The company website is up and running, as is your blog. Congratulations! You are excited to get people to your site, and to educate them about your company's widget—that special something that only you can offer. An active blog is a great way to grow brand awareness and bring traffic to a company website and, when you invest the time, it can evolve into an incredible marketing channel. Content’s reputation as a growth engine has spread, letting savvy writers and content creators impact a company’s overall marketing strategy in a powerful way.
Above all else, impactful content must be useful. How you—the creator—will make it useful will determine who, why, and how many people will truly interact with it.
Thus, when seeking to grow your blog’s reach, begin by asking:
- Who will read this content?
- What’s in it for them?
- What are you seeking from your readers?
[bctt tweet="Want to Grow Your Blog Audience? Answer these Questions First, by @etelsverdlov " username="StartupInst"]
How to Grow your Blog Audience:
Who will be reading this content?
Choosing the audience for your blog has far-reaching consequences. Your intended readers determine your writing style, the level of detail, and the topics that you should cover. Limiting the scope and being deliberate about your audience should make the answers to those questions obvious.
Imagine, if you will, that the enterprise you work for sells drone parts—replacement blades, additional batteries, camera lenses for when the old ones have cracked. Your readership could be drone flyers, drone sellers, or drone manufacturers. Limiting the audience allows you to speak directly and exclusively to them. In this example, drone-flying readers might excitedly read your latest piece on the best places to land a drone (and what to do in case of part-damaging crash lands), but enjoy far less the comparative piece on which are the best trade-shows for drone sellers. While it may be possible that you want to target more than one demographic with your work, consider that, though you can have it all, you can’t have it all at the same time. For a wider breadth of audience, focus on segmenting your audience, and ensure that you deeply understand which piece of content is meant to appeal to which reader profile.
[bctt tweet="Segment your audience and write content with a specific reader profile in mind, says @etelsverdlov" username="StartupInst"]
What’s in it for them?
Once you’ve determined exactly who your readers are, your challenge is to present them with content that excites and interests them. One mistake that companies and content producers often make is considering their own product an interesting enough topic for content. While there’s most likely a lot that you can write about your own product, when your goal is to grow your readership, focusing on your readers’ needs before your own will serve you well.
When planning a topic for your site, ask yourself: What is the benefit that the reader will derive from this? In the case of our drone site—while it may be tempting to spend your writing effort on a detailed description of one specific drone part and its great benefits, unless you anticipate that this is a topic of greater, far-reaching interest in the community, you may want to reconsider. Your time is precious, as is your readers’ time. Is there a more effective topic to capture their imagination?
Of course, with your content investment, it’s important that you get value out of the process as well. For this reason, understanding your own content goal will serve you well.
[bctt tweet="When writing #content, focus on your readers’ needs over your own, says @etelsverdlov" username="StartupInst"]
What are you seeking from your readers?
Underneath the desire to grow one’s blog and overall content reach lies a deeper motivation. Determining what exactly you're seeking from your blog’s growth allows you to set up the right structure to capture it. Each goal might have a different method of producing the content and also variations in how it is presented online. Some potential goals are:
- Increasing traffic and building awareness
Traffic and Awareness:
Articles for which the goal is traffic or awareness succeed based on how many people have visited the page, regardless of what they do subsequently. They may or may not contact you, buy from you, or tweet about you. However, awareness may be enough in your space—especially for those who make their money through ad revenue.
Where the focus is on conversions, having the entirety of the content open and available to the public may not be useful. In those cases, great titles, exceptional hooks, and incredible introductory paragraphs can steer a reader to gated content behind a sign-up form. Success from such content comes out of the number of lead sign-ups, which can then feed into an email marketing engine.
In contrast to both traffic and conversions, content seeking virality brings its own set of rules. Often, viral content is based on a current event and is highly timely. Such content—easily shareable and fun to consume, can bring large traffic spikes as it spreads through social channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), but then may not have the staying power of work written for traffic or conversions. A good example of such content could be an end-of-year list or something written in response to a news event.
[bctt tweet="Good #content can increase traffic, build awareness, + drive conversions, says @etelsverdlov " username="StartupInst"]
Well-placed, well-executed content grows both a company’s and a blog’s visibility. However, the challenge of creating exceptional content begins before the writing process itself and can last long after the piece is published. Considering the key factors that can affect a blog at every stage—from inception to consumption—can have an immeasurable impact on the reception of the work itself, and in turn, transform your writing into an exciting and beneficial destination for the readers and creators alike.