After you have found an idea for an intriguing blog post, concocted a beautifully written article, proofread and formatted, all that is left to do is hit the dreaded “Publish” button. I’ll be honest, I hesitate every time I push that little blue button, because I fear that it won’t reach it’s desired audience and therefore all the work I put in would be a huge waste of time.
There is no reason for this fear. Every post you create has a purpose, even if it is far down the road.
Writing a blog post, no matter how short or random, is a building block in constructing your writing goals.
In the movie business they call these “windows”. Where a movie has multiple windows for reaching an audience and making money throughout its lifetime. First you have the box office, then pay-per-view, then rentals, then DVD sales, then TV.
With your posts, the options for distribution are endless in the short and long-term. Let’s take a look at what you should be doing with your blog post as time progresses.
Heat up your title
This step should be addressed right before your blog post is published, but it allows for your words to be potentially read from more people. After you complete your post, go to the Google Adwords keyword tool and type in a few words that occur frequently in your blog post. Then see what keywords are being searched for on search engines.
Use these words to make your title more powerful. For example, before I wrote this article my tentative title was “What you must do right after you hit the publish button”. I typed in the words “blogging”, “after blog post” and “publish” in the keyword tool and saw that there are high searches on the keywords “create a blog” and “blog post”. Therefore I changed my title around to make it more search engine relevant.
Trim your URLs
When sharing your links on Twitter, having a short URL will allow people to easily reply or re-tweet with mentions to your post, creating conversation and sending more people to your post and Twitter page. Not only that, but you can track where these shortened links are coming from. So in order to track the effectiveness of your Facebook or Google+ posts, it is wise to shorten your links on those pages as well.
This is the first wave of distribution, besides actually publishing your blog post for regular readers. Share your shortened link on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and through an RSS feed. An RSS feed needs to be setup before posting your article, however this is a powerful means of distribution since many people consume their news and blog posts through these content aggregation tools. If you don’t have an RSS feed, go to my tutorial on setting up an RSS feed for your blog.
With social media sites, don’t simply post your link and expect people to reply with comments. I try to use the system of question + knowledge + link = feedback. For example: Are you doing everything you can to share you blog posts? RSS feeds, emails and eBooks are all in play – place link to article here.
A question generates a thought in people’s minds and causes them to question their own tactics. Providing a solution or information makes them think that you might know something they don’t. This question also helps push people to voice if they are, or are not complying with the article. Obviously every type of post would merit different questions or propositions, but try to get people thinking before just posting a link.
If you want to cut down on the time it takes to post on social media sites checkout Hootsuite. This allows you to schedule your social media posts in advance, so you dont have to worry about them later.
Comment on other blogs
Pick 10 or 20 blogs that you enjoy and comment on some of their posts immediately after you release your social links. This will prompt other people to come back to your site and checkout your recent posts, and hopefully comment. This not only creates relationships between you and other bloggers, but it makes others, who come to your blog later, see these comments. Comments indicate social power. They provide credibility and are like testimonials, showing that others have already found value in your post. It’s a great way to spread your ideas through community.
Send out an email with your blog update
Include a link in all communications. You should notify your email list that you have created a new blog post, link recent blog posts in your email signature and create a list of recent blog posts in all future email blasts that you send out.
Save it for later
Eventually your blog post will end up in your archives, and chances are no one will see it again. This should never happen. You still have several “windows” that you can take advantage of. First of all, put a “popular” or “recommended” posts widget in your side bar to gain readers for your older posts. There are plenty of plugins for this capability when using a self-hosted WordPress site.
The most beneficial thing to do with these old posts is to create an eBook.
Accumulate all your older posts and put them into an eBook to sell or giveaway for free. Organize the posts so they flow well and have a useful theme. It might simply be a collection of short stories! Many people forget that they already have the content for a marketable book inside their blog. You could even send this to a publisher or use it for enforcing a pitch to write a freelance article. You can also revisit an old blog post and add to the content with a new blog post (create a series out of it!), or take a new angle on the exact same topic.
Thinking about the distribution of your blog post in terms of “windows” will remind you that a blog post is never dead. Utilize the power of the internet to share your posts effectively in the short-term, and create new ways to share you content in the long-term. Who knows what you can construct out of the content you have already created?