Does your business have a blog? Maybe it should. Blogs are a great way to build a strong online and social media presence for your company, bring traffic to your web site, and create the “authority” that helps with your search engine optimization, sales, and customer retention efforts.
But just writing something random — or posting Internet memes or famous quotes — won’t create the kind of business blog success most companies hope for when they start to blog. You need to produce content that’s relevant and interesting to your readers. Just as important as great content is a regular blog schedule. You don’t have to produce new content every day — a couple of times a week is fine. But it’s better to publish a good blog post once a week than a great blog post once a month.
Posting good content is only part of what makes a blog successful, however. Successful bloggers say that you should spend about 20% of the time allocated to your blogging activities to creating content for the blog, and 80% of it promoting the blog content through other communciations channels.
PR is one of the best ways to promote your blog content. A search engine optimized (SEO) press release about a new blog post posted on a high-traffic site like MyPRGenie that is indexed by the search engines every few minutes can drive a lot of traffic to your site. Marketing Sherpa published a case study last year about one MyPRGenie client, Distribion, that saw a 2000% increase in web traffic and a 40% increase in revenue from publishing regular blog posts promoted via MyPRGenie and Twitter.
Here are three rules, with the marketing tactics that support each rule, that have been proven to drive traffic and leads for business blogs (like this one!). You may not see a thousand-fold increase in traffic, but you will certainly see an ongoing increase in traffic and prospective customers if you follow them.
Encourage Social Media Sharing
Make it as easy as possible for readers to share your blog content on their own social networks. Even if the person sharing a link to your blog doesn’t actually read the post, some of their social media followers will.
- Include social media sharing icons on every post.
- Encourage tweeting with “click-to-tweet”.
- Include “pinnable” images so that it’s easy for Pinterest users to pin your graphics or photographs.
One important tactic that many companies overlook is asking employees to share blog posts on their social networks. Nearly every employee from the executive suite to the loading dock has a Facebook account, and if you ask (or even offer a small incentive), many of them will share content for you.
Use Multiple Communications Tools
Every new blog post deserves to be shared across multiple communications channels. No single communications tool will generate as much traffic as several communications channels will — and you never know what channel is going to reach someone at the right time to convert them into a blog reader, and ultimately a customer.
Here’s a list of some of the communications tools you shouldn’t overlook as a way to promote your blog:
- Google+ — Google loves Gogle products, so claim Google authorship of your blog content by setting up a Google+ account and adding relevant information to your G+ profile. Share all of your content with G+. This does two things: it increases your online authority as Google gives you authoriship credit for all of your content, and it improves the page rank for your blog posts, since Google gives extra weight to its own networks.
- Twitter & Facebook hashtags — Before you post anything to Twitter or Facebook, search for relevant, popular hashtags you can add to your post. It extends the reach of every post far beyond your own followers, and also extends the life of a tweet or Facebook post from a few hours to a full day or two.
- LinkedIn Groups — Use LinkedIn Groups for targeted content. If you are a business-to-business marketer, don’t overlook LinkedIn groups as a way to promote your content. Be respectful of group rules, and don’t spam irrelevant groups, but take advantage of the opportunity to share content with a self-selected audience of interested readers by posting to the right LinkedIn groups.
- Social Bookmark Sites — Don’t forget the social bookmarking sites. Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg, ChimeIn!, ScoopIt and the other social bookmarking sites have an audience bigger than Twitter and LinkedIn Groups combined. But a lot of marketers overlook them because they’re afraid of the rough-and-tumble content on some of the sites, or becuase they don’t know how to use social bookmark sites correctly. Pick some of the larger sites (such as StumbleUpon and Digg, if you worry about Reddit), and post links to your online content there consistently for six weeks. Chances are that you’ll find what we found for this blog: the social bookmark sites will very quickly show up in your list of top referral sites.
- Email & enewsletters – Most businesses understand how valuable it can be to collect email addresses for an opt-in mailing list. Have you ever tried sending your email list an update about new content on your blog? A monthly enewsletter (sent to your email list, with the required CAN-SPAM opt-out link at the bottom) can be a great way to share short news items (new products, new employees, special sales) and links to the great blog content you’ve published.
Interact with Other Bloggers
Did you know that about 80% of the highest ranked influencers on Twitter are actually bloggers? If you discount celebrities, the percentage of influential twitter users who are also bloggers is even higher.
One of the best ways to increase the traffic on your blog is to link to influential blogs and bloggers. When you’re doing research for a blog post, include a link to another blogger’s article on a similar subject. And post a comment on their blog telling them about the link, and thanking them for their post.
Offer a related, but non-competing blog, a guest post — or ask them for a guest post for your blog. Accepting guest posts is a great way to get good content at no cost, and most bloggers will share their content withint heir own social media networks.
Don’t forget to target bloggers with the press releases you post on MyPRGenie. We have one of the largest media lists available, and it includes bloggers around the world. In your cover note to them, offer a guest post for the blog, a subject matter expert from your company who can provide background information or participate in an interview on a topic they’re writing about, or photos of products your business sells.