Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
When done right, blog content can provide an extraordinary opportunity to build relationships with your customers. A well-crafted blog post not only delivers helpful information to your target audience, but it also helps cultivate the sentiment and trust so critical to harnessing customer loyalty and turning prospects into buyers down the road.
But even with the perfect piece of content queued up and ready to go, it’s knowing how to promote your blog that ultimately unlocks its full digital potential. In fact, if maximizing blog-post reach and impact are among your larger content marketing objectives (as they should be), having an effective blog-promotion strategy is essential.
So, how do you turn each new post into a brand-marketing dynamo? Adhering to these five blog-marketing basics can help you break through the noise and get your business’s blog posts in front of prospects across the web.
1. Tackle the SEO first
No matter your focus or industry, boosting blog-post visibility and reach these days should always start with search engine optimization (SEO).
While technical and challenging at times, sticking to the fundamentals of SEO during blog creation is how you develop relevant blogs that grab Google’s attention and, ideally, get your business ranked on important search-engine results pages.
First and foremost in any blog-optimization process is keyword research. This involves identifying the search phrases your customers are looking for and that provide the best opportunity to climb the search-engine ladder. Fortunately, there are a number of tools (Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, Moz, to name a few) that can facilitate this process and make things a bit easier on your marketing team.
Anchored with a cache of researched and vetted keywords, your strategy has the critical foundation needed to shape high-quality content that reaches more users and drives more traffic for your site. And once that keyword map is in place, you can begin to focus on other SEO elements the search engines seem to prize in new blog posts, such as:
- Internal links. Whenever posting a new blog, think about other blogs on your website that may offer additional value to the reader. Insert those links where appropriate.
- High-authority external links. Consider linking to a few sites with high domain authority (DA) and that logically bolster your content.
- Subheadings. Using keyword-focused subheadings like h2s and h3s is a great way to break up text and improve readability.
- Optimized metadata. Google crawlers value posts with meta titles, tags and descriptions that provide relevant content and line up with searcher intent. When building out metadata, be sure to incorporate keywords naturally in each meta-data element.
Following basic SEO rules is a great way to increase post potential and build a foundational framework to promote your blog in search results. But as you do so, it’s important to retain your focus on creating quality content. You should also avoid keyword stuffing at all costs.
Low-quality, keyword-soaked blog posts that don’t provide value always run the risk of incurring Google’s wrath, making it crucial to monitor the process carefully.
2. Maximize content exposure on social media
Social media sites offer a direct connection to some of the biggest online communities out there, allowing you to proactively market each brand new blog post to thousands or even millions of potential customers at once.
Sharing that valuable insight across the most relevant social networks not only keeps your followers updated on the latest company news, but also creates an additional and powerful online asset through which to inspire engagement and encourage readers to take the next step.
There are many ways you can leverage social-media platforms to promote your blog articles online. For starters, linking to your blog page within each social-media bio makes it easy for followers and newcomers to access and share new posts at any time.
You can also add social-share buttons to each new blog page. This allows readers to instantly share value-add content across their social feeds, potentially exposing your blog to hundreds or even thousands of other users with each new visitor.
Hashtags also offer an excellent tool for expanding blog post reach and driving more blog traffic on each social-media platform. Using relevant hashtags to market your blog creates an immediate connection between your own blog and trending topics or events, potentially putting your brand in the center of the conversation.
And by sticking to a consistent social-network posting calendar and promoting blogs at optimal times, you can cultivate the reliable resource of industry information customers trust when they need it most. Whether it’s through your Twitter account, a relevant Facebook group or your Instagram business profile, using social media consistently and on schedule can give your blog-marketing efforts a valuable leg up on competitors.
Whichever social-media accounts you use to promote your blog, it’s hard to deny the value a smart, active and robust social-media advertising approach can provide your website and your business.
3. Share your blog content on social-bookmarking sites
Like social-media networks, social-bookmarking platforms offer a great opportunity to grow your audience and drive blog visitors to your site. Such dynamic online forums as Flipboard, StumbleUpon and Digg allow users to save and organize their favorite web pages from a central location, making it possible to submit and share your existing blog posts with users and generate higher levels of engagement.
Adding social bookmarking to your blog-promotion strategies is a fairly straightforward process, as you simply need to locate the platforms and submit your content. For those looking for more targeted blogger outreach, the web offers a broad range of niche social-bookmarking sites to choose from and promote your blog. Some examples include Zest (for marketers), BizSugar (small business-oriented), Manage WP (WordPress-based) and Techspy (technology-centered).
While each site has unique parameters and rules regarding use, there are several general guidelines to follow when promoting your blog on bookmarking platforms:
- Include a featured image. Including an eye-catching image with each post can help your blog stand out and generate more clicks across bookmarking news feeds.
- Put thought into your headlines. Headlines are often the first thing users see when combing through a bookmarking site. Focus on creating catchy, captivating headlines that compel further action.
- Add bookmarking buttons to your blog. Making popular blog posts easy to bookmark also makes them easy to save and share down the road.
4. Promote your blog with email marketing
With so many social networks and promotional opportunities on the web these days, email marketing may seem like yesterday’s news. Still, email remains one of the best ways to promote your awesome content to customers and generate a personal and meaningful conversation about your brand.
Of course, timing is everything when it comes to optimizing factors like open rate and clickthroughs among your email subscribers.
But with the right bulk email tool and a solid email-marketing plan at your team’s fingertips, you can transform each new post (and even existing posts) into a haven of positive blog promotion, building an active community of blog fans eager to read each new insight.
Building a more effective email strategy to promote your blog involves adhering to several email rules-of-thumb, guidelines essential to maximizing engagement and driving clicks. Things like keeping your email copy short and concise, including relevant images and creating compelling call-to-actions are key to optimizing each message and pulling in more visitors.
5. Seek out guest-posting opportunities
Also known as guest blogging, guest posting can be a great way to promote your blog and expand your brand footprint online. It also offers a powerful opportunity to build industry authority and position yourself and your business as a go-to in your field.
Guest posting involves reaching out and building partnerships with other sites in your niche or industry. Once that connection is established, you can pitch article ideas and submit high-quality guest posts that increase brand visibility online.
Each new guest post not only creates a digital asset for Google to crawl and index in search, but also (ideally) includes a blog link that ties directly to your blog and points even more potential customers to your content.
The process of building relationships with other websites and bloggers, and pitching new ideas, can sometimes be time-consuming and even quite challenging. Yet, the potential payoff in terms of higher search authority, visibility and blog traffic is often more than worth it.
And once those connections are made and secure, you have nearly limitless opportunities to promote your content and create the buzz you need to maintain a continually successful blog.