Rich blogger, poor blogger: How to build your audience and content assets for success (Assets)

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Rich Blogger, Poor Blogger (1)..jpg

This is the second post on The Company Blogging Success Formula Series. In the first post, we covered the formula itself. In this post we tackle the first factor: Assets.

Blogging to promote your business is not an equal ground. Some companies are more equal than others performing much better with less effort. That’s because they have something you don’t have. They have more assets: audience and content.

For a blog, traffic is vital. Without traffic, nobody reads your content, and no success can happen. 

Traffic does not happen to a new blog post magically. It happens because you have an audience to whom to promote it e.g. email subscribers and social media followers. And it happens because your previous content is driving you traffic from Google, backlinks from other sites, and that all is driving up you in Google results.

How to build Audience Assets

Email Subscribers

Email strategy is essential part of your content marketing strategy. And don’t take the word strategy here too literarily. You need to build up your email list by asking blog readers to subscribe your newsletter or whatever “course” you are calling your emails.

There is essentially three different approaches:

  • Monthly digest: You select best of your posts, content and other offers e.g. monthly arrears.
  • Notification: You send a short email about each new blog post (worth emailing).
  • Separate newsletter: You already have an existing newsletter and process. Most content is created separately for that newsletter and you just add something from the blog to that. This is the most expensive way as you essentially have two content creation processes: blog and email.

If your publish valuable content, the best strategy seems to be notifications. Some small companies are sending me 10 (notification) emails per month and it’s not spammy as the content is great. Actually it’s just the opposite. At the same time I am receiving 50-100 newsletters or other email marketing per day from other companies that send only once a month or so. Most do not produce very relevant content, so even once a month or quarter is too often! So the frequency is all about the value. 

Don’t forget any lists you already have. They are a great starting point. 

Existing Contacts

We all have plenty of contacts, and there might be lots of contacts in different systems who are not in any email marketing lists. If you are selling to businesses, your employees are meeting lots of people everyday that are not entered to your CRM: suppliers, industry influencers, consultants, other luminaries, students, potential employees, competitors, their employees, customer’s employees…

One key tactic in content marketing is to create content for, not just potential customers, but also to their network. The best way to reach a busy prospect is to get your content to her radar when someone in her network is sharing it.

So how do you get existing contacts and employee networks work for you? First is to get employees actively growing their social networks, especially LinkedIn: Link with every relevant people you meet and have a meaningful discussion. Then share relevant content (see Content Curation and Employee Advocacy).

You might also want to visit the way your people process the business cards they get. Let me guess: prospects to CRM, others skipped. Maybe they should add some of those to the email list, don’t you think?

Social Media Followers

Let’s face it. Your customers are on social media. There are very few industries where most customers are not on the social media. At least privately. Your industry is unlikely to be that rare case.

Almost all people I meet in business have an LinkedIn account. Less than 1% don’t. Most have Facebook account, and many have Twitter account. Most private acquaintances and friends are in Facebook, even most military officers. Our nearest school happens to be in a military area, and many parents are officers. Obviously there had to be an exception and it’s my medical doctor friends who are mostly absent from social networks.

I am not going to go into social media strategy details here, but let’s say it simply. You are most likely to need a corporate or brand Facebook page, Twitter account and LinkedIn Company Page. Of those three, Facebook is the least important, but as your employees and customers are anyway there at least as private persons, it makes sense to make your content easily available there.

Don’t forget to add Follow us -buttons on your blog, website, email signatures, newsletters...

Content Curation

One essential social media strategy is content curation, that is to find and share relevant content to your followers and especially to gain new followers.

To make it clear, content curation is not about sharing your own content. You need to follow what others are writing about in your scene anyway, so doing them and your audience a favour by sharing makes sense.

You can easily add value by commenting, hashtagging and mentioning on your share. #Hashtagging let’s you reach people who do not follow you, but might follow that hashtag. Mentioning the writer and any products, companies or people mentioned in the post, might get a retweet or share from those you mention expanding your reach further still.

Employee Advocacy

Similar to content curation is employee advocacy where you get your employees to share your own or curated content. Business is done between people and social media relationships are very much between person and person, not so much about following brands and companies. Try to get your employees to share what they feel comfortable with. It all depends on how they behave on social medias. Some prefer to friend with real friends only and keep professional self quite much outside of their social media person, whereas some are mixing private and professional self comfortably.

