Do you strive for blogging success?
In the world of blogging, the potential for success is almost limitless. Top blogs like Mashable and Smashing Magazine regularly earn several hundred thousand dollars a month.
The power of blogging can also be used to launch products and services. For example WP Curve, a million dollar WordPress support company, was built on the back of a series of blog posts by founder Dan Morris. Not a cent was spent on external advertising.
However, bloggers today face an unprecedented barrage of competition. Two million blog posts are written every day.
At the same time, our attention spans are decreasing. Our average attention span is now 8 seconds. That’s one second less than a goldfish.
So how can you rise above the digital noise and succeed as a blogger?
Well there are 5 essential tactics you must use.
Master them and success will be yours.
1. Choose the right topics
If you’re blogging to make money, your blog should not be about you or your business. First and foremost, your blog needs to be about your readers. You must produce content that addresses the needs and desires of you readers. Your goal should be to keep coming up with interesting topics to write about.
The key question you need to ask is: What do your readers want to know?
Businesses exist because they address a need in their customers. Your blog is no different. If you can consistently write about subjects that your readers want to know about, you will attract an audience.
To find out what your readers want to know, you have a number of options:
- Keyword research. Use keyword research tools like google’s keyword planner to find out what people are searching for online.
- Forums. There are almost certainly forums relevant to your niche. What are the members posting about? What difficulties are they experiencing?
- Q&A sites. Question and Answer sites like Quora and Yahoo! Answers have questions on every conceivable subject. Run a search using your industry keywords.
- Surveys. Ask your readers what they need to know. You can post your survey via your website on social media.
- Competitor sites. Spying on your competition can be a good source of topic ideas. But don’t simply regurgitate their content. Come up with a fresh spin or your own unique angle.
Now you have a list of topics that your readers want to know more about. The next step is to write a blog post for each topic.
2. Produce quality content
Writing on topics that interest your audience will get them to check out your blog posts. The next stage is to keep them reading. There’s one sure way to do this:
Give them quality content.
As Copyblogger’s Sonia Simons says, “If you’re a content marketer, high-quality content is your most potent form of advertising.”
Quality content means content that is relevant and valuable to your target audience:
- It’s relevant because it approaches topics from your audience’s point of view, and addresses these topics in a language they understand. Some bloggers produce content that is targeted at their peers and is full of technical jargon. Don’t be like them. Write for your readers not your peers. Use a conversational tone. Show you understand what your audience feels about a particular topic.
- It’s valuable because it’s content that is not readily available elsewhere. It’s full of actionable ideas that your audience can implement. It gives your unique perspective which is different to that of your competitors. It’s backed by figures, data, and case studies.
Quality content takes time and effort but it’s the surest way of building your authority and traffic.
3. Promote on social media
Now you have your quality content written and published you need to get eyeballs on the page. If you already have a following eager for your fresh content you’re off to a flying start. Still, whether you’ve got an established blog or you’re fresh off the blocks you should be constantly expanding your reach.
Social media is a simple and free way of promoting your content and holds almost limitless potential. The most effective social media accounts will depend on your niche but the most important are Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Linkedin and Pinterest.
For social media success you need to build your followers and promote your content to them:
- Build your followers by following audiences with interests relevant to your blog. The simplest way to do this is to follow the followers of the top influencers in your niche. Some of them will follow you back. Engage with them. Share their content. Participate in conversations. Be respectful but also demonstrate your value.
- Promote content to your followers. However don’t be overly self-promotional. No one wants to be subjected to a continuous sales pitch. As Social Media Today advises, follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of the content should be on topics that interest your audience, 20% of the content can directly promote your brand. Also, don’t limit the content to your own. Share the content of others and in time they will return the favour.
4. Build an email list
As online marketing expert Derek Halpern says: “If you’re not building an email list, you’re making a HUGE mistake.”
Your email list is your most valuable asset. It provides a guaranteed audience for everything you write. Written a new epic blog post? Email your list and your devoted fans will lap it up and share it on their social networks.
Furthermore, you can sell products and services directly to your email list. Doing this will give your highest conversions. Think about it. Your email list have signed up because they want to receive regular content from you. They eagerly open your emails to benefit from your insight and guidance. They love your stuff and are just waiting for the opportunity to buy from you.
To build an email list you should place opt-in forms prominently on your website. As far as placement goes, these locations have consistently proved to be high converting:
- Feature box. This box is located on your home page. Your home page is typically highly trafficked so get people to sign up there.
- Top of sidebar. Try to draw attention to it by using colors that stand out from the rest of your site.
- End of post. People who’ve read through your entire post are engaged with your content. Ask them to sign up for more.
- Pop ups. These are highly controversial. They often have the highest conversions but if you overuse them they can annoy your readers.
Compare the effectiveness of different locations by split testing. Every niche and website is different, so you need to find out what works for you.
To really boost your conversion rates, consider offering a lead magnet such as a free e-book or email course as an extra incentive for people to give you their email.
5. Connect with influencers
As you build your social media following and email list you will start to see a flow of regular visitors to your blog posts. However you may not be able to compare to the influence of top bloggers like Pat Flynn who boasts over 75,000 subscribers to his email list and over 110,000 followers on twitter.
If only you could direct just a little of that traffic to your site. That would be so awesome.
Well, with influencer marketing you can.
Influencer marketing is a tactic whereby you forge a relationship with a key influencer in your niche. Then when the opportunity arises, you can leverage that relationship to your advantage.
The key to influencer marketing is to give before you ask.
You can give to influencers by:
- Sharing their content on social media.
- Linking out to them in your blog posts.
- Commenting on their blogs.
You can ask influencers to:
- Share your latest blog post on social media.
- Offer you a guest post on their blog.
- Be interviewed on your blog.
Whether you’re guest posting on an influencer’s blog or interviewing them on your blog, you’re harnessing the power of their huge audience and authority. Some of that will rub off on you. Influencer marketing when done properly can really skyrocket your blog traffic.
Blogging success is within your grasp
There’s no secret to blogging success. It’s all about applying these 5 essential tactics, being driven and being consistent. In 2005 Pete Cashmore launched Mashable on a WordPress blog in his bedroom. Seven years later Mashable was valued at an estimated $200 million.
Who’s to say you can’t be the next Mashable?