When you’re launching a new business, you have a million and one things on your plate. There’s always something to do, from setting up social media profiles to ensuring you have the means to deliver your products to buyers.
In the midst of all this, you might wonder why you should even spend the time building a blog and crafting content. If you need some convincing, here are just some of the reasons why having a business blog can be beneficial:
- Drives Traffic to Your Site: One of the most important reasons to have a blog is that the continual content can help to drive traffic to your products, upping your customer numbers.
- Helps with Link Building: Inbound links and backlinks are a Google ranking factor, and creating blog content can help you generate all those important links.
- Positions You as an Expert: Your blog is a place where you can show off what you know about your industry, which can help to inspire trust and turn traffic into leads.
How to grow your blog’s audience
Ok, so you’ve decided to start a business blog. Or maybe you’ve been plugging away for some time but have yet to see the results that you’d hoped for. If you’re putting in the effort to create high-quality content, the next step will be finding a bigger audience to read and engage with that content. Here are six ways you can increase your blog audience (without spending money on paid placements).
Instead of selling, consider sharing useful content.
Don’t sell, or at least, don’t appear to sell. People can smell that a mile away. Instead, your blog truly has to be designed to educate, entertain, engage, and inform. It has to feel like there is a person or a team of people who want to help by offering valuable information and insights, rather than a business trying to push through a poorly concealed sales agenda.
Only in this way can you get other people or blogs to share your blog post. After all, they’re intensely sensitive about their reputation and don’t want to run the risk of tarnishing it by linking to sales-pushing content, even if that site does occasionally have good content. And they are the gatekeepers to becoming part of the established industrial conversation. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t use SEO and keyword research tools. It just means you should take the time to make sure it isn’t blatant or jarring.
Make better titles.
A post titled ‘More Reader Engagement’ could mean almost anything. Is it about comments, social media, readers taking action, or what? It’s a general title that could apply to all sorts of posts.
But a post titled ‘Five Ways to Encourage Readers to Comment More Often on Your Posts’ is clear and specific. If you see that title on Twitter or in your email inbox, you’ll know exactly what you’ll get from that post.
Some business owners think a vague title will intrigue readers, who’ll then click it to find out what the post is about. The truth is, readers have won’t give you their time and attention unless you’re a personal friend. They probably won’t care enough to click, especially with vague titles.
Use Numbers Where Appropriate
If you look at any magazine cover, you’ll see that numbers are used prominently. Numbers are a great form of specificity. A post that promises ‘five ways’ is very different from a post that promises ‘100 ways’.
Here are a few examples of how different types of titles could be adapted to include numbers:
Steps to help you work more productively
5 steps to help you work more productively
My Top Lessons Learned from My First Year of Blogging
My Ten Top Lessons Learned from My First Year of Blogging
How I Dramatically Increased the Size of My Newsletter List
How I Increased the Size of My Newsletter List by a Whopping 351%
Should You Have Comments on Your Blog?
Should You Have Comments on Your Blog? Four Experts Speak Out
It won’t always make sense to use a number in the title of your post, but quite often it will. Of course, it often makes good sense to use numbers in your post, too.
Use Powerful Adverbs, Adjectives, and Phrases.
Although I’m not a fan of hype (which I’ll come to in a moment), you do need to sell your blog post a bit in the title. This means using powerful words that grab readers’ attention.
Here are a few examples of titles, with powerful adverbs, adjectives, and/or phrases highlighted:
6 Easy Ways to Grow your Company’s Blog’s Audience
Tools and Techniques to Blog Effectively on the Road
How to Use the WordPress WYSIWYG Toolbar to Format Your Blog Posts Like a Pro
9 Key Ingredients for Creating the Perfect Sales Page
Try reading each of those without the highlighted words. They still sound like interesting posts, but they aren’t quite so compelling.
Some good words to consider using are:
Words that promise something readers can do easily:
Words that promise something readers (probably) won’t already know about:
X won’t tell you (e.g. “ten secrets top bloggers won’t tell you”)
Words that position the reader alongside experts and people they look up to:
Like a pro
Professional (e.g. “the tools professional editors use”)
Words that promise a comprehensive resource:
Only (e.g. “the only guide to WordPress you’ll ever need”)
Words that warn readers of dangers to avoid:
But make sure the words are justified. Don’t say your suggestions are “easy” if they require substantial background knowledge or take a lot of time. Don’t call your 500-word blog post an ‘ultimate’ guide.
Include images in your post.