For the employees on key benefit is the personal, professional branding that comes with sharing employer and curating industry content. 

Guest Blogging

Guest Blogging means someone is guest writing on someone else’s blog. You can blog on another blog, or invite someone to write on your blog. It’s a advanced way to build audience and content assets done in either way.

When you are writing on someone's blog, you are fishing from that blog’s audience. But you are also bringing in some of your readers as you are promoting your post to your audience as well. And when someone is writing on your blog, you expect her to bring her audience along.

Guest blogging is also a way to build links to drive traffic towards your blog.

Commenting on blogs, social media…

Commenting on blogs and social media posts is a great way to get known in the right circles and drive traffic. But as with any networking, don’t be spammy self-promoter. Be a value provider who people want to follow.

Remarketing

Remarketing is a paid method to win back visitors and turn them into an audience.

Remarketing or retargeting is very effective paid search or social media marketing tactic where you market only to people who have visited your blog, website or who are on your email list. Visit our website and then surf around the world wide web. You’ll see our ad in many major news sites from then on. But we are not marketing to the whole world. We are just trying to make you think Loyalistic is as big as Microsoft, and to come back and buy some marketing automation from us. As our target group is only those who have visited our website, it costs only dimes.

How to build your Content Assets

Content archive and dynamics of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine will provide you lots of traffic. But it will take time. When you start, you have one blog post with almost non-existing ranking. Thus your post is unlikely to appear on any searches unless people search with almost exact match of your blog post title. Not likely.

But as you keep creating valuable content, goodness start to happen. You are covering more keywords, and many of those might not be covered with others properly, so you start to get traffic from those searches. A click tells Google, that someone voted your content to be relevant for that search, improving your ranking a notch. Unless they quickly come back for another search which tells Google your content actually wasn’t that good. 

As people find your content valuable, they start to share (and even linking from their blog to) it, improving your ranking still. Every notch up on your ranking will also drive you more traffic, improving ranking further.

Search Engine Optimisation or SEO as people usually calls it, is black art for most marketers (and SEO spammers). That’s because someone is always gaming the system and messing up search results with bad content. 

But luckily SEO is very simple for content marketers: Just create valuable content. People will click it on search engine results and will share it. Use normal broad expert vocabulary, Google sees this as a sign of a content made by an expert. And very much forget anything you have ever read about SEO. Recent changes in Google’s algorithm has made most of those SEO tactics harmful, rather than helpful for your ranking.

Backlinks

Backlinks are links from other blogs and sites to your posts.

Backlinks serve two purposes. When someone links from their blog post to your post, they will direct traffic to your way. And when Google is indexing the world wide web, it is taking into account backlinks to a page. If a page or post is being referred or linked from quality sites, it must mean the content is good. And if it’s being linked from spammy websites, the content is likely to be spammy as well.

So your backlinks act as an asset. The more quality backlinks you have to your previous posts, the more traffic they will bring, and the higher Google will rank you driving more traffic from search as well.

Backlinks do happen organically when others find your amazing content and want to link to it from their posts. But usually you have to work your butt off to speed up the process. The more backlinks you have, the more people fill find your content, and the more backlink will happen organically.

Beware of the bad backlinks thought. You don’t want to be associated with bad company, that is a spammy website. Google even have a disavow tool where you can report backlinks you don’t want Google to count as your backlink. 

The Company Blog Success Formula Series:

  1. The Company Blog Success Formula, what makes or breaks your company blog, and how to achieve success
  2. Rich blogger, poor blogger: How to build your audience and content assets for success (Assets)
  3. Behind every legendary blog is a great promoter (Promotion)
  4. 11 finishing steps that make your blog post great [ Greatness ]
  5. Blogging is a volume sport, why? [ Quantity ]
  6. Without [ Content - Audience Fit ], your company blog will fail
  7. Road to blogging success is paved with constant small improvements
  8. 7 must-haves of a Minimum Viable Blog [ CHECKLIST ]

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Antti Pietilä

Written by Antti Pietilä

Antti is the founder and CEO at Loyalistic (Simple Content Marketing Software for B2B Companies) who loves to help SaaS-companies to grow at Software Entrepreneurs (@ohjelmisto_ry) and cycle. Say hello to him anytime @anttipietila.