Back in 2016, only 45% of marketers said blogging was their #1 most important content strategy.
Jump ahead a year to 2017 and many started creating content at lightning speed. Blog content became increasingly popular for:
Increasing brand awareness
Hiring top talent
In other words, blogging became the easiest, and cheapest, medium for companies to promote their brand and knowledge effectively.
Jump forward to 2019. 91% of B2B marketers are using content marketing to reach their potential customers. So, how can you stand out from the noise and increase your blog readership?
Think about your blogging efforts in three parts:
Get readers to your blog post
Keep readers engaged
Entice them to learn more
Use these 8 tips below to increase your blog readership.
Get readers to your blog
Spend some time on SEO
It’s easy to sit down and start writing on a topic that interests you, but is it going to interest everyone else?
Similarly, it’s just as easy to sit and write about a topic that everyone is interested in, but if you’re not using the right keywords that people are searching for, will they ever find it?
Spending some time researching the right keywords is important to help increase traffic to your blog. Ahrefs, Semrush, Serpstat and Google Keyword Planner are great tools to use to discover the number of monthly searches for particular keywords, and find out how difficult it would be to rank for particular search phrases.
Keep in mind, keywords aren’t the only thing you have to pay attention to when it comes to increasing blog readership though. Remember your target audience and why you’re writing the article...more to come on these below.
Promote your articles
Keywords will help increase traffic organically. Actively promoting to your own channels will help increase the direct traffic to your blog.
Promote to your social channels -- Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, you name it. You’ve built up a network that can and should be tapped into. Similarly, use email to share content to your internal lists.
If you have the budget, content syndication tools like Outbrain can be powerful tools to increase blog readership by paying to be promoted on sites that your audience is visiting.
Many used to think that if you create content, readers will come. They’ll come...but you have to give them a little push to get them there.
Keep readers engaged
Understand Your Blog Audience
90% of top-performing B2B content marketers put their audience's informational needs first. If you write an article without first identifying who the audience is, you will likely not generate the same surprise and delight that you otherwise could.
Understanding your audience leads to a developed and earned trust of your brand. If you want your blog to be well-regarded by your audience, give your readers something valuable. Be consistent and easy to find. Write content they want and need – when and where they’re looking for it. And make it about them, not you.
Increasing blog readership isn’t just about a one-time find. It’s about building trust with your readers so they look to you as a source of industry knowledge.
Tell a story
Don’t write like you’re back in college writing an essay to one of your teachers. Write like you’re writing for real people who are looking for real solutions.
According to the 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report from Demand Gen, 71% of B2B buyers said they consumed blog content during their buyer’s journey, which is up from 66% in 2017.
Many prospects like to self-educate before they ask for a sales call or a demo.
Think about the problems that would entice someone to click to your blog. Are you telling them a story to help solve their problem? A good rule of thumb is to write down why you’re writing this article first and with every paragraph or section, ask yourself, does this help solve the why?
Write, don’t sell
As you can likely guess, 71% of blog readers say they are turned off by content that seems like a sales pitch. Not surprising. You’ve likely clicked a blog from a Google search thinking it’ll answer your questions when really, you just clicked into a long, mundanely written ad about some company’s product or service.
To increase your blog readership, actually write about a problem or a pain that this audience might be experiencing. Show your knowledge and credibility through written content. Don’t use your words on paper to sell to them. This just further shows how important it is to understand the audience you’re writing for.
Utilizing the comments feature on your blog has a few benefits, including one you may not be aware of.
First, which you’re likely aware of, it increases reader participation and can create conversations among many who wouldn’t have connected otherwise. This also helps give you an opportunity to show your credibility and build rapport amongst your readers.
When you’re first starting, ask your inside network to comment on your articles and get the conversation started.
Second, it increases your SEO. The shared comments on your blog posts can actually be counted as additional words on your blog. This tells Google that your article shouldn’t be missed.
Entice them to learn more
As you have likely noticed in this article here, there were many links to additional sources, both external sources and additional internal articles.
This is calling backlinking.
The articles you write are focused around one central topic, but those likely lead to other discussions or even questions from your readers. By including links to both external sources, and internal sources you’ve previously written, you’ve giving another opportunity to use blogging as a means to show your dedication to teaching and learning instead of selling your product of service.
Calls-to-action - capture email addresses, links to other content
If you’ve written a strong article that reached the right audience and kept them engaged, it’s safe to attempt to gather their email address.
Add a call-to-action (CTA) at the bottom of the article, or along the side banner. This CTA could include signing up for a newsletter that you send weekly or monthly. This could lead to a gated piece of content like an infographic, ebook, guide, or webinar that touches on a similar topic.
If they enjoyed and were engaged with what they read, they have a higher chance of converting on this ask and joining your inner circle. The ROI of your blogging efforts will be much more visible as well.
Increasing blog readership isn’t just about the first ask, it’s about creating that inner circle of connections that come back time and time again.
Blogging isn’t something that you can setup once, turn on and leave running in the background. It takes time and effort to create a good strategy that ultimately delivers on the results you set out to achieve.
If you want to increase your blog readership, use the tips above to anticipate your readers’ needs.
What other tips or tricks do you use to increase blog readership?