Maintaining a blog is a great way of keeping your followers up to date with your activity. It can also be used as a tool to teach and inform. However writing a blog post regularly and not promoting it, will not gift you with many readers. In order to put yourself in front of more potential readers, you must promote your blog posts. In this article, I aim to guide you through some of the ways that this can be done.
Promoting yourself in search engines
Getting your content to rank organically (in search engines) is an achievable goal but it takes a lot of time and research. Organic traffic does not build itself overnight. The next few steps are some tips on how you can give your content the best chance of appearing in search engines for the world to see.
Do your research
Research is the first thing that you should do when trying to write blog content that will rank well (in search engine result pages – or SERPs). It is important that I say rank well too! Your site and blog content is probably already ranking on page 83 in Google’s SERPs, but who is clicking all the way through to page 83 when they make a search in Google? You should be aiming for the first page! This sounds tricky, but it is achievable. Here’s how:
Do your research – look at popular keywords and key-phrases that are being searched in Google [here’s how you can use Google Keyword Planner] or look for questions that are being asked on sites like Quora. These are both vastly different approaches and so you can explore them both to gain a broader set of insights.
Keywords with Google’s Keyword Planner
When you open Google’s keyword planner, you should be looking for keywords and key-phrases that have a high number of average monthly searches and a low or medium competition score (though preferably, a low score is best). This tells you that there are people out there searching for these key terms but there are not many sites that are targeting it. This is your window of opportunity! Go and write a great piece of content that satisfies all on-page SEO factors (see below) and you will have given yourself a much greater chance of ranking organically for this term.
Questions in Quora
Quora is a social site that allows users to submit questions which can be answered by the Quora community. You can be a part of this community for free. Quora helps you find inspiration when you are looking for an idea for your next blog post.
In Quora, there is an easy search area that will allow you to tap into popular topics such as fitness or computing for example. Try and see how many people are asking similar questions and build your posts around these questions, answering them fully and offering plenty of insight.
Once you have completed your blog post, always remember to submit an answer to their question on Quora and provide a link to the full blog article.
Have great on-page SEO
On-page SEO is quite a broad topic and it can be a separate blog post on its own. Because of this, I wont go into full detail here. What I will say is, if you are using WordPress to power your blog, ask your site provider to equip your site with “SEO by Yoast”. This plugin made my list of 6 essential plugins for every new site. It is a great plugin for SEO and it will give you all the help that you need in understanding how you should optimise your site’s pages and posts to perform optimally in search engine result pages.
Social media is a great place to connect with millions of people. It is not only a place for friends and family to stay connected, it can also be a place for business’ and organisations too. If you have social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more), this is always a great place to share your blog content.
Social media enables you to create a following. This following will be updated with all your posts and activity as and when you post to your social feeds. Doing this often and regularly can be very beneficial to the success in marketing yourself or your site.
Twitter introduced the world to hashtags. Hashtags, put simply, are a way to categorize your tweet (message). Anybody that may be talking about a certain event or a theme, will add that theme or event’s hashtag to their message so that people can search for this hashtag and find all messages that relate to it.
So what can you do with this? If you are using Twitter, try researching some of the hashtags that are popular for the subject area of your blog post. By using a hashtag, you are instantly throwing your tweet in front of a community of people that are reading about that particular subject.
In a similar way, becoming accustomed to the regular hashtags that are frequently used can be a good chance to create conversation and indulge in the Twitter culture. For example, you could use the hashtag #tbt (Throwback Thursday) to advertise a popular and still relevant article that you posted a while ago. Maybe your blog article has a popular hashtag that would suit it better. That’s for you to find out.
I have had great success on LinkedIn when promoting some of my articles. LinkedIn is a site for professionals and if you can join groups that are relevant to your subject area, sharing blog posts here can reap many benefits. You should post to LinkedIn in a similar way that you would to Facebook, however you should remember to keep your posts professional.
Reddit / Social news sites
Reddit is a social news networking site. It allows users to post articles and content to many “subreddits”. A subreddit is a section of Reddit that dedicates itself to a particular subject. You can find a subreddit for just about anything. So where should you begin?
Subscribe and post to subreddits that are within your subject area and have a high number of subscribers – I find anything above 20,000 is a good number. Reddit can be quite hot on their rules when you post though so I would make sure you read the rules of each subreddit before you post your content. Failure to comply with these rules could result in you being blocked from posting to that particular subreddit.
If you operate a popular site that mails a mailing list – i.e. a periodical email that is sent to all users who have opted to be on your mailing list, you should share your content with them. Usually, people that subscribe to your mailing list can be the most precious to you or your site. Anyone who has expressed enough interest in your site to sign up to regular updates is sure to be interested in some of the things that you may post in the future. Don’t miss the opportunity to share great content with them, but don’t bombard them with spam either!
Spamming social sites with too many articles in a short space of time is likely going to upset people. You may find that your follow count on these social media platforms begin to fall which is not what we are trying to achieve. Remember, you want to be insightful, not just sightful.
How often should I post?
This depends on a number of factors, primarily, your audience and their habits. If you are posting content for an audience who typically work between 9am and 5pm, your peak hours to post may be 7am (when awake), midday (when they have lunch) and 6pm (when they get home and check their phone). If you use analytics, you should be able to see when the majority of your users visit your site. However, don’t just focus on the existing readers that visit your blog, think about the activity of potential readers too.
Imagery is very important when promoting content online. If the channel that you wish to promote your article with supports imagery, ensure that you are using an image that is relevant to that blog post’s content. It is best not to mislead your readers with an image of something unrelated but more desirable than your blog post’s content.
Imagery is also beneficial to catch the eye of users that are looking at their social feeds. Taking Twitter as an example, when a user is scrolling down the list of tweets on their Twitter feed, studies show that posts with images tend to catch the user’s eye more than those without. This is why you can put yourself slightly ahead of the game immediately simply by posting an image with your tweet or other social post.
Engage with your audience
A blog gives readers the opportunity to engage with you and vice versa. If you have a commenting system on your site which allows readers to comment on your articles, be sure to reply. There is no better way to engage your audience then to spark a conversation about the topic in question. Similarly, if you are posting in forums and on social media, the same rules apply. Keeping your users/readers/followers/subscribers engaged is key.
There are many ways to promote your content. The key messages are to target the right people, those that are interested in the subject matter that you write about and engage with them. Do not spam your audience by updating their news feeds with the same article every second. Finally, do your research, writing about topics that people have yet to cover in great detail is a great way of producing successful, insightful and interesting content. Your users will be happy to revisit your blog again.