Close
Close

How to find Readers for a Business Blog

Later today I’m speaking to a couple of groups of business people about the power of blogging and social media to help market a business.

One of the question I’ve already been told to prepare a question for is – How do you find Readers for a blog?

The question is of course one of the most common ones that I get and the answer is far more complex than I could possibly answer while on a 45 minute panel – there are a myriad of techniques for growing a blog’s readership (I’ll link to some posts I’ve written on that topic below). But I did today want to share the main points I plan to make in my answer today.

By no means is the following comprehensive or applicable to every single blog – but it’s where I’d start in tackling the challenge of finding readers:

How do you find Readers for a Business Blog?

Start With Your Current Network

Keeping in mind that I’m talking to businesses about blogging here – I think the best place to start with finding readers for a blog is to start with those that your business is already in contact with.

Any business will already have some kind of network which will include:

  • Employees
  • Previous and Current Customers/Clients
  • Industry Groups
  • Suppliers
  • Mailing Lists

This is where I’d start if I were a business starting a blog. Get those you’re already in relationship aware of your blog. These are the people who know you (and hopefully like and trust you) – they can help get the ball rolling in terms of generating some subscribers, comments – this will hopefully help create some social proof to help hook others.

Leverage Other Places Where you Have a Presence

Most businesses will also have other points that they can highlight their blog including

  • business cards
  • email signatures
  • signage
  • letterhead
  • advertising
  • websites
  • social media pages

There will of course be others – but the key is to find appropriate places to highlight your new blog and drive traffic from those who might be outside of your network but who you come into some kind of contact with.

Content as a Foundation

The content appearing on your blog will be one of the most important factors in getting those who stumble upon your blog to come back again (and spread the word of it to others).

Your blog posts need to meet a need of readers in some way. Readers of business blogs needs will vary but could include a need for news about your industry, a need to learn how to use your products, a need to get updates on developments/news about your company that relates to them, a need to see how others are using your products.

Once again – this list of needs could go on and on and will vary greatly from business blog to business blog. The key is to work out what your customers (and potential customers) needs are and to develop content that will help those people solve their problems and enhance their lives in some way.

Content also needs to be well written, clearly communicated, of a good standard and compelling.

Go to Potential Readers

A ‘Build it and they will come’ mentality does not apply to blogging. The reality is that your potential readers are unlikely to find your blog unless you get a little (or a lot) proactive.

One of the keys to finding readers is to identify what type of reader you’re looking to attract and then to identify where those types of people are gathering (online or offline).

Do some thinking about the type of person who you want to connect with – this might be a certain demographic, a person with a certain hobby or interest, someone in a certain type of job etc. Once you’ve got them pictured begin to brainstorm where they gather. It might be online on another blog or forum, it could be on a social media site, it could be reading an offline publication like a magazine or it could be in some kind of real life networking group.

Once you’ve started to identify your potential reader’s gathering points you need to begin to find ways to build a presence in those places. If it’s an online blog, forum, social networking site it might be as simple as joining the community and being a useful and social member. It could also include creating content for these sites. If it’s an offline networking group it could mean becoming a member, attending, presenting etc. If it’s an offline publication there may be opportunities to contribute or advertise.

Build Relationships with Others in Your Niche

Other bloggers and website owners in your niche may well be ‘competition’ in some ways – but they also could be collaborators. Blogging is a medium that has been built on bloggers within a niche having conversations, linking to each other and collaboration – don’t treat other bloggers as the enemy – reach out and see what opportunities for working together there may be.

Experiment, Track and Evolve

In the early days of a blog (and beyond the early days) it’s important to try new things on your blog. Try new types of posts, experiment with different voices and mediums (think video, podcasts, images etc) etc. In time you’ll begin to find that some types of posts get more reaction and attention from readers than others. It could be topic related or perhaps the style of posts.

Track what works and what falls flat on its face. Build upon the positives, repeat what works and learn from your mistakes. If you keep doing the types of things that have worked in the past you’ll often find you become known for a certain type of blogging and momentum will grow.

Build Community

Many people online don’t just want to consume content – they want to belong, contribute, participate and interact.

I’ve found that the more I concentrate on creative spaces for interaction with and between readers and the more permission I give readers to be active – the more my blogs and business grows. This can happen on many levels but at the most basic level it can start by simply asking readers questions and interacting with their replies.

Don’t just be a content creator – be a community builder!

