The secret has been out for the best part of a decade now. Driven by its value in terms of content marketing, blogging has become serious business. A recent RankXL post highlighted some of the world’s most successful blogs, with each of them making in excess of $1m a year. A select few even generate annual revenues of over $100m.
However, as blogging becomes an increasingly lucrative industry, the competition has grown with it. By the end of 2019, it’s expected that there will be an estimated 31.2m bloggers in the United States alone. This represents the scale of the challenge facing bloggers in their mission to move up the search rankings, gain traffic, and grow their revenue.
Fortunately, amidst these statistics, there are a number of proven strategies that you could employ to stand out against your competitors.
1. Focus on a Profitable Niche
The first step is to focus on areas you are knowledgeable and passionate about. It will enable you to convey natural enthusiasm which makes your content more engaging to the audience. Once you have settled on a shortlist of topics, it’s time to assess their potential profitability.
Your ideal niche would have a high demand, and low competition. However, these “perfect” examples are rare, so you need to find a balance. One of the most effective ways to discover niches is through keyword research, which will show you the popularity of specific search terms. Using a tool like Spyfu will give you the in-depth data you need.
Once you’ve chosen your niche, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will I be able to improve on my competitor’s content?
- Is it an “evergreen” niche? (A niche that has long-term appeal – i.e. travel, gardening, or health)
- Is the niche focused enough to target an audience, yet open enough to create a broad range of content?
- Does the niche give my blog room to grow? (For example, add new sections, podcasts, and products)
If the answer to those questions is yes, then you have the foundations of a profitable, growing blog.
2. Make it Easy to Share Content
Giving your readers the ability to easily share your content with colleagues, family, and friends can significantly increase the reach of your blog. Having social sharing icons, as demonstrated above in the SaaS Mag blog, will enable you to take advantage of how people trust recommendations from friends and family five times as much as a brand message.
Another method is social media snippets, where the reader can immediately share a prepared tweet with the link in a matter of seconds. With over 2 billion active users on Facebook alone, social media has the potential to turbocharge the reach of your blog. These social media sharing techniques can turn your readers into advocates at a click of a button.
3. Images and Video
No-one likes to read a wall of text. As well as using subheadings and bullet-points, you should use images and videos to make your posts more engaging.
This is a good example from a recent RankXL blog post. The oft-repeated claim that people process images 60,000 times faster than text may be a myth, but in this particular post, the visuals are relevant and aid the points the writer is making.
The key is to strike a balance with images and videos. Consider the norms for your niche. For example, a travel blog is likely to require more visuals than a blog focusing law. Also, ensure the images or videos are relevant to the points in your posts.
4. Guest Posting
Guest posting is where you either write on a third-party site or invite someone outside your organization to write an article for your site. It’s an excellent way to raise your profile within your niche and position yourself as a thought-leader. By linking back to your website you will also reap massive SEO benefits over time.
When guest posting, consider the following factors:
- Do we share the same audience? (You can write about different niches but if you have a similar audience profile, then guest posting could prove beneficial. For example, golfing and luxury travel)
- Can the guest blogger contribute useful, relevant content and vice-versa?
- Does the guest blog or blogger have a solid reputation within their niche and generate good traffic?
Once again, if the answers are yes, then you have a good guest posting opportunity. If you’re writing a guest post, then ensure you have matched and exceeded the editorial standards of that site. Also, focus on sharing useful, relevant information and resist the urge to plug your own blog.
5. Repurpose Old Content
This often overlooked strategy has the power to significantly drive up traffic to your blog. For instance, you can repurpose a “Best Blogs of 2018” post and turn it into “Best Blogs of 2019.” This makes use of the traction the post already has in search results.
Another way of repurposing old content is to present it in a different form. Pulling together statistics and data from previous posts into an infographic is an effective way to gain social media engagement, further extending your reach.
6. Analyze Your Traffic
Whether you’re just starting out or already an established blog, it’s essential to monitor your traffic. Understanding the sources of your traffic will shape your marketing strategy. Analyze which channels are driving the most visitors to your site. Work out your visitor retention rate and see which content engages your readers.
Having all this data to hand will help you work out the strengths and weaknesses in your blog. Focus on key performance indicators (KPIs) such as average time spent on site, recurring vs. new traffic, and specific goals. By addressing those weaknesses, you will be able to improve your content and increase traffic.
7. Email Marketing
One digital communication channel has stood the test of time. With email marketing, you can be in complete control of the core message and content that you send to subscribers. A regular and relevant newsletter will keep your readers engaged and remind them to visit your blog.
Generating an ROI of $44 for every $1 spent, email remains the most effective digital marketing channel. In addition, checking emails is the number one online activity among US adults, with 85% doing so on a daily basis.
It’s clear that email marketing can prove to be an invaluable source of recurring traffic to your blog if you build an engaged list of contacts.
These seven strategies are among many others that you can employ to increase the value of your blog. As stated earlier, blogs have become increasingly lucrative, and thousands of bloggers around the world are earning healthy incomes.
And in 2016, the New York Times bought product review site, Wirecutter, for an estimated $30m.
While a deal of that level may be ambitious, there’s little doubt taking a holistic approach, using the strategies mentioned, can significantly drive up your income and the value of your blog. If you’re thinking of selling your content business, then feel free to contact our team at FE International.
Written by George Schooling – Analyst at FE International.