Traditional marketing techniques are a thing of the past, and successful businesses and people are blogging to get business. Smart? Yes. Besides, no one knows your product or niche better than you, so shouldn’t you be the one promoting you? You’re in business because you have determined that you are the expert at what you do or what you sell. A blog is the best way to get your message across and set yourself apart from the competition. It’s an open forum for finding new customers, nurturing relationships, and building partnerships.
When posting engaging content on your blog. Follow these top three rules:
Rule #1 : Creating Content for Your Blog. Content is king. You’ve heard the saying a million times, but it really does hold true when it comes to posting engaging content on your blog. There are three points we’ll look at when it comes to creating content.
- Publish Content Frequently. If you want to gain a following, you really have to work at it by not only publishing highly relevant and relatable content, but also publishing it frequently. I tell people that you need to post a minimum of three to four times a week to see any results. Blogs typically fail because most people don’t understand that in order to attract an audience and keep them coming back for more, you have to keep giving them stuff to look forward to. If you’re like most business owners, your workload is already spilling over, and you might not have enough time to write. You certainly can hire a content creator or task it out to an employee or an intern. When in doubt, hire an expert. Expecting to publish a blog and having it go viral takes time, effort, and work. Be sure you know what you’re getting into and are able to commit to it; otherwise, you’ll just be left disappointed.
- Know When to Post. Knowing when to post your content is equally as important as frequency. If your fans aren’t usually online in the evenings, then you certainly wouldn’t want to post in the evening. If your viewers are online mostly on the weekends, then you’d want to have content ready to post from Friday to Sunday. You may ask, how do you know when your audience is online and where are they hanging out? There are helpful tools, such as Kissmetrics, available that will provide you with analytics. They will allow you to analyze the best times to post and where to post, so you can make the most of your valuable time. You will need to determine which channel will make the most sense for promoting your blog: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or all three.
The following is a snapshot of how Kissmetrics delivers information about your audience:
- The Content Has to Be Good. Now that you’re on track and understand that you have to post content often, the next part is understanding that it has to be good content. Posting something for its own sake really won’t do you any favors and actually has an adverse effect by turning off the current audience you’ve already established. You might ask yourself – What is engaging content? How do I create popular posts? – Good content is any information that is relevant, interesting and helpful, and it targets specific audience. For instance, let’s take a local all-natural pet food distributor. They created a blog, told their customers about it, and asked them to follow the blog for important information regarding their beloved pooch. What would be helpful to their audience? How about a blog post about the top four ingredients you should look for when you buy your next bag of dog food? Or treats to avoid because they have been related to choking incidents? Post the latest recalls for dog products. Now you get the picture, right? Take a look at the blog below. Now take a notice of the whopping 4,196 Facebook Likes.
Rule #2: Feeding Your Blog. Now that you know how often to post, when to post, where to post, and what to post, you can move on to Rule #2: creating a following and developing an audience. You have all the main keys to blogging and have posted some pretty cool stuff. Now you need to feed it.
- One of the top ways to drive more traffic back to your blog is by guest blogging on similar sites. Find out who your competitors are and start following them. Make sure you aren’t posting content where it doesn’t belong or it doesn’t make sense. Spend some time doing your homework and locate relevant sources. Make a strong tie-in and not just a guest post to get links.
The illustration below demonstrates a Google search used to find a relevant place to publish as a guest blogger about fashion jewelry:
- Commenting on others’ blogs is a great way to encourage communication and start a conversation. You can always directly e-mail the owner of the blog offering positive comments, and thanking them for posting useful information (Hint: a little bit of flattery can take you a long way in the blogging world).
Rule #3: Work Your Blog. Hopefully by now, you’ve noticed your blog has started to get a lot of traffic and you can identify frequent followers. You are now ready for Rule #3. You’ve established yourself as an expert and have gained people’s trust and loyalty. Now you’re in a position to turn your followers into advocates and encourage them to start promoting your blog for you. You can encourage them to share your blog with others by implementing the following three tactics:
- Run a contest. Wishpond is a great place to get started when you want to run a contest. WordPress, a popular blogging platform, suggests that sweepstakes are an easy way to engage fans of your brand and get new leads with a very low barrier to entry. Photo and video contests are perfect for getting new user-generated content and having users engage with each other. You can also offer your community a voting contest. Prompting your audience to vote for, let’s say, their favorite product, is engaging you with your audience and rewarding them for spreading the word about your blog.
Here’s a great example of Tesco Books’ blog contest to win tickets to a popular show:
- Limit restrictions. By all means, don’t stop the conversation now. Allow permission for your followers to reprint articles on other blogs, in newsletters, on social media—anywhere that will get your ideas out into the blogosphere and link back to you. Encourage your readers to share your content, as the more they share it, the higher up in the search pages your blog will get.
- Open up your archives. Be sure to put a search box on your blog so your readers can dig deeper into you past posts. They will be able to find the highly specific posts about whatever information they are searching for. You can incorporate plug-ins that will highlight the most popular and most relevant posts. How do you do this? Click on this link and it will take you to WordPress’s informational screen:
When posting new posts, always dig deep into your previous ones, as far back as they go, and make mention of other articles linking them to the new post. When revisiting your archives, choose some of your favorite past posts and resend them in an e-mail. If a particular post gets overlooked, it has a second chance to drive traffic back to your blog, while at the same time making it appear as if you are posting new content more frequently.
In conclusion, there are many avenues for marketing your products or business, but put your time and money where it counts: into the blogosphere. With millions of blogs vying for eyeballs, you need to make sure you offer engaging content to attract followers and to keep them. Put these three rules into action and you’ll be able to create a catchy blog that will attract the viewers you need and want. When in doubt, go out on a limb and post something controversial or post as a guest blogger on a similar website that offers a contradicting opinion or idea (in a respectful way). Overall, always remember to engage your audience. Don’t just let your blog simply float endlessly around.
Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.
Follow Adam on Twitter: @thebizguy