Are You Taking Full Advantage of These Blogging Tactics?
It’s Halloween. While it’s easy to become a witch just by wearing a big hat and black clothes, it’s not so easy to create a unique look like Wicked’s green-skinned Elphaba.
Unlike Halloween, blogging doesn’t have to be scary and we’ve got 31 advanced blogging tricks to maximize your business blog’s measurable results. (If you’re first starting a blog, check out our newbie blogging guide.)
Regardless of how long you’ve been blogging, you may need some help. Here’s why:
Over 50% of businesses who’ve blogged for 5+ years don’t leverage the full power of their blogs to generate measurable success according to Curata. [Note: Curata defined success as 10,000 pageviews per month.]
The biggest benefit of blogging is developing owned media that supports sales, improves search results and builds your brand.
31 Advanced blogging tricks
Here are 31 advanced blogging tricks to improve your blog results.
1. Set measurable goals associated with your business objectives
Attempting to be a Top 100 blogger in 6 months is a daunting task and won’t necessarily enhance your business.
- Choose achievable targets that contribute to your business. Be as specific as possible. For example, write 2 articles per week that answer a customer question. This is the Marcus Sheridan approach: “They ask, you answer.”
2. Know your audience
As with any content, it’s critical to understand the people you’re trying to reach so that your posts resonate with them and keep them returning for more. To this end create a targeted persona for your blog.
- Ask new subscribers for input regarding their pain points. I borrowed this tip from Derek Halpern. If someone registered, they’ll love you’re asking for their input. Try to respond to these emails. They not only help you understand your audience but also provide ideas for posts.
3. Select your blog topic with care
Since you need to focus your blog content, the more specific your niche, the better.
Your blog shouldn’t be the Wikipedia of your category.
- Assess your market to see where there are untapped opportunities. This can be difficult for newbies to do. After you’ve gotten the hang of blogging and know your topic, you can step back and refine the focus of your blog.
- Evaluate your URL. This is your blog’s address. Is it memorable and how does it work with your company or brand names? Is there value to some of the newer top-level domains?
4. Invest in your blog
Many bloggers start with a great burst of energy then quickly burn out. Your business blog requires resources both human (including content creation, copyediting, promotion and technology) and financial. Neil Patel spends a minimum of $20,000 per month on Quick Sprout.
- Write longer posts. Don’t add filler. Provide unique, quality content. Cover the topic completely. To maximize social shares, write 2,500+ words based on Buffer’s analysis. While more work, the increase is significant. Halpern spends 80% of his time promoting his content.
5. Choose your keywords based on analysis
Don’t leave your keywords to chance. Integrate your keyword research into your editorial calendar to ensure that you’ve got posts for each keyword and phrase.
- Use a tool like SEMRush to research your competitors to find the keywords for which they rank. RazorSocial’s Ian Cleary recommends using SEMRush to see keywords, estimated percentage of search traffic from those keywords, cost per click (if you advertised those keywords), and estimated search volume. If competitors gets traffic for these keywords, write better content to attract some of it.
- Link to new posts from popular past posts. Part of the strength of a blog post is how it connects to the whole.
6. Keep your blog post ideas flowing
If possible, don’t leave your blog writing until the last minute. I find that when I start too late, my blog posts take twice as long to write and are half as effective. The average blog post is 800 words and takes 2.5 hours to write according to Orbit Media’s blogging research.
- Create research or data. Andy Crestodina did a great job of this with his Blog Research. Find something new everyone takes as the truth. Crestodina got lots of links to his website and great guest opportunities.
- Mine your email outbox for post ideas. Oribt Media’s Andy Crestodina recommends looking in your sent mail folder for relevant topics. It’s full of content. It reveals what your audience is asking for and, even better, you’ve already got the rough draft!
- Get sales and customer service into the process. As your firm’s front line that interacts with prospects and customers, Sheridan recommends, “Have sales blind copy your head blogger to capture the question and answer.” In addition to reducing the need to answer it multiple times, this post will shorten the sales cycle.
- Become the Oprah of your niche. Get out and interview your influencers, customers or others. Gini Dietrich used to spotlight a social media follower for #FollowFriday. Now she reaches out to influencers. These posts perform well! (She wouldn’t keep doing them if they didn’t!) The Orbit Media blog profiles their employees. Who can you interview?
- Mention influencers in your blog posts. Don’t just focus on the top. Consider people who are at the start of their career. Take a page from me and gather input from other influencers.
