The other day, a friend of mine who owns a services business was telling me that his blog wasn’t growing as fast as he would like it.
When he shared his analytics with me, I realized that he was exaggerating the growth of his blog. It’s not that it wasn’t growing fast, it wasn’t growing at all. And on top of that, he’d been blogging for over a year quite consistently.
Finally, I asked him what the role of his blog is in his marketing efforts.
To which he said: “I use my blog to bring attention to my company.”
And with that, I realized why his blog was struggling.
The Big Mistake
On the surface, there is nothing wrong with using your blog to bring attention to your company or your products or services. But most blogs that simply do that, fail.
Here’s the advice that I gave my friend:
Instead of throwing blog posts out into the ether, treat your blog and each individual post as if it were a product.
That means, for each post that you create, you should have a marketing plan that goes with it.
Below is a marketing plan checklist that you can use when you are about “to launch” a blog post.
Who is your post for?
First, you need to determine for whom you are writing your post. When you are doing this, try to picture a single person so that you are as specific as possible.
- Is it a male or female?
- How old?
- What does he or she do?
So on and so forth.
For example, if your general audience is software developers, you can easily segment that into a niche like “Twenty-something male software developer who freelances on the side.” (You’ll see why being this specific is important in a minute.)
Why should they read your post?
Unfortunately, your blog post won’t exist in a vacuum. You are going to need to give your target audience a reason to read it.
What are the burning questions that your audience is asking? When you answer them, pour your whole heart into it. Spend a few hours on the post, doing research, interviewing experts, and creating an outline.
For me, I absolutely love reading blog posts that make me stop in my tracks, print out the post, study it, and see how I can put the advice into growing my business.
Make that your benchmark and watch how quickly your blog takes off.
How will they see your post?
Even though this is third part of the process, the most frequently asked question is: How do I get more traffic to my blog?
If you treat each blog post like a product, you will see many more opportunities to gain exposure. For instance:
- Pitch: Once you know who the product is for, then you pitch your product to your target audience. Let’s say that you are creating your post for “twenty – something male software developers who freelance on the side”.
Here’s the next step. Google the following blog categories: Young Professionals, Software Development, and Freelancers.
Find about 10 blogs in each category that are writing similar stuff to your post and send an email to the blogger.
It’ll go something like this:
I loved your post about ___ and I recently wrote something that both compliments that post and that your readers would enjoy. Here’s the link. Let me know what you think.
Does this take a lot of work? You bet. But if you’ve just spent four or six hours writing a blog post, then you want to get the absolute most out of it.
I would advise that you don’t do this with every post because that would get quite annoying.
- Joint Venture: Another option is to release a post in joint venture format.
Find a company in your niche that you greatly admire. Ask to interview the person in charge of what it is that you admire most about the company and write a blog post. For instance, if you admire the FamousBloggers.net blog, and want to talk about building a community, find out who is in charge of community management and ask for five minutes of their time to interview them.
Once the post is complete, that company is going to be more than happy to help you promote your blog post on Twitter or Facebook. This will give you more exposure than if you just promote it to your own network.
- Alert the Press: Finally, you can alert the press via press release distribution services such as PRWeb. This is an especially great tool if you’ve just completed some sort of research about your users, or your target demographic.
You don’t want to do this every time you blog, as it could get pricey, so be judicious with the type of posts that you promote using PRWeb.
What’s the purpose of your post?
Congratulations! You’ve managed to get quite a bit of traffic to your blog post. Now what?
The most profitable blogs usually have a specific goal in mind. More often than not, these blogs want you to join their list. You will see sign up boxes on the side bar, at the end of every post, in the footer, and on the about page.
What your call to action is depends on who your audience is, and what you are selling, and how much it costs.
For instance, on my blog, I am looking for you to download my ebook.
Test your approach to make sure you maximize the potential of the traffic that you’ve generated.
Admittedly, if you are an unknown blogger then you might have a hard time capturing the attention of the big guys. However, that doesn’t mean this marketing plan won’t work for you. Instead of emailing A-List bloggers and Fortune 500 companies, start smaller.
The point is, regardless of how big your blog is, make sure that each time you release a blog post, you know exactly who is going to read it, why they should read it, how you are going to get it in front of an audience, and what the purpose of the post is.
Greg Digneo is the author of the blog Sales Leads in Thirty Days which shows marketing agencies and consultants how to get more clients in 30 Days.