Identify, Create, Promote, Retain, Repeat: How to Drive More Blog Traffic
I went to Social Media Marketing World a month ago, meant to write a blog post about it, and got caught up in other projects instead.
10 Social Marketing Lessons from Forbes Most Valuable Brands
But this has been a blessing in disguise, because the time and distance has helped me identify the lessons which really resonated with me. One of the most powerful sessions was one of the most practical, Syed Balkhi’s How to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog.
We marketers love acronyms and frameworks, and, in this session, Balkhi dropped a fresh one (at least for me).
Identify, Create, Promote, Retain
Identify: Identify your audience by creating a “reader avatar.” For social marketers, this translates as a target audience or persona, and the easiest way to find yours is to use a combination of social analytics and listening to understand how people are interacting with your content today and how they discuss topics relevant to your brand generally.
Create: Once you know whom you’re speaking to, how do you know which content to create for that audience? This panel echoed an opinion I often spout off on—you shouldn’t be everywhere. Choose a small number of social networks and blogging platforms, stick with them, and excel on them. Syed offered many specific suggestions and tools. I’ll add some of my own here, too.
- Google Analytics + Monster Insights WordPress Plugin: Know your most-visited posts right now, identify trends, and create accordingly
- Content Share Tracking: Google Analytics is a strong (and free!) tool for marketers, but it doesn’t give you insight into how specific pieces of content are performing across specific social networks, including via dark social (private messaging over Slack, text message, FB Messenger, etc.). This insight is invaluable when it comes to creating well-tailored content for each network ecosystem. Learn more here.
- Search Console: A free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Google Search results. This helps you understand how Google views your site, so you can optimize its performance in search results.
- Keyword/Idea Research:
- Answer the Public: Enter your target keywords and this tool suggests content ideas.
- Reader surveys/feedback forms: Get feedback from the people visiting your blog and consuming your content. For social marketers, this might mean conducting a Twitter poll/survey on your key social networks to gain insight.
- LSI Keywords: This is relevant whether you are a content marketer or social marketer (or a special blend of both). LSI keywords are keywords related to the keywords that Google users search for, based on user behavior and patterns.
- SEMRush: With SEMRush, you can find your competitors’ keywords, backlinks, ad text, and more.
- Listening: With a listening solution you can analyze emerging topics of conversation to strategically drive brand awareness. Learn who is talking about your brand, what they are saying, and where they are saying it.
Promote: Once you’ve found your audience and you have a direction for your content, the next step is to promote your content. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Maintain a consistent calendar. Promote your content at a regular cadence on social and via email. On social, use social analytics to understand when, where, and how to post.
- Boost your organic Facebook posts. Do this by using the Facebook retargeting pixel, creating a custom audience, and boosting your “pillar content” (the guide, whitepaper, or blog post that you are most confident in) to that custom audience. Balkhi saw his blog traffic from Facebook increase 332% by using this tactic.
- Submit guest blog posts. Choose the host blog. (Psst: Simply Measured is always looking for subject matter experts! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your pitch!) Study that host blog, including topics covered and writing style. Brainstorm detailed ideas and submit away! This is a great way to broaden the audience exposed to your posts.
- Grow your own blog contributor program. Get SMEs to write for your blog, and ask them to promote their work once it is published. In this way, you touch social audiences likely to be interested in your brand, but whom you have not touched yet.
Retain: Retain your audience by continuing to up the ante on creative campaigns (Need help with that? Go here.) and building out specific social media and blog content targeted towards more advanced practitioners or long-time customers.
Repeat: Stuck in a rut? Not seeing the performance results you anticipated? That means it’s time to audit your social and content programs, and figure out at which stage the breakdown is occurring.
- Is your content targeting the wrong audience, or are you neglecting an audience segment that shows interest? Do you really understand what your audience cares about and talks about amongst themselves?
- Is your content visually appealing, unique, and consistent enough?
- Are you promoting your content on the right channels? Should you expand your social footprint or devote more money and effort to an active social channel?
- Are you doing enough to retain and “court” the audience you already have?
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I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.