There are many important reasons why one should focus on building an audience on their blog. We’ve already discussed writing for your audience, and reasons to dedicate the time to continue blogging.
With that comes the immeasurable benefits: serving content to your specific audience and catering to what they’re interested in, indirectly selling to your audience, and sharing your brand’s voice.
Then there are the measurable benefits: page views, link generation, conversions and leads.
Once you’ve decided to continue blogging for your business and you’ve created content your audience wants to consume, how can you use that for link generation or content curation beyond what you’re already doing?
Are you Blogging with Intention?
When you look at how the landscape has changed over the past few months, it’s clear that you shouldn’t just be blogging to write. You should be blogging with intention, attempting to understand what’s performing well and what drives users to share your content. This will create a true community on-site and off-site.
The ever-growing importance of both on-site and off-site optimization was truly brought to the forefront by Panda and Penguin. Having a blog with high engagement signals and quality links will make you a brand that floats along the river with some waves, instead of white water rafting when a penalty or algorithm change rolls out.
There are a few things to remember here:
- Be aware of your content performance ratio. If you have a high amount of pages and posts within your site with low engagement signals and links, it has the potential to negatively impact your site.
- Links from irrelevant, low quality sites with little to no engagement (some of the off-site factors mentioned above) no longer carry weight and viability in the long run.
- Content syndication is a natural by-product of blogging. What matters is the relevance and authority of the sites sharing your piece.
- There’s a degeneration of the weight of exact match anchor text as a ranking factor. It’s continuing to move toward semantic relationships, variations, intent and context.
Link Generation & Portfolio Diversification
Growing a blog organically allows a reverse type of link building to occur. You’re not necessarily spending the majority of your time contributing elsewhere to gain quality links, but rather those who find interest in your content are sharing and linking to you.
What happens when you try to share content with and reach an audience that doesn’t exist?
There does need to be an audience already existing or starting to form. This isn’t an “if you build it, they will come” scenario. While it’s true you have to start somewhere, your ultimate goal is to attract readers, and foster their trust and loyalty by giving them what it is they found interesting in the first place. It takes dedication to move from a new blog to one that’s naturally attracting attention, mentions and links.
Once you have an established audience and understand their specific demographic, interests, wants and needs, you’re on the cusp of organic link generation. While not being in control of the types of links that are pointing to your content can be intimidating, one of the keys to a diversified, organic backlink portfolio is allowing your content to snowball and mobilize across the web.
You might get a mixture of:
- High quality and authority domains
- Lower authority domains with high audience engagement
- Nofollow links
- Direct links
- Cocitation links
Expanding Your Reach
Something can be shared socially until the cows come home, but you need to ask yourself, “what’s the by-product of all of this social sharing?”
Are people taking the time to use this post as a resource in their own content, or are they simply reading the headline that comes through their stream and carelessly clicking the retweet button? Is it sparking inspiration in others and encouraging them to cover a similar topic?
The great thing about reaching a targeted audience that’s active across various social channels and may maintain their own blog as well, is that the sharing and links that you gain from that particular audience has a wider reach. In turn, this increases the visibility of your piece of content.
Take the Grammar Goofs infographic posted a few months ago on CopyBlogger. That particular infographic was shared among writers, bloggers, and educators.
Take a look at the social sharing metrics:
It’s clear that this particular infographic reached the sweet spot of interest for this particular audience. While you could judge the success on the social metrics alone, the link generation numbers are high as well.
Why might this have performed so well?
- Strong newsletter subscription base
- Highly on topic for this specific audience
- Easily shareable with an embed code
- Extensive social reach
- It’s content people want to link to
Improving at an Increasing Rate
Are you improving at an increasing rate? What categories and topics tend to attract the most backlinks?
These are simple metrics that help you understand what types of topics inspire others or fill a gap, which encourages others to use your content as a source or to link back to it.
Like you might measure link velocity and view your link aggregation metrics for your site, you should also consider measuring and monitoring the trend of average links and social metrics generated per post.
One great tool for this is Majestic SEO:
- The Fresh index allows you to grab a pull of the link counts per individual blog post
- Drop the past 20 blog post URLs into the bulk backlink checker
- Export the data and focus on the amount of backlinks and referring domains data into Excel
- Pull an average for each of these to understand the average amount of backlinks and referring domains that each post generates
- Generate a trend line to view whether the data is generally increasing, or increasing at a decreasing rate
You can do the same thing for social metrics. If you don’t want to aggregate by hand, you can use a tool called SharedCount:
- Pull the same URLs into SharedCount that you were analyzing in Majestic
- Use the multiple URL uploader to add each URL in for analysis
- Export the results
- Generate a per-post average
Pulling this kind of data will also allow you to see what posts were performing the best outside of analytics and pure sharing metrics. Sometimes a post can perform extremely well socially, but isn’t generating any links. You might also find that certain topics garner an extensive amount of page views, but a different topic is actually attracting links and mentions on other blogs in your vertical.
Examine Your Analytics
Tapping into your analytics, even at a basic level, is important for sculpting content around what people who come to your site are querying. It also allows you to find holes in categories that might present themselves as opportunities for fresh content, and gives you insight to what those who aren’t current readers to your site are looking for.
If you’re finding that a certain category or group of queries is appearing consistently:
- What specific categories are the queries falling into?
- Are they transactional queries? Information queries?
- Is there a content gap for these particular queries that this post could fill?
- Do you have the ability to do firsthand research on this topic?
Asking the above questions can help you create a content roadmap that fills a need for those coming to your site, and opens the door to harness new readership and engagement. It’s not enough to regurgitate content that’s already out there in your vertical. If you’re offering something fresh and relevant that fills an untapped need, you’re more likely to have consistent readership that finds value in what you’re sharing.
If you find there are unanswered questions you can help research, performing firsthand research on the front lines can allow you to reach out to other blogs that might be able to cite your content as a resource. This research doesn’t have to be limited to your brand alone; you can tap into other business or blog owners for their insights to include in your post.
Understanding what encourages others to share your content off-site is essential to building your audience and your brand’s reach.
While building the authority of your blog, remember these key things:
- Is your content shareable? Is it interesting enough where it can be mobilized off-site rather than simply garnering comments and social shares?
- What topics are consistently performing well on your site and generating links?
- What are your readers looking for when they come to your site? Is there a gap in content or an opportunity to use firsthand research to gather information to fill that gap?
What are some ways that you track your content to create pieces that can generate interest off-site?