This guest post is by Jarom Adair of Solopreneur Marketing.
“You lazy, ungrateful, good-for-nothing blog!”
You stare at the 0 comments accompanying each of your most recent posts.
“All you do is sit around all day. I’m the one doing all the work around here!”
Blogs are supposed to bring you traffic, collect comments, and spread your name across the Internet as everyone happily shares the content you so painstakingly created.
But instead, your blog acts more like an apathetic teenager.
It lounges around all day not lifting a finger to help your business. It takes up space and sucks up resources you could be using elsewhere. If you don’t continually feed it new content, it looks like an under-nourished street urchin, embarrassing you in front of visitors.
If you’ve ever handed out a business card and then said to yourself, “Great—now I’ve got to go update my blog before anybody sees it,” you know what I’m talking about.
But your blog was meant to be so much more than that.
Your blog is your baby. Like any good parent, you yearn for your blog to reach its full potential. You brought your blog into the world to see it increase its reach and influence and land new readers every day who will come and fully appreciate the value it holds. Like any good parent, you want your child to become more than you.
And yet there is sits, languishing away with a soda in one hand and the TV remote in the other, letting each new article you feed it slip into the chasm of archived posts without ever seeing the light of day. Despite your best efforts, your blog seems content to become just another forgotten collection of words on the Internet. Infinite potential … gone to waste.
But don’t despair! All the work you’ve put into your blog is not lost and your blog can, with a few simple strategies, bring you traffic, convert that traffic from visitors into leads, and build relationships with your audience till they can’t help but want to work with you—all with minimal prodding and nagging from you.
Grandma would be so proud.
So before you give it an ultimatum and kick it to the curb, use the following little-known strategies to transform your lazy bum of a blog into a productive member of society.
Get a job! And a haircut!
Before you put your blog to work with the upcoming strategies, you need to get clear on what your blog’s job is.
Its job may be to get visitors to call you or purchase something from you. It may be there to support your current clients or build a user community. You might be focused on making money through advertisements and endorsements. Often, a blog’s main job is to collect email addresses.
The question to ask yourself is, “What action do I want people to take when they get to my blog?”
Whatever your main call to action is, that’s your blog’s job.
Now, keeping in mind your blog’s main job, it’s time for the haircut. It’s time to trim all the extra distractions.
If you want visitors to contact you, why are you distracting them with advertisements or a list of your most popular posts? If you’re building an email list, why does each post end with a comments section instead of an email signup form?
Why do you have social sharing links on your site if your audience isn’t big enough to give you decent numbers? Even category and archive links are on the chopping block if visitors are more prone to surf your site than take the action you want them to.
If your blog isn’t performing, take a critical eye to any part of it that doesn’t support your blog’s job and snip away.
You’ve got such potential—if only you’d apply yourself…
With your blog cleaned up and focused, take all that potential you’ve seen in your blog since its inception and use these seven strategies to get the results you crave:
1. Advanced social sharing for advanced results
We all know that if you share a link to your latest blog post on a social site, some people will click on it and visit your blog. This is a fine way of getting your latest post in front of an audience and driving traffic to your site.
You see this kind of discussion posted on LinkedIn and Facebook a lot, and it’s an easy way to get some traffic:
But with a slight change in format, I get on average 586% more comments on my discussions, a lot more traffic to my site, and my old posts that were just sitting around on my blog before are now traffic magnets.
Take a look:
Do you see the difference?
Include your full blog post in your discussion and add some “related articles” at the end, and viola! You get more comments, more readers, and more people clicking through to your other articles.
You’re using the same strategy ProBlogger uses to keep you surfing their website—you notice how you finish reading an awesome article and suddenly ProBlogger presents you with all sorts of interesting related posts? …Two hours later you’ve forgotten to pick your kids up from school. Right?
Big blogs, news outlets, and social sites have trained all of us to surf from one interesting item to the next by presenting us with related posts. So when you add interesting links at the end of your social post, you’re simply taking advantage of people’s tendency to want to click on more interesting links.
This is a great way to instantly bring traffic to your blog. If you’d like to see step-by-step directions on how this works, you can view this video on using your blog with social sites.
Providing several interesting blog posts for your audience to click on is advantageous to use in social groups as described above. You can also use it, as it turns out, in many other situations as well.
