You can either market your blog the wrong way, or the write way – a lot of people end up marketing their blog the wrong way because they just don’t know how, and I totally understand why, I did the same thing when I first started.
The truth is, that there is a process that you can go through that will help you get results and ultimately become successful but you need to stop and take a step back from the situation and realise that there are things that you might not be doing as well as you could be doing them.
It’s easy to stop and think that this blogging thing isn’t working and there’s just no way to get traffic to your blog or even make any money from your blog.
I’ve been there, thought the same thing and come to a shocking realisation.
Nothing is impossible
There is always another way to get traffic, a new tactic to help you get more shares, a new idea for a great piece of content for you to create.
If you feel defeated, then it’s not time to retreat, it’s time to regroup, then pick up your sword and shield again and head back out to the battlefield.
Are you ready to start getting real results?
Let’s do it!
Know where you’re going
I speak to all too many people that try hard, put a lot of effort into their blog but still don’t have a goal in mind or any sort of targets.
The problem is that if you don’t know where you’re going it’s VERY difficult to get there.
If you take a look at the success of people who planned things out and set goals of where they wanted to be in maybe 1, 2 or even 5 years’ time and compare their success to those that just “went with the flow” you would notice a HUGE difference.
The truth is planning and setting goals really works. Once you start planning your brain will subconsciously work out ways to help you get where you want to be, it won’t guarantee success but it will get you a damn sight closer to where you want to be.
So if you bring this back to your blog, what this translates to is what you want visitors to do, what the end goal is for them.
This could be buying a product, signing up to a mailing list or purchasing a product through an affiliate link for example.
So think about your visitors, who are they? What are they interested in? What problems can you solve for them?
Write great content
Content is what blogging is all about and it will be your most powerful marketing tool but what’s important to remember is that there is a strong correlation between the quality of content and success.
Sure, there is more to this content marketing thing than just clicking publish, but you have to build on a solid foundation otherwise your content just won’t go anywhere.
So before you start to expect links and shares you need to ask yourself – does my content deserve links, shares and traffic?
If the answer is no, don’t worry because I’m going to help you out with that right now.
I think about it like this: when I read a post, what would I want it to be?
I’ve distilled this down into a framework that I like to call ‘TADUE’:
- Timely (or Evergreen)
In addition there are some questions that we need to ask ourselves:
- Is the title compelling?
- Is the content compelling?
- Will your post solve a problem your audience has?
- Does the post add value?
- Do you have a unique angle?
- Does the post encourage engagement?
- Have you checked any facts in the post?
- Does your post include rich media content (video or images)?
- Does this post deserve to be shared and linked to?
We could go on for hours and come up with more questions but these questions along with the ‘TADUE’ framework will make the world of difference.
On a side note: I’d recommend you check out Jon Morrow’s post about power words – this will help you become a better writer.
Types of content
There is so much more than you can do instead of just a straight forward blog post and by varying the types of content you publish you will provide a much better experience for your readers.
Here are a few examples of different types of blog posts you can try:
- List posts
- How to posts
- Industry roundups
- Case studies
- Interviews with industry experts
- Ultimate guides
- Industry predictions
- Video tutorials
Your content doesn’t just have to exist as static blog posts, you could also think about repurposing your content and allowing your users to download it by offering it as an incentive to join your mailing list or by using a social content locking plugin like WP Sharely. Here are a few ideas:
You can also think about the different file formats that you can use to use in your mailing list, here are a few examples:
- Google docs
You would be surprised how quickly you can put an awesome template together in something like Google docs and it’s something that I will be doing much more in future.
On a side note: if there are any blogging related templates that you would like to see me create, feel free to drop me an email: adam[at]bloggingwizard.com and I’ll see what I can do for you!
Putting great content in front of your target audience
When I started my first blog I had no audience, no traffic and nobody sharing my content – so I put a plan into action and that plan was to map out the influencers in my market and tap into their existing audience base to grow my own.
It turned out to be even easier than I thought because when you help people out by sharing their content and linking to them, good things happen to you.