Add Your Tips for Building Traffic to Business Blogs

As I’ve mentioned above – there are many many ways to build traffic to a blog. I’ve got some further reading listed below – but I’m also keen to hear your suggestions – particularly from those who have ‘business blogs’ (ie blogs attached to an existing business). What would you add?

Further Reading on Finding Readers for Blogs

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. I’d never considered gaining reader through RL means. It’s definitely worth some thought. I like the idea of putting the web address on letterhead and stationary. In the future I may put my website on all my business cards.

  2. Bruno Auger says:

    I think a lot f the suggestions you give here are solid ones. I l know there could be more ways of gaining readers but if using the methods you have pointed out work,why change?

    I know change is just a part of growning and reaching out further andto mre people. I am interested to see othes input on this.

    Darren you posts are always very insightful.

    Thanks

  3. Jeffrey Tang says:

    One of the most important considerations when building is a business blog is purpose. Are you blogging to attract customers? Attract investors? Improve your company’s public image?

    If you’re blogging to attract customers, for example, it’s not only important to write content relevant to your business; it’s also important that you write content that attracts people in a buying mood (or puts them in a buying mood). Otherwise, your blogging efforts will be grossly inefficient.

  4. Thanks Darren for the blog post.

    I guess that using the current business leads will work best, and of course using viral marketing will further bring the exposure of the business to a higher level.

    Depending on the nature of the business, they can offer offer or free gift by forwarding this email to your friends.

    Or using a very interesting video (youtube) about the business, making it viral as well.

  5. I blog about the IT professional’s lifestyle.

    Although there are lots of people in the industry, it’s one of those niches that don’t seem to have many other similar blogs.

    As Darren mentions in his book, this is a good thing and a bad thing. Good that it’s relatively untapped and bad because I don’t have many established “hangouts” where I can find potential users.

    Hopefully some of the suggestions in this post will help out.

    Anyone else have any suggestions on how I can market my particular niche?

    Thanks,

    -Arif

  6. Matt says:

    Excellent article. I am brand new to blogging, so all of this information is great for me. I am trying everything I can find, and seeing what works. I do not have a business blog, but I think the information here is relevant to almost any kind of blog. I have started a blog about my personal quest to golf the Top 100 golf courses in America all in one year. I’m going to see if the power of the blog is strong enough to bring me enough contacts to help with this near impossible journey. Check it out if you have time, and I would love feedback from anybody and everybody. Thanks again for the info.

  7. Andy Dawson says:

    All good points. I would also add that for B2B, I find LinkedIn to be a great business network to use; there are free app integrations for pulling in your blog posts alongside your profile.

  8. if I was running a business Blog I would say the best thing to do is try to get ranked for your keywords in search engines. Then people could definitely find you if they are looking for your kind of products or services.

  9. Sean McVey says:

    Wow thanks for the tips. This list is going to be a great start for someone like me who is just starting a new blog.

  10. Tony Harion says:

    I also see blogging as a way to introduce people to new lifestiles/products that may not be as usual where your main business is located. Whit a blog you could helps people that are lightly interested in an certain activity to find out more what the activity is about, and then, try to create/increase the demand for your products or services in that area.

    For example: Selling rock climbing equipment to a market where this sport is not very well developed/explored yet. You could write about the best spots to practice it, show interviews from people in other places, advice trails, and create a demand thru building a community and awakening people that already had a remote interest for the subject, but never had access to information about it.

    The lack of access could have been due to lack of info in a certain language, or the person not finding the right places to search for this information. Not only you set the ground for the market, but you become a reference in your area for that activity. With the increase of popularity this approach puts you in a better position to advice trips, gear etc. and sell these products/services.

    It´s not an easy approach, but it can be done.

  11. Sound advice. The other way I do it is via volunteering to help businesses. I do this via SCORE (www.sfscore.org). Most of my blog posts are questions that I frequently get from clients. These make for great posts because someone was actually wondering about how to do something.

  12. Diana says:

    Excellent suggestions. I would caution anyone from having a blog address printed on long lasting items like letterhead and business cards, unless you are 100% sure that you are someone that will stick with your blog. Even the most well-intentioned bloggers often lose steam, get called away to other tasks, or decide to take a different approach with the blog, making the printed materials obsolete. Better to direct them from your website (or whatever you use for your main presence online), and link your blog there. Just in case.

  13. Dylan Jones says:

    I faced this dilemma a couple of years ago when I launched our business blogs aimed at the senior IT/business community.

