In fact, just a few weeks before the first post for the Contentacle Blog went out, I said to my co-founder "I think we should start posting content today". Luckily I refrained, knowing that I still needed time to prepare our strategy. Successful blogs aren't grown that way.
But how do you prepare to grow your blog? Let's take a look at some hacks I used, and still do use.
1. Build a list of other blogs
Making connections is something that'll take up a lot of your time as an inbound marketer. To get those guest blogging opportunities or the chance to get mentioned in someone else's post, you need to get to know others.
Whilst this may seem like a chore at first, it's not. Since starting, I've read great content, learned a ton of useful things and interacted with some amazing writers. You will too.
For your blog list, add some other peoples' blogs that you find interesting. For my list, I was already keen on learning about startups, social media and writing, so that was where I started. It takes time to build up this list, so keep adding to it.
You can take a look at my list if you like, it might give you some new content to read. Feel free to copy my template for your own blog list.
Obviously only add blogs you're interested in, otherwise it's all-too-obvious that you're just there to gain traffic, and that's no fun.
2. Share content on Twitter
People appreciate when you take the time to share their work with others.
Think about it, if someone shared your article out of the blue with their followers, would you be happy? Of course you would, so why not take the time to do just that for them.
Here's my Buffer sharing hack that means I can share around 25 tweets per day full of content by others that my followers will love. All without that much effort on my end:
Sign up for a Feedly account
Add interesting & relevant blogs to your feed
I've made a collection named 'Startups'. I recommend you put all your feeds into one collection just because you won't be needing to sort them out later on.
Open up RSS Mix in a new tab
Go into each blog on Feedly
Click the address bar. At the end you'll find the blogs feed URL, copy it
Paste it into RSS Mix
Repeat until you have all your desired feeds in RSS Mix
Click Create in RSS Mix
Add the URL to your Buffer Feed list
Voila! You have a ton of content you can share by clicking 'Add'. It doesn't take long to share your favorite blogs' content.
3. Comment on others' blog posts
The key here is to post thoughtful comments, not spammy ones.
Many sites now use Disqus to host their commenting, which is amazing for you because you only need one account to share your thoughts and get notified about discussions.
Make sure you've got an account with them before you go any further, and make it a personal account, not a company one. Having a company one just makes you look self-promotional, and although the aim is to get your own blog out there, you want your interest to be genuine.
Next, refer to your blog list. Take a look at whether they host Disqus commenting or not, and if so follow them on Disqus. This'll mean you get the latest discussions sent to your inbox, no checking needed!
If you've read the post fully, and have something to add, then comment with your opinion, an insight or suggestion. Don't comment for the sake of commenting. The hope here is that the readers will click on your profile and see that you've got a blog too.
Although this seems like a rare set of events, you've at least made the effort to be reasonable and added something interesting. The author will know who you are and appreciate the effort you've gone to, and will hopefully help you grow your own following.
4. Follow & interact with people on Twitter
Social media. Let's face it, it's not very social anymore. Many brands just don't make the effort to connect with others.
You should be different. To stand out from the crowd, you'll need to be social, friendly and most importantly caring. Sure, you don't have the time to care about people on social media but guess what, nobody does.
Okay, so I may sound a little harsh here, but I'm annoyed. I'm annoyed because I've had many encounters with large companies who outright ignore me when I try to connect with them. These companies have social media teams, and they still can't write replies or favourite tweets.
It's easy enough. Here's a few methods I use to interact with people on Contentacle's Twitter account:
Do you even list?
As I'm sure you're aware, this hilarious sounding tool is in reference to gym 'bro' culture. Whilst the name isn't very serious, it's a really helpful tool.
It automagically places anyone who mentions you into a Twitter list, meaning you can carry on interacting with them in the future.
'People to engage with' list
If you're interested in keeping tabs on the people you want to interact with, create a Twitter list. It's worth doing this at the start, because after a few weeks your Twitter will end up going from a nice, clean, relevant feed to a whole heap of spammy mess. It happens all the time.
Bookmark the list in your browser and visit it every day. Favourite, reply and retweet relevant tweets to be an awesome company with a great Twitter following.
If someone shares your content, thank them
A thank you goes a long way, no matter how busy you are. The person has gone through the trouble of looking at your content, thinking about it and sharing it. It means they think your information is valuable, how awesome is that?
Reply with a quick thanks and add them to your engagement list. If you've got stash, send something their way, it'll brighten up their day for sure!
5. Work out your content promotion schedule
You want your articles to spread as far as possible in the blogosphere. To do that, you'll need a promotion strategy in place. Social media is the perfect place for this, but it ain't easy to keep it interesting.
Here's the template we use for scheduling our social media posts:
|Website||Time of Post||+1 hour||+3 hours||+7 hours||+1 day||+2 days||+3 days||+7 days||+14 days||+30 days||+6 months|
As you can see, it's a pretty hectic schedule. It's more-or-less a personal preference, but because Twitter has a ticking timeline, you want your content to feature on there more often to get your share of the limelight.
There we go, 5 things you should do when trying to grow your blog. Obviously there's a whole load of other things you could do to grow your newly born blog, but these hacks will help you stay on top of your game, and help you promote yourself and your company at the start.
Good luck, and be sure to let me know when your blog launches. We love reading others' content.