The Complete Guide To Building Your Blog Audience
Build A Community That
Gives You Permission To Market To Them
Welcome to the first Chapter in the Advanced Guide To Blog Marketing. This chapter gives you specific ways to build a community that will allow you to market to them. That’s an important part of online marketing today and when it comes to marketing your blog, your audience or a community of followers is a very powerful asset.
There is a lot of good information in this guide, but this may be the most important chapter. You can buy ads and share your blog posts on social media all you want, but without a community you’re going to struggle to gain momentum.
The time to start building a community is now.
Maybe you’ve already begun building your social media communities. That’s good, but in this chapter we’re going to show you how to expand your communities.
And if you haven’t started yet that’s all right too. The information in this chapter will give you a framework to begin building your communities.
Everybody you email, tweet and chat with is a potential member of your blog marketing community, but those aren’t the only people you need.
Eventually, your community will include potential readers and people that know your potential readers. The people that know your potential readers are influencers that can share and broadcast your messages.
In this chapter, we’ll show you the steps to build your community with all the tools available today.
What Is A Blog Marketing Community?
It is the collection of followers, subscribers and whatever else you want to call people that want the information you’re sharing.
It is the collection of people that will read your blog posts.
It is the collection of people that will comment on your blog posts.
It is the collection of people that will share your blog posts, sending them to their extended community.
It is the collection of people that will send you traffic, leads and sales.
Defining Your Target Community Member
Before we take you through the process of building your blog marketing community on popular channels like Facebook, Twitter and Email, we need to share a strategy for defining your target community member.
You didn’t skip ahead already did you?
This is important.
Defining your target community member is the key to knowing where and how to build your community.
Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1 Start A New Spreadsheet Using Google Drive
Note: For this guide we use a spreadsheet on Google Drive. It’s a cloud service that allows you and your team to work collaboratively on tasks including blog marketing. Save this spreadsheet throughout this guide. We will use the same spreadsheet to collect information that will help you market your blog posts.
Name the spreadsheet Blog Marketing.
Rename the first tab Target Community Member.
We recommend saving this spreadsheet on a shared server or cloud server where you and your entire team can access it and where there will be a single, master copy of the information.
Step 2 Name Your Target Community Member
The goal is to have more than one person in your community, but creating this profile will help you build your community with the exact person that will read and share your blog posts while also helping you build your community.
Step 3 Describe The Person
Make this as detailed as you can. Give the person an age, job, location, etc. List their hobbies and the type of information they like to read online. Finally, include the types of websites they use and their preferred social networks.
Step 4 Add A Photo
Find a stock photo that fits the description.
That’s it! Now you’ve defined your target community member. This will help you determine exactly what channels are best for your blog marketing efforts. There is an opportunity to market you blog on every channel mentioned in this chapter, but each business and each target is different so some channels will offer more opportunity than others.
Now it’s time to develop your plans to build your community. Your blog marketing community will encompass everyone that gives you permission to market to them, but each person will have a preferred channel or channels to receive those marketing messages. We cover the most important channels below.
Facebook is the largest social network. There are over 1 billion monthly active users on Facebook. If you want to build your community you want to go where the people are and people are definitely using Facebook.
In this section, we’ll go through the steps toward building a Facebook Business Page and the steps you can take to build a community of followers or Facebook users that like your page.
As you build the community, you’ll be able to market your blog posts to the community to generate traffic that can turn those followers into customers and repeat customers.
Step 1 Setup Your Page
Visit Facebook For Business
Click the Create a Page button at the top. Facebook will take you through the steps of adding a logo, a cover photo and description information for your business.
Step 2 Reach Out To Contacts On Other Channels
The first step to building your Facebook community is to reach out to everyone you know. Chances are they are probably using Facebook. Use this script when you email, call or talk to them in person:
I just launched a Facebook page and it would mean a lot to me if you helped us grow by liking us on Facebook. We’ll be sharing lots of cool content there including some things we think you’ll find useful.
Sign your name and thank the person again for their effort. You can make the message more personal depending on the relationship you have with the person, but this script gets to the point and is easy to repeat. Most people are willing to help out a friend and you’re piquing on their interest by suggesting that you’ll be sharing useful content on the page.
Step 3 Like Other Brands & Comment On Their Updates
Look for brands that complement yours by searching on Facebook. You probably have a good idea of who these brands are already so you can look directly for them. Otherwise, search for terms relating to your industry and use hashtag searches to find relevant brands.
