Kim told me last week that she has been blogging for almost a year and has never had one person share her posts or comment on them. YIKES, I thought, there must be something wrong here. I asked her if perhaps she gets her comments via social media or email, instead of on the blog. I get at least 2 or 3 email questions a week from people who read a blog post or watch a video and then they go to our contact page to email me or contact me via Twitter. Some people don't want their comments living in public for all the world to see. Kim said she did not receive any messages from anywhere, so I wanted to use this as a case study and hopefully, all of us can learn a thing or two.
Keep in mind, there is no QUICK and EASY PILL for any of this. If you are in the same spot as Kim, you will have to be willing to do a bit of work, but once you do, it is easy to maintain.
A little background: Kim is a personal coach and offers individual and group coaching. She has always gotten new clients through referrals but would love it if her website and blog would help drive new client traffic as well.
After a quick audit of her blog and social media channels, here is a list of what I found and the suggestions I gave her. You can apply these to your blog and social media posts as well for BIG RESULTS:
Posts not focused and not highlighting expertise.
The blog posts were more observations or random thoughts by her. Some had nothing to do with working with a coach or providing helpful tips or information for people wanting to make changes in their lives. Scan your most recent posts. Can a stranger tell what you are an expert in or how you could help them?
- Easy fix. Design a content calendar and fill it with ideas and topics that potential coaching clients might be searching for on Google. Start writing one post per week that is focused and relevant to those interested in making changes in their life—personal and professionally. Answer a question, provide steps and tips, showcase her expertise in this space while helping readers to start liking and trusting her through her posts. Video would be really helpful to build trust and rapport.
Auto-sharing blog posts through a blog…ONCE.
Many people have this set up on their website and blog. When a post is published, a Tweet or other social channel post is pushed out automatically. Kim's was pushing out a generic tweet and Facebook post when her posts went live and that was the end of her promotion. They looked generic and there was not a call to action in the posts.
- First can the auto-push tools on your blog. While they are convenient for you, they do not allow you to personalize or change up what gets shared on each social channel. On Twitter, you have 140 characters plus an image. Your link has to fit in here so you really only have about 115 characters give or take. Facebook and LinkedIn offer more room so you can ask a question and then put the blog title or headline with an image. If you are pinning to Pinterest you can change the image to be longer and add more hashtags. So for your first few posts on social channels, do it manually or at least schedule them using a tool like Hootsuite, Buffer, etc.
- Create a sharing machine and add clear calls to action on each post—blog and social. I recommended that Kim go through every one of her past blog posts and create an inventory of each. She needed to list the title of the post, the link to it, and two other possible headlines to promote it. Perhaps one is “3 Myths People Have About Working with a Personal Coach.” Another option might be, “Why You Still Can’t Reach Those Goals: 3 Myths You need to Bust” and third can be “Would You REALLY Do ANYTHING to Reach Those Goals? Shake these 3 myths and you’ll be on your way.” Now when the inventory is complete upload these in a tool like SocialJukebox or MeetEdgar.Once your posts are in one of these tools, you can set a schedule to repost your content once a week or once every couple of weeks to keep it in circulation at different times and on different days of the week. Too many bloggers use the one and done approach to promoting their content. If someone wasn’t logged into that social channel at the time you posted your blog post, they may never see it. If the topic is still relevant and helpful (not tied to a holiday or event that has passed) you can promote it again and again. The more content you have in your scheduler, the more spread out you can set your schedule so perhaps each post is only reposted every 3 or 4 weeks.
No strong call to action questions or requests at the end of blog posts.
- Don't leave your readers wanting more. Many times a reader gets to the end and would click on another link or go somewhere else on your site if you offered it, but they are left with the option of searching or closing out the session.
- Ask for what you want! Like we used to tell our daughters when they were little, “Use your big girl words.” We often assume just because we wrote a great piece of content and shared it, that people will feel compelled to comment. Most people are still consumers when it comes to content. We grew up reading newspapers and magazines. No one asked us for our opinions or comments on those posts. You must ask people to share their thoughts or ideas in the comments’ area.
- Start with very direct and closed-ended questions, “Tell us one thing you can do today to start making changes.” “Let me know in the comment section below, which number above would create the greatest change for you?” These don’t require your readers to think too hard or write an essay for an answer. If you ask, “Tell us about a time you have found this to be difficult…” your reader may opt out.
- Ask people to connect with you on your social media channels. Make it easy by hyperlinking to your account. Don’t make people go to Twitter or LinkedIn and have to search for you. Say something like, “I’d love to connect with you on Twitter or LinkedIn to continue this conversation. Come over and let me know what your thoughts were.” (See what I did there?)
Needing to “Prime the Pump” to get a few comments flowing.
- Sometimes we have to get a few staged comments on our posts to get the water flowing. Just like an old rusty pump, you want to give it a few pumps, up and down to bring the water to the spout so when someone else comes, they can easily get the water flowing. Email a few friends or peers and ask for their opinions or thoughts on one of your posts. Find a few contacts on social media who may have a great opinion on your topic and ask if they wouldn’t mind reading your post and offering their thoughts. You can’t ask the same people over and over to comment on your posts, but if you spread it out, you may be able to get one or two on a few of your best posts. Most people who comment will then share the post with their social network.
If you try these 4 steps and still get no response from people, you will need to find someone to give you honest feedback and perhaps coaching. You will need someone who can be brutally honest. Someone who can look for these possible writing diseases:
- If your writing style is not clear and concise it can be hard for readers to stay with you, let alone want to share it with their audience.
- You may need more white space, bullets, and photos to break up heavy text paragraphs. Remember we are a society used to videos, shiny photos and 140 character tweets.
- You may have a topic that not many people are interested in. It’s like that 90’s movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You.” This is a hard pill to swallow, but it may be that you need to assess the relevancy of your blog, your topic or just your writing style. If you are using dated examples or write in a manner that is not compelling, it could just be your readers are yawning and moving on.
- Try hiring a professional writer to convey your message. You can go to sites like Writers Access and find someone who might be able to write for your industry and topic.
- If you have a topic that can be covered through video or beautiful images, you may just need to shift the format of your posts. It’s like trying to write about art and what inspires you without showing it. Many bloggers do a beautiful job of moving you through photos and fewer words.
- Try auditing a few blogs from others in your industry or an outside industry (although you will get more applicable examples if they are in your industry). Look at the format of their posts. Are they long or short? Do they write in a conversational tone or more formal? What do you like about the set up? What might be missing as far as types of content (You might want to address what is missing on your blog)?
Okay, it’s your turn. What other tips would you give Kim? How are you getting more comments and shares to your content? Are there other blog diseases you have seen? We need your expertise here. Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments.
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