Featured images are a simple, visual way of showing readers what your content has to offer. They can also be shared on social media platforms, meaning they can play a vital role in attracting new visitors.
We recommend choosing images that are consistent and fit your brand. If you don’t have a graphic designer on staff, never fear! Tools like Canva and Crello make it easy to create great-looking featured images right from your browser.
For a really simple approach, you can always use free stock photos instead. Just be sure to always include image credits when you do.
Search engines are a massive opportunity for traffic and a great reason to invest in content marketing, yet many bloggers ignore this channel as a great way to grow your audience.
By improving your blog’s search rankings, you’ll find that everything from inbound leads to advertising inquiries to guest posting opportunities to press and discovery by major media entities all come from search.
SEO for blogs can be a lot easier and less intimidating than you might think. When you begin, you don’t have to start with hours of keyword research or technical setup. Simply brainstorming a list of keywords that you’d like your blog to appear for, doing a little research on those terms, and then finding clever ways to infuse your blog topics and writing with those words is a good start.
There are tons of resources out there for improving the SEO of your blog.
Make unique content.
Yes, it goes without saying. You’ve got to have new content. If you’re constantly just rewriting what other people are saying, your blog posts will not get any serious traction in the community. The bigger question is, “How do you do that?” What can you possibly do to actually find new content?
First of all, you should get the tools in place so that you can find the right content before it’s been beaten within an inch of its life by other bloggers. If you can regularly get the drop on new trends and new ideas, you don’t have to find as much new content, as most users won’t be able to spot the difference anyway.
To get new content, on the other hand, you need to look elsewhere. A good way forward is to regularly be in contact with experts in the field simply in order to allow them to express their opinions. The experts will appreciate this (we all like to be listened to), and if you’ve got a good editorial team working on your blog, you might well be able to pick up some fantastic nuggets before anybody else does that could be good for your blog and your business.
Besides, reaching out to experts in the name of your blog is a great way to network. First, you listen to them and write about them, and when they feel suitably grateful, you can always work on getting something, like a testimonial, for your business as well.
Another good place to look is in your internal statistics. We’re all looking for new trends, and with big data being as hot as it is, people are always interested in learning how things work. So if you’re collecting data, take a look at it and see if there’s anything interesting to write a story about. You’ll appear more transparent and more interesting, and you might just create some of the buzz you’re looking for.
Another way to get your name, point of view, and/or company in front of a broader and different audience is through guest blogging. Find a list of relevant blogs that you think might have the best crossover with the audience you’d like to connect with. Then start reaching out to the bloggers or editors who run those sites with inquiries about guest blogging opportunities. Most blogs are more than willing to accept high-quality, free content and are more than happy to put your content on the site.
There are a few strategies that will help ensure success. If it’s a larger blog with high traffic, you’ll want to pitch specific blog topic ideas in the very first inquiry email. Send a possible headline and brief synopsis of what you’d write about. It is often a lot easier to get a yes to guest blogging possibility when the editor knows what to expect from you – and knows it’ll be high quality content. In this vein, it can also be smart to send over examples of other work you’ve done. Send links to a few of your favorite/best posts you’ve written. Lastly, make sure you write all original content for any guest posting you do.
Accepting guest submissions, or asking other writers you know and admire to guest blog, can also be a great way to drive their audience to your company’s site. If another blog has a substantial following, a post by them on your site could help establish your credibility, expose you to a larger audience, and help you gain new followers.
Blog marketing is rarely a short-term, quick-fix thing. It takes time, patience, and dedication. Only if you’re willing to put in the hours to make it work will you actually get the returns that you’re looking for. So don’t expect it to work out immediately. You’ve got to keep plugging away and wait for it to take off before you’re going to see the returns that you’re looking for.
That said, those returns will be impressive if you can stay the course, stay consistent, and produce high-quality material. If you’re on the inside and your blog is a site people regularly refer to, you will barely have to push your content as people will be pulled in by other websites making use of it.
It can take a long time consistently hammer on a company’s blog or content strategy before you will see any success. Unlike some paid techniques, earning page views, traffic, and inbound leads from a blog can be a long and arduous process. It is not uncommon for company blogs to take two years before tangible benefits come to fruition. However, those who stick to the program and continually focus on putting out great content on a consistent basis will often eventually find success. While many companies will throw in the towel after a year or less of work, those who stick it out will often be rewarded with improved SEO, loyal audiences, lots of social shares, and plenty of brand equity.