You’re looking for complementary brands. These are companies that don’t directly compete with yours, but that have the same target community member.
Let’s say you sell shoes. You could look for brands that sell jewelry or clothing.
The next step is to like these brand pages. Leave comments on the pages as your business page. Some businesses leave comments, but unless those comments are valuable and insightful you’re setting your brand up for failure. General comments that are irrelevant and bland are seen as spam and will do more harm than good.
To leave comments as your brand page you’ll have to switch to use Facebook as your business page.
The best way to do this is to reply to comments and questions that people have on the brand’s page.
You don’t want to impose on the brand’s page. However, if you feel you can contribute to the conversation with insightful answer it will be of benefit to the brand and to their followers if you share your knowledge.
This strategy will expose your brand to the exact type of people that fit your target community member profile. If you’re helpful and interesting you’ll become interesting to these people and they’ll want to click through to your Facebook page and follow you especially if you’re sharing all your interesting blog posts on your new Facebook page.
Step 4 Use Facebook Ads To Get Followers
Facebook ads provide an extremely targeted way to build the number of likes you have for your business page. You can target the exact type of person you want to follow your page by narrowing the audience by age, interests, location and more.
With Facebook ads, you get a basic title or main heading and a short description along with an image.
The best way we have found to create Facebook ads to build followers is to ask a question with the title and offer something enticing with the description.
Are you doing SEO wrong?
If you need more website traffic, follow my Facebook page to get free tips.
Here is another example of an ad:
When you target the right people with that ad you’ll get tons of clicks and tons of new followers.
Step 5 Partnerships
Do you work with other brands or individuals in your industry?
We’ll talk about this more in the next chapter, but you can create joint venture or co-branded content on Facebook that features helpful advice, insight or tips.
For individuals, this means finding another person in your industry (ideally with a good following). It might be two SEO experts creating a list of 6 tips (3 each) for Facebook search optimization.
For brands, find complementary brands that share your target audience. An example would be a footwear company partnering with an apparel company to create a trend update for the upcoming season.
You could post an FAQ update on your Facebook page and provide the content with a partner. Post the update on your page and have them post it on their page.
If you’re new you could even offer to create all the content and simply ask them to share it on their page as a joint effort. The tradeoff is that you get exposure to their audience, which is already established.
Step 6 Create Unique Facebook Updates Complete With Hashtags
Facebook added hashtags after the functionality was relevant on other sites like Twitter.
But hashtags on Facebook quickly caught on with users and people do click on them to discover new content from new sources.
The goal of blog marketing with Facebook is to share your blog posts on Facebook and get traffic back to your blog. You’ll want to use hashtags with the posts you share, but initially you’ll want to create unique posts for Facebook that also include hashtags.
To do this, create as many bits of useful information as you can that relate to your company and industry. During the peak hours of the day, go to this list of updates and share them on Facebook ever hour.
Add the most popular and relevant hashtags to the updates.
What you’re doing is creating unique, useful content that people will discover when they click on the hashtag from other updates.
Beyond sharing new pieces of content on Twitter, there are a few strategies to implement to ensure that your blog marketing strategy is taking full advantage of Twitter.
Step 1 Signup For Twitter
Visit Twitter and Signup For A Twitter Account.
The debate is still out there if you should create a personal Twitter account or a business account. The answer depends on the goals of your content marketing and blogging strategy. If you want to build your business that one day will grow beyond your own capabilities you should start a Twitter account for your brand.
But if you want to develop your personal brand then it’s best to start a personal Twitter account.
And you can of course do both, but you’ll be spreading yourself thin across both accounts. People have struggled to maintain multiple accounts even with automation.
When creating your Twitter account there are a few important choices to make to make sure your target community members can find and follow you on Twitter.
The first is the username. Keep your username simple. Use your exact business name or personal name if possible. Two variables determine if that is possible. The first is whether your ideal name is available. Some other Twitter user might have it already. The second variable is the fact that Twitter limits usernames to 15 characters.
If you can’t use your full name opt for a shorter version of the name without characters. Characters can confuse people that want to find you or that want to mention you in a tweet.
For example, if your business name is World Business Company see if World Business is available. Go shorter if possible. From there, use abbreviations to shorten the name of the business and for a last resort use characters such as “_” to create your username.
