How To Make Your Blog Popular Quickly Without SEO

How To Make Your Blog Popular Quickly Without SEO

Whether you’re an individual freelancer, looking to attract clients, or an organization that wants to strengthen its brand image, you know that a thriving and popular blog can massively enhance your chances of achieving your goals. However, the problem is that if you’re just starting out, almost every niche has thousands of blogs trying to achieve the same objectives as you are, so it’s not easy to get yourself noticed. SEO can help you to a certain extent but with Google tightening its algorithms regularly, that isn’t the most reliable strategy, not to mention it’s time-consuming.

So, is there any way to achieve growth quickly and build a popular blog even in a crowded niche?

The answer is a resounding YES!

There are countless examples, but I’ll mention just a few for you. Jon Morrow grew his blog, BoostBlogTraffic.com, to insane popularity within 1 year. Jon was an editor at Copyblogger.com, but the strategy he used to build his own blog had little to do with his employers.

Matthew Woodward is another example of someone who started from scratch and created one of the most popular blogs in the SEO and internet marketing niche. Some of the other blogs that come to mind are KISSmetricsBuffer and The Write Life.

So, the question is, how do you actually grow your blog from the depths of anonymity to ultimate stardom?

Here’s the shortest route to building a popular blog based on the examples I’ve mentioned, and many that I haven’t.

Fundamental Components of Your Strategy

You can’t rely solely on SEO to build a popular blog; however, your blog does need to have a sound SEO foundation. I’d recommend using the WordPress SEO plugin: Yoast, to achieve that. You can read more about this here.

This strategy; however, is about how to make your blog popular without SEO. The three basic components of this strategy are all about building a platform where you can continuously provide value to your readers, generate word-of-mouth marketing, and use the strength of other established blogs and bloggers to boost your own readership.

1. Email List Building

The first thing you need in order to build a popular blog is a strong and growing email list. Despite the advent of social media websites, email lists are still the most effective way to attract returning visitors to your blog and make money from them by selling different products and services.

Many expert bloggers, including Jon Morrow and Brian Clark, recommend having at least 1,000 email list subscribers before regularly publishing content on your blog.

This is probably the most time-consuming step in this strategy, but your blog will depend on it heavily in order to achieve success quickly.

In order to get email subscribers you’ll need to do some ground work.

a. Create a Free Giveaway

Quick Sprout Conversion Form Example

People are sensitive about their email information so you need to have an irresistible reason for them to join your mailing list. The most effective way of doing this is by creating a free resource and offering it in exchange for visitors’ email addresses.

How do you know if your resource is irresistible?

Identify one core issue of your niche and create a comprehensive resource that covers every aspect of that issue. Your resource should be so good that you could even charge for it (but don’t!). I’ll explain how to use this resource later in the post.

Note: Read this post to learn more about creating awesome resources for list building

b. Use The Right Opt-in Box

Your visitors will use a subscriber box to enter their emails and get on your list. The kind of opt-in plugin you use, and the location that you choose for it, will be critical in determining the number of visitors that convert into subscribers. You’ll need to do some A/B testing in order to find the position that works best for you but in general: the sidebar, the main header, and the end of every post are good positions to add opt-in boxes.

Note: Read this post for a comprehensive list of opt-in plugins and placement positions that work. This blog uses OptinMonster and it’s increased our opt-ins by 450% since we started using it!

2. Creating Lots of Content

If you want to build a popular blog creating lots of high quality content is not an option – it’s an absolute necessity. Without quality content, no strategy can build a thriving and popular blog for you. Apart from quality, the placement of your content is equally important. Remember, you’re just starting out, so even if you create the best content in your niche, there will be no one to read it on your blog. This is where your free resource will come in handy. Here’s what you should do:

a. Use Guest Blogging To Build Your Brand and List

Guest blogging is one of the best ways to attract new readers and subscribers to your blog, it also attracts valuable backlinks at the same time. A few months ago, Google’s head of search engine marketing, Matt Cutts, came down hard on paid guest blogging networks that promoted spammy and irrelevant guest posts just for the sake of backlinks. Many marketers were confused by this action and assumed that Google had completely banned guest blogging.

