What if you created great content but no one saw it?
This isn’t as much of a problem if you host your blog on the awarenow platform because some awarenow visitors will find you anyway, but to really grow your business you’ll need to take proactive steps to drive web traffic to your blog. This is true whether your blog lives on the awarenow platform or on its own site.
In Part I of this blog marketing series, we looked at a 5-step plan to create blogs that attract quality leads for your coaching business. Now, in this part II, we will examine a simple 3-step system to market your blog so that it has maximum reach, to attract a large number of potential clients. Later, in Part III of this series, we will look at ways that your blog can help convert these quality leads into paying clients.
Promoting Your Blog #1: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
One of the easiest ways for people to find your blog is through Google and other search engines. Ideally, your blog should appear on the first page of Google search results for terms that are frequently searched for and that are relevant to your business.
Neeraj Arya of pmexperto.com advises blog writers “before writing an article, always do keyword research.” There are various tools you can use to do this, ranging from free ones such as Google Search Console (which should always be activated on your website anyway) to paid platforms like ahrefs or semrush.
When you are first starting out, it can be difficult to rank for high-volume search terms, especially when large competitors have been optimizing for those terms for years. Instead, start with “long tail” keywords - longer phrases with smaller search volume. As Neeraj Arya points out, ranking for intent-oriented long-tail keywords can be more valuable than ranking for a higher-volume broad keyword without clear intent:
For example, the search term ‘apple pie’ gives no clear intent of what a user is looking for. It could be anything from a recipe, a shop, or a recommendation, to a song, candle fragrance, or nutritional information. Not only is such a keyword hard to rank for but it tells you little about what a user wants. However, a term like ‘best apple pie recipe’ is easier to rank for and conveys a clear user desire that you can fulfil.
Similarly, Charles Camisasca of the eCommerce Boardroom advises coaches and consultants to “Rank for Long-Tail keywords in your niche. Focus on mobile optimization, site speed, using Yoast [especially if you have a Wordpress site] or another SEO tool to help you optimize, and acquiring backlinks.” (We’ll talk more about backlinks in the next section below).
Haris Bacic of PriceListo gives some other specifics to watch out for in constructing a post that will be seen by search engines:
- Always give the utmost attention to the title of your blog. The title tends to be the H1 tag of the blog, and is a major SEO ranking signal, in addition to being the first thing a potential reader (or client) is likely to see.
- A good rule of thumb for titles is to use Questions, Lists, and Action Verbs.
Promoting Your Blog #2: Get Links
Getting other sites to link to your blog posts is important for two reasons.
First, search engines like Google look at who is linking to your post to determine how important it is. This is part of Search Engine Optimization, which we introduced in the previous section. In technical terms, the above advice about how to structure your blog post is known as “on-page optimization” because it refers to things you can do on your own web pages (or pages hosted by awarenow). Getting quality links from websites that themselves are deemed important by Google and that are related to your industry is known as “off-page optimization”.
However, we are treating getting links separately here from the pure SEO benefits because link-building done solely for SEO purposes is often counterproductive. Google’s algorithms get smarter every day, and better able to figure out out when a link is something a human would create “organically” vs. when a link is created, bought, or requested for SEO purposes. Accordingly, unless you’re working with professional marketers who know what they are doing, focus on the second goal of link building - helping your target audience find your website from other websites that they would visit. Doing this will create large search engine benefits as well.
In other words, when you start writing a blog post, you should think about how you will promote it. A good rule of thumb is to spend 30% of your blogging time creating content, and 70% of your time marketing and promoting it. This holds true even if you are blogging from the awarenow platform, which creates easier opportunities for relevant links than a standalone website.
As Nat Miletic of Clio Websites explains:
Once the blog post is written, your work doesn't end there. The blog post needs to be promoted and shared in order to generate backlinks and increase the [search engine] authority of that article. This can be done using outreach, creating profiles on related industry websites, or purchasing a press release in order to promote the new link. This is one of the most important portions of getting your blog post ranked and driving traffic to your website using your new content.
Unless you are blogging every day, which is difficult to sustain, and even then you can pick out the more “important” pieces, treat every blog post as a mini product launch. Do the things you would do for a product launch. Reach out to influencers in your field in advance, tell them what’s coming, why it’s important, and encourage them to link back to your post at publication. Call in your networks. Do cold outreach; this will eventually help you build up a database of relevant people willing to promote your content.
Understand also that linking is a two-way street. Laurie Wilkins, Founder of Call Outdoors strongly advises bloggers to “Add backlinks to other blogs and websites in your niche,” especially when you can link to specific content that they’ve created, and build on it. He also advises bloggers to take the simple but effective step of including a share button in your blog template to make it easy for others to promote your content.
If you show that you are willing to link to other interesting content in your field, you are more likely to generate links from your content. Don’t think of this as an exchange of links, but, rather, by linking to other quality content in your field and letting the authors know that you are doing so, you create opportunities to approach them later with your own content. Authenticity here is important. Don’t hire VAs to do this for you unless you plan on managing them very closely.
Another way to create relevant links from other websites is to put them there yourself. As Doug Noll, of Noll Associates explains, “Once you are in the habit of producing content, start looking for guest blogging opportunities that allow you to link back to your site.”
Promoting Your Blog #3: Omnichannel
Use all of your own channels to promote your blog posts. This might sound obvious, but most coaches and consultants aren’t aware of how many channels they have at their disposal, or how easy it is to use them to promote content. You don’t need to invest heavily in any of these channels to promote your blog posts; it’s about leveraging what is already there. For example:
- LinkedIn: Copy and paste the first couple paragraphs of your article and link to the original. Make sure the preview description and image are on point, and you’re done.
- Facebook: Copy and paste your post to your Facebook page and link to the original. Also review the preview description and image.
- Facebook and Instagram: Take a few of the most powerful (and short) insights from your post, put them on a black background, or a suitable image if you have time, and post them as standalone images, linking back to your blog.
- YouTube: Speak your blog post (don’t read it word-for-word, but use it as a structure and speak naturally) into a short video and add it to your Youtube channel, linking back to your website. Youtube is also the second-biggest search engine after Google, so all of the tips about titles, keywords, and so on applies here. While you’re at it, post the videos to your website too.
- Facebook and Instagram, redux: Take the videos you made in the previous step and post them here, with links back to the original post.
- Podcast: Take the audio part of your Youtube video and make it into a podcast. Make sure the show notes link back to the original post.
This isn’t to limit or to burden you. You don’t have to do all of these - start by picking one or two channels and then expand from there - and there are many more examples of the omnichannel approach that you can use than just the above.
Finally, check in once in a while to see what responses you are getting on these channels, so you can engage with potential clients, get feedback on your content, develop relationships with others in your field, and get ideas for new blog posts.
Stay tuned for Part III of this series on blogging for coaches and consultants, which will focus on converting blog visitors into actual, paying clients.
Note: awarenow occasionally includes links to third-party websites. Links do not imply an endorsement of any site, product, or service. Occasionally, awarenow will use affiliate links, where awarenow may be compensated for referrals that lead to transactions. Such links, when they exist, are created independently of the awarenow editorial team and do not influence awarenow content. Cover Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash.