When you think about blogging, you probably don’t think about needing a strategic marketing strategy to be successful. We see success stories from other Bloggers and it seems as though they just picked up a computer one day and started making thousands… easy, right?
The truth is, successful Bloggers aren’t successful because they got lucky… they are successful because they strategize!
You may be thinking… “But the blogs I read sound so casual… they don’t seem strategized at all.” Well, that lack of a ‘strategized’ feel is in itself a strategy! Actually, the ability to engage readers through conversational text is a strategy a lot of Bloggers use to grow their readership. Very smart!
Successful Blogger’s know that to increase readership and make money from their blogs, they have to think of their blog as a business, and successful businesses put together marketing plans. Typically, these plans describe three things…
1) the current state of the market where they do business,
2) information about products offered,
3) competitors and audiences.
Good marketing plans also identify goals and provide a map for how those goals will be achieved.
It may not seem that these things apply in the blogging world, but they do! Actually, you can create the same type of marketing plan for your blog to make sure you’re staying on track to reach your goals!
Define Your Product
OK, so you’re probably asking “What do you mean my ‘product’… I’m not selling anything!” But the reality is, you are! Your product is your blog’s content and the experience your readers have when visiting. Everything from the images, videos, links, and conversation with your reader adds value to the time they spend on your blog.
When defining your product, ask yourself a few questions…
What type of content do I want to publish?
How can my content help my readers?
Why is my content/images/videos, etc. relevant?
Define Your Market
Again, this sounds like a big business term. In business, defining the market means researching the environment around the product offered to determine how that business can deliver to their audience.
In Blogger terms, defining your market means researching your niche and asking some strategic questions…
Is there a need in the area I am blogging about?
Are any other Blogger’s servicing my target audience? If so, what can I learn from them?
What information are readers seeking that I can deliver better than any other Blogger?
Defining your market means doing a lot of research on your niche and being honest in your response to the questions above. Doing so will allow you to direct your blog in a unique way to serve your audience where they are!
Analyze Your Competitors
I’ve talked to a lot of Blogger’s who feel they’re doing something wrong by checking out what their competitors are doing. That’s crazy talk!!
If you were opening a restaurant, wouldn’t you research other restaurants in the area to see if they were making money before starting your own? Of course you would! The same goes for your blog!
The great thing about blogging is that Bloggers are almost always willing to help one another. Lots of bloggers even share how much money they make each month! Take advantage of these resources and identify Bloggers who are in a similar niche to see what they are doing to bring in revenue.
In addition to learning about the profits of your fellow Bloggers, learn areas of opportunity for your own blog! When reviewing other blogs, ask yourself…
What are these Bloggers doing to get subscribers?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of their product (content, images, videos, etc.)?
Area there any gaps in the content that you could fill to reach this niche in a different manner?
By asking yourself these questions, you’ll be able to find where your blog fits and what areas to focus on to provide your readers with a new perspective.
Define Your Audience
Define Your Brand
Strategies for Distribution
Again we are getting technical with phrases like ‘Strategies for Distribution,’ but to put it simply, your distribution is where the content from your blog will be available to your readers!
Of course, your content will be on your blog, but how will your readers find your blog? There are lots of means of distribution, but ask yourself these questions first:
Where does my audience spend most of their online time?
What networks are available to help me spread my blog posts?
Which areas of distribution should I focus and which should I let go?
These are important questions to ask because, a) you want to make sure you’re meeting your audience where they are, and b) you can’t be everywhere at once, so it’s important to focus on the areas where you get the most out of your time.
Social media is an absolute must when it comes to distribution. There are a number of ways to distribute your blog materials via social media, from your own accounts to group networks and messaging groups. But be careful, social media can become overwhelming and easily take up time that could have been spent elsewhere. It’s important to engage with your niche and find where they spend the majority of their time, then focus on posting in those select areas.
Outside of social media, another great way to distribute your blog to new audiences is to participate in guest posting! Usually, when you post as a guest on another blog, that Blogger offers you the opportunity to link back to your page. This is great for a couple reasons. First, it puts your name out there to a whole new readership, and second, it is another branch of SEO linking back to your site! Win, win!
Develop Your Budget
Any new business has an investment, and while the initial start-up costs of building a blog are relatively low, the true investment comes with blog growth.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you know what I mean when I say you can’t do it all alone! There just aren’t enough hours in a day. Similar to a new business, as your blog grows, your time commitment grows along with it. The worst thing to do is try to shoulder all the daily tasks yourself. Outsourcing tasks like social media updates, logo design, and even additional content to add to your blog will help your site grow while you can focus on more important tasks!