Once your username is set you’ll enter in the name that will appear on your profile. Set this as your brand name or as your personal name. Use the name people will most likely use when searching for your brand on Twitter. The name in your profile and how you type it is very important. Make sure to leave spaces between the words because if someone searches for “World Business Company” and you list your name as “WorldBusinessCompany” they will struggle to find you.
Your bio comes next. You get 160 characters to describe your brand. You can use hashtags and mentions (more on those next) in your bio. For example, if you create two Twitter accounts, one for you and one for your business, you can mention your business Twitter account in your personal bio.
With your bio, describe what you do and use terms you think people would use to search for interesting people to follow. People like to follow business leaders, CEOs, CMOs, founders and other similar titles.
Next up is your location and URL. Add the location of your business and obviously the link to your blog. People will follow this link when they discover your profile on Twitter either when someone else mentions you or if you’re found via Twitter search.
The final items that will complete your Twitter profile are the images. You get a profile image, a header photo and a background image.
Your profile image should be a headshot for a personal account or your business logo.
The header image could be a photo that represents your business like a shot of your office. It could be a custom illustration or collage that shows what your business does and includes some logos of companies you’ve worked with.
The background is another area where you can add branding information like your logo and some text or illustrations that explain the problem your business solves or the type of interesting content you share from your blog.
Many users now use the Twitter app, which doesn’t use all the images.
Step 2 Reach Out To Everyone You Know In Every Channel
We’ll talk about ways to build your Twitter profile with people that prefer to use Twitter, but like Facebook and other social networks, it’s a good step to build your following with people that follow you on other channels. This includes anyone that follows or visitors your blog.
Place the Twitter Follow Button on your blog next to your email signup, RSS feed and other select social media follow buttons.
A good place for the follow button is right by the author area on every one of your blog posts. People often look to see who wrote a post. If they like what they read they’ll want to follow you. Make it easy for them by adding the Twitter follow button in this location.
Step 3 Reply To Medium & High Profile Twitter Users
Use Twitter Search or a tool like Followerwonk to build a list of medium to high profile people that share the same target community as you. Look at the follower counts of people. Those followers are the people that you want to follow your new Twitter account.
Search for terms relating to your industry. With Twitter search, select the option that allows you to search for people. On Followerwonk you’ll be able to search for people as well and the default listing is by the number of followers each person has on Twitter.
You have two options once you develop a list of people. You can follow them or you can add them to a Twitter list and segment based on sub-categories of industries that are important to your business.
Following can work well especially if you follow only people that are similar to you and people that fit your target community members (more on this next), but the more people you follow the more difficult it will be to find the best tweets to retweet and reply to as a way to get attention.
We recommend creating Twitter lists.
To create a list, click on the gear icon at the top right of your Twitter page. Select Lists from the dropdown. Click on the Create List button. Create lists and sub lists based on the people you found during your search.
These will be the lists you can use to find the best people and content to retweet and reply to as you build your Twitter following.
Now that you have your lists built you can follow and reply to these key people. If they share a good piece of content, reply with a quick thought. Compliment and flatter them. People can rarely look away from a good compliment.
If they ask a question be sure to reply with an answer.
The goal of this strategy is to get on the radar of these people so they will potentially follow you and share your blog posts when you share those on Twitter. By getting on their radar they might also reply to you or retweet the things you say.
Retweets show up for all their followers and even replies will be seen by some of their followers. That’s exposure to your target audience and a good way to build your Twitter community.
Step 4 Strategically Follow Your Target Community Members
You can follow up to 2,000 accounts on Twitter. Once you reach this number you’ll have to wait for people to follow you before you can follow more people.
So it doesn’t make sense to follow just anybody on Twitter, but it does make sense to strategically follow your target community members.
The reason this can work in your favor is that some people will follow you back after you follow them. Not everyone will, though, so there a few indicators that let you know if someone is likely to follow you.
First, look at the people they follow.
Are they already following people like you?
Look for the people on the lists you created. You can even look at those people and look at their followers. Follow those people.
For each person that you potentially follow also look at the number of people they are following. If they’re only following a handful of accounts the chances are low that they will follow your account.
If they follow several hundred accounts the odds are better that they will follow you back.
Step 5 Updates, Sharing Posts & Using Hashtags
You’ll want to share every one of your blog posts on Twitter just like with all social media accounts. As with Facebook, hashtags are your friend when it comes to sharing your content.
Using relevant hashtags that your target community members are likely to follow or be interested in. People might follow the #business hashtag. Use this tag with your tweets and you’re likely to pick up a few followers as long as you’re sharing useful information.
