How to Get Traffic to Your Blog

I’m in the trenches of marketing all day, and recently was studying “guest posting” as a way to get eyeballs to content.

The super short & obvious version: Do the work.

Consider:

  1. There are billions of pages of content on the web. Is what you’re writing different, better, improved in any way?
  2. In an era where computers write articles – even factual, researched ones (see this NY Times article for example), is it going to truly help humans?
  3. Trust is at all time lows – but in an era of paid fake reviews on Yelp, fake fiverr video reviews – can you blame people?

Increasingly, I dislike (and bail quickly on) opinion-based articles about sales, marketing… things I spend real money on – I want facts. Actual curated real-world results.

So – really, what makes your blog worthwhile? I get you want money. We all do. But what’s in it for the reader?

For B2C – consumer facing blogs, you are helping solve a problem, or tapping into already-existing passions (i.e. golf, cars, woodworking), solving a need (clothing, though that’s fortunately more of a “want” and is really more about looking good than actual utility in most cases). Increasingly – and with good cause – consumers demand faster, better, more obvious and more personalized results.

Amazon.com serves you suggestions based on your search history. They do the work (technical programming) – and win the sales.

Is your blog personalizing content? Engaging the audience? It starts with value, which builds trust, and with trust comes engagement, and after there’s engagement, there’s multiple impressions, and in that, there’s money if you have a compelling offer.

You can’t skip steps.

For B2B, what makes blogs pop for me is hard numbers, not just opinion or untested hypothesis. Marketing is as simple as compelling offer + eyeballs of qualified buyers to it – so any theories about whiz-bang new widgets that promise to pour money into my wallet – but don’t have hard facts to back it up are, for me, usually in the “wait and watch for actual evidence of success” category.

For a business owner, wander down the dark alley that is Warrior Forum, and you’ll quickly get lost in a barrage of people trying to sell you stuff. Everyone’s trying to rush the sale, and convince you their Widget X is the single reason your wildest dreams aren’t already true.

As people get more jaded on the internet, Google updates from Panda to Penguin to whatever else designed to kill off spammy ways to short circuit the value algorithm, it keeps coming back to trust. Because Google can mine Chrome-user data for value (page-visit times), there’s no going back – you must create value, and any spammy super-link-pyramid blog-bait techniques will be short lived at best, and at worst get you delisted and/or damage your brand reputation.

Since most B2B is “attraction motivated” vs. “repulsion motivated” (i.e. going to the gym to get six-pack abs vs going because one has a few too many pounds around the waist), these people have a longer buying cycle, often require more evidence, and thus – back to it – trust.

If you sell something in the impulse range, say, $7, you don’t need much – but there’s a big difference between giving you a free and possibly junk email – and getting out one’s wallet or credit card and even giving up a penny. As the dollar amount goes up, the trust required goes up – a $2,000 or higher purchase most people are going to research, check reviews… and require trust.

And where does the trust start?

Value.

Do the work, and you’ll get the traffic.

LinkedIn vs. Facebook for Business

I’ve always felt that LinkedIn was a place where everyone wants to talk and promote, but few if any want to actually listen. Does anyone actually go there to find a vendor? To shop? For validation?

The exception is people seeking a job – I think this is a strength for LI.

Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a powerful prospecting tool, networking tool and reference point if you’re thinking of doing business with a vendor – but does anyone want to consume, shop, read?

For that reason, in the long run, I think Facebook is likely to win over LinkedIn, because it’s engineered for consumption first. Amazon recently announced it is getting into the services business, probably driven first by distribution and a desire to have an Uber* style army of delivery drivers, and to further leverage it’s considerable traffic and attention.

Amazon will succeed in this I think – because it’s a consumption driven brand.

I believe the obvious play for LinkedIn is to develop consumption, but along the lines its users want: build out sites like Service Magic or Thumbtack (for B2C) or refine the expertise side like Quora or StackExchange for B2B.

In general, the internet has matured enough that demand is always far more important supply.

Supply is plentiful and practically infinite for most services and products people want. Shoes? There’s 10,000 websites to sell them to you – and another plethora of sites that show you where to buy them locally.

But shoe buyers? That’s the business of Google, Amazon, and ad networks, with their billion dollar valuations. If you have 10,000 shoe buyers, you’re pretty much guaranteed to make money. If you have 10,000 pairs of shoes, you may be in good shape – or just have a lot of slack inventory. Product is a lot less of a guarantee than demand for most industries.

The business of generating demand isn’t going anywhere, and as more of the planet comes online, will get increasingly valuable. It’ll also get even more competitive, more polarized, with fewer big winners and millions of also-rans.

Fortunately, demand can be actively created.