront of your buyer’s minds”).

Ideal for anyone who wants to overhaul their SEO, publicize their brand, and rank better online, this far-reaching conversation is packed full of gems. Enjoy!

write podcast E17 Mark Traphagen

The Write Podcast, Episode 17: Mark Traphagen- His SEO Story, Tips on Video Storytelling, & Creating Content That Builds Your Brand & SEO

While Mark has held many jobs throughout his life, ranging from a salesman to a school administrator, he eventually found his way through grad school and went to work at a bookstore.

It wasn’t long before he realized the physical bookstore was dying due to digital competitors like Amazon, and his boss at the time asked him to take it online in an attempt to save it.

He dove in and learned his way through the process of digital marketing and e-commerce. Eventually, he found his way into Stone Temple Consulting, where he is currently creating some of the most unique video and text content on the web.

In today’s fun, enlightening conversation, we cover the following:

  • How Mark worked in sales, went into teaching, then went back to grad school and ended up working for a bookstore, where he learned how to setup an e-commerce store and actually conducted early influencer marketing with bloggers.
  • How he took inspiration from Rand Fishkin’s “Whiteboard Friday” videos. And how these led him to developing his own unique video content, “Here’s Why.”
  • How he learned to navigate his way around Facebook’s soundless auto-play feature. While these videos don’t typically offer much of an incentive to click, Traphagen discovered how to grab a user’s interest with visual material and captions first.
  • Why good SEO takes time. And how he and his team at Stone Temple Have learned to communicate this to their clients.
  • How to master the science of SEO. While things like ranking algorithms are difficult to get a handle on, Traphagen does a great job of explaining how ranking in SEO is a little bit like a scientist testing and developing a theory.
  • How you can build a successful platform by focusing on long-term SEO efforts. SEO isn’t an overnight game, and Traphagen helps listeners understand how to focus on cumulative efforts rather than one-off results.
  • How to create authority content that gets inbound links. When you write relevant, well-marketed content, people link to it and talk about it, which builds publicity and helps expand your business!
  • How you can become one of the few brands consumers look forward to hearing from. While many social media users say they don’t want branded content in their feeds, virtually everyone has a few brands they love. Traphagen talks about how you can learn to become one of those top-tier brands through trust, authenticity, and value.
  • Using guest blogging to build your brand. Through OPA (other people’s audience), you can build your brand massively. Traphagen talks about how to do this, and why (after creating content on your own site) it should be one of your main priorities.

Favorite Quotes to Tweet

'I am not the Al Gore of SEO.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet 'I went back to grad school & worked for a bookstore, where I learned how to do SEO.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet 'SEO is both a science and an art.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet 'The most important thing we can do is to be trustworthy and useful to our audience.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet 'We don't need to do a hard sell on people. Or push products. Be at the top of their mind by being the most helpful.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet 'Good, effective SEO is a cumulative effort.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet 'There is a vital link between SEO as we typically think of it & brand value.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet 'Never think of SEO as some sort of isolated practice.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet

Links Mentioned

This Episode Is Sponsored By Search Engine Journal!

Get 15% off the November 2 SEJ Summit with coupon code EXWSEJ, at!

Today’s episode is sponsored by Search Engine Journal! This is a one-day conference tailored for search marketers, featuring experts from Google and other industry experts in a full day of 11 sessions and 6 Q&As. Guess what? Mark himself will be speaking in one of the sessions! And, I’ll be there giving away 25 free copies of my bestseller So You Think You Can Write? Get your free copy, find me there, and I’ll sign it!

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