The Complete Guide To Building Your Blog Audience

The Complete Guide To Building Your Blog Audience

Written by Neil Patel & Aaron Agius

Chapter Two

Types Of Blog Posts That Are Easy To Market

In Chapter 1, you did a lot of work to develop a profile of your target audience member. From there, you determined the best social networks and other online areas where you can build a community. Combined, these mini-communities will build the foundation of a group of people that will let you market to them over and over again. It’s a major stepping point to building a blog that is successful through blog marketing.

But now that you have the foundation of building a blog marketing community it’s time to discuss the type of blog posts that are easy to market. There are a number of different types of posts you can create that will be valuable to readers, but being valuable doesn’t make a post marketable on its own.

The types of posts that are easy to market are ones that others have a vested interest in helping you market. To make sure you’re creating content that will make blog marketing easier, this chapter has instructions for creating a system to create these types of posts.

Create A Spreadsheet Of
Industry Bloggers, Brands & Influencers

Your community and connections are huge when it comes to marketing you blog. You need people on your side that will help you promote your blog posts. In the last chapter we discussed how to build a community of your audience members, but we also discussed creating a list of blogs, forums and communities that currently hold members of your target audience.

Step 1 Open The Spreadsheet You Built In Chapter 1 Called Blog Marketing

Keep your blog marketing items together in the same Google Drive spreadsheet to make it easier to reference every time you publish a new blog post.

Step 2 Create a Second Tab And Name It “Influencers”

The term “Influencers” will include the bloggers, brands and other people and organizations you will potentially write about in your blog posts.

Step 3 In Cell A1, Type The Page’s Title, “Influencers”

That's the whole step.

Step 4 Create Your Column Headings Starting in Cell B:2

  • Column B: Influencer
  • Column C: About
  • Column D: Website
  • Column E: Blog
  • Column F: Email Address
  • Column G: Twitter Handle
  • Column H: LinkedIn URL

Step 5 Freeze Rows

Freeze the panes below Row 3 so that as you scroll you’ll be able to see the page title and row titles.

Step 6 Sort The Range From A To Z Using Column A
Or Your “Influencers” Column

That's the whole step.

Step 7 Begin Adding Influencers To Your List

You can use your list of blogs, forums and other communities from the last chapter to star the list. Those communities, blogs and websites are places where your target audience is spending time.

Add to the list whenever you think of another influencer to add. You will probably think of some as you go through this guide. You’ll also likely come across influencers as you go about your regular blogging research.

Any blogger, brand or organization that shares your target audience is a potential influencer. Add them to the list and keep the list sorted in alphabetical order to make it easy to reference with each post you create.

The topic of this chapter is to create posts that are easy to market. The key point of this chapter is to write about the influencers in your industry or niche so that they may share the content you create with their communities.

You have to make it worth the while of the person, brand or organization to share your content. The next sections in this chapter provide a few of the best ways to write about and include influencers in your blog posts.

The list of influencers you just started will be your key resource while you blog. Whenever you need to conduct an interview, create a top list or do a feature story you’ll be able to reference your list of influencers. It will save you time and will also ensure that you’re writing about and including people that are likely to share your blog posts with your target audience members.

Interviews

To repeat, the types of posts that are easy to market are ones that others have a vested interesting in helping you market.

Interviews often make for interesting, engaging and useful blog posts, but they also serve the purpose of getting others vested in the success of the post.

When you interview one of the influencers on your list you’re opening up their knowledge and sharing it with your readers. It’s a benefit for the person you’re interviewing because you’re exposing them to your audience and giving them a platform to share their story, knowledge and experience.

The interviewee will want the post to do well so they’ll do what they can to promote the post in their communities and networks.

Here is the process for conducting an interview on your blog and promoting it to it is exposed to as many people as possible.

Step 1 Choose An Influencer To Approach

Go to your blog marketing spreadsheet and open up the Influencers tab. Scroll through the list of influencers and choose one that will make a good candidate for an interview.

