Blog traffic means more readers, subscribers, leads and sales. So how do we get it?
Fortunately, blog posts have more avenues for promotion than many other types of content.
For starters, assuming you’re not outsourcing on the cheap or opting for the world’s dullest freelance writer, your content should be an enjoyable read. The same can’t be said for a sales pitch or homepage.
What I’m getting at is that blog content is naturally share-worthy.
It can be a professional post with statistics and useful data, an instructional guide or a witty post that’s funny and catches the attention of your audience. There’s hundreds of ways to craft a good article. Most importantly, it should be worth reading and provide value to your audience.
The average amount time spent reading an article is a whopping 37 seconds.
It’s not that articles aren’t being read, it’s that most content falls short and under-delivers.
With that being said, the average time spent reading an article that doesn’t get promoted is somewhere around 0 seconds because it’s not even getting seen. There are no shortcuts to driving traffic.
So don’t over-analyze your writing – just do your thing.
Now that you know your content needs to snap crackle and pop, let’s get down to the marketing stuff.
Content marketing is really important. So important, in fact, you should be spending more time promoting your blog articles then you do writing them.
1. Email marketing – far from ancient technology
Email your list and entice readers to check out your latest content
There’s a trend with more businesses venturing away from email but it’s in your best interest not to follow the crowd.
It’s okay to diversify. By all means – make those videos and host all the webinars you desire.
Just remember, email marketing is still very powerful and is a great way to promote your blog.
You should be using opt-in’s within your posts to encourage subscribers and you can send out email blasts when you’ve got new content to show off. Everyone loves great content.
If you’re getting traffic but your opt-ins aren’t attracting subscribers, it’s time to up your game.
Start by coming up with unique offerings that are catered to the post’s audience. They should be free and easy to provide, such as a downloadable PDF or any other document. Entice subscribers by promising it will be delivered to their inbox upon opting-in. Sure, you’ll get the occasional reader that downloads and bounces but the majority will stay on your list.
These are called lead magnets because they literally magnetize leads to your email list. If they really want the offer, entering in their email is a fair bargain.
Here’s a simple opt-in form that demonstrates how this is done, although it lacks a lead magnet or proper call-to-action.
You can also use Social Locker to allow your users to login with their Facebook, Twitter or Google account, which will automatically provide you with their email address and unlock the offer.
The lead magnet is embedded in the page, rather than sent through email when you use this method. This makes unlocking the offer faster and easier and it eliminates the need to physically check their email account.
Can’t think of anything to provide? Simply package your blog post into a PDF so readers can share it.
2. Find related content and ask for a link or share
Something cool happens when you’ve got great content.
Other sites actually want to link to you.
When your the best in the business, the bottom feeders tend to look up to you.
That’s not saying their content sucks but yours has to be better. Make sure it is. Content marketing is about excelling and providing more value than your competitors.
What this does is it ensures other brands that you introduce yourself to are going to be receptive and want to link to you, share your content and be proud to associate with you.
Start running your blog like it’s the best out right from the beginning. Make sure the content you produce is top-notch. When you go that extra mile now and you will reap the benefits later.
Reach out and let businesses know you’ve got great content that their readers may appreciate, this could land you a link in their next email/newsletter.
The best way to reach out to a relevant site is by phone. It’s instant communication but with one huge drawback.. people can be rude, say no and be outright distasteful. Cold calling is rough, especially when you’re just doing it to get links and exposure.
As an alternative, I recommend you try cold emailing
When getting this website off the ground, we did a lot of cold emailing. So much I never want to see another Excel spreadsheet again.
If you’re not finding success, you can also try the broken link method. There’s an extra step in this and you’ll need a tool to accomplish it but it will increase your success rate. Scrapebox has a handy plugin for it.
After you scrape your list of posts, you can use your tool of choice to scan each page for broken links.
Send them an email letting them know you found a link on their page that isn’t working. They’ll be happy you caught it and more willing to replace the link with one you provide.
