By Steff Green
An unexplainable plateau in audience numbers is every blogger’s worst nightmare. Your content is sweet, you’re doing all your usual promo yet no new fish are nibbling at the bait. How do you get out of the popularity rut and reach a wealth of new eager readers?
Here are ten strategies for increasing your reach and rejuvenating your blog.
1. Continue to publish ace content
Ok, this one’s obvious, but I thought I’d get it out of the way. There’s no point trying to alight on new audience members if your posts are looking drab and uninspired.
Stick to your publishing schedule and keep creating interesting and innovative articles. Look at other sites in your niche and see if your content is packing the same punch – all you might need is some better headlines or more case-studies to back up your posts and your blog popularity could soar.
Here are some things you can do to add a little oomph to your current posts:
Add more images.
- Choose more dynamic, humorous or interesting images.
- Use case studies, statistics and real-life examples to back up your ideas.
- Add action steps and checklists.
- Experiment with audio and video.
- Invite readers to continue the conversation on social media.
- Use profound quotes from famous people to illustrate your ideas.
- Ensure each post has a clear call-to-action.
2. Use Social Media
In today’s ridiculously connected and converged reality it is imperative you use multiple social media platforms to your advantage. This is one of the easiest ways to reach new networks as the nature of the medium exposes people to links outside their immediate circle.
If you feel you’ve already reached full potential with the staples – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – try branching into a new outlet like instagram or Pinterest to access new audiences.
Here are some ideas for using social media to add another dimension to your blog:
- Create a pinboard around an idea you discussed on your blog.
- Use hashtags on twitter and instagram to get readers to generate content inspired by your blog.
- Collect inspiring quotes on Pinterest and share them in a board.
- Join a few LinkedIn groups – they are great places to meet others in your industry and generate new ideas for posts.
3. Herald your latest post
When you create a new post, don’t just publish and forget it. Let everyone know you’ve posted via social media or email and prompt them to like and share it. Write an enticing cliffhanger with a photo to compel people to click through to the post.
If you can get your friends to like, comment or share it on social media you reach their respective networks. This can be a crucial way to connect your post with strangers.
Step Right Up! How to Spread the Word About Your Latest Post:
- Highlight it in your newsletter.
- Link it up in LinkedIn groups
- Answer questions relating to your topic on sites like Quora and Yahoo and link up your post.
- Spread the word on Social Media
- Email a couple of bloggers and let them know.
- Use hashtags to bring it to the attention of industry giants on Twitter.
- Tell your family and friends – you never know who might need a writer.
- Email your local networking groups and ask them to spread the word.
4. Guest posting
Write guest posts on other blogs and get others to guest post on yours; it’s mutually beneficial. The host blog gets some free content, and the guest blogger gets a valuable link and a chance to reach a new audience. If you both promote the post it offers exposure to twice the network you usually receive.
By guest posting you’re hoping that your content is awesome enough the reader will be inspired to find out who you are beyond your post and click through to your own blog. You benefit from featuring others on your blog as the interviewee is likely to promote the content too.
Tips for choosing blogs to guest post on:
- Look for sites that have a good audience crossover with yours.
- Do you agree with the bloggers opinions on your industry?
- What is the traffic and interaction like?
- Would you feel proud to have your content displayed on their site?
- What is the guest post submission process like?
- Will they pay you for your work?
5. Mix up the Media
Do you enjoy a wall of text? Not many people do. Blogs that are just huge chunks of text are less appealing to readers, and there is nothing visually stimulating to break up the page. It’s hard to take in all that text when you’re looking at a computer screen.
It’s time for you to ramp up your skills and become a content-producing jack-of-all-trades (and master of some). Try appealing to the visual nature of people by incorporating videos, photos and podcasts into your blog. These new medium also have other distribution platforms (such as Youtube) you can utilize to increase traffic.
A multi-media approach will prove more stimulating and tempt readers to return and share your lively content.
First impressions matter.
If your content isn’t dressed appropriately for the function it’s not going to get past the bouncer at the door.
Make sure you have clear headings, lots of white space and images to break up the text. Take a hard look at your blog design – is it outdated. Is it time you installed a new template or gave your blog a facelift?
A neatly represented blog is more likely to be read, enjoyed and shared.
- Flat design elements – flat design is huge right now!
- Magazine-style formats – these designs work best for content on a variety of topics.
- Highlighting important content – using colors, boxes and other graphical elements.
- Let the writing speak for itself – remember, the best design sits in the background and lets your product – in this case, your words – do the work.
Are you addicted to Game of Thrones or some other HBO series like the rest of the world? TV series work because they’ve got a strong handle on how to get people coming back for the next installment.
Take your cue from HBO and release an important post in chapters, each one ending with a cliffhanger that keeps the audience thinking about your blog and waiting for the next installment.
Not only does this multi-chapter post encourage your current audience to return for the full story, but it also reaches more people as you have more opportunities to get found through search engines and share your series of posts via social media.
Ideas for series you could write:
- 5 Days of Indie Publishing Lessons
- 10 Days of Content Marketing Tips
- 3 Weeks of Brilliant Blogging Workshops
- A 5 Day Copywriting Makeover
8. Create Conversation
Everyone loves a turn with the talking stick. Readers love the opportunity to add something valuable to your content. End your post with a question that encourages readers to share their own experiences or problems in the comments or via social media.
And make sure you talk back! Reply to any comments you receive, and click through and check out the blogs of your readers. Comment on other people’s blogs – this helps solidify your online presence as an expert in your niche. Who knows, if you post something illuminating there is potential for clickthroughs from curious observers.
9. Stay true to your niche
In a panic to grab more readers, don’t forget your loyal audience! If you start posting about subjects that are out of character or outside of your blog’s topic in order to cater to new readers, you risk losing your core audience’s readership.
Keep your content specific to your audience, try and think about what else they want to know. How do you find out what your core audience wants? It helps to just ask them!
How do you know what your audience wants? Ask them with:
- Surveys and Quizzes
- Competitions requiring a simple question to be answered
- Talking on social media
- Look at the popular blogs in your niche – what are they writing about?
- Requests for reviews of a product
- Requests for reviews of your content
10. Goldilocks keywords
Do you know the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? While the tree bears were out one day, Goldilocks snuck in to their cottage and found three bowls of porridge. One was too hot, one was too cold, but one was just right.
When planning keywords for your articles, make sure your keywords aren’t too hot, or too cold, but just right.
If they’re too generic they’ll be highly competitive in the Googlesphere. Too rare and they’re unlikely to be searched enough for sufficient traffic. Aim to hit the sweet spot of specific keyword that drive a decent amount of traffic without being overly competitive.
Use a tool like Google Adwords Keyword Tool to see how many times those keywords are searched globally and locally and how competitive they are.
A stagnant blog doesn’t have to stay that way. Use these tips to jolt some life into your listless content and get readers excited about your site again.
Readers, what tips and ideas do you have to giving new life to a stagnant blog?
Steff Green is writer, blogger and illustrator who lives in a slice of rural New Zealand with her cantankerous drummer husband and a menagerie of animals. She currently writes about content creation, SEO and social media over on Zen Optimise SEO training Blog.