CC 026: 7,500 Social Shares: The Anatomy of a Popular Blog Post With Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines

Hi folks, welcome to show number 26 of the Content Champion podcast. This time round, I’m delighted to be speaking with authority blogger, social media expert and content marketing professional Kristi Hines.

Over the last five years, Kristi has become one of the most respected and sought-after bloggers in the social media and online marketing space, and has written for dozens of popular blogs including Social Media Examiner, Search Engine Journal, Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics.


With such an experienced blogger on the podcast, I thought it would be a great idea to use one of her posts as an example – and dig down into how Kristi researched, wrote and promoted it, so we can learn from her techniques.

The post in question was published on Social Media Examiner, and can be found Here:

8 Types of Twitter Cards Businesses Are Reading

How to write popular blog posts

Kristi’s post on Social Media Examiner

We’ll refer to specific parts of this post as we go along, so it might help to have it open in your browser while you’re listening.

At the time of publication, the post had accrued over 7,500 social shares – so I hope you learn as much as I did from a blogger who really knows her stuff.

Here’s an outline of the issues we covered:

  • The backstory of Kristi’s business
  • Ideas for researching your blog posts
  • How to get the right tone to engage your target audience
  • Productivity tips for writing
  • The importance of headlines
  • How the first few paragraphs entice people to keep reading
  • How to structure your body content to keep that engagement
  • What types of blog posts work well in getting more readers
  • How to use pictures in your blog posts
  • How to wrap up your posts and the importance of calls to action
  • Dealing with blog comments
  • On-page SEO essentials
  • How to effectively promote your posts
  • How to measure the success of your blog posts
  • What industry trends Kristi sees developing over the next 12 months

Plus! The PS Question! Kristi shares an advanced content marketing strategy that most people forget!

Items mentioned in this edition

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Podcast Transcript

Announcer:                Welcome to the Content Champion Podcast. Discover the tips, tools, and strategies to take your content marketing to the next level. Introducing your host, the Content Champion himself, Loz James.

Loz James:                 Hi guys. Welcome to episode 26 of the Content Champion Podcast. I’m thrilled that on with me this time is professional blogger and ghost writer Kristi Hines.

Kristi has written for a host of popular websites and blogs including Social Media Examiner, Search Engine journal, KISSmetrics, and Crazy Egg. He’s known in the industry as an authority blogger whose work always gets widely read, shared, and linked to. Her knowledge of content marketing SEO and social media is second to none.

With such a highly regarded and skilled writer on the show I thought it’ would be a great idea to dig down into one of her posts to find out what made it so successful. Let’s dive in.

Thanks for coming on today Kristi.

Kristi Hines:              Thank you for inviting me.

Loz James:                 Now as an experienced freelance writer, pro blogger, and social media expert who’s blogged for big brands such as American Express, Crazy Egg, and FreshBooks, and popular blogs like Social Media Examiner and Search Engine journal I’d love to talk to you today about the nuts and bolts of writing a great blog post. But before we kick off though, could you share a bit of your back story about how you got started as a writer please?

Kristi Hines:              I got started I guess about five or six years ago on my own blog. I wanted to share just personal or creative writing, poetry, stuff like that. In the process I wanted to get more visitors to my blog so I started researching online marketing and everything. One thing led to another and I got to the point I decided I’d rather write about things on my marketing site of everything and that’s how I got where I am now.

Loz James:                 Let’s use an example of your writing to illustrate various points as we go along, in particular your excellent recent post on Social Media Examiner, Eight Types of Twitter Cards for Business. It’s where you got over 3,500 social shares, dozens of comments. Where did the idea for this post come from?

Kristi Hines:              A lot of my ideas just come from things that I’m researching for myself like how do I use this, how do I implement that. Twitter cards is one of the things I noticed that a lot of people want to use but they can’t figure out how to implement it onto their website, so I decided to write a post on that.

Loz James:                 So you write for loyalty for publication instead of your high profile one. So do you normally research a post like this? Do you look at the audience first and what they expect and then …. Could you open the doors as it were on the places of where you get your information for posts of this quality on these types of quality publications?

Kristi Hines:              Usually I’ll follow the blog pretty closely before I start writing for them. That way I can see what topics they already cover or how much do they share on certain topics, how much do they comment on certain topics, and then I’ll see what have they not covered or maybe like what, did somebody ask a question about a post that’s never been covered and I go from there.

