February 1, 2016
Ever wonder what makes one blog popular and another flop?Or why one blog builds a solid readership, while another struggles to find an audience?There's no doubt about it.Starting a business blog isn't easy. But growing one? That's even harder.From content to promotion, growing your blog and making it profitable takes time.But here's the good news.If you've wondered how to grow your blog without a big budget or marketing team, there is a way!And I've proven this time and again.Today I'm sharing some simple building blocks.Read on to learn four steps you can immediately take to grow your blog the right way.
If I asked you why you want to start a blog, would you know the answer?Can you articulate what your blog will do to support business goals?If not, don't start a blog.If you already have a blog, stop writing immediately. Sound harsh? Consider this.Blogging without a plan is as useful as cleaning the house with a party going on. Oh sure, you might gain a little traction, but you'll end up backtracking, and eventually starting all over.If you started your blog with a loosely defined plan, then what you have is an erratic content strategy at best.Without clarity in direction, mission and strategic goals, you'll limp along.Want to create your blogging goals? Start with this goal setting worksheet.[clickToTweet tweet="Map your #socialmedia success! Grab this 10 step worksheet to Make Your Social Media Goals Stick." quote="Map Your Social Media Success! Grab this 10 step worksheet to Make Your Social Media Goals Stick."]Important Blog Questions to Answer
It’s a noisy online world with millions of blogs authored every day. If you want to stand out, you need to get strategic.Commit to SMART goals. Goals that push you towards something tangible, concrete and trackable.
No matter what industry you're in, one thing is certain. Content is a constant and gaining customer attention is at a premium.Make yours stand out through defined blog goals backed by an actionable plan.[clickToTweet tweet="Your blog content can stand out through defined goals and an actionable plan. Set yours today!" quote="Your blog content can stand out through defined goals and an actionable plan. Set yours today!"]
There's a whole lot more to blogging than writing. Don't believe me? Just ask any successful blogger what the key to their success is.What drives blog traffic, leads and conversions?The answer is simple. They know who their market is, what they need and how to solve their problem(s). Then they produce content with that audience in mind.Just like those bloggers, you have an ideal blog audience. They’re уоur customers, prospective buyers or users. Do you know them inside out?If you want to run a successful blog, you must create content for your ideal reader. That makes research a must.So, where do you begin?First, get crystal clear on your specific market. List their qualities, demographics, skills and any other important information.Here's what that might look like:Persona Description (example)
Persona ResourcesThese details can come from many sources:
Creating a persona can help you better focus on your core reader and customer. Not sure how to get started? Use this Persona Template from HubSpot.
Solve The ProblemYour next step is to write down the top 5-10 problems you solve for your reader/customer.For example, if you're a productivity coach, you might help business owners:
Or you might be a local daycare provider. Your blog addresses the challenges all parents of small children face. You talk about teething, potty training, sleeping through the night, and how to get them to eat their peas and carrots. Or at least that's what I remember from those days many years ago.Now think about it. Those issues are very different from ones faced by parents of teenagers. What you write about, the topics you tackle and how you position your content - should all have this audience in mind.[clickToTweet tweet="Your blog topics and the content you write must have a specific audience in mind. Here's how!" quote="Your blog topics and the content you write must have a specific audience in mind. Here's how!"]Not 100% sure who your market is? Start here.How to Define Your Target Market (answer these questions)
Being clear about your exact market will allow you to tailor your content and your message in a specific way.Do Your Due DiligenceYour next step is research. You're going to research the topics you listed above. Each one will become topics within your blog, allowing you speak to that challenge.Now this is where it gets really fun. You're going to turn to Google to search for terms around the problems you solve.You'll search based on the words/phrases your potential readers, users and buyers would actually type or say. What are they asking Google, Siri or any other search engine when looking for your product or service? In other words, what is the intention behind their need?Probably not going to be "work smarter." Instead they might ask, "what are the top productivity tips for business professionals?See how conversational that is? Not the traditional SEO tactics we once knew. Those tactics have made a radical shift. The days of "tricking" search engines with keyword placement and stuffing are long gone.Today, it's all about user intent, the value of your content and writing for the reader. And not just any reader. Writing for the reader you want, the one you've outlined in detail.As Marc Ensign puts it,
"You must do extensive "people" research. Instead of looking for the “right” keywords, we are looking for the “right” visitors. Our ideal clients. The ones that can move the needle for us. And once we know who they are, we can better understand what they need, how they search and what they expect when they land on our website. We don’t care about traffic. We care about the right traffic."
