By now it’s well-established that epic content is a requirement if you want to thrive in the blogosphere. You can’t succeed by relying on some SEO loophole or simply publishing a random post every day, you need to craft engaging content that is original, actionable, and valuable for your target audience.
The problem is many other bloggers also know this fact, and standing out in a crowded marketplace can be a very difficult proposition. One way it can be achieved, however, is to step back from your own blog and take advantage of other platforms.
To some this may seem counterintuitive at first. If I’m going to work hard and create new engaging material, why would I want to put it somewhere other than my own blog?
Many times it’s only after taking the leap and engaging on new platforms that bloggers start to realize the immense value that comes from going beyond the blog.
I should point out that I’m not talking about simply sharing your posts on Facebook and Twitter, which should already be a big part of your everyday promotional activities. Instead, the ideas described in this article go much further and, if done correctly, will allow you to build your brand, get new visitors and even earn more income.
1. Diversify Your Content and Leverage Less-Common Referral Sources
Many bloggers know that adding a relevant image to their blog posts increases visual appeal and can lead to more engagement from readers. But this concept can be taken even further, as there are significant advantages to producing other types of content than just text.
If you want to stand out from the other bloggers in your niche, why not try producing a video related to your niche? Perhaps a step-by-step tutorial, an interview, or even a video response to a great comment on your recent post. All of these can be great ideas, and there are plenty of other types of videos you can make.
If you don’t consider yourself much of a star in front of the camera, why don’t you launch an audio podcast and periodically record a brief show relating to your blog?
Diversifying your content is a great method for two key reasons. First, it allows you to reach a new audience that might never have found you otherwise. Think of people searching Youtube for video tutorials in your niche, or browsing the iTunes Store for interesting new podcasts to listen to. If you go the video route, you can earn revenue from Youtube if your videos become highly trafficked. Even a free podcast could turn into a potential income stream, as you can offer sponsorships once you build up a large number of subscribers.
Above all, these different types of content complement the regular posts on your blog. It’s not just new users who benefit, as your regular readers will appreciate the fresh types of content and in the case of video, the personal touch.
The second key reason to diversify your content is that these additional platforms can drive traffic back to your blog or website where you can convert the new visitors to regular readers.
Be sure to put your website url in the description of your Youtube videos (some even flash it on the screen). For podcasts, mention an easy-to-remember url at strategic moments, such as at the very end. For best effect, send your traffic to an opt-in page where they get a great free resource in exchange for their email address. It’s a win-win situation for both parties, and you get a new subscriber from a completely different source.
If you get creative, there are many more types of content you can produce and many less-common sites that can refer insane traffic to your blog.
Blogger Gregory Ciotti, for example, got 2,000 new visitors to his blog by uploading a Powerpoint Presentation to Slideshare! What unique new platform will you discover that drives serious traffic to your site?
2. Write a Kindle Book
Ebooks are incredibly hot commodities today and many bloggers already package together a PDF of content to offer to subscribers in order to build their list. But many have not yet realized the benefits of Kindle Direct Publishing, which may be a great platform for you.
The Amazon.com platform is unmatched in size and popularity, and in a very short you can upload your document, add a cover image, and have it available for sale. (Of course, the writing part does take a great deal of time!)
After a few purchases your book will start to show up in Amazon’s various recommendation algorithms, such as the recommended books.
Amazon has many millions of users with credit cards on file who can buy your book in a single click, which you won’t find on any other platform in the world. And the royalties paid to authors are among the best in the business.
For the best effect, try to get a few reviews for your book (in an honest manner of course!) and encourage your reviewers to give your book a few tags. Also be sure to carefully select the categories of your book when submitting to Kindle, because you will get a lot of additional visibility if you can climb these popularity rankings.
In addition to the potential for sales revenue, a Kindle book helps cement your authority as an expert in your niche. New visitors will see that you are a published author, which is still a badge of honor in our culture even with all our emphasis on Web 2.0 advancements.
3. Comment and Engage on Other Blogs More Mindfully
In addition to larger acts such as creating diversified content and publishing a Kindle book, going beyond the blog can also include smaller things like commenting on other blogs in your niche.
Just about everyone already does this and talks about its importance, but how many actually devise a system for ensuring that they do it effectively?
I, for one, used to add every remotely interesting blogger to my Twitter account and RSS reader and then wondered why the endless stream of new posts seemed so overwhelming. Now I give most of my attention to a smaller RSS subfolder, a smaller Twitter list, and a limited number of email subscriptions.
I’m always on the lookout in places like Blog Engage for interesting new bloggers to add to these lists, but I make sure that they don’t get too large. If I feel like I have too many blogs I need to keep up with, I often shut down and don’t comment nearly as much.
Anthropologist Robin Dunbar first proposed the idea that there is a limited number of social relationships one can reasonably handle before succumbing to cognitive overload. Many quote Dunbar’s number to be 150, although I believe it can vary among people with different personalities. When you’re coming up with a list of blogs for the purposes of commenting and engagement, try to think about how large of a group you will be able to comfortably manage.
By being more mindful in setting up these lists, I now find new posts more quickly after they are published, and being the first to comment always leads to more traffic back to my site, especially on larger blogs. In addition, I have built a number of relationships through these comments and I’ve found the other party to be much more likely to share my content.
For the best effect, you need to go above and beyond in crafting your comments. A few times in the past I typed out a long, detailed comment and then sat back and thought that maybe I shouldn’t hit publish and instead make it a post on my own blog. But I didn’t, and in the end a lot of traffic ended up going to my blog anyway because I took enough time to add so much value.
I hope these ideas have been useful for you. Going beyond the blog can mean a lot of different things, so I’m curious what else you might have to add in the comments below!
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