So you have just set up your blog and published a few posts. But all you can hear is the sound of crickets. No clicks, comments or meaningful traffic.
That self published e-book, guide and online course is not selling like it should. That dream of a Caribbean holiday is on hold. Your significant other wonders why you are spending all that time late at night writing, tweeting and twerping but with nothing to show for it. Maybe it’s not time to give up the day job.
So…should you pack it in and give up the dream?
Blogging is not a “get rich quick” scheme and it has become a serious business that a few years ago was seen as only an activity for geeks and dorks. Some blogs and bloggers are now making some serious money. The Huffington Post (a blog) was sold for over $300 million and other bloggers such as Timothy Sykes, the Gothamist and Smashing Magazine are making 7 figures. But where do you start ?
Old fashioned high street retail businesses needed passing foot traffic to make sales. The greater the passing crowd the more money they make. Bloggers need web traffic.
So…how to get more blog traffic?
Here are 100+ tactics including social media, search engines, email, joint ventures and more… to drive traffic to your blog and websites.
1. Social media
The channels and networks you concentrate on will vary according to your business target audience. Lets look at the following tactics for building a global distribution network to reach prospects and fans.
It’s like building your own media company.
Growing your Facebook “likes” combined with fan engagement and contagious content that begs to be shared is one way of earning attention online and driving traffic to your blog.
Earned marketing tactics
Here are some tips for improving your organic Facebook reach by attracting more likes
Ensure your profile and “about” tab is clear and linked to your “owned” portal that displays your credibility and expert content
Run a competition that needs a “like” to enter
Ask open questions with a photo in your Facebook updates
Include a Facebook widget on your Website or blog in a prominent position that can be “liked” without visiting Facebook
Link to your Facebook page in your emails and newsletters
Create a custom tab using an app like Shortstack that provides free premium content for a “like”
Promote your content on Facebook to your Twitter followers by tweeting
Update your Facebook page several times a day
Provide a prominent icon on your blog or website that links to Facebook
Include your Facebook links on your free ebooks
Create and form a small group on Facebook, dedicated to sharing each member’s new article on their own specific day
Capture emails by setting up and running a competition in a matter of minutes using an app like Heyo. See the image below on how it looks
The tips above were tactics that didn’t need an advertising budget but time. If you want to accelerate the process then paying for advertising is also a viable method.
One of the easiest ways is to select “Boost Post” option after posting an update on your page that links back to your blog. In essence Facebook now has two types of options.
Custom audience advertising: Facebook’s Custom Audience features are virtually unrivalled by any other social medium. A Custom Audience is one a company can create on Facebook, by picking and choosing which targets to include. Custom Audiences comprise clients that a business already has a relationship with elsewhere.
Lookalike audience: Lookalike Audiences are another unique feature to Facebook’s marketing tools. A Lookalike Audience allows users to target a new audience that has similar characteristics to an already-known audience.
LinkedIn has advertising options and they include two key categories. Self service and partner solutions. For bloggers the realistic option is “self service” . Here are the two ways to advertise on LinkedIn.
Display and text ads: PPC display ads. These ads appear up in a number of places, such as the user’s inbox and on the side and bottom of the homepage. Self-service display ads give you the ability to include an image or video, as well as ad copy with a hyperlink. These can drive traffic back to your blog
Sponsored content: When creating an update, you have the ability to pay to have that update distributed to a larger audience on the LinkedIn network. Where other ads show up on the sides or at the tops of pages, sponsored content appears right in the user’s news stream, which will typically lead to more engagement. That update can include a link back to your blog and again more traffic.
Networking on Stumbleupon still works and join a “voting” group if you are looking to promote your article on there.
Triberr is a hidden goldmine for you to promote your newest article on and get a ton of social shares from it. It allows your whole group to easily share your article from your blog.
Create a well-designed slideshow based on the topic of your newest, published article and link back to your blog in the description and the slideshow.
Subscribe to the paid version of Slideshare and it will create leads for your blog
Link back to your blog in your account description
Organic search engine traffic can often provide over 50% of your traffic for free if you have a well optimized plan and strategy. So what are some top tips to bring free organic search traffic to your website or blog.
