Most new bloggers worry that no one will see their posts when they first start blogging and many on social media feel the same way when starting out. “Why should I post anything when no one is following me yet?” Then when people finally comment or retweet something there is no response. It takes a little more effort to build your blog audience than just writing great content.
The goal on any social channel, including your blog, is to build a relationship with people, one at a time. If you look at most social channels, it as if the goal is to broadcast how awesome the brand is or how great their lifestyle is. Not a whole lot of personal connecting going on.
While one-on-one connecting may seem counter to what most think of when using social media, you will build your blog audience and a larger following on any channel if you focus on relationships….one at a time. Most of the time brands are only focused on pushing out content and they forget the all important role of community management and growth activities.
When someone at a brand reaches out to you, comments on something that is not necessarily related to them, or they respond to something you said or a question you asked, you may just feel compelled to draw closer or take a second look at them. They show interest in you which immediately makes you more interested in them. The folks at Olive and Cocoa do this exceptionally well. They will comment or like one of my Instagram posts that has nothing to do with gifts or their brand. Each time they do, it adds a little affinity credit to their brand in my mind. I usually pop over to drool over all the fabulous gifts they have on their site and I lust after their Delancy Champagne Flutes one more time whispering, “one day you’ll be mine!” And yes I have made purchases from them because of this relationship-building.
Here are 5 ways to build your blog audience and your following on social media channels. This will go beyond just numbers, but will build relationships:
Further the Conversation
When someone takes the time to comment on your blog or social media channel, don’t just LIKE their comment or say “Thanks” for the comment. Further the conversation. Ask them a question. What specifically did they take away from your post or how have they seen it work elsewhere? Be sure it doesn’t sound like you are challenging them. I have had people ask me why I liked their social post or why I commented on a blog post. That’s just weird! It’s like being trapped at a party with the awkward person in the corner. I want to take it back and say, “Never mind…I don’t like it now.” Your goal is to continue the conversation, not interrogate them.
Make a Great First Impression
Before blindly connecting with someone that requests to connect on LinkedIn or Facebook, look at their profile and find something to comment on or start a conversation with. Start the relationship off with more than a blank connection that just throws them into your mix of connections.
If someone follows you on Twitter and they look interesting enough to follow back, go through a page of their posts first and retweet or comment back to them letting them know you find something helpful or interesting. Then when you follow them back, it will be more meaningful. You can add Twitter connections to a list and be sure to watch their posts a bit more closely for a while which will allow you to comment and share their content more readily.
HOW TO CREATE OR ADD SOMEONE TO A TWITTER LIST:
WHERE TO FIND YOUR LISTS ON YOUR OWN PROFILE:
If someone asks a question on your blog post or makes a comment letting you know that the content helped them, follow up in a couple of weeks (you most likely have their email from their comment) with an email asking if they have been able to implement the changes or new information you shared. See if there is anything else you can help them with, without throwing in an offer or mentioning anything promotional. If you have another blog post that you think could offer more insight or helpful information, definitely include that, but DO NOT try to promote your business here. You will go from strange and helpful blogger to spammy creeper faster than you can hit the delete key!This simple and quick act will most likely catch people off guard, after all, how often does a blogger take the time to email someone that commented on their posts? By showing you care and that you are actually interested in them, they will most likely come back and revisit your site.
Buy Them a Virtual Coffee
Do you have someone or a group of someone’s who share your content regularly or comment often on your blog? Why not let them know how much you appreciate them. Send a $5 eGiftcard from Starbucks or somewhere else letting them know you appreciate them or if you engage back and forth often, let them know you enjoy the virtual coffee chat time. Perhaps you have something of value, like an ebook or something else non-promotional that you could send them just to say THANKS!
Thank people for sharing your content through fun, personalized, and super simple images or gifs. Why not take a selfie holding a sign thanking the person by name or find a great gif at Giphy.com that says thank you better than just a simple LIKE on a post. I have a collection of fun THANKS FOR SHARING images or YOU ROCK photos that I like to send anytime someone shares one of my posts. It only takes a couple of seconds but sets you apart from the crowd.
Remember, people will repeat behaviors that get recognized and rewarded. Rewards can be monetary or sentimental. The smallest gesture showing gratitude or care can blossom into a life-long friendship. Don’t overlook these opportunities to build relationships that grow and turn mere readers into fans that will help drive people to your site!
