With millions of blogs and other social content to compete against, the challenge of standing out can seem overwhelming for business and personal bloggers alike.
But it doesn’t have to be a mystery for customers to find your corporate blog. If you have interesting and useful things to say, there is an audience seeking that very information.
The connection between social media and blog promotion for companies is logical: Publish a blog post and then tweet it out or post a link to Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
But there’s more to making your business blog findable than just sharing links through social channels. That’s why focusing solely on the promotion of blog content after it’s published is like a hamster running on an exercise wheel. The ideal is to be intentional and planned yet also opportunistic. And to scale those promotion efforts, it’s essential that two or three times as much time is spent growing social networks than actually promoting content to them.
Business blogs in particular, benefit from a content calendar to guide messaging and to stay true to meeting the needs of the business and researched interests of the target audience. With that editorial planning should also come an effort to build social networks.
For a business, the core 5 social networks to consider would probably be Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. If there’s substantial video content, then YouTube is a logical addition. Creating and growing communities in at least one or two of these networks with a new blog will help grow a community that looks forward to whatever you’ll post next.
Think of a hub and spoke model for blog publishing where the blog is the hub and social networks are the spokes. Each spoke represents a community of interest, relevant to your blog’s key purpose. Be useful to the community through curation, sharing, interacting, and stimulating conversation and the community will reward you with attention, engagement and sharing.
The time to start an army is not on the first day of the war. With so many sources of information coming at digital citizens every minute they’re connected to the web, it can be a battle to stand out. Many business bloggers make the mistake of simply creating posts and then tweeting them out and expecting attention in return.
To see a return on your blog promotion effort, you must invest! Publishing interesting and useful content isn’t enough. Promotion is key. But promotion itself is useless unless there is an interested audience to receive. That’s why growing networks is so important for a blog that expects to be findable.
Network growth can be achieved at the start, by simply curating interesting news, interacting with others and sharing only the posts that are particularly promotable. Here are a few tips on making social network growth both efficient and effective:
Use a tool – Using a tool like HootSuite can enable a blogger so they can do some basic monitoring their social communities on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Saved search queries on Twitter within HootSuite will help monitor topics of relevance and even “buying signals” that can prompt interaction. You can also create lists on Twitter of the influentials in your industry and follow that list within HootSuite for interaction and promotion opportunities.
Track news to curate – Besides monitoring influentials on your social networks for choice for news to share, searching Google News and bookmarking the search results page can also be useful for finding recent and relevant content to curate.
Comment on other blogs and news sites – Find other topically relevant blogs and industry news sites that allow commenting and track them for opportunities to share your opinion. Just one of these comments a day can take about 5 minutes and if you add that up over time, it creates a very credible footprint. It can even turn into bloggers or journalists reaching out to you for comment.
Besides growing networks it’s also important to make the most out of the blog content itself for more effective blog promotion. Here are a few key questions to answer for each post, whether its planned in advance or a spontaneous reaction:
Why is it special? – Think about the one thing that makes the post special or most useful. This can be made into the meta description that appears in search results. The thing that makes a post special, can also be distilled into the post title, Tweets and other social messages.
Who would find it interesting? – Business blogs have a certain audience in mind and should be considered for the voice of the post and where it’s promoted. If you think your social connections that represent the topic of the post would be interested, reach out to them and share the post. Better yet, ask them for a tip and include it in the post.
What is the core message and promise? – Similar to the “special”, this is the syntax for the title. For example, rather than just “10 Blog Promotion Tips”, it will be more effective to say, “10 Blog Promotion Tips to Boost Traffic for Real Estate Blogs”. The revised title includes a classic formula for successful social sharing: Topic, Benefit and for Who. This is also where you should consider keywords people might use on search engines.
There could be more than one message and more than one target audience for a post, so use it to your advantage and craft Topic, Benefit, Who messages for each. Those can be used for social sharing on different networks or multiple messages shared throughout the week.
What’s the takeaway for the reader? – This is your conclusion of the post. Hint at this in the opening, provide substance for it in the post and provide the takeaway in the conclusion.
Any special media (graphics, audio, video) elements? – If your post has a special image, or embeddable media like a presentation hosted on Slideshare or video from YouTube, then there are promotions opportunities based on those media on other social networks. When dealing with things like video and presentations, there are also many content repurposing opportunities. Images from an embedded presentation could be used on Pinterest or Flickr to attract traffic back to the blog post, for example.
Based on your answers to these questions, some better choices for promotion can be made and you’ll be able to scale the reach of your business blog without scaling the amount of time to achieve it. Every blogger has something valuable to say and there’s no reason that it should be a mystery to find such useful information and advice. Don’t make the mistake of expecting a return on blogging with no investment in promotion or network growth. The social web works on a give to get basis, so think about what you can do to optimize your blogging effort and create value for the people you’re really trying to connect with.
For a lot of bloggers, just doing 2 or 3 of these things on a regular basis will improve the reach and findability of their blog content. Once a connection is made between promotion and an increase in visits, engagement and interactions, then confidence in an even more active effort will come. Mystery solved!
What blog promotion tips would you add?