You hit publish on your latest blog post, but you’re not getting any traffic. So, what do you do now? How do you get traffic? We’ve got 20 steps to get your post in front of as many people as possible… A blog publishing checklist, if you will...
1. Double check the content
Before you start promoting and amplifying your post, take the time to do a final round of checks. Are all the links working? Is everything spelled correctly? If you can, get someone else to proofread it for you. It’s a simple step, but it should always be the first one.
2. Do your SEO basics
Make sure you have a meta title and description for your post that are enticing enough to draw in clicks from search results. Add alt tags and text to the image, so that it can show up in image searches – and so that people using screen readers can get an idea of what the image should look like.
Check your keywords are present in the text and the headers – also, make sure you’re using h1, h2, and h3 headers correctly.
Oh, and don’t forget to create a decent URL. Which link is more appealing?
3. Alert Google
It can take a while for Google to find and index a new page on your website – crawling the whole internet takes a lot of effort, so your post might not get picked up for a long time.
But, you can ping Google when you make a change or publish a new blog post and ask it to come and crawl your site sooner. Here are the guidelines from Google on how to do it.
4. Share your post with your email subscribers
If you have an email newsletter, that’s the perfect place to get your content out to more people. If they have signed up to your newsletter for updates, they’ve already engaged with your content enough to decide they want more, so they should be a priority in your promotion plan!
Note – don’t share the entire post in the email. If you do that, your subscribers won’t need to click through to your site, and you won’t see any extra traffic.
5. Promote your blog on your social media profiles
When you’re on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram, you’ve got an audience ready to see your updates. Share your latest post on each one, but avoid copying and pasting the exact same message – each platform has a different tone, so make your messaging fit the environment.
If your blog post doesn’t have a picture or video that is automatically pulled in, add one before you hit publish on your update – on every platform, images perform better than text-only updates.
You can, and should, post more than once about a new article – just make sure you vary the message and mix it up with other topics, to avoid your updates feeling spammy.
6. Be part of the conversation
Now it’s time to start looking at LinkedIn group forums, Facebook groups, Twitter chats, and specific industry forums.
The key thing here is that these channels, and their users, are not interested in posters who are only there for self-promotion. You need to add to the conversation, and be relevant and valuable to the community.
If you find a discussion about the same topic as your blog, add a thoughtful, genuine comment that adds to the conversation, with your blog link almost as an afterthought. Engage with the discussion rather than broadcasting your link.
7. Answer questions
Generally, your blog will be a useful resource for people looking for specific information. So, where better to share it than in places people are actively looking for that information?
There are a few different Q&A platforms out there, like Quora and Yahoo Answers, where people post questions and anyone with an account can reply.
Find the boards or threads that relate to your industry or topics, and answer questions. Make sure your answers are helpful, rather than simply a link to your post, but don’t share the entire post.
8. Share your post internally
Few businesses do this, but sharing your latest blog post with your internal teams should be part of your go-live checklist. For big, important posts, share with everyone. For niche posts, share them with the relevant departments.
Tell your colleagues that you’ll be posting the link on social media and ask them to like and/or share if they thought it was useful and felt their connections might get some value.
Share new posts with your sales teams. If they have a prospect in the pipeline who’s considering something you’ve posted about, having that extra bit of content might be worth sharing during their next contact.
9. Post on your Google My Business page
Did you know you can post status updates on your Google My Business page? You can add a post with images, text, a URL and a CTA, which will show up in the panel that appears when people search for your business.
Generally, only the first 100 characters appear unless someone clicks on the post, so be strategic in your wording.
You can use these posts to direct customers to any pages on your site – as they show up when someone is searching for you, you should aim to have them go to important landing pages or posts rather than every post ever.
10. Consider an image-focused site
This item isn’t suitable for everyone – it very much depends on how much you use imagery on your blog. In this context, by imagery we mean your own images, not stock photography.
If you do have plenty of images, perhaps of products you’re offering, you can use those images as an additional promotional tool. Pinterest can generate real traffic if the content is right. For a social media boost, post your images on Instagram, either in your feed or as a story.
Both of these approaches tend to be better for B2C brands than B2B, but they’re worth researching.
