Tag Archives: Twitter

No one cares about your blog

5 Killer Tactics to Increase Your Blog Traffic

We’ve all been there. We’ve hit publish on our latest blog post and expected the comments and shares to start rolling in. But instead we get… nothing. It seems that no one has even seen our beautiful article, let alone read it. A piece of tumbleweed seems to blow across the screen and it feels so lonely out there on the World Wide Web…

No one cares about my blog

I see this phenomenon happening all the time with company blogs, and it’s not hard to see why. In most niches you’ll be competing with hundreds of other blogs for the attention of the same few readers, and to stand out you’ll often need to produce something truly exceptional. Making great content can require serious time and money, but as Rand Fishkin shows in this Whiteboard Friday there are many tactics out there that anyone can use to improve their blog readership.

Today I want to follow on from that post by sharing five more of the smartest tactics I’ve read recently around the web. None are hard to implement and all could have a significant effect on your traffic, links and shares. So let’s get started!

1. Share More Than Once

This first tip comes from Garrett Moon, who suggests in a post on KISSmetrics that companies aren’t sharing their blog content nearly as much as they ought to. Many of us have the mentality of “share once and forget”. We publish something on our blog and distribute it across all our social media channels once. But what about all those people who missed that initial communication?

A much better solution is to share each blog post multiple times, depending on the platform, in a timely fashion. For example, you might tweet, Facebook share and Google+ you article as soon as you hit publish. Then a day later you might want to tweet it again. Perhaps the following week it’s time for another Google+ share, and so on.

In his post Garrett shows how you can easily double your traffic from social media in this way. Check out the handy visual they put together:

Social sharing timeline

Image credit: KISSmetrics

Some marketers would call this spamming your audience, but I would say it’s more like giving them the value you’ve promised them. Even Rand in his Whiteboard Friday mentions how he will tweet a post he wrote months if not years ago, just to remind people that “this still matters”. No one notices every little thing you do online, and by sharing more than once you’re just making sure no one misses anything.

However, you should definitely make sure not to publish the same message on social media more than once, as this does comes across as spammy. Instead, deploy a range of different tactics to catch your reader’s attention. For example, if you wanted to tweet this blog post you could try…

Tweeting the title:

Tweet the Title

Posing a question:

Pose a Question Tweet

Quoting the author:

Quote the Author Tweet

Or citing a fact:

Cite a fact tweet

Happy sharing!

2. Get Influencers to Write for You

Elmore Leonard, influential writer

This is an excellent tactic from Matthew Barby. If you really want to grow your audience, the key is to get influencers to write for you. This means reaching out to the bloggers in your niche with the largest social followings and the ability to write consistently excellent stuff, asking them to become contributors.

By getting these guys and girls involved, you’ll not only be getting exceptional content for your blog (content that will hopefully earn you links and shares); you’ll also be getting access to a powerful distribution channel in the form of the influencer’s social network.

Of course, unless your blog is super prestigious you will probably need to pay these bloggers to write for you, and you should definitely specify as part of the arrangement that they share the posts on social media. That being said, I think this option makes so much more sense than hiring a “general purpose” content creator.

As well as payment, you could also offer bloggers the following perks:

  • Offer to share content on their own site (but only if you have a large social following)
  • A link back to their website from every post they write for you
  • Give them free use of your products or services

Working with influencers is a fantastic way to improve blog readership. A nice bonus is that often these guys write for other big media sites as well, so they may be able to link to something they have written for your blog from a third party site in the future.

For more information, check out Matt’s comprehensive guide to finding influencers using Social Crawlytics, BuzzSumo and Followerwonk: The Power of Authors and Content for Link Building.

3. Feed the Hummingbird

Google Hummingbird

Out to Razvan Gavrilas of cognitiveSEO for this one. In the Hummingbird era, there are opportunities to optimise your content for synonyms that many bloggers are missing. For years now Google has been ranking synonyms in its search results. So, for example, if I search for “SEO agency” I will also see results for “SEO company” and “SEO services” highlighted in bold:

SEO synonyms example

What is interesting is that since the Hummingbird update, a page optimised for “SEO company” can rank for “SEO agency” even if the keyword “SEO agency” doesn’t appear anywhere on that page (i.e. in the source code) or off the page (i.e. in anchor text, co-citation or co-occurrence). See Razvan’s original post for more detail.

However, the page optimised for “SEO company” would rank a whole lot better for “SEO agency” if it also actually contained the keyword “SEO agency” somewhere. What this means for marketers is that we can get some quick and dirty wins by making sure our content is optimised for important synonyms as well as for the main keyword.

For example, if I were to write about “New York coffee shops”, I might also make sure to include the synonym “NYC cafes” in the text. I’m sure I would rank for “NYC cafes” anyway thanks to Hummingbird, but by explicitly including this keyword I could give myself a cheeky ranking boost.

