What has marketing to do with my blog?
You really care about what you say and you want to help others.
It feels as though you might be cheapening your message if you do something as sleazy as marketing. The get-rich-quick hustle brigade common on the internet do not inspire you.
Does your blog need to be marketed at all? Surely it is quite enough to simply write the words, add images and people will see it?
Marketing in the old days
In the old days, marketing was about interrupting the potential buyer. About pushing a message out in to the world. There was not a lot of competition so the message stood out and was seen or heard and absorbed.
Additionally the message gained some credibility because it came from a small number of known sources. Perhaps a favourite regularly-read newspaper, or one of only a few television channels.
When you wanted to watch a certain TV programme you - and the rest of the population - had to watch it at a certain time. You might have had a conversation with friends or colleagues the next day. There was a natural focus towards news or messages simply because you were experiencing them during a specific time frame.
Blogging was still sufficiently unknown up until about 20 years ago that if you wrote a blog post you would be very likely to attract a lot of readers.
Nowadays we are bombarded with messages. The average American apparently receives 4,00 – 10,000 ads and messages a day (Forbes magazine). So it is much much harder for a single message to stand out and have impact.
Additionally messages come at us from a huge variety of different sources obviously fuelled by social media and the internet.
The nature of social media means that the aim is to get a single message liked, shared, re-tweeted and passed on. In fact to go “viral” .. be passed on as though it were a virus.
In addition there has been great growth in Curation where a single article or blog post contains information from a number of other sources. So it all becomes a more complex activity and harder to identify a message with a particular source.
“Social media is the most popular type of online news, used by 44% of UK adults. However, while lots of people are able to recall the social media site they consumed the news on, some struggle to remember the original source of the news story.”
Our rapidly changing attention spans.
Not only are we all having to deal with an overload of information from a variety of sources but our attention spans have got shorter.
According to Nielsen research in 2015:
Our attention span has markedly decreased in just 15 years. In 2000, it was 12 seconds. Now, 15 years later, it’s shrunk significantly to 2.5 seconds.
In fact, scientists reckon we now have shorter attention spans than goldfish, who are able to focus on a task or object for 9 seconds.
Did you think you had a shorter attention span than a goldfish? No, nor did I!
How does a blogger who cares about her message get her blog noticed?
You may think that producing more content continually is the answer. There are blogs that publish several times a day and they are very visible. You could write your content in a batch and load it up on a service like Hootsuite and it will be published at regular intervals. Problem solved?
Ask yourself two questions:
Is this a strategy you would enjoy doing?
Is it something you can sustain?
If the answer is No you will probably find it a relief to realise you cannot compete with blogs written by a team who publish several times a day. So don't try! What a relief!
It is an excellent idea to have a content plan and to schedule blog posts in advance, your blog has to fit into your life.
But you could invite others to guest blog as Ute did when she started her blog. This could help with content creation but also means you are giving opportunities to others and increasing the chance of finding more readers. If you know like and trust each other it can feel empowering and helpful to your readers rather than slick marketing. Even so, you will still have editorial decisions to make so that posts are in alignment with your aims and standards.
The answer to getting your blog noticed leads back to a goldfish.
You want to be the noticeable person in the goldfish bowl, rather than one of unseen millions in the wider ocean.
That means you make a deliberate choice about your reader and the focus of your blog. You write for a certain type of reader with your own distinctive approach. So you do have to decide to say No to lots of other audiences.
To be honest this is something most bloggers resist. But it is a fundamental principle of good marketing, and doesn't have to feel sleazy.
If you have your own business you know that there will be certain clients that you love working with. Your blog is a great opportunity to let potential clients know more about you and your way of doing business. Being authentic with your blog will mean you are appealing to a particular type of client.
If you have a lifestyle blog then you want to make sure that you are supporting your own lifestyle. Sounds obvious but is often forgotten! When you settle on a specific type of reader it makes the blog much more sustainable and decisions are easier.
When you take the time to get clear on your reader first, the purpose of your blog becomes clearer.
Social media and your blog
Social media is often presented as the answer to any marketing problems. But there is so much choice that you can become busy without being productive. When your ideal reader is clear in your mind you can simply focus on the platform where they are most likely to be.
Linked In is for businesses, and twitter for slightly more hard-hitting or activist activities. Pinterest for visual blogs and the audience is mostly women, Instagram for visual posts and the audience is in the younger age group. facebook which started for college students is now for older people.
However the landscape is continually changing so wherever you find yourself feeling at home is the perfect place to start. Getting one social media platform to work for you is better than diluting your energy over 4 or 5.
If you enjoy writing your blog posts then posting on social media will also be enjoyable. When you are writing your blog for people you understand it is enjoyable and doesn’t feel like marketing!
P.S. We have a 20 minute video which will give you more ideas about connecting with your ideal audience. (No sign up is needed and in line with being authentic there are links on that page to a course called Make Your Blog a Magnet for Your Readers.) We hope you get some inspiration about authentic marketing for your blog.