Writing great content is at the heart of blogging, there’s no denying that. Getting people to your content is almost as important though. Without successful signposting, your blog posts are like hidden jewels on the beach, waiting for some bloke with a metal detector to pass over and find them. The web is vast and there are no silver bullets, but there are a few things you can do to drive traffic to your writing.
Make the most of Twitter
Twitter is a big conversation and you should be looking to embed your content into it. The obvious approach is posting a link into your timeline and, at the very least, you should be doing this. Taking it a step further requires trying to get relevant influencers aware of, and hopefully retweeting, your link. Use searches to find people with similar interests and @reply them with your link, asking them to look and RT if they find it interesting. If your post addresses a comment they made, @reply them sharing your governing thought and the link.
Look beyond the obvious with your social networks
Many bloggers are already on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and other networks of their choice. Chances are, you’ll be active on the social networks which are more relevant to your target audience. Be sure to explore ways to share your content onto these social networks beyond just “liking” on Facebook. When last did you create a group conversation on LinkedIn with the first paragraph as a taster and a link to your article? You could also try looking for LinkedIn questions which your blog post answers and posting the link as a potential answer. At the very least, share the link in your status update with a teaser line.
Don’t ignore the other guys
Comment, comment, comment. Seek out posts which are relevant to your writing and use the comments to advocate your position. Given that you’re commenting on a blog post with similar content, the readers are likely to be your target audience. Share the basics of your insight and provide a link to your post for more detail. The same approach applies to discussion forums. Of course, your comment must be both substantive and relevant to the post you’re commenting on otherwise you’re just spamming.
There’s something to be said for old school. You most likely send dozens of emails a day, why not add a teaser line and the link to your email footer for a few days after publishing? If you’re blogging on something related to your professional interests, send an email to clients and contacts who you think would be interested in the content.
Needless to say, I mean social bookmark sites such as StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit and the like rather than your own browser bookmarks. Certain sites have greater traction among certain communities so be mindful of your target audience and which site(s) they’re likely to be using. Also research what kind of keywords, tagging, summaries and similar metadata may improve your post’s likelihood of moving up the rankings on these sites.
If you’ve been blogging a while, you probably have a previous posts which consider your current topic from a different perspective. Readers of today’s post may not have seen older posts so, where relevant, refer back to previous posts.
Understand your traffic
As a final note, be sure to enable some sort of analytics and monitor your referrals. A good analytics tool will detail which referrers drive the most traffic to your site. Understanding this can help you fine-tune your approach to one which gives the most inbound traffic for your time.