I was asked yesterday, "how did you attract so many readers to your blog".

I cannot remember the year I started blogging, but it was well before it became mainstream. I started my first blog on blogspot and then matured to having a blog on our company website.
5 Ways To Build An Exceptional Content Marketing Strategy : Mellissah Smith

My first blog achieved a few hundred readers. I thought that was pretty good, so I wrote a second. It attracted a few thousand. Then another, it attracted 50. So I would do what any self respecting future blogger would do, and I would look at the difference between the first couple of blogs and the last. What was interesting about this process was that it was simply a case of trial and error, but there are key things that make a blog successful and things that won't get noticed no matter how many times you share it on social media platforms.

Over time, I have worked out a secret sauce aided by the number of visitors to my website and the mix of offline and online marketing mediums.

From time to time, other staff members write blogs. Their hits are ok, but never great. It's not that they are not great writers. In fact, quite the contrary. They are significantly better than myself. I have come to realize that it is simply a headline. How strong your headline is, determines how many hits and shares you get on social media.

Internet users are becoming more and more selective. They are caring about what they consume online and what they share. With the rise and rise of content marketing, it has become increasingly important for bloggers and content creators in general to mix it up a bit and be more innovative. But largely, there is a secret sauce that many of the great bloggers know:

#1  Know your target audience

Never write for yourself. Write for your audience. You know, those people that you want to come back to your blog or content day after day. Know what they like and dislike; whether they play golf or not. 

#2   Post regularly

It's true, if you post regularly and then stop, you lose your fans. I wrote a blog on LinkedIn that attracted 74,000 readers, then I took 3 weeks to write the next. Sadly, that only achieved a little more than 1,000 viewers. I then waited 2 months to write the next. Guess what happened? I only had a couple of hundred views. Before all of that I was attracting a few thousand each blog. Hubspot did a survey of 7000 people which stated that if you post 15 times per month, you will have 5 times more traffic than companies that post once or twice.

#3   Write for your audience

My audience is entrepreneurs and marketers. I write largely for entrepreneurs and on occasion just for marketers. Entrepreneurs relate mostly to my business experience and usually one of their biggest problems is marketing. So I dig deep into what it is like walking in my own shoes as an entrepreneurs. I talk about how scary it is to expand internationally, or how I failed in a particular pursuit. I often share the trials and tribulations of being a woman in business, in her early forties trying to "have it all". They love it. How do I know? They come back week after week looking for more. They share my blogs with all and sundry and they write me long letters telling me about their experiences. I write for them, as much as I write for myself. My voice and tone in blogs is as if I am speaking, so mostly the readers feel as if they are having a conversation with me. They feel as if they know me. Obviously this is a fine line because we all don't want to expose ourselves online, but for me, it is what resonates.

#4   Self promotion

I don't know about you, but I use to find it annoying when people use to self promote on social media or in blogs. Totally irritating! Then you would see that same person who posted how good they were over and over again, rise and rise. As annoying as it is, these are the people that get traction. Of course there is a fine line between acceptable and unacceptable, but its our job as content marketers to find that. Never be afraid to ask others to share your content, if the content is relevant to their followers.

#5   Share on social media

Of course, social media postings is content and largely I have just talked about my own experiences as a blogger. But so often I see bloggers have no social media links or if they do, you have go in search to find them. What a waste of time and opportunity. Make sure your content no matter what platform it is on, is shareable.

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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