Identify the top 20-50 keywords and phrases that customers use to find your business (or your competitors)
Make sure that your website designer and developer includes those terms in the major headings in the site so that search engines can discover them
Create content that includes those terms
Make sure that the content is so good that people want to share it and link to it
Optimize the content on your website or blog using a plugin or tool that ensures search engines can read (crawl) those keywords
Promote that content on social networks so that people discover it and link to it
Allow other bloggers to syndicate or post your content on their websites that links back to your site or blog
Offer to guest post for major and influential blogs
Create valuable long form content that is 1,000 to 2,000 words or even more that is such a great resource people and bloggers have to link to it. Become the “resource” for your industry.
Make sure that your content is unique to your site when publishing.
The reduction of organic reach on social networks like Facebook (For more read “Why You Should Forget Facebook“), is making organisations reconsider their focus social media. It mean building not only your social media presence on other networks but also by building your email list.
So how can you use email to drive traffic and create online attention?
Earned email marketing tactics
Create a free ebook and offer it to anyone that subscribes to your email list
Turn your homepage into a massive subscribe form
Use a non-annoying pop-over which appears 20-30 seconds after a visitor hits your blog post
Use a pop-over that asks people to subscribe on exit.
Place a subscription box at the end of all your blog articles
Give amazing value in your writing
Create a strong incentive to subscribe
A/B test key elements
Build relationships with your current subscribers
When sending out your blog posts via email make sure you only include the first paragraph or excerpt that is tempting enough to make people click the hyperlinked call to action to read the rest of the article. An example is …”Click here to read the rest of the article“. Dont give them everything in your email.
Leadpages.net is a lead generation platform that provides easy to customize landing pages (and already optimized templates). The pages can capture emails and be connected to your email platform such as Aweber or Mailchimp.
What is important to realise is that the social web allows you to work with other bloggers and businesses to reach each others customers. These “Joint Venture” relationships will amplify and multiply your marketing. With internet marketing this is often called “Affiliate marketing”
Think about this for a moment. If you were able to work with 10 other bloggers who all had 10,000 emails each and you have 10,000 then you have just connected to a network of 100,000. That is an increase of 1,000 percent!
This has to be done with high quality content and must be done with care, credibility and trust.
“Your network is your net worth” – Porter Gale
Find and foster producing relationships with non-competitive and even direct competitors that sell to the same audience category as you with sizeable email lists and social networks. Bigger is better!
Create a compelling and irresistible offer that is easy for the partner to execute.
Market to each others email list
5. Content marketing
Content marketing is the new “black” when it comes to driving traffic. Its about attracting traffic rather than chasing it.
It improves your SEO (Search engine optimisation) for your blog and this drives “organic traffic when you are found in search results. It also leads to referral traffic when people find your content is so good they “hyperlink” back to your articles.
Content marketing tactics
Create tempting headlines that drive “clicks”. I can’t stress how important developing and continuing to hone this skill is.
Make sure you have social sharing buttons that are “very” visible at the top or a floating bar on the side. (Don’t hide them down the bottom)
After publishing, share your content in as many appropriate social networks as possible
Don’t forget that a lot of people are now reading posts on mobiles. Many people have large mobile phones (often called “phablets” because they sit in size between phones and tablets) and they can raed while travelling on the train bus or even on the beach.
Make it easy for people to share your articles when reading on a mobile
Create a mobile “app” for your site
Build your blog or re-design it with a “responsive” WordPress theme
Social proof is a concept that is as old as time. It has just begun to gain traction amongst online marketers as it explains a lot about the success of some online ventures, and the failure of others.
To put it simply:
“Social proof in a social media context is the theory that accounts that have high follower numbers are trusted and followed more often”
You have just read nearly 3,000 words and are overwhelmed. There are four key tactics you need to focus on when you have finished this post :
Create a free ebook and upload it to your blog and start building that email list from day one
Create the best content for your readers and promote it to your social and email networks
Build your followers on social networks
Optimize your blog and posts for search engines.
Blogging is not a “get rich quick” scheme. It takes focus, time and persistence. That’s why building it on your passion and purpose will provide the foundation for a marathon called “blogging”.
What about you?
Are you building a range of organic and earned tactics on a range of digital platforms that drive traffic without relying on paying for it? Are you paying for traffic? Is that Facebook or Google or somewhere else?
Do you have your eggs in just one basket? Is your Facebook activity a diminishing return?
Look forward to hearing your stories and insight in the comments below.
Have we been so distracted by social media that we have forgotten “the media” in our marketing efforts?
