Are your blog posts riding coat tails?
Have you ever heard of the Coattail Effect or "Riding Coat Tails"? It's most often referenced in politics, and refers to how when a candidate from a political party is victorious, candidates from the same party running for lower offices often win as well. The term comes from how young boys would often hold onto the tails of their father's coats so as not to get lost while walking through streets. It rose to prominence in the 19th Century when political ballots started to be printed with one political party per side, making it easy for people to vote along party lines.
Within your blog, you should have a series of major Topics that you regularly cover. For me, these are the categories of Social Media, Blogging, SEO, Marketing and Technology, with sub-categories for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. While we're fortunate not to have that many political parties, think of each of those categories as a different party for a moment. Feel free to think about your own blog categories.
Now, within each category, we have a number of blog posts that have been tagged with that category. Within my Google+ category for instance, I have recent articles about the new Google+ badges, and how to set up an Opt-In subscription circle within Google+. Think of each of these articles as individual candidates.
So when does the Coattail Effect come in to play?
When you take the time to create a particularly good article, and it is well-received on social media, your other articles can benefit!
We have talked about the different elements that make up a great article, as well as how to post to and encourage sharing on social media, so I won't go over those elements here. What's of relevance here is, once you have one article that's popular, how do you make sure that your other articles benefit?
1. Category Navigation
First, make sure that your major categories are linked within your main navigation menu if possible. If not, consider a sidebar menu or jump menu where you can list those major categories. The result should be a blog-view of articles from that specific category.
2. Deep Linking Categories
Second, within each article, make sure that you are including links to your major categories. The typical way to do it is to link the first instance any time a category is mentioned. So for instance, in my Google+ articles, the first time I write "Google+" it gets linked to my Google+ category.
3. Deep Linking Articles
Third, always be thinking about ways that you can include links to specific articles that you've already written. When I was talking earlier about thinking about your articles as candidates, I mentioned two specific Google+ articles and linked to them. In most of my articles, I can always think of ways to reference older specific articles that readers may want to reference for more information.
So when I had a post on Google+, "How Not to Use Google+" get a tremendous amount of readers, several of my other Google+ articles got far more traffic than usual as well. That was the Coattail Effect in action. Make sure that you're always deep linking your articles, and be prepared to enjoy the effect yourself!
If you have questions about deep linking, please feel free to comment below. If you'd like help with blogging and content marketing, please contact us!
By Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's, and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.
Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management", "The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.", and "Blog Promotionology, The Art & Science of Blog Promotion."