I’m knee-deep in launching a new blog. This will be my tenth (non-personal) blog launch/re-launch in six years. Each time I do it, I seem to forget (and re-learn) the pain that’s involved. Getting a blog off the ground is far from easy, and keeping it alive is even harder. Of the 10, five are alive and well, if in different hands, two are dead and two should be if they aren’t. For the tenth, it’s still too early to tell, but everything looks better than it has with my other launches.
So, at best, I’m looking at a 60 percent success rate. I’m pretty happy about that. Among the most important lessons I’ve learned is that 60 percent is cause for celebration.
But, that’s not what you’re looking for.
You’d rather know what it takes to get a win. Frankly, I don’t blame you. Failure sucks.
Of course, the key to making a blog take off is marketing your content (not to be confused with content marketing, of course). You need to put your thoughts in front of people who will fall in love with them and beg you for more. It isn’t easy, but I do have a few ideas:
1. Be useful: information is great, but actionable information is gold. Give your readers something they can use to solve an important problem.
2. Be frequent: you need to post a lot, especially in the early days. Not every post has to be a game-changer. Only one out of every five or so, in fact, needs to be important. The rest are click-fodder. That sounds harsh, but if people like what you have to say, they’ll want more to click. Give it to them.
3. Make people talk: word of mouth doesn’t scale well, but it’s crucial in the early days. Talk about your blog to anyone who will listen. Get other people to do so, too. Find those who will champion your cause just because they like you. Don’t forget your mom.
4. Watch your traffic sources: this is how you’ll know what’s working. Forget everything you hold dear about promoting your content, and live by the numbers. It works.
5. Forge unusual relationships: don’t stick to other blogs in your area of interest or influence. Think about complementary sectors – those areas where you and other areas may overlap. Work together – which should be easy since you won’t be competing.
6. Don’t over-bet: if your main traffic acquisition play is SEO, your content will suck. If it’s some combination of Twitter and Facebook, you’ll wait forever for returns. If it’s PR, you’ll wait even longer. So, what can you do? Well, that’s easy: everything. Be active in social media, pitch your content to other blogs and write SEO-friendly headlines and ledes. If only one thing were best, none of the others would exist.
7. Get tired: don’t sleep. Make blogging your religion, your raison d’etre. There’s absolutely no substitute for hard work!
[photo by Infusionsoft via Flickr]