To increase your odds, find 3 or 5 good candidates. You can reach out to them all increasing your odds of hearing back. If you hear back from more than one you can still carry out the interviews and publish the interviews at different times.

Step 2 Contact The Influencer

There are a few ways to reach out to your influencers.

  • Email

    The most obvious and effective way to reach influencers is via email, but as you might guess, it’s not always possible to get the email address of the influencers on your list.

    But if you do have an email address feel free to reach out with an initial email message and one follow up message if you don’t hear back from the person within seven days.

    Here is the message template to write:

    Hi [Influencer Name],

    My name is [Your Name].

    I have a blog, [Blog Name], where we interview industry experts. These interviews are some of the most popular posts on the blog.

    Would you be interested in participating in an interview?

    If you are up for it I will send you a list of questions.

    Some questions will give you the chance to share information about your business or organization.

    After getting your responses we’ll get the post ready to publish, but before publishing we’ll send it to you for final approval.

    Would you be interested in doing an interview?

    Take care,
    [Your Name]
    [Your Business]

    The key to this type of outreach is communicating the benefits for the influencer.

    This is not all about you. The message communicates the fact that the influencer will get exposure to your audience. They’ll have a chance to discuss themselves and their business and they wont’ have to do a lot of the work to finalize the post.

    It also helps to stroke their ego by telling them that you feel they are an industry leader.

  • LinkedIn

    In the last chapter we talked about how you can build your blog marketing community using LinkedIn. It’s a great tool for building a community of your target audience, but it’s also a great tool for connecting with the people that influence your target audience members.

    On your Influencer spreadsheet there is a column for LinkedIn URL. You can use LinkedIn to identify influencers and you can use it to get contact information for influencers.

    Use the search function on LinkedIn to find the influencer you’re targeting. You can also use Google to search for the influencer by searching for [Influencer Name] LinkedIn.

    If there are multiple people with the same name use the business or organization name to narrow results.

    Once you’ve identified the influencer on LinkedIn see if you can connect with them. If they’re a third degree connection you won’t be able to connect without a premium account in some cases depending on how the person has setup their privacy settings.

    Once connected, send a message to the person using the message template that you would use if you had the influencer’s email address.

    If you have a premium account you can ask to connect with the person or you can send a message without connecting.

  • Twitter

    Twitter is another channel where people can connect. Some, not all, influencers are open to connecting via Twitter whether it’s through mention conversations or through direct message.

    Identify your target influencer on Twitter. Follow them. Wait for a day or two to see if they follow you back. If they do then you can send them a direct message.

    With either a direct message or with a message via mention, you’ll have to make your pitch short and to the point. There is not a lot of time for ego stroking on Twitter.

    Use this template:

    @Influencer Would you be interested in an interview to be published on [Blog Name]?

    That’s it. Make it easy for the person to say “Yes” to your initial question. They might respond asking how they can contact you or they might follow you and send you a direct message.

    Once you hear back from an influencer in this way you can send the full message that will get the ball rolling toward a full interview.

  • Website Contact Form

    Another way to contact influencer is through their website or blog. Many people today have personal websites where they might even have their own blog. Others will usually have business websites, which usually have contact forms or contact information.

    When using a contact form, use the format of the message above in the email section, but since you won’t know if the message will be first seen by the influencer provide an initial sentence that states:

    This message is for [Influencer Name].

Other Ways To Contact Influencers With Interview Requests

The above contact methods are some of the best and most common ways for reaching out to influencers for interview posts, but there are additional methods.

You can reach out to people via phone. You can reach them on other social networks and you could even try leaving a comment on their blog as a way to get their attention.

Be courteous. You want the person to respond, but you don’t want to make them angry by badgering them with an influx of messages on every channel at once.

Step 3 Develop Your Questionnaire

As you conduct interviews you’ll come up with certain questions that are usable with various influencers, but for each influencer you’ll want to create customized questions. You want to make each interviewee feel like they are special and not receiving a canned list of questions.

