21 Jan Growth Hacking with Curated Posts
Content Creator Inner Circle
They don’t give themselves a name. However, all they do is create content that always does well.
Every post has dozens of high quality backlinks and the internet loves their work.
Social shares keep flying out every chance that there is.
These posts are a hot topic.
Who exactly are we talking about? We’re talking about blogger and influencers who produce content that seems to be touched with divine powers.
That’s right. It seems god-like because of how almost instantly viral they become.
But its not. There is no natural talent behind these posts.
In fact, we have good news and that is these kinds of posts can be learned by the rest of you mere mortals.
This group of creators don’t have a name, but we call them the content creator inner circle. These people know how to give their readers what they want and need. They also know how to produce it effortlessly.
In this post, we’re going to show you how to create a specific type of content that will get you the high-quality links and social shares that you want.
This type of content will be called the curated list.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- The Curated List
- Choosing the Winning Topic
- Building your Own List
- Putting Together the Number One Product
- Launching your Number One Product
- Final Words
The Curated List
You’ve all seen a list post before. But what about one that has been shared so many times it has become almost like religion?
A curated list has viral potential because it contains a list of resources relevant to a certain topic. This also makes it extremely link-worthy. For those of you not familiar with backlinks, this means your post will have lots of seo potential.
People share curated lists because its well-detailed and provides them almost everything they need regarding a certain topic. This is part of the art of growth hacking!
Now you might think, how is creating a long list of the best stuff going to be easy? That’s tons of work am I right?
Well not exactly. We believe that there is an extremely practical and simple way to get this done fast. It might take you some practice to perfect, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be pumping out curated lists like its nothing.
Here are some examples of a curated list.
- Top 100 Personal Development Blogs of 2019
- Top 75 Green Living Blogs for an Eco-Conscious Lifestyle
- Top 50 Yoga & Wellness Blogs Worth Following
What are the basic things that make a curated list?
- Contain external resources organized in a list.
- Contain at least 50 links.
- Resources in the list share something in common.
Keep in mind that your resources in your list don’t have to be just blogs/websites.
List Types Include:
- Online Tools
Articles and online tools are also extremely valuable resources when created purposefully.
The creators behind these tools and articles are also very valuable. We include their stuff on the list because we’re hoping they might share it!
More on promoting your list later on! Before you learn about content promotion, let’s talk about list topics!
Choosing the Winning Topic
Let’s say you want to create a curated list of websites/blogs. How do you go about doing it?
When it comes to creating a curated list, before you do anything, you have to think of it as a product.
In order to have a great product, you need the right topic/theme. When readers see the headline of your list post, they know exactly what they’re in for.
For example when readers see this title, Top 100 Personal Development Blogs of 2019. They know exactly what the list post will be about.
In order to have a winning product, we need a winning topic.
The topic we want you to find will make it simple enough for you to create a highly viral curated list post.
This right topic will give you:
- Scope. This means that the topic is broad enough so that you can find enough links and resources for it. In this case, we want to easily find around 50 at least.
- Competition. A broad topic will attract people to create similar list posts as well.
Let’s look at the example of personal development websites/blogs, shall we?
- Testing for Scope
First of all, how do we decide if there is enough scope for a certain topic?
We do a google search.
For this topic, we see that there are at least 9 list articles regarding personal development blogs. We also see at least 4 results that contain at least 50 links.
When it comes to a topic that has enough scope, we recommend a topic with at least 2 results that already carry 50 links or more. This should be enough proof that you yourself can find at least 50 links.
For the above search results, we have enough competition to confirm the topic’s broad scope.
Besides the search query we typed in above, there are also other ways you can do your search.
- Top [Topic] [List Type]
- Best [topic] [List Type]
- Most popular [topic] [list type]
So for personal development blogs, you could do a search query like “Best Personal Development Blogs”, or “Most popular personal development blogs”.
- Beating the Competition
Now that you have found a topic broad enough to build a monster list, you might wonder, why do you need to survey what the competition has produced?
Even though you have a broad topic, you also need to be providing the best list regarding your topic.
This means having a way better product than your competition!
Let’s say we want to build a list titled “best personal development websites”.
