This is something that’s come up in meetings twice in the last two weeks. Once as an example, once as a question.
Example 1: well-known entrepreneur asks firm to consult on and create a custom blog template for her. Project is completed and… nothing’s happening. No one is visiting. She emails the firm and asks them if they can “make the blog busy”. They kind of chuckle and explain that… uh, she has to write regular posts and comment on other blogs to start driving her traffic – just like everyone else.
Example 2: executive is thinking about using a blog to both communicate with internal stakeholders and as a way to increase recruitment in his aging workforce (so it would be “outward facing”, i.e. not password-protected or private). He wants to know how he can make this work, i.e. get people reading it, before he commits to the project.
What’s the difference here? In my opinion, Example #1 never should have set up a blog. It was the wrong channel for her as well as being waste of time and money. She didn’t understand the committment required and the way blogs actually work.
Example #2, however, asked the right questions – wanting to understand fully how he could make this tool a successful part of his communications plan before he decided whether it was right for him. Here were the answers I gave him (and this is a short list, not including social media optimization tips and tricks). It goes without saying that, of course, the content on your blog must be engaging and entertaining:
1. Comment, comment, comment. If you’re a CEO penning a blog about your company, you can count on traffic from your already-prominent site plus all the media attention you’re sure to garner. If you’re “in the trenches” and want to use a blog to help increase your numbers or otherwise improve your performance, you’re going to need to do a little more work. Just like every other blogger out there, you’re going to have to start commenting to drive traffic. And the comments be intelligent and in context because that’s what prompts people to click through on your profile link and visit your blog to check it out for themselves. 3-5 comments per day in the early days is a good goal to aim for.
2. Reciprocate. This is part 2 of point #1. When people do start coming to your blog, and commenting, reciprocate by returning to their blog and commenting again. Repeat. Bloggers are addicted to comment traffic, and most count it obsessively. It’s the measure of success to most, and if you contribute and your blog is good, you will likely be included in their links lists, further driving traffic back to your blog.
In the end, if you’re looking for a “quick traffic fix” – there isn’t one. Unless you’re a CEO or linked to your corporate site in a prominent way, you’re going to have to goose your traffic in the same way everyone else does. But take comfort: if you build it (i.e. have great content) they will come!