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5 WAYS TO GET YOUR BLOG POSTS READ

As a business owner, what's the point of blogging? While there can be multiple objectives, like branding or having a place to showcase projects or news, the main objective for most companies in their blogging programs is inbound marketing. In other words, capturing people who are searching on the terms that describe your product or service and getting them to read your post and, hopefully, take the next step - whether that's following you on your social networks, signing up for your email newsletter, contacting you about a project or simply buying something from your site.

Writing great blog content is hard, but not insurmountable... but a lot of business owners get stuck when it comes to figuring out how to get (the right) people to read their blogs. We've worked in a variety of blog and content programs for clients, and over the years we've developed some tried and true methods for driving qualified traffic to blog posts. Today, we're dishing them with you.

Paid Social Media Marketing
Recently, we were able to quadruple a client's website traffic over the course of a month by utilizing a super relevant, content-heavy post and a single Facebook ad of $10 per day, targeted very specifically to those who'd be interested in both the post and the client's product. 

Paying to promote your blog posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and now even Pinterest can pay off big in terms of traffic, and best of all is the fact that all these networks cost very little to test. You'll want to ensure that the content you're pushing is relevant and interesting, and preferably not super promotional. When choosing a network, think about where your audience resided. LinkedIn is best for B2B where Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are more B2C. Pinterest has been known to perform particularly well for topics like weddings, home decor and food, so doing a little research on where people interested in your content hang out is a good first step.

Bonus Tip: Before investing in social ads, be sure that your page is optimized to capture leads. Content marketing is a top-of-the-funnel tactic, so you'll want to give readers the opportunity to engage with your company further through your email newsletter, social channels, special offers for handing over their email address or other lead captures. You'll know your funnel is working if your bounce rate (people who leave after viewing a single page) is well; if it's high, you'll want to rethink what you're putting out there.

Email Marketing
We have a client for whom we create a monthly summary of the blog posts, using catchy headlines, prioritizing by interest or relevance and summarizing each post in a few sentences with the opportunity to click through. This helps us establish the clients as experts in their fields in the eyes of their clients as well as leads directly to new sales in some cases, where clients reply to the email looking for more information. 

While posts are promoted throughout the month on social networks, this gives us a chance to reach the entire database. Open rates for this email are often higher than more promotional emails, as are click-throughs.

Re-posting on LinkedIn or Medium
Depending on your goals for your blog, reposting the content on a channel like LinkedIn or Medium can be a great ways to get your message across for more people. The one drawback to posting on another, highly-ranked site like these is that those posts may pop up in a Google search more highly ranked than the original post. However, if your goal is less about SEO and more about trying to get your content read and out there, this is a great way to repurpose it across platforms. 

Food for Thought: In some cases, such as establishing yourself as a thought leader or expert, focusing on platforms like LinkedIn or Medium rather than a personal or business blog can be a smart move.

Guest Posting
Guest posting isn't as effective a medium as it once was in terms of SEO, but in terms of getting your own content in front of a variety of new audiences, it can be a great opportunity. Guest post opportunities abound, from larger, more traditional media like Entrepreneur to smaller blogs, like those of partners or colleagues in your industry.

By guest posting, you take your own content and get it in front of a fresh audience, just by virtue of posting in a new place. Guest posts usually feature a link back to your site, bio and social handles to give interested readers a way to follow you directly if they like what you've written, so be sure to put your best stuff forth for these guest posts.

Utilizing Video
It's probably not news to you that video content is king for social networks like Facebook, but maybe you haven't thought about how to use it to drive traffic to your content. Consider creating supplemental video or Facebook Live broadcasts that relate to the content you're posting on your blog. Link directly to it and utilize the fact that video is ranking organically high to help get low- or no-cost eyeballs on your blog content.

