By Stacey Ross
I have built an awesome part-time business that is ideal for motherhood – namely blogging. From my blogging/online efforts, I have branched out to help others who are in their grassroots stages, and I help them with anything from building content to relationship-building, branding and multi-media campaigns. In order to approach blogging as a business, I had to embrace it as a brand and not just look at it as an online memoir or as a platform for citizen journalism.
The other day, I was asked to speak to a group of mom entrepreneurs about strategically harnessing social media, and the first thing I could think of was the secret sauce that has been the most valuable strategy for me – namely giving! They say “If you give, you shall receive,” and when the primary motivation for offering tidbits for free is to help spread goodness and value, the giving is seen as truly authentic.
The following tips for increasing blog traffic have worked for me and for those whom I have assisted both on public platforms as well as behind-the-scenes:
1. Offer assistance or advice.
I learned from my online friends that lending a helping hand not only builds credibility but is a stellar way of building earned media (unsolicited endorsements and testimonials are the best). This is a far cry from having a potential client for coffee to “pick your brain” (been there). Rather it is an opportunity to offer select information or guidance to a large platform, or provide a sample of your services to select influencers.
2. Showcase or spotlight others.
This can be done in the form of an interview, by linking to quotes and websites, by telling a quick story using others as examples, or sharing images that feature interesting people and their worlds. You will be thrilled to see the shares you can get, such as “Check out the advice I gave about the XYZ controversy on ABC Blog!” This type of approach also helps your name get around and opens the doors to greater visibility by all sorts of media specialists.
3. Guest post for others!
I first got my feet wet with TheOnlineMom.com by asking the owners if I could write a guest post about something that infuriated me. Somehow it led to my joining the team, and I am still here – part of this amazing online community! Free samples in front of a restaurant really work! For bloggers trying to gain brand exposure or even freelance work, there are many ideal online platforms where they can leave their marks of expertise and passion!
4. Embrace multi-media platforms!
So many bloggers are set on social media being the be-all-and-end-all in regards to driving traffic to one’s blog and/or brand, but that is just one piece of the puzzle. Offline promotions can be underrated, so besides considering SEO strategies and other online partnerships, consider tapping into print publications, TV exposure, and offline ads to spotlight your efforts as a blogger. Ask via your email subscription (e-blasts are also very valuable) how your new followers heard about you, and you might be surprised!
5. Get social!
Know what your target niche likes to read about (don’t just make it about you!) and offer them some golden nuggets and genuine conversation! If sharing a free report is not your bag, why not try some giveaways or stimulate or engage in some online chats? Feature current and buzz worthy content and probe your community for their insight, input and opinions. Ultimately, you will see what they want more of and that will not only lead to better analytics, but also to greater brand exposure (and ROI, if you have a product or service) for you and your blog.
Stacey Ross is an online consultant, social media enthusiast, freelancer and owner of SanDiegoBargainMama.com. A former teacher and middle school counselor, she is now a mom of two who researches and freelances about lifestyle topics involving family and well-being.