About the author: Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a Vancouver company that provides corporate SEO services to businesses across North America. If you would like to invite the author to write on your blog too, please contact Pitstop Media.
Where blog marketing is concerned, “survival of the fittest” definitely holds true. Marketers who are unique, bold, and persistent enough to adapt to the changing trends of Internet marketing are usually the ones who dominate the field and leave everyone else behind. In order for you not to be left behind and to be ranked among the fittest instead, you need to stop using outdated blog marketing techniques. Exactly what techniques am I talking about? Read on and you’ll find out.
Let’s assume you’re just starting to work on your blog. You may think getting ads posted on your blog is an excellent way of monetizing the blog. Whether you’re thinking about regular advertising or pay-per-click (PPC) ads, this may not really be such a great idea for a starter blog like yours.
First of all, ads tend to distract visitors from the blog’s design and the post itself. Second, modern readers have a tendency to get turned off by too many ads on a page.
Besides, you’ll likely get paid no more than $5 for every thousand views, so you’re not really losing much if you choose not to allow ads on your blog at this stage. If you’re considering PPC, you may want to note that the learning curve for this tactic is quite steep and can be very expensive. You may want to forego this thought until you have sufficient time and money to play around with.
2. Epic Posts
There’s a whole lot of information about a certain topic you want to share with your target audience. What do you do? Do you write a 10,000-word blog post about it and hope your readers appreciate your effort enough to share the post with others? Do you segment the topic into ten sub-topics and then come up with 1,000-word articles to be posted as a series on your blog?
If you’re a shrewd modern blogger, you’d answer the latter, no contest. When you’ve successfully gained regular readership for your blog, particularly if a good number of your readers are industry influencers, THEN you can publish epic posts once in a while. With a starter blog, however, you’d do a lot better with shorter posts. The key is in ensuring your posts are interesting, relevant, informative, and engaging.
3. Guest Post Requests
Of course guest posting can help you promote your blog! I’m not saying it can’t. What I’m saying is that you can’t just send an email to all authority bloggers in your niche requesting to guest post on their blog and then expect them to grant your request. Sure, a miracle could happen and one or two just might allow you to guest post, but you can’t always count on miracles. Remember that for you to truly be able to use guest posting effectively, you’ll have to devote a good deal of your time building relationships with authority bloggers.
Post relevant and unique comments on their blogs, respond to questions from their readers, and insert a link to your own blog in some of your comments. By and by, you should be able to prove your expertise in the niche and develop a relationship built on mutual respect with the bloggers. When that happens, it’s a safe bet they’ll allow you to guest post. Who knows, they might even request it!
4. Product Review Requests
Just as other bloggers aren’t likely to grant your guest post requests unless you’ve developed a strong relationship with them, they aren’t likely to give glowing reviews for your products/services unless they know for a fact that you offer something of value. So, in the same way you waited to make a guest post request, you should also wait until you’ve established a solid relationship with a blogger before you request for a product review from him/her. Blind requests will likely get ignored. Worse, it could get you labeled as a dumb and annoying marketer NEVER to be entertained.
5. Controversial Comments
Okay, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It helps to comment on authority blogs so you can establish your expertise in the niche and if you hope to develop a relationship with the bloggers. BUT (and that’s a big BUT) you should stay away from the old practice of scanning the latest post of a popular blog and then posting a controversial rebuttal of the piece in the comments section.
The idea behind this practice is that any attention you get from the blogger and his/her readers will ultimately be good for you. FALSE. In this day and age, you’ll most probably end up tagged as a troll. If this tactic is something you do, you can start saying goodbye to your hopes of ever establishing a good reputation.
6. Facebook Smorgasbord
You’ve probably heard this before: Facebook is one of the best places to promote your blog in. However, you need to use Facebook the right way for it to truly help increase awareness of your blog and your brand.
Sure, you want to grab the attention of your target audience on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean you have to fill your Facebook page with all the funny pictures and videos you can find. That’s just another case of seeking attention for attention’s sake. What you need to do in terms of promoting your blog on Facebook is come up with interesting teasers you can post along with a link to your latest blog post.
You should also try to clear your Facebook page of posts that are completely unrelated to your business or niche.
7. Keeping Everything Manual
Your readers would surely appreciate knowing that you personally post your content and respond to comments, but do you really have to do everything yourself? Automation has repeatedly been tagged as the bad guy in Internet marketing, but it isn’t really all that bad. In fact, it can save you from wasting a lot of time and effort if you do it right.
