3 Critical Tips for Surviving Your Blog’s “Teenage Years”

Sorry, couldn’t resist :)

You’ve set up your blog.  It’s been humming along for a couple of months and posts are getting slightly easier to write.  Now what?

Your blog’s “teenage years” is a terrific time to build on your success and try new strategies.  The goal during this time is to accelerate your success and create a marketing asset that will deliver sales.

Try these three tips:

1) Dominate Key Search Keywords:  By now, Google knows that your blog is frequently updated with excellent content.  Continue to feed Google posts targeted to specific keywords.  Ideally these keywords should reference customer problems.  Once you’ve identified the keywords create 2-3 posts every 6 months that specifically address the keyword.

For example:  A roofing company would use Google Keywords to identify specific problem-related keywords such as: roofing cost, best shingle types, roof patches, roof warranty.

Next the owner can write 3 posts for each of the keywords – i.e. How to Lower the Cost of Replacing Your Roof, Three Points to Consider When Evaluating Roofing Costs, 10 Dangers of Using a Low Cost Roofing Contractor.

Notice that the keyword was worked into the post titles.  Good keyword-related titles will help signal search engines about the relevancy of your content.  Don’t force it.  Just keep this best practice in mind and work keywords into your content where appropriate.

Use a keyword tool like Copyblogger’s Scribe to get recommendations on ways to massage your finished posts for more search engine love.  Add a new post for each of your targeted keywords on a regular basis through the year to slowly build up your content stronghold for certain terms.

2)  Build a Marketing Email List:  Blogs aren’t the greatest direct sales platform.  Running a post that sales “buy my stuff” will fall flat and scare away readers.  Instead, use your blog to gain permission to email potential customers helpful information with the occasional promotion.

For example, a CPA firm could create a 10-point checklist for streamlining accounts-receivable collections.  The savvy firm would offer the checklist for free in exchange for the reader’s email address.  From there, the firm could offer helpful business financial tips on a monthly basis.  Every couple of emails could promote a special offer for a free consultation that could lead to a new client.

Look for opportunities to turn your product into information that you can give away for free.  I’m convinced that any business can create a checklist, guide, or whitepaper that educates their readers about their business.  The goal is to identify a customer pain point and offer an easy way to approach the problem. Your content will build your email list and pre-sell your services and products.

3.  Add Value to Your Social Platforms:  Pick three social platforms that act as online watercoolers for your audience.  Actively share resources and information on these platforms.  Avoid the temptation to flood your social accounts with general information.  For example, if you are a copywriter don’t flood your twitter followers with mashable retweets.  Instead stay focused on offering information specific to your business.

Business-to-Business companies can curate and share articles that offer context, tips, and news for their particular service.  The CPA that we mentioned would share articles about the impact of the Affordable Health Care Act on Small businesses and other business finance related news.

Business-to-Consumer brands would share content and entertaining factoids that are relevant to their customer’s lifestyle.  Product companies can pass along ideas on how their product is being used in new ways.

Stepping up your content sharing activities will reinforce your position as a curator and resource for your niche.  As your following grows, insert a helpful promotional offer every 10 – 12 posts.  Show your audience that your priority is to be helpful first.  This will earn you the trust needed to promote your own products.

Be Patient

Building a successful small business blog comes down to being consistent, creative, and helpful. Start with the right plan, take small steps and build on strategies that show results.

Give your blog time to grow and capture the attention of your audience.  I recommend evaluating your blog’s success after 9 months.  This gives you enough time to build up a healthy list of relevant content, generate search engine traffic, and form the habits you need to publish quality content on a regular basis.

Make sense?

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About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.