Step 6 Partnerships
As with Facebook, create partnership updates on Twitter. Create tweets that you can create and that others can duplicate or retweet.
The idea again is to get exposure for to audiences that are already established. Offer to create a series of tweets that you can publish that will mention your partners. Have the partner do the same by having tweets and updates that mention you.
If necessary, offer to create the tweets for them to save them the effort and time. The tradeoff is that you get exposure to their audience.
You can use the lists you created to find potential partners.
Step 7 Twitter For Business
Twitter now has a few different options for ads. Initially they were experimenting with promoted tweets, but most people could only pay to get a “Who To Follow” ad on the side of the feeds of other users.
Twitter has a reputation for having expensive ads aimed at big brands, but there is promise that it can be a way to build followers and get traffic to your blog via sponsored tweets.
Google+ is not your average social network like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The site has many of the same features as other social networks including updates, timelines and more. But Google is also using Google+ throughout many of its other properties.
Content creators, including bloggers, are some of the biggest benefactors of the Google+ integration. Using Google+ is not only a great way to help build your blogging community on the social network itself, it’s a great way to improve the traffic you get to your posts through organic and paid search.
Here is how you can setup your Google+ account in a few steps.
Step 1 Signup For A Personal Google+ Account
Go to the Google+ homepage. You’ll be asked for your email address and password. If you already have a Google account such as Gmail or Google Apps for Business you should use one of those to create your business account.
Google places high importance on using your real information for your Google+ profile. They want to verify that you are the person behind this account. It’s a key component of Google Authorship, which we’ll discuss shortly.
You’ll be able to add a profile image. This should be a personal image of you. This is again important because Google will use the image for your profile everywhere on the Google network including the search results pages.
Add your profile information as you would with any social network.
You’ll also see an area to add any other email addresses you have. This is where you would add the email address that matches your blog or that matches your business website where the blog is hosted.
Google will also offer you the opportunity to select a custom URL, which is usually your full name or a variation depending on how common your name is.
Step 2 Google Authorship
If you’ve searched for certain keywords using Google you’ve probably seen profile images of authors in the search results. This is Google Authorship in action.
The benefit for content creators is that this information makes it more likely that someone will choose your result over the others on the page. When the author is verified with a name and image it makes the result trustworthy.
Google Authorship is one advantage of using Google+ because it can increase search traffic to your blog by adding your Google+ profile image to the search engine result pages (SERPs). Having this profile image increases the clickthrough rate (CTR).
Here is an example of Google Authorship, also known as rich snippets in search:
There are two methods to setting up Google Authorship for your blog.
On your blog, add a byline to every blog post that you create. The byline should include you name, which should match the one used on your corresponding Google+ account.
Make sure you’ve added the email address that you have that matches your blog or business website using Google+. You can add and verify this email address by setting up your Google+ profile.
Once that is done visit the Google Authorship page again and enter the email address.
The second way to verify your authorship is to add a link on every one of your blog posts to your Google+ profile using this specific HTML to create the link:
Replace the profile URL with your unique profile URL. Do not include the brackets.
You can also use the link above as an image link with a Google+ image indicating to readers that they can follow you on Google+.
Here is an example:
On your Google+ profile, add a custom link to your blog in the Contributor To section.
After completing either of those steps you can check to see if Google Authorship is working by checking on the Structured Data Testing Tool from Google.
Step 3 Setup A Business Page On Google+
As with Facebook and a couple other social media sites, Google+ has a specific place for you to create a profile or page for your business or blog.
Go to Google+ Business. Select the type of business that best fits. If you don’t necessarily have a business, but have a blog you might fit into the Brand or Arts area or simply select Other.
Fill in the profile information and you’ll be all set.
Step 4 Promoting Your Content On Google+ Profiles
For each of your blog posts, share them as a link on your Google+ personal and business profiles. Getting this content on your profiles will make the profiles active, which is what your target audience will be looking for when they’re considering putting you and your business profile in their circles.
With each of your updates and shares on Google+ you’ll be able to add hashtags like you do on Facebook and Twitter. You’re looking to find hashtags that are both relevant to the content and your blog, but you also want to use hashtags that people are likely to follow.
So you might have to get a little more generic with the hashtags to reach a wider audience. Instead of using #LivingRoomDIY for your DIY design blog post you can use just #DIY. Or you could use both to reach both the ultra-targeted audience and a broader audience.
