The backbone to any online marketing is content. We know this. But what if there’s no one there to read it? This is why planning out an engagement strategy is key for growing your blog, building traffic, and cultivating community.
The key is attracting the right audience and encouraging them to hang out a little bit. Whether engagement looks like comments on your blog, content shares, or the ultimate goal of signing up for your email list, getting your audience to take action is huge.
Here are a few ideas for increasing blog engagement, because no: writing in a vacuum simply isn’t enough to bring the people to you. In this post, we’re going to talk about a few of the tips we learned from Melyssa Griffin’s free ecourse, The Blog Audience Blueprint, plus a few of our own ideas about what works.
Create a strong foundation.
The first step for increasing your blog’s engagement is surprisingly not creating content or retweeting other people’s content. Of course, content is key to encouraging your ideal audience to hang around. But first! You need to choose your ideal audience.
One of the best ways to choose your ideal audience is by looking at:
what you know
your audience’s needs
This formula of knowledge, passion, and needs come from the ever-delightful Melyssa Griffin from The Nectar Collective. Once you find a combination of those three things, your ideal audience is mapped out with a strong foundation.
For example, if you’re a nutrition blogger with a focus (and passion!) on simple, whole foods dishes, the last thing you need to figure out is who your ideal audience is. Who needs simple, whole foods dishes? Probably busy people who want to prioritize their health while still pursuing their goals and career.
Take a look at how what you know, what your passion is, and what your audience’s needs are and how they overlap. Drawing out your ideas with a whiteboard can help, too.
Comment (and share!) the heck out of other people’s blogs.
The internet is a huge place and you cannot rely on other people to find you, whether for blog partnerships or ideal readers. You have to make an effort to stand out and be seen. One of the most fundamental ways to stand out is by leaving thoughtful and engaged comments on blogs and websites with the same target audience.
Take a few minutes to peruse the interwebs. Make note of all the blogs and websites with the same target market as you, then make an effort to leave a comment on their newest blog posts as they come out. Take the time to schedule out these blog posts using a free Buffer account. As long as the ideal audience for the blog you’re commenting on and your own blog are the same, cross-pollinating content on social media can be a great way to get noticed by your peers and also their readers, too.
Take to heart that engaged comments includes addressing the blog owner by name, making a personable comment about their post, and sharing why you thoroughly enjoyed what you read. Leaving a comment with a simple ‘Nice!’ or ‘Cool post!’ is definitely not a way to engage in a thoughtful way and can lead to your comment being deleted by the author, which ultimately works against any sort of engagement strategy you had.
Make email marketing work for you.
If you aren’t collecting your reader’s email addresses, please stop reading and sign up for a free Mailchimp account… waiting… OK, are you back? Good! Collecting email addresses is a fundamental practice in online marketing. Collecting email addresses means you maintain control over the experience with your readers and buyers as their email addresses are not owned by a larger company, like Amazon. (PS. With Selz, your buyers are yours. You can install the Mailchimp app and export all emails automatically to your Mailchimp account.)
To get started with email marketing, you want to create a lead magnet. A lead magnet is what a reader exchanges their email address for, so make it worth it for them. Provide a super awesome, actionable, and downloadable lead magnet to encourage readers to sign up for your mailing list. Give them guides on how to jumpstart their Instagram account in 1 hour, a 21-day meal plan according to your private coaching experience, or a free ebook on how to make your most popular recipes.
Make sure to add subscribe boxes or even Selz widgets or buttons in your footer, sidebar, and within blog posts to increase the visibility of your super helpful and effective lead magnet.
Write seriously helpful content.
The internet needs no more cat videos or blog posts about your weekend. With information overload and smaller attention span, your ideal readers are looking for quality, interesting, and educational content.
If you’re a photographer who teaches up-and-coming photographers your quirky style, consider writing posts about the equipment you use, how you diversify your income, and how your client intake process looks. Be generous and give them exactly what they need to be successful. There’s nothing better than receiving feedback about your content and how it’s changed someone’s business for the better.
You may also want to look at Google Trends for ideas on keywords. What are people searching for? The internet is your best friend and inputting your keywords into Google Trends will give you a good idea about creating content that your audience will care about and what is being searched for.
Make the effort first.
If there is a specific blogger you want to connect with or someone you want to interview for your newest guide or blog post, it’s up to you to put yourself out there. Be OK with tweeting and emailing anyone that inspires you! The internet is a huge space and simply creating content is not enough to get you noticed.
Most bloggers, when sharing their story, talk about the work that went into becoming well known. It wasn’t because they tweeted a few times a week or wrote a blog post a month. It was because of the connections they cultivated and space they made for themselves within the noise.
For all the blogs you outlined above, reach out to them on Twitter or send them an email. Share their content. Engage with them during a Twitter chat. Making connections is what makes the world go ’round and we need you out there showing us who you are, too.
What do you think?
Increasing your blog’s engagement is not as straightforward as writing content and sharing it on Twitter. Instead, it’s up to you to share your content with the world and making space for yourself in the noise. If you want to take a deeper look at engagement efforts, The Nectar Collective’s Blog Audience Blueprint is a super actionable and educational resource. Sign up here.
What are you going to add to your engagement strategy? Leave us a comment below.