These days, all it takes to launch a blog is a theme, a few clicks of the mouse and a string of words to publish. That isn’t to say that blogging is inherently low value because the barrier to entry is low. If you’ve spent any amount of time online, you’ll quickly see that there’s plenty of amazing content being shared.
But ultimately, it takes more than an online presence and compelling content to be successful with blogging. If you don’t have traffic coming in, all of your efforts are a waste of time. With that in mind, here are 8 tips to help you take action and start promoting your blog content to build traffic, encourage shares, and increase visibility:
1. Be a standout, reliable source
So, anyone can throw random content up on a blog and call it a day. But that’s not going to get you any real traction with your target audience. The most successful content producers make sure their content is beneficial to their target audience.
Before you write anything, you need to start by asking yourself, “Is this helpful?”
If the answer to that question is “no”, then you need to start over.
Being helpful means providing something of value so your audience comes to see you as a trustworthy and reliable resource. If you’re writing something that can help your audience solve their pain points, answer their questions, or show them how to make their lives easier, odds are you are providing value.
2. Maximize your chances of being found
You’ll likely put a lot of effort into writing content for your audience this year. Don’t let that effort go to waste. Do keyword research relevant to your topic, and naturally insert those keywords into your content. Doing this will greatly improve the odds of your blog posts being found organically through search results.
For example, if you do a Google search for “Pizza making tips,” you’ll see a number of articles and blogs at the top of the search results that talk about how to make the perfect pizza at home. You can easily see how the search query matches the title of the posts listed in the results. This is what you want to replicate so that your content comes out at the top of the search results.
3. Relationships matter
The people you connect with in your personal and professional networks don’t want to feel like you’re just using them as a tool to spread your blog content – no matter how good it is. Everything you do to promote your blog posts will be far more effective if you take the time to build better relationships through direct engagement and relevant contributions to the conversation.
Saying, “Hey, that’s a great post – take a look at mine” is not the way to do that. Don’t try to game your network for links and shares. Real two-way relationships are far more scalable, require less work, and will provide better results as your blog grows. Which brings me to the next point…
4. Share content and engage others
Two-way relationships mean you have to give as much as you get, and you’ll get a lot more if you make the effort to build an authentic relationship. The people who follow you, and those within your network, will appreciate any extra help and attention you can provide.
So share their content, regularly engage them on their blog and social channels, and talk shop. When the time comes for your new piece to be published, those people are far more likely to share it with their connections when they see that you’ve been doing the same for them.
5. Take your content social
Your immediate social connections aren’t the only ways to leverage social media. Dig into relevant groups and forums where you can share opinions and take part in discussions. As your involvement in (and trust among) the community grows, you can start sharing your content within those communities.
Just keep this cardinal rule in mind: Social media is about engagement – not spam. Don’t try to blast your content into groups you don’t participate in.
Got a really great post you want to spread as far as possible? Post it to your social channels and try a short paid campaign to “boost” the post and get additional reach outside of your immediate network. For example, Facebook allows you to promote individual posts to make them more visible to those who like your page, and their friends.
6. Cross-promote with email
Email might be aging, but it’s far from obsolete. Place email opt-ins on your blog and other channels (like Facebook) that help you gather email addresses. Provide a great freebie or regular tips exclusively for subscribers to increase conversion.
Use that subscriber list to let your fans know about new content, to revisit old content relevant to trending topics, and to encourage them to share the content with their networks. With a strong call to action and the attention of your followers, you’ll be amazed at how willing they are to promote you.
7. Get animated
According to Search Engine Land, YouTube officially became the second-largest search engine in 2014, with over 300 hours of content uploaded every minute, and those billion unique visitors watching more than 6 billion hours of video every month.
That sounds like a solid place to cross-promote your blog and ideas.
When you incorporate video, now you’ve got one more channel to promote your content. Whether you record a talking head video, a mini white board lesson, or narrate a presentation of your blog content, there are plenty of ways to work sites like YouTube and Vimeo into your blog promotion strategy.
8. Guest post
Referral traffic is gold for any blogger, and one of the best ways to get that traffic is by guest posting on relevant blogs within your industry or vertical. Connect with influencers and other content producers, offer to provide content on a certain topic, and provide the post in exchange for an author box with a link back to your site.
Provide the same quid pro quo – allowing others to post on your blog not only increases the chance for referral traffic back and forth, it also builds relationships that become part of your networking strategy. Then there’s the added bonus of having others fill your content calendar with content, giving you the occasional much-needed break from writing.
No matter what you do first, just take action. Before you do anything else for the day sit down and set some goals. Look over your list and choose one thing you can get done right this second to help you promote your blog.
Then do it. It’s that simple.
Article by Sujan Patel as seen on Forbes.com
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