Of course, as we all know, hitting publish on a blog post is the beginning not the end. You have to spend time promoting your post, testing different strategies and trying different tactics. There is no substitute for putting in the work once a post is published - the more strategic and aggressive you are (in terms of promotion/distribution) the better the results.
You don't have to look very hard to find a blog that simply auto-publishes their content to social media and sends out an automated email each time a new post is published. This works for established brands that are slightly above all the noise but for the rest of us without followings in the millions, we have to work a little harder to attract our ideal audiences.
Before I dive into this blogging strategy I want to provide a little context. There are countless articles on what you should do after you publish a post and they all revolve around a direct outreach strategy. Finding a blog that talks about similar topics and posting a thoughtful comment that adds a little value to their audience while dropping the post link in for extra assistance.
Another strategy is to notify anyone that you have included (and linked to) in your article that you did so. It's always nice to see that someone valued your content enough to include it and it helps to drive a little traffic. Another example is to write out multiple social posts and scheduling overtime a period of time. For example, writing 6 tweets for a blog post and scheduling them out over a weeks.
The way I saw it was backwards. I wanted to build my articles from engagement and interactions, I wanted to flip the strategy on it's head. Instead of doing the leg work after the fact (there is still always going to be actions you can take to boost your blog growth) why not do it before.
The first thing you want to do is identify what your audience likes. Unless your product has created a brand new market chances are you have competition. Your competitors blog is a great resource for determining what your audience likes to engage with.
Make a list of competitors, industry leaders and thought leaders in your space. This will give you plenty to work with. We'll call this the watchlist for the sake of this post.
Make sure your blog has a clear topic structure. Organize your content into a few topics. This will help your identify the relevant articles that your audience is reading/searching for.
Each day, begin this process with a quick review process:
- What blog articles are performing the best? Why?
- Which social posts are resonating most with your audience? Why?
- Which articles on your watchlist align with the results from 1 and 2.
From here, make a list of the authors that are consistently writing on these blogs. Find the authors on twitter and look at what type of content are they sharing and what attracts the most engagement. This will give you some insight into what their audience enjoys.
Continually add authors/thought leaders to a twitter list so you can easily reference them again. Start to engage with their content and look at which content they share with their audience. Retweet them and engage with their content. Ask a question or let them know what you liked. Constantly curate and share content and information from these authors and companies overtime to help you craft future blogs and build relationships.
What were the articles you wrote down for step 3 of the review process? Using these titles as a guide, start to brainstorm different versions for your own article.
Now that you've determined what you are going to write about, start to research content that can provide additional talking points, stats, arguments and so on.
As you find articles that you know resonate with your audience, use google keep to build your post. Google keep's chrome extension is a great tool for this because you can take notes directly on the screen. Make sure to jot down detailed notes (include any interesting quotes or facts, the reason you agree or disagree with what they are saying, where you may be able to add value to their audience etc...) that essentially build the post outline.
Share and talk about any article that you are using for your post.
Edit and format your blog post, include the external links back to the blogs/authors you're mentioning. Because you are using the notes you took to piece together your article, make sure that you have a clear objective to prevent you from simply creating a curated post. Then publish.
Then let each author know that you published a post and you liked some of their content and included it with a link back to the article.
Facilitate follow up conversation as much as you can.
This strategy is more about social relationships and networking than it is about blogging. Using social media to craft blog articles in real-time (almost) has already started to save me time in producing the post and in promoting the post. By focusing on building the articles from already great content seems to also help cut through some of the noise because the posts are more direct and relevant.