If you want your blog traffic to go all explody, a resource post is the way to go. Sites such as Mashable, Make Use Of and Smashing Mag have skyrocketed their traffic through a constant stream of robust resource posts.
There are two kinds of resource posts: reports and links.
A report post has some kind of informational resource or report as its main focus. This information can be the post’s content or it may be downloaded. Infographics are popular, lately. Detailed research reports from Pew or Gartner are also a good example. Not that you have to become a giant research firm! You can piggyback off others’ research or conduct your own in whatever smaller-scale ways you can, such as polls or just looking up data yourself.
A link post contains a list of links (I know, I was surprised, too) and often a review or descriptive blurb. Some contain a great many links and it is the high number of links in the post that are a very important part of its appeal. A link post can also link to your pages on your own site. The collection of links often all fall under a common topic.
A resource post requires research to happen. You have to gather data about a topic or find web pages to link to. This can be time-consuming and tedious–exactly the sort of thing you might hire a VA to do. Your VA gathers the data for you and you use it in a post or infographic. If you can’t make infographics yourself, you’ll need to hire an infographic designer.
One concern with resource posts is traffic quality. Unless your resources are highly relevant to your audience, you may easily attract a flood of traffic that won’t stick around, sign-up or buy anything.
Linking back to your own posts with a link list would be a great example of highly relevant but with low amount of sharing.
Creating an infographic or a report will be more sharable precisely because it has a wider appeal. People have to be able to justify sending it to all their friends. When I published an infographic on the future of blogging and social media, my Google Analytics afterward looked like Mt. Everest had been dropped in the middle of Kansas.
This is not an either/or situation where one kind of traffic and engagement is better than the other. I feel you need a mix of both to grow and to establish your authority.
Give it a Shot
If you’ve never tried to put together a resource post other than a list of links, give it a shot and see what happens. If you have been doing link lists, change them up or improve them. You can do this by changing the type or the quantity of links. If you’ve been linking to other blogs and not seeing a lot of action, try linking to apps, for example. If you’ve been posting a great many links, try posting fewer but more choice links (or vice versa if the reverse is true for you).
Image by Muffet