Would you like to build targeted traffic and get new subscribers to your company’s blog or website, and turn that into ongoing relationships and ultimately, sales? You might try taking a page from pro sports teams marketing manuals. You’ll be putting one of the most powerful traffic generating techniques to work growing your company’s blog or website.
One thing about professional sports teams, the best of them are consummate marketers. After all, they can not only make you part with your afternoon, and the better part of $100, but be happy to do it, and then talk about it to your friends all the next day.
Their brilliance lies in that they can do this even if the god of winning has been less than charitable of late. Witness the late ’70′s New Orleans Saints. Their on-field performance was so atrocious that fans wore bags over their heads while attending games…. but attend them, they did.
If your business or website delivered anything so sub-par, you’d likely not keep people coming back, much less get them to show up in the first place. Most likely, your reputation would precede you. What manner of marketing wizardry do pro sports teams employ to circumvent human nature, and get customers through the gates, even when the product doesn’t warrant it?
One of the most important things you can do for your business to keep your sales pipeline full is do what these teams do…. create a following.
Easier Said Than Done?? Well….
There are many strategies pro sports teams use to create strong followings, but one of the best is to have heros. The athletes who, in the face of daunting adversity, perform seemingly super human feats night after night. The ones who make amazing plays de rigueur, then are humble when addressing the media after the game, generate a rabid following, and the team benefits from that.
How do you apply that to your business? To start; blogging. Blogs are excellent relationship building tools. Your company blog can, and should be a powerful way to stay connected with customers, prospects, and business associates. Building a cadre of regular readers may seem like a daunting task, however, especially at the beginning. You’re probably not blessed with a network TV deal, and a phalanx of writers on blogs, websites, and newspapers generating exposure.
You may be an unknown in your niche, or at the very least, haven’t the following of someone like Guy Kawasaki, Steve Pavlina, or Tim Ferris. When starting their blogs or websites, those three benefited from what publishers call a “platform,” meaning they were fortunate enough to have a built-in audience and following to help their blog or website rise to the top.
How About Using Hero Power to Grow Your Company Blog?
Have no platform, and aren’t a niche hero? Fine, most people don’t, and aren’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t use this strategy. If you run your company blog, you’ll just have to use leverage to get where you want to be. It is one of the most powerful business principles, and perfect for this application.
Use others hero status and platform. There’s no hiding behind your keyboard for this one. You’ll have to reach out and form relationships with established bloggers and authors in your niche.
What Are You Aiming For?
You are targeting guest posts and interviews, but not on just any old blog. There is a certain way to use guest posting for maximum effectiveness. With guest posts, you’ll go at it from both sides. Guest post on others blogs in niches related to your business. You’ll benefit not only from backlinks, exposure and traffic, but from the relationships you’ll begin to form with both the bloggers and their readers. I’ve written gust posts that still deliver solid traffic years later, and opened mine, or clients’ blogs to whole, new audiences..
Which Blogs Should You Shoot For?
Find rising bloggers in your niche or closely related ones. It helped me greatly that some of the blogs were fairly small when I did the guest posts, but are now well established and receive high traffic volumes. Just how are you supposed to know which will be successful, and which will forever languish in obscurity?
How Can You Tell Where They’re Going?
Unless you’re Silvia Brown, there’s no way to tell for sure which blogs will go big, and which will go home. There are some things you can look at to give you a better than average shot at knowing who’s up and coming, however.
1. The writing – Can they consistently pen informative, highly engaging content? If so, you’re on the right track.
2. Their overall blog’s appearance – Have they gone the extra mile to show they’re committed? Do they have an attractive, clean layout that’s not cluttered with ads? Did they invest in a professional header graphic and/or logo? Those are signs they are in it for the long haul.
3. Post frequency – Do they post consistently? If they regularly post at least twice a week, that’s a good indication. After all, you want them to be building great relationships with their readers and have them coming back for more, week after week.
4. Social media profiles — Are they active in Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (depending on the niche), plus any other social media and bookmarking sites that may be important for their particular niche?
5. Comments – Do their posts get comments? They may get only a few now, but do they consistently get them? Also, do the bloggers in question promptly answer them? Prompt response is a sign of good interaction and a focus on relationship building.
6. Do they build relationships with other bloggers in their niche?
How they score on these six factors gives you a peek into a particular blog’s possible future. Those are the one’s you’ll want to target in your guest posting strategy. You’ll have the opportunity to grow with them, and help the other blogger by giving them a break from their hectic posting schedule.
How Do You Find Great Guest Posting Opportunities?
Now that you know what you’re looking for in a guest posting opportunity, how do find them among the millions of blogs strewn throughout the Internet? After all, most blogs, even in your niche, are just not going to be good guest posting candidates, for any number of reasons.
Here is a great way to zero in on those that are, so you can apply the rules above and get to work. Ethan Lyon over at SEMOZ developed a great spreadsheet you can use to pull probable candidates from Twitter. You can do the same thing manually, but this makes it much easier. You can get it here. It is a Google Docs spreadsheet, so you’ll need a Google account to use it.
Another great resource is Cathy Stuker’s Blogger Link Up site. Don’t worry, it’s free, but a great resource nonetheless. There, you can find bloggers looking for guest posts on specific topics and also offer guest posts. I’ve used it several times to good effect.
How to Search for Opportunities Using Search Engines
Never forget Google, either. When looking for guest posting opportunities, simply enter the search string “your niche” and “write for us”. You’ll obviously replace “your niche” with your actual niche. You can also try searching with the string “guest post by” and your niche. Both typically return excellent guest posting opportunities.
Not a One Way Street
It’s not only about guest posting on other blogs. You’ll want to invite other bloggers to guest post on yours, too. It’s important they share it with their social media followings, and give their guest post some pub on their blog, also. If they don’t, you’re losing significant juice, so strongly encourage it.
Publishing guest posts gets a new perspective for your blog, and most likely some engaging, informative articles. If the guest blogger brings some of their followers over to see what they hath wrought, there’s a chance those new folks may like what they see and become a regular on your blog in the future.
Grab the Mic
Another great way to use leverage with other heros is to interview them on your blog. Excellent candidates are authors, bloggers, and company executives from companies in yours or related niches. Sure, you can do an actual interview, and podcast it, then post the transcript. That may take you out of your comfort zone, actually talking to someone.
Relax, you usually don’t have to. Instead, master the art of the email interview. Many interviewees like that better, because it gives them the chance to answer the questions on their own terms and schedules. Just email them the question list and they’ll send you back the answers. You can follow up on any of the answers to complete the interview.
Most of the time, even with a live interview, they (or their “people”) are going to want the questions emailed to them ahead of time, so taking the time to write them down and send them on over is something you’ll have to do anyway. When the interview is posted on your blog, make sure they link to it from their blog or website, and share it on their social media networks.
Those are three great ways you can use another’s hero power to help boost your own traffic and following. You may not pack the stands every night, but in time, you may have a plethora of subscribers, hanging on your every word, or at least anxious for what you have to say in your next post.
It’s one way you can take a page from the pro sports teams’ mega marketing manual and build some goodness for you, your business, and your brand. You may not have Ruth build your house like the Yankees did, but others may be happy to lend a hand.