Some are really making it big already!
The blog market is too saturated now. You can find hundreds of blogs on a single topic. In order to compete, you should first define your audience for whom your will write and then try to build content which they will love to read and share
Blogging is not only an important source of side income but it is also a means of exerting public influence. In the so-called Arab Spring, many bloggers played a key role in the uprisings, especially in Egypt. Similarly, many bloggers are now trend setters in the fashion space. Some have succeeded in making it a full time income source for them. Some vloggers (video blog) on you tube are earning millions of dollars and they have a fan following even more than that of some TV stars. Other than Google ads, product endorsements, free give away, featured/sponsored articles, brand mention on social media accounts and affiliate selling are all key ways of making money through your blog and associated social media channels. According to a British web portal, influential British fashion bloggers are charging upto 6,000 GBP for one post on their Instagram accounts by luxury brands. The science of successful blogging and online freelancing has created a whole lot of digital nomads in the west who not only earn good money by travel blogging, but also get sponsored by the hotels, restaurants all over the world to visit and mention them in their blog and some even get paid. The most popular blogs are in the domain of fashion, food/recipes, travel, business/digital marketing and tech. The key to getting your blog viral is content as it is said in the SEO world that “content is the king”. Getting tons of traffic on your blog and making it viral is not an art but a science and here are the key elements of this science:
- Focus on your niche:
The blog market is too saturated now. You can find hundreds of blogs on a single topic. In order to compete, you should first define your audience for whom your will write and then try to build content which they will love to read and share. If you will focus on a very broad audience then maybe you are focusing none of them which will result in a disengagement of your audience.
- Invest in your blog to build your social media following:
The first step to market your blog is to build a little audience on social media of around 5k–10k followers. No matter how good you are at writing, you blog will never gain traction if you do not have an initial base of users who can share the content which you are producing. For that, you need to spend a little money until you attain your minimum required fan following. You can either market your Facebook page and social media accounts or you can use a paid post campaign to not only reach your target audience but make your paid content viral as well. For example, kitabmela.com, an online book store, uses a unique strategy to make their content go viral. From the books which sell they pick up a best phrase or a best quotation of that author, run a paid post campaign of that image and below the image they give the offer to sell that book. This strategy gives their post thousands of shares; consequently, their page and book selling offer automatically gets viral. Another important thing in social media is to post content continuously and at the right time. You can use content scheduling tools such as buffer or hootsuite to schedule your content at specific time intervals of the day.
In the digital world, SEO (Search engine optimisation) is the key to make your content visible on the first page of google for selected search keywords. It is a long process to make your blog visible on google’s first page which is a science in itself
- Create content which resonates with your audience:
A content strategy will only work if you will understand what your audience demands from you. First of all, you need to do a little research on what content is getting viral among your target audience. For that you need to check the social media accounts of your competitors, make an excel spread sheet and list down all those posts which got viral and the number of shares they got. Secondly, you should use tools such as buzzsumo.com and ahrefs.com to search the relevant topic, get the most shared content, understand the key similarities between the content which is getting shared and produce similar original content but with a knowledgeable insight. For example, if you have a blog related to entrepreneurship and business then research backed articles may be more helpful but if you have a fashion based blog then a listicle of latest fashion trends may resonate with your audience.
- Learn the science of producing viral content:
Producing viral content is a science, not an art. According to the science of viral content, create a catchy headline which has got either of these three formats; how to, list form or why. Secondly, include an emotional hook with your topic. Thirdly address your audience in the topic and fourthly include a promise in your topic. The best example of this kind of a headline is an article which got 97.8k shares on facebook, 8.7k shares on linkedin.com and 4.3k retweets on twitter. This article was titled “How Pokemon go is driving insane amounts of sales at small, local business”. The content of the article also matters equally as the headline. According to the research by industry leaders, the content which gets shared most is the one which contains some original research and has some scientific data based evidence. On the other side of the spectrum, a heart touching story, fun and entertaining content and inspirational quotes are the ones which get shared most. Do not forget to include images, gifs, infographics to your article as they nearly double the chance of your content being shared. Adding small videos to your content or producing small video based content is another way of getting viral with which you can experiment as research tells that people are four times more likely to watch a video rather reading an article.
- Make yourself an authority in the field:
Latest research tells that people like to share more content of those people who are an authority in their field. So try to make yourself an authority in the field by writing for established and known names in your industry e.g. if you are writing about fashion then try to write for most popular magazines of the industry and if you are writing about entrepreneurship then try to get published in magazines likeentrepreneur.com. Secondly, try to make a list of influencers in your industry e.g. journalists, influential bloggers, and known stars and request themto mention your blog in their social media account. Try to give them some favour e.g. write a whole article about their company, blog etc. or interview them and in return request for a mention of your blog on their social media account. Request industry influentials to publish your article as a guest post and try to be in touch with them. If they continuously read you, they may link to some of your article even without your request and that will create a virtuous cycle of site linking for you.
- Focus on content aggregator and content curator sites:
It is not only content production but content distribution as well which makes your blog successful. Whenever you produce an article, focus on distributing your content as well. There are many content distribution sites and apps as well such as feedly, medium, flipboard, alltop, and many blog aggregator sites as well. Try to submit to all of them.
- Blog/website design:
From a viral point of view, you need to make sure two things. One is to collect your visitor e-mails by having a pop up when someone enters your site or leaves your site. Although sometimes annoying for the visitor but it can be useful to create a loyal list of readers. You can increase your e-mail subscription rate by experimenting with simple tweaks e.g. changing the pop up text, colour and changing its position. Second is to use a sticky social bar which stays on screen all the time when the user is scrolling down to read the article. This one single thing can increase your share rate by up to 20pc.
- Focus on SEO basics:
In the digital world, SEO (Search engine optimisation) is the key to make your content visible on the first page of google for selected search keywords. It is a long process to make your blog visible on google’s first page which is a science in itself but, at least you should know SEO basics to optimise your content according to the search engines requirements and understand the demand from your target niche. If you will produce content according to key word research and social sharing patterns, that will amplify the chance of your content getting viral. There are many key word research strategies available on the internet but I would recommend an article on the blog ofahrefs.com which contains a comprehensive keyword research strategy as well as relevant tools titled “this 19 step Key word research process will sky rocket your organic search traffic”.