Loz James:                 What do you look at in terms of tone of voice and the overall style of the writing, and how that resonates with the target audience? How do delve down into that?

Kristi Hines:              Usually I just read the posts. A lot of times big sites like Social Media Examiner they have editorial guidelines that will tell you like here is our varied audience, we want you to use this tone, we want you to either be funny or be serious or things like that. A lot of the sites I write for, they just had very specific guidelines. And if they don’t, I just read what they have already and go with that.

Loz James:                 How did you really start writing with some of these bigger publications? What was your break as it were in that sphere?

Kristi Hines:              Social Media Examiner and Search Engine journal I started writing for I think like four or five years ago on both of them. I just went on as a guest blogger really. Social Media Examiner particularly they had voted my main blog as one of the top 10 social media blogs of 2010 I believe. Right after that I contacted them and said, “Hey, thanks for the nomination. I’d love to write for your guys.” That’s just how I started with them.

Loz James:                 That must have been pretty exciting.

Kristi Hines:              Yeah, it was actually. Sometimes you just got to look for that. If somebody mentions your blog and it’s a publication you want to write for, that’s like a great time to jump in and say, “Thanks for mentioning me, I’d love to contribute content to you too.”

Loz James:                 This is the Kikolani blog. Tell us a bit about that and background of that.

Kristi Hines:              That was the one I actually started with in the beginning. I shared poetry, and photography, and stuff on it. Then eventually it evolved into talking more about the marketing side of everything. It doesn’t get as much attention as it used to because I’ve been writing for so many other people, but I still maintain it and post every so often.

Loz James:                 Do you link back to this site with your guest posts, or is it a different strategy?

Kristi Hines:              Nowadays I mostly focus on linking back to my freelance business site, because I want more clients and usually that’s how they discover me as they read a post I’ve written for someone else. They like it and they want to see if I can do the same thing for them.

Loz James:                 How does that work out for you in terms of the blogging as a mean to building freelance writing content? Is it very effective?

Kristi Hines:              It’s very effective for my business. So what I sell is I blog for clients. So when they see a post somewhere else, that’s like my portfolio being spread everywhere really.

Loz James:                 And this is

Kristi Hines:              Yes, that’s my main business site.

Loz James:                 So I guess you’ve got a lot of inbound links coming naturally from a lot of the work you’re doing these high profile sites?

Kristi Hines:              I do, yes.

Loz James:                 We’re looking at your post, the Eight Types of Twitter Cards for Business on Social Media Examiner, one the sites you’ve been writing for some time. Okay, you’ve done the research, you’ve gone into the background of the blog, maybe they’ve given you some style guidelines, you’ve looked at the type of posts that resonate well. What do you do that you … Actually when it comes to writing the post itself, are there any tips you can give us? So how you organize your time? Do you turn off email and the phone? Do you block off dedicated sections of time for writing and things like that?

Kristi Hines:              It definitely works better if you can do that.

Loz James:                 Yeah, yeah, sure.

Kristi Hines:              Some days are a little harder than others. I have toddler right now and I have one on the way so sometimes you just got to work whenever you get the chance to. Yeah, usually if I can ignore my email or ignore social media, just write a post that definitely flows a lot better. I usually try to schedule a little like four hours every afternoon to do all my writing.

Loz James:                 I mean the self discipline … I’ve got a six-year-old boy, a three-year-old boy and a one-year-old daughter.

Kristi Hines:              Oh wow.

Loz James:                 I find sometimes I’m doing these podcasts and someone comes in, it’s a bit late here in the UK about eight o’clock now so they’re in bed luckily, but I’ve been on calls with other people and they’ve come in and started to say, “Daddy, daddy I want to play Lego,” and things and you’re like, “Okay, I have to waited that one later on.” So it definitely keeps you on your toes and it can be a bit of a distraction.

So you’re blocking off whole afternoons, four-five hours at a time. How long would you expect a post like this Twitter Card post, how long does that take to write?

Kristi Hines:              That one I think was all the research I did for was about three or four hours when I actually got down to the writing it and finding all the examples of people using everything. Yeah, things like that do take time. I’ve written some posts that only take an hour and I’ve written some that taken eight. It really just depends on the topic.

