To say this is a turbulent year is an understatement, it is like saying Godzilla was a little careless when he walked around Tokyo.
It seems like everything we knew about the world has flipped upside-down.
With all of the upheaval, it is good to know that there are some tried and true marketing tactics that still work.
Blogging is one of them.
Blogging is an efficient way for your business to build trust, form relationships with readers, and meet people where they are at in the sales cycle.
Honestly, blogging is like the breakfast taco of marketing – a whole bunch of greatness in one package.
In fact, did you know that
- Businesses that blog get 55% more website traffic than companies that don’t?
- 77% of internet users read blog articles.
- B2B blogs get 67% more leads than non-blogging businesses.
However, for the majority of business blogs these stats seem like straight up lies!
For most businesses blogging is more along: you had this great idea for a blog, you wrote some content, no one came and now you want to know why.
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet that takes you from 1 to 100,000 readers overnight.
However, in this blog post I provide you with some real insights you can take to start building attracting an audience to your business blog.
1. Know Your Audience
Before you can begin attracting your target audience, you first need to know who your audience is.
Who’s reading your blog currently?
Are your readers hip millennials or are we talking about Dilbert here?
If you understand who already loves your content, you can create more content that both continues to attract your current audience and attracts more people similar to your current audience.
- Write about what interests them.
- Answer questions they’re asking.
- Solve their specific pain points.
- Basically be a good host who shows interest to the people who visit your page.
One thing to note – you don’t just want readers who will read…you want readers who will become customers.
If your blog isn’t focused on potential customers, you could bring in a lot of traffic, sure, but if visitors aren’t interested in your business, that traffic is like crying subtitles – completely useless.
Don’t worry, though.
You can avoid all that trouble once you understand your audience.
Your content will be stronger, focused, and more useful and relevant.
More importantly your blog will be profitable.
Here’s how to know your target audience:
Know Your Audience #1: Review past blog performance
Create similar topics and formats based on what has worked for you and your audience in the past.
To find your best performing blogs go to your Google Analytics account and in the left hand ribbon go to behavior > site content > all pages. On that report look at blog pages that are get lots of pageviews and have a low bounce rate.
Know Your Audience #2: Talk with your sales team.
Salespeople are an under-rated resource when it comes to learning about customers and prospects. They are the ones talking to them every day and really getting to know their customers personalities and quirks.
Take your salesperson out for a coffee (salespeople live off coffee) and find out what types of people are already buying from you.
Ask what the most common questions and objections they get are. Try to get a specific idea of who your audience is – what they like and who they are.
You can just as easily create content around a question or a powerful piece of content that overcomes an objection.
Know Your Audience #3: Research what content your audience shares
People share content that resonates with them and that they find useful. That’s the type of content you want to create more of.
To find the type of content people share I use the tool ahrefs – I have no affiliation with them – just think they are a good tool.
You can go to aHrefs “Top Content” tab and see how many times a particular article has been shared on social.
A good weasel move is to not only do this with your content but to also research what type of content is shared the most from your competitors. You can then create content that models their topics, ideas and structure.
If you’re a new blogger, you can always start with who you want to target and then adjust it as you learn more.
Once you understand who your audience is, you can double down on creating epic content for them.
2. Create Epic Content
The #1 rule in blogging is to create quality content.
No matter your audience, no matter how much keyword research you do – if your content is bad you are sunk.
Readers can tell the difference between:
- An article thrown together because it had to be…
- And an article that’s crafted by someone passionate about the topic who knows how to write clearly.
Google can tell, too (but then again Google knows all!!!!)
How to Create Epic Content #1: Have a take, don’t suck
This principle comes from one of my radio mentors (and fellow UCSB Gaucho) Jim Rome who tells callers to “Have a take and don’t suck”. It is simple advice, and it works.
Create a “voice” on your blog that resonates with your readers.
Once you have your voice, readers grow to love not only your content but your business as well.
This voice is vital because people connect with people – not bland manilla content. When you think about it – your blog is not just competing with other blogs – it is competing with life.
Your content needs to have personality. I think some blogs that do this really well are:
- Blog with personality example 1: James Altucher – He really just is who he is. He built his empire off of blogging. His voice comes through on all of his blogs.
- Blog with personality example 2: James Clear – He writes about habit forming and science in a way that is uniquely his voice.
- Blog with personality example 3: UnBounce – Oli and the team at unBounce produce content in a voice that is friendly and also knowledgeable. When you read an UnBounce blog it is clearly an unBounce blog.
How to Create Epic Content #2: Be actionable
Make sure your posts are actionable.
It is important that every post provides concrete steps, preferably with screenshots. You want your reader to have everything they need to accomplish their goal after reading the post.
- Example of actionable blog: Here is a great example of an actionable blog from benlcollins who walks you through step by step how to use the Google Sheets Custom Number Format (I also highly recommend his courses to learn advanced google sheets). Note how he breaks it down and uses screenshots to illustrate his steps.
