I can use SEO tools to identify opportunities, I understand why links are important, and I can follow the link building process. Negatives If there are a lot of other listicles covering your topic, it may take some work (and time) for your list post to rise to the top of Google. Instead of listing a bunch of topics or links, the expanded-list post goes beyond a standard list post and take a deep dive into each item. Positives This has definitely been our most successful content framework. The biggest difference between this content framework and the list-type frameworks is that a go-to guidebook is normally organized like a book, with brief introductions to each sub-topic and links to the best content available around those topics. And the how-to guide is a great way to provide value to your audience. Positives Once you’ve collected your experts' responses, you can easily produce a really unique and great piece of long-form content. None of our infographics have ranked that well on Google. This is the only way Google can truly know what your article is about. Each of these frameworks help us create rich pieces of long-form content that provide a lot of value to our readers.
Just over a year ago, my business partner and I bet the future and success of our company on content marketing. We dismissed our sales team and put all our efforts into SEO and content.
As an engineer, I get the technical aspects of this process. I can use SEO tools to identify opportunities, I understand why links are important, and I can follow the link building process. But I’m not a professional writer and no one else on our team is either.
How were we going to create compelling content as a bunch of amateur writers?
Luckily, we discovered content frameworks.
What is a content framework?
A content framework is a basic system that guides you through the content creation process. It structures your article in a way that effectively presents your content’s insights.
Over the past year, we’ve explored seven different content frameworks. During this time, we’ve skyrocketed our organic traffic by more than 1,000% and ranked on the first page of Google for a lot of highly competitive search terms.
In this article, I’ll describe our experiences with each framework, the pros and cons of each one, my personal tips for success, and which frameworks worked best for us.
Let’s dive in.
1) Standard List Post
Everyone loves a good listicle. A standard list post will usually contain a short introduction, the list items, and finally a brief conclusion. The list elements will simply link to other sites or summarize the topic.
One of the biggest pros of a standard list post is that they’re easy to write. You don’t need to be a gifted wordsmith to put together a great listicle.
For us, listicles and the expanded-list post (covered below) have been some of our most successful pieces of content.
If there are a lot of other listicles covering your topic, it may take some work (and time) for your list post to rise to the top of Google.
Implement tactics like the Skyscraper Technique and Ego Bait in your list posts. If your list is longer, more comprehensive, and beautifully designed, it’ll overshadow all the other lists about your topic.
2) Expanded-List Post
The expanded-list post, coined by Brian Dean of Backlinko, is an adaption of the standard list post. Like I mentioned before, there’s a ton of list posts on the web. How do you make yours stand out from the crowd?
Instead of listing a bunch of topics or links, the expanded-list post goes beyond a standard list post and take a deep dive into each item.
In the eyes of Google and your readers, these lists are rich with insights.
This has definitely been our most successful content framework. Our expanded list posts consistently rank on the first page of Google.
Expanded-list posts will usually be long-form content pieces, which Google prefers to show readers. Also, in comparison to competing list posts, the expanded-list post will be much more comprehensive, providing more value to your audience.
Producing a stellar expanded-list post requires a significant amount of work.
For example, it took us multiple weeks just to collect the data for one of our posts about the best business apps.
It was worth it, though. Google ranks the post third or higher for number of competitive keywords.
Designing and organizing expanded-list posts may require more time too. You might need to group elements by category and provide jump links to different sections of the content. This will make your content more digestible.
Similar to the Standard List Post pro tip, you want your article to be more in-depth and better than everyone else’s. So take your time when you design and organize the post. You need to make sure that your readers can easily find the information they’re looking for.
3) Go-to Guidebook
A Go-to Guidebook is a curated list of the top posts about a particular topic.
The biggest difference between this content framework and the list-type frameworks is that a go-to guidebook is normally organized like a book, with brief introductions to each sub-topic and links to the best content available around those topics.
This is one of the easiest types of content to produce. Even a complete amateur like myself can create a great go-to guidebook. You really don’t need to write that much.
It’s also a great way to re-purpose the best content that’s already available. All you have to do is source and organize the content.
Since you’re promoting other people’s content with your go-to guidebook, the original authors should have an incentive to share and promote your piece….