Loz James:                 Yeah, yeah for sure. So some of the clients, you’ve gotten an amazing client list as I alluded to at the beginning. How do you spread your time between the client’s specific work that pays the bills as it were, and the work which you still get paid for, but you do get paid in traffic, the guest blogging stuff? How does that work its way out?

Kristi Hines:              I definitely prioritize the client stuff first. Then if I do have time and if I have the inspiration to write anything more, I do it as a guest blogging or on my own site.

Loz James:                 You’re obviously putting the hours in. It’s hard work.

Kristi Hines:              It definitely is. You have to be really inspired about what you write about.

Loz James:                 Let’s dig down into some details to help people out that are listening to perhaps write better posts themselves. Drawing on your experience you said you’ve blocked off sort of four hours to write the post. You may be done some research obviously first. You’re sitting down at your computer. Where does the process start? You’re perhaps starting with writing a headline? How important are these?

Kristi Hines:              Usually I have a general topic idea more so than a headline. I usually write the post first and then see what headline fits with it after the fact. A lot of times is I write the main body of the post, so in that case it would be defining the eight types of Twitter cards and then I’ll go back and do the introduction and the closing, and then the actual title of the post.

Loz James:                 How important is that title though in terms of getting engagement?

Kristi Hines:              It’s really important because you have to think of something that’s going to be attractive to people when they see it as a tweet, you’ve got to think of something that’s got to a good keyword, so it’s good for search engines. I mean there’s definitely a lot of factors that come into it. You’ve got to make sure it’s short and sweet but still gets the point across.

Loz James:                 Do you follow your own work alone in terms of social shares and everything? Do you know which of your posts that which headline has got the best response for you?

Kristi Hines:              I do actually. I have a site that I use. I think it’s and what it is is you set up a portfolio with all your latest work and in the background you can have it actually track all the social shares so you can sort everything to see like what post got the most tweets, or got the most LinkedIn shares, and things like that. It’s definitely interesting to see which ones come through, because even if you write for a site that normally gets thousands of shares, the headlines really not go, and I feels still get lower than everybody else.

Loz James:                 Yes, and what types of headlines have done the best for you?

Kristi Hines:              Usually anything with a list. Those always come out really popular. It’s like if you have eight or seven or 10 somethings, people just love lists. People think it’s a cliché but at the same time it still works. Anything that the how-to post, like something very specific, like when somebody says how to do this, they know that by the end of the post they’re going to get specific results out of it. Those do really well too.

Loz James:                 You’re already talented at this because I have read a ton of these posts that just don’t work, and obviously yours hit the right note and looking again at details, the first paragraph to feed the lines that go into those seven or eight tips, 10 tips, whatever it is, that that’s very important, isn’t it, to whet the appetite of the reader to get and to continue reading?

Kristi Hines:              Yeah it is, especially now that are so many misleading titles out there, like all the things that are just trying to catch your attention and then you get to it and it’s not quite what you expected to be. I like my opening paragraphs to be like it reinforces the tile of the post, that way people know that, yes, you came here for this and, yes, you are going to get this.

Loz James:                 Yeah, yeah, sure. So what you’re saying then reading between the lines is if you do pull wool over people’s eyes, they’re not going to appreciate it, they’re going to bounce straight off?

Kristi Hines:              Yeah, and I think especially if you’re someone like me who writes a lot, like if you got used to a certain person always writing these headlines that didn’t fulfill what you expected you’d eventually avoid them. Like every time you saw your neighbor and like, “Oh, that person is not going to really write about this anyway.” So I like to be very literal, like you came here for this you’re going to get this.

Loz James:                 I’m sure they’re starting to actually do something for that. I’m thinking particularly watching on the ViralNova and this type of stuff, where they have these salacious headlines and you actually dive in and oh, they’ve just copied someone else’s post, or it doesn’t deliver on what it says.

Kristi Hines:              I’ve gotten to the point where unless somebody I know has sent me that post because they’ve already looked at that and they know it’s got something good in it, then I’ll look at it. But if it’s just shared by a random person, then I barely look anymore because I’m like, “I’m just going to be disappointed.”

Loz James:                 So it’s a real trust issue, isn’t it?

