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Blogging is like launching a spaceship. It takes hours and hours of meticulous crafting, patience and perseverance to get lift off and achieve escape velocity.
With an estimated 3.17 billion users on the internet worldwide you’d expect it to be easy, but it’s not. An increasing number of bloggers are finding themselves victims of the triple zero club – zero likes, comments and shares.
In this how-to guide however, you’ll find yourself one step closer to mankind and out of the club for good.
There are more than 2.3 billion active social media users in the world, but if all you’re doing is shamelessly promoting yourself or your business, people will be less inclined to share your content. The inbound marketing geniuses at HubSpot explain that:
It’s not just enough to promote your presence. You need to make sure your presence is something that’s worth following in the first place.
Adopt Pareto’s 80/20 rule when it comes to blog promotion. 80 percent of your content should be helpful and valuable to your audience, and 20 percent can be self-promotional. This is useful advice considering 94 percent of people who share posts do so because they think it might be helpful to others.
Facebook adds 6 new users to its platform every second. How can you cut through all that noise?
- Find an audience in Facebook groups. There are over 52 million groups to join, according to Ad Week. If you’re not engaging with other communities online, how do you expect people to hear about your work?
- Make sure you’re publishing towards the end of the week. The rate of engagement on Facebook is 18 percent higher on Thursdays and Fridays.
The average Twitter user has 208 followers. This is your starting point; get these people to spread the word.
- For companies, Twitter engagement is 17 percent higher on the weekend. Keep that in mind when crafting the next 140-character show stopper.
- Time your tweets with the daily commute. Mobile Twitter users are 181 percent more likely to be browsing Twitter during their commute, according to Buffer.
- Throw in some useful links for your audience. Tweets with links are 86 percent more likely to be retweeted.
More than 1 million members are publishing content on LinkedIn. Get your content shared by:
- Publishing news. 67 percent of LinkedIn users describe themselves as ‘news junkies’, according to LinkedIn themselves.
- Becoming a thought leader. 6 out of 10 LinkedIn users are interested in reading industry insights, so position yourself as one and publish unique, insightful commentary.
- Publishing content between morning and noon, Monday to Friday for peak readership.
Comments are a sure-fire sign that people are engaging with your blog. So, how can you create engagement?
When it comes to promoting your blog posts, the key is in the questions. Social media updates that contain a question receive almost 50 percent more comments.
But don’t just take our word for it. RedPixie CDO Mitchell Feldman recently published an update on his LinkedIn profile about his wife still using Tippex and a paper diary. He signed off with:
Am I alone here?
Within four days, it received 102 comments.
Etsy did something similar. They published a Facebook photo of their ‘Etsy admin’ Josh holding a notepad that read:
What’s your favourite fruit?
This received over 1,400 comments. Remember, people are willing to respond, you’ve just got to be bold enough to ask.
On the contrary, responding to questions from your audience is equally as rewarding. How are you meant to create engagement and develop an audience if you’re ignoring them?
Back in 2015, we published a blog post titled ‘How we work: what does a copywriter do?’ To date, it’s received more than 44 comments, and people are still commenting to this day.
This high level of engagement didn’t just happen overnight though. Our CEO Matthew and Clare – the author – put in the time to respond to almost every question asked. Value your audience, and they’ll find value in you.
‘In inbound marketing, controversial content usually generates lots and lots of comments, social media site shares and even press attention’, explains the marketing whizz Neil Patel.
The key to being opinionated is confidence. ‘Speak up for what you believe, even when it’s controversial. Don’t let a few critical comments get you down,’ clarifies New York Times bestseller Rachel Held Evans.
We’re not asking you to become the next Katie Hopkins here, but expressing your belief in something is a brilliant way to drive blog post comments. Just make sure you have the evidence to back up your claim.
Write a ‘top list’ post
Top lists are easily digestible. ‘Search users want to get relevant information as quickly as possible’ explains Neil, and top ten lists are a clear and concise way of doing so.
On the Bag Language blog here at Articulate, we’ve used this tactic on several occasions. Not only are headlines more attention grabbing and SEO friendly, but the content provided is clearly defined and of value to the reader, making for increased readership and in turn, comments.
Here are some examples:
- 10 top content marketing blogs you need to follow
- 12 top copy tips to boost your website conversion rate
- Top 10 Word hacks for writers
Everyone wants to be liked, and it’s disheartening when no one reacts to your content. More than two-thirds of bloggers have not updated their blogs in over a year, the likely cause being a lack of persistence. You need to keep publishing content to build likes, as well as doing at least some of the following:
‘If you want to grow your blog continually, you need to learn to blog on a consistent basis’, explains Neil on his site QuickSprout. Growing blog post traffic – and gaining likes – comes down to two things: quantity and regularity.
As HubSpot have found out:
Include CTAs in your blog posts
A call-to-action generates value. They’re the next step on from your blog content, and if you’re offering something worthwhile, chances are your readers will become loyal and reciprocate the love.
HubSpot claims that between 47 percent and 93 percent of a post's leads come from anchor-text CTAs alone. This isn’t to say that banner CTAs should be ignored, they play an equally important role.
Thirty-six percent of fans on Facebook who like a page do so because they want to participate in a contest, according to Buffer. This comes back to offering something of value.
Positive participation and experience from customers is extremely valuable and will create a loyal following. It will also get people talking, and word-of-mouth marketing is arguably your most important tool. ‘92 percent of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising’, according to a Nielsen report.
Social media recommendations
Exiting the triple zero club and getting more likes, comments and shares is a tricky feat. It takes a lot of work, time and energy to build momentum and climb your way out of that lonely hole, and a lot of that work will go unnoticed. Here are some action points to consider:
At the core of good metrics is great writing. Tools like Hemingway App will help you get your copy up to scratch, and be sure to study up on how to write punchy openers and killer closes.
Automate your social media promotion
Social media is a tireless pursuit. Keeping on top of the amass of posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Instagram is a never-ending battle. Schedule your online activity using Hootsuite and install a HubSpot-certified content calendar to keep on top of your agenda. Social media automation is the only way to free up time for human interaction.
Engage with the community
But some social media activity requires real-time engagement. Responding to comments is a sure-fire way of gaining loyal followers. ‘To date, I’ve responded to 50,696 comments on Quick Sprout and a few thousand more across the web’, explains Neil. Why is it important?
When I look at my 3 marketing blogs, Quick Sprout, KISSmetrics, and Crazy Egg, I see that Quick Sprout has the highest percentage of returning visitors at 40.8 percent. KISSmetrics is at 34.1 percent and Crazy Egg is at 18.7 percent. These last two blogs aren’t as active from a comment perspective because we don’t consistently respond to every comment.
If you’re stuck in the mud and still finding yourself a part of the triple zero club, let us know in the comments below. We’re here to help!