3. Manually link drop on social sites with relevant content
There’s a whole treasure trove of social sites that can be excellent promotion tools, untouched by most if not all of your competitors. Why? Nobody wants to put in the effort.
The real value in these sites lies in finding relevant discussions, engaging in them and of course, dropping your link to promote your blog content in an authentic way.
You can’t just jump in with “hey, here’s my new blog post.”
With that approach, you’ll likely get your account banned and probably IP blocked.
It takes a real, conscious effort to become a genuine asset to the community. Share things, contribute and provide value. Then, when the time’s right, swoop in for the kill and and bless their community with your backlink. These are real sites with real users and they will produce targeted traffic.
Fun fact: I once drove over 5,000 unique visitors using this same method on only question and answer sites, with about 9-10 hours of total time invested.
What social sites should you search for content on?
- Question and answer boards
- Other social networks
There’s plenty of ways to create engagement on these platforms and many of them harbor huge communities. For forum advertising, use Reddit and its vast library of sub-reddits. For question and answer boards, use Yahoo Answers or Answer Bag. There are even niche specific Q&A boards that have exploded in traffic, just take Stack Overflow for example. They’ve become a programming powerhouse with thousands of contributing members.
On social sites like Facebook and Linkedin, take advantage of groups and the communities that exist within them. Many of these groups have thousands of fans that you can share your blog posts with in an authentic way.
Manually promoting this way can be tedious and boring but it’s a necessary sacrifice.
4. Sync your social media profiles and stay active
This sort of goes without saying but it’s worth mentioning in case you forgot.
Always sync your social media profiles with your blog. Don’t lose traffic that’s an easy score.
If not for the traffic, posting status updates with links to newly published blog posts improves your branding. It establishes rapport and builds a deeper connection with your audience on social media.
You can even reframe content that you have previously shared to get more traffic out of your social media audience. Add an image or new headline to your update and you’ll be surprised how effective this is. Not everyone will see it when it’s originally shared and by reframing, you take advantage of this and give the content a second pass through their news feed.
By using an auto poster, the next time you publish, the post will automatically go live on all of your social network profiles.
If you’re not active enough on your blog to keep your social media profiles updated daily, I recommend using Quuu. It’s free and will publish up to 2 relevant blog posts to your accounts each day. Of course, you’ll be promoting off-site content but the posts are hand-curated and reviewed by their team before getting published.
Think hashtags: Most social media auto posters will integrate your blog post tags as hashtags when posting. If yours doesn’t, you might be missing out on easy exposure. When you use hashtags, you open up your post to an entirely new category of social media users that search for content through hashtags. These could be users that are looking for content to repost, link to or share on their blog.
Step 2 of this is to stay active. Connecting with your audience on social media is a must. Be authentic, show your personality and represent your business professionally. Customers today are savvier than ever and the standards for branding have increased, everything has gotten more competitive. Respond to comments and reach out via groups and other networking channels. You can use Social Stream, a WordPress plugin, to stay on top of your news feeds, making it easier to network across different pages and posts.
5. Add social sharing icons to your posts
Make it easy for your audience to take the initiative and share your work.
Rather than manually copying your link, opening their social media profile and pasting, a social icon allows them to share your content quickly.
Most content management systems have plugins that will integrate with your blog and display icons for the most popular social sites at the top and bottom of your posts. Many can even do floating sidebars or icons within the content itself.
If you’re running WordPress, I recommend Easy Social Share Buttons.
It’s the best I’ve used and has a ridiculous amount of features. Here’s how it looks:
Want to really grow your social presence? Social locker for WordPress is the way to go.
This is a plugin that locks your content until the user likes your page, signs up to your website, or shares your post on social media. You can even embed locked content within a post while allowing the majority of the content to be seen. This is perfect for locking download links or free giveaways.
Just like a lead magnet in email marketing, social locking grows your social media presence rather than subscribers.
The trick with social locking is to really pack value into the content that’s locked. Make sure the user has no doubt that it’s worth the extra time.
6. Use influencers to your advantage
Linking out to the top influencers in your niche will help you get noticed.