The simple process is as follows: find the synonyms of your targeted keyword (using Thesaurus.com if necessary); identify the ones with high search volume using Keyword Planner; finally, make sure to include them in your content. This isn’t keyword stuffing. It’s about helping people find our content who are searching using similar but not quite exactly the same keywords.

There will come a time when Hummingbird understands what we have written and there will be no influencing rankings. But it’s not quite there yet and for now we can help the algorithm learn to be more accurate by creating the correct semantic relations in our writing.

4. Get Your Tweet Text Right

Hat tip to Ross Hudgens for this one. It’s really important to make sure you have your default tweet text optimised to encourage users to click on the link and follow you on Twitter. A survey by Siege Media found that a massive 73% of company blogs weren’t taking advantage of this technique.

So what does optimised tweet text look like? A simple best practice solution would be to include the post title, URL and your Twitter handle like this:

Tweet the Title

Among the common mistakes people were making were including the entire title tag instead of just the post title, which takes up valuable space and dilutes the message:

Tweeting the Page Title

Using a generic message like “Currently reading on the @VerveSearch blog”, which doesn’t give the reader any information as to what the post is about and doesn’t encourage them to click:

Generic Tweet

And mentioning a Twitter handle that isn’t relevant to the article, meaning that people probably won’t follow your account:

Irrelevant Twitter Handle

So optimise your default tweet text so it includes the post title, URL and your Twitter handle, and watch your Twitter referrals roll in!

5. Repurpose Your Content

Content Repurposing Ideas

In the Hummingbird era, I’m a firm believer in writing fewer longer posts rather than frequent shorter ones. I definitely think this is a better use of one’s time (in terms of getting links, traffic and shares) than blogging daily and simply regurgitating in 600 words what’s already out there. 

In the SEO industry, for example, stand out content tends to involve case studies, new experiments, research and opinion pieces (take a look at what I’ve been linking to in this article). But how do you generate traffic while you’re researching your next big piece?  

The answer is to repurpose your existing content by transforming blog posts into other content formats. Each of these new pieces could then be uploaded to its own separate channel, where it would be seen by a new audience and help to generate more traffic. For example, you could turn a blog post into:

  • a podcast: record yourself reading your post aloud and upload to iTunes 
  • a screencast: record yourself doing something on-screen, add a voiceover and upload to YouTube
  • a slide presentation: create a slide show out of your post and upload to SlideShare
  • a ebook: turn a series of posts into an ebook, which is available to download as a PDF for a tweet

This is just scratching the surface. There are many other ways to re-skin your content and you will also find a host of niche-specific content formats. For example, in the travel space Jauntful helps users to create their own personalised maps containing their favourite things to do in an area and can be uploaded to its own dedicated platform.

It makes perfect sense to want to repurpose your content after all the effort you’ve put into creating it in the first place. Just remember to always add value by making each piece more digestible and easier to understand than its predecessor.

Further reading: The Ultimate Guide to Repurposing Content by Kevan Lee

Summary

Obviously there’s no substitute for producing great content (yawn) but I hope this post has shown that there are many other ways to increase blog traffic independent of the content itself.

Most of these tactics are simply about squeezing the most out of what you have already. So in terms of sharing, you can make sure you post more than once and optimise your tweet text. In terms of SEO, you can ensure that you’re Hummingbird-friendly (in a natural and non-spammy way, of course). And in terms of strategy you can make sure that influencers write for you and that you come up with smart ways to repurpose this material.

If you’re currently running a company blog that no one cares about, I hope these tips can help put a smile on your boss’s face. But most of all, I hope you never have to see the tumbleweed or feel that lonely again.

The Selfie – An easy tip to improve your social media appearance

Oh another selfie

The Selfie, that small little occupation, is an ultimate textbook example of how something that didn’t even exist five years ago has suddenly become one of the most obvious parts of our everyday internet lives. On the surface the selfie might seem like a crappy and superficial little narcissistic act; a slimy frog that muddies the magical kingdom of The Internet.  But dig a little deeper and you’ll soon see that this little frog has grown to a full-sized, ruling Prince Charming, especially when it comes to content marketing and social media.

#SelfieOlympics#SelfieOlympics#SelfieOlympics

With the #SelfieOlympics people have taken the social media art form  to the next level in 2014.

In the beginning, the selfie was best described as:

“a picture, taken with the family’s compact camera, of some dude awkwardly posing in the bathroom. After that being transferred through a very big and clumsy cable into the computer thingy and uploaded to MySpace, looking like a four pixels piece of art.” (Description by Agnes Stenlund, a.k.a. Me).

Old school selfie

But today, the situation is different. Since the concept of the selfie first started the entire meaning and the potential impact that lies in the picture has changed, even though the act in itself remains the same. For starters, today we can actually look up in the Oxford Dictionary the definition of the word:

“selfie: a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” (Very fancy description by Oxford Dictionary).

But today the word “selfie” is not only a word in the dictionary, but also one sharp weapon concerning marketing and social media. I present to you a proposal: Why you should use the selfie as a social media tool.