Ranking on the web helps grow awareness and attracts eventual sales. Great services and products supply solutions for consumers, but getting free attention in a national newspaper, a magazine and mass media can be a very effective marketing tactic.
Press outreach and mass media attention is often a problem for many businesses.
Below, you’ll find a long list of solutions to help you establish, improve, and solidify your outreach capabilities.
The pursuit of sales will never cease, but ensure media attention is never a problem. Here are some tips for getting attention in mass media.
Be the purple cow. If you’re not different, there’s no reason for editors and publications to cover you.
National coverage is great but hard to get. Align a story with local or regional news, events, or concerns.
Identify quirky components of your company (logo), CEO (hobby), or company culture (You don’t work on Fridays).
Maintain an excel sheet of sites pitched and reporter contact information. Keep notes and dates (so you don’t re-pitch!)
Find reporters on Twitter and use AllMyTweets to identify topics they like, dislike, etc.
Research prior works of individual reporters, not just topics reported.
Have a professional writer edit emails, checking for grammatical errors and awkward phrases. Reporters are not English teachers, but they make a living reporting (often writing) the news. Expect them to notice your errors.
Author Bio: Mr. Secore enjoys others calling him “Mr.,” but loves helping other entrepreneurs get started on the right footing even more and ypiu will find him hanging out at Reviewpon. If you prefer to be on first-name basis with Cam, follow his Twitter handle and engage with him online – he really enjoys that!
For Twitter though the filtering is not an option as it is a news breaking social network. Applying filtering algorithms to it’s stream will take away its meaning for existence and continuing evolution.
You only have to look at its latest hiring trends that are mass media and television centric to realise that Twitter is pushing towards the integration of television, social and mass media.
That focused strategy by Twitter management to make mass media and social work together is maybe one of the reasons that its latest quarter two results that exceeded every analysts expectations. The World Cup marketing coup by Twitter was evidence of that successful and ongoing evolution.
I don’t expect Twitter’s organic reach to disappear as it has too much to lose if it takes the Facebook path. It’s not in its DNA.
Twitter facts and statistics
Below are some surprising facts and statistics that show Twitter is on the path to successfully reinventing itself.
1. There was a 24% increase in monthly active users (MAU) over the last 4 quarters with the total now at 271 million.
2. Twitter has added 53 million users in the last 12 months
3. Twitter’s monthly mobile users now total 211 million, which is a gain of 29%
4. 81% of Twitter’s advertising revenue came from mobile ads
5. Increase in sales is up 124% from a year ago at $312 million compared to $139.3 million in second quarter of 2013
6. Twitter expects to have revenue of between $330 and $340 million in the third quarter of 2014
7. Twitter is growing the fastest in Asia Pacific with expectations it will increase its user base by more than 33% in 2014 according to eMarketer
Do you know that a single viral blog post can make your website a hot property and create buzz around your personal or business brand very quickly.
So what makes a post go viral?
Let’s dissect some recent posts that captured readers’ attention and attracted loads of social media shares. Here a some examples and lessons from blog posts that went viral.
1. Positive content
Uplifting content gets shared more than you may believe. Practical advice that can help improve life skills is always in demand. There are countless posts that hand out tips on leading a happier and more fulfilling life. Some do it better than others and make readers care enough to share.
I discovered “30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself’” by Marc Chernoff first on StumbleUpon. The post has garnered over half a million likes, over 20,000 tweets and thousands of shares on other social media.
a. The enticing headline:
A post’s headline is a key viral driver. Unless it motivates readers’ enough, it won’t get clicks no matter how great your content may actually be. Negative headlines have been seen to convert better than positive titles. Readers can be skeptical of positive superlatives like ‘best’ and ‘most’, perceiving them to be cliché or an attempt at endorsement, and view negative ones like ‘worst’ or ‘never’ to be authentic and impartial. In this post, use of the negative word ‘stop’ makes readers pause and wonder if there’s something they’re doing that they shouldn’t.
b. The list
Time and again, studies and split-tests have shown that headlines containing numbered lists attract massive click-throughs.
Online readers get put off by chunky paragraphs and scarce use of bold and italicized font. “30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself“’ presents 30 points in numbered list with no more than four lines under each. It’s easy to read and digest.
d. Actionable tips:
The post offers readers actionable advice that can be incorporated right away. Every tip tells you what to stop doing and what positive action to take. Some also have links to books on a similar topic for further reading.