2. Unleash untapped traffic from everyday activities
Any place you’re given enough room to share several of the most popular posts on your blog, you have a much higher chance of pulling someone to your site than if you just say, “Visit my blog here.”
You can offer multiple blog posts on your Facebook Business Page description, on your LinkedIn profile summary, and in your forum signatures.
Don’t forget about email signatures, descriptions in business directories, or online advertising.
What about video? Turning your best blog posts into videos to attract a new audience is a great idea, but when you post them on a site like YouTube, use the video description area to offer links to related blog posts first and then the video description afterwards.
One of my own affiliates, using videos I created and provided to him, gets more clicks and signups through YouTube than I do using this strategy.
3. Instantly set yourself apart with new connections
We meet new people all the time online. Every new follower, friend, connection, or contact is a potential reader for your blog and lead for your business. But how can you discover if they’re interested in what you offer without coming across as an annoying salesperson?
You’ve been thrown up on by one of your new social contacts, haven’t you? “Thank you for connecting with me,” their first message to you says, and then they immediately launch into a pitch. “My company offers quality products blah blah and we’re having a sale right now blah blah blah …” That’s just annoying. And really ineffective. You don’t want to be that person.
Instead, put your blog posts to use and say:
“It’s good to connect with you. I notice you’re a small business owner, and other people in your position have really enjoyed these articles: (include titles and links to 3–5 of your best blog posts) I hope you enjoy them too!”
And what’s nice is people will write back and thank you for the information you offered them.
This works well on business sites such as LinkedIn. On Facebook you might switch it up a bit and say:
“Thanks for being my friend! Check out my photo collection of redneck inventions and de-motivational posters, and if you’re ever in need of a copywriter, check out some of my best work here.”
It’s nice to start by giving social contacts something fun to look at in addition to business-related info if you meet them in a less formal setting like Facebook.
The right followers on Twitter would respond to a message, in 140 characters or less, such as:
“Thanks for following me! Here are 5 cool tutorials on getting more out of Twitter! MySite.com/top5twitter”
These are great ways to easily draw the right people to your website while simultaneously positioning yourself as a resource for your new contact (as opposed to a salesperson). They visit your site and, if your blog is doing its job, the right people will take action.
And if someone doesn’t click through and view the information you present to them, they’re probably not a good prospect at this time and you can part with no hard feelings.
4. A simple twist on turning old blog posts into money
You’re probably familiar with the concept of combining several of your blog posts together into a special report to give away on your site. If this report is good enough, you might even sell it for money.
One real estate investor did just that, and made a couple hundred dollars his first year selling an ebook created from older blog posts. But when he and I explored how he might make more money from his ebook, we discovered that people who read the book were much more likely to purchase his real estate course. He makes $2,000 per course he sold.
Keeping that in mind, we decided to leave the ebook for sale on his site, but whenever he talked with a prospective real estate student, he should come up with a reason to give them the ebook for free. His prospects loved getting a $39 ebook for free. The next year the investor made a couple hundred dollars selling his ebook on his site, but he made tens of thousands of dollars giving the book away and then selling his courses to people who read his book.
The moral of the story is this: if you have quite a few posts on your blog, especially older ones that don’t get much attention anymore, is it possible you could repurpose them into a special report, ebook, video, webinar, etc. and sell that information? Or use it as part of your marketing funnel to sell a larger item?
5. An easy method for reaching a larger audience through guest posting
You can only reach so many people through your own website. A time will come when you should tap into larger audiences.
If you feel you have the expertise to write for a larger blog, the first thing to do is dig through your past posts and find your top five most popular entries. With those posts in mind, search out the most popular blogs and sites in your industry.
See if those blogs accept guest posts, read through their most popular posts to get a feel for what their audience likes, and submit to the blog owners three of your post headlines you feel would do well on their site.
If they choose one of your headlines then you already know what you’re going to be writing about (using your existing article as an overview), you know readers will love it because it already worked well on your own site, and you are likely to attract more of the kind of people who are already frequenting your own site.
This approach is much faster than going to a popular blog first and then trying to come up with several topics you could write on.
Some high-end sites established protocol for submitting guest posts, while others may require you get to know the blog owners first and then propose a post to them.
