What is your motivation for writing blog posts? To produce content which will drive traffic back to you website rather than relying purely on search engine optimisation? To be ahead of the game with your business’ Social Media and build new connections or solidify your existing relationships?
Or perhaps you simply find blogging an incredibly rewarding activity especially when you start to see followers, likes, shares and comments? Whilst your objective for writing blog posts may be subjective and individual, your goals should not be.
Understanding the needs and motivations of not only the people who read your blog but also the potential followers who comment on it is the lynchpin of successful blogging. And, this presents a real opportunity to be regarded as an authority in your industry. Instead of competing with others, don’t be afraid to be yourself – this will ensure that you are being original and an authentic voice which is ultimately what will make your voice heard. By being somebody who people feel they want to get to know, your business or services will become of interest to them also.
Whilst the comment that you write will what helps this process along, a little online alchemy goes a long way. Check out Social Mention, a highly recommended search and analysis tool which monitors and measures what people are saying (user-generated content) about your company, industry etc. across 100+ Social Media channels including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+. Social Mention will then aggregate that content into one stream of information and also send you daily social media alerts allowing you to keep track of all activity in real-time and respond if appropriate.
Never underestimate the importance of this. Reader engagement is a litmus test for how valuable your content is considered and rated by its readers and followers. If nobody is interacting with it, most likely it won’t be doing your business or your Website any favours. And if they are, then you are on your way to becoming a key influencer and industry which Google will certainly also reward you for (see Social Proof).
Social Media is about solving people’s problems, in other words providing answers to questions they might have, empathising with and helping to resolve bug bears and issues they might have ultimately understanding their online habits and likely end-user activity. Are they looking to purchase a product and service, looking for answers to burning question which if you resolve, will compel them to recommend your business and become a brand ambassador or simply to engage with them and listen to what they have to say. Spend time considering what type of relationship you would like to develop with your followers to ensure that your content delivers the most effective and targeted messages.
Whilst your blog will gradually (or rapidly if you’re doing really well!) attract new followers, unless they are engaging with that content, i.e. via Comments, ReTweets, Likes, Google +!’s and so on, this will not influence your website traffic or search engine ranking.
The main reason for this is that readers engaging with your content by commenting and sharing to their own Social Media channels enables the search engines to measure your social proof, in other words it demonstrated that your content has some kudos and you are considered an authority in your industry in terms of content writing. The benefit of this?
Ultimately Google, Bing and the like will rank your blog and website higher in online searches.
You can also produce custom reports in Google Analytics to track which posts are resonating the most with people and which are way off the mark and tweak your activity accordingly. Facebook Pages and LinkedIn Company Pages to name a few also have their own inbuilt analytics which enable you to do the same and continuously evolving as user-friendly and easy to understand tools for monitoring the influence of your content.
Whatever your motivation for blogging, keep the end-user in mind the entire time. Whilst it is imperative that you are interested in the content you write in order to develop an enthusiastic and influential voice online, it’s not about you! Followers of you blog need to also feel enthused, interested by and more knowledgeable as a result of reading your posts. Blogging, as with all other Social Media channels is all about valuable exchanges and reciprocity – they’ll make the effort if you do.