What are the top competition producing lists similar to “best personal development websites”?
Based on our previous search above, we’ve found these results.
- The Best 100 Self-Help Websites for Your Personal Development
- Top 100 Personal Development Blogs 2019
- 50 Must-Read Personal Development Bloggers That’ll Change your Life
How did we decide that these are the best competition results out there?
- Size of List
- How recently updated the post was
During our survey of these 3 lists, we want to learn what they’re doing well and what they’re doing wrong.
From each example, we’ll make a note of our own takeaway.
Let’s dive in and survey our competitor lists!
The best list that we’ve found is by cool.club. It has the biggest and most updated list.
If we look at their website, it isn’t the most appealing in design. The way the list is organized is very basic, and doesn’t capture your attention.
This a great list with 100 links, however, each content entry doesn’t have much information about it. The upside is that these descriptions are concise and easy to read.
Besides that, we love that they’ve managed to include one image for every 4 or 5 links in their list.
- We need a clean, modern and appealing design for our website.
- A short, concise description of a link goes a long way.
The next website to analyze is startofhappiness.com. This result has a more cluttered design than cool.club, however it has a more detailed introduction behind why the list is important, and how you can use it!
You can see that the important parts of the content are in bold font or laid out in bullet points. We would love that this section of the article be a bit shorter though. After all, its the list that we really want to see!
We love this section of the article more than the one above. Its way more readable and easier to understand. Brendan( the writer) definitely put in the work to set up a great list!
However, the actual list is not as amazing to look at.
You find yourself a table with a list of links, the owner’s name and Alexa Ranking. While, this list may have been well researched, it doesn’t give us much!
- Having a short introduction about how the list is compiled is helpful!
- The actual list should be more informative than just a table list.
Last but not least, we have keepinspiring.me!
Although this list may be the smallest, it has shown us some good qualities!
This is the list’s introduction. It’s relatively short and simple. Charley Mendoza the author doesn’t pretend to have ranked the list in an extremely methodological fashion.
Look at how great the layout is here! We love the informative and short description each list entry gets! We get a great photo of the blogger as well!
Additionally, Charley also includes a bullet-point list within the entry as well. He shares relevant links to show the value of the website being written about!
- Include a high-quality image to accompany your list entry.
- A bullet-point list within the entry that shows the value of the website being featured is great as well.
Building your own List
When we said that the process would be effortless we did mean it. But, this means that you need to understand how to do certain things easily as well.
We don’t expect you to write and create 100 links all by yourself, however, you should know how to find them individually!
1. Optimizing Google Search
All of us have used google before for research. Whether or not its for SEO purposes or just regular use, we all know how much Google can offer.
There’s so much information out there! Sometimes it. can feel like we’re going down a rabbit hole.
We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. Let us show you how to make google search easier for you!
Firstly, go to google.com
Navigate to settings> search settings
Broaden your search result options by increasing them to 100 per page! Now instead of clicking through pages of 10 results, you can just naturally scroll down and skim for results faster!
Now that you can scroll for results effortlessly, let’s help you do your search queries effectively!
We’ve prepared for you many search queries for every list type that you may be creating!
- The best articles on [Topic]
- Top articles on [Topic]
- Advanced [Topic]
- [Topic] for beginners
- Why you need [Topic]
If the topic is Intermittent Fasting, search queries could be Why you need Intermittent Fasting, Intermittent Fasting for beginners.
- [Topic ] Blogs
- [Topic ] Websites
- [Topic] Bloggers
- The best articles on [Topic]
- Top articles on [Topic]
If you search for articles on your topic, chances are that you’ll also find the blogs and websites that publish them.
Search queries could be Intermittent Fasting Bloggers, Intermittent Fasting Websites.
For Online Tools
- Tool type : Calculator, Organizer, Editor/Design, Filtering Data
- Tool action: Calculate, organize, design/edit, filter, selector
- Best tools for [topic]
- [tool type] for [topic]
- Free [tool type] for [ topic]
- How to [tool action] [topic]
- Best way to [tool action] [topic]
One example could be Free Organizer for Intermittent Fasting
These search queries are created to give you the best and most relevant results. But wait, isn’t copying and pasting 100 results per page going to be annoying?
