Starting a blog can fuel a lot of emotions. There is the general excitement of starting a new project, the fear of will it be successful, the overwhelm of a lengthy to-do list, and the determination to grow your audience… just to name a few. A common thought when you start blogging, is “okay, where are my readers?” You spend hours crafting a post, taking pictures, researching topics, etc. but how do you ensure that your blog posts actually get read, and perhaps more importantly, get shared?
There are numerous ways to capture and grow an audience, but if we are talking strictly easy steps within your blog-writing practice, I have three that will help you to get your blog read and shared.
1. Create a compelling headline
Take a moment and surf through your Pinterest feed. You’ll begin to notice a lot of blog posts have similar types of headlines. They aim to teach you something, make something easier/more functional, or somehow offer a solution. It can be a solution to anything: not knowing what to cook for dinner, not knowing what to wear on a date, not knowing how to grow your Instagram following… the options are endless, but most of the blog post titles you see have that “let me show you how it’s done” feel within their headline.
A habit I got into early on in my blogging career was including a step-by-step or number in my headlines. This happened because it helped me to quickly outline posts (the number correlated with my sub-heads, just like in this blog post) and I found myself often being attracted to posts that had a similar setup. I didn’t want to know “how to start a blog”, I wanted to know “the first three steps I needed to take to start a blog” because there was a clear indication of what I would leave that post knowing: the first three steps I was supposed to take.
In creating your compelling headline, think about the average user that will find this post and their mentality. They’re probably in information overload and there is, no doubt, another post out there that is talking about similar things – so how can you differentiate yourself? How is your solution clearer, more understandable, and more actionable? Incorporate those sorts of feelings into your headline. You want to inspire the click through, so your headline should scream “THIS IS A POTENTIAL GOLD MINE OF KNOWLEDGE”.
“Your headline should scream: THIS IS A POTENTIAL GOLD MINE OF KNOWLEDGE”
Another way I format my wording is to show the resolution within the headline. So we could use “the first three steps to starting a blog” but let’s jazz it up even more and throw in the resolution. How about “the first three steps to starting a profitable blog that lets you quit your 9-5”? Doesn’t that sound like something you want to read? You get a clear expectation of what you are going to gain from reading this post and a glimmer of hope that * this * could be the answer you’ve been looking for.
2. Include Click to Tweets, Pin It Buttons, Etc.
Now that we’ve gotten someone to the blog post, you want to make sure it is super simple for him or her to share with his or her audience.
I’ve started adding Click To Tweets into my blog posts and have seen a surplus of organic shares. Click To Tweets are free to create and will add maybe 30 seconds to your overall formatting/readying a blog post time. It’s super easy to do, but if you’ve never done it before, I’ll break it down:
1. Go to clicktotweet.com and sign in with your Twitter account
2. Pull a quote from your blog post (a short one) and type that into the box
3. Add “Via @YourTwitterHandle” at the end
4. Add the actual link to your blog post (you can shorten this link using bit.ly)
5. Click “generate basic link”
Now, head back over to your blog post:
1. Within your post, type out the same quote and emphasize it in some way (make it bold or italics or use a header tag).
2. After the quote add some variation of “(Tweet This!)”
3. Highlight that entire section and create a link
4. Copy and paste the link you “generated” back on clicktotweet.com
Voila! That might seem like a lot of steps, but trust me, do it once and you’ll be a professional. These are great because it helps people easily tweet your blog post with hardly any effort on their part.
Another thing you should be doing is having a graphic formatted for Pinterest somewhere in your post and have the ability to easily pin it. I put my graphics near the top of my post so people can do it right away. In Squarespace it’s super easy to make images have the “pin it” graphic, but if you’re using WordPress there are a number of plugins that will help you do this.
Whatever platform you are using, you want to make sure that the alternate text of your image has a Pinterest-worthy caption, because that’s where Pinterest will pull the information. I usually put some keyword heavy description, my website, and a small blurb about what I do or offer. When someone pins my graphic they are linking to my blog post and promoting me in turn.
Other social share buttons are helpful too. I like SumoMe because I can have social share buttons all over my site making it very easy to share across Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
Something that I think is definitely worth mentioning is how important it is to thank people who do share your content. This will lead to further interaction between you and them and start building a real relationship. If you go out of your way to show people you appreciate their interaction, you will see more interaction.
“If you go out of your way to show people you appreciate their interaction, you will see more interaction”
3. Create a stellar opt-in
Once you’ve managed to get people to your blog post and have them excited about sharing it, you want to follow through with a stellar opt-in so that they become a subscriber, a fan, and have more reasons to talk about you with their audience.
An opt-in can be just about anything. I like ones that elaborate more on the post, personally. For example, if there is a post that shows me 3 ways I can prepare my dinner tonight, an opt-in might include appropriate side dishes, or 2 more ways to prepare it. Other popular opt-ins could be checklists, video tutorials, journal templates, technical templates (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.), or an eBook, just to name a few.
Opt-ins are good for you too as they will allow you to capture someone’s email address in conjunction with whatever topic you are blogging about. This could potentially be a warm lead for a product or service that you offer, which could mean more sales down the road. Something that I like to do when delivering my opt-in (you can use MailerLite or ConvertKit to deliver them via email) is include social share buttons and links to related posts, so that I can keep the excitement going and keep someone invested in my blog longer.
Implementing these three strategies will help you to create blog posts that are read and shared more often, therefore growing your blog (and potentially your business)! If you have any questions about this, or any of the services, please feel free to reach out to me. Blogging is such a fun way to grow your business and I can’t wait to see your new posts!