So, you’ve created some epic content.
Brilliantly-written, value-dripping content that’ll draw prospects to your brand like bees to pollen.
The kind of content that will have your audience thinking “Wow. These guys really know their sh*t!”
But uploading articles onto your blog is only half the battle. You’ll also need to somehow entice prospects onto your blog in the first place. And then get them to read it, share it, link to it, subscribe to it and eventually convert into paying customers.
Otherwise, what’s the point – right?
Seeing as we’re pals, I want to turn your blog into a traffic-driving, lead-generating machine – like ours is for us. And that’s why I’ve rustled up this epic list of industry tips and tricks which I strongly suggest you follow.
Other than writing damn good content, you’ll need to do all of the below to make blogging a successful marketing tool for your business.
So bookmark the page. Close down those other tabs. And pay close attention…
1. Install a Scroll-Triggered Opt-in Box
This is absolutely essential.
The end goal of your content marketing funnel should be to grab your visitor’s email address and start growing an email list of warm leads.
Emails are personal. Which makes them powerful.
If you don’t grab any details, you won’t know exactly who’s been feasting on your content, and you won’t be able to sizzle up those lukewarm leads.
Which means? Those blog post readers might just vanish into the vast online jungle, never to return again (cue; sad violin music).
If you do manage to grab their deets, then you can start to build relationships with them via email and;
- Announce your awesome new blog posts as soon as they’re up.
- Send them e-books and e-courses – jam-packed with value – straight to their inbox.
- Entice them with strategic, promotional offers (but not too aggressively, mind you)
- Eventually convert them (or people that they refer) into paying customers.
In my opinion, scroll-triggered boxes are the mac daddies of opt-in boxes.
These are the kind which pop up unobtrusively as your reader scrolls down the page (you can choose at which point of the page it appears). So you only target those that are already submerged in (and loving) your content.
I’m definitely not a fan of those huge, aggressive, in-your-face opt-in boxes which take over your screen on arrival.
But each to their own, I guess.
There are plenty of free scroll-triggered box plugins available. Just make sure you tailor yours to the design of your site – because consistency is key with branding, remember?
David Risley goes into more detail in his 30 day WordPress plugin series, here.
2. Offer a Juicy Incentive
The most effective way to acquire these email addresses, is with an incentive.
This could be a free e-book, some free software, a free 30day e-course delivered straight to their inbox… Something free, with even more value than what you’re giving away on your blog.
Because people like free stuff!
If anything, you can start with just a simple subscribe message, like ‘Get the inside word before anyone else by subscribing to this blog now’.
But try to come up with a meatier incentive at some point. Sooner rather than later.
You’ll soon see what I’m banging on about as you scroll down this very blog post. But, I won’t ruin the surprise!
Stuck for ideas?
My old pal Kimberley Grabas collected a monster list of incentive ideas in this truly thorough post;
Email List Building Series (Part 2): Create a Sign Up Incentive That Knocks Their Socks Off
3. Hit Up Your List to Get the Ball Rolling
So you’ve got a pretty opt-in box and have started building a list. Now what?
Email your contacts to announce EVERY brand spanking new blog post!
These people have opted-in because they love and value your content. So give ‘em what they want! By doing this, at least a wholesome portion of your list are pretty much guaranteed to read your new posts every time. And a slice of those will share it with their social media followings, thus reeling in that much-needed traffic.
It’s the perfect way to kick off your blog post promotion.
And the bigger your list, the more guaranteed readers you’ll have devouring your content every week.
Personally, we use MailPoet as our email marketing tool as it is inbuilt into WordPress and makes this whole process that teensy-bit -easier. But there are plenty of other decent (and perhaps better) email marketing tools to choose from, like WizEmail, MailChimp and Constant Contact, to name just a few.
And here’s a more comprehensive list from the Business News Daily gang.
4. Keywords Still Matter, Mate
SEO has changed a fair bit since the bad old days.
Gone are the times of keyword-stuffed blog posts, article-spinning machines and mass backlink purchasing.
If you’re still using those old black hat tricks – STOP!
These days, Google rewards brilliantly-written, valuable sticky content which keeps visitors glued to the page and encourages them to share and organically link to the blog posts (because it’s so darn good!)
And rightfully so.
