As a blogger, success depends on your readers. As an affiliate marketer, your blog needs more than traffic: you need people who are invested in your content, and who will buy the products you promote. The question of how to get more readers for your blog should be preceded by asking who the right readers for your blog are.
To earn a loyal following and drive more sales you’ll need to:
- Identify your blog’s audience
- Be an active presence in your targeted online community
- And optimize your content for that audience
The most widely discussed technique for bringing readers to your blog is Search Engine Optimization, which focuses on brining organic traffic to your site. And that’s definitely something you want.
But if your site isn’t a well-known resource yet, chances are that you won’t rank very well in searches, no matter how much SEO voodoo power you have. And on top of that, you have to wonder how often your efforts spent on SEO really bring you loyal readers.
Think about the blogs you read. You probably follow one or two blogs that cater to your biggest interests, and you keep coming back. Alternatively, when you have a specific question about something, you Google it. Your search lands you on sites where you might find some answers. If you even take the time to look past the article that answers your question, you might look at more content on that site, but do you keep going back?
My point here is that SEO strategy is important, but may not be the end-all be-all for bloggers. Especially blogs that are working to build a following.
Research shows that most people barely spend 10 seconds on the webpages they visit for the first time. With that statistic, the chances of someone Googling their way through life becoming a returning follower of your blog–based on SEO alone–are very slim.
A great blog benefits from SEO, for sure. But, for bloggers starting out, the most important piece of the puzzle is dialing in your content for a specific online community. That’s why we decided to form a strategy for bloggers and affiliate marketers who are starting out, or who need to retarget for the right audience. Hold on to your keywords.
Identify Your Audience
It all starts with finding your audience. As this post from Social Triggers points out, if the extent of knowledge about your audience is an assumption that came from your own brain, there’s a good chance you’re on the wrong track. As the expert, you shouldn’t write content for other experts; they don’t need it. And the loyal readers you really want won’t understand it.
For example, at AvantLink, we focus our posts on affiliates who are looking to get bigger and better. We’re not writing these posts for affiliates who’ve been in business for 15 years and know exactly what they’re doing.
To find the right audience, you’ll need to do a little sleuthing. Look at the blogs your blog wants to be when it grows up, and analyze their social media. Investigate the followers’ interests, and the way the content is voiced and presented to that audience. How does it speak to the audience?
As you work on that, also use the Google Analytics Search Console to see what people are searching for on your site (this article explains how to set it up right quick). Develop your blog posts and content calendar around what is interesting to your audience and what is being asked about most in your area of expertise.
Be an Active Presence In Your Online Community
Being an active member of the community you’re targeting will go hand in hand with finding your audience and earning new readers. Join social media groups, follow blogs, and keep tabs on where the conversation is at.
But don’t just read. Make comments on blogs, share articles and posts, and make your voice heard. You should have an online persona that says “I know what I’m talking about” and offers unique perspectives on the subjects your blog is interested in.
For bloggers who are starting out, a guest post can give you the boost you need to become an online presence. Start some conversations with bloggers covering similar topics. Show them what you know and what you have to offer. Supplement their content with a post that offers your unique perspective. If all goes well, you’ll have reached an established, loyal audience who may start following your blog, too.
Create Optimized Content for Your Audience
SEO, social sharing, analytics, and all that jazz are great. But they don’t accomplish much if your content isn’t something readers will come back to. Learning who your audience is, and being an active member of the community will give you insights into what keeps people reading. And once you know that, the challenge is packaging it in an interesting and authentic way.
Think of it this way. What keeps you coming back to your favorite TV show? It’s the story. You want to know what happens next. This is easy to accomplish with a blog because it isn’t static. It lives post to post. So, while each blog post tells its story, your blog as a whole is telling a bigger picture story.
At AvantLink, for example, the story we’re telling is that affiliate marketing can help you live your passion and help others who share in that passion. Everything we create, like this article, is aimed at that larger goal. So each piece of content you create should be a piece of the puzzle. Your readers will be engaged as they piece it together for themselves, post by post.
Download our latest case study below to learn how a mature affiliate program found room to grow with AvantLink.