Identify your niche. Niche blogging is at its peak. At the most recent Blogher conference for women bloggers, Tina Brown of The Daily Beast told the attendees that companies are beginning to get it – the fact that niche blogs and blog networks reach more of their target market, than a popular blog with twice the traffic. Truth is, if you sell cashmere sweaters, you need to get in front of women who have the means to buy cashmere. Attracting this market to your blog requires good use of tags and knowing your targeted keywords, focused content writing, as well as a good blogroll that links you to other bloggers who sell high-end products.
Even in business you are known by the company you keep.
Use interviews of relevant professionals to your advantage. These do not have to be ‘famous’ people. However, they should be people you respect and admire, and that should come out in your conversation with them. They should also be people with a credible presence online, preferably a blog. When you conduct interviews, whether by podcast, video, or email (transferring their text answers into your blog as a post), you not only bring attention and traffic to them, you boost your own credibility and you create links to and from others. In many cases, your interviewee will announce their interview on their blog– creating instant, relevant traffic for both of you. If you can, create a badge they can display, also. Give and take is a proven way to build blog traffic.
Linking is critical. Link to the best blogs in your industry, and link to major media blogs. Connect with the bloggers in your niche by commenting on their blogs, but also by emailing them with personal notes on the things they write about. Request a blog link exchange (always check to see what kind of blogs they have in their blogroll… and understand that some bloggers are limiting the number of bloggers they link to). Never be afraid to ask. Commenting on major media sites, and sharing your link in your comment, shows that you’re participating in the conversation. Occasionally, major media sites will post a link to a particular comment or blog post about that day’s relevant topic. It could be a link to you.
Create expectation. Write a series of posts on the same topic to create the need for readers to return to your blog week after week. This can also induce them to share with their blog readers. Try not to stretch a series of posts out for more than three days or three Mondays, as attention span online is limited. Make the content relevant, frequent and necessary. Readers do not want you to repeat what they are reading elsewhere. Your writing needs to be fresh and significant, creating a necessity to return to your blog for the rest of the story. This will build expectation that can translate itself into loyalty. Relationships always trump “eyeballs.”
Consider inviting guest bloggers and/or becoming a guest blogger. We’re all a harried lot, these days. Having guest bloggers gives you access to their network and frees you to do business, knowing your blog is being updated while you work. Being a guest blogger gets you in front of new people on the other blogger’s blog, and it frees that blogger to do business. This is the beginning of a great relationship based on your expertise, your guest bloggers’ expertise and your blog. The more your name and blog link are out there, the more the search engines will be attracted to you.
The art of grabbing reader attention over and over isn’t a simple task. It’s hard work. If you do not provide the content your readers’ want, content they are willing to repurpose and share, someone else will. Do not be deterred by other blogs similar to your own – think about your favorite restaurant – it’s not just the food that attracts you. It’s the ambience and the expertise of the staff. Out of all the restaurants in your location, you have one favorite – understand why you frequent that restaurant, and you can gain insight into why people come to your blog. It’s because, like the restaurant owner, you’ve spent quality time building your niche, communicating with your readers, and always being purposeful.
About the Author: Yvonne DiVita, President of Windsor Media Enterprises, LLC: Books, Blogs and Beyond, is focused on consulting with businesses on how to effectively use new media tools. She blogs at LipSticking, with a focus on the women’s market.