As we’ve discussed many times on the madison/miles media blog, one of the most important components of an effective inbound marketing strategy is creating high-quality, unique content that will draw leads to your site.
Sure, you can create eBooks, whitepapers and podcasts, but one of the best ways to consistently draw potential leads to your site is through your blog.
Once you’ve created well-written and attention-grabbing blog posts (we recommend sticking to the sweet spot of 1,000 to 1,200 words) you can’t just sit back and relax. You need to know how to make your blog popular! You want to get noticed, get more comments and get readers who will share your content with their network.
Here are my six steps for how to make your blog popular:
1. Publish consistently.
Before anything else, you should figure out how often you want to publish blog posts on your site. If you post one article on Tuesday, then three on Saturday and then don’t post again for two weeks, your readers will be confused. They won’t check your site regularly because, well, they have no clue when you’ll be sharing stuff.
One of the best things about having a blog as part of your content marketing strategy is that once you’re creating high-quality content, your leads will keep coming back for more, which means … aha! You’ll have more potential leads to convert.
Figure out a number that’s reasonable for you based on your bandwidth and get writing. (HubSpot data suggests posting early and often — in fact, companies that published over 16 posts a month got 3.5 times more traffic than those that published four or fewer.)
2. Have a content strategy.
One of the worst things you can do is publish content with no apparent rhyme or reason. For example, let’s say you sell organic snacks for children on your website. Your content will fall into that niche — you’ll likely publish articles about the importance of organic food for young kids, healthy eating habits for babies and perhaps even parenting children with food allergies.
You wouldn’t share things about organic dog food or even how to eat healthy in college — that’s outside the scope of your expertise. Determine your content parameters, and stick to them.
3. SEO. SEO. SEO.
Have I hammered it into your brain enough? You must use SEO extensively in all of your blog posts. This is a critical component of your blog getting more comments and getting noticed.
First, you’ll want to select a long tail keyword that you know your potential customers will be searching for on Google. (A long tail keyword is “eating gluten free,” while a short tail keyword is “gluten.”)
But it doesn’t end there — you’ll want to do your research and make sure it’s a keyword that a) doesn’t have much competition, and b) will have a substantial monthly search volume.
Once you’ve selected your long tail keyword, be sure you incorporate it in your blog post’s headline, body text, meta description and image alt-text.
And remember — just because you’ve selected a long-tail keyword doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. You should select a few other short keywords and pepper them throughout your article as well.
4. Don’t be afraid to stir the pot.
There are a lot of blogs out there. And I mean A LOT. If you’re writing about a particularly saturated topic or are in a competitive market, you’ll want to ensure your content stands out. Don’t be vanilla — be bold.
Don’t be afraid to post content that stirs the pot a little. I’m not saying to write outrageous things. I’m saying don’t be afraid to share some of your opinions that might be a bit provocative.
After all, the best way to get more comments on a blog post is to spark a conversation with a myriad of viewpoints. Just be sure that you have the information to back up your claims in the event that your blog post goes viral.
A good example of writing something that stirs the pot a bit is this blog post from a man who said marriage wasn’t for him. His article got 25 million views.
5. Promote the heck out of it on social media.
In the world of inbound marketing, social media is your friend. What’s the point of creating a wonderful, interesting, stimulating blog post if you’re not willing to share it with your network?
You should always share your blog posts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. (You can also look at Instagram as a potential channel, but that primarily works for image-driven content.)
My advice is to do your research before you begin social media promotion. After all, some people are highly successful when it comes to marketing their blog posts on social media, while others drop the ball completely.
Look at a handful of successful bloggers you follow to see how they share their content and try to form a similar strategy.
And remember to always interact with users. If someone retweets your blog, send him or her a quick “Thanks!” If someone shares your post on Facebook, see if you can return the favor by sharing some of their content with your followers.
Which leads me to my next point …
6. Reach out to industry influencers.
This step is the most time-consuming, but also the most effective. Let’s say you blog about knitting on behalf of your yarn company. One of the best ways you can get your content in the eyes of potential customers is by sharing it with key industry influencers (well-known knitters, knit shops, crafting blogs, Etsy, etc.) and seeing if it’s something they’d like to share with their followers.
You don’t have to be aggressive or pushy. You can simply make a list of people in your network who you would consider industry influencers, shoot them an email sharing your content with them and ask them if it’s something they’d be interest in sharing with their followers.
If you have a substantial following yourself, you can offer to return the favor too. Once you do this long enough, you’ll build relationships with people who you can regularly have a content “exchange” with.
This process cannot be automated, so it involves taking the time to write personalized emails to dozens of people each time you publish a blog post. But trust me — once you get it in the right influencer’s hands, it’s worth it.