But you can (and should) still focus on specific keyword phrases, if you want to have a better chance of showing up on page one of Google’s search results.
In order to do that, you need to do some proper keyword research. Don’t just pull ‘em out of a hat.
Use a keyword research tool like Market Samurai or any of the tools on this list.
Google’s free Keyword Planner is a good place to start.
So what should you be looking for exactly?
Well, in a nutshell, you’ll be fishing for keyword phrases that have a decent monthly search volume but aren’t too competitive. And you’ll only find that out using the tools I mentioned.
A keyword like “videos”, for example, will have shedloads of daily searchers, but far too much competition. “Promo videos” will have less searchers, but probably still too much competition.
With “whiteboard explainer videos”, however, you’d have a much better chance of getting to page one of the Google search listings. Just make sure that enough people are actually searching for the term every month.
Once you’ve carefully selected your set of keywords, you’ll want to include them in;
- Your blog post title
- Your content, at least once (but preferably no more than 2 to 3 times in a 500-700 word post, and it helps to have it in the first line too)
- Your SEO title (which would often be the same as your blog post title, but may need to be trimmed down if it is longer than 55 characters)
- Your blog post URL (not done in Yoast, but I thought I’d mention it here anyway)
- Your metadescription
All of this is especially easy to pull off if you…
5. Install the ‘Wordpress SEO Plugin’ by Yoast
Your blog will thank you for this little SEO treat.
It’s one of the most complete SEO plugins that offers everything you need to optimize your site, including a built-in content analysis function and the ability to easily optimize your post’s titles and meta-descriptions.
Oh – and it automatically generates XML sitemaps, quickly tidies up permalinks and removes unnecessary bloat from your website’s code, if that means anything to you!
Here’s a beginners guide to the plugin.
And if you want to understand a little more about how SEO works these days, my mate Ramsay Taplin (aka the Blog Tyrant) reveals 6 SEO Secrets Every Blogger Needs to Know in this absolute beaut-of-a-post.
6. Inter-link between Your Posts
This is also great for SEO (the Google bots love it!).
Google is head over heels in love with Wikipedia because the site is brimming with valuable, unique content. Within every page of content there are tens to hundreds of links to other very-related pages, so that readers and web crawlers can easily navigate the site and find these relevant pages.
Your site will never have as much content as Wikipedia. So you won’t have as many interlinks. But take a leaf out of their book and it will do wonders for your SEO.
E.g. If I were to mention influencer marketing in a sentence – I’d link to a post I wrote on the subject. Like that.
Or if I were talking about branding tips, I might pop that link in there, like that.
Get the drift?
7. Use a Sexy Image, Optimised for Social Media
Unless your blog is extremely minimal and content-focused for a reason, you should be using images. At least one powerful pic at the top of your post is a must-do.
This is your featured image. This is the image that visitors will share on visual social media sites like Pinterest, and will also show up in their Facebook and Linkedin feeds. So make sure it’s a good one.
Don’t just grab them from Google – as you might end up getting your ass sued somewhere down the line!
Your images must legally be your own.
So either take some snapshots yourself (time to get creative), buy them from a stock photo site like IStock, or if you want to save those pennies – have a gander at this list of top great free stock photo resource sites, thanks to Wonderwomen.media.
According to my social media guru buddy from Digital Matchbox – Liz Azyan – the optimum-sized image to use in your post, that will most effectively be shared across the different social media platforms is 1024 x 512pixels.
You can crop the size of your image with Adobe Photoshop (if you have it) or the free online tools Pixlr.com or Canva.com.
And if you want social media sites to display a different image to the one at the top of your post, then the Yoast SEO plugin allows you to upload one specifically for this purpose. This is super useful if you have a bunch of different images on a blog post and you want to be sure that Facebook and other social sites grab the right one.
Want some more info on picking the right image?
This powerful post digs deep into the topic on Ian Anderson Gray’s brilliant social media blog; iag.me
8. Go and Shout About It!
Social media is the perfect place to shout about your awesome blog posts. A good content marketing strategy very much ties in with a good social media strategy. They’re both part of the same ballgame; the inbound marketing funnel.
But don’t go overboard. No one enjoys an overly self-promotional feed. You’ll lose followers because of it.
As a rule of thumb, only one in six social media updates should be self-serving.