Kristi Hines:              Yeah, because there’s so many … Some of the big sites like you know they’re going to … BuzzFeed you know, if they say they got 23 cute kittens, you know they’re going to have it. But there’s so many other little sites that are ripping them off now that when you go there it’s like either something you’ve already seen, or it’s not really what they alluded it to be, or they use a picture that has nothing to do with the article, stuff like that.

Loz James:                 Yeah. As a writer myself I do find it frustrating sometimes. I’m sure you’d agree when you pour hours and hours into your work and you try to craft it so that it’s really well written, and then you see stuff like this that’s just sensationalist headline and then basically it’s just copy and paste of someone else’s work. Is kind of a bit self-destroying in one sense because there’s no craft behind it as it were.

Kristi Hines:              Yeah, I think stuff like that eventually … It’s just a trend that will eventually pass on once people get used to the fact that it’s not going to be what they expect it to be.

Loz James:                 So we looked at the body content. We’ve kicked off with that feeder line and I’m going to obviously put a link to this Twitter cards post so everyone can go and have a look at what we’re talking about. But you’ve really set this up in this case with some really short questions just to set the scene very simply. So we’re saying do you know what a Twitter card is? Do you wonder which one is a fit for your business? Twitter cards enrich your tweets with the digital context, media calls to action. In this article I share eight types of Twitter cards, how to install them, and their analytic options.

It’s like the setup, what you’re going to provide, and then you spell out the solution that you’re going to provide to them. So there’s a real method behind that, isn’t there?

Kristi Hines:              There is. I’m just one of those people who like I’m really busy so I hate to spend a lot of time reading an article that’s not going to have a solution, so I’d rather somebody go into it like, “Maybe you already know this stuff, here’s what it is, if this isn’t what you need, you can move on.”

Loz James:                 The rest of the body content, as we follow on from that, you got punchy sub-headlines, short paragraphs, concise sentences. What’s the reason behind this approach? Does that fill into what you just said?

Kristi Hines:              Yeah, a lot of people are just busy and they want to know a few tiny little things and they don’t want to read one ginormous paragraph. They’ll hopefully find that one sentence they are looking for. So I like them be able to scan through to be like, “Oh, this is probably my headline.”, Then they see the sentence, like, “Oh, that’s probably exactly what I wanted to know.” Yeah, I just try to make it as simple as possible.

Loz James:                 Because you could read this post, this good to yourself, is you can read it based on the headers and sub-headers to get a gist and then to go back into it and delve into the bits you want, can’t you?

Kristi Hines:              Exactly, yeah. Because if somebody maybe if they have like a specific like going to that post they’re like, “Oh, I want to know about the photo cards,” they can get right to that section, look at it and know how it works. That’s all they need to know. So they get what they want without having to spend a lot of time trying to find it.

Loz James:                 How long is this post Kristi?

Kristi Hines:              Usually they’re at least over 1000 words, maybe 1200 or something like that.

Loz James:                 Yeah, I think it is. I think it’s probably about 1200 words or something because it’s interesting you’re saying that people do want those punchy back sides chunks within the content, within the content presentation. However, it is a sizable read, it is a fairly substantial post. So we’re saying that if you split things out properly in your writing people will read longer posts and get more of out of it because of the way it’s written?

Kristi Hines:              Exactly yeah, because you’ll have some people who want to read every single option, and then figure out which one is best for them. Then you’re going to have other people who just have that one little thing they want to know, and even though it’s a long post, that still works to where they can find that small bit of information.

Loz James:                 And pictures, you’ve used a picture for each point. How does this work for engagement? Obviously increases the interest in each of those points?

Kristi Hines:              Yeah, I’m one of the people, those people when I’m reading an article I like to have a visual so I know what a person is talking about. So I just incorporate that in my writing too. It’s also good for social networks because it gives people different images to share, so if somebody wanted to write like, “Hey, this post has a great thing about Twitter photo cards,” they can grab the photo just from that point in the post.

Loz James:                 I think as well I’ve read somewhere that’s as well as headlines and sub-headers, and obviously the bullets, and then the PS at the end, and various other elements in the content, people tend to read captions quite a lot as well, don’t they, because that draws them into text as well?

Kristi Hines:              It does yeah, because sometimes maybe you’re not delve into the content but you see some image you’re like, “Wow, I want to see how that happens,” and then you go back through and figure out how it works.

Announcer:                You’re listening to the Content Champion Podcast. Showcasing the content marketing tips, tools, and strategies you need to succeed.

