You've just written your latest blog post, and you're about to hit "publish." You've added an image to the post, you've populated the tag and keyword fields, you've slotted the post into the appropriate category, and you've even linked up a few posts from the archives.
You hit "publish" and hope for the best. What happens next?
If you're an established blogger with authority, your post might gain some traction out of the gate. Or, if you've written on a topic that resonates with your audience, maybe it will get shared around a bit.
However, unfortunately, in most cases, nothing happens next.
Sure, your post will likely get indexed, and it will continue to attract some search traffic over the long haul (assuming that you've provided value-adding information), but other than that, it might end up being just another post on your blog.
If you want your blog posts to reach larger audiences, it's going to take some organization, planning and effort. Here are 10 strategies to help you maximize your reach with every blog post.
1. Build a Community
To develop a successful blog, you need to create an engaged community around it.
This community should be made up of people that have given you the permission to market directly to them. More specifically, these are the people that subscribe to you, follow you, and want the information you are providing.
At this stage, you may want to define your target demographic as well. Think about the kind of person that you would love to have involved in your community, and take a moment to describe them. Depending on the type of information you are offering, you may even want to define several target community members.
Then, you can begin to build communities on the appropriate social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest are all worth looking into, as they each have their own advantages. Moreover, they tend to be some of the best networks to market your blog content on.
Finally, you'll want to build your email list. One of the best ways to encourage your blog visitors to join your mailing list is to create an opt-in offer that they are likely to be interested in; perhaps a whitepaper, a how-to guide, an e-book or a training course. Once you have everything set up, you can also encourage your social followers to join your mailing list.
2. Create Sharable Content
In your content marketing efforts, think about creating content that's easy to market. Focus on creating posts that people would be likely to share. This is easier said than done, of course.
Notwithstanding, if others have a vested interest in sharing and promoting your content, you will increase the exposure of your blog. Interviews are a great way to create these types of cross-promotion opportunities.
Here are several other types of posts that tend to engage well:
- Lists (i.e. 100 Ways To Generate New Blog Post Ideas)
- Featured article (covering an industry influencer)
- Co-author posts (written with the help of an influencer)
Also check out 16 Ways to Get the Content Ideas Other Bloggers Haven't.
3. Optimize Your Blog
People are always looking for information online. By optimizing your blog and creating targeted content, you can continue to attract new visitors to your blog.
There are basically two major considerations with SEO: 1) the visitors to your site, and 2) search engines. In an ideal world, you want your blog to play well with both. Not only should your content be discoverable, it should also be very readable and engaging.
When it comes to optimization, there are a variety of different things to think about. Here are some of the most important components to fine-tune:
- Title: the title could very well be the most important element of any blog post. Titles should be engaging, but they should also be optimized for search.
- Keywords: it's important to gain an understanding of what your audience is commonly searching for. By creating content that is rich with their search keywords, you can reach out to more people that would be interested in your posts. If you'd like to learn more about keywords, check out The Art of Finding Keywords for Your Website.
- URL: make sure that the URL of your post either uses the full title of the post, or a shortened version of it (i.e. /100-ways-to-generate-new-blog-post-ideas/ or /generate-blog-post-ideas/). Try to avoid random alphanumeric values (i.e./?post=567a/).
- Description: while searchers will generally see the title of your post in search results before anything else, the meta description is a secondary element that should be tweaked for the best results. Make sure to entice your readers to read the entire article by providing an interesting description.
- Headings: use headings to break up the key points in your blog posts. It makes them much easier to read and scan. There's a reason why books are broken up into chapters; do the same with your posts.
- Internal links: you can market other pieces on your blog by providing internal links. A good place to do this is at the end of the post, as readers are generally trying to figure out what to do next.
4. Market Your Blog With Paid Search
Naturally, paid search costs money, but it also has the potential to generate quite a bit of traffic for your blog as well. You don't hear too many people talking about paid search for promoting posts.
Though the step-by-step process for creating ads can vary a bit depending on which networks you choose to use, the basic strategy remains fairly similar. Select your key phrases, keep your ads simple and keep testing until you find what works.