If you are saying to yourself, “I wish I could just get someone to actually comment on my posts” be sure to read next week’s post— “How to Kick the Crickets From Your Blog and Get Readers and Comments” a case study and EXTREME MAKEOVER!
If you’d like some help on coming up with topics to blog about, be sure to sign up for the 15-Day Content Creation Challenge. Get a prompt for your blog or social media posts each day for 15 days sent to your inbox.
I appreciate you and hope you found some helpful tips to form greater relationships with your readers and social media connections. I know if you implement them you will see these relationships blossom and your numbers RISE!
Content marketing can feel like a full-time job. Keeping your website filled with fresh and new content is no easy task. You make time to write new blog posts each week. You craft social media posts and even manage to get a Facebook Live video completed, but did you know you have hidden content marketing treasures in your website that might take less time and create more Google juice for you? All you have to do is find these treasures in the attic of your website and dust them off a bit.
If you have been creating content regularly for a couple years or more, you will discover when going through your old blog posts, videos, and website pages, one of three things:
1. Your writing has gotten better. Your voice is more confident in your industry expertise. You are adding more helpful or interesting content in each post.
2. New developments or discoveries have happened that could change or enhance the writing.
3. You are more confident or smoother in front of the camera—or as in my case, less cheesy and more helpful!
This holds true on every piece of content you have created over the years; Our website may still contain outdated content about our services or even in how we describe ourselves. Our videos, website copy, and lead magnets, to name a few, could all use a bit of sprucing up. Some pieces will just need a couple of tweaks, some more of a makeover, and still others, you may want to drag out to the trash and start over. There is nothing wrong with that.
Don’t assume all old content needs to be redone. You may have a very well-performing post that you wrote back in 2010 and it is still driving traffic to your site. Perhaps adding some additional, more relevant content could boost it even more. To decide on which content gets the little duster, which gets the power sander for a makeover, and which get placed out on the curb for trash pick-up, you can use a couple of methods:
Use Your Google Analytics Report.
Look at your high performing pages and blog posts and look at your low performing pages and blog posts. Did you write a blog post and no one found it? Perhaps a new title or a bit more research to add in could bring new interest. Do you have pages on your site that are no longer relevant? Perhaps it’s time to make them more of a helpful resource to your target audience.
Use Your Social Media Analytics.
Which of your posts get shared and liked? Which posts are resonating with your audience? Look at the types of posts and content that have gotten the most traction. Is it video content? Lists or beefy research? Create more of what people are consuming.
Use Your Gut.
When I read through old posts or watch some of my videos from seven or eight years ago, I cringe. I cry. I get therapy, and then I either delete and redo the posts and videos to make them something I am proud of. You will know when you read or watch old content, which needs to be just dusted off and which needs to be burned in the trash heap!
If you select one or two pages per week (webpage copy, blog posts, videos, etc.) and make a few changes and updates, you will find it is much faster than starting a new post from scratch and it can boost your search rankings immediately. Even taking an old post, deleting or unpublishing it and then rewriting it can take less time than starting from scratch.
Once you get that new piece of content completed, promote the heck out of it. Write three social media posts worded slightly different, and schedule them to post and promote that piece of content.
WANT EVEN MORE IDEAS FOR YOUR CONTENT?
Sign up for our 15-Day Content Challenge and we will send you an idea every day for 15 days to help you create content for social media, your blog, your video channels, or maybe all three!
What are you waiting for? Sign up now!
I’d love to hear your ideas on finding treasures in your website attic. Have you done this before?
Whether you are a regular blogger or just creating the occasional epic website content pieces, social media continues to be the power tool that drives more eyeballs to your site than anything else. Social media allows you to connect with your target audience and pull them to your website with more helpful content. Since we are all trying to keep our blog attracting readers long after we initially post content, we need to incorporate social media tools to make that happen. According to Parse.ly, an analytics provider for some for the web’s biggest publishers, social media pushes 46 percent of all referral traffic. But this doesn’t happen with a single tweet or LinkedIn post. So how often can you promote each piece of content on social media? Let’s say… It depends!
Too many bloggers make the mistake of writing a great blog post and then they sit back waiting for readers to come. After a few days or weeks, they start another blog post. After a few weeks or months, the old blog posts shrivel on the vine. So to keep a piece of content alive longer and continue to drive leads to your front door there are a few things you can do to set up a content sharing machine.
Here are 4 steps to keep your blog attracting readers:
Create a content inventory.
