From 500 views to 20,000 in 8 weeks: one company's blog strategy

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From 500 views to 20,000 in 8 weeks: one company’s blog strategy

There is no magic trick to building a well-read blog. There’s just work, creating good content and reaching an audience. With that simple philosophy as a starting point, we significantly increased visits to the Lendio blog in the last couple months.

People will often get a spike in their blog traffic because they get something to the top of Digg, Sphinn, Reddit and other similar social sites. We haven’t done that, yet. What we did do is this:

Create useful content

First thing we did was focus on creating content that would be a resource for all of our viewers. Small business owners and entrepreneurs come to our site to find the right business loans. Ninety-percent of everything that goes on our blog is to help those business owners be successful—whether it’s about getting funding or marketing a new product.

This has been the key. With a focus on providing relevant news, tips and resources, everything else came into place.

Post four to five times per week

This is where the work comes in. It can be challenging if you’re just starting a blog to get four to five quality blog posts every week—especially if there’s just one person responsible for all the content.

However, once you start creating an editorial calendar and schedule in the experts within your company and other guest bloggers, you can fill up those slots pretty quickly.

With more posts, we were experiencing more blog traffic. However, right now we’re experimenting with putting up 10 posts a week, and so far it doesn’t seem to make that much of a difference. We’re still in line for about 9,000-10,000 views this month. Five posts a week made a difference, but I’m not sure if blogging twice a day engages our audience as well. But it’s still early, we’ll see. Please comment if you have thoughts on this.

Interview celebrities

Shark-Tales
Barbara Corcoran is the author of Shark Tales.

I interviewed Barbara Corcoran, a personality on the TV show Shark Tank, where business owners pitch their business to investors. Celebrity interviews can always gain good traffic, as did this one. But Corcoran, as an angel investor and extremely successful business woman, hits a chord with our own audience made up of business owners.

I found out something about celebrities: sometimes you have no chance getting them on the phone. Other celebrities, however, want the attention — that’s why they’re celebrities in the first place. Many want to talk to you and be featured on your blog. You might have to go through their secretary or publicist, but if you keep trying to make contact, you’ll get an interview.

Corcoran wanted to spread news of her book and TV show, and she knew our audience fit that demographic. It was a natural fit. To interview a celebrity, it has to make sense for both parties.

Ride the momentum of current events

We often try to ride the coattails of current events and trends. Sometimes you can rank in the search engines quickly for specific topics people are searching about in real time. Take this example: when Osama bin Laden was killed, we wrote a post on how the economy might be affected.

Soon, that post ranked No. 1 for search terms around related to Osama and the economy, and those keywords sent us more than 1,000 visits from Google in the first couple days. The post is still driving traffic through the search engines, and is still ranked No. 1, above established media outlets on the same subject.

Invite guest bloggers

Joe-Abraham
Joe Abraham is the author of Entrepreneurial DNA.

From the moment I started on the blog, I was contacting people to be guest bloggers. I asked the executives of the company to do the same. Many people are more than happy to be a guest blogger. In fact, they want to do it. They want to get their name in front of a new audience, to show their product, expertise, etc. Plus, guest bloggers expose your brand to a whole new network of people.

I also found a gold mine for guest bloggers: authors. Authors are trying hard to push their books. They write well, have good ideas and want to show their books to the right audience. A blog is often a better targeted venue for authors than traditional media.

I talked to a publicist at McGraw Hill and coordinated guest posts from authors that have business books coming out. Some of them want to give multiple blogs every month, like Joe Abraham. We’re also in talks with Joe about being a partner on other things we’re doing, aside from the blog.

Create infographics

Our infographics haven’t been mind-blowing yet, but each new infographic sends us extra traffic. It gives a different feel in the blog to have an idea communicated visually instead of just through text.

Infographics don’t automatically work, though. You need someone that has connections to get that graphic to the top of Digg, etc., to make it really drive traffic. If your infographic is boring or confusing, it won’t go anywhere. If your infographic is stunning, and you have the right people push it, you’ll see significant traffic.

Start a weekly newsletter

The newsletter was actually a big deal for the blog. We send it out on weekends, highlighting three of the best blogs of the week. This goes out to a new audience that we can’t reach through social media. Because we are offering good, quality information to our e-mail list, those potential customers are more open to other e-mail marketing. Because of the newsletter, we see a big spike in blog visits over the weekend, which is usually a time when traffic slows.

Your turn

These aren’t the only strategies to increase blog traffic. What other ideas should be added to the list?

Dan BishcoffThe former Director of Communications at Lendio, Dan Bischoff is now a content marketing and PR consultant. His articles have been seen in national publications including USA Today, Fox News, Sports Illustrated and ESPN.

When he’s not telling a company’s story to the masses, he’s trying to land big fish in remote locations with his fly rod.

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