Behind the scenes blogging part 6

Writing is meant to be read. The best writing in the world isn’t fulfilling its life purpose if nobody ever reads it!

Unfortunately, the old adage of “build it and they will come” (or its modern equivalent “post it and blog visitors will magically appear”) just isn’t true. If you want people to find and read your blog, you need to promote it. In fact, you should spend MORE time on blog promotion than you spent researching and writing each post.

When you’re just starting out, this seems unbelievable — surely writing is the most important part of the process?! Of course it is — if you don’t have quality content, you don’t have a blog. But good blog promotion requires time; more time than creating quality content takes. So, how to promote your blog posts for maximum exposure?

1. Optimise your blog for promotion

One of the main ways people will find your post is by doing a search in Google or another search engine. Ideally, you want your post to appear as high up the listings as possible, because this means that Google is effectively promoting your post for you every time someone searches for an appropriate term.

It’s important to make sure your post includes the terms people are searching for that are relevant to your site. If you have a blog about money-saving tips for mothers, you need to find out exactly what phrases people type when they’re looking for money-saving tips, and then include them. Perhaps nobody ever uses the phrase “money saving tips for mothers” — they might type “moms” or search for “spend less” instead. Use Moz’s Keyword explorer to find the right keywords (and there’s a great tutorial here.)

Make sure to include the exact keyword phrases you choose in your post, so that search engines can learn what your post is about. Be careful to include them in a way that makes them sound like a natural part of your writing, so that they are part of the post and don’t seem strange or out of place to readers. Remember that your blog posts are for readers first and foremost.

Research your Keywords
Research your Keywords

2. Make sure your post is shareable

Before you hit publish, ensure that visitors who enjoy the post can share it with their friends and colleagues. Social share buttons should be easily visible and the post should include images that are interesting and unique, and worth posting on Pinterest. If you use stock images, use them sparingly, and personalise them if possible.

3. Now, share

Start by sharing your posts in your own social networks — as many as possible. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Linkedin are a good place to start, and YouTube, SnapChat and Google+ might be worth considering if your audience hangs out there. Use a service like Buffer to schedule tweets over the next few days, and Ahalogy or Tailwind can be useful for pinning Pinterest pins to multiple boards.

Share your content
Share your content

4. Network

The thing about social platforms is that they are dedicated to social interaction. You’ll get some benefit out of just posting your links in the social networks I mentioned above, but you’ll get a lot more out of them if you are active in these networks. Dedicate a few minutes every day to interacting with other users of the platform — share their work, comment on their statuses, be present!

It’s important to find the kind of people who will benefit from your writing, so spend some time researching before joining every group out there! Jen Snyder’s Find Your Tribe course could be helpful here, as it shares many Facebook groups, Twitter hashtags and Pinterest boards where people hang out. Find the ones that are right for you, get involved, and

there.

5. Know your audiences

If you want your message to reach the right people, you need to understand who your audience is and what they’re interested in. Perhaps the people hanging out in your Facebook group are interested in personal stories, while Pinterest users are more attracted to how-tos. Keep an eye on your analytics and promote accordingly.

6. Set up segmented email groups

Email newsletters are a great way to encourage previous visitors to return to your site. Include links to recent posts and a percentage of readers will click through. The more targeted your emails are to your recipients’ interests, the more likely they are to click. And the best way to make sure you are targeting their interests is to set up segmented email lists.

You can do this in two ways: when a subscriber signs up to receive your emails, give them a list of interests that they can tick. Or, target your pop-up to a specific interest on an appropriate page. For example, perhaps your blog is about food and you regularly write about eating out, vegan cooking, and gluten free options. Your generic opt-in could allow subscribers to select which of those topics they are most interested in. Then, when you write a post about a vegan recipe, your pop up could offer follow-up emails just about vegan food.

From there, every time you write a new post about vegan cooking, you can send an email to those people who have indicated an interest in this topic, and not to those people who are just interested in eating out. This form of targeting means that you’re certain to be reaching the right people.

Set up segmented email groups
Set up segmented email groups

7. Try something new

There are always new techniques to try when it comes to blog promotion. Set aside an hour or two a week to spend on something new. You could create a video of you reading your blog posts aloud and post it on YouTube. You could create a slideshow or podcast, or give a talk on the subject at a local meeting. Explore the options and give something new a try!

How can we help you?

We know that as a blogger, your time is limited — but promoting your blog posts is an important part of the package. We can’t promote your posts for you (though a Virtual Assistant could be a good investment), but we can help save you time on other areas of your business. Our managed WordPress hosting and maintenance package saves our clients hours every week, and makes sure your site is performing well. One of our new clients has seen his site loading time drop from 12 seconds to around 1 second, and the extra ad revenue he’s seeing as a result of this improvement is paying the cost of the hosting for him. Plus he knows his site is in good hands. Check it out to see if it’s for you.

Behind-the-scenes blogging

This article is part of a series about how to start blogging for success. If you’d like to receive a notification when subsequent posts are published, please enter your email address below.

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