Loz James:                 We’re back with Kristi Hines.

We’ve gone through all that research. We’ve looked at the requirement of the specific blog, the style guide that we’re writing for. We’ve perhaps looked at the type of audience we’re writing too as well. So we’ve got like a maybe an avatar, an ideal type of person that we’re writing for, and you know that anyway because you’ve been writing these blogs for quite some time. Now we’re looking at a really juicy headline that has some succinct sentences that drive interest into the bullet points there in the case of the post we’re looking at.

Then coming down to the bottom there you’ve got a conclusion in this particular post. I’ve looked at lots of your posts before this call, and sometime you have a conclusion and sometimes you don’t, but what’s the advantage in this case of wrapping things up in this way?

Kristi Hines:              For some reason I’m not really into conclusions because I figure if you’ve made it all the way from top to bottom you already know what the post says. But a lot of sites like that’s just one of the things like every post has a conclusion. And I mean it’s nice, just from the fact that at the end you can remind people this is what you learned and get them to like go out and do it, and then come back and tell you the results it’s a good way to drive engagement, reinforce people’s taking action on the content.

Loz James:                 I look at conclusions as maybe a print media convention that has been carried over. There is as you say sometimes unnecessary because people have read in a different way. There are different ways that people read online and they’re going to come to their own conclusion in that sense.

Kristi Hines:              Sometimes I think about reading a post like watching a video on YouTube, you watch, like so many people continue to drop off the longer the video gets. Sometimes I think about that as posters, like how many people make it all the way to the end.

Loz James:                 Yeah, yeah, for sure. One thing you have got in here though that you have in all of your posts, and I’m sure this is obviously what you want to put in, and the style thing as well coming from the blogs itself is it a call to action. In this case you’re asking people to leave comments. You’re saying, “What do you think? Have you used Twitter cards? What results have you seen so far? Please share in the comments.” So you’re literally telling people what to do, which is very important, isn’t it?

Kristi Hines:              It is yes. It all depends on who I’m writing for. Like sites like Social Media Examiner they want engagement so you definitely want to prompt people to let you know what you found on the post. It’s good for you as a writer too because sometimes you’ll get a lot of feedback as they’re, “Oh I wish you had covered this, or, “No, no, I didn’t really care about you covering this part as much,” things like that or, “I have this specific question that could be turned into a post later on.” That’s always a good part of doing the engagement style call to action.

Loz James:                 Now if I’m a writer listening to this again within the workflow of what we’re talking about on this Eight Types of Twitter Cards for Business post that you’ve written for Social Media Examiner you’ve invited comments as it were, and then it’s very important you’ve gone and replied to every single one of those comments?

Kristi Hines:              Yeah I usually try to keep up the comments for at least … like keep up replying to comments for at least the first one or two weeks because that’s like when the most of them are going to come in based on the popularity of the post and everything. Sometimes you’ll usually get an email when a new comment comes in and if the comment has a specific question I’ll go back and answer that. But like after a while if you’ve written a lot of content it’s almost impossible to keep up with stuff like that.

Loz James:                 Is that a requirement in the style guides for some of these bigger blogs? Do they say, “Once the comments start rolling in please go in and engage with the audience because that’s part of the whole process”?

Kristi Hines:              Yes, some sites remind you, some sites assume that as a blogger you just know to do that, and then later on if you don’t, they’ll remind you again.

Loz James:                 Because it’s amazing the amount of blogs I’ve seen where people have written a post, people started commenting and it’s completely ignored.

Kristi Hines:              Yeah, it’s just like a lot of sites it just depends. Some people look at comments as not really that big of deal. Other people look at it as a way to build peoples loyalty, to keep them coming back, because you could come to a site know, “Oh, this person writes and they’re going to reply to me,” versus “Oh, they’re never reply so I’m not going to even bother.”

Loz James:                 Let’s consider on page SEO for a moment. What are the SEO prerequisites we should get in order when writing our blog posts?

Kristi Hines:              Definitely think of a good keyword for instance that could go into your title. That’s the big thing that I always end up doing after I’ve written the post. Is I go and do a little keyword research to see how people refer to whatever topic I’m writing about, and I make sure that keyword phrase is in the title of the post. That’s definitely the big one.

