Whether you’re trying to spread an important message, or simply talking about something you’re passionate about, the chances are you’ll, at some point or another, wish more people were reading what you’re writing. It can seem like a daunting task trying to attract new members of your online community, especially if you haven’t built it up much, but it is in no way impossible. With these 10 tips you could be well on your way to managing a more successful blog.
1). Social media is a magical thing
If you’re not already sharing your content around various social networks it’s time you started. But if you want the extra traffic, it’s not as simple as just sharing the link. However, it’s not much more complex either. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will most likely be the best tools for spreading your latest post, but there are a few mistakes that we see time and time again.
- Not using hashtags – Hashtags are there for the purpose of getting your content in front of interested eyes. Take full advantage of them. On Twitter it’s always best to only hashtag the more relevant keywords in the post, but on Instagram you can go wild at the bottom of the post with all the hashtags you can think of.
- Too worried about follower ratio – We get it, no one wants to only have 500 followers but follow 5000 accounts. But if you’re not afraid to clog up your timeline a little bit, follow users you think might be interested in what you’re doing, and if they follow back, don’t be afraid to interact with them!
- Only sharing posts to your page and not your profile – Facebook pages are great, but if you’re just starting out and have only convinced 18 people to like your page so far, hit your friends from your profile too. Far too often people forget that they have a potentially audience of thousands sitting there that they are not promoting to.
- It’s called social for a reason – SOCIALISE. If someone tweets you saying they loved your blog, reply. But don’t just reply saying thank you, subtly encourage them to stick around by saying you hope they enjoy the next one!
2). Don’t just blog for yourself
Many large blogs accept submissions from other bloggers, and you’ve already got a great knowledge of what you’re talking about. For the bloggers among you wondering what exactly guest blogging is, it’s exactly what you’re doing at the moment, except you don’t post the content, they do. Usually, you’ll send a short amount of info detailing what you would be writing about (and of course, tooting your own trumpet as much as possible), and if they like the idea, they’ll get you to submit a full piece. Hopefully, they’ll let you link back to your own blog, but even if they don’t your name will most likely be shared and those who like it may search for more of your work. Cool right?
3). Let people win stuff… people love winning stuff
If you see a competition on the TV that requires a text entry which will cost you £2.50, you’re probably not going to enter, right? What about if all it cost you was 5 seconds of your time and potentially your friendship with an old school friend who’s fed up of you sharing competitions non stop? You have to be clever about competitions. Too many times the rules will only instruct people to share the post. That’s fine, they might like your page, they might follow you on Twitter. Now how about if the rules are: share the post, like the page, and tag a friend in the comments. Now not only are you gaining another member for your audience and they’re sharing it to their friends, you’re also almost guaranteed for someone to see it who will be interested in it because the chances are they’ll tag a friend who will have wanted to see your competition too. Result.
4). Make friends and help each other out
It doesn’t matter how you network, as long as you do network. But once you’ve made those contacts, where can you go from there? If you love someones blog and they love yours, why not help each other out? Cross promotion can vastly help with exposure and if you create similar content, the chances are you have a similar audience. Stuck for ways to cross promote? How about if you and whoever you’ve chosen both write pieces on the same topic, check at the end that they both offer different things to the reader whether that’s different information or even just a different style of humour, then cross link to each others post. If someone’s reading your post about that topic and at the end you’ve said “Hey, my friend wrote about this too and it’s pretty great” the chances are that they’ll take a look.
5). Forum or Against’em?
Promotion in forums is a hard skill to master. It’s far too easy to crash and burn, and sure any publicity is good publicity, especially if you’re relying on that AdSense payment at the end of the month. But, just because traffic is traffic, and even if you make your money no matter whether the reader feels positively or negatively about your content, surely it’s better for your website to gain a smaller amount of interested and positive traffic than a tonne of spammed, annoyed, negative traffic.
So if you’ve found a popular forum with a heap of active users talking about your niche and you’re about to comment a link to your blog on every single post you possibly can, just consider taking this option instead. Add a link to your blog or your latest blog post in your posting signature perhaps accompanied by a nice, welcoming message encouraging users to click it to. Next up, contribute. Offer something to the forum, help users with problems they have, join in with the conversations. People who click your link after finding about you that way will be far more beneficial audience members for you to have.
6). Controversy is powerful
Is there a certain opinion that some people clued up in your area of interest hold but are often scared to voice? Is there a way of expressing it without offending those that don’t feel the same? Controversy is a great way of driving traffic to your blog as long as you know how to be classy with it. Remember that once you post it, it has the potential to stay online forever. Yep, even if you delete it. The screenshot button could be the end of your blog as you know. Keep it relevant, keep it civil and you will reap the rewards of daring to say what others are too scared to.
7). Two words: Mailing. List.
You’re putting your content all over every single social network you can get an account on. Some of your regular readers know when you post a new blog and they’re checking for it within minutes of the post. But what about the ones that aren’t checking back, but love your posts? What about the ones that don’t browse social media all that often? You need to hit them a different way. Close to home. In their inbox. Ask for subscribers in your posts, across your social networks, and anywhere else you can, then you can decide how often you’re going to pop up in their emails. Maybe you post 3 blogs a week and want to send a weekly email linking to all 3, or maybe you post 1 a week and want to send an end of month roundup, or perhaps you post one a week and want to send it straight away. Entice viewers into signing up by offering something. You could tie it in with a giveaway competition or perhaps think of something useful to followers of your niche and offer that in exchange for subscribing. A cool PDF guide, or a printable something or over. We’ll leave that part to you.
8). People are lazy, make sharing easy
It’s true, no one wants to go to the address bar, copy the link, open Twitter, compose a tweet, paste in the link and tweet it. Include social media sharing buttons to drive users to share your content. You can usually set these up so that they auto-populate the caption with something. Don’t make that part too pushy, too bigheaded or too promotional. They’re not going to want to post arrogant click bait on your behalf so steer away from ‘Just read this amazing blog, you HAVE to check it out! *link*’. Keep it clean, modest and simple and the results will come in.
9). You won’t go to hell for click baiting
An intriguing title will be your best bet at getting traffic on your blog. Don’t be afraid to practice what we see the big news sites do every day. You should give our handy little blog post all about click bait a read if you’re unsure on what will and won’t get away with. Check it out here.
10). Be relevant
Is something cool happening soon that ties in with your subject? Even if it’s a really loose tie, you can still run with it! Can you do anything Christmas related, or Super Bowl related? Has a celebrity just announced something huge that everyone’s talking about (and therefore searching for) that you can turn into content for your own blog? If the topic is trending on social media the chances are you can jump on the hashtag and use it to gain more impressions on the shares of the content!
The only real thing you have to be careful with when it comes to being relevant is knowing when to stop. For example, world disasters and mass amounts of crisis are often bombarded with brands ‘showing passion’ when really it’s just the intern in the office thinking they can grab a tonne of shares if they post it. These brands usually get called out. Don’t follow in their footsteps.