As a reporter, one of my biggest frustrations was reading the out-of-control comments on my stories. A particularly controversial topic could generate 100 or more comments, but even the most benign feature story could be brought down by a few thoughtless remarks.
Even a 12-year-old girl who was doing something good for her community could be a target of merciless taunting, and the family would be so upset they’d vow never to talk to the newspaper again.
The business of blogging for businesses is a little different. Now the frustration happens when I realize I’ve just put a lot of time and effort into something that hardly anyone has read, much less commented on.
We all know engagement takes time, but when you’re trying to prove your worth as a content marketer, you can’t wait six months for your content to be discovered. You need more blog subscribers now.
It goes without saying your content has to be relevant to your audience, so it needs to be based on sound research. If you haven’t done the groundwork to discover who your buyers are and what they want, you need to take a few steps back first.
But if you’re producing a variety of quality pieces that speak to your potential buyers at every stage and your blog subscriptions have plateaued, there are a few quick fixes that can make a big difference.
Here are three simple things that could be keeping you from getting more blog subscribers.
You have a field on your blog where readers can enter their email address to subscribe, right? So, what more can you do?
Second, make sure it’s simple. If you ask your readers to give you everything from their company title to their mother’s maiden name, they’re going to give up. If all you really need is their email address, just ask for that.
Third, include blog CTAs in a variety of places.
How visible is the blog on your homepage? Do you have a summary of recent posts, or is it just a tab at the top or bottom that says “blog?”
Sometimes companies inadvertently make their blog harder to find by listing it under something else that’s not as clear, such as “resources,” “connect with us” or “latest updates,” which makes it sounds like it’s just a bunch of announcements about their products.
And don’t assume your existing contacts are already following your blog.
If you send out a company newsletter once a month, make sure you include a call to action to subscribe for more great tips, the latest updates or anything else your readers want to see.
Make sure you emphasize it’s news they can use, not just announcements about your products.
Speaking of that newsletter, when’s the last time you sent one out that specifically called attention to your blog? Yes, it’s a “subscribe to our blog” email, something you’ve probably been advised against doing, but that doesn’t mean it has to look like one.
Rather than sending out an announcement that you have a blog, choose the highest-ranking blog of the past month and create an email around that. Include a teaser to the information, and write the subject line in a way that suggests the recipient has been missing out on important industry updates. It could read something like, “Three key regulatory stories you missed this week.”
Social media is often the gateway to your blog, so make sure your blog is getting plenty of play there as well.
It goes without saying that you should be promoting your posts (and more than just once a week), but you also want to encourage others to share them.
Make sure your blog has share buttons. Try adding a “Tweet this stat” or “Tweet this quote” CTA to make it easy for a reader to quickly share it.
If you want more content that’s easily shared, try mixing it up a little. Think about what people share most often on social media. It’s not words; it’s pictures.
In fact, at least 63 percent of social media is made up of images, and 32 percent is made up of videos.
Think about this as you structure your next blog. Could it be presented as a SlideShare of quick tips instead? An infographic?
At least once a month, I try to look at the blog analytics for each of the accounts I write content for, and it’s always interesting to see what performs best.
In writing for a software company that deals with the serious topic of workplace safety, I had mostly focused on writing about serious subjects: How to prevent falls, how to safeguard equipment, how to better manage safety-related paperwork.
After awhile, I decided to try something new. Now, looking back at the past six months, I’ve noticed the two most popular posts weren’t necessarily the most hard-hitting ones, but the most visual and interactive. One was a SlideShare of inspirational safety quotes; the other was a quiz.
Each of these two posts had nearly double the viewership of the others.
Another way to make your posts easier to share is to promote them with custom-branded images.
Making your blog more visible and visual will attract more attention, and the subscribers will follow.
Don't let these items hold your blog back any longer. Make your blog appealing and your CTAs strong—and don't forget to share your efforts with your audience.
What have you done to entice more subscribers to your blog? Share with us in the comments below.