Go through each piece of content you have: blog posts, epic website pieces, FAQs, value offers, etc. In a spreadsheet, put the link to each item, the title and then create a tweet or social media post for that piece of content. If you get creative, you can create two or three different headlines and posts for each piece of content, which doubles and triples your inventory. Select or create a graphic for each post to complete your inventory.
Add a call to action at the end of each blog post.
If you are sending people from a Facebook or LinkedIn post to your website, what do you want the reader to do next? How will you know they were there? To go from a social media “like” to a business lead, you need to add a call to action that you can measure. Whether you ask people to subscribe to your newsletter or download your whitepaper, you want to have that next step for a reader to take. If you have tip sheets, white papers or other valuable content pieces that you can save as pdf’s then you can simply put them behind a landing page (we love using Leadpages for this since it is so easy and no webmaster is needed) and your call-to-action suddenly becomes a lead-gen machine.
Put your content on auto shuffle but keep being social.
Now that your blog posts have a “next step” and you have your inventory of content, push play and let it shuffle and repeat. You can use tools like Hootsuite to schedule your posts out into the future, but they won’t repeat automatically after they go out once. You would have to reschedule them each month. There are other tools that will allow you to set up your playlist or inventory and set it to shuffle and repeat. We use two different tools on our client accounts, one is called SocialJukebox and the other is called MeetEdgar. If you have several hundred posts, it might be a month or more before a post repeats, depending on how many you are sending out each day, but even if it repeats ever couple weeks, the chances are that different people are logged on at that time and missed the content the first time. While this becomes a way to keep your content alive and in front of people months after it was first published, it should not take the place of your regular connecting and conversing with people on social media channels.
Boost the initial blog post using social tools like Facebook Live.
Live streaming has been around for quite some time but when tools like Meerkat, Periscope, Google Hangouts, and Blab came out, they became more mainstream. Now Facebook has gotten in the game and it literally has everyone’s attention. To encourage more people to use Facebook Live, Facebook is rewarding users with a greater number of views and actually notifies your friends and followers when you are LIVE (no advertising necessary…YET) and the post continues to get a boost long after the recording is stopped. Currently, you can’t beat it for an initial blast about your new post or content piece. Then you put that blog post into your playlist and the magic continues. Instead of just worrying about that NEXT post you have to write, be sure to spend a little time keeping those existing gems alive and in rotation.
We’d love to hear your thoughts. Are there other things you do to keep your great content going strong long after the date you post it?
Blogging came on the scene in 1994 but at that time it was more of a personal journal or “log” of activities. In 1997 the term was “weblog” for web log or diary. Today blogging is evolving once again. Some are writing their long-form content on LinkedIn as a post and now on Facebook’s revamped NOTES, but whether we call it a blog, a post, or a note, the purpose in our writing is to connect with our readers and share information that is either helpful or interesting.
It’s usually a little more casual in tone. It’s not a novel (which I always have to remind myself) but it should be worth your reader’s time. Here are my 8 tips to connect with your readers in your blogging:
Write with a conversational tone when blogging.
Your reader should feel as if they are sitting at a fireside chat with you, hearing you share your nuggets of wisdom. Speak directly to a person as you write as often as possible. “I often hear …” Unless, of course, you are writing a company blog that requires you speak in third person, posts that are directly from YOU, sound more warm and conversational when you use “I” and “you.”
Don’t speak so formally when blogging.
Using contractions will make your writing feel a bit more casual. Let that voice of your 4th grade English teacher go. It’s okay to squish your words together. Instead of “Do not speak so formal that people can not relax into your writing,” “Don’t speak so formal.” You’re not writing a textbook, you’re writing a blog post. Loosen your tie, put on a flannel and relax a bit.
Respect your reader’s intelligence but don’t go all corporate jargon on them.
When you write a piece with tips or advice that is so basic or elementary people leave hungry for a meatier piece, you have wasted your reader’s time. If you use so much technical jargon, that they need to Google every other phrase, they go away frustrated. This starts with knowing your audience. Are they beginning their career right out of college and need very basic and obvious information about interviewing? Then write as a friend would write to them. If they are a highly technical audience, use terminology they know, but perhaps explain it once for those who might be visiting or just beginning their journey. You may have been doing something for 25 years, but don’t forget those who are still learning.
To Piggy-back on the last point, write with words real people use…in this century.
