Did you have a hamster as a kid? I did. We had Teaky, Hammy From Hell (that one used to escape all of the time), Ham - Burger (But we used to call him Ham) & Snowy.. Decided to go conventional with her.
Jubious hamster names aside the strongest memory that has stuck with me from owning those hamsters was listening to the squeak of the hamster wheel turning round, and round and round at night.
I did try fixing it. I tried oiling it, searched for different designs and changed materials but no matter what I did eventually the wheel would start squeaking again.
Poor little hamster.
Stuck in a cage with only a squeaky wheel as entertainment. (p.s. I am dramatising this a little for effect... our hamsters were very much loved!).
The image of my hamster running round and round on his squeaky wheel has stuck with me. It’s the same feeling I get when I’m on the running machines at the gym. And it’s the same feeling I get when I am scheduled down to a rigorous content generating schedule.
In this post I’d like to share some top tips to help you drive traffic to your blog WITHOUT needing to feel like a hamster caught on a wheel.
Because no-one wants to feel like that. We didn’t quit our 9-5, or start out business to feel trapped in a cage of our own making.
It’s true that studies show that through creating more content your traffic will go up. Makes logical sense right? BUT, producing more is not the only way to generate more traffic to your blog.
1. Add Storytelling To Your Writing
See what I did at the top there? I told you a little story about my hamster. If you are reading this sentence it means I got you this far down the page which means you are far more likely to make it down to the end of this post. The longer I can get you to stay with me, the less lonely I feel (jokes!), the more value I can offer which means you might take action - leave a comment, share this post or even join me on my email. Woohoo! That would be grand!
Adding storytelling makes your writing more engaging.
Without Storytelling; Cheryl is a copywriter who has several clients she needs to write content for today. She loves writing.
With Storytelling; Cheryl gets up with a million ideas buzzing in her head. She can’t wait to get to her laptop & immediately pours a coffee and switches it on. It’s going to be a busy day writing content for her clients in the sun.
This is just a short example but you can see that with just a few extra lines you can really paint the picture for your readers. Take them on a journey and allow them to feel the mood of your writing rather than just telling them blandly. Instead of writing “Cheryl loves writing”, in the second example I am showing the reader through the excited way Cheryl starts her day writing.
P.s. plug time. If you are looking for Content Marketing Services check out my packages & get in touch.
2. Publish > Shout > Market
I mentioned this concept in an article I wrote for for Rising Tide recently, I’ll mention it again. It’s important. Very rarely does content magically start getting hundreds of thousands of views and shares. I’ve seen people in tons of Facebook groups complaining that they’ve been blogging now for 4 whole months and they aren’t getting the results they expected.
Um. Get the violin out.
Do you know how long and hard top bloggers have worked to get to where they are? They spend hours and hours (if not days) crafting content, and then they spent 10 X the effort promoting it. And that doesn’t mean tweeting it out a couple of times & sharing it on a few Facebook group threads.
These bloggers write hundreds of Guest Posts, they actively reach out to other bloggers to promote their content. They engage, network and work their freaking asses off. It’s great that you want to help millions of people with your wisdom, but the honour of doing so comes after learning not just how to write, but how to market. Sorry.
I’ve written more about Guest Blogging here and here. And will be publishing a post soon about different ways you build links to your blog without Guest Blogging.
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3. Reference & Link To Influencers In Your Post
Adding examples and references in your blog post boosts its credibility. Why would anyone believe a word you have to say? Back it up with proof from other well known sources. There are a couple of rules to follow here:
Once you’ve written and published your post reach out to those that you have included and let them know. The chances are, if it’s any good they will share it. Neil Patel links to around 100 - 150 different sources PER POST. By the way if you haven’t checked him out, he offers a fantastic resource for learning about Content Marketing.
4. Start With Keyword Research
Use keyword research not just to for the SEO, but to improve your writing and relevancy. Google is the number one research method aside from word of mouth. You have access to all of that beautiful lovely data (slightly less accurate data now but we will get to that).
Why wouldn’t you want to see what your audience is searching for and make sure your content is exactly what they need?
Not only will your content do better in search (eventually when you’ve built a ton of links and social equity), but it will do better in social media as well.