    First of all I made a note of the typical readers I wanted to visit, all the way down to their roles, background etc.

    I then looked on LinkedIn and studied which groups these people belonged to.

    I then ranked each group by importance and looked at the kind of content that came up in each group and got plenty of traffic.

    So, I pre-wrote about 20 blogs and tutorials, really high value content, very viral.

    That then went onto the blogs and I started using LinkedIn to promote the posts and also get discussions going. That led to a really strong initial traffic rate from LinkedIn.

    Linkedin Questions & Answers is also incredibly useful for getting awareness as you can link out to your blog.

    Next, I looked at prominent business bloggers and formed almost a mini-alliance where we all actively posted comments on each others blogs to help push up the commentary.

    A big part of our blogs is interviews, this is great for traffic because the company or person being interviewed love to blow their own trumpets in their newsletter etc. so we get a lot of traffic that way.

    Twitter is a major source of traffic now for our business blogs, kicking myself for not seeing this sooner. There is a massive business community on there so I make a point of tracking active people and RT’ing them, reaching out and getting interviews with them, which of course they promote as its good for their authority status.

    More recently, been using Webinar software to start building some more momentum, that has worked well. Business people are used to the format and it is a great way to drive traffic and provide value.

    Another tip is to look at what competitor companies are paying for on Google Adwords, the keywords etc. Then analyse those to see what the top combinations are in terms of traffic, then shape articles around those titles.

    eBooks are important, I have a resource centre on the site with loads of free tools, that generates constant traffic and of course we can then use email marketing on the contact details.

    But above all, the key for us has been good content and a regular posting strategy.

  14. Business readers are always the ones who are associated with your work or have some stakes in your field of specialization. Try to cash in on to your business mailing lists, interested parties etc.

  15. You know what they say, Content is King…Queen and the Royal Guard of your blog.

    Igor

  16. teratips says:

    yes this the post that I want to read, thanks
    http://teratips.com

  17. When I go to a business blog, I look for how that brand extends beyond the product it’s selling. I look for the connection, the personalization, the emotional and psychological aspects that make me want to love that brand and its product. BB’s are a way of hooking me on a plane that’s different than just the pragmatic.

  18. frugalgrad says:

    When I approach a business blog, I have the feelings that there will be nothing there except promotions and deals that I already find in the main site. I don’t know, a personal touch would be nice but business blog seems to mechanical.

  19. “Build Relationships with Others in Your Niche” is a great tip, especially if you can find others that will promote your products with contests, etc. Moms are taking advantageof this type of advertising all over the net.

  20. Hesham says:

    I was wondering about this matter myself, thanks a lot Darren for this great opportunity!

  21. You never cease to amaze me with the breadth and depth of what you share here. Makes me want to go even more business-y with my blog, or at least adapt these to what I’m already doing.

    Thank you!

  22. panicattack says:

    Building my community seems to be the hardest part for me. Great post, I’ll give some of these ideas a try. Frank from Panic Away and The Linden Method

  23. RW leveraging == great advice.

  24. Good tips. They can also be applied to other niches.

  25. Kulbir Saini says:

    I think community building helps the most. Thanks for the tips btw :)

  26. Bd says:

    Great advice, thanks for the ideas.

  27. SeoNext says:

    Do a search at popular blog directories and find blogs that match your subject. Then participate in conversations by commenting on those blogs and you can include links of YOUR blog there. Since the subject is same, people who see your link might click and end up landing at your blog.

  28. Rey says:

    Nice Post…Its so very informative and knowledgable for your visitors or readers…Thank You for sharing.. Keep up the good work..Why not simply go through http://www.meldalmacio.com/ to learn more!??…

  29. indeed great tips, its really good to explore your site… the idea of community builder is great….

  30. Excellent article Darren, and thank you for sharing these ideas and concepts with us.

    Although I myself have seen how profitable and positive a blog can be for a business, it is amazing how much is also written about how business blogs are failing. So it is great that you point out a “guide” on how to build a community around the blog, and give them an idea on how they can best use their resources to make the best out of their strategy, and their blog.

    Thanks again!

    -Franklin

  31. Kyle Hansen says:

    Yes, I agree content is king. Business contacts are so busy, that I think the content has to be both entertaining and educational. Consistency and persistence helps too.