That assumption is not true (as explained by Neil Patel in this post).

Guest blogging still remains an extremely valuable branding strategy that you should use to its full effect. In fact, it was one of the primary ways Jon Morrow was able to attract thousands of subscribers to his new blog.

Shortlist the most relevant blogs that your target audience follows and approach them with detailed, high quality, and actionable posts. The number of guest posts you manage to land is not as important as the quality of blogs you target. For example, a single post on Copyblogger or ProBlogger can get you more referral traffic and subscribers than tens of posts on lesser known blogs. Getting published on these high profile blogs will also immediately raise your profile image and force people to take notice.

Every blog allows guest authors to include their 2-3 line introduction at the end of their guest post, along with 1-2 relevant links. This is where you should link back to your free resource. Promote it as much as you can because it is your gateway to a strong email list, which will ultimately help you launch your blog.

Note: To learn more about guest blogging on popular blogs, read this.

b. Create Awesome Content on Your Own Blog

I know I said that you shouldn’t publish content on your own blog before you have a sizable email list,  but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create content on your blog and prepare for the launch.

When you do have enough subscribers, you don’t want to make them wait for your content. The right thing to do is to prepare 15-20 high quality posts and save them as drafts. All of them should cover the core issues and topics of your niche that are not time-sensitive.

Quality is the key here as well. If your content is top notch, you will get lots of social media shares, word of mouth marketing, and more subscribers. If the content is below par, you’ll quickly get exposed and might see many of your subscribers leave you.

Leading bloggers, like Pat Flynn and Ramit Sethi, spend 10-12 hours on every post. If that’s too much for you, reduce your publishing frequency but don’t compromise on the quality.

When you do eventually start publishing these posts, mix them up with new and trending topics as well. At the end of the day, it’s the quality of your content that will make people revisit your blog and make it more popular.

3.Networking

networking-triberr-linkedin

Most bloggers try to follow the two steps I’ve mentioned above. However, it is this third step that many of them forget about. All your guest blogging and list building efforts can be in vain if you don’t have an influential network to help you.

TheWriteLife.com was started from scratch and became a leading blog in the freelance writing niche solely because of its powerful network. A single recommendation from a niche leader is much more powerful than a dozen guest posts, but if you combine both of them the combination becomes irresistible.

This is really the secret behind all the popular blogs. They combine their blogging and marketing efforts with strong networking.

Here are few things you should be doing in order to build your network:

  • Shortlist the most influential bloggers in your niche.
  • Join Triberr – it’s the best place to get in touch with leading marketers.
  • Follow all of them on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Respond to their tweets and comments on their Facebook and Google+ posts. Join LinkedIn groups to get in touch with niche leaders.
  • Start visiting their blogs and regularly leave detailed and insightful comments on them.
  • Share their content frequently (don’t forget to tag them)
  • Send them occasional thank you emails for their content.
  • Once you’ve had a few conversations with them, send them your free resource for a quick review.
  • Mention them in your guest posts and blog posts, and let them know about it.
  • Build blogging alliances with other influential and like-minded bloggers. Many bloggers have secret alliances with others. They promote each other’s content, link back when relevant, and send each other highly relevant traffic.

Networking is not a one-time activity. It’s a full-time job that you need to keep doing in order to make it to the inner circles of influential bloggers and then stay there to enjoy the benefits.

Conclusion

In reality, there’s no shortcut to building a popular blog. There’s a right way and there’s a wrong way. The wrong way is to create awesome content on a new blog that has no visitors and then expect people to read, share, and subscribe just because your content is great.

The right way, however, is what I’ve explained in detail in this post:

How To Make Your Blog Popular Formula

Create an awesome resource for list building → Promote it through guest blogging and your blog content → Use networking and blogging alliances to maximize your reach.

If you stick to this formula, you’ll get noticed quickly and start attracting much more readership which will make your blog more popular and you’ll have done it without relying on SEO. If you don’t, you’ll end up as most other failed blogs do.