The worst way to start off is to publish blog posts with the expectation that people should just share your content, read your site and link out to you – it just doesn’t work that way.
Its givers gain.
So start off by sharing other people’s content, linking out to them and most importantly – tell them about it!
Sometimes when you link to people and tell them about it, they’ll share your content or even link to it themselves.
Then you’re instantly exposed to their established audience.
There’s a few more steps that you can add to this mix too…
Contributing to other blogs
In most niches there are a number of blogs that are usually open to contributions, so when you have built up the content on your blog and have some really great content you should approach the people behind these blogs and ask if you can contribute.
This will instantly get your name out and can be very powerful if you contribute to the right sites.
In most cases you’ll also get a link to your blog and some referral traffic too but that’s not the main reason you should do this, even though a lot of people just contribute to other blogs just to get a link.
You should do this because it makes you more visible and it gets your face out there.
The more you contribute, the more content you write (providing it’s all great content) and the more successful you and your blog will be.
To give you a head start with this, I’d recommend you check out my post on making blogger outreach work for you and my post on sourcing blogs to contribute to.
There are an insane amount of online communities that you can take part in, these include the likes of forums but there’s also some great communities on social media sites, e.g:
- Google+ Communities
- Facebook Groups
- LinkedIn Groups
I have to admit that I never really took much notice of LinkedIn groups until one of my readers shared a blog post there and sent me over 1300+ visits.
I had LinkedIn groups on my list to get involved in more, but it’s one of those things that I just never had time for – as you’d imagine, I’ve bumped this up my list.
Don’t forget about social media communities, they’re easy to contribute to and are a great way to connect with like-minded people.
Just don’t abuse them and fire links into them, if you’re going to use them to promote your content then think about it and try and develop a discussion around the topic of your blog post.
Asking questions will get you better results, won’t hurt your reputation and would take you only a few minutes longer than dropping in a link.
For some people, social media can be a difficult nut to crack, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be difficult and I’ll show you how to make it easy:
What social networks do you focus on?
Lately I’ve become a big fan of Google+ and there are some great reasons why:
There’s also a high correlation between Google+1’s and higher search rankings along with how helpful Google Authorship means that Google+ is something that you need to focus on.
And not to mention where Google +1’s came in this year’s SearchMetrics study:
Source – SearchMetrics Ranking Factors – Ranking Correlation 2013 Study.
So from this it seems Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are going to be the main ones and while they do correlate to higher search rankings they’re also all very good at referring traffic.
LinkedIn is another big player too, but can often be a more difficult site to get traction with, but when you do get results they will be great.
While thinking about the effect on your search rankings and potential traffic referrals are both important things to think about you also need to think about where your audience hangs out online, I can’t give you the answer because it depends on exactly who you are targeting.
I generally don’t like stereotypes but sometimes in marketing they are a necessity – chances are you’ll find that Google+ is home to the more tech savvy and LinkedIn is more focussed on business for example but that’s not to say that there’s no cross over, because there is.
So think about your audience demographics, their interests and where they hang out online and focus your efforts there but don’t leave other sites out completely because it’s worth keeping a balance here and investing some of your time in all of the major social networks but just investing a bit more time in the one that’s getting you the most results.
When I first started Blogging Wizard I focused too much on certain social networks and pretty much left out particular social networks entirely (apart from the occasional update), one of them being Facebook and while I detest Facebook I do wish I’d built up a stronger presence there.
A few other things to remember:
- Niche social bookmarking – you shouldn’t just focus on mainstream social network sites, because more often than not you can actually get some great results by using niche social bookmarking sites such as Inbound.org, BizSugar and Blokube – there are a lot more than this and they exist in a lot of different niche’s but don’t forget about them because the results you’ll get from these sites can be great.
- Make it easy for people to share your content and find your social media profiles – don’t you just hate it when you try to share a great piece of content but it’s way more difficult than it should be? Or what about when you want to follow someone on Twitter or Google+ but they make it extremely difficult? This doesn’t help anyone, so make your content easily sharable and make your profiles accessible. If you’re using WordPress then check out my post on social sharing plugins here.