It’s not just good practice to share some love, it creates association and builds your brand.
You can amp things up a bit by reaching out via social media or email, just letting them know you paid reference to their work.
People love being referenced as an authority in their niche and quoting them is an excellent way to let them know you’re listening.
Don’t ask for a link back or expect a returned favor, that’s going to burn your relationships with influencers more than it will help. I’d consider it bad practice.
However, do give influencers the opportunity to link out and share your work. Make sure you have social icons on your posts.
If you really want to get fancy, contact influencers beforehand and ask for a killer quote or have them answer some questions for you. Get their intake and ask the right stuff. Informal interviews like this can go a long way.
7. Pay for influencers and promotion
Sometimes its better to have a service do the heavy lifting for you.
Now that were in the era of content marketing, there are services everywhere for article promotion.
These aren’t organic content marketing services. Rather, you are using their system to directly exchange your money with influencers that will advertise for you.
One of my favorites is Outbrain, a content marketing service that allows you to reach new audiences.
It’s similar to Adwords and other pay-per-click ads, except your ad gets placed on influential sites like top blogs and news portals.
It’s geared toward content promoters and it’s not for advertising a landing page or a product.
You can also try StumbleUpon Ads for a pay-per-view style of advertising. Users can “thumb’s up” or “thumb’s down” your content depending on how they feel. A thumb’s up can help your ad get more views within their system.
If you want to promote your content across influential social media channels, try Quuupromote. It’s affordable, ranging from $10 – $30 per post and their influencers are genuine.
Their service is rather unique and allows you to share your content with real social profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.
It works by pairing with their hand-curated content suggestion service, Quuu, which allows businesses to automatically publish relevant content to their social media profiles for free. This content of course comes from brands that pay for the Quuupromote service. You can see they’ve got a cool exchange system going here and both services have really taken off.
8. Build your own syndication network
This one’s not easy. It takes time and persistence. Not everyone’s open to the idea of publishing syndicated content.
However, when you’re in a niche and you’re there to stay, you’ve got the time to invest. The goal here is to find blogs that accept syndicated content and are happy to feature it on their website.
Reach out and establish a publishing relationship and you’ll be able to drive traffic from their audience with every new blog post.
There’s lots of sites that accept guest posts and not so many that are willing to syndicate for you. Don’t try to pass off your work as an original piece if it’s not, eventually your publishers will notice and you’ll get burned.
In some of the larger niches you’ll find actual syndication sites. Internet marketing is a niche where there are many. Inbound.com and Kingged.com are a couple examples.
9. Publish to social hubs and web 2.0’s
Many of us manage blogs and other off-site web 2.0 properties on social hubs.
These are sites like Tumblr, where you can create your own website on a sub-domain.
You should syndicate to your social hubs and harness their internal traffic. One of the biggest being used for this purpose is Medium.
It’s easy to do and if you’ve built up your hubs into reputable blogs it can be really effective.
My web 2.0 property SEO hack: Have your social hubs and web 2.0 properties not built-up authority yet? Here’s what you should do:
You might have to do some digging to find a service provider or tool to assist you but expired web 2.0 properties with page authority can be very powerful as a link building asset.
There’s lots of ways to scrape expired properties and it’s commonly done with Scrapebox. Make sure you use a niche specific keyword list to get the best results. Once you have your list of scraped web 2.0 properties, you can run it through the vanity name checker. This scans the subdomains to see if they’re still registered or not. Keep just the ones that are not taken and use the page authority addon to check for authority. You’ll now have a solid list of expired web 2.0 properties and you can sort and register them by highest page authority. Keep in mind, the vanity name checker only works for a select number of web 2.0 sites but you can accomplish the same thing for another site by scanning your list for HTTP 404 – not found errors.
10. Enhance your content and syndicate your work
Videos, infographics and other visual content can be more compelling to an audience than written content.
These are powerful ways to create engagement. It genuinely compels readers to stay on the page and provides a unique experience that written content wouldn’t be able to accomplish.