The goal of your questions is three-pronged:

  1. The questions should lead your interviewee to provide interesting and insightful answers for your readers. Great content is easier to market than boring content.
  2. The questions should lead to answers that your interviewee will be proud of. When the interviewee is proud they’ll be more likely to share the interview with their community of followers.
  3. The questions should make you look good. You want to grow your blog’s brand and when others perceive you to be a source of good questions they’ll want more content from you.

Questions should provide more than just a “Yes” or “No” response from the interview. To do that, use questions that lead to stories, explanations and similar responses:

  • Could you explain what your business provides its customers?
  • What has been your business’s biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
  • What is the biggest reason for your business’s success and why?

Lead the influencer into stories and you’ll get the best content that will fit into the guidelines for interviews.

Step 4 Send The Questionnaire Complete With A Timeline

Take one day to send the questionnaire to the influencer. You want them to feel like you took time to customize the questions, which you will to an extent.

Send the questionnaire in a document.

Instruct the influencer to fill out their responses on the document and to send the document back to you via email.

Include a timeline in your message with the questionnaire attached. Include the following dates:

  • Questionnaire Follow Up Date — 1 week from questionnaire send date
  • Response Due Date — 1 week from questionnaire send date or follow up date
  • Review Date — 10 days from questionnaire send date or follow up date
  • Publish Date — 17+ days from questionnaire send date or follow up date

Include these days as a way to encourage the influencer to provide responses within a reasonable amount of time. They are likely busy and may not have time to respond immediately so give them a few days to a week unless they say they have other pressing engagements upcoming.

Also include the review date, which is the day you will send it to them for final review. And the publish date will give them an idea of when they can expect to see their interview go live.

If you do not hear back from the person you’ll need to email them again to get them to respond to your questionnaire.

Here is an email script to use:

Hi,

I wanted to follow up to make sure you received the questionnaire.
We would really like to get your interview up so you can join the list of industry expert interviews on our blog. We know our readers will love seeing your responses to the questions.

If you have any questions let me know.

Thanks,
[Your Name]

If you’re doing a collective interview with more than one influencer you can send this follow up email:

Hi,

I wanted to follow up to make sure you received the questionnaire.
We would like to have the interview up soon and we’ve already heard back from [insert number] others including [name #1] and [name #2].

Are you still interested in being involved?
If there is anything I can do let me know.

Thanks, [Your Name]

Step 5 Format The Final Interview & Send To Interviewee For Final Approval

Once you receive the responses from the influencer you can format it and get it ready for the blog. This really shouldn’t take too much effort. You want the post to be as authentic as possible and you don’t want to put off the influencer by changing their answers.

If you notice obvious spelling mistakes you can fix them, but be careful about changing industry terms or language that may have been intentional. Keep the interview conversational. It’s a style readers enjoy.

Send the final post in a document to the interviewee with this message:

Attached is the formatted version of the interview. I’ll plan to publish it on [publish date] as is unless you see anything you would like changed.

This allows you to publish the interview even if you don’t hear back from the busy influencer. Give it at least a week before publishing the interview.

Step 6 Publish The Interview And Promote

Once the article is published, promote it to the communities you built per the instructions in the previous chapters. We’ll also cover even more methods for promoting your interview in the following chapters.

Step 7 Email The Interviewee Asking Them To Share The Post

As soon as the post is live, email the interviewee letting them know that the post is live. Ask them to share the post with their followers and also ask them to provide any feedback they have on the process.

Thank them for their efforts and let them know you appreciate their participation.

Step 8 Follow Up With Post Updates

Once the post has been live for a few days, follow up with the interviewee with stats on how the post is doing. The influencer will want to know the post is reaching lots of people and in this email you can ask them to share it once more with their followers.

Top Lists

Lists posts are usually favorites among blog readers.

Lists are easy to read. The format naturally breaks up the content into sections giving it structure. It’s also easy for visitors to skip ahead to points they really care about on the topic being covered.

