Ok, so you’ve decided to start a company blog. Or maybe, you’ve been plugging away for some time, but have yet to see the results that you’d hoped for. If you’re putting in the effort to create high quality content, the next step will be finding a bigger audience to read, share and engage with that content. Here are six ways you can increase your blog audience (without spending money on paid placements).
1. Syndicate your content to third party publications
Syndicating your content to a third party site is one of the easiest and quickest ways to increase the audience and exposure of your content. These sites are frequently cited by a wide variety of people, and your content posted there will likely get many more social shares. These sites can also expose your name, links, company and thought leadership to a much larger audience, and can in turn steer more people back to your own site.
There are a ton of sites that aggregate user-submitted pieces and post them. Your best bet is to find one (or several) that have high traffic and social sharing numbers, and whose subject matter is most closely tied with your brand and content strategy. In some cases, these might be trade publications as well.
Here are a few of the better known sites from a variety of industries where you can syndicate your content:
Social Media and Marketing
- Social Media Today – A site that covers social media including: Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, strategy, search, ROI, policy, metrics, marketing, influence, and more.
- Social Media Explorer – A site dedicated to sales and marketing, which covers social selling, sales process, sales, online community, marketing, lead generation, customer service, CRM, and branding.
Data and Marketing
- SmartData Collective – A site dedicated to business intelligence and data analytics covering warehousing, visualization, marketing automation, market research, governance, data mining, cloud, analytics, and more.
- Sustainable Business Forum – The future of healthy enterprise covering workplace safety, environmental stewardship, culture & leadership, corporate social responsibility, and more.
- MyVenturePad – A source focusing on venture funding and growth; covers women entrepreneurs, technology, startups, leadership, business transformation, and more. Governing People – The world’s best thinkers on e-government and open democracy.
- HealthWorks Collective – A site focused on healthcare, social media, public health, medical technology, medical ethics, policy, business, global healthcare, and more.
- The Energy Collective – A source on energy and climate with topics that include wind, transportation, smartgrid, oil, nuclear, climate, clean tech, and more.
- Sustainable Cities Collective – A site that spans topics on transportation, sustainability, health and food, design & architecture, community planning, bicycling, and more.
2. Use forums – and provide useful information.
Forums like Quora can be a really effective way to drive targeted and relevant traffic to your blog. This became an incredibly effective strategy I employed while running the content marketing at my last job. I would search for questions and topics related to various posts I had written, and answer the question with relevant and thoughtful information – and then add a link back to the appropriate blog post.
Similarly, Linkedin groups can also be an effective method for finding and expanding the right audience for your blog and content.
Not only does this get links out to your blog in places where people are looking for the information you have to offer, it can also help establish you and your blog as a trustworthy and useful source of information for future questions or problems someone may have.
3. Guest Blog
Another way to get your name, point of view and/or company in front of a broader and different audience can be through guest blogging. Find a list of relevant blogs that you think might have the best crossover with the audience you’d like to connect with. Then start reaching out to the bloggers or editors who run those sites with inquiries for guest blogging opportunities. Most blogs are more than willing to accept high quality, free content and are more than happy to put your content on the site.
There are a few strategies that will help ensure success. If it’s a larger blog with high traffic, you’ll want to pitch specific blog topic ideas in the very first inquiry email. Send a possible headline and brief synopsis of what you’d write about. It is often a lot easier to get a yes to guest blogging possibility when the editor knows what to expect from you – and knows it’ll be high quality content. In this vein, it can also be smart to send over examples of other work you’ve done. Send links to a few of your favorite/best posts you’ve written. Lastly, make sure you write all original content for any guest posting you do.
Accepting guest submissions, or asking other writers you know and admire to guest blog, can also be a great way to drive their audience to your site. If another writer/blogger has a substantial following, a post by them on your site could help establish your credibility, expose you to a larger audience and gain new readers.
4. Think About SEO
By improving the search rankings of your blog, many will find everything from inbound leads to inquiries for advertising, to guest posting opportunities, to press and discovery by major media entities all come from search.
SEO for blogs can be a lot easier and less intimidating than you may think. When you begin you don't have to start with hours of keyword research or technical set up. Simply brainstorming a list of keywords that you’d like your blog to appear for, doing a little research on those terms, and then finding clever ways to infuse your blog topics and writing with those words is a good start.
There are tons of resources out there for improving the SEO of your blog. Here are a couple great places to start:
5. Add Images to Your Posts
Not only will adding images to your posts make them more readable, more shareable and improve engagement on your blog, but adding images and tagging them correctly can also help your blog show up in image search results.
6. Reference and Link to Your Own Posts and Those of Others
Readers appreciate links, as do other bloggers, site owners and even search engines. When you reference your own material in-context, in a way that's not manipulative (don’t overdo it), you potentially draw visitors to your other content AND give search engines a nice signal about those previous posts.
Also valuable is referencing the content of others – especially those with high quality sites and great content. The site owners will often receive an alert or see that you have linked to their content, and will sometimes return the favor later on down the road – or possible share your content on their own social channels.
Linking out is a direct line to earning links, social mentions, and new relationships with those you reference.
7. Don’t Give Up
It can take a long time consistently hammering on a blog or content strategy before you will see any success. Unlike some paid techniques, earning page views, traffic and inbound leads from a blog can be a long and arduous process. It is not uncommon for bloggers or company blogs to take two years before tangible benefits come to fruition. However, those who stick to the program and continually focus on putting out great content on a consistent basis will often eventually find success. While many bloggers will throw in the towel after a year or less of working, those who stick it out will often be rewarded with improved SEO, loyal audiences, lots of social shares and plenty of brand equity.