Tip: Don't have time to read? Jump to the end for the step-by-step list!
Okay first things first, the main content distribution channels are Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit. These are the networks we'll be using to help your blog find readers. Now that we've got our players let's move on to how to make these guys work for you.
Step one is to write content about some aspect of your industry. It doesn't have to be rocket science, just something that's related to what you do. Let's say you're a lumber mill; write four short paragraphs on the type of lumber you collect or the safety measures your company takes for its employees. I know you're thinking "who would care about that," but here's the catch - what if someone out there is looking for a replacement lumber mill because their current mill has too many accidents and they're worried about it being a poor reflection on their company. And that's basically what it comes down to - what can you do to get a leg up on the next guy? What aren't they doing that you are? And even if you're both doing it but you write about it and they don't, you're ahead of the game.
Coming up with content is always hard at first. It gets easier I promise! If all else fails and you just can't think of something relevant, shoot me an e-mail and I'll help you come up with something. The overall idea here is to branch out to your would-be audience with content that your competition doesn't have. Blogging is definitely time consuming, but the nice thing about putting in all this effort is that you get out of it what you put into it. Come on, how many blogs have you seen that came up but had a date of 2009 on it? They wrote the article 2 years ago but you still found it right? It's worth it.
Okay so you've got your article, now what? Put an ending on it that get the reader to do something. If someone's actually taken the time to read your article, they will have an opinion on it. It's time to tap into that and ask them to leave a comment. Don't be shy just straight up ask, or you can be a little more suave and ask them to answer a question, but what you want is feedback. Not only does this give you potential customers, it increases your relevancy in the search engines. In the search engine's eyes, if people actually took the time to post then this article must be worth something.
So now we've got an article with a call to action ending. Now we're going to talk distribution. This is where the social networks and the other channels come into play. You're going to become your own publishing house. Yes Google will eventually index your website and people can find you by running a search at that point, but this takes that hour you spent pouring over your blog and puts that content to work for you. Put the link to your blog post on your Facebook page along with the title and a brief summary, send a tweet along the same lines, submit the link to StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit. Follow those steps and you'll start to see a return on your blog visits and comments. That process can take about 15-20 minutes depending on how detailed you get, but the returns are never ending. As long as you're blog post is live, those links will link back to it. That's free advertising.
Extra Credit: Also try submitting to industry blogs, directories, forums, and commenting on other people's blogs where you're allowed to leave a link back to your blog. If you do this though, try to answer questions or address a related topic. Spam comments are not only often deleted, they can really mess up the perception of your business.
- Write content
- At the end of the article ask your readers to comment
- Distribute the article's link to Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and any place that's specific to your industry
- Rinse, repeat.
That's all there is to it. It is without a doubt a time consuming effort, so just do whatever fits your schedule. Once or twice a week is plenty. No one expects you to be Shakespeare here, just write knowledgeably about your topic and be nice. People naturally gravitate towards others who know what they're talking about.