10 Best Content Marketing Hacks Under $100 (That Work In 2019)

Most so called “content marketing hacks” suuuuck. 

  • Guest post on a big influencers site. Ugh!
  • Post a link to your content in Facebook Groups. Hello spam boy!
  • Write blog posts for long tail keywords. Booooring!

Today I’m going to show you 10 little-known hacks that can drive massive traffic to your content with a relatively small amount of effort.

If you like these, you’ll love my complete list of 100 content hacks sorted into free and paid hacks!

1. The GDN Content Upgrade Hack

Who It’s For: People who can’t win organically for a big keyword, but still want to get traffic from people in their target market with search intent.

Time Required: 1 hour.

How To Do It: 

Follow these three steps:

Step 1: Look at what sites are winning for your topic.

Step 2: See if you can buy ads on one of the top three ranked blog posts.

Step 3: Make a "content upgrade" to convert that blog posts traffic into YOUR leads.

For example, let's say I want to get traffic for the topic "how to lose weight."

gdn content upgrade image

But I don't want to pay through the ass for Google paid search ads.

I can take a look at the Google search results page.

Where I’ll see that Healthline have a blog post that ranks #1 for it titled "How to Lose Weight Fast: 3 Simple Steps, Based on Science."

how to lose weight image

When I click on the post I can see they have Google Display ads on the top and right side of the page.

gdn ads image

Now it gets a lil' technical:

  1. Inside Google Ads, go to Campaigns > New Campaign > Leads > Display and select “Standard display campaign.”

google ads display campaign

2. Go to Content Targeting > Placements > Enter multiple placements and add the url of the site.

content targeting placements image

3. Go to Content Targeting > Keywords and add the main keyword from the headline of the blog post.

content targeting keywords image

Now you'll have an ad campaign with your ad showing on that one blog post.

Send people to a simple landing page like this:

landing page image

To be effective:

Pitch an "upgrade" to the content people came to read on the blog post.

It's all about making your ad "blend in" to the page like a trojan horse.

Don't make it look like an ad.

For example, if the topic is "3 steps to lose weight fast" your upgrade could be:

  1. A case study on losing 10kg in 30 days.
  2. Advanced 10 step process to lose weight faster.
  3. 7-day workout plan to lose weight fast.

With this strategy you can let someone else do SEO for three years, create content and rank it.

You just skim the valuable leads off the top and build a targeted audience for your business.

2. The WordPress Headline Hack

Who It’s For: People who want to get more clicks to their content.

Time Required: 5 minutes.

How To Do It:

8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only two out of 10 people will click it.

Follow the instructions below carefully to get more clicks.

It may be the best $67 you ever spend on your content marketing.

  1. Write out 5-10 headlines for your next piece of content.

5 headlines image

2. Pick two you think are the best.

2 headlines image

3. Grab a nifty little WordPress plugin called Thrive Headline Optimizer.

thrive headline optimizer image

4. Inside the plugin, choose one of your posts or pages to test.

create headline test image

5. Add a headline variation you think can beat your current title.

headline variations image

6. Set your headline test criteria. I like to use the default engagement settings which count visitors when they scroll 30% or visit duration is >77 seconds.

headline test criteria image

7. Start the test

The Thrive plugin will run your headline test in the background and automatically pick a winner once you collect enough data for a statistically valid test.

At any time you check on the results of the test:

headline test image

Or just let it run in the background.

I used to spend $10-$20 on Facebook ads a/b testing headlines.

I even tried paying 1,000 people to respond to the multiple choice question “What headline would you click?” on Amazon Mechanical Turk.

amazon mechanical turk project image

The problem?

Both those methods take 10-20 minutes to set up, you need to check back on the test after 7 days for statistical significance, and every test costs $10-$20.

Plus, you’re not collecting data from “engaged” visitors.

With Thrive I pay $67 for it once, get better data, and can now focus all my time promoting my content while it runs in the background sending traffic to my winner.

3. The Google Natural Language Hack

Who It’s For: People who want to get more organic traffic to their blog posts.

Time Required: 10 minutes.

How To Do It: 

Copy/paste the content from the top ranked listing on Google for your target keyword into Google’s Natural Language tool.

Then click the "Analyze" button.

google natural language api image

Google is going to reveal two interesting insights:

  1. The "Entities" it detects in the content. These are things like people, works of art, consumer goods, locations, and organizations that make up the content.

