Promote and monitor your blog: the secrets of successful blogging
Having a blog is the first step to an efficient content strategy. Unfortunately, many bloggers quickly give up posting disappointed by low response. I would like to share with you technics and tips that have worked for my blog to be successful.
If you are planning to open a blog, just opened one or if you face difficulties getting the attention you deserve with your blog, this article is made for you.
I have created my marketing blog in October 2011. Since then, my regular visitors and newsletter readers figures have been regularly increasing.
I would like to share with you some of the techniques that lead me to success. Those tips are very practical and ready to be adapted to your own blog strategy.
The first thing you need to know about Content Strategy is that it takes time, sometimes a LONG time to show results. Nevertheless, unlike SEM, the results of Content Strategy last for long and increase overtime.
The first guideline is the most obvious one. You must create "valuable content". Sounds obvious, right?
What is a bit more tricky is defining "valuable content". I would give the following definition:
"Creating valuable blog content implies creating unique content that brings some specific value to your readers".
In clear, "valuable content" means no copy, unique content, interesting topic. If you want to go even further, try focusing on a niche. If you focus on a topic that no-one else covers, all people interested in this topic will necessarily find you.
If you have a blog, having a RSS feed is essential.
Depending on what platform you are using, the creation of a RSS feed might already be a feature. Otherwise, you can always create your own one, there are plenty of scripts out there helping you to do so. Do not forget to declare your RSS feed in your header! That way people could directly read it without having to look for it.
This RSS tutorial explains in depth what are RSS, what to put in them and how to include them in your blog.
For example, you can find my RSS feed here: Marketing Solution RSS feed. This one contains my latest articles. I have another for the latest comments left on the blog.
You could create RSS feeds of almost anything. The point of it is that some programs as well as readers might look for it in the future.
Edit: Technorati as a blog directory shut down in 2013 and now only sells ads space.
Here is another good reason for having RSS feeds. Technorati is a platform helping bloggers by collecting, highlighting and distributing content. Make sure you have an account there (if your blog is written in English) as it will automatically and effortlessly promote your new posts and increase your online influence simply by reading your RSS feed.
Having a newsletter on your blog is an excellent way to keep your readers in the loop and make sure they do not forget about you.
Nevertheless, taking care of a newsletter represents a lot of work and isn't necessary for all blogs. It is really for you to define whether you have time to take care of it or not. If you are thinking about starting with your newsletter, I invite you to check some tips from my article "How to write a successful newsletter".
If you decide to go with the newsletter, it is important to track your results: how many people subscribed, where do they come from, what do they read, which article did they prefer, etc.
As I have created my blog myself, I have built several tools enabling me to track the results of my newsletter. Most blogging platform provide you with such tools already, it is just a matter of using them.
For example, I constantly track the number of new subscribers. I check if they subscribe to the French or English version of my newsletter and which article they were reading when they subscribed. That gives me information about which article makes people want to follow me so that I could re-use the concept in the future.
I also track how many of those receiving my newsletter actually read it and how many click on an article inside it. I can then see which article is most successful and try to talk more about this topic in the future.
People tend to believe a newsletter is a tool for a website to inform its readers. This is actually the exact opposite: the major use of a newsletter is to find out more about your readers and what they like.
There is an easy and extremely efficient way to increase dramatically the number of subscribers you got.
Can you see the chart I have published above? Do you see how the number of people subscribing to my newsletter suddenly increases after a complete year of stagnation?
This phenomenon can be easily explained: the sudden increase corresponds to the day I started offering free content for download (first an ebook then other marketing material and templates). When you want to download something from my blog, you have to subscribe to my newsletter (indeed, with the possibility to cancel it anytime).
You can do the same! Offer free content as an incentive to get more subscribers! But beware that if your content is not as good as what your visitors expect, they might give up both your newsletter and your blog.
Do you know what pushes people to comment on your blog?
You have several ways to encourage people to post. The first one is to use sentences inviting people to share their opinion and point of view. "Was this article useful to you? Share your comments below!".
The second one is to display the last comments somewhere on your page: people always like to see their comments appear somewhere!
Both ways, the only way to make your article live beyond its own length is to generate a debate from it.
Do not forget: having a blog is not so much passing information to people as it is getting information from them.
Gather all data you can as you would do using a CRM: if such data does not bring much value yet, it might answer some of your questions in the future. Simply make sure you respect the law in terms of privacy: for the rest, gather gather gather as much as you can! It is only by looking at your figures that you will really understand who your visitors are and what they expect from you.
Like any website, your blog should be using Google analytics and Google Webmaster tools to monitor your traffic.
You should also register your blog in directories of the same field.
Make sure you answer all your visitors as fast and as efficiently as possible.
Make use of Social Media for promoting your blog.
Check on what post was successful and try to replicate this success.
Focus on one topic you master instead of covering a large range of ideas.
And the last "obvious" piece of advice: be yourself. There is no-point opening a blog if you can't even be yourself.
Tags: blog blogging blog strategy content strategy RSS feed