EDITORIAL CALENDARS FOR BLOGS & SOCIAL MEDIA

We manage lots of blogs and social media accounts for clients, and there is one huge key for ensuring that everything gets done on schedule and with the right focus: editorial calendars. If you're just starting to blog or schedule social media for your business, or you feel you've had a hard time being consistent with your blogging or social media posting, an editorial calendar is key to your success.

What is an Editorial Calendar?
In its most basic form, an editorial calendar is simply a list of the topics you'll be covering and the dates you'll be covering them. It can be as detailed or as high-level as works for you. We like to keep our calendars in Excel spreadsheets (more on what we track later!) but you could also simply enter them into your Google Calendar, your to-do list software, keep them on a whiteboard or in a Word document - whatever works for you.

The key is that you are planning out your content in advance. Whether it's a week, a month or a year, this planning process is the key to successful and consistent content.

Why Keep an Editorial Calendar?
We wouldn't dream of creating content without an editorial calendar. Here's why:

  1. It keeps you organized. An ed cal means that topics or important milestones (ex., a holiday that ties into your product or service) aren't forgotten, and that your deadlines are set forth.
  2. It staves off writer's block. If you haven't been consistent about writing blog or social content, we'd be willing to bet that the main reason is you dread sitting down at the computer and figuring out what to write about. By having that set up for you in advance, you simply have to sit down and create content - much less intimidating!
  3. It saves time. Like anything else, batching is key here. If you sit down and plan out a month or two of content at a time while you're in the right mindset, the process will go much more quickly than if you try to spend 20 minutes every day or week trying to do the same thing. At some point, you simply get into the flow.
  4. It allows you to outsource. If you are planning to outsource any of your content, having a solid editorial calendar helps you do that easily while still maintaining control over the content.


What Should Your Editorial Calendar Look Like?
Like anything else in life, you've got to make this work for you. We're sharing our editorial calendar strategy here, but if this is too detailed - or not detailed enough! - for you, or you'd prefer having your ed cal in something other than a spreadsheet, make this work for you. The important part is having a process. Here's how we do it for both blogging and social:

Blog Editorial Calendar
For a blog editorial calendar, we use a spreadsheet with the following details:

  • Posting date (the date the blog will go live)
  • Deadline date (the date by which the content needs to be complete for approval by the relevant parties)
  • Topic (we use general topic tags here so we can be sure we are diversifying content)
  • Title (we plan out the blog title - like "5 Ways to Increase Your Facebook Followers")
  • Keywords (we often include keywords that will double as the tags for the post)
  • Category (if the client is using Categories on the blog, we may also include the categories that will be tagged)
  • Notes (this is the place we put miscellaneous details on the topic that we need to remember)


Social Media Editorial Calendar
For a social ed cal, we are less detailed on each item because the content is shorter, but still recording as much helpful info as possible to get the posts batched quickly. (And when we are done with the ed cal in the spreadsheet, we simply copy/paste the posts into our social scheduling system like HootSuite.)

  • Post Date
  • Post Day of Week
  • Topic (ex., "Tip Tuesday" or "Taco Tuesday" if it's a food client, "Promo" or "Shared Content")
  • Content (the actual copy we're posting)
  • Image (if applicable - we include the file name of the image so we can find it quickly. We store all our social files in a specific folder for fast posting and we get these done during the editorial process)
  • Notes (again, if there's anything we need to remember when posting, like "tag XYZ on Facebook")


How to Use Your Editorial Calendar
Once you've set up your calendars, using them is simple. First, you've got to be consistent about batching your content. Whether you do it weekly, monthly, quarterly or even yearly, you need to set that task in your calendar and sit down to do it.

Then, you've got to set your deadlines (whether that is scheduling social or writing blog content) into your to do manager or calendar so that you follow through with the tasks on your editorial calendar.

And finally, you've just got to do it. You'll have your content mapped out for you, and now's the time to just get that content done. Give it a try and let us know how it works - does creating an editorial calendar help you get more done when it comes to content?

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