If You Post It, Will They Come?

What brought you here to read this blog post today? Did you find it through a search engine? Did you click on a link from your Twitter feed? Or are you one of the faithful few who subscribe to the blog?

I was recently talking with a friend who was giving me a hard time that I don’t read her blog on a regular basis. It’s not that I don’t like her blog posts, but there are 600+ unread posts in my Google Reader and only so many hours in a day. I know I’m not alone, I think we’re all time and attention-starved.

I think my friend was really suggesting that I should be reading and sharing her posts. As a new blogger, she wants to grow her audience. Getting me to read her posts (and hopefully share them) is a marketing strategy for her. I think a lot of new bloggers out there just expect people to read their posts. They figure, the more they post, the more traffic they’ll get. To a certain extent, that’s true, but it also takes an equal or greater amount of blog marketing.

If I take a look at my Web traffic over the past year, it’s across the board in terms of traffic source:

  • 30% of visitors found the blog through a search engine – they were searching for something and found the blog
  • 28.7% of visitors were direct – they knew our website address and typed it in their browser bar
  • 9.5% clicked on a link to one of our posts in a Twitter feed
  • 7.3% clicked on a link through the RSS feed and visited the blog
  • 5% were referred from PRDaily.com, a PR-focused website that regularly features our post
  • 3.5% visited the blog from StumbleUpon
  • 2.3% came through Facebook

To my friend’s point, 28% of people just come to the blog looking for the latest post. I’m sure some of those people were friends I bugged about not reading my blog – maybe not. Regardless, they knew the address of my blog. That comes through reach and frequency. There’s no secret formula for that – it’s called hard work.But that didn’t happen magically…

I’ve got myself out there to meet people and I’ve spoke at conferences. I’ve sat through hundreds of hours of Twitter chats (I love sharing ideas). I’ve written more than 160 blog posts and I’ve written 30 posts for other blogs and newsletters. I’ve read other blogs and left insightful comments. I’ve volunteered my time to help others find jobs in PR. And I’ve educated myself on how to write blog posts that are easy to find through search engines – and how to make it easy for people to share blog content.

If you want to grow your website traffic, you have to move beyond the “If I post it, they will come” mentality and realize that you have to tell people it’s there. Nearly 10% of my blog traffic comes from Twitter – where I’ve always shared a link upon publishing a new post. Just recently I’ve integrated Facebook on the blog, enabling readers to ‘Like’ blog posts if they do. It’s already contributed 2.3% of the traffic for the year.

Don’t assume people are reading your posts (and don’t assume that they should be either). While I advocate for sharing links to content, and letting people know you are there, it’s the quality of the posts that will ultimately determine whether or not they’re worth reading.

If a blog post falls on your blog, and nobody’s around to read it, it doesn’t make a noise – you know what I mean. Make sure people know about your blog. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Share a link to your blog post on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – I prefer to write different status updates for each
  • Participate in Twitter chats like #journchat – don’t plug your blog on the chat, let people discover you. If you make some good points, they will.
  • Read other blogs – if you see something you like, leave a genuine, heartfelt comment (don’t just comment to get a link to your blog – it will be obvious to the blogger). Pay attention to what other bloggers are doing on their sites too – you’ll learn a lot.
  • Learn a thing or two about SEO and use some basics in your posts – using frequently-searched keywords in your title is one of a hundred tactics you should be thinking about.
  • Offer to guest post on bigger blogs – you’ll usually get to include an about paragraph that links back to your blog. This is a great way to build awareness for your expertise while attracting readers to your blog.
  • Make it easy to share your blog posts – take a look at this post, you can Retweet it, Like it, or share across a dozen or so different options.
  • Make sure people can subscribe to your blog via an RSS feed – I also enable people to subscribe to the RSS feed via email (Feedburner is a good option)
  • Please share this post – and finally, don’t be afraid to ask people to share your post. If they like it, they’ll usually be happy to do so. Just remember to return the favor and share great content you discover.

Blogging is a great way to extend your professional brand, but it’s also a lot of work. For all the time you spend blogging, you might as well dedicate some of that time marketing your blog. Don’t assume your posts are so good that people will just show up to read them.