This is something we work on daily at Post Planner. Here's how our Editor in Chief, Diana Adams explains it:
For the best results, think about what kind of content would be most valuable to your audience. In other words, what is their intent? Why did they come to your blog? What kind of info are they hoping to see from you?
The best way to answer these questions is to really know your audience (your customers and potential customers). What are the struggles they face? What problems do they need solved?
Once you can figure out how to answer these questions better than anyone else in your niche, your traffic and subscribers will go up up up (and fast)!!
Now it's time to get writing. Create a spreadsheet like the one we use above to define the exact struggle and intent of your reader. Get into the details first and the writing will be a breeze![clickToTweet tweet="Writing today is about user intent, the value of your content and writing for the right reader. " quote="Writing today is about user intent, the value of your content and writing for the right reader. "]
When was the last time you went back to a blog that hadn’t been updated in months? Probably never.Staying consistent with your blogging efforts is the only way to establish your reputation and build blog credibility. After all, how can anyone take you seriously if you don’t take your blog seriously?Whether you use Google Calendar, Handle (my personal fave), or another reminder system - pick yours and stick with it.And don't get caught up in creating an elaborate content calendar. It’s as easy as picking the days you’ll write, identifying your topics and then sticking with a plan.As CoSchedule says,
The more time you spend strategizing, the less time you spend creating real content that will influence sales (which, let’s face it, is the entire reason to plan your marketing calendar).
Amen to that. Stop agonizing over the details and instead focus on what you can commit to.Can you blog once a week, twice or even three times? Think seriously about how often you can create and publish new content.Begin with at last one post per week and keep the day you publish consistent. You want to train your readers when to look for your content. Certainly this can and will change as your blogging continues, but for now, just focus on one consistent day.>>GET YOUR FREE SOCIAL MEDIA EDITORIAL CALENDAR<<Peg Fitzpatrick offers this advice,
"Once you have your editorial calendar created, you’ll find that creating more content is easier because you know just what’s coming up next. This takes some of the pressure off of creating blog content and still allows you the freedom to move articles around in the schedule or work ahead in any order that you see fit."
Remember: always put the quality of your work ahead of the quantity you produce. Only posting one quality post per week is far better than alienating your blog audience.And poorly written articles that are thrown up on your blog hastily will hurt you in more ways than one.Not sure what to add to your blog calendar? Answer these questions to add content (along with the intent above) to your schedule.
Hitting publish on your latest blog post is not your final step. In fact, it's only the beginning.If you want to get the word out and encourage blog growth, you must promote, promote, promote.That means getting your content in front of the right people. People who will take action on the content you share.That's where an email list, traditional marketing and a social media promotional strategy come in.
A blog audience isn’t going to miraculously show up at your doorstep. To get your blog noticed (and build a popular blog that keeps people coming back), you need to tell people where to find you.Start with traditional marketing. Add a link to your email signature, newsletter and other promotional items. If you're a Gmail user, a great option is Wisestamp.
Now build an email list. One of the biggest mistakes many bloggers make is creating a healthy list. Get Response offers these tips to build an email list...fast.
If you want to get the word out and grow your blog, building a list is a great way to do it. Write amazing content that goes out to just your email subscribers. Get them excited and involved in your marketing efforts.Next, leverage social media. Share your post across all of your social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and even visual networks like Pinterest and Instagram.There’s a whole new audience waiting to find you, so let them!
No matter if you’re looking to gain new leads or improve online awareness, the benefits of growing a thriving business blog can be far-reaching.If you want to succeed, make the commitment today to stay consistent with your blogging efforts.No blog succeeds overnight. It will take time and perseverance.But in the end, the results are what make the difference. Take the plunge, enjoy the ride and have fun growing your blog!