Do you promote your blog posts effectively or just swing for the fences? Big rips are high risk, high reward – with many strikeouts along the way.
Charlotte Beauvoisin believes she has a better idea.
A few years ago, she left her job in London to volunteer in Africa, a venture that continues today. Along the way, Beauvoisin created a travel blog, Diary of a Muzungu, where the rest of the world can follow her exploits.
As a traveler plus an entrepreneur, she has mastered the fine points of writing as well as promoting her blog, which she discussed in an Africa Tweet Chat, beginning with credibility.
“It all starts with finding your voice,” Beauvoisin said. “Don’t worry about who likes you. Believe in yourself. Find your niche and own it.
“Technical aspects of your blog are important, too,” she said. “Don’t allow your site any down time. That can damage your reputation.”
Connect with influencers to benefit everyone.
“Get to know authoritative people in your niche, and share their content,” Beauvoisin said. “Make yourself useful to them.”
For her, credibility hinges on key principles:
- Get your facts straight. Verify everything you say.
- Support your words with images. “A picture paints a thousand words.” Use photos, maps, diagrams, and infographics.
- Always credit photographers and image sources. Not only is it fair, but it’s also great networking for your blog.
- Link to sources of authoritative content. Never share a link unless you have first clicked on it and read it. Don’t get caught sharing fake news.
“I’m always happy to connect like-minded people,” Beauvoisin said. “Then consider, ‘What problems am I solving?’
“In my case, that would be what advice can someone apply after reading a travel post?” she said. “Am I making their travels easier? More fun?”
For her writing, Beauvoisin looks for case studies and endorsements.
“In tourism, positive words on TripAdvisor are huge in promoting a destination,” she said. “Comments from real people can swing a person’s decision to visit a lodge. Don’t just quote facts. Quote real people.
“Update your ‘cornerstone’ blog content frequently, and link less popular articles to it,” Beauvoisin said. “This can raise blog rankings and drive readers to explore your content further.”
Like other writers, Beauvoisin strives for more in-depth reader feedback than “This is a nice read.”
“I end every blog with a question,” she said. “The human brain is programmed to sit up and take notice of a question. Have you noticed? And yes, open-ended — and easy — questions work best.”
Being prompt also has rewards.
“Reply quickly to all the comments you receive,” Beauvoisin said. “Ask questions. Build a conversation. You’re not only building trust with the person who’s commenting, you’re showing other people they’re welcome to get involved, too. It encourages others to jump in.
“Stir people’s emotions,” she said. “Be controversial. That gets interesting. f I see something like, ‘This is a nice read,’ I know it’s either a spammer or an attention-seeker. Those aren’t the blog readers I want.”
Beauvoisin suggested offering an incentive similar to a lead magnet to get blog comments.
“eBooks are good — easy to make – giveaways,” she said. “It depends on what your blog is about. I work in travel. Free lodge stays would go down well. It could be as simple as a T-shirt.”
Readers often see headlines first, which puts added emphasis on grabbing attention.
“Frontload the headline with catchy words,” Beauvoisin said. “Can you tie into something that’s trending? Make your headline Google search engine optimization-friendly, but don’t overburden the headline with keywords. You don’t want to look spammy.
“Remember KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid,” she said. “That means keep your headline simple.”
Blog frequency also retains readers as long as they can rely on publication.
“A monthly blog is doable,” Beauvoisin said. “Readers prefer a regular schedule.”
She said writers can boost their blog traffic organically – “with a lot of hard work.” Beauvoisin offered these tips:
- Have an email signature that links to your latest blog post. Wisestamp does a great – and free — signature that updates via RSS every time you publish.
- Use an email system like MailChimp to send out your latest blog.
- Post comments on other’s blogs in a related niche.
- Get traffic and backlinks from high-authority news or industry sites. Write them an article or guest post. Writing for The Daily Telegraph still brings me traffic five years later.
- Write for print magazines and promote your blog there too
“Blogging has a great future,” Beauvoisin said. “With video being more popular, you might think written content would be less important. It seems not.
“Short videos and live broadcasts may be popular, but no-one wants to watch a 60-minute video of someone talking to the camera,” she said. “They’re far more likely to read a long post or article to get the low-down.”
From Beauvoisin’s vantage point, the roles of writers and businesses have reversed.
“’Blogger outreach’ has become a common term,” she said. “Whereas I used to approach brands, now they approach me. Even companies who ‘don’t get blogging’ know they need to educate themselves about the advantages and step up.
“Much as I love social media — I’m most active on Facebook — I keep my best content for my blog,” Beauvoisin said. “Who knows how long Facebook will be around for? By comparison, my blog is timeless.”
Indeed, who looks at old Facebook posts?
“Is anyone reading what you wrote on Facebook two weeks ago?” Beauvoisin said. “Blogging regularly can help build — and retain — your profile indefinitely. That’s a big advantage of social media for me.”
For more about Beauvoisin and her everlasting trip, see Diary of a Muzungu.