We don’t think copying and pasting results is really worth your time. And nor do the people who built moz bar!
Instead of scrolling through results, and copying the urls, titles and meta descriptions, why not export all these results with one click?
Go ahead and install moz bar!
What can this bad boy do for you? It helps you extract links from search results!
Let us show you how.
Turn on the extension by clicking on the extension icon on the top right corner.
In google chrome it should look like this.
Once turned on, the extension icon should become blue. Enter your google search query.
The results page should then have this kind of setup.
Click on the button highlighted above to export your results.
After that, you can upload your csv results onto google sheets.
In case titles and meta descriptions in your results are shortened by moz bar, no worries! You can head to Buzzstream’s extractor tool to extract the full titles and meta descriptions.
Paste all your url results here. The tool will help extract all the titles and meta descriptions for you in full!
2. Extracting from List Posts
You might have already thought about this technique several paragraphs before this, and you were absolutely right!
Why search for individual links when you can take from competitor list posts? Extract awesome links from already established lists!
We recommend using Buzzstream’s html ahref extractor tool for your extraction.
To learn how to extract urls from list posts, let’s return to a previous website we were analyzing before.
This list post has many other links besides those included in their list. In order to minimize copying irrelevant links, we’re going to use buzzstream’s tool to help us!
Most list posts you encounter will have a much simpler page, and only contain links that will be relevant to your list post.
You wanna start at the first link that you want to copy. In this list, it would be the Tim Ferris link.
Right click on the page. After that click on view page source.
This should bring you to a page with all the rendered html code. Over here we want to start copying from the first link we want to extract, until the final link.
We use the browser find in page function (on a Mac, this keyboard function is command + f ). Type in fourhourworkweek.com to find the first link.
On this page, we see the first result being highlighted in orange. From this line of code, we will highlight the code all the way down to the final link that we want to be extracted.
Once you’re done highlighting the code, head over to the buzzstream tool!
We paste our code into the tool, and we click on create csv.
After we downloaded the csv, its time to reap the profits from our link extracting!
Upload the file to google sheets, and let’s remove the duplicate domains that we may have come across.
On Google Sheets, go to Add ons> Get add ons, and then search for Remove duplicates. Below is the add-on we want to use.
Install this free add-on, and then go to the option find duplicate or unique rows.
From this option you should be able to create an extra column telling you which links are duplicates.
Check out this in-depth guide on how to remove duplicate domains.
It may seem like a lot of steps to go through at first, however, after some practice, you’ll get a hang of it!
Putting together the Number One Product
Ever since the beginning of the article, we’ve been planning for this. We didn’t’ set you up to create a number two list post. We wanted you to have the number one post!
Now that we’ve covered the basics of researching for links, let’s talk about how to curate a killer post.
1. Writing Descriptions for each Link
We’ve talked about descriptions for links earlier. We’ve also seen examples of how much description is written for each link.
Our recommendation would be the more links in your post, the easier and more concise your descriptions have to be.
Your readers might be skimming through your list, and they only have limited time to find what they need.
For a shorter list like this one created by EcoPruner.com, a longer description makes more sense.
Readers are more likely to want to read and get a more in-depth sense about each company for a shorter list.
On the other hand for a longer list like TOP 60 Green Websites 2015, the readability and length of descriptions should be shorter.
In reality, this list overdid their descriptions. The paragraph is too long and hard to read. Readers might skim through the first few sentences and lose interest.
If you plan to include more text in your description, do your readers a favor and break them up into paragraphs!
It can be intimidating to read such a long paragraph!
2. List Organization
When it comes to list organization, nothing beats creating categories relevant to the link.
Take a look at The Top 40 Healthy Food Blogs to Follow in 2020.
We love how all the categories are all listed at the top, and each one of them carrying a unique topic.
Our recommendation is to put in as many relevant categories into your list as you can!
The more relevant categories there are, the better the user experience for your readers!
3. Category Descriptions
When you separate your list into relevant categories, you need to tell your readers why they are relevant! This is where you give your readers a short introduction to the category.
Even though the company descriptions for this list are not readable, we love the category descriptions!