How to Create Epic Content #3: Use real world examples
It is so frustrating to read someone drone on and on about ideas without real world concrete examples.
There is something about seeing a principle or idea in real life that creates a “light bulb moment” and provides clarity.
- Example of concrete examples: Peep Laaja and the team at conversionXL are probably the best at using real world examples. The linked to post shows example after example which helps to clarify their ideas.
How to Create Epic Content #4: Make it easy to read
Make your content easy to digest, scannable, and enticing.
Additionally, don’t use big words that are unnecessary to make yourself sound smart.
- Tip: Use the hemingwayapp to keep your writing clear and concise. This free app helps you write in the same style as Ernest Hemingway wrote – clear and concise (and drunk).
3. Promote Your Content
Now that you have something worth talking about, it is time to spread the word.
You want to promote in all of the appropriate channels to get your epic content in front of your audience’s eyes.
How to Promote Your Content #1: Optimize your content for search
Optimizing your content for search engines (SEO) is essential to driving qualified traffic to your blog because….google runs the internet.
Here are a couple of tips to optimize your blog:
- Do keyword research. You can use a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to find relevant keywords. Look for words and phrases with high search volume and low competition.
- Weave target keywords throughout your blog post. Incorporate them into your title, subheadings, alt text, and meta description.
- Make images as small as you can without sacrificing quality – I like to use smush if you are using wordpress for your blog.
- Incorporate your primary keyword into your website URL before publishing. Make the URL as short as possible.
- Use section headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to break up the text.
- Make paragraphs short.
- Make sure your blog is responsive (mobile friendly) and speedy. At this point if your blog doesn’t work on mobile, you need to work on your site before you work on your content.
How to Promote Your Content #2: Post on forums
Forums like Quora and Reddit are great places to share your expertise with others. You can also build backlinks to your website.
Search for topics of relevance to your industry. Look for questions you can answer in depth. Then answer those questions well, and conclude by linking back to your business blog for more information.
Below is an example from Quora on if divorce laws are unfair:
If I were a divorce lawyer looking to promote my blog I would have a take on this, answer the question and then allow them to have further reading on the blog. This is known as the “band-aid” technique where you provide immediate answers to the smaller question, and then get them further down the sales funnel to answer the root cause of their problems.
How to Promote Your Content #3: Use paid channels
Create ads to promote your content, and target a particular niche of people.
This is an especially good tactic because it guarantees your content gets in front of the audience.
Some of the most popular platforms for paid promotion are:
To gain the most traction through paid promotion, share your top-performing content. Also, make sure you target specific audiences when setting up ads.
On Facebook, you can create specific lists based on contacts’ interests and demographics. By running different ads to different contact lists, you can discover which groups are most interested in your content.
As an example, wordStream does a great job of promoting their content through social media. Below is an example of their guide for facebook ads:
How to Promote Your Content #4: Promote on social (for free)
Use your research from before to see where your audience hangs out and meet the audience where they are at.
Popular social platforms for promoting content for your business blog include:
Encourage people to engage with your posts by including calls to action.
Ask questions, and make it easy for users to share the content with their audience as well.
In Don’t be afraid to share. It can be scary at first putting your content out there, because you will for sure get some negative comments. There is just no way around it – by definition if you have a take then it opposes someone else’s.
Don’t be afraid to share blog posts more than once!
Chances are, most people won’t see your post twice anyways. Switch up the social media content.
Then you can share the same article multiple times on the same platform to drive more traffic back to your website. You can use different images, calls to action, etc.
Here are a few more tips for attracting an audience using social media:
- Share other businesses’ content (hoping they’ll return the favor).
- Interact with your followers so they know you care about them (and to increase engagement).
- Join groups and communities with members interested in your content. You’ll find countless groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.
- Place social icons on your blog posts so people can share them.
- Use properly sized images for each platform.
How to Promote Your Content #4: Use your community
You don’t always have to wait around for the right people to find you. Outreach is another effective strategy for building a solid audience for your blog.
You can expand your reach by contacting influencers in your space. You can also reach out to other businesses, journalists, friends, and colleagues.
Email is one of the easiest and most common ways to reach out to people and ask if they can help promote your content.
To find influencers in your niche, just Google the keyword you’re searching for and add “influencers” at the end of your query.
Reach out to leads by writing personalized emails asking if they’d be willing to try any of the following:
- A blog swap (you each write a post and publish on each other’s blogs).
- Publish a guest blog post (from you) on their website.
- Interview for one of your articles (that you can tag them in and ask them to share).
- Share your blog post on social media.
- Link to your blog.
- Appear as a guest on your podcast.
Ready to Attract Your Target Audience to Your Business Blog?
If you’re interested in partnering with Nerds Do It Better, we’d love to talk with you. We’ll start by getting to know about your business and goals.
Then we’ll show you how to turn your website into a lead-generating machine.
Schedule a consult with us today.