List posts of various types do well with blog readers making it easier for you to market the posts in the ways discussed in this guide, but there is a type of list post that will make that task even easier.

Top lists are list posts that include the influencers from your influencer list can be great posts. On top of that fact is that top lists that include influencers will encourage those influencers to share the posts with their communities.

Some influencers will have alerts setup and they’ll notice your top lists and they’ll share them. For others, you can reach out to them and show them the post with subtle nudge requests that they share the post.

Here is how to create top lists and how to ask those you include to help market them.

Step 1 Find An Idea And Concept For The Top List

Sometimes you’ll come up with an entirely unique idea for a top list. If you do, go ahead and start writing, but if you’re struggling to come up with an idea use these steps to find a topic that your target audience has already show interest in.

  • Go to your list of influencers and visit the top blogs on the list.
  • Look for the top posts on the blogs.
  • First, see if they have a “Popular Posts” section. These are usually found in the sidebar area.
  • Second, look at the number of social shares on each post.
  • Find the most popular posts and write down the topics.
  • Take those topics and create top lists based on the topic.

Here are a few examples:

  • Topic: Interior Design Trends
  • Top List Idea: 101 Top Interior Design Trends
  • Top List Idea: 101 Top Sources Of Interior Design Inspiration
  • Top List Idea: 101 Top Interior Designers
  • Topic: Big Data
  • Top List Idea: 30 Best Sources On Big Data
  • Top List Idea: 30 Experts With The Most Knowledge On Big Data
  • Top List Idea: 30 Top Blogs About Technology And Big Data

Step 2 Include Influencers From Influencer List In The Post

Use your list of influencers to fill out the list. Include descriptions about both and include why you included them on the list.

Step 3 Publish Post And Share With Influencers Included

Start sharing the post with your network of connections to get some initial interest.

Then contact the influencers included on the list alerting them to the fact that they were included. Ask them to share the post with their followers.

Featured Articles (Ego Bait Posts)

Featured articles are blog posts written with focus entirely on one of the influencers on your list.

Instead of creating an entire list of influencers you’re focusing on one and going more in-depth with your coverage. It’s another type of article that blog readers enjoy and it can really earn the attention of an influencer from your list.

This method and others in this guide are called “Ego Bait Posts”. Sometimes it’s written as “EgoBait” too.

Here is how to write a featured article about one of your influencers.

Step 1 Browse Industry Blogs For Current Trends

You’re looking for topics that your audience is currently interested in. You can create these from scratch, but taking a hot topic happening right now gives you a better chance for hitting a hot button with readers.

Step 2 Go To Your Influencer List
& Find An Influencer That Is Affecting The Trend

Once you have your topic of interest, browse your influencer list and find one that has influence over the topic. You’re looking for the subject of your article so make sure there are multiple points you can discuss relating the influencer and the topic.

Step 3 Write A 2,000+ Word Feature Story On The Topic & Influencer

In general, longer posts rank better in search engines than short posts. But readers also see longer posts as more authoritative. This word count gives you room to share examples and stories about the influencer and the topic that the reader will be able to use as guidance for themselves.

Open with information about the hot topic. Capture attention with important questions that make people feel surprised, intrigued, etc. Use stats to show how the topic could affect the reader. This will capture their attention along with the hot topic in general.

After presenting the topic, go into the information about the influencer and how they’re affecting the topic. Discuss multiple points in this respect. Paint the influencer in a good light throughout the article. Positive information is part of the Ego Bait that will make it appealing for the influencer to share the article with their community once published.

Here is an example of how to frame a featured article:

Topic: Slow Loading Blogs Hurting Readership, Rankings And More

Influencer: Synthesis Hosting For WordPress And Copyblogger Media

The article would discuss the problems a slow website can have. It would also discuss current hosting options for WordPress and then show how Synthesis is a hosting service created specifically for WordPress blogs and websites.

Step 4 Share The Post With Your Community

Build some buzz around the post. Get some comments, shares and interest so that you have something worthwhile to show the influencer.

