Blogging Aimlessly, that pretty much sums up my past blogging experience.
No email subscribers.
No social sharing.
Just writing blog posts, optimizing for keywords, and waiting for the errant visitor to come happening onto my site.
If this sounds vaguely familiar, what are we going to do about it? Sure you can keep cranking out posts and hope one day you hit the mother load. You’ll be on top of the Google SERP’s, and everyone doing a search for that elusive keyword you are targeting will be sure to stumble upon your blog.
We can come up with a strategy for our blog?
Or, we can just pack it in, quit, and call it a day.
As John Blutarsky (Bluto) once said:
Nothing is over until we decide it is. Was it over when the German’s bombed Pearl Harbor? — Hell No!
Well it ain’t over now…
Build It And They Will Come (Or Will They)
If only it was as easy as that.
In Field of Dreams, it was as simple as building a baseball diamond in a corn field. OK, maybe that’s not a good analogy, as that actually sounds kind of difficult.
What I’m trying to say is, if you build a blog, nobody is coming unless you have a strategy in place.
If you want to keep writing for yourself, have at it, but I have better things to do with my time.
You can have the best idea in the world, the greatest theme/design ever implemented, and content that rivals some of the biggest blogging names on the planet. How are you going to get people to find you?
With a strategy, that’s how!!!
The easiest way to implement a strategy is to find one that works for successful bloggers and use that strategy for your blog. Now I know what you’re thinking, why in the world would a successful blogger share their strategy with me?
This is the beauty of blogging. I’m discovering there are so many bloggers out there that want you to be successful, and they are willing to share their secrets completely free of charge. How’s that? They write about it on their blogs!
The thing is, these aren’t really secrets. It’s all common sense.
You see, most new bloggers go about this the wrong way. They write their content, optimize it for the search engines, share it on their social networks, and wait for people to come.
Build it and they will come. The problem is, nobody ever comes.
Get Yourself A Strategy
So how do we go about finding a strategy to use?
Start visiting some of the popular bloggers. They’re all writing about it. You’re probably not even realizing it.
They talk about things like:
- Guest Posting
Notice anything unique about the above list? These are all things that go on outside of your own blog. This is all part of their strategy, and you know what? It works for them.
Take note of the number of comments they have on their posts. How many people are following them on social networks. You want that for your blog? You need a strategy. Not just any strategy, you need their strategy.
The 7 Point Plan To Get You Back On Target
As a project manager, I’m smart enough to know that everything starts with a plan. Without a plan, you’re asking for failure.
To bad it took me this long to figure out that same principal applies to blogging.
Here’s the 7 activities you need to focus on to get your blog on the right track.
I’ve broken these out into activities which in turn consist of a number of tasks. In project management terms, you have a parent task which are than broken out into sub-tasks.
1. House Keeping
It’s time to get your house in order. After all, you’ll be expecting lots of company. You don’t want your new visitors to see your place in shambles do you?
- Clean up your existing content — is your copy presentable to new readers, does it contain sub-headings, what about images?
- If you’ve been thinking of changing your theme or revising the design of your site, now’s the time to do it
- Create an email address for your site and create social network profiles that are branded to your blog
It’s never to early to start networking, and this is one of the first things you should be focusing on. Your blog is dead without the help of others, and you’re going to need this help when we get into some of the following activities.
- Find 5 – 7 other bloggers in your niche whose work you admire – bookmark their sites and follow them on social media
- Add these blogs to Feedly so you know when new content is published
- Start by leaving a comment on a recent post — introduce yourself and let them know how much you’ve learned from that post
- Visit these blogs on a regular basis and leave meaningful comments
- Share their content on social media and mention/tag them
- Send an email letting them know how much you appreciate their blog and the benefit you are getting from it
3. Creating Relevant Content
While you are networking, it’s time to start creating some top notch content for your site. Now’s the time to bring your A-Game, and write like you’ve never written before.
Remember – quality over quantity. A few pieces of high-quality content will go a long way.
- Do some research on how to write a great blog post
- Read the posts of the blogs you are networking with, I mean really read their content. Look at their writing style and try to emulate that
- Create a pipeline of posts ideas that are relevant to your blog
- Create 1 – 2 posts to get you started
- Define a publishing schedule and stick to it (a couple of times per month is just about right to start with)
- Respond to all comments, and visit their blogs to return the favor
4. Establish An Email List
Once you have a few posts published, now you can focus on your email list. We want to make sure you are in a position to convert the visitors to your site to subscribers. Why?
Well for one, your email list will contain the names and email addresses of those visitors that will truly be engaged on your site. They like your content and want more. This is your opportunity to target them with weekly or monthly newsletters, and opens up a variety of options for you.
Second, when you decide to start offering other products or services (revenue streams), you already have a list of potential customers.
- Find the right service. If you are just starting off, I recommend MailChimp, as they have a free option. You can always upgrade this later.
- Set up you welcome email – be sure to thank them for subscribing, ask them to follow you on social media, and encourage them to engage and ask questions
- Identify optimum placement for your signup forms
- Determine frequency and content of your newsletters (don’t just rehash your blog posts)
5. Guest Posting
Now we get into the meat of things. Guest Posting!!!
You want visitors to your site, you need to look beyond your own blog.
The best way of getting visitors to your site consists of writing content for other blogs. Huh?
Think about it. If you write a quality post for another blog, and reference your blog in that post, logic would dictate you will get some percentage of those readers to click on your link. If you can land a guest post on a popular blog, think about the number of potential readers you are targeting. It’s like free advertising.
- Identify your guest post pipeline
- Research the blogs in your network to see if they accept guest posts, and take a look at some recent guest posts that have been published to understand what the blog owner may be looking for
- Understand any guest posting guidelines they may have and be sure you abide by them
- Pitch the idea
- Create guest post content — if you brought your A-Game when writing the initial content for your site, you better have an A+ Game for this post
- If published, thank the blogger who accepted your post, promote it on social media, and be prepared to respond to all comments on their blog
This isn’t a typo, you saw this one already. I’ve included it here again near the bottom of the list, to stress the importance of this activity.
For every hour you spend creating your own content, you should spend an equal amount of time networking with other bloggers. Its that important.
- Continue to read and comment on blog posts
- Continue to promote their content on social media
- If a new blogger comments on your blog, be sure to visit their site and also leave a comment
This should go without saying, but the above activities are not linear in nature, you will need to go back and continue completing and refining these tasks.
It’s sort of an endless loop…
- Develop strategies to keep visitors on your site longer (reduce your bounce rate)
- Look into other resources to gain reputable backlinks
- Continue to read the blog posts of others in your blogging network — this will give you ideas for future posts (both to your site and for guest posts) and will help you to continue to learn about various writing styles
- Continue posting valuable content to your blog
- Continue with your networking efforts
- Continue with Guest Posting
The Premise Of Blogging Flail
As I stated previously, I’m one of those bloggers that have been struggling. In fact I almost lost interest in this blog until just recently, and only wanted to focus on my personal blog.
But I realized the error(s) I was making and decided to give it one final go.
I thought it would be interesting to write about my implementation of this new strategy I was following. Give the readers a first hand perspective on what works and what doesn’t.
I’ll be writing about my implementation of these various tasks, how easy they were to achieve, and most importantly the results that I’m achieving.
I’d love to have you along for the ride. Interested?
Well sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll keep you updated on how things are working out for me. Or simply click here to learn more.
Best of luck, and by all means let me know if you have any questions or suggestions by leaving a comment below.
Happy Blogging everyone!!!