Another thing is there’s a meta description that you can put with each piece of content. It doesn’t actually help with your search rankings but a lot of times Google will use that custom setting when they put your content in search engine results. So you want to think of it like a sentence that’s going to make people want to click on that piece of content basically.

After that point there’s optimizing your images and making sure they’re like whatever your keyword you’ve chosen is included in some of the images throughout the post, like as the image name and this is the whole text.

In general you want to mention the keywords throughout the post but usually that’s pretty natural if that’s what the topic you’re talking about anyway.

Loz James:                 So with Twitter card, with business Twitter cards, something like that, is that right for … Twitter Cards for business or something like that, they’re the keyword or keywords you’re look at?

Kristi Hines:              Yeah, Twitter Cards, types of Twitter cards, things like that. Usually if somebody is searching for types of Twitter cards and they see oh there’s a post talking about all of them, that’s where I’m going to be the one they click on.

Loz James:                 So you’ve got I guess what’s called nested keywords in there. Have you got types of Twitter card, types of Twitter cards and then you’ve got Twitter card, Twitter cards, business Twitter cards perhaps. So yeah, like you say, that’s going to be found for a lot of long-tail, isn’t it?

Kristi Hines:              Exactly yeah. I didn’t really do it deliberately just because I’m talking about that subject that keyword comes up. But the more you reinforce it throughout the content in a natural way, the better it’s going to rank for it though.

Loz James:                 And you don’t do anything like you do go through and check the percentage of times you’ve used the keyword in the text? You just make sure you get in the first paragraph and then it will come naturally or whatever?

Kristi Hines:              Yeah, I try to do it sometimes just naturally. You’ve mention the keyword almost obnoxiously too many times. So there’s almost no point like going in and deliberating trying to add it anywhere else. I mean as long as your content is actually about whatever the keyword is it’s just naturally going to be in there.

Loz James:                 Let’s move on to looking at promoting your posts. You’ve got a phenomenal social media following. I think you’re looking at for starters at like 65,000-70,000 Twitter followers alone. How do you promote your posts? What strategies are you using to get more readers to your published work?

Kristi Hines:              I do have some automated strategies setup. Like things like I take my Social Media Examiner like the RSS feed for the author and I have that setup. One of those, I think it’s like IFTTT, If This Then That. Basically it says every time there’s a new entry on this person’s feed you Tweet it out, and that’s how I just make sure that everything goes out eventually on Twitter. I have that feed straight through buffer so it goes out at a scheduled time like the times that most of my audience is going to be online.

Loz James:                 How did you find that out?

Kristi Hines:              Well first of all like a lot of my content I aim for US audience so I try to think when is the US going to be mostly reading about business stuff and most of the time is during work hours. But the other thing you can do is there’s a tool called Followerwonk it’s just like follower and it’s owned by formerly SEO Moz, now it’s just Moz. But if you have a premium membership with them, what you can do is you can connect that to your Twitter account and it’ll analyze your followers and say these are the best times to tweet to where you’re catch the most people. Then it will take those times, put them in your buffer, and that way it can schedule all your tweets to go out when most of your people are going to be online.

Loz James:                 Brilliant okay. And then do you often retweet posts later on, two or three weeks later you perhaps tweet them in a different way or something like that?

Kristi Hines:              Yeah I usually do that within the first couple of days. You just rearrange the headline or maybe like the first time you’ve used the literal headline. The second time you’re like, “Do you use Twitter card? If not, here’s why you should.” Tweet the link. Just vary it up that way so that it does happen to see it twice, it still looks a little different, and maybe the second time they’ll click on it.

Loz James:                 That gets a lot of your posts get shared naturally because you’ve got such a massive following and you’ve built up such a reputation so you’re blogging on these high quality publications, they’re very well known, and I guess you get a lot natural links that way as well.

Kristi Hines:              Yes but the more social shares you get on the post the more people are likely to see it and then hopefully they’ll end up sharing it on their websites too. So it’s definitely a good way to get social for link building in a sense.

Loz James:                 Looking at the success of the post, obviously this one has got 83,500 shares. You know this is a big hitting quality post on a great publication. What metrics are looking at to traffic numbers, signups, social shares, or is it a combination and how are you measuring those?