Step 5 Reach Out To The Influencer

Use email, social media or the influencer’s website to bring the article to the attention of the influencer.

Share it with them, but don’t ask them to share it. If the article is good and if it appeals to their better interests they will likely share it without asking.

Co-Authored Posts

Co-Authored Posts are posts that bring together influencers to create a type of super blog post that is the sum of all its contributors.

Individuals can create wonderful posts, but bringing together multiple authors can elevate a post to new levels. Readers not only get one point of view, they get multiple views from the people they look to for information and they get all in one place.

Co-Authored Posts are posts that bring together influencers to create a type of super blog post that is the sum of all its contributors.

Individuals can create wonderful posts, but bringing together multiple authors can elevate a post to new levels. Readers not only get one point of view, they get multiple views from the people they look to for information and they get all in one place.

Co-Authored Posts are also great vehicles for blog marketing. Each person included as an author on the post has an incentive for the post to do well.

Instead of one person promoting the post you have two, three or more people sharing the post between each of their communities, greatly expanding the audience and lifting the post and everyone involved up to new audiences.

Here is how you can setup and author a co-authored post with one or more of the influencers on your list.

Step 1 Find A Common Hot Topic

Browse industry blogs and websites. Find the topics that are top of mind for your target audience. You can create brand new topics that may be interesting to potential readers, but building on existing hot topics gives you a greater chance of hitting home on a great article.

Step 2 Find An Influencer
Or Influencers That Will Want To Participate

Some might say you can do this step first and you can, but finding the topic first can help you approach the influencer so we’ll go with this as the second step.

Browse your list of influencers and find one or multiple that would likely have useful information and insight into the hot topic.

Step 3 Determine The Best Post Formula

There are a few different ways you can format your co-authored post.

First, you could simply reach out to influencers on your list asking for their input on the topic. Then you could use that input to create a post and title it, “Industry Experts Share Advice On [Hot Topic]”.

Second, you could create a blog post as normal using input from each person and simply credit the post as being co-authored by each of you. It doesn’t have to include specific quotes from each of you, but simply be a joint post.

Third, you could do the majority of the writing and include quotes from influencers to give credibility to the post. The more involved the influencers the more likely they’ll be to share the post once published.

There are other post formulas that would probably work too.

Once you determine the type of post you want to create or the type of post you think your target influencer will want to participate with, contact the influencer on your list through the common methods — email, Twitter, etc. — describing the topic and if they would be interested in co-authoring a post.

Step 4 Determine Where The Post Will Be Published

After hearing back from the influencer you’ll have to determine the best place to publish the post.

There are a few factors that will determine the best place to publish the post.

The options include:

  • Your Blog
  • Their Blog
  • Another Blog

The topic will be one factor.

The blog with the most traffic will be another.

It might seem that it would be in your best interest to publish the post on your blog and have the influencer send you all kinds of traffic from their community, but you stand to gain just as much if your name is on the post and it’s published on the influencer’s blog or on another popular industry blog.

Step 5 Write The Post

The influencer and type of post you choose to create will determine how much writing you’ll do on the post. If the influencer is busy and has a big following you may need to offer to most or all of the writing using them as an expert for input on the article direction.

Some influencers may want to contribute a lot of content to the article.

In any case, work out the details with the influencer. Offer to make it easy on them by offering to over delivery on your end to make it pain free for them to participate and benefit.

Step 6 Have Those Involved Share The Post

Publish the post and share it with your community. The influencer will likely do the same since they’ll have a vested interest in the success of the post just like you will.

Putting It All Together

There are many types of posts that you can and will write on your blog that will do well.

Not every post has to be a form of Ego Bait to be successful. In fact, if you do it all the time it might turn off some of your potential readers.

But using various degrees of Ego Bait in your posts will help you grow your blog. Each of the posts mentioned above will create the type of post that is easy to market.

With regular posts, you can market and have success, but when you bring in influencers from your industry and give them a vested interest in the success of the post you’re expanding the audience likely to read the post.