Unlike marketing a business or brand, blog marketing demands a more personal touch. Your blog is a conversation piece, an ambassador, and a place for you to connect with your readers and customers. With this in mind, we’re sharing some of the best creative blog marketing tips and tools to help you develop a wide and loyal following, and ultimately to turn your blog into a destination for readers looking to learn more about your product or industry.
First, find your demographic
Even before you start thinking about bringing more traffic to your blog, you need to consider what sort of traffic you’re trying to target. If you’re blogging on behalf of a business or product, it’s important to realize that the people who visit your blog may differ slightly from your primary customer bracket. For example, a locally-owned neighborhood knitting shop may have a primary clientele of community members who use the shop as a social destination. Your shop blog, on the other hand, could target online crafting communities by offering unique, free knitting patterns, or be conducting interviews with sheep farmers in New Zealand. Get creative! If your blog offers value beyond just providing information about your store or product, you’ll become a destination for both curious shoppers and industry insiders, ultimately drive traffic and customer referrals that you might not have attracted initially.
Once you’ve found your key demographic, make sure that each of your posts offers something to that audience. This will also help search engines find and direct readers to you.
Speaking of search engines…
Search engines have made marketing your blog easier than ever. To optimize your ranking on Google and other popular search engines, incorporate content-rich search words into your posts so your blog will appear more often in searches by your target demographic. Employ simple on-page SEO techniques, like placing keywords strategically into your text, titles, and metadata, or using images with alt codes. Word to the wise: Google’s new algorithms have made it harder to fool search engines, and you don’t want your posts to read like you’re just trolling for readers, so make sure any optimization is done organically.
Make social media your best friend
Your social media presence is an important extension of your blog and a great tool for marketing your awesome content. Maintain active and creative accounts on all the popular social media sites. It’s important to remember that social media is not just a way for you to shout out your blog (although you can – and should! – highlight new content); rather, you should think of social media like a big networking party, ripe with opportunities to interact with other industry leaders, to engage in conversations with customers, and to link and respond to other bloggers. In addition, make sure you’ve made your own content easy to share by including Tweet and Like buttons on your posts, and providing a clear path for your readers to add your blog to their RSS feeds. There are also great tools, such as HootSuite, that let you merge all of your social media to make it easier to schedule and manage.
But make real friends, too
The world is a big place – and the world wide web is even bigger. Networking through personal blogging, however, can sometimes feel more like a neighborhood block party. Take advantage of this intimacy by sharing your unique voice and point of view in conversation forums. Connect with other bloggers, even those who might not be in your direct industry. Offer to guest blog for trusted sources, and give other bloggers the chance to do the same on your blog. Link-backs are a great way to market your content, especially when they come from truly reputable sources.
There are also marketing tools that can help you manage these relationships and expand your network, such as Triberr, a social platform that connects you to other bloggers writing similar content, or Buzzstream, which builds links to related content. Finally, marketing tools that promote your content across different networks, such as Outbrain Amplify, offer another way to get your content moving in virtual space.
As you implement these tips to market your blog, make sure that you’re keeping track of what works and what doesn’t. Tools such as Google Analytics track immense amounts of data to let you know which of your posts are top performing, which are driving the most conversions, and what time of day draws the biggest audience to your posts. These tools are incredibly helpful in letting you know what’s working and where you should be focusing your efforts; and, when used correctly, they can eliminate a lot of the guesswork usually inherent in marketing.
With all of these awesome blog marketing tools at your disposal, you should have a great shot at getting your voice heard above the virtual hum. And if you want more tips on how to keep your audience engaged, check out our post on how to get more blog readers.