But don’t use more than two or three hashtags per post. Nobody likes to see a post with hashtags everywhere. It’s confusing and you’ll be seen as a spammer.
Step 5 Share, Leave Comments & Give +1s
The best way to build your community on Google+ is to start introducing yourself to your target audience on Google+. The way to do this is to search for your target audience and those that influence them using the search function on Google+.
Search for relevant search terms in your industry. Search for hashtags relative to your industry. You’ll see posts and people that are interested in your content.
On the posts you see, leave comments and give +1s. The people will appreciate this interaction with their content and as you build the relationship some of those people will add you and your business page to their circles.
As another part of your daily Google+ activities, share content that your target audience or those that influence your target audience product on blogs and websites on Google+. Share the links on Google+ and use the mention function to make sure they get a notification that you’ve shared it.
On Google+, you mention someone by using the “+” symbol in front of their username.
Step 6 Participate In Hangouts & Communities
One of the interesting features of Google+ is Hangouts. It’s a way for people to have multi-person video chats. It’s not the first time the technology has been available, but people seem to be more willing to use the feature on Google+.
You can participate in Hangouts of all shapes and sizes. You can suggest hanging out with people in your circles as you build your community.
You can also join scheduled hangouts. There are many taking place in a variety of industries and interest categories. Be confident in your ability to add something to the discussions. The more you participate the more likely you’ll be to add people to your community on Google+.
There is also a thriving community of discussion on Google+ Communities. Search for communities in your industry that your target audience members will be participate in or create your own and invite people to join.
Step 7 Strategically Add People To Your Circles
Finally, you can create a variety of different circles for your Google+ community. These are people that you will follow on your timeline on Google+.
Like Twitter, you’ll want to be selective with the people you follow on Google+. You want them to either be part of your target audience or someone that would have influence over your target audience.
And the final item you want is to know that the person is likely to add you to their circles. You can add them if you think they’ll have interesting information to share, but for growing your community you’ll want to know that they’re likely to add you to their circles.
Look for people that have more than just a few people in their circles. Look for people that have more than the default number of circles, which is usually a handful including circles for Family, Friends and Co-Workers.
LinkedIn is the social network for professionals.
LinkedIn is for professionals to create an online profile or résumé. It’s a network for businesses to create profiles to attract the best talent. It offers various B2B opportunities and gives users the opportunity to share business-related content.
LinkedIn also serves as a great networking tool for professionals to meet other professionals. And it’s a great sales tool for salespeople that sell to professionals at businesses and organizations.
For blog owners, it’s possible to build a strong community on LinkedIn. You can build a community of your target audience and influencers that will visit your blog post and that will share your blog posts with their own community on LinkedIn.
Here is how you can build your LinkedIn community.
Step 1 Signup For Your Personal Profile
You’ll need your first and last name, your email address and a password to signup for LinkedIn. Once your account is created LinkedIn will take you through the steps of how to build your profile.
The basic setup of your profile is like a résumé you would create for yourself. It has an area for your current title and business name. You can enter past work experience.
Each profile also has a Summary section, which is one of the most important sections of your profile. When someone visits your profile page they’ll often read your name and title and then move right to your summary to learn about you and what you do.
Write about 3-5 paragraphs about what you do right now at your job. You can mention your business and your business blog encouraging people to follow it for updates. As with any summary, you’ll want to hint at what’s in it for your followers. In this case, your blog updates provide useful information to your target audience.
Step 2 Setup Your LinkedIn Company Page
Once your profile is setup you’ll be able to add a company page. In the navigation you’ll select Companies. At the top right there is a text link to Add a Company.
You’ll enter in your company name and the email address you have at the company. This is how you verify that you are an official of the company.
Your company page is setup similar to other social media business pages. You enter in the basic information describing your company. You can enter the contact information. You can also add your company logo and a header image like the ones on Facebook and Twitter.
Step 3 Connect With People In Your Networks
The first step to building your community on LinkedIn is to connect with the people you know. You’ll need to do this after you build your profile complete with your previous work history and your current and previous locations.
You can also add your education history and any groups you’ve been a part of over the years. These all establish the networks you’ve had in the past and present. Those networks allow you to begin making connections with people.
Start by clicking on the networks (businesses, groups, universities, etc.) in your profile. These will take you to pages and you’ll see other people in those networks.
Click on their profiles and make a request to connect.
The default settings on LinkedIn make it so that you can request to connect with anybody by saying that you’re a friend or by indicating that you know them from one of your networks.
