These days, if you’ve got a business – especially an online business – chances are, you’ve got a blog.
Or you should.
And if you’ve got a blog, chances are, you’re sharing your posts on your social channels.
Or you should be.
If you’re not, then what’s the point of having a blog in the first place?
Sure, it helps with your company’s SEO initiatives. And of course, your customers can read themselves into experts on whatever subject you’re featuring.
But how can you make your blog posts work in your favor when it comes to growing your social following – i.e. generating more potential customers buzzing about your business, spreading word and essentially earning you some free advertising on social?
Here’s a checklist of 8 must-dos to make sure you’re making the most effective use of your blog.
1. Post relevant, engaging content
People want to read about topics that peak their interest. So the better the content, the more readers.
Pretty obvious, right?
Getting people to read your posts is a challenge every blogger faces.
But getting people to share them? That’s a bigger challenge.
Because people don’t just share content that’s okay or pretty good.
They share content that’s helpful. Informative. Engaging. Novel. Really interesting. Content that directly applies to them and their own social followers.
So you need to make sure your content really resonates with the right people – your target customers.
When you defined your target customers, you dug deep into their needs and interests – use that research to guide you when selecting topics for your posts. What problems do your customers face? What information do they need to solve those problems?
Answering these questions in a well-researched, easy-to-read post that highlights you as an expert in your field creates share-worthy content.
Looking for topic inspiration? Research popular content posted by publications within your niche. Write posts geared around frequently asked questions on your website. Troll your competitors’ blogs to see what content is shared and commented on most often.
2. Post on a regular basis
If you want to establish yourself as an authority within your niche, you want people to be able to depend on you for not only
but also timely content.
They want to know that when they go to your site, that there will be something new to read and share.
Develop a schedule for when you post and share new content.
Maybe you decide to post one or two times a week. Or perhaps you can only find time to generate and post new, relevant content bi-weekly.
Choose the posting frequency that works best for you and your business.
Just make sure you keep it consistent.
Your audience will get familiar with when you post new content and will expect it to be there on that given day when they show up on your blog site.
If a new post is there when expected, they’ll keep coming. And sharing.
But if when they show up, it’s hit or miss, they’ll be heading to another site instead when they’re looking for timely, interesting, new content that they can share with their followers.
3. Add share buttons to every post
Let’s face it. The easier you make it to do something, the more likely that people are actually going to do it.
Make sure every post on your blog includes its own set of social media share buttons.
You can try listing them at the top, bottom or even in a floating share bar that follows readers up and down the page as they read. Trying it one way, measuring engagement, and then adjusting it to another location and testing again can help you decide which location is most effective.
This way, when someone decides your post is share-worthy, they can just hit a button directing them right to the social channel of their choice to share it – without taking a bunch of steps in between and potentially getting side-tracked from doing so.
4. Link to your social accounts within your posts
Another effective way to send people straight to social via your blog posts (thus, increasing the chances that they’ll actually share your content) is by including links to your channels within the copy.
Talking about a subject that has something to do with a particularly effective Facebook post you shared last month? Link to it.
Mention Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. within your post when speaking about a subject that refers to that channel in some way, shape or form? Link that channel name to your respective channel.
Of if you happen to include a call to action at the end of your blog post to follow you on social or to visit your social channels for updates on this or that, you can add links there too.
Finding relevant ways to link to your social channels within your posts makes it one step easier for your audience to share your content on their channels – because, well, they’ll be on Twitter anyway!
5. Add a comments section to each post – and respond
Apart from using analytics tools to track the number of visitors to your blog and what/how often your content is shared on social, a great way to get a feel for how your posts are being received by your audience is by adding a comments section to the end of every post.
You may even want to end each post with a question to inspire feedback.
For instance, say you write a post about the essential items to pack when headed on a hiking trip to Colorado. You could end your checklist of must-haves with the question, “Any essential items on your list that are missing from mine? Let me know in the comments below!”
By adding a question, you’ve created an easy call to action for your audience to follow.
Just make sure you take action, too, because comments are only beneficial if you monitor and respond.
Monitoring for more vs. less feedback can help you gauge the kind of content that resonates best with your readers – so you can post more of it, recycle your best posts when you share them on social and actively look for similar content from other sources to share on your channels.
Engaging also helps establish trust with your audience as an authority on your subject and shows your attentiveness to your customer base.
Additionally, where appropriate, you can use your replies to route people to your social channels and to other content on your blog to help answer their questions or provide further information.
6. Create an email list of blog subscribers
Make sure each post includes a designated section of the page or a pop-up asking readers to subscribe to your blog.
By asking them to submit their contact information, you can then develop an email list of subscribers to whom you can send updates each time a new blog is posted.
Because while your blog may be really interesting, totally fresh and 100% engaging…you can’t expect everyone to remember to come back every X number of days to catch what’s new.
So a little email can serve as a helpful reminder.
But how can you use your emails to benefit your social presence?
Include icons to your social channels within your email signature. Every once in a while, throw in an email geared toward asking your subscribers to follow you on your social channels “for more posts like this.”
Essentially, your email list offers you a direct line of communication to your audience through which you can customize CTAs and increase traffic to both your blog posts and your social channels.
7. Analyze shares and views to determine popular content
Having the right tools in place to monitor traffic to your blog site and on your social channels can help you determine what content receives the most views and shares so you can feature similar topics in the future – and keep sharing your most popular posts.
There are plenty of options out there to help you derive the metrics you’re looking for.
Give a few options a test run to decide which is the most efficient – and affordable – for your purposes.
8. Recycle and automate popular content via social
Once you have your finger on the pulse of the content your audience likes best, make sure your social posts that link to said popular content are recycled – while the less popular content is featured less often.
This way, if an audience member missed a certain social update, he or she will be sure to catch it the next round. And maybe even share it with someone that time.
To take the burden off of your efforts to manually keep track of when you last sent this or that social update, you can create CSV files (Excel spreadsheets saved in an alternative format) containing your evergreen content and bulk upload them to social media automation tools that keep these updates running on your channels for you on a continuous basis.
Spend time on things that make the greatest impact for your business
Keeping yourself in the red when it comes to owning your own business is hard.
So why waste your time on tasks that aren’t offering a worthwhile ROI?
Like blogging without purpose.
Apply this checklist to make your blog posts work smarter for you by earning you the social following you’re looking for to beef up your online presence.
And grow your list of potential customers.