4. High-Quality Images
Images matter a lot to the visual experience of a reader. Imagine scrolling through an interesting topic and finding an extremely bland photo to accompany the well-written text.
cool.club has a great description for one of their links, however, the accompanying image doesn’t command our attention.
On the other hand, take a look at Ecopruner’s page featuring Patagonia. Their picture is way more engaging and encourages the readers to read more.
Not only is the picture high-quality, but it is also visually appealing.
5. Preview your List Structure
If your reader is about to dive into your long list, how about give them a preview of how your list is structured?
Not only will they appreciate it, but they will also get a sense of what kind of value your list is bringing in.
Take a look at this travel blog list.
Before the actual list starts, the writers gave a preview list of the categories. Each category also got a brief description!
You can also link the previewed category to the actual category located within the list.
If we were to do that for the travel blog list above, we can link the text Best Business Travel Blogs to the section of the list that it starts at.
How can you link the text at the top of the page to the actual section located further down the page? We got some code for you to use!
<a href=”#businesstravel” rel=”nofollow”>Best Business Travel Blogs</a>
This is the ahref code you apply to the text for your category preview. This link will bring your readers to the section that the actual Best Business Travel Blogs is located at.
“#businesstravel” tells the browser reading the code that there is a link somewhere with the name of “businesstravel”. Below is the code for that link.
You can use it for the actual header being linked to.
<a name=”chapter1″><h2>Best Business Travel Blogs</h2></a>
When you apply linking code to all the categories on your page, users will be able to navigate to the sections they’re interested in. This saves them time, and also boosts their user experience on your post!
Launching your Number One Product
Now that we’ve given you the tools to build your number one list on the market. How exactly do you launch it so that it gets the shares it deserves?
You’ve put in all the effort to curate and research the best content for your list post, but now you need to show off to the rest of the internet how good it is!
Who’s going to promote your post? The influencers being featured in your post! Reaching out to influencers can be a tricky process, but we want them to know about the awesome post you’ve put together!
All the best influencers included in your list post need to know about the list post you just created. Here’s how you reach out to them.
Emailing the Influencers
Over here we believe in doing things effectively. When it comes to emailing influencers and asking them to share your list post, the same belief applies!
Emailing doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, if its something you dread doing, we’ve got you covered.
Check out our email template below!
Hey, [Influencer Name]
We’re really excited to say we’ve included you in our [List Post Title]!
Check it out!
[List Post URL]
Your [Article/Website/Tool] is a hugely valuable resource, and we can’t wait to see the reaction our readers get from your [Article/Website/Tool]!
If you feel our post is relevant to your audience, we’d love to hear their reactions!
Here’s the sharing link [List Post Sharing Link]
Keep up the great work!
When it comes to the sharing link you provide in your email, you can decide which platform is the influencer most active on. Based on that, head over to this sharing link tool and generate the link based on the platform you want!
The email above is just a template you can work off of. You don’t need to copy every exact word. The idea for your email is to have 3 crucial parts.
- Thank the influencer for their valuable resource with a personal tone.
- Give them a link to the list post that is easy to access.
- Find a link that is easy for them to share.
Direct Mass Messaging
Email is an extremely personal way to get in touch with certain influencers. But what if you want to get things done faster? Mass message your influencers!
Group together your influencers based on the social media platforms they are most active on.
If its Facebook, mass message those on Facebook with a short message regarding your new list post!
Keep in mind some platforms may only allow you to message a limited amount of accounts at one time.
Every content creator out there is trying to make their mark on the internet. For those who believe in hustling, we say keep doing that. But at the same time market your content effectively!
Curated list posts are a collection of the best resources based on a certain topic. Even though, google claims to give users the best results based on search query, your list post can be the answer to having the best results as well!
Create the best list so that users go to your list for information unquestionably. By creating the ultimate curated list, you’ve established yourself as an authority on the topic!
As people start reacting to your post, you can take their feedback and update your post to their needs.
As your list post grows older, it also helps to update the links in your list. Newer and better resources might emerge. Older and outdated resources might need to be removed.
With that said, we hope you don’t just read our post but get started in being part of the content creator’s inner circle!
We bless you with the divine powers of creating curated lists!