Don’t just connect with anyone. You want to connect with people that have a relatively large number of connections. This will open up your 2nd degree connection options, which we’ll talk about in the next section. Find individuals in your networks that have at least 100 connections. More is better.
Also connect with people that are likely to connect. LinkedIn will take notice if you have a lot of connection requests outstanding. If you have too many requests that are ignored you won’t be able to make connections. So focus on the people that you know well and that use LinkedIn on a regular basis.
Step 4 Connect With 2nd Degree Connections That Fit Your Target Audience
As you build your connections you’ll open up 2nd degree connections. These are the connections of your connections. By default, you’re able to connect with 2nd degree connections on LinkedIn.
Some users will change the settings on their accounts and you’ll need more information such as their email address in order to connect, but for the most part you’re able to connect with nearly all your 2nd degree connections.
This is where you start targeting your target audience members.
When you’re signed in to your account and go to the LinkedIn homepage you’ll see a timeline of content. On the top right you’ll see a section title “People You May Know”. A similar section is also shown at the top right of your profile.
This is LinkedIn helping you make connections. Many are 2nd degree connections and people in your various networks.
Scroll through these suggestions and quickly assess if a person is a member of your target audience. You’ll only be able to see the person’s name, title and location. Usually you can tell from this information if they’re a fit for your target audience. If you need more information you can click through to their profile.
Step 5 Participate In Group Discussions
Groups are a large area of opportunity on LinkedIn. There are groups for all kinds of professions and industries. For some, you’ll need to request an invite to join. A moderator or owner of the group will look over your profile to see if you’re a good fit and they’ll invite you to join.
Some groups, however, give you instant access.
Many groups on LinkedIn are overrun with people simply sharing their blog content. You can use these groups if you would like access to information, but the more worthwhile discussions are happening in groups where discussion and promotion are separated.
Once you find groups where there is good discussion you’ll find that people are asking questions or posing insight into certain topics. This is where you can join the discussion. Provide valuable insight.
Write your comments right in the groups. Don’t link to your content especially if the group has a designated area for sharing content. You don’t want to get kicked out of the group.
Leave your comments and like other comments that are useful. This will expose you to your target audience and you’ll be seen as an authority and someone that should be followed.
Participating in groups can lead to people looking at your personal profile and company page. If your comments are helpful, people will request to connect and they’ll follow your company page.
Step 6 Like, Comment & Share Content
As you build your community on LinkedIn you’ll want to start sharing content on both your personal profile and company page. You can also share it on relevant groups that have designated areas for promoting content.
Share your own content and share the content that your target audience and their influencers create.
When you login to LinkedIn you’ll see the timeline with content that people in your network have shared. Like the updates you find interest and also leave comments. Your connections will appreciate that you’re taking the effort to promote and engage with their content.
This is a good place to connect with influencers that have large followings. If you can get their attention by commenting and sharing their content they may do the same for you.
Step 7 LinkedIn Premium Accounts & Ads
With a LinkedIn Premium Account you get a variety of benefits not available to regular users.
For bloggers, you can connect with anyone on LinkedIn. This means you can search for your exact target audience and connect with them even if you’re not a 2nd or 3rd degree connection.
LinkedIn also has an advertising solution. You can signup for LinkedIn Advertising where you’ll be able to promote your company, but you can also promote your company page and content you create.
You can target your exact target audience by honing in on the information they share in their profiles.
To gain connections for your personal profile and followers for your company page, use a headline in your LinkedIn ad that addresses the target audience member. Then pose a question that relates to the type of content you’ll create on your blog and share on LinkedIn with your connections.
Pinterest is the fifth largest social network (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+).
With over 100 million users it’s another social network that can be a place for you to build an audience of people that will allow you to promote your blog content to them.
The concept of Pinterest is that it’s a place where people can bookmark or pin things from around the Internet that they find interesting, unique and part of their expressive style.
Here is how you can tap into the Pinterest community to build your Pinterest audience.
Step 1 Signup & Create Boards
Signup for a Pinterest personal account; it’s a simple process.
As with the other social media sites, you’ll want to create both a personal and business account on Pinterest, but a personal would be the most important especially if you’re the only author on the blog.
Setup your profile with a profile image and full name. Select a username that closely resembles your full name. You’ll also enter a description describing you and what you do. You can also enter in your location and your website. You’ll have to verify your website using a download file or piece of HTML. By verifying your website you’ll allow the website to show up in search results and on your profile.
