WHEN you’re asked to speak at a Colgate bloggers brunch, it’s hard to smile when your once pearly whites are now tea stained. So chances are I mumbled a lot of my speech.
Anyway, thankfully my talk had nothing to do with teeth and everything to do with the theme of the brunch – trust. Last Thursday Colgate was announced the Most Trusted Australian Brand by Reader’s Digest. We heard about trust being something that’s built over time. So here I was in a room full of seasoned bloggers and I’ve only been at it for six months. So the question was: how had I built my blog so quickly? Let me fill you in on a few of my secrets:
I have to confess, I already had a (small) audience when I started this caper. I had comments on posts from day one. My advantage was I started a humorous column about being “up the duff’’ with Ella, which led into my now three-year-old daughter’s first year of life. That reached 90,000 newspaper readers. Once it ended, I was constantly stopped by people in the street asking if this was “THE Ella’’ from the paper and how much they missed reading about her. And so the blog was born. Although, I must admit, probably only a miniscule percentage of those readers still realise this blog exists.
They have been my biggest drawcard for traffic. A lot argue those readers are too fleeting – and it’s true of some. However, there are others who become regular readers. Without those giveaways, they would never have come to the blog in the first place. I’m also conscious of aligning myself with reputable (ie highly regarded and trustworthy) companies and those that are a good fit for my blog.
It’s not just about the giveaways, but also the reviews attached to them. “Review’’ and “how to’’ are two of the most commonly searched words on Google. Which leads me to my next point.
Search engines optimisation (SEO):
One afternoon, when Ella and I were looking for something to do, we decided to build a doll’s house. Unfortunately, the only box we had was a beer carton. That post still receives a strong number of hits per day via Google. I can just imagine how disappointed those people are when they finally arrive at the post.
I’ve also been a strong advocate for The Wonder Weeks book, which recognises the developmental leaps babies go through every few months – aka, when your baby turns feral. I mean, fussy. I’m now on the front page of Google for the book and get 2-5 hits per day. I’ve had emails from readers saying they are now loyal readers after discovering TLP via those search words. These aren’t posts that garner huge comments on traffic on the day of posting, but they’re a consistent performer over the long term.
Which brings me to the second biggest search engine – YouTube. A video of Baby Holly having a giggling fit got 6500 hits, because it was coincidentally timed with a similar clip promoted in the mainstream media. We’re now doing a series of videos of Ella teaching me Auslan sign language. It’s simple things like this that build trust with readers. I could tell you she can do Auslan, but would you believe me? If I show you, then there’s no disputing it. YouTube is still trial and error in terms of driving traffic to our blog though.
Memes or blog hops:
It has taken a while to find the memes that fit best with the blog. However, the ones I’m now attached to (including co-hosting a giveaway linky with Tina Gray) has increased traffic and comments. Again, it’s attracting bloggers and readers who may not have ordinarily come to the blog in the first place. And, in turn, it’s allowed me to “meet’’ bloggers who I wouldn’t have discovered without the meme.
I’m not always successful with this one, but for example I have some exciting news… was a headline people couldn’t help but click on. Curiosity killed the cat and all that. A Mother’s Heartache pulls at any mother’s natural instinct to help others. Then there was The Bloke in The Shed’s Bras are for boobs. Now, what on earth could that be about? However, don’t overpromise in your headline and under deliver in your content, or you’ll lose your readers trust very quickly.
People now know me and my family. I use our names and show photos of us. Not everyone is comfortable with that, but it’s helped people feel part of our family and I love that connection.
So there you have it. That’s how I’ve been able to build my blog. Oh, and I should mention I comment on other blogs like there’s no tomorrow, aim to have entertaining or informative content EVERY day and participate in social media – Facebook, Twitter and Google+. And The Bloke in The Shed would be grumpy if I didn’t mention that having a dad regularly posting on the site helps too (according to him!).
Oh, just incase you were wondering what Baby Holly was doing during my speech, here she is.
Yes, being nursed by THE Colgate lady Mrs Marsh.
What have you done to help grow your blog?