“What should busy business owners do to get better results from their blog?”I wanted simple strategies that could be implemented to build a better blog even with the busiest schedule. And I wanted long-game strategies. After all, blogging is not about quick-fix, sudden windfall marketing tricks. Right? You have a blog because you understand the power of attracting followers and building loyalty. And we all know that getting good things in life often takes time.
Reader warning:If you are 20-something and spend most of your time watching YouTube videos about SEO tricks and long-tail keyword research this post is not for you.
- Keep the faith
- Answer your audience
- Reach out to others
- Rework what’s already working
- Write to be shared
1. Keep the faithYou are going to want to quit…most bloggers do. After all, unless you have a team or have outsourced the whole process, writing, editing, publishing and promoting your blog is … a lot of work! But the results can be better than any other form of advertising or marketing you invest in. Your blog can be found and read years later (even one year after being published, this post on my personal blog still attracts over 7,500 readers per month), generating leads for your business without you having to do anything. The trick is to keep the faith.
“Start doing what you want to do.” wrote author and blogger, Harsh Agrawal, “You will only get better with time.”
2. Answer your audienceThe most important lesson in marketing is (I’m putting it in caps so you can’t miss it):
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER.Yet it’s surprising how many bloggers seem to have picked their topics using an Ouija board. If you can’t prove you know your customer, it’s like ignoring your customer. And nothing drives business away faster than ignoring your customer. Nothing drives business away faster than ignoring your customer. Click To Tweet Imagine you want to buy a new phone. You’ve got lots of questions. You want to buy the perfect phone. But, instead of getting someone interested in listening, answering your questions and helping to narrow down your choices, you got a commission-driven, fast-talking sales person who wastes your time telling you all the ways he uses his phone. Ugh.
“Whatever anyone’s objections, concerns, unknowns, etc. might be,” wrote blogger, podcaster and author, Pat Flynn “your posts should be published to address them.”
In our nano-second, attention deprived lifestyle, the more targeted your blog topics, the more you will attract your ideal customer.Consider the headlines of blog posts that ended up on page 1 of Google:
Leadership Qualities that will make you a better Entrepreneur – Neil Pateland one written on a similar topic that fell to page 10.
10 Essential Business Leadership SkillsNotice how the first title is more descriptive and targeted? When you read the first headline, your initial impression is that this post is going to help make you a better entrepreneur and leader. “This will help with SEO, yes,” says Flynn, “but more than that it’ll help your audience know that you know exactly what they’re going through, and they’re likely to know you have the solutions.” Whatever time of year you are reading this is a good time to do basic retargeting. Start with questions your clients have been asking you. When I started BlogWorks I used to think my customers wanted what I wanted: SEO ranking, higher site traffic numbers, and sales conversions. And while all of that is true (and this is an important point) – those were not the core benefits I needed to pay attention to.
When I really listened to what my customers were telling me on every phone call and email, an overwhelming number of inquiries were saying they just wanted to get social media off their list.Sure, they might like updating friends on Facebook, but what they didn’t want was the time-consuming, often repetitive, updating of their social media channels for their business. They wanted social media done for them. What is the single most important benefit your customers asking for?
3. Reach out to othersThe most successful businesses in history – and any successful startup owner knows this – started with a group of people working together. Your blog is no different – the sooner you build relationships, the faster your audience will grow.
“Spend more time on building the right relationships.” wrote writer and part-time entrepreneur, Ryan Robinson “If you have hopes of growing your blog’s traffic, sure you need to keep it well-stocked with high-quality content—that’s a given in today’s world. However, the biggest way you can truly stand out from the crowd (and see your content rise to the top of organic search rankings) is by building meaningful relationships with other brands, bloggers, and business owners in your industry.”
And it all starts with giving back.“Work hard to deliver value to others that already have an existing audience of established readers you’d like to reach.” wrote Robinson. In addition to commenting on a blog you admire, reach out with a direct message (DM) on Twitter or comment in LinkedIn to the author. You might be surprised how reaching out with a personal note of appreciation will get the notice of even the most popular online personality.
In fact, that’s how I got input from the authors you are reading about in this post!You might be surprised how reaching out with a personal note of appreciation will get the notice of even the most popular online personality. Click To Tweet “After building up some goodwill,” continues Robinson, “pitch them on writing a guest post that’ll give you the opportunity to get in front of their audience, bring some new readers back to your blog, and all the while continue growing the number of high authority links that point back to your site. This naturally takes time, but the payoff, in the long run, is unbeatable.”
4. Rework what’s already workingIn 2013, entrepreneur and co-founder of Flickr, Stewart Butterfield was ready to abandon his failing online game platform and let all his staff go. The money he’d raised was running out and the game wasn’t going to be ready on time. But there was a simple communication tool his team had invented for their own use that Butterfield could see had some market potential.
“And it was only once we had decided to shut down the game that we realized, like, hey, this system is actually pretty good. We would never work without a system like this again. Like, this – it’s so much better than anything else we had used before. Maybe other people would like it.” Stewart Butterfield, NPR, How I Built ThisThat simple tool, now known as Slack now boasts 8 million daily users and a market value in the billions. Not bad for a company that 5 years before was close to folding. Every blogger has a hidden gem in their archives that should be reworked and brought to light.
“Before you write another new blog post,” wrote Rich Brooks, CEO of Flyte New Media, “’rehab’ some previous posts that may need some updating.”
5. WRITE TO BE SHAREDI’ll let you in on a little secret. In fact, this secret changed the way I think about blogging. Completely. Here it is: people share what makes them look smart. Think about it: after you listen to a podcast you enjoyed, notice what part of it you shared with a friend? Or why did you retweet that update about your industry, or share a blog post? Sure, you want to be helpful, but a part of you is also saying “Hey, look at what I discovered!” After all, we don’t share stuff that’s boring, commonplace or that we think a friend, or our followers on social media, already know about. We share to be helpful, but also because it makes us look smart. On social media people share content that makes them look smart. Tell a friend Now, flip that around and look at your latest blog post.
- Is it something readers will share?
- Have you shared clever insights or frameworks?
- Did you unravel a nagging problem lots of people struggle with?
“No one cares about your blog,” wrote author, blogger and entrepreneur Johnathan Milligan, “unless you are adding value to their lives in some way.”