You’ve decided to create a blog/website and have gotten fairly decent at publishing content on a regular basis. Congratulations! Like getting into a gym routine that lasts past January, this can actually prove to be a difficult habit to form and stick with – at least in my experience.
So what now?
In most cases, you’re spending the time to publish your content with the hopes to share it with the world. That being said, the next thing would be to drive traffic to your content so that people actually see it. Especially if you’re running a business and there is a monetary value behind people visiting your site.
While this is certainly not my area of expertise, we were given the challenge of outlining a plan for driving 1,000+ views to a colleague’s article on this blog. I’ve chosen On Digital Readiness, by Jeffery Pearce. His article really resonated with me. I often wonder why a business wouldn’t have a digital presence but seldom consider the scalability factor that may prove to be a challenge for a small business. I also really like coffee.
For this hypothetical challenge, we’ve been given an imaginary budget of $20 to work with. But before we begin tapping into that budget, I would like to go over some of the free options that I can think of.
One free way to expand the reach of your posts is by sharing them on social media, linking back to the content on your site. WordPress makes this easy via various social sharing options. I imagine most platforms have some type integration for this, as it’s a pretty common need these days.
I don’t have a ton of connections on social media but I probably have enough reach, by number, to achieve the 1000 views if I combine all of my accounts. That assumes, however, that every follower/friend/etc. will actually see and visit the link I post – which is very unrealistic. Hopefully I can get a handful on my own though. If this were a really important post, I might ask a friend who has a higher friend/follower count for a share/re-tweet/etc. I’d prefer to refrain from this approach and only reserve it for very occasional and important items, however. I wouldn’t want to annoy and/or drive away friends by always asking for promotional help!
In addition to simply sharing content to social media, I find that the timing of when you share actually makes a good bit of difference in reach within your network. A quick search on Google will reveal plenty of studies that have attempted to uncover a best time to post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like. Here are a couple of good articles on the topic from the Buffer blog:
Some key takeaways from the above articles are as follows:
- Facebook: engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays.
- Twitter: engagement for brands is 17% higher on weekends according to Dan Zarrella’s research.
- News and magazine updates are popular during lunch breaks (noon – 2pm).
- Property and financial-related offers are best sent in the early afternoon (3-5pm).
- Holiday promotions & B2B promotions get opened mostly in the early evening (5-7pm).
- Consumer-based marketing emails are best sent early in the morning and after dinner (6-10am and 7-10pm).
Now that we’ve covered a couple of free methods for expanding your reach via social media, let’s talk a little bit about your content itself. The most important thing, no matter how you cut it is to consistently produce quality content that will engage your target audience and keep them coming back to your site. Not only will doing this drive more of your audience back to your site over time but, by continually putting a bit of time into writing about your product/topic, you will become more knowledgable about that product/topic and your content will continually get better over time.
Everyone wants that instant result or gratification but, unfortunately, there’s no replacement for putting in time and being consistent. Even if you are successful in driving readers to your site via ads and the like, it’s not probably that they will return if your content itself isn’t engaging. Sure, there are tips and hacks that can get you a little bit extra but there’s just no replacement to day-in and day-out consistency and dedication.
So, with that stated, lets get back to the $20 budget. The “instant gratification” idea of throwing some money into advertisement spots and getting visibility isn’t likely going to give you the results you want. This isn’t to say that there’s no value in investing in advertisements – surely they work very well. If they didn’t, companies like Facebook and Google wouldn’t be as successful as they are today. But, like anything, you need to put in the time to understand how they work and how to get the result you’re looking for. Unfortunately, I don’t have those answers here but I would probably start by looking into WordAds, Facebook Ads, and Google AdSense. Once you put in the time to begin to understand these systems, you will need to put in a little bit of money, say $20 for the purpose of this experiment, to see how they work and if you’re getting a valuable return on your investment.
Wrapping up, it’s important to not that I’m not an expert on this topic. I have never successfully or intentionally grown a blog and I know very little about using advertisements to drive traffic to a site. I have, however, watched and followed others as their online presence has grown overtime and the key take away to their growth, and the very reason I keep going back to their content as a resource, is simple consistent and quality output.