11. Try and engage influencers
Influencers currently hold quite a lot of sway on the internet – so they’re a resource it’s worth trying to engage with when you want to promote a post.
You need to find people who are influential in your niche/industry, those who share content related to the topic of your post. They share things that their audiences are interested in, so any traffic is likely to be more engaged.
Reach out to them and let them know you have a new post that you thought they might be interested in. This typically only works if your content is top notch – they won’t risk their reputation by sharing bog standard content, they want the best.
12. Reach out to your own contacts
Influencers don’t just have to be people you don’t know. Have a look at your LinkedIn contacts. You probably have at least a few who have hundreds upon hundreds of connections.
If your post is relevant to them, and you have some level of a relationship with them (i.e. you actually know them), there’s no harm in asking if they’d be interested in sharing. Use this technique sparingly, but highly relevant, amazing quality content might well be something they’d like to share.
13. Find even more outreach opportunities
Links are one of the ways that search engines identify that your content is valuable and authoritative – because other people think it’s worth sharing with their visitors. This isn’t about buying links or being spammy, it’s about trying to find relevant, valuable connections.
Look at bloggers in your industry – especially if they share resource-based posts. Find their contact information and get in touch. Don’t come straight out and ask for a link; send them your article and ask what they think, or let them know you read a (related) post of theirs and thought they might be interested. You won’t get a response from everyone, but a 5-10% success rate can still get you some valuable links.
14. Build internal links
Often people link back to older blog posts when they’re writing, but do you take the time to edit old posts with a link to the new one?
Internal linking (or interlinking) makes posts easier for Google to see, index, and understand. Which is always a bonus.
So, go back through your archives and find any that are relevant or complementary to your new post, then edit them to add in a new link.
15. Respond to comments
If people are commenting on your post, they’ve shown that they’re engaged. Maintain that engagement by responding. Not only will that help you build relationships, which results in people being more likely to come back, you show other readers that you’re engaged and interested in your audience.
16. Use paid promotional opportunities
If getting traffic to your post is extremely important or valuable, you might want to consider paid promotion. You could advertise the post on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as sites like Quora and Reddit. Depending on your intent, different platforms have different audiences and varied methods of targeting those audiences, so research is your friend here.
17. Cross post to Medium
You can cross post your article on sites like Medium, to increase the number of people who see it. There are a few things to be careful of, though, as you don’t want to risk hurting traffic to your site!
First, wait a couple of weeks. This allows Google to find and index your site’s version of the post first. Next, use Medium’s import tool and don’t cut and paste into a new story. Doing this adds a snippet of code to tell search engines the post on your site is the original, so no one gets penalised for duplicate content.
This tactic doesn’t generate traffic to your post itself, but you retain the links that are in the post, so the aim is still to get new visitors to your site. You probably won’t want to cross post every article, though.
18. Reuse and repurpose your post
You’ve spent time and effort, and maybe even money, creating that post. So now it’s time to make it work even harder.
Video is an increasingly important marketing technique, so creating a video post would be a great strategy. If you’re not sure about being on camera, why not record an audio version of your post as a podcast?
Depending on the topic of your post, you could turn it into an infographic, a SlideShare presentation, or a webinar, or even expand it out into an eBook.
19. Keep an eye on your analytics
This isn’t a content promotion strategy, but it’s still one of the most important things you should do with your blog posts after posting them.
Take a close look at the source of the traffic. This is the best way to find out which of the strategies above are most effective. You can see which channels to focus the most effort on next time.
20. Update your post
Unless your topic was especially time-sensitive, it should be relevant for a long period of time – otherwise known as ‘evergreen content’. This type of content is great – you can promote it any time, people will continue finding it through search, and it adds value to your site. But even evergreen content will start to lose its relevance and accuracy over time.
Updating your posts helps to keep them fresh, ensures that any links or stats in them are checked and verified, and helps search engines understand that this content is still valuable.
Check your analytics for high performing articles that are declining in traffic. Keep the content on the same page to avoid losing any rank and change the publish date to the current date, to bring the newly refreshed content to the top of your blog.
So, there you have it. A blog post publishing checklist that will help develop your audience and amplify your content.