What do you think? How do you attract readers to your blog? Who tactics do you use to encourage people to share your content?

About Jeremy Porter 214 Articles
Jeremy Porter has been passionate about the intersection of public relations and journalism since studying both Public Relations and Journalism at Utica College of Syracuse University in the late 90s. Porter launched Journalistics in 2009 to share his ideas and insights around both professions and how trends and developments in modern day marketing, communications, and technology impact those working in these fields. Porter also values the traditions and history of both professions and regularly shares his perspective in these areas - and related topics geared toward the next generation of journalism and public relations professionals.

22 Comments

  1. well to start off, i landed on this post via a link posted by a friend on Twitter – so i guess i fit into the 10% portion of your blog traffic. Not only do I agree with what you’re saying, the fact that I’m on this post today is a confirmation of what your preaching. Blog marketing is more often than not forgotten (or taken for granted).
    I just wanted to confirm a piece of evidence from my experience that confirms your statistics: There is a significant positive correlation (of +0.77) between number of tweets and number of views to my blog – this information is based on 10 months of blogging and tweeting. I did the same exercise to study the correlation between number of post and number of views: the correlation is certainly positive (+0.47) but the sample size was not significant enough to verify this data as conclusive. Apologies for the technical info, but in layman terms, what i’m trying to say, that traffic generated to your blog from Twitter is very high.
    I haven’t done the study on other platforms, but I am certain that the correlation exists (definitely the variable in this equation would be your audience and their favorite channel of communication).
    Once again, thanks for the reminder, I hope more people learn about engagement marketing, rather than unidirectional marketing.
    John Antonios

  2. I found out about this blog via search engine, because I was looking for good career blogs and this one popped up. It always amazes me where some of my traffic comes from, but I would say that most of my traffic does not come from search engines.

    I’m still really new to blogging, so I have to actively “push” content for people to read it. Posting links on Facebook drives most of the traffic to my blog, because it accesses my 600 plus friends. Twitter not so much. I’ll be lucky if I get a click or two.

    Good advice overall though, I’ll definitely be using some of it.

    • Thanks Samuel. One of the tactics I have used in the past is to write a high-quality, insightful post on a topic when I can’t find a good post on a subject. Since other people are searching for the same thing, it’s helped me to gradually pull traffic.

      Facebook has the potential to drive a lot more traffic, because status updates hang around longer than a brief tweet. It really depends on how many people you’re reaching initially, and how many people share that content with others. If you write something people really want to share, you have the potential to generate a ton of traffic. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’m learning too.

  3. Jeremy, I am SO HAPPY that you asked what I “thing”
    🙂
    As a university marketing professor who started blogging about Social Media a year ago last April, I recently started a NEW blog called DRIVING MISS SHARI.
    Its purpose is to help me “profit” from an unfortunate accident that stripped me of my driving privileges. Taking this “rock” thrown at me, I found the pearl underneath — and thus the new blog.
    My goal is to collect 500 comments on the very first post “How To Get Rich & Famous on the Web”: http://sharisax.com/DrivingMissShari/2010/08/how-to-become-rich-famous-on-the-web

    I’m more than 1/2 way there and I am hoping [fingers crossed] that you and some of your readers will add your comments so I can reach my goal.

    Hope to see you on the other side: http://sharisax.com/DrivingMissShari/2010/08/how-to-become-rich-famous-on-the-web
    THX,
    Shari
    PS If anyone wants to check out articles on subjects like Enhancing your LinkedIn profile, and Tweeting to Stand Out from the Masses, then check out http://sharisax.com

  4. I’m a subscriber… 🙂
    Moving from Blogspot to self-hosted WP has been hard! So difficult to get my old readers with me.
    But I try to tweet but not as much as I used to. I’ll get back on track again…
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I, too, came in via twitter. Thanks for the great insights (and inspiration). I was just at an association meeting last week where small businesses were discussing blogs and content – perhaps Business Blogs 101. Your information here helps to bring us to the “next level.”

