Forget nuance. If your blog post showed up in a Google listing, would someone click on it? Is it short (well short of 140 characters) so that someone can easily retweet it without editing? Does it immediately communicate, in specific, tangible terms, what the reader will learn?
Let’s say I blogged about how effective direct marketing copy should always be about the reader, not the sender. I could title the post: “It’s Not Me, It’s You” or I could opt for “A Common Copy Mistake that Dooms Email Response.” See the difference?
2. Feed all your blog posts into Twitter.
Even if you never contribute another thing to Twitter, feeding every blog post automatically into your Twitter account generates subscribers (followers) and retweets, expanding your reach exponentially. There are a number of tools that will do this for you; most you just set up once and walk away. We use Twitterfeed.
3. Add calls to action.
Use all that empty sidebar space on your blog’s home page and give people reasons to engage with you and your company. Add links or button ads to downloadable materials or other content hosted behind registration forms: Webinars, white papers, case studies, podcasts. Blogs are all about content and information of value; why not give people the opportunity to learn more?
4. Promote subscriptions.
One of the keys to driving blog traffic and leads is repeat visitors. If you don’t aggressively promote subscriptions, you’re limiting yourself to people who bookmark your blog on their own initiative (see social bookmarks, below).
Offer 3 subscription options – RSS, email, and Twitter – and feature the links prominently on your home page, preferably as icons. For email, choose an automated service like Feedburner (efficient but boring) or design your own custom HTML email template and simply cut and paste the RSS feed once a month.
5. Offer social bookmarks
If someone likes what they’re reading on your blog, how easy is it for them to share it with the world? Social bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious, Technorati, and Stumbleupon are key to generating additional visitors, subscribers, and sales leads. Even one recommendation on Stumbleupon can generate hundreds of new visitors.
6. Offer links to other content in your posts
Social media purists might disagree, but there’s nothing wrong in giving your readers the opportunity to get more information. End your post with something like: “For more information on the same topic, see our recorded Webinar on …” or “To see how we’ve helped other companies solve this problem, download our free case study …” Don’t over do it (or your entire blog will sound like a sales pitch), but when you have more information to offer that’s relevant and compelling, offer it.
How else do you generate leads from your blog? Comments welcome.