Creating great content for your blog is a great and free way to to gain loyal followers, build your expert status, boost your search engine ranking, and attract customers who want to work with you.
That’s why it’s critical to have the know-how to get more people to become blog subscribers.
There are hundreds of ways to increase your subscriber base, but no one strategy works for everyone. What you do depends on your business, your ideal customers, and what’s important to them. Then, your blog must deliver information they want and make it easy for them to opt-in.
To hone your blog-building superpower, simply follow these 9 basic principles:
Don’t Post Just to Post
Post consistently, but only as long as you have something worthwhile to share. Keep a list of original topics on-hand ready to write and publish.
Something we do is maintain an excel spreadsheet that lists topics, possible titles, talking points, and links we’d like to use in articles. We add to it as new information becomes available and then when a blog post deadline approaches, we dip into the spreadsheet and pull one out. Since we’ve been gathering information and points we’d like to cover over time, the blog post practically writes itself.
Write about What You Know AND What You’re Learning
Blogging about subjects you know inside and out is a great strategy. This will make writing your blog posts faster and easier. And when you’re in a pinch, it works.
However, posts that share your own learning are usually far more interesting so be sure to add that to each of your posts. You want to surprise the reader and if you aren’t surprised, then he or she won’t be surprised either. So, don’t be afraid to show that you’re learning too. Be vulnerable by showing what you know and what you’re still trying to figure out.
In the end some people will like what you have to say and some won’t. That’s okay, because the ones who do will continue to follow you and (hopefully) become your customers and evangelists. There are millions of people out there, so you don’t need to appeal to everyone. When it comes to the Internet, a “few” is still a lot.
Write Interesting and Sharable Content
Blog readers love how-to tips, lists, personal case studies, answers to frequently asked questions, and ongoing series. With each type of blog post, you can drive different types of traffic to your blog, break up the monotony, and expand your audience. In their ebook on blogging, Hubspot, recommends being the first to cover a topic and then do so comprehensively. And, if you can’t cover it first, just make sure you cover it with an interesting angle nobody has thought of yet. Worth checking out are 43 Creative Ways to Breath Life Back Into Your Blog from Boostblogtraffic.com.
Identify 10 bloggers who share a similar audience and who you would love to get in front of and then see if they accept guest posts. A quick scan and you’ll be able to tell if it is a multi-author site. Then, write a post that would provide value to that audience and then link back to your site with a post that would be relevant to them. For example, if you’re an exercise guru, you might want to link to sites promoting healthy eating, organic gardening, or wellness products.
If you want to learn a proven strategy for guest posting, check out Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging course.
Write Terrific Headlines
Reel in readers with a must-click title that intrigues them, catches them off-guard, and makes them want to read more. According to writer Jeff Goins, “Don’t publish until you’ve got a catchy headline that grabs more readers, more buzz, and more love.” He recommends using numbers; interesting adjectives; a unique rationale; trigger words like what, why, how and when; or making an audacious promise. You can also use clever puns like in these blog posts: My Beef with Pink Slime (from a restaurant owner), The Spy Who Loved D…or to D or Not to D (from a doctor writing about the need for Vitamin D timed to James Bond’s 50th anniversary), or What’s Eating You May Be What You’re Eating (from a nutrition specialist).
Directly Ask People to Subscribe
Don’t be timid, ask people to stick around. That’s why you’re writing in the first place, right? To build an audience. So sometimes you’re going to have to nudge them along. Sure, you have a “subscribe” box on your home page, but as you promote subscriptions on other marketing channels, like social media, email, and calls-to-action, you need to de-complicate how they sign up. The easy solution: create a dedicated blog subscription landing page.
We also recommend adding a plug-in such as “Bottom of Every Post” so that at the end of every post, the reader is offered the chance to subscribe right then and there.
Play on Social Media Sites
Status updates are only the beginning when it comes to establishing a presence. Consider all of the pieces of social media real estate that are at your disposal. Among her 25 tips, marketing expert Heidi Cohen recommends using a featured Image on Facebook as a reader magnet and asking visitors to follow you on Facebook and Twitter in your sidebar. On Twitter, you can include a link to your blog in a custom background you create.
In addition, you not only need to post your own information, but it’s also a good idea to interact on the pages of people who you want to notice you. Just make sure you provide value to the community first.
And, when it comes to engagement, don’t just post and run, especially on Twitter. If you want to be on Twitter, then be on Twitter but it won’t be a valuable or worthwhile experience for you if you just post and go. Twitter is about having a conversation and those who get the most out of it, are those who understand that.
And, if you find one platform that is better suited to your style, just go with it and let the others go. There is no social media police out there who are going to take away your business license if you don’t saturate every social media platform there is. Stick with what feels good for you and then be sure to track whether or not it’s delivering a result. Just like any marketing strategy, if it’s not giving you a return on your investment, you should reconsider the time you give it.
Think Creatively about Promotional Opportunities to “Pimp” Your Posts
Many people think they can write a post, publish it and then be on their way. But that’s not going to give you the best bang for the time you put in. So, if you want to learn more ways to promote your posts a good place to start is this infographic by Technorati. According to their philosophy, “It’s not about blogging more often, but about promoting more ways.” Some of their tips include: bookmarking sites, optimizing your posts for specific keywords, adding your blog posts to your email newsletters, pushing your posts through RSS feeds, and syndicating your blog. In promoting blogs, it’s okay to toot your own horn. After all, you aren’t in business for shits and grins, are you?
Make Your Images Irresistibly Shareable
Include high quality visuals into your blog content…they are simply more interesting and sharable. Content posted as photos gets more prominently featured on a business page than just links. Be sure to put some thought into the images you select for your blog content to increase the likelihood that readers will engage with your content. Also, make the updates you publish to your own social media accounts much more visual and share-worthy. (There is actually talk that soon you’ll be able to filter Facebook posts that are just images. That’s how much people prefer them.)
Okay, now you have action items to build blog subscribers that will lead to more traffic, greater reach, and bigger marketing impact. To gain real superpower in your blog marketing, you don’t have to go it alone. Talk to the experts at Solamar!