Once you’ve established yourself in the blogging universe, the next step is to gain a loyal readership community. The key is to spread your content to as many people, websites, and sources as possible, and the first step to this is writing viral content. Certain types of posts tend to spread more than others:
- Controversial/timely posts discussing a current topic (i.e. reader polls or surveys). This encourages reader comments. However, when a comment is made, it is important to respond openly to keep the conversation going.
- Lists. They are easy to scan and are even more effective when they touch on real-life examples.
- Humorous posts.
- Giving unique insight into a particular topic.
- Talking about useful resources and tools for your reader.
- Content posts where readers are asked for input in return for the chance to win something.
- Case studies.
- Roundup posts that compare different products, services, businesses, brands, or solutions in one subject area.
- Video posts.
Effective marketing and branding should be based on the industry, so experiment with different types of posts to see which type works best for your particular blog.
To find a successful type of post, first decide what a “successful post” means. Do you want a lot of comments and questions about your business services? Or do you want a lot of traffic? After you’ve tried a few different kinds of posts, use statistics linked to your blog to see how they’re each performing. Whichever type of post is most popular is probably the style you should use more often than not on your blog. You can even go so far as to ask your readers what they would like to see more of on your site. The ability to write content that can easily be commented on is at the core of the blogging medium, separating it from the “one-way conversation” marketing channels like brochures, advertising, press releases, and a company website.
Another important tip to increase your readership is to avoid the jargon of your industry or company. The easiest way to reach readers is to write content to which they can relate. Many visitors won’t be from your company or even your industry, and if they don’t understand the terms and code words you’re using in your posts, odds are they will leave your site and never come back. A simple way to avoid using the jargon is to have a friend outside your industry read through your rough draft and give you feedback. Blogging tends to be more like an informal conversation (unlike a press release or website copy), so don’t be afraid to add personality to your posts.
Including personal experiences or real-life situations is also a great way for readers to relate to your posts. Let people know about you. Start by sharing your blog with people you already know, who trust you, as well as linking your blog to your other sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.). This will add the traffic from these sites to your blog. But at the same time, writing or your company can have a negative effect.
Link to outside blogs. The blogosphere works as a flow of information, so linking to other blogs will not take away from your traffic — it can only help. Mentioning other blogs not only shows you’re willing to learn from others, but it will notify those blogs you’ve linked to and their readers may come across your post through the blog you mentioned.
While scanning other blogs, you will find the successful ones have consistently updated posts. Writing regularly ensures your readers will always come across something new on your page, increasing the likelihood they will return to see something different. An easy way to make sure you have steadily-published posts is to have multiple contributors within your company, to help share the load.
Consider your blog an essential component of your marketing effort. Keeping it updated, linking to outside blogs, posting relatable content, and experimenting with different types of posts will all help you gain loyal readership, which is what all bloggers strive for. If you end up receiving criticism on your blog, do not ignore it. Acknowledge the problem, apologize, present a solution as quickly as you can, and encourage feedback to help resolve the issue at hand, as well as prove to your readers your brand’s/company’s open-minded, professional philosophy. But above all else, stay calm. Be balanced and objective in responses, and don’t give up. If you follow these tips, your blog may eventually reach “viral” status.