2. Personal stories
A well-told first personal account of an experience and lessons learnt thereof adds authenticity and makes for an interesting read.
Consider a recent LinkedIn post ‘Why I won’t take your business card’ that was shared 281 times and elicited several comments and opinions (some from the top 1% of most viewed profiles on the network).
The post discusses the importance of building relationships over making an explicit sale at networking events through the lens of a marketing strategist who found herself in a similar situation.
While the honest narrative is compelling enough to encourage responses, the author ends her post by asking questions and soliciting comments. A simple “do you think……” or “I would love to hear your opinion on……” at the end of your blog post can nudge readers into leaving a comment. Even one or two comments encourage more people to comment, which in large part, can be attributed to the psychological phenomenon known as ‘social proof’, where we are influenced by and conform to others’ actions.
Another hugely shared (4,685 times on LinkedIn) post ‘Four Business Rules I Learnt in Kindergarten’ is an example of the author’s creative and playful approach to discussing a serious business topic. Attracting over 400 comments, the post struck a chord with readers for delivering simple yet valuable lessons we sometimes tend to oversee. A black and white photograph accompanying the post gives it a warm picture book feel, and really sets it apart from other LinkedIn posts.
3. Make it intriguing
Explore ways to deliver useful content without sounding like thousands of other posts doling out tips and advice on the same topic.
A great example is ‘Marriage Isn’t for You’, which not only managed 10,000+ shares on Twitter and Facebook, but also landed the writer a book deal.
Two things work for the post:
The interesting headline that instantly incites curiosity. There’s also more to the headline than meets the eye (a clever move by the writer), which lifts the value of the post.
A refreshing and heart-warming take on marriage. Check out the post here.
Say you’re giving financial advice to entrepreneurs. A title such as ‘Here’s Why You Can’t be the Next Millionaire’ is a more intriguing title than ‘How to be a Millionaire’, which is pretty standard stuff for blogs in your niche.
Instead of saying what you should do to set the cash registers ringing, you can explain what you may be doing now that’s keeping you from being the next millionaire. ‘A Little Mistake that Cost me $7000 a Year’ is another click-worthy title and an interesting lesson on preventing financial mistakes.
If your title is a click-magnet, make sure your content sustains the curiosity created by it. Also remember that it may not be possible to drum up a captivating, click-worthy title for every post.
4. Capitalize on the most happening news events
Readers tend to get behind blog posts surrounding buzzing news and major events they’re exposed to on news sites, in the papers and on their social media pages.
Oxfam GB timed their blog post on maternal health around the birth of Prince George, a hugely popular event that took the web by storm. The charity organization used Facebook to draw attention to their blog post and delivered the important message that every baby’s arrival into the world is a cause for celebration.
Use Google Trends, BuzzFeed, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit to stay on the pulse of trending news items. Explore possible ways of relating news stories to your niche. Lessons, opinions, potential consequences : there are many ways in which you can use viral news to grab readers’ attention and encourage shares.
Finding blog post ideas
Blog posts with useful content keep readers coming back for more. You must keep posting new content on questions people are asking, topics they’re searching for, and discussions they’re having online.
Forums and discussion boards
It continuously supply blog post ideas. You’re sure to find issues and topics that may have escaped your radar. Don’t worry about the spelling, grammar and style of forum posts, they are bound to be very casual. Focus on what people want to know about and the kind of problems to which they’re soliciting advice from fellow forum members.
Identification of forum members occurs through user names and some forums also allow guests to comment. Naturally, discussions are honest and open. This gives you a chance to really get into people’s minds and understand their needs, problems, interests, fears and lifestyles.
For a quick forum search, type: allintitle: ‘keyword’ forum. If you’re a taxidermist, you can access over 7,000 relevant results as shown below.
It is an authoritative and popular Q&A social media site that can help you zero in on winning blog post ideas. Its early adopters were technology pundits, marketing gurus and entrepreneurs. As such, the content quality and credibility of the site ranks highly.
You can type a keyword to see questions related to your topic. You can also test if potential blog topics may generate interest and response from readers by posting questions and seeing if they’re answered.
It is another community-powered Q&A site covering 25 categories. You will not find as high a number of intellectually curious and elite members on the site in comparison to Quora. There is, however, no dearth of opinions, musings and personal experiences, which can spark off interesting blog post ideas.
Here are a few more tips to make your content move and be shared.
