OK, so you\'ve set up your blog. You\'ve done a bunch of brilliant posts that you\'re certain your readers will love. Time to start marketing the heck out of it, right? Lining up guest blog posts, social media activity, maybe some solo ads and banners. Hmmmm. Not quite. Jumping straight into promoting your blog like that is a bit like a new cupcake business carpet-bombing their entire neighborhood with leaflets saying “buy our great cupcakes” before thinking about who they want to market to and what they want to say in their marketing. Your first step is to get crystal clear on who the perfect audience for your blog is. Until you know that, then most of your marketing is going to be misplaced. If you’re using your blog to attract clients to your business then your perfect audience is likely to be the ideal clients for that business. Or maybe the influencers in your field who might send clients your way. In other cases it might be a community you want to reach, people with a certain opinion or point of view, fans of a sports team or celebrity. Whoever it is, you need to know exactly who they are. That tells you where you should be marketing your blog. No point in guest posting on blogs that your ideal audience never visits, for example. Next, you need to be able to articulate the value your blog brings to your perfect audience and how it’s different to other blogs in your field. Without that, there’s no motivation for your audience to come to your blog. For example, if you’re an accountancy firm blogging to make a connection with local small businesses, who you’re hoping will become clients, what will those small businesses get from reading your blog? How will it help them? I don’t mean what will they get from your services. That comes later. They won’t come to read your blog because downstream they might hire you to get great tax advice. They’ll come to read your blog because the blog itself will show them how to save tax right now. Or avoid wasting time on their annual returns. Or teach them the best KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to use to manage their business. Whatever method you use to market your blog, you’re going to have to tell people what it is they’ll get by coming to read it. They have to see why it’s different and better than the tons of other blogs they could be reading. There are thousands of blogs that give marketing advice to small business. Literally. There are more blogs on lifestyle design, making money online, living a more fulfilling life and being more productive than you could ever read in a dozen lifetimes. So why would someone read yours? Is it because it’s focused for a specific group of people? Working moms, solo consultants, retirees into working out? Do you come at things from an unusual angle? In the world of online marketing, Derek Halpern’s angle is to apply the latest psychological research. Pat Flynn’s angle is transparency: sharing every detail of his personal journey including detailed earnings reports. Or is your personality the big difference with your blog? Ash Ambirge’s expletive-laden Middle Finger Project, for example. Personally, my audience is consultants and coaches, and my angle is “Pain Free Marketing.” Marketing for people who find traditional approaches uncomfortable and costly. It’s perhaps not the most unique combination in the world, but it’s enough that when I mention it in the byline of a guest post or someone promotes my blog in an email, people know immediately whether it’s going to be for them and I get the right people clicking through. So now you’ve articulated exactly who your blog is for and why they’d want to read it. You can use that to figure out where to market your blog and what message to get across when you do that marketing. Search for websites, blogs, forums, social or other media that your ideal audience already use. In every communication you do, make the value they’ll get from your blog clear. One final and absolutely vital step: you’ve got to figure out what you’re going to do with those visitors once you get them. Chances are you don’t just want them only visiting your home page, scanning the latest article (which may or may not be relevant to where they came from) and then disappearing. So why do so many people just direct people to their home page when promoting their blog? Instead, send them to a dedicated landing page for new visitors that’s going to blow their socks off and secure them as a long time visitor. Maybe a collection of your best material. Maybe an article that’s the most relevant to the website they came from. Personally, my goal is for my blog visitors to sign up for regular emails from me where I share my very best marketing tips and insights. So, whenever I market my blog the primary link is to a landing page where they can grab a copy of my Pain Free Marketing Blueprint and sign up for regular emails in the process. They don’t have to sign up, but if they do, they get my very best stuff and are more likely to become long term readers and eventually clients. So, before you rush out to tell everyone how great your blog is, think about your audience, the value your blog brings to them and what you’re going to do with them when they come. If you do, it’ll make a big difference.
Ian Brodie works with consultants, coaches and other professionals to help them attract and win more clients. His mission is to help sole practitioners and small firms escape from being the "best kept secret" in their field and to get the clients, recognition and rewards they deserve. He was recently named by Top Sales World magazine as one of the "Top 50 Global Thought Leaders in Marketing and Sales" and by OpenView Labs as one of their "Top Sales Influencers for 2012". Salesforce.com named him as part of their "Social Business Dream Team" and Raintoday.com voted his blog as one of the "resources of the decade for professional services marketing and sales". You can download a free copy of his "Pain Free Marketing Blueprint" guide to attracting and winning clients without the pain and expense of traditional marketing here: www.ianbrodie.com/moreclients or just stop over at his blog to say hi ;).