  6. A friend pointed me toward Journalistics on Twitter, and I usually link to the site from there. I post similar ideas and topics on my blog, but appreciate the advice posted here. I think branding a particular blog and increasing traffic or comments is half the battle once you’ve gotten the hang of posting regularly. I definitely think using sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other blogs are great ways to generate a larger audience and more traffic. Meanwhile, I’ve been advised to use keywords regularly in order to pop up in more search engines! Thanks for the advice and great topics… Cheers!

  7. I haven’t been updating my LinkedIn status with a note and link to my new blog posts, thinking that my blog fed into LI and that’s sufficient. But, how many people actually go to my LI profile and read my posts? I would guess none, so I’m going to make that change — just did an update. Thanks for that idea!

    I think it also helps to be part of a niche blogger and Twitter community. Your fellow community members are more likely to notice when you post something good and are more likely to share it. I feel lucky to be part of a supportive community of association bloggers — we definitely share the spotlight with each other.

  8. Very solid advice. We find SEO to be the hardest of all the tactics to actually implement, but it’s completely necessary. The fact that 30% of your visitors come from search engines is astounding.

  9. Thank you for your post Jeremy, it came at a great time in my blogging life. I started my blog earlier this week, I only have two posts on there right now, so I’m really new at this. I loved your intro to this post because the fact-of-the-matter is the answer to those questions is one of the ways people will come across your blog; I found myself answering each question as I read along. I found you through my subscription to PRSA newsletter and they had a link of this post.

  10. Thanks for this post, Jeremy. Your point about the time spent writing and that it warrants a boost on the marketing end hit home. As a professional writer I find I identify well with the cobbler whose children had no shoes. I write and interview all week long and always end up putting my own blog on hold. But I’m seeing the importance of putting something of quality out there with consistency, even if it’s only a brief post with bullet points. Quality is the key, as you implied, and marketing is the push on the door. Thanks for the “push” today 🙂
    Gratitude,
    Nora

  11. Great post Jeremy! I like the easy way you point out the isses and share tips tha geniune reader can understand. BTW: arrvied by Twitter 😉
    Keep up the god work!

    Cheears form Norway!
    Almir

  12. Came here via the recommendation of a colleague and I’ll certainly continue following. I’m acommunications professinal who enjoys learning from colleagues who blog and work actively in the field. There is a wealth of good information out there. I also have a blog of my own, and so this of interest to me personally. I find my biggest success has come from being consistent in my posting schedule, being true to my purpose and reading and commenting on other blogs.

  13. Not a huge fan of the attitude of entitlement that a large number of bloggers have. It’s hard work. You don’t “deserve” readers, and not everyone you meet will enjoy your writing style and content.

  14. I’m one of the 7.3% that come to your blog via my feedreader. I currently have around 2.5k of unread posts, which is not an un-common situation. To get my attention the title and synopsis has to engage me, and I’m sure I reflect many others.

    Great blog post. 🙂

  15. I came in through a link in your emails (yes I am a subscriber).
    I don’t often have the opportunity to read up on some of my favorites. This morning I woke up early, so have had the chance to go through some of them. I’m happy to have found yours because your tips are actually usable!
    It’s nice to see someone selling the idea that this is hard work, and that socializing gets results.
    Thanks.
    Duchess O’Blunt

  16. Thank you for this post. I’m a new blogger and I get very discouraged when I look at my WordPress and see that nobody has visited it since the last time I’ve plugged it on Facebook. I’m going to use some of your tips now. I had to visit #journchat for a class, and now I think I’ll be a more frequent visitor!

9 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. If You Post It, Will They Come? – blog.journalistics.com » This Is How I Made My Money
  2. The Ticker: Zuck + Newark; Hyperlocal Philly; Social Lions; Blog marketing - PRNewser
  3. Our 3 Favorite Blog Posts from the Week | Social Media Bootcamp
  4. Blogging and Community Building « onecoolsitebloggingtips
  5. 11 steps for getting the most out of your writing blog in 2011 « The Ambitious Ambigue
  6. 11 steps for getting the most out of your writing blog in 2011 Tek News - Not Just Another Tech Site - Tek News
  7. Guest Post by Emlyn Chand – 11 Steps to Better Blogging | My Pajama Days
  8. 11 ways to maximize your blog traffic in 2011 | Novel Publicity
  9. More blogging resources! « The Little Magpie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*