If someone told you that you need to engage in marketing for your blog, your response might be that your blog, in and of itself, was created for the purpose of marketing your business. On the other hand, your blog might simply be a fun way to connect with other like-minded individuals, in which case spending money on traditional marketing could be beyond your financial means.
But outreach marketing is something different. It’s a way of reaching an audience by forming a personal, human-to-human connection and spreading your message by word of mouth. And you do this by figuring out the best way to encourage sharing and planting your message accordingly.
Whether you’re running a business or your blog is for personal pleasure, the truth is that you created it with the goal of sharing your thoughts on a particular subject. And either way, you probably want to conserve time and money in the outreach marketing process.
You can accomplish all of your goals with the right knowledge under your belt and the proper strategies in place. And the end result will be more traffic and a more successful blog. Here are just a few guidelines to help you grow your blog organically.
Find Your Niche
Before you can really promote your blog in any fashion, you need to have something to say. Your blog provides you with a platform, but you really need to have a niche that sets you apart from the millions of other bloggers out there seeking to gain an audience.
You likely have a general topic already in mind, and if you’re a decent writer, you’ve developed your voice (i.e. writing personality). What you need now is a platform with an audience, which means finding ways to take advantage of the readership that similar blogs have already cultivated so that you can capture their attention with your particular offerings.
Pinpoint Your Target Audience
There are some preparatory steps that must be taken before you start your outreach marketing campaign willy-nilly. In addition to honing your message or niche, you should spend some time considering who falls into your target audience.
Suppose your blog discusses health and beauty products. There are A LOT of blogs doing the same, and they’re probably doing it better than you. But if you develop a niche that focuses on products and procedures for teens or seniors, for example, you have a built-in niche audience at the ready.
Until you know who you’re marketing to, your efforts may amount to very little. Instead of wasting time on blanket marketing to a broad and ill-defined group, narrow your focus and you’ll accomplish a lot more.
Research Guest Post Opportunities
This is where the real work begins. You’ve got your niche locked down and you’ve focused on a target audience. Now it’s time to find the proper platforms from which to start your outreach marketing efforts.
One of the best ways to begin is by guest posting on related industry blogs. However, this can amount to a delicate balancing act.
On the one hand, you want to find the blogs with the most readers to increase your opportunities for relevant connections. But you’ll find that exceedingly popular blogs don’t need your free content. After all, they have paid staff writers with their own developed voices and followings and are already inundated with requests from guest bloggers like yourself, many of whom bring their own small audiences to the table.
In other words, you need to find guest posting opportunities with blogs that have a lot of readers, but not so many that they’re swimming in a sea of guest post requests. And you also need to take the time to find blogs that are ramping up (gaining followers) as opposed to declining (steadily losing readers and traffic).
It’s a tall order and it will require some research on your part. But finding the right blogs to guest post with will make a world of difference where your outreach marketing efforts are concerned.
Make Content Valuable
Top-notch content is the order of the day, and there are a few factors to consider. Naturally, you’ll need to start with strong writing and editing skills in order to produce error-free content – if the blogs you select to guest post on are of a high enough rank to warrant soliciting, they won’t take work that is consistently filled with typos and misspellings.
But you also need to offer the audience value in your content. This means creating posts that are not only relevant, timely, and informative, but also fun, engaging, and attention-grabbing.
If you’ve already spent some time working on generating such posts for your own blog, this shouldn’t be too hard. But you’ll have to stay on top of trending topics to appeal to other blogs with your content.
The long and short of the outreach marketing game is organic sharing, and it begins with creating content that people not only want to share, but that is easy to share.
Full blog posts are fine, but you might also want to consider options like infographics that offer one-click sharing (and contain embedded links), as well as video content, just for example. These will not only appeal to a time-conscious audience, but any blogs you plan to guest post with will also appreciate the shareability they provide (as their name will also be spread in the process).
Encourage Online Community Members
You rely on people to be your brand ambassadors and share your content with contacts. But you can give them the opportunity to do more on your behalf.
As you build your online community of readers and followers, you’ll notice that certain people stand out by sharing, commenting, and generally contributing more to the ongoing conversation, so it’s not a bad idea to promote them, so to speak. If they have ideas to share, listen to them and encourage these contributors to continue voicing their opinions. This will not only elevate the level of interaction with your brand, but it will embolden outspoken community members to bring more followers into the fold.
Don’t Rest on Your Laurels
You’re playing the long game when it comes to building and maintaining readership for your blog. This means you can ill afford to engage in outreach marketing for a while and then stop. Like any type of marketing, your efforts must be ongoing if you want to multiply your successes.
These days, online followers are a finicky bunch, and they can afford to be with such a wealth of content to choose from. If you want to encourage growth and maintain patronage, you must nurture relationships, expand your brand, and stay abreast of emerging trends so that you can make the most of your outreach marketing efforts and promote your blog accordingly.