Take a peek in your garden shed (if you dare).
You see that rusty old bike that’s buried underneath piles of tools and boxes? You know, the sorry spectacle that’s decaying, irrelevant and completely forgotten in the corner?
You used to have a whale of a time together. Best Buds. Attracting a ton of stares from passers-by.
Now it’s time is over. No one wants to look at it anymore. Other bikes whizz past outside, souped up with all the latest add-ons, performing wheelies and generally looking awesome.
But yours remains ignored and unloved.
I’ve got news for you…
That could be your blog.
If you don’t put in a bit of elbow grease to keep it performing better than the rest, using the latest techniques, then it’s going to end up like the sad tale of the rusty bike in the shed.
So dust it off. Shine it up. And let it do the job it’s there for – to help your company prosper.
Here’s what you need to ditch:
The ‘Subscribe for a Newsletter’ Tactic
Let’s be honest, when did you last give your email address to sign up for a newsletter? The early ‘00s? Gone are the days when prospective customers eagerly await company news (if those days ever truly existed to begin with).
Building an email list is key. In fact, it’s marketing gold.
You want engaged customers who give you ample opportunity to keep reeling them in with your expertly tailored communications.
What Can I Do?
Make them an offer they can’t refuse. You won’t be getting any email addresses if you don’t give anything in return.
If you’re not offering them anything more concrete than the vague promise of ‘news’ then someone else will. And customers will take their business elsewhere.
Don’t ask for an email address straight out, offer them something that requires an email address to receive. You need to create an opt-in offer.
Your opt-in offer will be something free, yet valuable that you can give in exchange for an email address.
It needs to be so powerful, so enticing and so valuable that they can’t resist signing up to your blog and adding yet another email to their inbox.
The trick? It has to be something so alluring that they would actually pay for…but they don’t have to.
Let’s take a look at your options:
- An eBook
Undoubtedly a road well-trodden, but still brings in a big crowd, if done right. Make sure it’s giving interesting and valuable information that they haven’t heard a million times.
- An email series
Dickens used to release his stories in the form of a series for a good reason. They create suspense and keep the reader hooked. The goal of an email series is to give the reader a taste of what your blog will have to offer: engaging, content that is useful to them. Deliver it over a few days, a week or a month, but keep it relevant and insightful.
- A cheat sheet
The wonder of the cheat sheet is that it delivers a ton of information in a concise form that’s easy to scan. Check out these winning cheat sheets pulled together by Kapost Blog for inspiration.
- A template
If in doubt, give them something they can copy. It’s timesaving and a framework for success, which they’ll love you for.
Shameless Keyword Cramming
We’ve all been told since the beginning of (our marketing) time that researching keywords is the first port of call when writing a blog post.
“It’ll get you soaring to the top of Google,” they said.
“It’ll drive hoards of traffic to your website,” they said.
They were right…once upon a time.
In the old days, all you had to do was write a copy-heavy post with a shed load of keywords and phrases and you had a high(ish) chance of getting up to the top of the Google mountain.
These days, Google is a bit more sophisticated. Although keyword research is still an important part of marketing, it simply doesn’t matter as much for blogging.
Keywords are too competitive. The internet is saturated with bloggers with keywords and it’s nigh on impossible to rank up there using keywords alone.
What Can I Do?
It’s pretty simple really: write good, engaging content that organically contains keywords.
As Neil Patel puts it: “You need to produce the best content with a dynamic range of terms and context on the topic.”
Google is a clever thing. It scans your content and makes sure it’s relevant to the topic. All you have to do is make sure it’s written engagingly, is informative and holds a ton of value for the reader.
Want some tips? Read “Demystifying Epic Content: How to Actually Create It (Not Just Jabber About How Important It Is)” by Smart Blogger.
Hanging Out in Comment Sections
No one likes a lurker.
And this also goes for people who hang out in the comments section of other articles in their niche, leaving pearls of wisdom with an unsubtle link back to their site.
The idea was that if you spammed enough comment sections you would eventually get enough traffic back to your site to make an impact.
But let me ask you this: when was the last time you perused the comments section of a blog and clicked on the link to sign up?
It just doesn’t happen anymore.
What Can I Do?
The answer to this is, you’re targeting the wrong people. There’s still value in leaving comments under a post, but leave them for the blogger, not the reader.
It will help you if the blogger notices you, as they will be more likely to be receptive to pitches or a share request in the future.
Now, don’t leave this at ‘Great article!’ or ‘Nicely explained’. How dull.
You need to leave an insightful message, showing that a) you’ve read the post, and b) you are like-minded and have an opinion (and possibly questions) on it.
Saturating Social Media
The rush to get onto social media was real.
Suddenly, everyone had to have a social media presence. And if you didn’t, your company was basically a dinosaur.
Nowadays, sophisticated algorithms mean that your posts will reach fewer of your followers than before. In fact, it’s likely they’ll only reach 6% of your followers (check this Hubspot article, The Decline of Organic Facebook Reach & How to Adjust to the Algorithm).
So if you spend your time racking up 2000 followers on each social media platform and flood them with posts on everything under the sun, it’s unlikely you’ll gain much traffic.
Why? Aside from the fact that a small percentage of your followers will see them, they probably won’t be strategic in that quantity.
What Can I Do?
Concentrate your efforts on getting to know a social platform inside out.
Once you understand exactly how a platform works rather than spreading yourself too thin, you can start to build a strategic presence that actually makes an impact.
This Buffer blog post, How Often Should You Post on Social Media? See the Most Popular Research and Tips gives you the scoop on how different platforms work.
Forget ‘Build it and They Will Come’
Content is King. You must have heard that one before.
Yes, but picture your majestic content with no subjects. Your King has no one there to see him in all his splendour.
Hate to break it to you, but these days everyone and their Uncle is writing king-like content.
There are a wealth of carefully crafted, perfectly written posts out there. Put simply, you can build it, and they might come…if you’re lucky.
What Can I Do?
No one is going to find you. You need to find them.
Spend a hefty portion of your time promoting the hell out of your content. Develop relationships with influencers (no lurking), and create a solid strategy for getting shares and links.
This Hubspot post, 36 Tried-and-True Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts breaks it down pretty nicely.
Spammy Linking Out
Gone are the days when bloggers could get away with linking out to a million irrelevant sites. It’s irritating for the reader and devalues the entire post.
What Can I Do?
If you only follow one rule, let it be this: make sure your article links are really, really relevant.
And beyond that;
- Don’t be self-promotional.
- Cite the name of a company or author (or both) rather than just anchoring a keyword phrase.
- Include links to authority blogs with related content that will help your readers dig deeper.
- And on that note, explain why you’re linking out. Don’t just do it.
That’s a wrap.
Are you feeling blog fresh and ready?
It’s time to let go of tired blogging tactics that no longer work.
Blogging is a shapeshifting entity. It’s constantly changing and your strategy needs to keep up with the times.
The key message here is ‘be real’. Spend time building relationships that are going to make a difference to your blog.
Rather than awkwardly trying to ‘network’ your way to blog success, make every relationship count.
Remember, when you’re building a successful blog you’re in it for the long haul. This means keeping up with the latest tricks and tips so your blog doesn’t end up like Rusty the Bike (RIP).