There must be some writers who get paid by the number of words people have to look up in the dictionary or ask SIRI for the meaning. Instead of writing, “Basic skills are needed…” I’ve seen “Rudimentary proficiencies are necessary…” SERIOUSLY? Another one of my favorites was “There was nary a sound coming from the room…” NARY? What the heck? Was their writing coach Shakespeare? Use simple language that you would use in casual conversations. A blog post should be a conversation, not a legal document…unless you’re writing about the legal industry…then go ahead and write like Shakespeare, those reading it are probably used to that. You can run your writing through tools that measure readability, like readability-score.com or check your entire website with sites like Read-Able.com
Make others the hero in your stories.
If you’re always writing about your awesomeness, how great your company is, or how amazing your life is, people tune out. We want to hang out with people who make us feel better, not worse. We connect with people who are more like us. Sure it’s great to hear how you overcame adversity or how you did something that was incredible but bring it back to ME. How can I apply what you learned, to my life? Give us 3 tips you learned that we can apply. 5 lessons that will help all of us do something better.
Don’t use ridiculously obvious questions in your writing.
I was reading a post yesterday that started with, “What is it that we breathe in every day? We want it fresh, but we’ll breathe it in dirty if we have to…” I kept thinking it was a riddle and was waiting for an answer that wasn’t so obvious. The answer, of course, was AIR. It was a waste of words. Don’t write long obvious questions that are just meant to add more words to a post without a real purpose. Unless your readers are kindergartners, ask questions that we really want to know the answers to.
Be relevant to your audience.
Unless you are writing for retired executives over the age of 85, using words like stewardess or secretary immediately makes me wonder if the person writing was part of a cryogenic experiment and was frozen for the past 50 years. Referencing Captain Kangaroo or Gunsmoke will send your readers to IMDB.com to find out what you are talking about. (By the way, Captain Kangaroo was the longest running kids morning show in the 60’s and 70’s until Sesame Street dethroned it, and Gunsmoke was an old western TV drama in the late 50’s through the 70’s…but I had to look these up…I’m not THAT old!). Bottom line is, use language, examples, television show references, and anything else that your readers would be experiencing. If you aren’t sure what they are watching or reading, you probably need to do some blog reading yourself. Take a walk over to Huffington Post or Business Insider for what’s hot. These are two of the most popular blogs.
Where’d you find that?
If you are using statistics or a fact that leaves your readers asking, “Where’d you find that?” you should do the work for them and add a hyperlink to the text. If you are writing about a topic in your industry niche and link out to more resources in your industry (even if you are just deep-linking to another post on your website where people can find more information) Google gives you kudos for this. It is providing more relevant information and expanding on the topic. (Linking out to Captain Kangaroo and Gunsmoke, however, probably do nothing to give you search engine brownie points.)
What are your tips for better blog connections? Are there specific things that make you feel disconnected with a blogger or more connected? Are you just starting out with blogging? Check out the resources on starting your blog on FirstSiteGuide!
There is an old story of a Rabbi, named Akiva, who walked 7 miles into a village to gather supplies. On his way home he was deep in thought, pondering his life’s purpose, when he turned onto the wrong path, landing him in front of a Roman gate.
A voice boomed down, jolting the Rabbi from his deep thoughts, “WHO ARE YOU and WHY ARE YOU HERE?”
Akiva, being a good Rabbi, answered the question with another question. “How much do you get paid to stand there and ask that?” The guard replied, “Five drachmas a week.” To which Akiva offered, “I would like to pay you twice the amount to come and stand outside my home and ask me these questions each day as I leave.”
This week I want to be the sentry at the gate, asking you “WHO ARE YOU and WHY ARE YOU HERE?” What purpose does your content serve? Let’s create a content mission statement that answers these questions; a mission statement that helps us, as we write any piece of content, to stay on target and to remember who we are writing for.
Now it’s time to hang the sign outside our door, telling the world WHO WE ARE and WHY WE ARE HERE! It’s time to create our content mission statement. Every piece of content we write, whether a whitepaper, an infographic, or a tweet, serves a purpose, and should tie into our overall business plan. So if we break this down, it looks like this: Who you are + Who you are here to serve + What your content is there to do= Your Content Marketing Strategy.
When you start creating content for your website, put your mission statement in front of you to avoid going off on a technical tangent or using language that might sound more like you are writing to impress your competitors than writing to help solve the needs of your target market. This mission statement should help you from writing content that is too “fluffy” and lacking helpful information as well.
Lets’s take a look at a few examples.
