So you’ve got yourself one of them fancy blogs. You’ve also got the writing chops that exceed those of a thirteen-year-old with an iPhone.
But what if you want people to actually read your posts instead of having your finely crafted words wonder around the backwoods of the Internet? Well, I’ve come up with a handy guide to get your blog posts read and most importantly, shared with others.
So where to start? Picking a topic for an engrossing post can be difficult, especially with the sheer numbers of blog already out there. This article kicks off by examining what it takes to write great content, from picking a topic right through to getting usable quotes from the companies and people you’re writing about.
The second half of this guide focuses on the sharing aspect of blogging. We run though how to organize a successful outreach campaign on Twitter and Facebook as well as using services such as Fiverr to outsource sharing.
1. How to Find a Topic that will Go Viral
a. Decide on a topic for a post. Effective topics that generate the most traffic are ones that engage the reader. This can be done by the following:
- Asking open questions about a subject. This increases the chances of readers commenting and offering their opinions on the piece (e.g. Why has Austin’s craft beer scene taken off so fast?).
- Writing about a current event. This is great for SEO purposes, as terms haven’t had a chance to be competitive yet.
Our SEO specialist Amber Hautpman runs us through her process of involving people through social media:“When I am deciding on a blog post, I reach out to my social network and local businesses to gauge their interest and look for contributors. The more people I can include in my blog posts, the better chance of the article going viral and the post gaining the most interest, typically gets written first.”
b. If writing a series, stay focused on a particular topic. Off topic posts will potentially confuse your readers.
c. Choose a niche topic. Popular topics will be too crowded, and it may be tough to establish a readership. I run a regular column on the in and outs of Austin’s craft beer scene which is niche subject, but with a strong community.
d. Be sure to research your topic thoroughly. The aim of your blog should be to offer expert opinions. If your articles have lots of factual errors, your credibility will be called into question. It becomes much harder to become a thought leader after producing several poor articles.
2. How to Obtain First-Hand Knowledge for Use in Your Article
a. Reach out to the companies and people you are writing about for comments and quotes. Having a few sound bites will make your article look somewhat more professional and journalistic. And as your subject has gone through some trouble giving you a quote, they’ll be more likely to share your article after it’s published.
- First, email to companies or subjects you are writing about. Ask them 2-3 questions which are specific, but not hard to answer. I asked a brewing company ‘How important is it for you as a company to help out charities?’ and got a great quote that I used in my blog post. Make sure to mention that you will notify them when the post goes live.
- After emailing a company, tweet them that you’ve sent them an email to make sure that they will see your email.
b. Reach out on Twitter to any casual fans for comment. Post an opened ended question when most of your followers are online. For example, “Has anyone used #BodeTree? What are your thoughts on it? @bodetree.”
- Use Social Bro’s “Best time to tweet” tool to find the optimum time to tweet. You can schedule your tweets over multiple days using Hootsuite, which is an awesome free Twitter platform.
- Direct message or “@” message followers who you’ve interacted with in the past as they are more likely to respond. Then direct message or “@” message followers who share the same interests as the post topic. E.g. “I’m writing an article on Thirsty Planet. What’s your fav TP beer?”
- When a Twitter user responds to your initial tweet, respond by giving your email address and ask for a quote. E.g. “Shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this further.”
3. How to Create An Easy Social Share Plan
a. Email and tweet at companies, owners, employees, and/or Twitter users that you included in your post once your article has gone live. These are the people with the most invested in your blog piece so they’re the most likely to share it. Thirsty Planet Brewing “favorited” my tweet about the article I wrote on them to their 3000+ followers.
b. Look up the company/brand’s Facebook and Google+ page. If they haven’t posted your article themselves, post it on their wall.
c. Start tagging twitter or Facebook users who may be interested in your content. Do not spam or annoy, but ask questions based on your article to facilitate conversation.
- Always be on the lookout for Twitter users and websites who might be interested in cross-posting your content. I am following a Project Eve on Twitter, a blog that focuses on female entrepreneurs. I recommended our content on the same subject, and now they want to post our article on their site.
d. Share on your personal Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages.
- If your article has an image or infographic, share these. Images are shared virally much quicker, especially if they are funny.
e. Outsource sharing on Fiverr.com. Fiverr is a service in which users are paid $5 for their services. You can accomplish a lot of time consuming sharing by shelling out a relatively small amount of cash. But be wary of users that promise unrealistic results, as these are probably spammers.
f. Set up a authorship for your articles through Google+ so your nice little picture appears next to your article on Google. It’s also rather good for SEO purposes.
There are thousands and thousands of blogs online, and needless to say, the internet’s a crowded marketplace. But following these steps will at least give your blog a running head start. Combine this with great content and time -yes, like all worthwhile things, it takes time to develop readership- your blog has every chance of succeeding.
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