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Welcome to Momcomm Monday! I have a special guest today… fellow marketer and blogger (and friend) Fadra from all.things.fadra. Every month (or so), I’ll invite a blogging mom who’s also in marketing or public relations to guest post on Momcomm Monday. My main criteria? I’ll only ask marketing mommies who are as crazy about marketing and PR as moi.
Take it away, Fadra!
It’s time to talk about the one thing bloggers aren’t supposed to talk about: traffic.
We would all love to be purists and write simply for the sake of writing. We don’t care who reads our blogs. We don’t care if people like it or they don’t. It’s all about the art and the craft.
If we didn’t care about traffic, we would be starting every post with “Dear Diary” and writing it in our little locked book and keeping it in the nightstand.
It’s okay to admit that you like people to visit your site. It’s okay to admit that you get excited, and dare I say, encouraged when you get comments. Especially the thoughtful comments. And while it would be great if people organically found our blogs and fell in love with our writing and left us wonderful comments, that’s not really how it happens.
I recently had some pretty large spikes in traffic over at my site all.things.fadra. I don’t say that to brag about it because it wasn’t exactly organic. I helped bring those spikes. And I’m going to tell you how you might do that too.
Why you should care about spikes
Let me first say that spikes in traffic are great but spikes are exactly that. A one shot, one stop deal. Your numbers shoot up and then return to normal. But usually, I find they return to a new normal. You get a lot of quick, fast exposure to people who may not have otherwise visited your blog before. If you have a compelling site (we’ll save that one for another day), you will hopefully make people want to return.
1. Start with the obvious
I don’t like to make assumptions. So I’ll start with the obvious.
Track your traffic.
There are lots of tools out there to help you track your site traffic for free. Probably the most commonly used is Google Analytics. You need this on your blog. Plain and simple. You sign up for an account through Google, you add your URL, and you usually insert a simple code into your blog’s HTML. Sounds scary? It’s not. There are a million and one tutorials out there to help you do this regardless of your blogging platform.
2. Check your traffic
Again, I’m being a little bit obvious. You need to check your traffic to get a sense of your patterns.
When do people read your blog?
Mondays are usually the busiest day on the internet so if you’ve got something important to say, it’s usually best to do it on a Monday.
What do people like to read about?
What posts garner the most comments and from who?
How are people finding your posts?
These are all questions that are easily answered by a glance at your Google Analytics. And if you don’t have time, you can even set up a report that can be emailed to you on a regular basis.
3. Create some buzz
I use Twitter a lot but Facebook is also a good medium for creating buzz before you publish or even write your post. If I have an idea for something I want to write about, I might throw out a question to engage people in advance. If I planned to write about the new Twitter interface, I might say:
Wow, I don’t have the new Twitter yet. I must not be special. Who has it?
“I don’t. BUT, yesterday I noticed a *tiny* button at the top of the screen for a “preview.” Maybe you have that too?”
“be thankful. I hate it.”
“i finally got it yesterday #newtwitter it’s like old twitter but wider #twittergotfat”
“I’d spend a round in the ring with Manny Pacquiao sans gloves to have old Twitter back #newtwitter”
Clearly, this is something people are emotionally invested in. If I choose to write about it, I now have a list of people who might be interested in reading it. I might follow up the responses by saying:
“Sounds like mixed emotions about #newtwitter. I just might have to write about it and you tell me if you agree.”
I’ve done this before and actually had people ask me to send them the link when I write about it. You better believe I take them up on that.
4. Write about a very personal experience or story.
We all love to see your beautiful daughter playing with her Barbie doll in the sprinkler. But that’s not the kind of post that will get people talking. If you had a great experience (at the park, at the grocery store, at McDonald’s, at a blogging conference) or you are baring your soul, people will want to read and want to engage and want to share.
5. End with a question.
If you are writing about an experience, ask people to share a similar experience in the comments. If people attended an event, ask them their favorite part. If you are baring your soul, invite people to do the same.
6. Reach out to relevant readers.
It gets annoying if you are always asking specific people to read your post. But if I have mentioned someone in one of my posts, I like to let them know. Everyone wants to read about themselves and they will most likely share it with their friends. If you write about a specific topic or brand, let someone related to that topic or brand know.
7. Use a hashtag.
For example, if you write about post about postpartum depression, find an appropriate hashtag to use on Twitter when providing a link (example: #ppdsupport). It’s makes it easier and a lot more likely for people who don’t follow you or your blog to become aware of your post.
My Real World Experience
I recently had a few posts that gave me large spikes in traffic. I thought I would share some of my real world experience to tell you how it worked for me.
I tweet a lot.
- If I’m at a conference, everyone knows it. I use hashtags like #bloggybootcamp or #BlogHer10 or #typeamom.
- If I have a comment about a specific store or brand, I reference the Twitter ID for that store or brand.
- I respond to most tweets so that people feel engaged.
If I have a high visibility good experience, I share it.
- I recently wrote about a great customer service experience I had with McDonald’s corporate.
- I wrote about the larger blogging conferences I attended with pictures and video.
I invite readers to my post.
- When I wrote my conference wrap-ups, I posted the link on Twitter with the conference hashtag.
- I sent messages to the bloggers I wrote about or posted pictures of.
- For my customer service experience, I used the #custserv hashtag and sent the link to the reigning Twitter guru of customer service experiences.
- I also sent a note to the McDonald’s intern who helped me.
Sometimes you just get lucky.
- Every once in a while, you might get a somewhat popular blogger to link to your post or even tweet it out (this happened to me). You don’t ask for that (that would be uncool). But when it happens, it’s amazing!
- Corporate can pick up on positive stories and use them to their advantage. I was contacted by the McDonald’s Director of Social Media who asked if he could share my experience on his blog. Um, yes!
One last bit of advice… if you are lucky enough to drive a spike in your traffic and comments, you will likely have found a new group of readers. Be sure to respond quickly and genuinely to their comments and hope they will come back another day.
Fadra Nally is wife, mother, and ex-corporate worker. When she’s not chasing after her three year old son, she consults with businesses on marketing strategy and social media. In the blogging world, she writes about life, motherhood, and marketing at all.things.fadra.