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What would you do to jumpstart growth for a new company's blog?
Inspired by @Morgan's great question last week: What would you do to jumpstart growth at an ecommerce store?
Here's what I would do:
1) Understand really clearly what the goal of the blog is, how it fits into your marketing efforts, what value you're trying to provide and who you're trying to reach.
2) I'd then go and look at other blogs that are serving the similar audience. What do they do well, what are they missing. In other words, what's the gap in the market that I could fill?
3) What content is popular and gets shared a lot. I would use tools like BuzzSumo and this strategy by Iris Shoor on reverse engineering where sites get their traffic: http://www.startupmoon.com/reverse-engineering-marketing-where-do-other-sites-get-their-traffic/
I would also identify the thought leaders in the space. The big influencers and people with large social followings. I would research their writing and Tweets/blog posts and identify what topics they're passionate about.
I would plan my initial content around ideas that are proven to be interesting to people in the space by writing things that are:
- Related to the ideas that get shared a lot but add a layer of detail or research to them.
- Content that aligns or contradicts what influencers in the space say, that leads them to share or address it with their audiences.
- Content that has proven successful in the past based on share rates etc.
You can use @backlinko's approach to getting influencers to share your content as he describes here: http://backlinko.com/increase-website-traffic
Also, again Iris Shoor's ideas here: http://www.startupmoon.com/outsourcing-marketing-how-300mo-on-odesk-boosts-our-traction-by-14/
I would also read this post on how Movoto built their blog from 2,000 visitors to 18,000,000 in two years: http://www.movoto.com/blog/movoto-com/buzzfeed-for-real-estate/
4) I would also start to build up my own distribution network by building a twitter audience. http://www.programmingformarketers.com/lesson-2-how-to-programmatically-acquire-50k-twitter-followers/
I especially like #3, learning from others who are already successful. I would also look into how community sites might be able to benefit from your content. For example, finding receptive subreddits may be helpful as well.
Now that's a pretty solid strategy.
Awesome @morgan - just a few things I would add to this.
-Figure out what communities and content aggregators that your audience is hanging out at. These are the places you want to be able to submit your content to, get feedback, spur ideas for future posts, and even find guest writers for your blog.
-Create a social strategy around your social media channels to distribute content and start to put more of an emphasis on growing your targeted audience on social media like Morgan said.
-Use email collectors on blog landing page and Twitter Cards on social to start acquiring emails to distribute your content for those who are interested. DON'T opt in everyone in your current email list to your blog email list. Announce your blog to them and allow them to opt in.
this is amazing. thanks @morgan!
This is awesome!
great! Thanks @morgan
Awesome advice! Thanks for including the guides.
Thanks for the awesome list, what a great way to start.
Great content, appreciate the share.
A strategy we found to be very successful is to write valuable 1.000-2.000 word posts on our own blog, then posting these to Reddit and other relevant social-hubs for your target audience. As these are picked up, they receive more credibility and can potentially be spun as reposted content to industry standard publications, such as major blogs in the sphere.
Really loved this list - thanks!
These are great tips.
Knowing your audience is not the same as your audience knowing you. Spend 10 hours promoting, for every hour you write.
If a blog post gets published but nobody finds it, did it really get published?
Love this "Knowing your audience is not the same as your audience knowing you."
@morgan has an excellent list -- I would add one other item.
Interview thought leaders and experts on your blog. They will then share the content with others in their network (it's always flattering to be interviewed!) and you can encourage them to share it by tweeting at them e.g. "Check out my interview with @morgan on how to grow your blog audience."
We grew our blog audience this way blog.replyall.me
For me, building an audience from scratch is all about community and relationship building.
Well, first and foremost. I second what @morgan said - you need a clear understanding of your blog's goals -- the value you're providing and who that value is best helpful to.
When that blog is still just a glimmer in your eye, you should be out there talking to people in relevant forums, Facebook and LinkedIn groups, on Twitter, IRL events, etc. Ask them questions relevant to the problem or issue your blog will be solving for. Get a better idea of their specific interests and language they use to describe this problem -- then use that language in your content. Get their contact info so you can casually share it with them later. Or ask them to provide their feedback before it's public, then give them credit.
It's also smart to identify thought leaders and influencers in your focus area early on. A great way to do this is with social listening and media monitoring. Build a rapport with the thought leaders in your space and ask the to contribute to your blog. Better yet, ask if you can contribute to theirs!
I could honestly go on about this forever - it is my fav subject.
I don't want to spam here, but for anyone interested, I recently wrote a post on the topic for CoSchedule's blog. Happy to share!
Share, share Shannon! :)
Great suggestions as well.
Well...since you asked ;) Here ya go! http://coschedule.com/blog/how-to-start-a-blog-with-no-audience/
Such a great post I retweeted. Thanks.
I'd start by defining the topic and the core audience. The hard part here is attempting to go broad or niche. Broad means a lot more traffic potential, niche means you're getting exactly who you want to your site through your blog.
Then, similar to @morgan, I'd study what works on other sites based on my own observation and tools like buzzsumo. You don't want to copy exactly, but you do want to reverse engineer and create content around similar topics, something I did recently by borrowing a Movoto strategy and turning it into an infographic that's coming out on Wednesday. If it works somewhere else, there's a good chance you can get it to work for you.
Something else I'd do is find way to leverage influencer audiences through interviews with them, round up posts, etc. This is another strategy I'm using on Wednesdays infographic.
I'd also find as many ways as possible to create unique and amazing content. If other blogs are writing 500 word posts, I'd write 2500. If I have the resources to create a really in-depth guide, I'd do that. If you can do infographics, that's great, or maybe white board videos. Anything that's unique and done at a really high level and doesn't just regurgitate content that's been covered 100 times or more.
Last but not least, be sure to offer a download to entice email subscribers, preferably with a tool like GetRooster.com. You should easily double your sign up rate which goes a long way towards jumpstarting a blog.
Oh, I almost forgot, don't forget to promote your posts and also to publish consistently. Consistency is important so people know how often they'll hear from you and also provides deadlines to make sure you continue producing content. Publishing consistently once per week for a year is going to be better than 5 times per week for a month.
Out of all these tips, reverse engineering what works on other sites and taking time to promote posts are the top two things I'd focus on.
These are all great ideas! :) I wanted to get your take on this one:
At my old company, we launched a Halloween AdWords guide and had great success with downloads and people sharing it because it was during October of last year.
Through Twitter ads, it gave us over 1,000 downloads, which we then turned into our blog subscribers with still great engagements and some unsubscribes.
For a few thousand $, do you guys think that's a good idea to kickstart a blog? And then obviously continue to produce great content that people will want to read by going back to your blog and share from that.
Please let me know!
I think this is a great idea @johnathandane!
Great post, thanks @Morgan. I use BuzzSumo and it's a great tool esp to find influencers.
Hey @Dylan - I actually wrote a blog post on basically this exact theme and how we got 12k views w/ our first blog post with this tactic: http://blog.pipetop.com/jumpstart-technique/
Would love your take on it!
Awesome! Thanks for sharing @jmarovt.
Putting it on my reading list.
Excellent points @morgan ! All of which can re-purposed and applied to launching a personal blog. Also, programming for marketers is a fantastic resource - glad to se others taking advantage of it!
Very helpful Morgan! Much thanks
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