5. Share Your Content On Social Media
Promoting your content on social media probably sounds like one of the most obvious things you should be doing. Assuming that you've built up a community, as per step one, you should have an audience that is ready and poised to check out your latest post.
However, marketing on social media isn't always as straightforward as it sounds. You still need to think about your target reader and consider which social network to share your content on. For example, you might post business related pieces on LinkedIn and share tech style posts on Google+.
If you want to automate your content sharing, there are several tools that can help you do this. WordPress Sharing (with the Jetpack extension), Buffer and Dlvr.it are just a few examples of tools that will enable you to share more efficiently.
You can also repost old content, use social sharing buttons on your blog, repurpose quotes from your posts and use hashtags to grow your follower numbers and promote your blog.
6. Advertise On Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Reddit and YouTube all have advertising platforms that you can leverage to promote your blog. Like paid search, paid social isn't often talked about when it comes to getting more traffic for your blog, but it can be quite effective.
Creating ads for each social network is a little different, and it's a little beyond the scope of this article. Suffice to say, you'll want to target your reader, choose specific posts to promote, and select a payment option that works for you.
Organic promotion can work quite well, but paid traffic could help you to gain traction with your content more quickly.
In addition to interviews and co-authored posts, there are a variety of different ways of reaching out and collaborating with others to market your blog. Again, if others serve to benefit from helping you promote a piece, they will be more vested in its success. For example:
- You can use the Skyscraper technique to build links and create authority posts.
- You can include source links on your blog and reach out to the people who created those articles.
- You can seek out bloggers that often share content besides their own and develop a relationship with them.
- You can submit your blog post on established communities like Blog Engage, BizSugar and Triberr.
- You can submit your posts to review sites like ReviewMe, PayPerPost, and TribePro.
In short, there are a myriad of different ways of collaborating and reaching out. Put your creativity to use and come up with some of your own ideas.
8. Leverage Content Syndication Networks
Content syndication networks are similar to ad networks, but they focus specifically on marketing blog posts, articles and the like. They have started gaining in popularity in recent years.
For each of these networks, figure out which posts you want to promote and post them. Track your results and analyze them. Then, create new content based on the feedback you receive and continue the cycle.
9. Syndicate Your Content
There is an extensive list of sites you can submit you content to syndicate it, though there are entirely too many to mention them all here. Syndicating your content is a little different from social traffic in that it's more focused on organic blog growth.
Scoop.it, Inbound.org, Hacker News, Reddit, Blog Catalog, Blog Carnival, Blogorama, Slashdot, Newsvine, Digg, Diigo, Alltop, Technorati, BlogHub, Regator, Ice Rocket and Bloglovin' are but a few examples of places you can go to syndicate your content.
Keep in mind that some sites might fit your niche or blog topic more than others. Make sure to submit your content accordingly.
10. Repurpose Content
Every blog post or piece of content you produce can be repurposed and made into something else. Here are several ideas for you to try:
- Create a whitepaper: take your how-to posts and create a well-designed, easy-to-read whitepaper. If you don't have the time to do this yourself, you can outsource it to a designer who will format it on your behalf.
- Create a slideshow: upload it to SlideShare.
- Turn your slideshow into an infographic: infographics can be very effective in helping you to create engaging content for your blog.
- Turn your infographic into a videographic: yourinfographics can be repurposed to create videographics. This can be an expensive proposition, but they are growing in popularity thanks to their overall effectiveness.
- Create a video: turn your blog post into a video. Discuss the key points from your post, and make it quick and snappy.
- Create podcast audio: read your blog post aloud and record it. You could even have a professional voice actor read your post, utilizing a tool like Fiverr.
- Create a webinar: some people prefer webinars over reading blog posts. One of the most effective ways to developer a successful webinar is to host it with another industry influencer who is an expert on the subject you are covering.
There are a variety of different ways to promote your blog content, some of which weren't even mentioned here.
Regardless, don't get too overwhelmed with the myriad of platforms and tools and options that are available to you. Consider outsourcing some of the work that you simply don't have time for, or just stick to the strategies that are working best for you.
Publishing a post is just the first step in marketing your blog. For best results, create a procedure list and have it handy whenever you are looking to get your blog post out there.
Image: Ed Yourdon
Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world's largest and most recognized brands to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, their Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.