1.       Get personal in your business.

(NB: I hope that the relevance of a special business account on Twitter or other social platform goes without saying, so I’ll write these tips without explaining that aspect of the approach). A common problem with business accounts is the fact that they easily become a bit biased, which sooner or later can be perceived as spammy. Posting a selfie or two on a business account shows – in a nice, folksy kind of way – that there are regular people working at the company, and that the business isn’t just run by a couple of bots hanging around. Nothing creates trust like the “ordinary person” approach, and the recognition of posting a selfie makes it even stronger.

2.      Make friends.

Back in the glory days of MySpace, the selfie brought an important section of social media to the table. The picture made it possible for people to show others how they really wanted to be, what they wanted to wear and how they wanted the world to see them. Suddenly it became easy to find new friends, people who were like you, and a ground breaking way of socializing was born. Even though a selfie really doesn’t tell people anything more than what you look like, it’s still a good way of getting new connections. By liking someone’s business update you’re basically saying, “Hey, I like your business.” By liking their picture of a donut you’re telling them, “Hey, your donut looks cool.” And by liking a selfie you’re saying, “Hey, you’re cool!” It’s not that hard to see which one is the best way to start a valuable connection.

3.      Get people to join the campaign.

This one is simple. People want to share selfies. They’re looking for an excuse to do it. If you create a social campaign that includes posting a selfie you’re adding one more reason for people to participate, since you suddenly turn the focus from the commercial part in to the person in question. If you’re planning to create a hashtag to get more publicity for your website, try to include a selfie in one way or another and watch it spread. When anyone can post it themselves it’s even better, with no special login, most of the people in your targeting range carries everything they need to participate with them at all times.

Fuck you Putin

The hashtag #fuckyouputin” at the end of January got thousands of Swedes to share selfies where they pointed their finger for the rights of gay people.

4.      Get on trend.

The Turkish Airlines campaign, “Selfie Shootout”,  from December 2013 has received more than 136 million views on Youtube.

I doubt I have to explain this any further, do I?

Google trends selfie

5.      Make yourself look good (not just by choosing the right filter).

If you use the selfie correctly, it can be a way of showing the public your personality, values and skills in a little box. By using the right words, you can make yourself appear exactly as you want to. To choose the right time and place to share the selfie might seem a bit sneaky, but then again, look at it as a part of the business. Wouldn’t you try to spread the best sides of your company in a commercial or advert? That’s how it works, and it’s okay to play by the rules.

So if you didn’t know it before, I’m telling you right now, selfies are very much happening. What’s more, they are so hot right now. If you want to be one step ahead I, as the social pro that I am, would recommend you to embrace videos. After the growing trend of videos on Instagram, vloggers and of course Vine it isn’t hard to see that people love them. To share a short film of yourself saying good morning or cheers is another way to create and portray that sunny and relaxed personality of yours that you want everyone to see.

So let’s combat the wave of working against selfies. Instead, let’s create a society where you don’t have to scroll around someone’s Facebook profile to try to find a decent picture of her or him; a society where you don’t have to persuade your friends that, “he looks better in reality,” and “not at all like the high school picture he’s tagged in”. So, now, my challenge for you guys is to #postmoreselfies.

ses-london2014

Win a Platinum Ticket to SES London 2014! #HeartSESLondon

ses-london2014

“Hey girl, how’d you like to see my long tail?”

With Valentine’s Day only two weeks away, we at Verve thought we’d show you all some love and offer you the opportunity to WIN one of two platinum tickets to SES London 2014 (worth £1,199 each), courtesy of the organisers themselves! SES London is one of the leading annual events in the Search and Social calendar, where you can learn all the latest in PPC, SEO, Social and Content Marketing.

To enter, we want you to chat up the beautiful people of Verve via Twitter. We want the naffest, most cringe-worthy lines you can think of. BUT! We want them all to have an SEO twist; the more elaborate and nerdy the better.

Think you’ve got what it takes to woo us? Then Tweet your pick-up lines to @VerveSearch, using the hashtag #HeartSESLondon. The two winners will be announced on Thursday 6th February. Entrants must be able to attend all three days (11th-13th February), so you might want to start chatting up your manager as well to ensure you’ve got the time off. Also, please note that the prize is entry to the conference only; I’m afraid you’ll have to sweet-talk train ticket inspectors and hotel concierges as well if you need travel and accommodation.

For a little inspiration, why not have a look at how Ryan Gosling has been charming the SEO world of late. Seriously, I’m a heterosexual male and I’d still outreach to his blog any day of the week…

Beautiful picture of the Gosling courtesy of KeshKesh AKA Takeshi Young - @takeshiyoung

Beautiful picture of the Gosling courtesy of KeshKesh AKA Takeshi Young – @takeshiyoung

For more information and to book your place at this year’s conference – that is, IF you don’t charm the pants off of us and win yourself a ticket – head to SES’s Rates & Registration Details page.