If you’ve been blogging for a while, you know that writing a blog post is easy… but accumulating a large following and becoming influential is not.
When I started blogging, I probably made many of the same mistakes as everyone else. But I adjusted my approach as time went on and my results improved noticeably.
I’ve also reached out to a lot of bloggers, ranging from newbies to highly influential people with massive followings, so I’ve gotten to know quite a few people.
So what exactly is it that influential bloggers are doing that you’re not. If you’re struggling with growing your blog, then you’re probably not doing one or more of these things:
The most successful bloggers are true experts in their fields. That means that they don’t just blog all the time, but instead spend a good amount of time taking action.
For example, a well-known food blogger spends a good amount of time cooking and trying out new recipes and the bloggers you admire in the online marketing niche are actively testing out new marketing ideas or using the techniques that they write about on their own business.
A few topics that I can write about authoritatively now include the following:
- SEO for blogging – Because I grew my search traffic by over 1,310% in 2014.
- Pinterest marketing – Because my e-commerce Pinterest account ranks #1 for the highly competitive keyword “baby shower” on Pinterest search
- LinkedIn Publishing – Because I’ve gotten hundreds of followers and subscribers from LinkedIn and got about 1 out of 3 posts featured on LinkedIn’s content channels
When you take action, you learn a lot of things you won’t learn from just reading other people’s content. Plus your writing becomes more believable when you have real results to back it up.
Being social and networking with other bloggers can help you out tremendously. A lot of people think they can just blog solo and build their own massive following out of thin air.
Building relationships with other people and bloggers can accelerate your growth.
I’ve reached out to a lot of bloggers by email ranging from complete beginners to influencers with thousands of followers.
Most people might expect to get more replies from less influential people since they get less email. Interestingly enough, it’s the most influential people that were the most likely to reply.
When I do a cold email outreach, I might get a 10% response rate or less. But I’m also a lot more likely to remember and follow the people that do reply.
Ann Smarty, Brian Dean and Neil Patel are just a few people that replied to me when I was getting started with blogging and even tweeted out some of my posts. And I’ve shared plenty of their posts since then too.
As it turns out, corresponding with other bloggers through email, blog comments and social media is a good practice for making your brand more memorable. Building a strong network can lead to increased social sharing, collaboration and other opportunities.
Most influential bloggers I know are selling something. While some bloggers use affiliate programs and ads, selling your own product or service allows you to make more money with less traffic.
A lot of newer bloggers get so caught up in content creation that they don’t spend any time learning about selling.
Most highly successful bloggers spend a good amount of time on blogging. It’s much harder to grow your blog if you have to spend time on other unrelated things, like your full-time job or freelancing.
If you can make your work life align with your blogging, then you’ll be able to justify spending more time on it. Spend time coming up with a good monetization strategy.
Creating content is the most enjoyable part of blogging for most bloggers, but blog promotion is something that a lot of bloggers struggle with. Top bloggers are really good at promoting their own content.
- Guest blogging is one of the most intuitive ways to promote your blog, but a lot of bloggers don’t do it or don’t do it consistently enough. It’s easier to just create articles on your own blog, but if you don’t have a large audience yet, then it’s worth the extra effort and editing to get featured on other blogs.
Here are a few other tactics that I see other influencers using:
- Expert roundups – An expert roundup is a great way to include multiple bloggers in your blog post while providing valuable content to your readers. Roundups are a great way to go viral on social media because the bloggers that are on the roundup usually share the post with their followers.
- Mentioning other bloggers in your post and letting them know about it – If you write a high quality post and mention other bloggers in it, then they might also share it with their followers.
- Publishing on LinkedIn – LinkedIn recently opened its publisher platform to its members and publishing on LinkedIn is a good way to tap into the large and growing audience on LinkedIn.
Before I started focusing on promotion, my blog traffic grew very slowly. Once I started promoting my content, I achieved much more noticeable results, including some posts that got shared over a thousand times.
How much time are you spending on blog promotion? If you aren’t spending at least as much time on promotion as content creation, then you might want to consider increasing promotion time and efforts.
Top bloggers are a lot better at managing their time than other people. Bloggers rarely talk about productivity, but time management is critical to success in any business.
As a blogger, you need to constantly test what are the most effective uses of your time as well as where you are wasting time.
For me, social media was a big distraction and time waster. While I do still engage in social media, I usually only do so at specific times during the day.
To increase effectiveness, I’ve started to systematize everything I do, just like for my other businesses. There are also plenty of productivity and blogging tools that you can use to improve your effectiveness.
Most high traffic blogs are pretty consistent at the rate in which they create content. Proper time management allows influential bloggers to create content on a consistent basis.
Consistency is one of the biggest keys to success in blogging and business. Many bloggers that are influential today struggled when they were just getting started.
But the reason that they ultimately became influential is that they kept blogging and didn’t quit. They learned things along the way and improved their results.
And as their blog grew, their audience and traffic grew as well.
I believe that sheer persistence is one of the keys to success in anything you do, including blogging. If you want to succeed with blogging, be consistent and keep at it until you succeed.
Most blogs I see completely ignore SEO, but even some social media experts have admitted that they get more traffic from Google than from social media. Traffic from search engines is ongoing and can accumulate over time, so SEO is an important thing to focus on.
Some bloggers don’t do any SEO because they think it is hard or because they don’t understand it. While SEO isn’t the easiest thing in the world, here are a few simple things that every blogger should be doing:
- Keyword research - A lot of people stopped doing keyword research because Google’s Keyword Planner and Analytics don’t display as much data as they did before. However, keyword research is still important if you want to get SEO traffic.
Google Keyword Planner still provides data on high traffic keywords, but you will also want to research long tail keywords. Long tail keywords typically account for more than 90% of a site’s search traffic and are easier to rank for.
Here’s a compilation of over 90 keyword research tools and ideas that you can use to get keyword ideas: Small Business Ideas Blog Keyword Research Tools
- Internal linking - Linking back to older posts within your site is important because it helps with SEO and sends new visitors to your older content.
Some bloggers forget to link back to old content. But internal links are so important that some of the blogs I’ve guest posted for require that guest posters include them in the post.
- Optimize title and meta description – The title tag is one of the most important factors for on page SEO. Most bloggers will just copy their blog post title into the title tag field.
If your blog post title is already optimized for SEO, then you can use the same title. But if not, then do some keyword research to figure out what phrases people might use to find your content and include those phrases in your title tag and meta description.
Are you struggling to gain influence in your niche? What other things do you see influencers doing that most bloggers don’t? Let me know if the comments below.
Brian Lang is the founder of Small Business Ideas Blog where he shares tips and ideas from over 10 years as an online business owner, blogger and internet marketer. Be sure to download his free resource, 50+ Free Tools & Resources to Grow Your Blog if you want to learn more about blogging.