January 28, 2013

Best ways to promote & run a successful Blog

This is an edited version of my answer to the question What are the best ways to promote and run a successful "Mom Blog"? on +Quora   

The Answer

I've been blogging for around 8 years with two blogs and I can share those experiences with you. 

I believe these experiences that I've encountered for almost a decade will pretty much help you to promote and run a successful blog for sure. 

Below mentioned are my two blogs

Travel Tales... - My travel blog
Srini's Stuff - My Personal Blog mainly focusing on Social Media and technology

Blogging originally was primarily to maintain web logs of your activities and used essentially by coders and designers who knew HTML and coding to keep a log of their activities on the web log in order to keep a diary of sorts about their activities. 

But we all know how that has witnessed a great change over the last decade and how the connection economy has flourished to such an extent that someone like a Seth Godin promotes runs and in fact maintains a daily blog without even having such a wide and active presence on Social Media. 

That's another fact that his streams jump in via widgets on his blog and that he's a famous author and a successful entrepreneur. But the crux of the matter here is that with a consistent approach towards ensuring your digital efforts is what makes it or breaks it to run a successful blog. 

Here are my pointers to ensure that your Blog works out well :) Rest is up to you on how you go about executing the 'plan' and 'strategy' to ensure this happens for sure. I'd like to break it down in Two Parts

Part 1 - Content Creation

1. Story Telling

One of the most important aspects of Blogging or for that matter any form of content creation in today's world is to ensure that your blog content has a short, sweet and a flow oriented story telling approach. That's the best way one can ensure you garner more readers. Have you watched Marley and Me? Confessions of a Shopaholic? Julie and Julia? Why do you think the readers related to the bloggers/writers well in those movies? Story telling was one primary reason.

2. Focus on Visuals

Visuals on your blog are the key elements. Everybody of course loves content, but if you add a bit of visuals on the side which make content consumption easier, then your job is half done. Also, your SEO, and indexing becomes a lot stronger if you add relevant tags to the images. I've had a spike of 1000 hits on one particular day only because of contextual tagging on one image that was No. 1 for that search on that particular day on Google.

3. Thought provoking/invoking

Does your content make your reader think? Does it give them an opportunity to relate to what you are saying? 

4. Formatting and Design

Now isn't that the most important element of whatever you do in life? Steve Jobs and Apple is the best example of this attribute. After all the best presentation always strikes a chord with the readers. Uncluttered designs resonate well with most audiences. 

5. Building a niche

Ensure that the content you create is strictly resonant with your specific target audience. Try to provide a unique form / unique content and unique way of creating and telling your story, one that other 'blogs don't focus on. Build on that niche. It's not important that many people read your blog, but many 'important people' read your blog and recommend it to many others. 

6. Be Consistent

Keep at it. Try focusing on a long term strategy and create architecture for your blog. Define your tone of voice, author profile and generally layer out how your blog should sound like. Try to tell stories as often as you can, but not so often that readers stop waiting for that next blog or lose interest in your blog. Also, it’s easier to be consistent if your blog is crisp, to the point and more importantly something that relates with the target audience. 

Part 2 - Content Promotion
1. Promotion isn't SPAMMING

If you understand this thumb rule, you'll be doing everyone around and yourself a big big favor. One of the most common mistakes that people do while taking this job on! They end up sending email invites to any lay person without understanding if he/she could actually relate to their blog or for that matter even care to read that content. Be smart; find the right audience, right forum, and right tools to reach out to your audience.
2. Converse with People

Very important aspect of promotion and marketing that people don't tend to pay much attention to. Before you converse though, one needs to listen! So listen to what people are talking about. i.e. look for conversations in forums, twitter, web and everywhere else. Once you get a conversation, and then engage with those users. Don't PROMOTE OR PLUG your blog immediately. Start conversing and IF IT FITS the context, and then subtly tell them about your blog.
3. Community Management
Create communities, empower people to join your groups and communities. Join other relevant communities on digital/social media. If there is an opportunity tie up/ partner with relevant brands, bloggers, influencers who can give you a wider platform to talk to new people and tell them about your 'Blog' Try finding relevant 'Blog' communities.
You can join communities on LinkedIn, Quora, Facebook, Web forums. You can also try sponsoring physical events

4. Active Social Presence

Ensure that your Blog has a Social Identity and an active social presence. This is quite a given and an age old technique. Agreed that you don't necessarily need to spread yourself too thin, but ensure that your blog is up on relevant social networks and that it'll give you more opportunity to manage assets and create more communities and grow your circle of social influence. Try Social Bookmarking as well. Using @Blogger for your blog is the best choice you've made, now flourish that with a further presence on Google+. Helps index your blog on Google searches to a certain extent. Also posting frequently on Google+ having conversations there would help you even more. :) 

5. Media Buying and Planning

Of course, once you've done with organic routes to be able to reach out, try various media buying tools; advertising options i.e. Facebook Advertising, Google Ad words and sites like Outbrain is quite an interesting product in itself. It has a good reach and has great reviews for its greater reach and presence across bigger blogger networks in terms of contextual advertising. 

These are some of my inputs, hope they help. If anyone else has more insights, would love to hear from you guys. What say?


Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with. 

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