Analyze blog comments for ideas
To increase views, link to past and future posts
Post to Facebook, Twitter and Google+
Submit to Reddit, Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon.
What about you? What content and headlines have you found to work? Look forward to your insights in the comments below.
Guest Author: Jessica Davis is a Content Strategist at Godot Media – a leading content marketing firms. She has years of experience helping businesses and individuals succeed through the use of great content. She also writes extensively on technology and social media related topics.
Developing new and exciting article topics, titles and inspiring headlines can be challenging for content marketers due to the overwhelming amount of existing online content.
To help content producers and bloggers create lists of article topics and create great headlines when they face writer’s block, I’ve listed five topic creation techniques you can use to make sure you never run out ideas for blog topics.
For example, if you fill in the fields using keywords SEO, content marketing, and social media, Blog Topic Generator will generate potential topics such as 10 Signs You Should Invest in SEO, What Will Content Marketing Be Like in 100 Years?, and 15 Best Blogs to Follow About Social Media.
Using Blog Topic Generator to develop a list of article topics saves you a tremendous amount of time because you’re getting a tool to do the preliminary brainstorming work.
2. Play the ‘Ad Strategy Game’
Here’s how the ad strategy game works:
Create a list of marketing practices such as content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing.
Create a list of industries such as accounting, manufacturing, and retail.
Select a marketing practice and industry.
Develop an article topic based on the marketing practice and industry. For example, if you select content marketing and retail, create articles such as 5 Content Marketing Secrets Retailers Should Know or How Content Marketing has Revolutionized Retail.
While the ad strategy game is similar to the function of Blog Topic Generator, it’s slightly different because it forces you to think outside the box using your own creative juice and develop article topics that the Blog Topic Generator can’t produce.
3. Visit your older articles
Visit your older blogs and develop new article topics based on them.
For example, if you’ve previously written articles such as 5 Digital Marketing Trends in 2013 Every Entrepreneur Should be Aware Of or Unraveling 10 SEO Tips Digital Marketers Must Know in 2013, create new articles such as Entrepreneurs! Pay Attention to These 5 Digital Marketing Trends in 2014! or 2014 SEO Secrets Revealed. This approach will help you develop articles quickly since you’re just updating new versions of older blogs.
As a bonus, developing new versions of previous articles gives you a chance to perform internal linking and boost search ranking. When you create a new version of an older article, you can link the new version to the old one, and vice versa, and pass SEO juice between the two. This tactic will help both pages improve their search ranking. To learn more about internal linking, read HubSpot’s Deep Dive Into Internal Linking for SEO guidebook.
4. Think about your clients’ pains
Come up with different client pains and address them in your articles.
For example, if you’re a social media marketing agency and your clients have trouble attracting customers over the summer because their target audiences are on vacation, you can write an article on how businesses can stay top-of-mind with prospects by using mobile Facebook ads. Customers who are on vacation go online more than ever these days to post holiday photos, stay connected with friends back home, or browse for local restaurants and events.
Thinking about your client’s pains and developing topics based on them will help you generate plenty of article topics because your customers, just like every other business, have numerous problems.
5. Think about your product benefits
Think about your product benefits and create articles on each benefit.
For example, if you offer social media marketing services, write an article about how social media is an effective marketing research tool.
Then take it further. Maximize the number of articles you can write for each benefit by showcasing the benefit from different angles. For instance, you can develop articles such as How Facebook Helped Me Discover 10 New Clients, 10 Effective Ways to Use Twitter for Marketing Research, and 18 Simple Ways to Generate Inbound Leads Using Instagram.
These articles all focus on the central benefit: social media is a powerful marketing research tool.
Once you’ve developed a large list of topics, schedule them in a content calendar. A content calendar helps vary different topics so that you avoid writing articles about the same benefit too close together.
Wrapping it up
With the increased usage of content marketing by companies, content marketers are expected to develop new, enticing articles on the fly to compete for consumers’ attention. This can be mentally challenging because it’s difficult to constantly create new article topics.
By using the five techniques above, you can leverage free tools such as the Blog Topic Generator to develop new article topics easily and quickly, visit older blogs for inspiration, and think about your clients’ pains and create numerous articles to address their issues.
If you’ve other topic creation approaches you want to share, please leave them in the comments section below!
Guest Author: Ray Wang is the Marketing Coordinator at Smartt, a Vancouver digital consulting agency. You can reach him via Twitter at @SmarttCanada.