Think Outside the Blog to Increase Effectiveness
To maximize your blog’s results towards achieving your goals, you must think outside the blog. Here are twenty-three tactics to improve your blog’s results by thinking outside the blog.
- Use your own domain name and URL instead of being a subdomain of WordPress.com or Blogger.com. If you’re blogging for your organization, incorporate your blog into its overall website. Otherwise, directly register your domain name and principal URL. For example, I use HeidiCohen.com.
- Select a good hosting company. When you’re starting out, you might be tempted to opt for the lowest price. But be careful because blogs have a way of growing without you realizing it (aka: success!) At some point, however, your blog starts running very slowly, if at all, and your hosting company is sending you nasty notes about how your site is using more than its allotted share of the server. This happened to me with SiteGround and it was a painful week until I moved to WebFaction.
- Share your blog content on relevant social media platforms. While it’s enticing to set up automatic cross posting to your favorite social media sites, taking the time to craft content that’s appropriate for each one will yield better results. This involves more than just including a link with a unique tracking code. (Here’s what Joe Pulizzi said about Content Marketing Institute’s Facebook Page.)
- Facilitate social sharing of your blog posts. Add the relevant social sharing icons to every blog post. Don’t make readers take additional steps. Place icon sets both at the top and bottom of your posts so that visitors can share your content without thinking too hard.
- Add your blog’s URL to social media profiles. Where relevant add your blog’s URL to your other credentials. It provides another entryway to your content.
- Participate in Twitter chats, especially #BlogChat. (It meets on Sundays at 9.00pm, New York time.) The goal is to expand your social network. Being an active member of a chat community can be very useful when you’ve got new content ready to share.
- Build a community around your blog. Get readers to engage with you on other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or Pinterest. Think in terms of the sites that your target audience frequents. For example, if they’re knitters, then you’ll find them on Ravelry, a social network of knitters and crocheters.
These are media venues your organization owns.
- Share your blog posts via RSS (or feeds) and email. Make it easy for visitors to sign up to get your blog posts through dedicated feeds or emailings when new content is published.
Create a blog-related enewsletter. Develop a round up email that provides readers with links to your recent posts as well as additional information. If you’re interested in signing up for our newsletter, click here.
- Feature links to your recent posts on your website. Create a highlighted box that attracts attention to your latest posts. Alternately, feature your most popular posts.
- Link to appropriate blog content on your product pages. Don’t assume that prospects will think to look at your blog for product related information. Instead manually add links and a short blurb on relevant product pages since shoppers might seek how-to and styling content that may be on your blog. Of course, don’t forget to include a call-to-action to drive potential customers to your blog.
- Highlight relevant blog posts in your organization’s newsletter. Expand your reach by adding a related link and an explanation to your other corporate newsletters to cross-pollinate your audience. This works particularly well for blog posts that offer educational information, recipes or how-tos.
- Leverage customer service emails. This only works for businesses. Include a link to your blog and another link to sign up for emailings of your blog posts. The benefit of leveraging customer service emails is they tend to go to customers’ primary email account and don’t get lost in junk mail folders.
- Promote your blog posts in your email signature file. This tactic is a no-brainer. If you’re part of a larger organization, get your employees or members to use a uniform signature file so that it can be updated with the latest blog post links from a central location.
- Repurpose blog content for other marketing uses. Incorporate part of your blog post into other forms of content marketing. (Need help? Here’s a list of 56 ways to reuse blog content.)
Third party media.
These are media sites and blogs owned by other people and/or companies.
- Write guest blog posts. This is a blogger favorite to expand your reach. I call it “Other people’s audiences.” You must write high quality, unique blog posts. Reach out to blogs that are relevant to your audience. (Here are guest blogging tips.)
- Draft articles for other media entities. Build your reputation by being a columnist for well-known entities in your field. This involves writing fresh content for someone else just like guest blogging. FYI – I’m a columnist for Content Marketing Institute and ClickZ.
- Republish blog posts on other blogs or media entities. This also is a no brainer. Extend the life of a blog post by allowing others to have second rights. It’s another way to broaden your visibility. I recommend waiting at least ten days to ensure that your content has been spidered at your own site.
Get out from behind your computer.
This applies whether you’re blogging for a business, a Not-for-Profit or yourself.
- Include your blog’s URL on your business cards. Just like including a link to your blog in your signature, this helps.
- Add your blog’s name to event registrations. This is particularly important for meetings where attendee lists are circulated. It helps expand your reach without much effort.
- Insert your blog URL and tagline in speaker bios. While speaker bios tend to be short, it’s another way to get the word out about your blog by leveraging other people’s audiences.
- Write your blog URL on event nametags. Since people look at nametags, it’s a useful way to associate your blog’s name with your name. At the least it provides a conversation starter.
- Incorporate your blog’s URL in presentations. Ideally, include your blog URL in the footer so that your audience sees it. Go one step further and upload the presentation to SlideShare.
A lot more than great content is needed to create an amazingly successful blog. These twenty-four tactics will help you get your blog posts to a wider audience and build a community around your blog.
What other “outside the blog” advice would you add to this list and why?
Please join me. I’ll be speaking about blogging at:
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lel4nd/6062809527/