I’ve written in more depth about how to use Keyword Planner here.
5. Use Quality Images
This applies to within your post and the images you use to promote it. The web is a visual place and with the rise of easy design software like Canva the competition is fierce. Your audience is far less forgiving now, they expect perfection. Lucky for you it’s easy to do a better job if you don’t need a degree in a Photoshop. Man, I hate that software - I am definitely NOT a designer.
But with Canva I can create something relatively good. Once your business gets to a certain level and you can afford to outsource images and design is one area to do that. Quality images really do make a difference. They increase your click through from your social media channels, and they encourage users to come back to your website.
6. Join Popular Facebook Groups
There are tons of great Facebook groups for you to join. My favourites are Blog + Biz BFF, Society of Self Mastery + more recently Blogging With a Smile.
For more groups you can join check out Hit The Gems post The Best Facebook Groups To Hang Out In If You’re An Entrepreneur
And white corner creatives; 8 Facebook Groups Every Blogger Should Be A Member Of
Each of these groups has special days when you can promote your content or sell your services. Nowhere have I found a calendar of the different days and threads across groups - I WOULD LOVE THAT. So if you know of a calendar please comment below. If no-one comments then it might be something I can put on the list to create - because I think this would be super handy.
Make sure that you check out the other content on the thread and retweet / pin / comment on posts which you enjoy. I have gotten a lot of cross promotion from doing that, and it’s quite fun reading some new posts.
7. Share Your Post On Pinterest
If you aren’t on Pinterest yet then get on it now. I don’t buy into the idea that we need to be on all the social networks doing all the things. But don’t miss out on Pinterest. Disclaimer here, I haven’t had a chance to analyse the quality of traffic coming from there yet… so I can’t comment on that.
But I can comment on volumes of traffic which bloggers are getting from Pinterest. And I can contest to that because I set up Pinterest two months ago and it has already sent me the same amount of traffic Instagram has in 6 months. So um, I’m going to run with Pinterest as a core channel to focus on for traffic generation.
That being said, Facebook blows every channel out of the water and most of that traffic is coming from these group threads - so Facebook group threads is an important channel to focus on! P.s. if you want to join me on Pinterest here I am.
8. Map The Outline Before You Write Your Post (With research)
If you want to increase visits to your blog then you need to be producing epic content. And that starts with mapping out your content before you start. You wouldn’t write a novel without having an idea of where it is going right?
Well, it’s the same for your blog posts.
Readers need to go on a journey with you through the post, it needs to feel cohesive and that only happens when there is some structure. It is also highly important to research before you write. Sometimes I think we can get in the habit of creating content in a vacuum. I know I have been guilty of that.
I used to think my content needs to be original, innovative, 100% unique. But the reality is that innovation comes from smashing together different ideas, not from sitting in a dark room. So, before you begin your content do some searching on Google. Find out who has written about this topic and take notes!
9. Use Your Email Signature
I learnt this tip from one of my clients the lovely Nadia Finer and I think it’s fab! Nadia’s email signatures always contain loads of really useful information including her latest podcast. I’m pretty sure she used a plugin to generate this dynamically. I haven’t actually implemented this one yet but it is possible!
If dynamically adding in your latest content is too technical for you then just review your static signature. Chances are you could improve it just by adjusting your call to actions. Make sure you link to your website & your core social media channels at a minimum.
10. Write Evergreen Content
Evergreen means that it is useful to people throughout the year. This could be How To Guides for example. Any content which provides practical advice about a topic which isn’t time sensitive.
Anything related to seasonality or specific events are topical posts which have a season to them and a specific time period where they will be read and shared. It’s up to you how you want to weight your Evergreen & Topical content.
What I’ve seen larger brands do is create their Evergreen content first, with just a few topical posts thrown in to mix it up. Then once they have a strong base they start to add in more topical posts over time. At HostelBookers, by the 2nd year we were focusing heavily on events in different destinations and building out the editorial calendar around what was going on around the world. But that was because we already had a base of good evergreen content as well.
I am using the same strategy for Ginger Marketing. So right now I am focusing on evergreen content.
I would love to know in the comments below which tactic drives the most amount of traffic to your blog!