  32. I read blogs daily as part of my business. I compare blogs as to the newspaper columns of years past. I have my favorites and I frequently check in for new and “amusing” information. A business blog writer should understand that others, possibly outside of their specific industry, will often times read their blog. If a blog writer has the reputation of writing posts about their industry only, then it will most likely only attract a select few. However, if the writer goes beyond and occasionally add tips and strategies that can be used in other markets (ie..web traffic, networking) then it becomes useful to many readers and followers.

    I agree about embracing other blog writers, even the ones that might been closely linked to your topics. I learn so much from other bloggers. You need to go back to your English class and remember to annotate your pages. Pick out the important phrases and content that in relevant to you. In other words, learn to read between the lines and often times you even come up with fresh content for your blog. (not to be confused with plagiarizing)

    And comments, those are sometimes the best place to learn. Also the best place to reach other readers. That’s another reason to read and leave comments on a blog that is in your industry.
    People read comments and then navigate over to read the blog of the persons leaving the comments.

    Leaving comments also creates links back to you and helps your ranking.

    I’m not a blog writer, I work for the blog writer and I see this topic from a whole different perspective. Kind of like being on the outside looking in. Bottom line, relative content and just like mentioned in this post, reader interaction is a good thing.

  33. Experimenting Is very important i think as If you dont try You cannot know what benefits You more,
    Most of the above tips i have used will Try to improve may be i would be lacking in way i present it

  34. Dean Saliba says:

    When I sart a new blog I always inform my friends first.

  35. Jeff Lindsay says:

    I’ve had some good results putting periodic notes about blog entries into my status line at LinkedIn and Facebook, plus adding some Tweets. Plus I’ve used existing websites I already have to provide links to the blogs.

    But one of the unusual tools that has helped me is Peter Shankman’s Help A Reporter service (http://www.helpareporter.com/). By responding to the needs of reporters looking for information, I’ve had some nice links and plugs from unusual places. Got one this week from Keith Ferrazzi in an article at Huffington Post. Nice!

  36. eVenture says:

    simple, but very important tip … always look to your immediate network first, let them start the word of mouth effect … another good post cheers Darren

  37. Amit Mehta says:

    “Other bloggers and website owners in your niche may well be ‘competition’ in some ways – but they also could be collaborators”

    Good point. I once heard Howie Schwartz say, “There is no such thing as a competitor–just a business partner who doesn’t know it yet.” Nowhere is this more true than in social/conversational media!

  38. fas says:

    Google Adwords is the best tip to build readers for a business blog :p

  39. Ms. Freeman says:

    “Leverage Other Places Where you Have a Presence”-this is exactly the kind of information I am looking for. I am diving in to a new niche and am looking for readers. I am following the eBooks of pros such as yourself and hope to make a bug success of it.

  40. I saw one of your tweets on my wall, and decided to further research you. Well you’ve caught my attention and I’ve added you on my blog as a blog I’m following. Great work and job with your business online tone.

  41. Good points, always start with your inner circle (network) and expand.

  42. Great articles. If you have any great everyday business success stories please contact me. I’m writing a book for Pearson on social media monetization from a marketing perspective. As part of my research and content I am collecting stories from companies that have achieved online success.

    I’ve included a referral to your article and link on my Facebook group where I’m aggregating monetization related stories http://groups.to/socialmediamonetization.

  43. good ideas. this is important point for business blogger. I will check my blog to your ways.

  44. jonny says:

    I read blogs daily as part of my business. I compare blogs as to the newspaper columns of years past. I have my favorites and I frequently check in for new and “amusing” information. A business blog writer should understand that others, possibly outside of their specific industry, will often times read their blog. If a blog writer has the reputation of writing posts about their industry only, then it will most likely only attract a select few. However, if the writer goes beyond and occasionally add tips and strategies that can be used in other markets (ie..web traffic, networking) then it becomes useful to many readers and followers.

  45. May be business networking sites help you. Try on it.

  46. vga-kabel says:

    Darren i always wondering how you get wonderful idea when writing.I want to be like you. But anyways, thanks for this wonderful article….

  47. Clara James says:

    The best way to attract the reader is toward your blog is to post the link of your blog in the most relevant category which you think the most suitable to the topic you have discuss in the blog. It is necessary because you have to increase the PR to sell the product similarly here you need to develop PR with different readers by posting your comments in different sites and directories…. in simple words you use blogs to market you product or service but first you have to market your blog …

  48. I think many choose wrong keywords while writing their articles. This increases overall traffic but people who visit the site don’t really look for product/services offered.

    I would recommend to choose most direct keywords, prepare relevant and useful content and work on popularity to reach top positions to get traffic.