Google+ Content Marketing Sharing Strategies, Tips & Tricks

Google+ Content Marketing Sharing Strategies, Tips & Tricks

Trent Reznor Doesn’t Have To Try

See that massive Google+ ripple effect above from Trent Reznor? He made that happen simply by sharing a video of a bad lip-reading soundbite of Rick Perry. Trent hasn’t even tried with his Google+ Profile and his posts already have that much of an impact! He’s still rocking the default Google+ cover image and hasn’t yet grabbed his own custom profile URL (https://plus.google.com/+TrentReznor/); however, his account is verified and I would guess that Google would have that custom profile URL reserved for him. Although, I was able to grab mine even though there’s a professional race car driver and an upcoming musician named Andy Forsberg as well, so you may want to grab that custom profile URL up soon Trent!

You Do Have To Try

Even if like me you don’t have Trent’s reach, Google+ is still an amazing channel for marketing your content. The interface is beautiful, user-friendly and incredibly powerful. I have found it to be an absolutely invaluable resource for promoting my blog’s content, even with my relatively pathetic reach. If you’re not taking advantage of it yet, you should be! If you do take advantage of Google+ for content marketing, here are some strategies, tips & tricks for maximizing  your content’s exposure regardless of your reach.

Try These Strategies, Tips & Tricks

  1. Make sure you have setup Google’s verified authorship, you know so your content’s results in Google look like this:
    Google+ Verified Authorship in Google's Search Results Example Screenshot
  2. Share images rather than links, you can still share links in your image posts, but this way your post will stand out a lot more and attract more eyeballs. +You can get stats on how many people viewed the image!
    Google+ Image Post View Stats Example Screenshot 

    • This gives you additional insight into how effective or ineffective your different posts are. You can now calculate your +1 and reshare conversion rates for your posts as follows:
    • 21 (+1’s) / 3725 (image views) = 0.56% +1 conversion rate
    • 14 (reshares) / 3725 (image views) = 0.38% reshare conversion rate
    • You can then test different tactics in your posts and quickly determine what works and what doesn’t. After a while you will develop a solid methodology for how to best post your content in order to maximize your results!
  3. Use hash tags in your posts where appropriate for added exposure. Simply enter “#word” and as you type relevant hash tag suggestions will appear.
    Google+ Hash Tag Suggestions Example Screenshot
  4. +1 good comments on your shares and respond to people by tagging them with “+Their Name” so they know your message was meant for them and they’re alerted about it.
    Google+ Tagged User Example Screenshot
  5. Make sure a Google+ share widget is accessible on your website to make sharing your content as easy as possible
  6. Join & share your content in all relevant Google+ communities that would benefit from your content. Make sure to share your content in the correct category!
  7. Disable “Show your Google+ communities posts on the Posts tab of your Google+ profile.” – this setting is active by default. If you don’t and you share the same content in multiple communities your profile will show the same post repeatedly. Thanks to Jeff Sauer for this pro tip! You can find it in your Google+ Settings, see the following screenshot:
    Google+ Community Posts Profile Display Settings Screenshot
  8. Follow +JeffSauer, a true Google+ guru
  9. Join the Google Authorship & Author Rank Community on Google+ to keep up to date with the latest tactics for marketing yourself and your content on Google+
  10. As always, follow The Golden Rule: One should treat other’s content as one would like others to treat oneself’s content.
12 Tips to Boost Your Content’s Social Shares

12 Tips to Boost Your Content’s Social Shares

  1. Share your content when your followers are most activeBest time to share content is when your Twitter followers are most active

    Use Followerwonk to determine when your Twitter followers are most active and schedule your social shares to happen at these times with Buffer.

  2. Tweet at the companies and people you mentioned in your content
    People are a lot more likely to share your content if it’s about them. It strokes their ego and they like to stroke it more by retweeting if they find your site & content to be of quality. Plus, if you’re writing about them or their company they are also likely to have a larger following than most.
  3. Share your content with popular & relevant hash tags
    Tweet using relevant & popular hashtags 

    Just start typing in #keyword in Twitter and see if a recommended hash tag pops up that’s relevant to your content. You can also search the hash tag to see how popular it is and what type of content is generally posted using it. Of course, don’t overdo the hashtags like I did in my poor example tweet above =P

  4. Use sexy social sharing toolbars that follow readers as they scroll through your content such as FlareKeep social sharing links in sight

    Make sure to use widgets rather than just icon links, as they make it a lot easier for users to share and keep them on your website as well.

