Yesterday I wrote on how to get a group of initial readers. Today I’m writing about how to continue to bring in readers over the long haul.
TIP #1 – Post Consistently & Generate Lots of Content
The more content you generate, the more entry points your blog will have. Blog posts can generate readers at two times: (1) the initial readers, (2) long-term readers. The first category are people who read the post during it’s first week. The second group of people are those who find the post later on through browsing your archive, Google searches, or social media foot print. My most read blog by far is a random post about Andy Stanley from 2009. It’s initial readers was very low, but because it has a good title, it pops up in a lot of google searches about Andy Stanley. Some of my other top blogs addressed a time sensitive topic. Their initial readers were very high, but the number of readers quickly faded.
The moral of the story, generate lots of content and you’re more likely to have something that catches.
TIP #2 – Titles Really Matter
People click on links because the title catches their attention. An ambiguous title, won’t catch anyones attention.
A bad title won’t get any initial readers. A couple years back I wrote a blog titled, “Visitors From Rome.” It was an inspiring post about everyone’s incredible potential to make a massive impact over time. Unfortunately, the title doesn’t really indicate what the blog is about. So no one read it. Yesterday I posted a re-written version of the same blog with the title, “Your Life Could Change the World! …and you might not know it!”
Simple question to ask yourself:
If I randomly saw a blog with this title would I click on it.
If not even you would click on it, why would you think someone else would.
More important than the initial readers are the long term readers! As I mentioned earlier, my biggest post of all time is because it has well constructed title around a person who people Google frequently. Another one of my most read blogs is also one of my worst blogs. I wrote an article stating that I was going to write a sermon series using a writing program called Scrivener. It had no useful content, it simply announced to the world I was going to experiment. Well, apparently lots of people have GOOGLED “Sermon” and “Scrivener” together looking for suggestions. I had a good title for a bad blog, and a good title brought in lots of initial readers, but I doubt any of them stuck around once they read the bad article.
The moral of the story: Matching a great title with great content is a powerful one/two punch.
TIP #3 – Put a Graphic in Each Post
My sister taught me this trick just this last week. It was actually kind of a funny conversation. She has a very successful blog with lots and lots of followers, and I had lunch with her to ask about best practices. She really only gave me one piece of advise, “You have to put a graphic in every single post…” (we will continue this quote in our next tip). Being that I’m over communication at my church, I assumed she was referring to the aesthetic value which graphics bring to design layout. …that was not at all what she had in mind. Her point was something totally different.
Graphics are an essential part of sharing. As I said earlier being able to SHARE blogs easily is essential in the social media era. However, because of the raw amount of data on social media, you need something which makes your items pop when they’re shared.
Without a graphic in a post, shared items default to your blogs top banner. Thus each time you share your blog, the graphic is the same, unless you create a new graphic. The problem with repeating the same graphic over and over is that it will stop catching peoples attention.
As a case in point, as an experiment I posted a title graphic on a post I made back in May, and I reposted the blog to my Facebook page. Within minutes more people read it than before, and several people shared the link to their own page. The graphic instantly caught their eye.
THERE’S A MORE IMPORTANT REASON TO INCLUDE A GRAPHIC…
TIP #4 – Setup a Pinterest Account
As an adult male, prior to a week ago I did not have a Pinterest account, and it never occurred to me that I ever would have an account. Then I had lunch with my sister. Picking up with our quote from the last tip, “”You have to put a graphic in every single post. I can’t post your blogs to my Pinterest account if you don’t include a unique graphic. Put a picture in all of your posts.” As it turns out, this was amazing advise.
Currently Pinterest is driving an enormous percentage of blog traffic. It provides an opportunity to easily market yourself to large groups of people, and there is tremendous opportunity for posts to go viral.
In just one week of fiddling with Pinterest & blogging (and I really haven’t done much other than start an account and put graphics in my posts) I have already had two posts go viral to some extent. Multiple people I don’t know pinned my articles to their wall. Now to be fair, I do have a supportive sister with a very large following who was the original pinner, but I also haven’t done ANYTHING to expand my own base of followers yet. A week after the post was first pinned someone I don’t know repinned the post yet again, and for some reason it exploded (by my standards). I had more page views in one hour than I’ve ever had in a day, and I had an enormous number of repins. In just one week, this post became my most viewed post in my blogs history.
Pinterest provides a tremendous opportunity to drive long-term readership of individual blogs.