by Susanna Gebauer (@dreckbaerfrau)
What makes some blogs/bloggers successful while others are passing by fairly unnoticed? Of course, the first and very important reason is the quality of the content, but there is more to the success of a blog than the content published. I am absolutely sure, there are thousands of blogs out there that I would love to read (if my day had 48 hours), but I simply have never heard of them.
We bloggers should not hesitate to make something that we put so much time and effort in well known to as many people as we possibly can.
And before you start feeling odd, because blogging is far less about creating content and much more about marketing that content: That is exactly how most of the famous bloggers have made it to where they stand today.
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To say it with Joe Chernov (2012 Content Marketer of the Year):
“Create content that speaks to an audience and then hustle like hell to get it discovered.”
What does Joe mean by “Hustling”?
There is not one way to promote a blog, what works for one person, one topic or one field of interest might be the wrong way for someone else.
But don’t get me wrong: By looking at the things others successfully do or have done, you get ideas and a starting point. Then measure your success, adjust your actions, try something new, measure again and so forth. You derive your own ideas and strategies and start playing. And above all, you have one important goal: Traffic. Getting people to click on links to find your content.
You start playing around – you hustle.
So, let’s get some ideas and get you a starting point…
Some examples of what others have done
Most bloggers and marketing influencers are not only on Twitter; they are pushing their Twitter presence with following people to make them follow back (See more about the follow-unfollow-strategy here). Some of them like Jeff Bullas and Aaron Lee openly admit to doing so and give advice how to do it right. And taking a closer look at the top social media power influencers on Forbes, it looks more than likely that most of them are using this strategy to find more followers and more readers for their blog.
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These influencers not only build their following, they also tweet a lot. And since most good blog posts are still relevant even when they are already some weeks, months or even years old, all these influencers reuse their old content over and over again, repeatedly tweeting all their blog posts – even old ones.
Even though it gets harder to get successful on Facebook and some influencers make a statement (probably to drive a lot of traffic to their blog) that they are not happy with Facebook (Copyblogger recently announced with much tam-tam that they are going to leave Facebook for good, we are planning to cover this in more detail in another post), Facebook remains one of the social networks driving the most traffic to blogs.
You might want to spend some money on promoting your blog posts, but there are ways to get something out of Facebook without paying heaps of money.
If you are a member of active groups on Facebook it might be worth sharing your blog posts in these groups. But make sure to read the group rules before you do this and take a look what the general behavior in the group is. Otherwise, you might anger people in the groups and in the worst case get banned from the group, which cannot be your intention.
If you have a fair number of contacts on LinkedIn, the easiest way to bring your blog content to them is to share your articles in your updates.
But there is more to LinkedIn: When I started out with social media I was fairly active in LinkedIn groups and one thing I noticed was that quite a lot of the bloggers and influencers I knew from Twitter also shared their blog posts in LinkedIn groups – more often ending up in the promotions tab of the groups than not, but still sharing the hell out of their articles. I personally did not find LinkedIn groups such a great place for my content, still, this might be totally different for other topics or industries.
You do not have visual content? Do not worry; Pinterest is not necessarily about the most creative content or pieces of art. But you still need some kind of visual that speaks and animates to click on the pin. There are some very easy to use tools like Canva that enable even totally non-creative people like me to produce pins that inspire. You will need to play around a bit to figure out what kind of pictures get repins and which make people click on it and read your blog.
You can even build your Pinterest account with mechanisms similar to the follow-unfollow-strategy on Twitter: Follow people on Pinterest to make them notice you, and unfollow them if they do not connect to you after a while. The main difference to Twitter is convenience: There are heaps of tools to help you with follow-unfollow on Twitter, I do not know one single tool to help you with it on Pinterest.
Apart from the mentioned networks, you can try others like Google+. Which one will be the most rewarding to you and bring you the most readers, largely depends on the topics you are covering and if you are able to figure out the best way to use these networks. If you cannot find success in a network, there are always two options: Go and try another network, or stick with the one you are using but change your activity and try something new.
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But these are all on social networks… is there nothing else?
Sharing content on social media is not the only way to grow the audience of your blog.
Build a Newsletter list:
If you already started your blog, I guess you get a handful (hopefully more) visitors to each of your posts. How do you make sure these readers come back for more? Offer them a way to subscribe to your blog: If you build a newsletter list, you can send these subscribers information about new blog posts (and a little promotion for other things you want to get out once in a while). Thus you can concentrate on getting new readers to your blog – the old ones are still there and reachable.
Even though Google declared war on guest posting, it is still a very effective way to connect with other bloggers and to get your own content in front of an additional audience. If the readers of the blog you are guest posting on like your article, a fair amount of them usually also take a look at your own blog. And while Google claims otherwise, it still works for SEO, too.
Although I do not like these forced comments similar to “ I like your article. Have you seen mine?” (they are just fishing for attention and links without adding anything to the discussion), taking an active part in a discussion on other blogs still is a very good way of getting some attention to yourself. Make sure you have something to say about the topic. Only then will you make people interested in you and your own blog.
Talks, conferences, networking events:
Depending on your topic and industry it might be worth participating in offline activities and make your blog know to the people you meet there. Some of the well-known bloggers reached a large part of their fame not by social media or online marketing knowledge, but simply through making the author famous as a speaker and leader.
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These are starting points. An out of context list of things you can do – and that might work.
There are probably hundreds of more activities you can do to make your blog more visible. The one thing you have to keep in mind is: Success rarely comes on its own. For a large part, you have it in your own hands to make sure your blog is read by many or just a handful. The better you get in online marketing the more can you yourself assure your blog is a success.