Content marketing is a great way to improve your customer relationships, increase your brand visibility, and earn more conversions from your site visitors. There’s only one problem: in order to get the benefits of your content marketing strategy, you need to have a preliminary readership. Without a first set of eyes to see your content and spread the word, your inbound marketing investment might fizzle.
Your brand’s current customers could serve as a first-line audience, but if you want to scale your visibility and start seeing real results, you’ll need to think bigger. Try using one of these 10 ways to attract new readers to your existing blog:
The first step is one of the easiest. Hopefully, if you’ve already got a blogging strategy under your belt, you’ve also got plans for a social media strategy. If not, now’s the time to outline one. Use popular platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ to syndicate links to your most recent posts, and frame the links in a catchy, enticing way. These social platforms are public, giving you access to people all over the world, so post often and engage with others to maximize the initial visibility of your blog.
Blogging shouldn’t be exclusively refined to your own platform. Look for guest posting opportunities and start taking advantage of them—common places to look include industry-related blogs or forums, or popular publishers who may be looking for content based on your area of expertise. Guest posting on an external blog that already has a steady following will naturally attract more visitors to your own blog, especially if you’re consistent with your offsite efforts. It also has a positive SEO effect if you include a backlink within the body of your content.
Guest posting isn’t a one-way strategy. As much as you guest post on external blogs, invite other guest posters to publish on yours. It might seem like it takes away from your authority, but on the contrary, having multiple industry experts posting on your blog can do wonders for your authority. Also, those contributors will be likely to post links to that content to their own followers, giving you an influx of new readers for your own blog. This, too, is worth considering as an ongoing strategy.
If you’ve got the budget for it, pay-per-click ads are a perfect way to get a new stream of visitors to your blog. It will cost a bit of money up front, but with PPC programs, you always get what you pay for: raw traffic. By advertising with Google, Bing, or even a social platform like Facebook, you’ll guarantee a stream of new visitors falling within your target demographics. However, you should consider stepping up your conversion optimization efforts to directly recoup some of the costs of PPC advertising.
Affiliate links are typically reserved for e-commerce sites, but if you’re desperate for some new traffic to your blog, they’re worth considering. Like with PPC ads, you’ll only be paying for the actual traffic your affiliate links generate, and if you partner with a site you’re familiar with, you could work out a pretty comfortable deal. Since they’re paid links, they won’t contribute to your SEO visibility, but they will increase referral traffic.
Another strategy is to network directly with major influencers in your industry. Look for personal brands with big followings or individuals who have made a substantial impact in your niche. Reach out to them on social media or in person (when you can), and simply ask if they’d be willing to push out a link to your blog. Even one or two successes could result in hundreds or thousands of fresh eyes on your content.
Social sharing and bookmarking sites, like StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit, are all valuable places to post your content. It can increase your domain authority, increasing your ranks in Google, but more importantly, it gives your blog the chance to go viral if it catches on.
Submitting to content aggregators is a similar process. Find RSS feeds to submit your blog to, or take some of your best content and submit it to major aggregators of blogs in your industry. Usually all you have to do is follow a basic submission process or reach out to the webmaster, and as long as your blog fits their niche, you’ll be published in their directory.
Search visibility is critical for getting new eyes and inbound traffic for your blog, and link building is one way to improve your domain authority and ranks. However, it’s also important to write topics that will maximize your chances of getting seen in search engines. How-to articles, articles that answer specific questions, and articles that cater to common searches are all great choices for topics that will attract searchers to your blog.
Instead of waiting for your users to find you, you can go out and find them. Look for blogs, forums, or any type of online community where your target demographics gather. Then, look for opportunities for you to mention your brand or link to a helpful article in the comments section. Doing so will earn you some new referral traffic and increase your domain authority in the process—but make sure what you’re posting is relevant to the conversation and not just a gimmick to lure people to your site. Otherwise, you could be flagged as spam.
If your blog is captivating and informative, your new readers will naturally want to come back to read more. Furthermore, they’ll spread the word, helping to grow the blog on your behalf, and before you know it, you won’t need an outreach strategy at all. In addition to growing your initial audience with these visibility strategies, make sure you retain a focus on the consistency and value of your blog.