The rest should be a mix of valuable/entertaining/personal updates, curated content, tips, plus interactions with influencers, potential leads and actual clients.
Here’s a tasty post from Bufferapp about the social media update ratio. A few different theories there, but they’re all pretty much on the same page (both literally and metaphorically).
And when it comes to promoting your blog posts to your followers, try to intrigue and entice them as much as poss, without giving too much away. Make their mouths water and their bellies rumble.
Here are 14 customer-gripping tweet formulas, written by yours truly, which will really help you write seductive, promotional social updates. While you’re there – why not read the rest of Andrea Vahl’s awesome expert advice on social media marketing? You’ll thank me for it.
And when it comes to Facebook, Linkedin and Google+ you have a few more words to play with.
One spellbinding strategy is to use this age-old copywriting formula;
- Identify a problem
- Agitate that problem
- Trot out the solution
And by briefly touching on the technique here, I wouldn’t be able to do it nearly as much justice as Demian Farnworth does in this epic Copyblogger post.
And what about Facebook, Linkedin and Google+ groups?
Yep. These can be excellent places to pop links and entice members back to relevant posts.
But you’ll need to be super tactful.
Don’t be spammy. Don’t break group rules. And make sure you’ve interacted with the group sufficiently – and provided value – before whacking that self-serving link in there.
Play it by ear. Use your noggin. And you’ll do fine.
Oh – and don’t be afraid to…
9. Promote Your Old, Evergreen Content Too
Evergreen content is content which remains valuable for weeks, months and years to come.
And a large portion of your blog posts will fall into this category. Unless you specifically write about ‘current affairs’ or a constantly-changing industry.
So why stop promoting your old, evergreen posts?
Just because a blog post has come and gone, it doesn’t mean that you can no longer harness its power. Quite the opposite in fact.
The ‘older’ the post, the more time there is for people to link to it from their own blogs, and thus the more chance it has of organically showing up in the SERPs.
Here are 5 quick and smart ways to promote old posts by Harsh Agrawal, which include the easiest option; the ‘Revive Old Post’ plugin for WordPress.
10. Make it Stupidly Easy to Share!
Encouraging shares on social media is, of course, vital.
You’ll want to make it easy as pie for readers to share your posts at any point. But make sure you consider the branding and aesthetics of your blog design too – don’t overcrowd the page with swarms of aggressive social share buttons. Get the balance right.
Personally I like the Simple Share Buttons Adder plugin, as it’s just so darn easy to personalize the buttons.
But if you want to fish around for different alternatives, you’ll be best off having a gander at the 12 Best Social Sharing Plugins for WordPress in 2015, created by the awesome Adam Connell.
Another slick tool you can use is the click-to-tweet plugin.
In a nutshell; Click to Tweet is a site/plugin that provides a free link generator that, once set up, gives your reader the opportunity to tweet portions of your text with just one link.
Here’s the site.
Here’s the plugin.
And here’s a nice little post by Ramsay Taplin explaining how to do it.
11. Harness the Power of Influencer Marketing
Just like in this one, your posts should link out to other relevant influential blogs and online resources.
And it’s not just to provide your readers with extra value; although that is half of it.
The other reason is a little more selfish.
By linking out to the influencers in your niche, you’ll be ‘scratching their back’, with the hope that the’ll then do you the honour of scratching yours.
So after uploading your content, reach out to these influencers and let them know that you’ve mentioned them in their post. This is a very powerful tactic that can potentially send heaps of traffic your way – if they respond by sharing your post with their gigantic groups of loyal followers.
How should you reach out to them?
Directly by email, AND by tagging them in tweets and other social media updates. Be bold. Be confident. And be super-friendly.
Of course you’ll get a better response rate if you actually build relationships with these people, which is something that social media allows you to do.
Here’s a top notch step-by-step guide to influencer marketing, written by the legendary Konrad Sanders – aka ‘Me’.
And here’s a sexy infographic with 22 influencer marketing ideas from influential marketers, created by Seth Price on the Hubspot blog.
What Did I Miss?
Pheeew! This has been a long ‘un.
But there are still a million and one other tips and tricks that I’ve left out.
So if you’ve got any important ones in mind, jot them down in the comments section below! And feel free to add links to any useful resources.
PS. Sorry if you found the title to be a little vulgar. It got your attention, didn’t it?