If you are the owner of a heating and air-conditioning service, your website and content marketing mission might be:
“We are a team of heating and air-conditioning experts who will provide simple and easy to understand tips and information to homeowners, to help them take care of their homes, especially when it comes to keeping them running more efficiently while using their home heating and air-conditioning systems”
Do you see how this can help when they start creating content for their website and social media channels? They would be reminded to keep it in simple terms for the homeowner. They are not writing content for other HVAC professionals, and will not include jargon that the average homeowner wouldn’t know.
If you are a personal fitness and nutrition trainer, targeting women, your content marketing mission statement might be:
“We are a team of health and wellness experts who will create a website and social media channels filled with content that will help women who don’t make time to take care of themselves. We will provide tips, tools, inspiration and recipes to help them live healthier lifestyles.”
This content mission statement helps you remember that the target audience is women who are busy. It helps you to stay focused on tips and techniques that can be implemented with little time investment or the motivation to make the time investment.
Okay, it’s your turn. WHO ARE YOU and WHY ARE YOU HERE?
I’m Gina Schreck, CEO of SocialKNX and DIY.social, and I am here to help marketers and business owners use today’s content marketing and social media tools to build their business and manage their brands. (Do I get a star for doing my homework?)
It chaps my hide me when I see a company spend lots of energy (and money) creating great content, whether that is a blog post, a survey, a video, or even an event they are putting on, and then they send one tweet out, or promote it one time on Facebook, and then wonder why they are not getting the response they wanted.
You may think the work is finished when you put the last period on your blog post, or when you click “Publish,” but your work BEGINS when you finish creating your fabulous content, whatever form it takes. So where can you promote your content and how often do you need to send out a promotional tweet or post? Is there an overkill level? Each platform has a different requirement.
Here are 8 places to promote your content and a sample of how often to do so:
Twitter is a fast-moving stream of content. Most people will only read what was posted in the last 10-15 minutes, so you will need to post here more often to let people know about your content. Let’s say you publish a blog post on Monday morning. Send a tweet out letting people know about it. Schedule another post to go out Tuesday around noon, perhaps rewording your tweet to promote it to those lunch-time readers. You can create another post to go out each day at different hours and you will not overload your followers. Be sure you are posting other content as well, so your Twitter feed isn’t filled with only your promotional posts. After week one, continue promoting that blog content at least a couple of times a week and then as you have more content in the cycle, perhaps it gets circulated once a month.
Facebook friends and fans may not want to see your blog post promoted every day, so perhaps you send out a post and then pin it to the top of your page for a few days. Two days after your Facebook post promotes your new blog content, you can ask a question of your audience and link back to the original blog content. On Saturday morning you might want to remind those weekend social media consumers of the great content they may have missed. After that, put it into your monthly circulation of content to bring out with a new question or angle on the original post.
On LinkedIn, you definitely want to promote the new content the day it drops, through a status update and perhaps drop it into your groups with a question to get a discussion going. A week or two after the original post shows on your website, add it as a post on your LinkedIn profile (if it was written by you, of course). This is a great way to showcase your writing and your expertise in a way that stays in a more prominent place since your status updates pretty much disappear (they can be viewed by going to a person’s recent activity, which most people don’t know how to find.)
Don’t forget about your email list. This is a great way to stay in touch with those who have subscribed to your newsletter or email marketing lists. Send a short note to let them know you have new content on your site that they might be interested. Add a short preview of the post with a photo and link to your post. You can even post a short teaser in your email signature and link to your blog post.
Use the photo from the blog to create a cool graphic with the link across the bottom of the photo. Instagram does not allow clickable or “live links” to be placed in the content area of your photo, but some people will change out their website link in their Instagram bio each week to highlight the blog post. You can also create a short video teaser for your blog post and let people know the link to find it.
Be sure to pin each of your blog posts to a Pinterest board and link it back to your website. This requires you to have a great photo in each blog post in order for people to want to pin and share it.
Just like creating a short Instagram video, you can create a short video clip to load onto your YouTube channel letting people know how they will benefit from your blog content. I have also seen people read their entire post on video (using a teleprompter so your audience doesn’t see you reading) and they embed the video at the end of the blog for those who would rather watch and listen.
Just like creating a video of your blog content, you can create a version of your post for people to simply listen to. WordPress and many other blogging platforms have a plugin that allows you to embed a player under your post to make it easy for your listeners.
What other ideas can you come up with to promote a blog post or other piece of content? Do share your thoughts and questions here in the comments area.
If you are realizing you need help getting your content out to the world, contact us today! It’s what we do best. (Shameless, I know!)