Effective tools

The blogosphere is rapidly growing, there’s no doubting that. Way back in 2006, Technorati tracked its 50 millionth blog and found that the blogosphere is doubling about once every six and a half months with 175,000 new blogs being created each day. So, it’s now 2010… you do the math. That’s a lot of blogs! With such a plethora of blog content out there, the natural question becomes, is anyone actually reading these blogs?

Just last Thursday, eMarketer reported that 51 percent of U.S. Internet users (113 million people) currently read blogs on a monthly basis, which is predicted to grow to 60 percent by 2014. With 26.2 million people updating a blog at least once a month this year, it’s good to know at least some people are listening.

But how do we get the other half to listen as well?

The techniques outlined below should get the growing number of U.S. bloggers on the right track to attract more readers:

  • Link to blogs you read in your blogroll: This may seem like an obvious blog characteristic, but by linking to other blogs, you show that you’re truly involved in your industry or blog theme and, hopefully, the blogs you link to will return the favor and link back to your blog.
  • Comment on other blogs: Commenting on other blogs in your area, like the ones in your blogroll, will further establish your involvement and showcase you as a thought leader on select topics. On most blog commenting platforms, there’s usually an area for you to list your name and link in addition to your comment – entering in the link to your personal blog here will direct readers back to your site and provide some credibility to your comment.
  • Produce content for other blogs or websites or create a blog on a broader blog network: Many sites look for outside content where you can syndicate your blog or create a new column. Being able to link back to your site will drive more traffic and increase your readership. Being a guest blogger also increases your credibility and spreads your name. We’ve seen this strategy work first hand as March’s Managing Partner, Cheryl Gale, writes a guest column for Examiner.com.
  • Get others to post on your blog: Inviting already influential bloggers to write a guest post for your blog is a great way to draw in a whole new audience. The guest blogger likely already has his/her own site with a dedicated readership where they can link to their guest post on your blog, thereby directing all their readers to your blog. This also helps you establish good relationships with other bloggers in your area of interest/expertise, which can be another great networking tool.
  • Use social media outlets: Sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Digg are great networks to promote your blog and its content. It doesn’t even have to be extra work – both Facebook and Twitter have tools so you can post automatic updates each time a new blog post goes live. As a true blogger, it’s almost expected that you’ll be posting to Twitter since Technorati found that bloggers (73%) use Twitter much more than the general population (14%). The more you can get your blog link out there, the more readers you’ll ultimately attract.
  • List your blog: Listing your blog on sites like Google, Technorati and other blog directories like Blog Catalog or Bloggapedia (see more complete list here) is another great strategy to direct more readers to your blog.
  • Optimize your blog: Use tools to improve your SEO PR strategy, like useful tags, links to other articles and trackbacks to make sure your blog is fully optimized for eager readers searching for content which could be found on your site. Trackbacks are a great tool that shows relevant articles on similar topics in the comment section. Whenever you cite another article or blog post and link to it on your blog, by sending a trackback, your blog post link will appear on the article you cited, pulling in more readers who are interested in that topic. Such a simple tactic, yet often underused.
  • Attend blog conferences: There are a variety of blogging events in and around major cities, like Blogtoberfest, happening October 21st in Boston. These events can help you network, spread the word about your blog, and generate new ideas for content. While you’re there, why not see if any other bloggers are interested in having you write a guest post for their blog, or writing one for yours.
  • Advertise: If you want to go the paid route, this is the obvious option. Advertise your blog on other sites through banner ads or pop-ups – depending on the amount of traffic you get, who knows, before long, other blogs may want to start advertising on your site!

So, for the reported 34.7 million people in the U.S. who will be creating blogs by 2010, perhaps some of these techniques will help them establish a better readership.

On a side note, Technorati’s 2010 State of the Blogosphere report is due to come out in November, and it’ll be interesting to see further growth in the trends that have been steadily escalating for the past few years.

Do you know of other useful and impactful tactics that PR agencies can employ or recommend their clients to improve their blogs? We’ve worked with a number of companies in the Fintech space and we can definitely say that blogging has played an important part for their digital PR campaigns.

This post was first published by Meredith L. Eaton on March Communications‘ blog, PR Nonsense, and may be viewed here.