Getting noticed on the web
If you’re an expert or a writer, you want to get your content into the world — get known, get seen, and get noticed.
And one of the main pillars of the marketing strategy for most of us (including yours truly) is to have a blog. A content-rich site where you can share your ideas, your advice, or simply entertain your audience.
And once you have that blog, you want to get more traffic. More eyes on your content. Leading, hopefully, to more clients and customers.
But writing a blog is a lot more than putting ideas into words and crafting catchy headlines.
It’s easy to set up a blog and pour words out into the internet, but when you realise that you’re competing with around 200 million people and companies around the world who are doing pretty much the same thing, it can be a bit disheartening.
Spend more time promoting
If you already write a blog, you already instinctively know this rule to be true: promotion should be equal to or more than writing time.
According to Derek Halpern of Social Triggers, a better breakdown is actually 80/20. Yep, that’s 80% of the time on promoting, and only 20% of the time on creating great content.
It seems counter-intuitive, but the way Halpern supports this claim, really makes a lot of sense:
If you’ve spent hours creating one great blog post that can help 100,000 people, but you only have an audience of 1,000 – does it make more sense to toil away at another post for those same 1,000 people, or to bring those other 99,000 people to your original post?
It might seem to be the easy route to continue to great create content and hope that people will find it or share it — but it really does make sense to put some extra effort into finding and introducing new readers to your content.
And, let’s face it, sometimes we run out of ideas. And if we feel like no-one is reading our content, then it’s demoralising. And there’s nothing like being ignored to quash your motivation.
What you need to do instead, is increase your traffic, get more readers, and boost your engagement. Suddenly putting content out becomes a joy because people are reading it and responding to you. It’s a conversation, not an empty monologue.
Get more readers
OK, let’s assume that you have the great content: step one checked.
Now, how do you make it reach more people? And how do you reach them in ways that aren’t difficult, expensive, or sleazy.
Using click-bait headlines like we see on some of the celebrity websites might work at one level, but it’s more than likely not the level you want to lower yourself to.
And stuffing your posts full of SEO-heavy phrases is another way; but SEO is a long-haul and keyword rich blog posts don’t always make for easy reading.
So what’s the route to effective and sustainable promotion?
If you think about your own behaviour on the internet, you’ll begin to realise that you’re in a highly interconnected and interactive network. And it’s this hyper-connectivity that you can use to your advantage to grow your reach and your visibility.
We’re all online and we’re part of networks, whether we realise it or not. It’s time to exploit those connections, and in ways that increase blog traffic, get you closer to that 80/20 rule of promotion, and build your readership month by month.
And without endlessly putting new content into a vacuum. Let’s have a look at our top three strategies.
1. Blogger outreach
Links from influencers and well-regarded, traffic-rich sites are the holy grail of building an audience. You build the reputation of your own site with those incoming links, and you get ongoing traffic referred from a reliable source.
It can give you both good quality traffic, and a good quantity of traffic.
But getting those mentions on other sites can seem hard — or expensive. Some companies pay for sponsored posts — or they solicit reviews to get paid or unpaid mentions.
The good news is even your small site, or your evolving personal brand, can use the same tactic as the big guys to promote your site.
There are two main ways you can go about this outreach strategy:
A. Connect with people who are already writing about you
Firstly, simply Google to find out if people are already writing about you or your product, or sharing your blog posts without linking back to your website. If they are, send them a friendly message, asking if a link can please be added – most web owners or bloggers will be fine with that.
B. Connect with influencers and ASK them to write about you
The second way is a bit more complicated: getting influencers to promote your content and your blog for free. Brian Dean talks about this strategy of blogger outreach on Boost Blog Traffic (a great resource, by the way, for teaching you how to get more traffic to your blog).
Some sites seem to arrive out of nowhere, but Dean explains that there’s usually a carefully crafted strategy of outreach behind this overnight success.
You have to identify your ‘targets’, connect with them and start to build a relationship, and then, finally, you make the ask. Not a cold email out of nowhere, but part of a carefully crafted, long-term strategy.
Basically, the idea is to identify bloggers who follow you, bloggers who have audiences that overlap with yours, and bloggers who have more influence than you. And you work your way up to asking them to help you out.
They might do this by talking about your product, your book, or your recent blog post and linking to it, or adding you in on one of their blog ‘listicles’ where relevant, or even invite you to guest post on their site (more of this below).
The aim is, essentially, to get your link and your name onto a domain name that has more clout than your own.
2. Use your book (you’re an author!)
You have a book — or you’re close to completion — so use it to drive more traffic.
And we know all about the power of a book, right? Neil Patel cites this strategy as #1 in his post on 7 strategies to get more traffic to your blog.
The key to making this work is to have links in your book.
Just think, if someone is reading your ebook on a kindle or a device like a smartphone or an iPad, there’s a good chance that they’re connected to the internet. And if they’re connected to the internet, they can click on a link.
So you must use links strategically in your book to bring people back to your website.
You have to be a little careful that your links are not overly promotional, but there are a couple of ways around this.
A. ‘Resources’ page on your site
First of all consider creating a resource page with further reading, or other material, such as video, related to the material in your book. And make this the main link throughout your content.
B. Multimedia content in your book
And a second way to do this, is to link to separate blog posts or specific pages on your site, that are relevant to the content in, say, a chapter of the book. A kind of ‘further reading’ list relevant right there and then.
Perhaps multimedia content to enhance the learning, or give an other dimension to the characters in your book?
And once you have your book set up for traffic, then you just need to get the word out. You might have a really popular book that people are buying but, if not, then use the power of free.
If you’re with Amazon’s kdp select programme, you can give your book away for 5 days out of every 90. It’s a great way to reach new people — and all with the aim of building your audience and your email list.
Because the value of a subscriber is likely to be many times the value of a single book purchase.
3. Guest blogging
Guest blogging on someone else’s blog is a great way to establish your credibility quickly, as well as exposing you to an audience that might be 90% new to you.
And of course, the backlinks to your own website also help!
The process of guest blogging is essentially the same as with blogger outreach: determine which blogs you will approach based on the size of their audience, the relevance to their audience to you, and their social influence.
After you’ve targeted several blogs that suit you, it’s time to pitch a guest post. KISSmetrics wrote a great article about how to time your pitch, and how to make sure that it will be accepted by your target, as well as how to write the perfect guest post that works for your host blog, and your own blog.
Again, it takes a bit of research and planning, and there’s plenty of potential to make mistakes. But you could be rewarded with a big influx of new fans, and a healthy boost to your email list.
You’ve got it, now flaunt it
Finally, don’t forget that online networking is a two way street. Everything that you are doing to generate more traffic, everyone else is trying to do as well.
Make sure you offer guest posting opportunities to bloggers that fit your own website, and give them a hand.
Not only does it diversify your content and give a different perspective, but they’re sure to promote their post on your blog, which brings a whole new bunch of eyes to your screen.
Engage with comments on your blogs that offer new, insightful ideas – you might be collaborating in the not so distant future – and keep an open mind when bloggers on the tier below you approach you with outreach requests.
Karma on the internet is real, and if you give someone below you a helping hand, you’re more than likely to receive that help back ten-fold from those above you.
Which of these are you doing, and which can you add? Let us know on social media…