The first step to creating content on Pinterest is to create boards. Create boards that fit your niche. If you need ideas, Pinterest provides a few general ones, but you can also look at the influencers in your niche and copy the types of boards they have.
Once you’ve created boards you can start pinning items. These will be images, posts and pages from around the web. The image will appear on your Pinterest feed for you and your followers to see. You put each pin in one of your boards to create collections that can inspire you and your followers.
Step 2 Create A Business Account
Pinterest For Business allows you to create a business account, which you can use to build a community around your brand and blog.
The form includes the type of business, contact name and the information that will be made public in your profile. You’ll want to select a username that is as close to your business name as possible. If the exact username is not available, look to shorten the name if possible.
Step 3 Connect Your Account With Facebook & Twitter
As with Instagram, you can connect your Pinterest account with Facebook and Twitter. In the settings, you’ll be able to automatically share your new pins on Twitter and Facebook. This will bring your audiences on those two networks to your boards to see the type of pines you’re sharing, which will build your Pinterest audience.
Step 4 Follow, Comment & Like Pins & Boards
You’re probably noticing a trend in these guides for each social network.
Following, commenting and liking pins and boards will get you noticed on Pinterest. You’re looking to target the people that fit into your target audience. Interact with their items on Pinterest and they’ll pay attention to what you’re doing.
Use the search function on Pinterest to find relevant content and user information for your niche. You’ll be able to find the people that you want to follow your boards and updates with the goal of building a community that will click on your content.
Step 5 Create Group Boards & Invite Target Audience Members & Influencers
The group board is a unique feature on Pinterest. You can invite people to be part of boards giving them an opportunity to contribute pins to a collection. You can create a board related to your niche and begin adding pins. You can then invite your followers to join the board as contributors.
When people start adding items to the board make sure you leave comments and like the items they add. This will reinforce their participation.
The more people you can have on group boards and the more excited they are about being a part of it the more likely they are to promote the content to their followers, which expands your reach on Pinterest.
Step 6 Promoted Pins & Rich Pins
Promoted Pins is an opportunity for people to get more attention for specific pins. Promoted Pins allows you to pay to have your pins appear in certain category and search results on Pinterest. You’ll be visible to more people than just your followers making it more likely that people will click on your pins and clickthrough to your blog posts.
Rich Pins allows businesses to add more information to certain pins. Products can add pricing. You can add recipes to images of foods and drinks.
For your blog you’ll want to take advantage of Article Pins, which allows users to pin your articles and save them to read later on Pinterest.
To get Rich Pins, you’ll need to add information to your website and verify your website so that everything functions perfectly for users.
Building An Email List Of Engaged Subscribers
Email is the cream of the crop when it comes to building a community for your blog. An email list is something you own and something you control.
Social media sites can change the rules for how you can promote to your followers, but with email you are the one in control. You can test to determine how often you should market to your subscribers and you can test different types of email content to determine what gets the best response.
Step 1 Select An Email Provider
There are several email providers to choose from including:
Another one that is very popular among bloggers is Aweber. You’re able to setup custom templates for your blog newsletter. You can automate your blog updates. You can create multiple lists for your blog so you can send different emails to different segments of your list.
And the great thing about Aweber is that the more subscribers you have the more you pay. You actually won’t mind paying more because you’ll be excited about having more subscribers.
Pricing starts at $19.99/mo for up to 500 subscribers and the price goes up from there.
Step 2 Setup Your Email Lists
To promote your blog you’ll want to create your first list that is for your subscribers. This is the list that you’ll promote on your blog and in other places. You’ll want to focus the most on this list because it will bring people into the early stages of your sales funnel. You’ll win them over with your blog content and get their email information when they want more content from you.
But other than your subscriber list you’ll want to create a list for your clients. You can create a unique email for these clients. Since they’re already clients you’ll want to send them a mixture of content that includes company updates, blog updates and any other type of content that might help them. You can also market to them with new service and product offerings.
A third list you can create is a list of your employees. You can share new blog posts with your employees along with other company updates. Send the latest posts to your employees. Ask them to share it with their network of connections if they find the content interesting and useful.
Finally, create a list for your colleagues and contacts. You don’t want to spam any of these lists with too much content and you especially don’t want to overdo it with this list. These are the people that can really help you when you want to promote your content. After you’ve created a really special piece of content send an update to your colleague list. Tell them you would really appreciate it if they provided you with their thoughts on the content. And ask them to share it with their networks if they find it useful.
