Five ways to get more readers to your blog

Blogging is the in-thing. Writing a personal or corporate blog, over time, helps to position us as experts and if integrated with our website, can have a positive effect on our search engine optimisation if done correctly.

But when we start out on the blogging journey, it can be a hard road to the nirvana of achieving a massive subscription following. Let’s face it we’re not all Seth Godin, Brian Solis, Jeff Bullas when we start out. It took these guys time to get to where they are. It’s going to take you time too.

Unfortunately, this means that writing a blog post doesn’t end when you hit ‘publish’. But, fortunately, what it does mean is that by using a few specific tools and platforms you can serve your blog content to people in places where they may be more receptive to it.

Here’s some to get you thinking:

Obvious! If you blog you simply have to tweet. I put a new blog post link (shortened and with some explanation and hashtags) out to Twitter 3-4 times  on the day it is published. My times are GMT and designed to coincide with when I think people I want to reach are most likely to be using Twitter.

The times are 08.55, 13.00 (lunch) , 17:15 (end of UK work day browse and to hit east coast US) and 22:30 (to hit night owls, west coast US and Far East). Have a strategy, see how it works and refine it if necessary.

I’m not perfect though and am devising a way to keep older blog content alive by regular reposting – perhaps based on comments received or updates.

I’m a member of a number of Linkedin groups which also count clients and prospects so the blog posts (not every one) that are relevant are added to a group as  a discussion. This means rethinking the title to be more catchy and discussive, drafting a line of executive summary, posting and following the comments. Double up by including in your status bar. Triple up by adding blog plugin to your profile page!

While I’ve been aware of them, I’m a new convert to using bookmarking sites for my own content. I guess I always thought that those funny sharing buttons were for other people. Turns out I was wrong. A good friend of mine, Pete Masters who is blogging in the construction sector added a post to StumbleUpon and saw a huge spike in traffic. Obviously it is content dependent, but it is there to use for free and should be exploited.

Formerly Associated Content – Yahoo Contributor is a great way to reproduce blog posts which have a third party independent feel about them. As an example, see my Linkedin in ten easy steps blog entry on Yahoo Contributor. It’s just another way to put content in front of people who might be looking for it on another platform.

Blog response is a important part of both raising your profile and drawing traffic from other, higher traffic blog sites. The caveats here are to ensure that you post responses that add value and do not simply erect a signpost to your blog on someone else’s blog. That’s what your hyperlinked name is for when you make the comment.

And this is the tip of the iceberg. What about other link sharing, trade portals, news sites, hubs, forums? Think creatively about your blog content and do all you can to give it the oxygen it deserves to move and breath.


Paying it forward

Aside from making you feel good, the benefit of a random act of kindness can be extraordinary.

At a recent networking event, which turned out to be a BNI taster, the regional director used his closing remarks to used a powerful example to show how paying it forward can pay back. (At the time of writing it’s late, bear with me).

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Ninety plus years ago, an elderly gentleman and his wife walk into a hotel during the height of a trade show. He is told that there are no rooms available, but as he turns on his heel to leave, a young employee offers them a room. The following morning, on checking out, the elderly man asks for his card.

Three years later, the young hotel employee receives a letter in the mail with an airline ticket to New York. He meets the elderly gentleman outside an imposing building on 5th Avenue. He proceeds to hand over a set of keys to the new hotel he has built for the young man to run for him. The elderly gentleman was Henry J Hardenbergh, the employee George Boldt. The hotel: The Waldorf Astoria on 5th Avenue.

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So, what have you done to pay it forward? What could you do before the day is out?

Perhaps, something as trivial as letting a few extra cars to turn at junctions on your way home or giving your time to an important project to help someone out.

If paying it forward actually pays, and like me you believe in karma, doesn’t it become less desirable and more urgent  and more essential?