  2. You can see which entities have the highest Salience (a big word for the importance an entity has in a piece of content) in Google's eyes, and make sure you talk about those entities in your content.

google entities image

2. The "Sentiment" of the piece of content. Is it very negative (-1.0), very positive (+1.0) or somewhere in between?

If your content is below sentiment, try chucking in something with higher sentiment. Use positive words like awesome, amazing, and love in your headline, first sentence and headings.

google natural language sentiment image

My buddy Dan Shure has a great video that breaks down how to use Google’s Natural Language Processing tool to hack your content marketing success here:

In 2005 there was keyword stuffing.

In 2015 there was latent semantic indexing.

In 2020 there is entities.

It's now becoming about what "entities" Google detects a true expert would include in their piece of content.

And the sentiment of content proven to rank.

There are tools out there that can detect LSI keywords and tell you which keywords are in the top 10 ranked content, but aren't in your piece of content.

But I haven't seen any look through the eyes of Google like this.

This little hack is a (free) opportunity to put on Google's green glasses to take your on-page content optimization to that next-level.

4. The CDS Intro Formula Hack

Who It’s For: People who want to hook more people on their content.

Time Required: 10 minutes.

How To Do It: 

Write the introduction to your content using the CDS intro formula:

  • C: Call out your reader in the first sentence.
  • D: Describe your readers problem back to them, better than they can describe it themself.
  • S: Show proof you have the solution.
cds intro formula image

The objective of the first sentence is to get someone to read the second.

The objective of the second is to get someone to read the third.

Don't rush the intro, that reader may never come back again.

And stop writing those long three paragraph intros I know you love to write. 

Ain't nobody got time for dat!

You got dis 

5. The Truncated Teaser Hack

Who It’s For: People who want to get more clicks to their content on Google search results pages versus the competition.

Time Required: 10 minutes.

How To Do It: 

Add this lil' nugget to your to-do list:

  1. Go to Google Analytics > Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

google analytics site content image

2. Click on + Add Segment.

google analytics add segment image

3. Add Organic Traffic and remove the default All Users segment.

google analytics organic traffic image

Now you will see all your top traffic organic pages:

google anyltics organic pages image

Make a to-do to update the meta description on your top 10 trafficked blog posts, to a truncated teaser like this:

truncated teaser image

The key to making this work is to add an ellipsis "..." at the end of your description.

It triggers curiosity.

So you get more clicks than your competitors on the search results page.

Google hasn’t used meta descriptions for SEO purposes for about a decade, so it won’t hurt your SEO.

But the better click-through rate (CTR) you get will be a signal to Google to rank you higher.

Get dat CTR boooooooost!

6. The Lazy Content Writers Hack

Who It’s For: People who want to write a great article, but don’t have the expert experience to do it.

Time Required: 3 hours.

How To Do It:

  1. Identify a topic your audience is dying to learn about.
  2. Interview an expert who’s at the tippity top of their game on the topic.
  3. Create an outline from the interview recording.
  4. Write it.
  5. Embed highlights from the interview throughout the post.
  6. Cut the video up into one minute teasers to promote on social.

When I wrote my growth study on AppSumo.

I didn’t have experience doing AppSumo’s email marketing.

So I grabbed a video AppSumo’s founder (Noah Kagan) did with their email marketing guy (Neville Medhora):

expert interview image

If you don't have experience writing about a topic.

But you know it's a valuable topic for your business.

This is a shortcut to leveraging others expertise and associating yourself with the best in the biz.

You will blow people out of the water who go do a bunch of research on Google and regurgitate what's already been said 100 times.

7. The SEMRush Competitor Traffic Hack

Who It’s For: People who want to see what content gets the most traffic for their competitors.

Time Required: 5 minutes.

How To Do It:

Go to SEMRush > Organic Research > Pages and plug in your competitor's URL.

BOOM!

semrush competitor traffic hack image

You'll see an estimate of the:

  1. Monthly traffic top content on the site gets. 
  2. Percentage of traffic single pieces of content contribute to the site.

It's like stealing the password to your competitors Google Analytics account.

Take their winning content and make it your own.

Pro tip: Use the Keywords Everywhere browser extension to quickly check the CPC of the keyword on Google. For the above example, I would run this search for “how to cut weight” and see the CPC is $0.76:

keywords everywhere cpc image

If the keyword is expensive ($3+ per click) that's because of competition and means it's likely a good converter.

8. The Open Loop Content Promotion Hack

Who It’s For: People who want to get more clicks to their content.

Time Required: 10 minutes.

How To Do It:

An email list is the #1 content promotion tool on the planet. Period.

