What we learned about blog traffic after posting 100,000 tweets

Blog traffic: What we've learned

Using social media to promote your business and drive blog traffic can feel like an uphill battle.

The more you do the more it feels like you’re in the same place.

And it can raise lots of questions:

What works?

How much should I post?

How often should I post?

At BlogWorks we thought there must be some lessons learned about how to increase blog traffic after sending out over 100,000 tweets for our clients.

In that time we also posted 100,414 tweets, 24,947 Facebook updates, 25,000 LinkedIn updates and 23,000 updates to Google+ (but, who’s counting?)

But, before we get to what we learned…

why did we send out so many tweets?

BlogWorks was created to solve one problem: more traffic for bloggers. We save our clients hundreds of hours by promoting their blog to their social media channels. Our team of talented editors (all based in Canada) work from your blog to create daily social media updates designed to bring more readers back to their blog.

For every client, we are reading their latest blog posts and turning those into Facebook updates, LinkedIn updates and Tweets. Lots of them.

Back to lessons learned:

The first insight (and we saw this over and over) is you have to deliver value.

DELIVER VALUE

If your blog is going the be the start of your sales funnel it needs to be about pain – the pain your prospects want to go away.

It might sound harsh, but with all the information available for free, why else would someone stop to read your blog unless you have something they need?

Starting with pain is the start to delivering value—you need to deliver valuable advice and solutions with every post.

This brings up a common question we get: “Why are you guys so damn amazing?”

No, not that question (although we do get that a lot).

This question:

“Should I be GIVING AWAY my best stuff?”

Every time we hear that question, our answer is always the same: “YES!”

Imagine going to a lawyer or accountant and they won’t give you any advice until you pay them? Or a fitness instructor who doesn’t share videos of workouts or post healthy eating advice online unless you pay first?

You have to “give away” value to prove you are the right choice. And don’t worry about people taking your free advice and running off to solve all their problems – very few will and those aren’t the people you want anyway.

For example, nobody goes home and tries to be their own lawyer (we hope not) or do their own accounting. Giving your best stuff in your blog is how you attract their right prospects and how your prospects choose you.

Back to your topics, here’s a quick test for your blog:

  1. are your blogs aligned with what you sell? For example, a realtor’s blog might be about getting a listing, working with a realtor, how to get the best price, etc.
  2. would your prospects pay for this information? Or at the very least, would they share the article?
  3. do you provide actionable advice? In fact, is your advice an example of what a prospect will enjoy once they hire you?
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The more aligned with your audience’s pain, valuable and actionable the better the results: the post on the left got 313 shares, the one on the left 16.

Once you’re committed to delivering value it’s time to test the waters.

TEST THE WATERS

Despite all the advice about blogging online and driving blog traffic, the reality is you need to experiment.

We discovered that with just a bit of experimentation, but also by keeping an eye on what works (more on that in a minute) you can quickly discover what your prospects are hungry for.

Let’s look at how this works:

Here’s an example of an “Editorial Grid” for a fashion make over expert (this is the person you hire if you think paisley and bell-bottoms are making a come back).

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By experimenting across the Editorial Grid, it’s possible to track what is getting the best response.

In this chart you can see dozens of possible blog topics, all under 5 main sub-topics (career, relationships, confidence, etc). Down the left-hand side are styles of blogs (how to, fact based, mistakes to avoid, etc.)

By experimenting with different topics written with different styles, it’s possible to measure what’s getting the best response.

If fact, this was easy for us—because BlogWorks guarantees consistent promotion, we can see what posts are doing better than others.

Once you’ve published a dozen or so posts you can use Google Analytics to see which ones are the most popular.

The more you post, the better your results.

To see your most popular (by traffic) blog posts the chart you want to look at is Behaviour>Overview. These are hot topics you should continue to write posts about and promote to keep that blog traffic coming.

social media management

These are topics you should be revisiting with new posts, new content for older posts and more promotion.

The sooner you start testing the waters the sooner you’ll build a bridge from blog reader to customer.

Now that you’re delivering value and learning what works, it’s time to promote your content and drive more blog traffic.

PROMOTE YOUR BLOG

Even the best content needs to be promoted – especially if you want your blog traffic to result in new prospects.

That’s where social media comes in.

When you share your blog on your social media channels you get access to followers who are not yet prospects or clients – most aren’t even on your email list.

There are two types of social sharing:

organic sharing is when your readers share your blog to their followers. A simple improvement to get more organic sharing is to install the sumo.com social share bar on your wordpress site. This is a floating bar (it’s horizontal along the bottom of the display on mobile) that follows the reader as they read down through your blog. Even the free version does a great job.

outbound sharing is when you share your blog to your followers. Most people do a terrible job of this. Frankly, it’s a lot of work (see below to learn how BlogWorks does this). The trick is to give every new blog post lots of attention, but to also keep your “anchor posts” in rotation.

buzzsumo.com

You can use buzsumo.com to discover your most shared blog posts.

Anchor posts are the 3-4 posts that discover the most social shares (use www.buzzsumo.com to discover those posts) or most traffic (use Google Analytics>Behaviour>Overview). We see the best results when these posts are promoted on social media 2-3 times every month.

When we talk about social media, it’s easy to worry that you don’t have enough followers.

BUT I DON’T HAVE A LOT OF FOLLOWERS

The good news is:

more is not always better.

We decided to test this theory and see if more Twitter followers leads to more site traffic. After all it would make sense that if I have 10,000 followers on Twitter seeing my updates, it should result in more coming to my site than if I had, say 2,000 followers.

Well, maybe.

When we matched the average site traffic growth since starting with BlogWorks, with their current Twitter follower count we got a surprise!

Lots of Twitter followers doesn’t always mean better results.

It turns out the biggest gain in site traffic (in many cases our clients grew their site traffic by over 20% per month using BlogWorks) was with 2,000-10,000 Twitter followers. Even people with a small number of Twitter followers (under 500) were getting over 16% monthly increase in site traffic.

So, what does this tell us?

We know that generally someone with a huge Twitter following (like over 10,000) is doing A LOT of other things to promote their site and already has lots of traffic to their site. They are less likely to see a big jump in traffic, compared to someone with fewer Twitter followers.

And this is good news!

This means that even with a smaller Twitter following you can still get amazing growth in your home base traffic.

The trick to get your blog promotion done.

BLOG PROMOTION. DONE.

Imagine your blog being promoted to your social media followers every day and attracting more readers and prospects.

Awesome right?

You and I both know that’s not going to happen when you’re already putting in 12 hour days.

That’s why we created BlogWorks. We act like your private VA to get you more blog traffic.

That’s what BlogWorks does.

Your dedicated BlogWorks editor reads your blog posts and turns them into daily social media updates designed to attract more readers to your web site.

Our BlogWorks editors read each blog post and then creates daily social media updates designed to attract more readers to your web site.

But we do a lot more than that.

We also scour the web for related articles and turn those into social media updates, add hashtags, adjust posting for best time of day and double check every update before it’s posted.

That means once you publish your blog you’re DONE.

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