- Triberr is awesome and if you’re a regular reader you’ll know that I talk about it a lot, the reason I talk about it so much is because it can be instrumental in putting your blog on the map.
- Make things easy on yourself – juggling a bunch of different social media accounts can be time consuming, so invest some time into finding a great social media management tool and you will find that time consuming tasks take less time and you can focus more time on other things. One of the tools that I use is Social Oomph, it does so much that while being a pro user for months now I still feel like I’m only scratching the surface.
- Tag people and companies you mention in social media updates – I always recommend that you tell people if you mention them in a blog post and it’s important that you let them know on social media too, a great way of doing this is tagging them in posts on Google+ or Twitter. Make sure you check out Kapil’s post on raising eyebrows with perfectly constructed Google+ posts here.
Yes, email marketing still works
I see more and more people saying that email marketing is dead and I admit that it’s not as good as it once was, but it still works.
You may think there’s no point in putting a mailing list sign up form on your blog when you first start, but when you think about how over 70% of people that visit your site will never return, it’s actually really important to start now.
So start off with the right foot forward:
1. Pick an auto responder/mailing list service
There are a bunch of good mailing list providers on the market, I use Aweber (find out why here).
You may want to use a free service like Mail Chimp, but be warned that they don’t allow affiliate marketing so if you’re thinking about using that at some point, Mail Chimp won’t be right for you.
There are also some other limitations on the free account such as no auto responder which can put a crimp in your style a bit.
Once you have picked an auto responder service then get yourself a welcome message setup and if you have some time, plan out an auto responder series.
2. Add an opt-in form to your blog
If you’re using WordPress then this is easy because there are a lot of different mailing list plugins that you can use.
Right now I’m using Hybrid Connect which is easy to use, comes with a lot of templates, allows you to split test your opt-in forms and add them in a number of different areas on your blog. Before you do anything, read my review of Hybrid Connect here.
3. Create a compelling offer
There are loads of blogs, including marketing blogs that don’t offer a very compelling offer – it usually ends up being something like ‘sign up for updates, it’s free’.
If you haven’t put together something you can offer your readers in exchange for signing up then you should make sure you’re at least offering blog updates so that you will at least be capturing some email addresses.
Downloadable PDF’s are usually the most popular type of content to giveaway but you could also try some form of template or even a bundle of PDF reports or eBook’s along with some templates.
That’s what Crazy Egg do and I found that offer compelling, so I signed up:
4. Split test and become a winner
Split testing is powerful and you’d be surprised just how much changing something minor on an opt-in form can seriously improve your conversions.
A great example is how Neil Patel removed one form field and improved his conversions by 26% on NeilPatel.com.
Most mailing list plugins have this feature built in, even mailing list services such as Aweber have the ability to do this too so it’s not very time consuming but most importantly you need to keep track of the changes that you’re making, only test between very small changes and ensure that you send a good amount of traffic through to the opt-in – the more the better.
You have now got a lot of different things to think about and to help you market your blog the write way, but above all else, remember:
It’s easy to be disheartened when you have put your heart and soul into a blog that just isn’t getting results but you haven’t failed – you have just found out how not to market your blog.
Like Thomas Edison said; “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.
Now it’s time to make things work and even if that doesn’t get the results that you want, you’re still learning, you’re still progressing and that’s the important thing.
There are times when I’ve tried things that haven’t worked out, in fact it’s happened a lot, but I’d rather make the mistake and learn from it, that way I know that I can make sure it doesn’t happen again and I can use that mistake to help me succeed with the next idea.
Nothing is out of reach.
What difficulties have you faced with marketing your blog and how have you overcome them?
I’d love to hear more in the comments below.
Photo credit: ntr23 via photopin cc
- How To Market Your Blog The Write Way And Get Results - October 24, 2013
- How to Reach Your Target Audience by Not Marketing to Them - August 13, 2013
- There is more to This Content Marketing Thing than just Clicking Publish - July 17, 2013