  5. Build an email subscriber list
    Your fans are more likely to share your content and this way they’ll know about your new content soon after you’ve published it.

    Use a sticky opt-in form

    Keep your opt-in form in view at all times with a sticky widget to increase your subscription rates.

  6. Post your best content on popular, relevant social news sites, groups and forumsHit the front page of Hacker News

    If done in the right way, to the right audience, at the right time your content can get picked up and grow substantially. For example when one of my pieces of content made the front page of Hacker News it resulted in 6,713 visits directly from Hacker News, as well as 1,374 visits from Twitter and fall out traffic from many other sources resulting in 12,994 visits in a single day! @lexKrasny has seen great results from promoting content in relevant Google+ Communities and recommends this tactic heavily.

  7. Use Social Locker for the meat of your evergreen contentOnly use Social Locker for share worthy content

    If you have proven content that has a particularly meaty portion to it, you can throw that part in a Social Locker and require people to share it in order to access it. I’ve done this on only two posts and in only one month this tactic has acquired an additional 62 social shares.

    Additional Social Shares via Social Locker

  8. Ask people to share your content
    It can really help if done right. Just do so in a casual, friendly, persuasive manner.
  9. Write clever titles and introductions to your content
    People won’t ever get to your great content if it doesn’t grab their attention to begin with, so spend some time writing clever, yet concise titles. Once they do get to your content, they likely won’t bother to read much of it if the beginning to it is bland, so if you’re going to have an introduction make sure it adds value.
  10. Create content that you would share
    If you wouldn’t share it yourself then why would your readers share it?
  11. Use Tweet this when relevant
    HubSpot uses this tactic very well by posting lists of a bunch of interesting statistics and includes links for each one to “Tweet This Stat” with the Click To Tweet service.
  12. Market your other relevant content
    If you’re running WordPress use something like the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin like I do below my bio beneath this post.
The Social Media Content Sharing Automation Framework

The Social Media Content Sharing Automation Framework

This framework is designed to save time and maximize exposure by automating the process of sharing manually curated content with your followers. This is the system we use on Penguin Initiatives, but it is by no means a one size fits all solution. It is merely one example of what can be done with the wide array of sophisticated tools freely available to inbound marketers today. We share this in the hope that it inspires you to create your own creative framework to meet your needs.

Framework Flowchart

The Social Media Content Sharing Automation Framework Flowchart

Framework Components & Functions

feedly

feedlyFind great content to share & save it to Pocket

feedlySubscribe to great content providers & auto-share providers you begin following on Twitter via Buffer via IFTTT

Blog RSS Feed

Blog RSS FeedWhen you publish a new blog post, have it automatically placed into Pocket via IFTTT

MailChimp

MailChimpWhen you publish a new blog post, have it automatically email your subscribers via MailChimp

Pocket

PocketAfter consuming great content in Pocket, tag said content with relevant hash tags and archive it to have it added to your Buffer

PocketTag your new blog posts with relevant hash tags and archive them to have them added to your Buffer

IFTTT

IFTTTAutomatically send new Blog Posts from RSS Feed into Pocket

IFTTTAutomatically add archived Pocket content to your Buffer

IFTTTAutomatically add announcements of newly subscribed feedly channels to your Buffer

Followerwonk

FollowerwonkDiscover the optimal Buffer schedule times based on the most active hours of your Twitter followers

Buffer

BufferAutomatically post your curated content to Twitter, as well as your Google+ and Facebook pages

bit.ly

bit.lyUse your own short branded domain for your URL shortener links in Buffer

Twitter

TwitterAutomatically tweet your curated content with relevant hash tags, at the optimal times via Buffer

Google+

Google+Automatically post your curated content to your Google+ Page with relevant hash tags, at the optimal times via Buffer

Facebook

FacebookAutomatically post your curated content to your Facebook Page with relevant hash tags, at the optimal times via Buffer

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