Step 3 Develop Your Opt-In Offer
From here, most people will create their opt-in forms. That’s a good next step, but before you create your opt-in forms you need to develop your opt-in offer. This is the item you’ll offer that will entice people to join your email list.
Think about it — these people are giving you permission to send them messages directly to their inbox. That’s a big commitment and they certainly don’t have to do it for no reason. You have to give them reason to subscribe.
In time, as your blog becomes amazing, you’ll be able to attract people with only the promise of more amazing blog content, but until then you’ll need to offer something more.
A few things you can offer include:
- White Paper
- Training Course
These are the type of content that people want and things that they’ll gladly take in exchange for their email address. An easy way to build your offer is to take a collection of your posts and turn them into a guide that you can offer to subscribers. It will cost you about $100 to have a designer create a professional .pdf document that you can immediately send to new subscribers through Aweber.
It’s instant gratification for them and a happy subscriber for you.
Step 4 Create Your Opt-In Forms
Now you can create your opt-in form.
Depending on the email provider you choose, there will be different steps for creating opt-in forms, but with each you’ll want to create three essential opt-in forms.
The first is the sidebar opt-in form. This is the opt-in that goes at the top right hand side of your blog. This area is known as the sidebar and you’ll want to put your opt-in at the very top. This area is recognized by blog readers as a common location to quickly subscribe to blogs they like.
The second location is at the bottom of every post. Once readers have completed a post they’ll be looking for something to do next. They can easily leave your blog and go to something else, but the better result for you is to capture their future attention by getting them to subscribe. Use a call to action that will make it worth their while. Use something like, “If you found this post useful then you won’t want to miss the free guide available to exclusive subscribers.”
The third opt-in form is the pop-up or lightbox form. When a new visitor comes to your blog they’ll see the pop-up hover over the content. Some find these intrusive, but they get results. If you make a strong offer then people will gladly subscribe. It’s easy for people to miss your other opt-ins, but nobody will miss the pop-up and with it you’ll get.
Step 5 Automate Some Of Your Newsletters
Creating new email newsletters is hard work and doing it on a regular basis will wear you out. You can do that, but to ensure that you are at least doing something with your email list, automate some of your newsletters.
Grab your blog’s feed, which is usually http://www.yoursite.com/blog/feed/ and create the automated blog newsletter on your email provider admin. You’ll be able to create a custom template that includes your logo and other brand information.
Have this email send the same day that each of your blog posts publish.
Step 6 Build On Your Newsletters With Unique Content
Automation is a great tool for email newsletters, but as you build your list you’ll want to create unique email messages that provide unique content only for your email subscribers. You don’t have to do this as often as your automated list, but doing it every month will provide value to your subscribers without wearing you out.
For these messages, create helpful content. You could create entire posts that you’ll only share with subscribers. Take one of your best tips or opinions and share it with your subscribers. Have a designer create a unique image to complement your content and it will have even more impact.
At the end of these unique messages include a call to action asking your subscribers to share the email with anyone they feel would benefit from the message. This will encourage your subscribers to help you build your email list, which expands the people in your blog marketing community.
Step 7 Promote Your Email List On Social Media
On each of your social media profiles share the information for your email list.
Once each week share the link to your signup page where your followers can signup to get the exclusive information that you only share with your email subscribers.
Remember, social media followers are great, but on social media sites you don’t control the platform. You have some control, but the sites can change the rules at anytime without notice.
By getting those followers to subscribe to your email list you’re getting them to opt-in to a channel that you own and control.
Take the offer you created earlier and make the offer on social media.
“Looking for more great content? Signup for the email list and receive your free guide immediately.”
Final Thoughts On The Importance Of Email For Blog Marketing
Your email list is a platform you control. With social media, you have subscribers when people follow you or like your page, but you don’t have total control over the platform.
This control makes having an email list crucial for promoting your blog posts. Each time you publish a new post you can email your list to promote the post and engaging with your subscribers.
With valuable and insightful blog content you’ll add subscribers through opt-in boxes.
Putting It All Together
You now have a plan to:
- Identify your target community member
- Build a community that gives you permission to market your blog posts to repeatedly
- Grow your social media presence on the right social networks
The steps you’ve taken so far are the beginnings of your blog marketing strategy.
This is a strong foundation and in the next chapter we’re going to give you the steps you can take to create the type of content your community will love.