In the second post in this series, we compared two approaches for posting to a blog and social media.
The successful content in our real life example opened with a powerful title and captivating image, and then delivered even more value to me than promised. The content was highly shareable and they prompted me to subscribe to their list in exchange for a ebook I felt I simply must have. The ebook again over-delivered, and I now find myself waiting eagerly for the next extremely helpful edition of their newsletter updates. Superb marketing!
The crash and burn example, on the other hand, was typical old school interruption marketing. They seized every opportunity to sell, sell, sell. (Their sales manager must have been so proud.) Their approach was extremely inconsiderate of my valuable time and I couldn’t click away fast enough. I did not share their brochure-style post with my readers and I certainly wasn’t stupid enough to subscribe to their list, so I could get more of their marketing hype in my inbox each week. Epic fail!
Where awesome blog posts go wrong
A small business has a new brochure printed. They’ve laboured over every word, image and placement, and finally it’s perfect, ready to go to press. The next afternoon the cartons arrive from the printer. How exciting! The heavy glossy cover stock is elegant, and they’re as impressive as visualized. A flood of leads and perhaps even a Clio seem a foregone conclusion. It’s late in the day, so they sign for the packages, then ask the delivery driver to place the boxes in the supply cupboard.
Three months later, those cartons are still on the shelves in boxes. How much value have they been to the company’s marketing? “Absolutely none,” you say. And why is that? “Duh! Because they were never distributed.” Aside from a few pulled to show to colleagues, family and friends, they never saw the light of day.
That’s exactly how your new blog post works for you without distribution and one hell of a lot of promotion… it’s totally invisible.
Without promotion, something terrible happens… nothing.
– P T Barnum
You must distribute and promote your content
1. Make your content epic, so people need to share it. So what is “epic” content? My favourite definition is, it’s the best damn page on the internet for the topic and targeted keyword phrase. Take a moment to re-read the previous part of this post.
But it's more than epic content. Every piece you post needs to count. It’s not a task to check off your to do list. (If that’s what blogging has become, you should hire a passionate blogger that can fall in love with your brand and mission.) It's storytelling in a way that touches and compels your readers, igniting a desire to share it with someone they know immediately.
Sharing is a transference of feelings. That's never going to happen if your reader comes away feeling nothing. The email ad that rattled off the specs of a battery left me cold, but the previous blog post example, that described the woman stranded beside the road, captured my emotions.
You’re writing 1,000+ words of actionable content that resonates with the reader persona you’ve defined. This goes well beyond fluff or even useful information. They feel you understand them, their needs, their desires and passions — you’re like them — and they believe you know how to help them solve their problem and get more out of their lives. Dare I say, there’s love evident in the post, there's a connection, and they believe you care enough that they could actually contact you with a question.
2. Make your content ridiculously easy to share. If your blog doesn’t already have them, you want to install social media buttons that are always right by the post.
3. Share the love in order to receive it. As you research information for your blog post, take note of the influential blogs in your niche. If you begin linking to their content, and crediting the writer’s as authorities, you can expecting them to return the favour in time.
Comment on other blog posts in your niche. Adding value to another blog, by providing quality comments, is a one of the best ways to have readers on other blogs discover yours. Look for the “Luv.” If you see the CommentLuv icon below the comment fields at the bottom of post, on a WordPress site, and you’ve installed CommentLuv on yours, when you leave a comment your last post automatically receives a link for their readers to follow.
4. Email your subscriber list for instant traffic. Building your list is arguably the most important reason to have a business website. (I’ll be covering this more in the next post.) People may not check their Facebook wall within minutes of your release a blog post notification, but they will come across it in their inbox, if they have subscribed.
5. Share each post in the major social networks, with care. There is a time and place for shortcuts. I admit that I use Buffer and Hootsuite to publish time-release posts of curated content from other sites. But when I promote my own content, I believe it’s worth a few minutes of my time to get it right.
I do not understand bloggers who will research and labor over a post for hours or days, carefully choose the perfect image, proof it again several times and finally click “Publish”, to put it online. And after it’s live, they’ll edit it a dozen more times… only to bang out an automated post to several social media channels. Talk about dropping the ball only inches from the goal posts.
You may have noticed that each of the major social sites has it’s own posting criteria. A one-size-fits-all post will not be ideal for both Twitter and Google+ for example. You only have 140 characters on Twitter, so tags are usually formed out of words within the post. On Google, placing them on a line below is usually best. When linking to someone in Twitter, you use the “@“ prefix, whereas it’s “+” at Google+. G+ lets you use huge hero images that span the entire feed… you get the point. Check out SproutSocial’s post, for the most up-to-date image sizes.
6. Syndicate to other blogs to grab some of their audience. You want to begin compiling a list of other blogs in your niche that may accept syndicated content and will re-publish your posts. This allows you to tap into their audience.
7. Guest post on other blogs. This is another brilliant way to build your authority in your niche, and also an awesome way to tap into the audience of other influential blogs.
8. Re-purpose your content. As you build your content inventory, you can re-post some of your better pieces periodically, and it’s unlikely your readers will remember. You're leveraging your existing content assets.
This is a good time to make your content better. Do you have additional information you could add to make the post more up-to-date or relevant? Can the title be made stronger? Is there a better image you could use to illustrate the post’s topic?
Hard core bloggers/promoters will have a much longer list, but these 8 steps should help you get more traffic to your posts almost immediately. As you begin implementing these promotional techniques you should begin seeing a very noticeable spike in traffic within a few hours of each post.
In the last post I’ll cover the marketing funnel and how you’re going to convert your new readers into subscribers whose buying decisions you can influence on a regular basis, with their full permission.