Here’s how to write your emails to get max clicks:

open loop content promotion email image

Here's how it works:

  • Subject line: Ask a provocative question that elicits thought about something interesting in your content.
email subject line image
  • Preview text: Create an open loop (a little teaser that gets your email subscribers to open the email and discover the answer.)
email preview text image
  • First three sentences: Tell a story about the content to hook your reader in to want to click over and see it.
email first three sentences image
  • Call to action: Tell people the exact action to take (i.e., Click here to...)
email call to action image
  • Bullet points: Highlight the three biggest things people will learn from your content. Never do more than three, it's too overwhelming.
email three biggest highlights image
  • Call to action: Reiterate exactly what people should do (i.e., Click here to...). This should be the same link as your first CTA.
email call to action second image
  • Sign-off: Put your name. I like to put a funny nickname in between my first and last name to keep it casual.
email signature image
  • PS: Add a Ps. on the last line with another open loop that teases a specific nugget people will find inside your content.
email ps image

Follow this formula and watch clicks to your content skyrocket.​​​​

9. The Beautiful Looking Images Hack

Who It’s For: People who want to create beautiful looking images that get shared.

Time Required: 1 minute.

How To Do It:

Go to Screely.

Then drag and drop your image onto the page.

screely app image

It'll turn your screenshots into beautiful 'dribbble' ready designs, like this one below (and all the other images on this blog post):

screely image

Boss will think you're a genius.

10. The Blog Post Audience Building Hack

Who It’s For: People who want to build an audience off their blog.

Time Required: 20 minutes.

How To Do It:

Make a content upgrade for your post, then:

  1. Add a bonus material link below the headline.

bonus material content upgrade image

2. Add a call-to-action in the top 10% of the post.

top 10 content upgrade image

3. Add 1-3 contextual calls-to-action in the body of the post.

body content upgrade image

4. Add a call-to-action in the bottom 10% of the post.

bottom 10 content upgrade image

This strategy relies on having a strong content upgrade that is a direct "upgrade" to the topic of your post.

For example, for my blog post on content distribution strategy, I give away my content distribution checklist:

content distribution content upgrade image

For this list post on 10 advertising books, the content upgrade is the ‘complete list’ of 50 books:

50 books content upgrade image

Make your “content upgrade” more of what people came to consume in the first place.

You’ll convert like craaaaaa-zy 

Want More Content Marketing Hacks?

Get my complete list of 100 hacks, with step-by-step instructions for every one. 

Here’s three of the hacks you’ll find inside:

  • The 80/20 SEO Hack for doubling your organic traffic with less content.
  • The High Ticket Client Hack to land 5-figure clients with one piece of content.
  • The LinkedIn Traffic Hack that got 1,146 comments on one LinkedIn post. 

I’ve sorted the list into free and paid hacks, so you can pick and choose the ones that fit your budget.

Then, before you go:

Leave a comment with your favorite hack.

You'll be surprised what happens next 🙂 #commenthack

  • Guest says:

    Just curious to see what’s gonna happen!

    • Chris Von Wilpert says:

      Haha. Curiosity killed the cat. But on the Content Mavericks blog it gets you sweet bonus content 🙂

  • Mauricio says:

    Love #5, 6 and 9. All these are easy to implement. As always, great content.

  • Leo Young says:

    #1 is genius… going to try it now.

  • Md says:

    Looking forward to trying #1! And seeing what happens when I comment here

  • Wole says:

    Absolutely, top notch tips. Thanks Chris for sharing your insights.

    It’s been a while I wrote on my blog, sure these tips will help

  • Tim Kock says:

    This is just gold, Chris! Thanks

  • Chintan says:

    Great article Chris. Thanks for introducing me to Dan. Love his engaging style 🙂 Also, loved your case study of Sumo collecting 10k emails a month. Good stuff man. It’s all about staying focused, aye?

    • Chris Von Wilpert says:

      Thanks Chintan. Appreciate it buddy! Yeah, it’s all about looking at the data, staying focused on what works, and not getting distracted.

  • Victor says:

    Hacks are all so good I’m spoiled for choice.

    Thanks for introducing me to Screely. Love it!

    And for your in-depth and structured insights…

    Content Chris, extraordinaire-maverick, Von Wilpert.

  • Hey Chris,

    These content marketing hacks are wonderful and thank you for sharing Screely.

    It makes a lot of sense.

  • Prashant says:

    Very Long Article but very Interesting to read and know the Growth hacking facts!

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