This fourth installment in the Better Your Blog series is coming to you late today. I call it a snow delay. No, I didn’t lose power. No, I didn’t lose internet. But something about the snow just slows everything, including my writing.
One thing I’ve always had going for me is consistency. Since I started my blog in 2009, I’ve been posting 3-4 (or more) times per week. That equates to over 1000 posts. Well over, actually. So my traffic should be crazy good, right? Well, that’s a relative term but it’s certainly not what I think it should be for how long I’ve been doing this and for the volume of content I’ve written.
Last fall, when I attended the annual Type-A Parent Conference, I had a lightbulb go off. Some of you will laugh because it something that is so obvious in this field yet I never really stopped to think about it. Writing your content is one thing. Marketing your content is something completely different. It’s not a “if you write it, they will come” sort of field unless you’re an SEO whiz. Even then, you’re putting all your faith in Google.
Using Google Analytics to develop a marketing strategy
Looking at my traffic I discovered a few interesting things. (If you’re not well-versed in Google Analytics, I found this by going to Behavior => Site Content => All Pages and changed my date range to include an entire year).
Of my ten most popular posts for the past year, NONE were written in 2015. Now, if you look at the second line, it’s showing you the my second highest page of traffic is my home page. My numbers show me that 8.45% of traffic came from people arriving at my site either by typing in allthingsfadra.com or by doing a Google search that led them to my home page. More importantly, 37.44% of my top traffic came from older specific posts. The rest of the traffic was directed at other pages and posts on my site. (This is all accessible through your Google Analytics).
What does all this gobbledy-gook mean? It means that while people may love me and my blog (I’m assuming), they actually visit my site, most of the time, because they’ve found some content they want to read. And this is why marketing your content is more important than marketing you blog. (Once they make it to your blog, it’s up to you to invite them to come back.)
Secondary dimension reveals Pinterest!
Let’s go a touch deeper, shall we? We’re going to add a “Secondary dimension” to our data to figure out more of where our readers are coming from.
On that same Google Analytics page, just above your data, you’ll see the ability to add a second dimension to your stats. First, I clicked on a post link that I wanted more data on (this one doesn’t happen to be in my top ten but I’ve noticed a lot of traffic from this one lately). Then I added Secondary dimension (dropbox at the top) => Acquisition => Source.
Look at that. The girl who claims she NEVER gets traffic from Pinterest is starting to get a lot of traffic for a post I did on book club reading. (Yay me!)
So how does this help me better marketing my content? I’ve made some specific choices for my posts as a result.
- I made sure that I created a Pinterest board all about books (actually, I already had this created but I’ve focused on populating it more).
- I made sure that all my other book club posts (I do one annually) have a nice pinnable graphic in them.
- Recently, I added a new plug-in to my site called BAW Manual Related Posts. Instead of letting some random plug-in decide which posts might interest those readers, I can now choose exactly which post I think are most related and that my readers will like. And guess what? It’s working.
Other referral sources to focus on might be Google (sharpen your SEO skills with a plug-in like Yoast SEO and brush up on your knowledge with education and tools on Moz.com), StumbleUpon, Twitter, or Facebook. And yes, I’ve even started getting traffic from LinkedIn. Let’s talk more about other ways to market your content.
Lean in to your community
With all due respect to Sheryl Sandberg, I’ve never bought into the concept of leaning in. I am woman, hear me roar. I’m independent. I like to do things my way. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Meanwhile, many bloggers elevated (and continue to elevate) their traffic by building a strong community of like-minded bloggers to promote each other’s content.
For many years, I felt like this was gaming the system. Or annoying my followers. Or something. It just rubbed me the wrong way. But the bottom line is that every time someone puts my content in front of their audience on any platform I’m getting the chance for eyes to see my content that might not have otherwise known about it. And no one is forcing anyone to click on it.
So I’m officially promoting the idea of finding your tribe or your group (which often happens at conferences and translates well to private groups on Facebook) and stumble, pin, tweet, and share the hell out of each other’s content. Here’s just a sampling of groups I’m in.
Sometimes we stumble or pin or tweet or shares tips and ideas about video creation, Periscope, and even revenue streams. It’s huge and it’s also a way to spread and share your content.
Here’s where I say it’s important to know your tribe. If you’re audience likes reading about makeup for women over 40, they won’t necessarily want to read your share on how to win a year’s supply of diapers.
Socializing vs. Marketing
One final and very important thing to recognize is that nobody likes a social media influencer, or blogger, or vlogger, who is nothing but a marketing machine. You still need to be a real person with a real voice. Spend time on your favorite platform (I personally love Instagram and Twitter) and share stories unrelated to your blog. Comment on funny pictures and ask questions. When people like you, they are definitely more interested in what you have to say.
Missed the rest of the series? Read Weeks 1-3:
And stop back next Monday for the final installment where I tell you how to (once and for all) tame that email monster!