7. Convince readers to dive deeper into your content
Extend your visitors’ time on your blog by getting them to scan through your entire article and seek other related information on your blog. To this end, make sure that your recommended content stands out.
- Include links to related content. On the Nielsen Norman Group’s blog, Hoa Loranger suggests using 5–7 related links per article to avoid overwhelming users. Place links at the end of each article immediately after the post. Frontload links with keywords.
8. Expand your media empire.
Offer your audience content in a variety of formats to expand your reach and build new segments of your audience.
- Start a podcast to provide audio. Mike Stelzner is the poster child for podcasting. It’s the Friday feature of Social Media Examiner’s blog. BTW: Social Media Examiner 2014 research highlighted the podcasting opportunity to get an edge.
- Get into pictures. Jay Baer has a regular video clip on his Convince and Convert blog.
- Let me teach you. Jon Loomer tested the potential of webinars with a weekly Q&A. [Jon has since moved his webinars to a paid product.]
9. Get involved with your readers
While many bloggers consider comments to be nirvana and others complain about the spam, the bottom line is that your audience wants to engage and get your feedback. Here’s what The University of Queensland’s Dr. Stephanie Tobin found:
“[F]eelings of belonging are threatened when users stop generating content or participating online, and when information they have posted does not receive a response from others.”
Big tip of my hat to Gini Dietrich; she continues to respond to her Spin Sucks blog.
- Encourage the conversation somewhere. Blogging powerhouse, Copyblogger, moved their conversation to Google+.
- Use comment software (such as Disqus) to deter spammers. The goal is to eliminate most spam, but not to prevent conversation. The more challenging the hoops you make your commenters jump through, the less they’ll participate.
10. Promote your blog everywhere
Like any other form of advertising, it’s important to continually get your message out. Your audience needs to see a promotion 5-7 times before they believe it and take action.
- Email people you mention in your blog posts. Appeal to their egos!
- Repromote your older blog posts. Many bloggers are onto the new, new thing. Focus on your best content and where appropriate update it.
- Include a link to your blog (or latest blog post) in your email signature file. Even better, change this universally for everyone in your firm for all outgoing email.
- Add a link to your blog to your customer service and purchase emails. These communications go to primary email accounts, not unread folders.
- Spotlight relevant blog posts on your product pages. The drawback of this option is that it must be done manually. Another option is to add this to your blog publishing checklist.
11. Maximize your blog post reach on social media
Once isn’t enough on social media. You’ve got to build your community and continue to be active and engaged. (For help with your social media shares, check out what you can learn from 2.6 billion social shares. Includes charts!)
- Leverage the power of your employees’ social media connections. Share your blog content within your organization and encourage your employees to share it amongst their colleagues. Of course, this assumes that you’ve got social media guidelines in place.
- Serve your blog post more than once on Twitter. Chop up your blog post to provide multiple opportunities for sharing over a longer period of time, Each subsequent retweet gains about 75% of the previous number of retweets according to Tomasz Tunguz.
- Include ClickToTweet and other social sharing buttons to extend your blog post’s life on social media.
- Tap into Pinterest’s curation power. Create a pinboard for your articles. Then craft attractive pins for each of your blog posts. I got this great blog tip from Peg Fitzpatrick. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Buzzfeed has 2 staff members who curate Buzzfeed’s content on Pinterest.
- Extend your Facebook reach with advertising. Jon Loomer is the king of Facebook Advertising and recommends doing this with every blog post.
12. Give your best content to other top blogs
Spread the wealth of your information to other platforms.
- Be strategic with your guest blogging efforts. Andy Crestodina plans his guest blogging to yield quality links and traffic. He averages 1 guest post per week. Dietrich gives a great explanation of this (as well as how to write headlines)
- Do your homework before you ask. Don’t just send a fill-in-the-blank email to every blog. Understand their audience and determine if they accept guest posts. (Note: Actionable Marketing Guide does NOT accept guest posts.)
- Actively engage on your guest posts with social shares and comment responses. Schedule it for prime time sharing. Because they have larger audiences and help to build your reputation by association.
13. Catch your visitors before they leave
- Install OptinMonster or a similar tool to capture email addresses of readers as they exit your blog. This is a relatively non-invasive way to build your housefile.
The bottom line is that every blogger can continue to improve their craft regardless of how good they are.
I know I do.
I also know I’m not alone since bloggers like Neil Patel continue to document what they’re doing that succeeds.
Use these 31 advanced blogging tricks to take advantage of the full power of your blog to achieve your business objectives.
What is your favorite advanced blogging trick?
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