No matter who your ideal audience is, a high-traffic blog is out there that caters to them. Look through your best blog posts for information and insights you could write a fresh article on, find those blogs, and propose your ideas to them.
6. Obliterate the competition from your customers’ minds
Another interesting way to make more money using your blog is to use it to educate your prospects about the difference between your services and your competition.
Writing blog posts that compel leads to consider working with you is nothing new, but here is a method to organize your posts in such a way that when your prospects have to choose between you or your competition, they’ll choose you:
A hardwood floor contractor was having a hard time educating his potential clients on why they should choose to work with him. His work was high quality, but he didn’t have enough time to explain to each individual he met the difference between his work and the inferior craftsmanship of his competitors who were undercutting him on price.
We decided to have him record each aspect of properly installing a hardwood floor in a series of blog posts, but to make it easy for people to find this information, we then organized the links to each post in a pdf that he could send his prospects.
As he’d meet new people and quote them on an installation, instead of trying to warn them about how another company might try to rip them off, he’d offer to send them a special document “12 Lies of Hardwood Installation” so they could educate themselves on how to choose the right floor and the person who would install it.
He included horror stories of floors that fell apart due to the use of inferior materials, and when his competition was found to use those materials, the customer became even more likely to call him back.
That is a very effective way to obliterate the competition from your customer’s mind.> My hardwood floor guy did less talking, people could educate themselves on their own timetable, and everyone assumed he was doing the best work because he was the one who wrote the book on it.
Could you do something similar? Could you take a collection of blog posts and organize links to those posts in a simple document to leave with your prospects?
This document will bring people to your site repeatedly, and if you need to make a correction or change, you can simply update your blog post. Writing an entire ebook is not necessary if you can simply point people in the right direction with a simple collection of links.
7. Get online results through offline strategies
As a blogger, you might only be looking for your audience online, but some great ways exist to use your blog to find subscribers and leads offline.
My first couple hundred email subscribers came from networking groups. For many business owners, or new bloggers looking to build an audience quickly, these are great places to meet your audience.
A print broker I coach went to a networking meeting and got more signups to his email list in 90 minutes than he did the previous nine months online using two simple sentences. Whenever somebody handed him a business card, he would look at it for a moment and then say:
“I’ve got some information on my blog I think you’d really like. Can I put you on my email list?”
Everybody he talked to said “Sure!” In this instance his blog was just an excuse to get permission to add people to his email list, and it worked perfectly. It has worked perfectly for many people I coach.
If your target audience meets regularly, this is a great way to build your email list and get some personal report with the people you wish to impress.
Your blog can play a role in other offline marketing strategies, too.
Do you have a business you market with flyers, yellow page ads, postcards, or business cards? If you can print the words “To learn the top 5 ways to drastically improve your health, visit MySite.com/top5” somewhere that people will see it, this kind of intriguing information will often pull a better response than special offers, coupons, or discounts.
I’ve advised a door-to-door pest control sales rep to write up several blog posts on how to detect and protect your house from termites. Instead of just turning away when somebody rejects her, she can offer them a handout with links to this useful information.
I don’t have any results to share on that yet, but can you see how good information on your blog can get in the door even when you can’t? This is a great way to use your blog posts to rekindle a relationship with somebody who had previously rejected you.
Good information is an easy giveaway item that can result in leads and sales you couldn’t have gotten otherwise.
You’re not lazy, so don’t let your blog be
We put our hearts and souls into our blogs. We spend hours writing each week. We lovingly craft each new blog post, yet once it becomes old and leaves the first page, we tend to allow it to die a slow death as an archived post and we rarely dig it up again.
This means that the majority of your blog’s potential—a majority of what you’ve written—is left untapped and unappreciated by your audience.
You and your blog deserve better than that.
Squeeze extreme value out of everything you write. The ideas above are just the beginning of how to do that.
Because you deserve full credit for what you’ve written, and the world deserves to discover the insights you have to offer.
So kick your blog out of its cozy crib and put it to work until everybody else sees your blog for the valuable contribution to their lives that it is.
Jarom Adair is a marketing expert for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses. Sign up for his email list on Solopreneur Marketing to get all of his advice sent to your inbox, including the video “5 Foolproof Strategies Small Businesses Use to Double Their Income”