As a general advice, you could try automating blog promotion such that each time you post new content on your blog, it will automatically be promoted on your Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking accounts. This should give you more time to respond to your readers’ comments and questions personally.
8. Hesitant Promotion
Content of excellent quality may still be the king of online marketing, but if you don’t let people know where to find such content, it isn’t likely to do much for your business. There are those who may tell you that if your content is really great, then people are bound to find it. That may be true, but why waste time waiting for people to find your content when there’s a lot you can to do speed up the process? You need to promote your blog with the same amount of passion you gave to the process of creating it.
Other than making sure you’re not doing any of the above outdated blog marketing tactics, you’d also do well to take the following into consideration when you review your blog marketing strategy as a whole:
- Your Message
You’ll know you’re using outdated blog marketing tactics if you’re still trying to tell people how good you are. Modern online marketing tactics are geared more towards helping people realize that what you’re offering is the best solution for them. The reason for this is quite simple, really. People are now more discerning. They tend to check all of their options before making any kind of purchase. Therefore, you can’t stop at showing them how good you are; you have to prove that you are their best option.
This necessitates building relationships with your target market on social media, providing them with valuable content on a regular basis, and making sure you get positive reviews and recommendations from your existing customers. When you constantly provide your target market with something of value, they’re bound to choose your brand over others.
- How You Build Awareness
In the past, businesses worked at building brand awareness by ensuring they get top search rankings and they typically ensured top rankings by stuffing their content with keywords without thought to quality and building as many links as they can. However, consumers and search engines alike have become a lot smarter. If you continue with the old practices of keyword stuffing and mindless link building, Google is likely to flag and penalize you, so you can say goodbye to the chance of more people becoming aware of your brand.
Keyword stuffing and mindless link building are no longer considered useful in blog marketing
What you need to do instead is post fresh content on your blog on a regular basis, make sure the topics you cover are relevant and interesting, and engage actively with your readers. Remember that Google is now rewarding websites and blogs that regularly update their content and are more concerned with readers than rankings. Furthermore, people are more likely to share your blog with others if they find it to be an excellent source of fresh and relevant information.
- Your Customer Retention Strategy
Are you still relying purely on push marketing techniques to keep your existing customers? If so, then you definitely need to update your marketing strategies. Sure, online ads, billboards, and TV commercials may still help you grow your business, but other push marketing tactics like cold-calling and direct mail advertising may just annoy your target market and cause you to lose them before they even give your brand a single glance.
Since consumers are now a lot smarter, there’s a need for you to actually reach out and spend some time getting to know them so you can earn their trust. You can do this by being active on social media, offering tidbits of relevant information, answering consumers’ questions, and initiating productive discussions. Once you’ve gained your target market’s trust, they will not only become regular readers of your blog, they’re also likely to become loyal customers. They might even recommend your brand to others.
There are generally two factors you need to consider when you’re trying to make money or grow your business through blogging. The first is your mindset and the second is the set of techniques you use to achieve your goal.
- The right mindset: You may not realize it, but the reason why many bloggers fail to achieve their goal is their failure to adopt the right mindset. You should stop focusing on keywords and links as the keys to success in blog marketing. It is this kind of mindset that often leads you to continue wasting your efforts on outdated marketing tactics.
- It’s all about connecting with your audience: Start telling yourself every single day that the key to successful blog marketing in this day and age is reaching out to your audience. Make them feel that you understand their needs and you’re constantly working to provide the necessary solutions.
- Provide value for your audience through your blog: The modern blogger and Internet marketer is one who consistently provides something of value to his audience. The modern blogger and Internet marketer is one who spends time communicating with his audience rather than simply talking to them.
- Develop your blog’s personality: The modern blogger and Internet marketer is one who gives his/her blog a personality that readers will be sure to appreciate. Only when you’ve realized these truths and internalized them will you be able to truly say that you’ve adopted the right mindset for modern blog marketing.
There you have it: Blog marketing tips that are sure to help you make the most out of your blog this year. Stop wasting time, money, and effort on tactics that don’t even work and may just do more harm than good in the long run. Bear in mind that the Internet is a dynamic medium. Changes are inevitable and should, in fact, be expected. Learn to move with them as they come.