However, there are lots of ways you can add enhancements to your blog content. Some examples include: infographics, images, videos, podcasts, screenshots, graphs, charts, reports, coupons, analysis, reviews, lists, how-to articles, tutorials, comparisons, quizzes, heavily researched articles, audio, case studies, interviews, Q&A’s, etc.
When you take the time to produce content like this it’s important that you share it to get the most out of your work. By using syndication directories you can harness their internal traffic and build backlinks in the process. You can even use social bookmarking sites to boost the authority of your shares.
TIP: Before syndicating, repurpose your content
Content can always be repurposed into other formats.
Infographics and videos are often created as assets to supplement blog posts but you can reuse pre-existing content as well.
Repurposing content opens up more opportunities for syndication and is a good way to promote. Repurposing content into a variety of formats helps you appeal to unique audiences that your content would have never reached had it remained in its original form.
Some content pairs perfectly with repurposing methods. For instance, videos can be transcribed and used to create PDF documents, infographics, blog posts and slideshows
12. Submit to aggregation sites and content communities
Aggregation sites are portals to important content like news posts and guides.. Sites like Alltop aggregate content from dozens of different websites to make it easy for their readers to locate all the best content in one location. Aggregated content sites can provide targeted traffic because rather than hosting the content, they link out to the original source. Visit all the top aggregation sites in your niche and reach out to ask for inclusion. Most content aggregation sites that span multiple niches have disappeared, so it’s important that you look for aggregators specific to your niche. AffBuzz is a popular aggregator for the affiliate marketing niche.
If you’ve got extra time, suggest your blog post on Scoop.it and it can get featured throughout their publishing network. You have to install their browser extension to make a suggestion but if a publisher approves it, that means more targeted traffic for your blog.
Content communities extend your outreach and are generally free to submit to as well. They can increase your social media shares and grow your audience using their network. Expect the content on these communities to be very competitive. You should have some of the strongest articles in your niche to really standout among the content featured here. Aim for originality and try to put a unique spin on the topics you cover.
Some more popular content communities include:
13. Improve the on-page SEO for your blog posts
Far too often businesses focus solely on off-page SEO tactics, spending little to no time improving the actual content on their website. Once published, it’s rarely revisited and in doing so, their search engine traffic suffers.
On-page factors are the fundamentals of search engine optimization. It’s what search engines first evaluate and their determinations come from the content on the page and how it’s pieced together.
These fundamentals can’t be neglected and dong so could slow down your progress and make it impossible for any work you do off-page to have an impact.
The better your content, the better your results.
Here are some of the major on-page factors that contribute to your search engine rankings:
- Write a unique and keyword targeted title
- Write a unique and keyword targeted META description
- Provide relevant categorization and tags for blog posts
- Write a unique and keyword targeted H1 tag (header)
- Write a unique and keyword targeted H2 tag (subheader)
- Write unique and keyword targeted H3 tags (section headings)
- Use a keyword targeted URL (example: dylanbozeman.com/promoting-blog-content-marketing-articles/)
- Add images to your content using keyword targeted image ALT tags
- Enhance your content through videos, infographics, graphs, etc.
- Internally link content to other relevant content on your website that you want to boost
- Ensure the page loads quickly and isn’t slowed down by excess images or comments
- Lower your bounce rate for the page
- Limit outbound dofollow links but ensure you link out to a few, reputable sources
- Cite your sources – authoritative sites reference the sites they use for research
- Create a sitemap.xml file to guide search engine bots to your website’s pages
- Create a robots file to unrestrict search engine bots, allowing your pages to be indexed
With content marketing, there are always strategies that are yet to be explored.
Your ability to adapt and evolve – using new ideas, concepts and aspirations is essential.
Hopefully, this has given you an inside look at what it takes to promote blog content with a full-scale content marketing strategy. That doesn’t mean each of these strategies will work for your niche or that you’re limited to these approaches. Promoting a blog is an ongoing process. Hopefully you can draw from what’s supplied here and make it your own.