Now that you’ve read my post about why you should be blogging, I expect you now have a blog setup and have published a first post to share your knowledge and expertise and are now wondering why no one read it….. ok, I don’t REALLY expect that, but I do want to talk about how to see success as quickly as you can:
One of my awesome colleagues, Erika Horrocks, blogged internally today about “3 reasons your blog post only has 70 views“. In her post, she touched on the following topics which are problematic to driving traffic, and more importantly, audience engagement once they are reading:
- You offer no value
- Your buzz words are boring us
- Your entry is long and dull
Restated, you could say that to build a well read blog that drives a lot of traffic and engagement you need to:
- Offer value. Give your audience something they can use whether it is deeper technical knowledge or a direct call to action
- Speak in real and clear language. Jargon and buzz words don’t mean anything. Drop the buzz and be human.
- Be concise and provocative. Bullet points combined with brief story telling can be quite compelling… and don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit, like my title may imply 😉
Obviously, I don’t quite adhere to these bulleted items all the time. Concise is just a high scoring word for me if I land it on a TW/TL tile in WordsWithFriends. I also often speak in industry jargon, forgetting that the real meanings behind my ideas are lost that way. These are all reasons why I rarely ever reach even a paltry 70 views on my posts. But, I do also have a few other tricks up my sleeves to ensure some level of visibility greater that what a “build it and they will come” attitude would draw (which is entirely zero by my calculations and observations).
To drive traffic to your blog you NEED the following components:
- Solid content. This is the value side of the equation. Content is king; without content, there is no reason to bother reading. I want to come away with a sense that I got something from your post that I can use to take some action later.
- An established or growing network of people who would want to read your content. Without an audience you’re just yelling into the vacuum of the ether; no one can hear you scream there 😉
- A balanced sense of self promotion. Once you’ve built your content and your network, you NEED to promote it. This is where the “build it and they will come” attitude does you more harm than good. No one is going to come read if they don’t know you’re writing or where to go. You’ve got to let them know about your content.
The last point there is tricky for me, as I’ve never been comfortable with self promotion, but I’m also guessing that 95%+ of you reading this post didn’t get here because you subscribed to my RSS feed or email list… you saw it because I promoted it, which hopefully helps prove my point here: Once you’ve created your amazing content, you’ve GOT to tell people about it.
You’ve heard the call to “get engaged”. I’ve even blogged about the need to become more digitally social in order to build your career. Well, here’s another step to take to further build your own digital eminence: Start blogging as a way to share your expertise and knowledge. To help you do that, here’s a presentation I just posted to slideshare.net…
Blogging 101 for SMEs
Today’s blog post came about from a post which my friend Chris Lavender pointed out to me via twitter earlier today. In that article the author, Danny Brown, lays out his argument for why influencers should get paid for a brand’s use of their influence. He goes on to detail how a brand can ensure they are getting their money’s worth by using a tool/service called InNetwork to filter your audience to the core, right influencers for the brand’s goals.
The meta-headache I get from talking about blogging as an influencer and getting paid for it while hocking a brand’s tool/service notwithstanding, I actually agree with Danny Brown: influencers who actively promote your product by your request should indeed be compensated for their time and effort for all the reasons he lists. But, do influencers working on their own ‘deserve’ to be compensated or rewarded? No. Full stop. Would it be nice to reward an influencer for posting something about your product or service? Absolutely, but they don’t deserve to be compensated for something you’d not requested.
I’ve been lucky enough to have taken the easy route on this topic, though. Neither this blog nor the 3DrunkenCelts.com blog have ever been approached to publish any promoted post of any sort, so the ethical question about hocking for someone else has never been directly tested. The closest I’ve come is to receiving a Klout perk after which I wrote and published this post, and I also a flask from Angel’s Envy Bourbon as a thank you for a review I published long prior in that same year. A nice gesture to be sure, but nothing I “deserved”.
Now, call it paid or rewarded, I wouldn’t mind seeing influencers reap some benefit from their effort…. but I don’t believe they can do so without consequence. Any influential blogger or internet star runs the very likely risk of being seen as a shill and losing the trust of their audience if they were to take compensation in exchange for a promoted post or other marketing focused mention. As Danny notes in his article, trust is far more difficult to regain once lost, and is that loss worth the gains you’ll see from a simple promoted post? I doubt it.
So, go ahead and find those influencers, even go as far as to filter down to the right ones for your brand and see if any of them have been blogging about you. If you find them and you like what they’ve been saying, go ahead and send them a thank you of some sort, but don’t expect them to immediately turn around and begin shilling for you because you rewarded their prior efforts and compensating for future efforts is not something to be taken lightly.