Kristi Hines:              A lot of times when I’m writing for clients, like Social Media Examiner for example they are obviously a social media site so they want the post to be really popular on social media. But when I write for clients and stuff, they have different expectations and a lot of stuff I can’t even measure, so they’ll be like, “Well, we want your content to drive more free trial signups,” and things like that.

I’m just depended on the client for that kind of an analysis. I never know. But sometimes they’ll tell me like, “These topics they’re really good at driving people to sign up for our products, and these didn’t, so let’s focus on this kind of thing.” So in a lot of cases I’m just waiting for feedback early.

Loz James:                 You’ve got to hope the client’s got a strategy behind what they’re doing because you don’t want it to just be, have everything pinned on you as someone comes to me and says, “Okay, I want you to write a post about X, Y, and Z, and then we want ourselves to go up for this particular widget we’re selling,” and it’s completely cold, and they’ve not any strategy behind it so you’re thinking well that’s just not going to happen.

Kristi Hines:              Exactly yeah. I asked my clients in the beginning, “What are you expecting from a post,” and sometimes they do, they just want like a social shares, or they want comments and things like that. But other people, they have very specific needs and I’m like, “You’re going to have to give me the feedback to let me know if that’s actually working for you, otherwise I’m just going to keep going.”

Loz James:                 Sure, sure. Just before we leave this subject any more promotion strategies you use or have we covered the main ones?

Kristi Hines:              Oh definitely share across social media networks. A lot of that I do through scheduling the buffer. I share it to my email list too. That’s another great way to get traffic to any blog post, is if you got a nice email list, you just send them like, “Hey, here’s many of this content.” People open it up, click through that, so that’s another great way to do it.

Loz James:                 So having a list is obviously very important for churning people back into your site?

Kristi Hines:              Exactly yeah. I mean even if you just have a content only site it’s still great to have an email list because you can post a little thing on Facebook and like 5% of your fans are going to see it, but if you get it out on your email list, you’re probably going to have a better response.

Loz James:                 Okay, let’s broad things out a bit. That’s a fascinating look if you like for the start to the finish of an excellent post on a high quality blog. Looking at the industry as a whole, industry trends, what do you see happening in the content marketing and social media space over the next 12 months?

Kristi Hines:              People are definitely getting more in the content because for the longest time everything was about SEO get back links and things like that. Google’s really fighting [crosstalk 00:28:37] culture right now and they’re [porting 00:28:38] out like if you want to attract links you need to create more content. Content marketing is definitely growing just in a really rapid pace, which is great for anyone who’s afraid and that’s what I do.

Loz James:                 How are your services altering? I mean I’ve been in copyrighting for 15 years. My services have come full circle started with quality content, brochures, and then online, and then SEO content, then link building, and then blogging, and then just come back to quality again. How are you services changing in that context?

Kristi Hines:              Oh my service has always been about providing blog content. People are really steering away from the cheap content basically, like the stuff where you go get somebody for $5 to write about a subject. People are realizing that quality comes from more in-depth, longer and usually more invested content.

Loz James:                 So good quality writers are set for a lot of business.

Kristi Hines:              Yes, right now they are.

Loz James:                 Fantastic. That’s great news. Just before the PS question could you remind us about those two sites where we can find you online and what services do you offer please?

Kristi Hines:              Main business site is kristihines, k-r-i-s-t-i and that’s where you’ll find everything about my freelance writing services. Then my blog is Kikolani and that’s just where I write about various blog marketing techniques.

Announcer:                Wait for it listeners. Here comes the PS question.

Loz James:                 Could you please give us one advanced blogging or content marketing strategy that we can use right after this call?

Kristi Hines:              Definitely like whenever you publish new content be sure to promote it. Be almost excessive in your promotion. You don’t want to tweet it every hour but set share it on all your social networks, share it on your email list, be aggressive about promoting your content that way people can find it. Because long term if you happen to rank well for a keyword you’ll start getting search traffic, but if you want that short term burst traffic you definitely have to be aggressive when you go out and promote it.

Loz James:                 That’s a fantastic strategy. Thank you Kristi very much for your time. That is a really fascinating look into the life of a blog post as it were and, yeah, I really appreciate your time and wish you the best of luck with everything in the future.

Kristi Hines:              Okay, thank you.

Announcer:                You have been listening to the Content Champion Podcast, available at, Stitcher, Zune, the Blackberry network, and on iTunes. Until next time thanks for listening.

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