Growing your blog’s subscribers is the new black. But it’s not many years since I felt duty bound to write a blog post a day, all for the sake of traffic. No one really thought strategically of how to come up with effective way to grow subscribers; they were just added extras who would of course sign up unprompted for your enews having landed on your blog via a random search.
I can hardly imagine slogging away with posting 24/7 now, and not just because it’s way too time consuming. You see, the route to growing and monetizing your blog has changed. Thankfully, for the better. Subscribers, not pure traffic figures, are the Holy Grail of new blogging.
Old-style blog slogging for eyeballs
Now, don’t get me wrong, large amounts of long-tail content pulling high traffic figures is nice to have. In the case of my long-running destination site, Maltainsideout, I continue to reap the benefits of that blog slogging all those years ago. Traffic now remains high (approx. 30,000 a month) and steady even if I post once every two weeks. That traffic still pulls in sponsored posts and I get enough from various sidebar banners and Adsense. As a side note, you can create evergreen and therefore long-tail blog content from day one blogging too; here’s how.
But, as I start out on other blogs – this one on Creatista included – I would never wish to return to my exhausting posting past; or to have my blog ‘owned’ in all but name by third-party advertisers. Relying on the vagaries of clickthroughs for my income just doesn’t stack up these days.
New-style blog post strategies for subscribers
Today’s newer style of blogging is ideally suited to new bloggers as it’s all about generating revenue from your own infopreneurial products and services and not from the grace and favour of advertisers one step removed. In other words, you can monetize your blog quicker as you don’t have to wait for massive traffic.
Your aim these days is gather your site visitors’ emails through permission marketing and then use their emails intelligently to broaden and deepen your relationship with a them using your products and services to attract and retain them.
New-style blogging is about creating content that your site visitors don’t just stumble across via Google and use on a one-hit wonder visit, but that entices them to stay around and be eager to learn more from you. Old-style blogging didn’t really care if visitors were new or returning, so long as the content was SEO’d enough to get them in the door just the once.
Blog monetization now is all about long-term relationships
Build extremely generous and useful content, followed by valuable (perceived and not always monetary) content upgrades and you’re well on your way to gathering an audience happy to hand over their email. Those content upgrades or bonuses are often free at first, but can lead to a paid-for premium versions later on. Your relationship with your site visitors if you wish them to return is one founded foremost on trust and quality. There is no skimping on quality when producing content, whether free or paid for. And no hard sell either allowed here!
Fewer posts but more strategic blogging is what you’re after. Each and every blog post has to work to gather your fans and then make them feel they’re gaining something of value if they hand over their email. The time you have freed up from blogging is going to be put to good use creating truly epic, revenue-generating info products and services that give you immense satisfaction; because, guess what, you own your blog, not some advertiser! And you take the plaudits for a successful ebook, ecourse or other digitally-delivered service.Optins are not just tools to gather subscribers, they stand for you, the blogger. Click To Tweet
Yes, there is still plenty of hard graft to be done to create the content and you can be even more exposed as you ‘sell’ yourself rather than advertisers’ offers. There’s no hiding behind poorly-crafted content to just attract hits, lure in advertisers and await their measly handouts.
However, fear not if creating the content, and now this bonus content as well, seems a gargantuan task. Because I’ve come up with 5 easy and quick hit ways to lever on your less frequent, but perhaps longer and more valuable blog posts in order to gain subscribers who are more likely to become loyal purchasers of your superb, multiple products.
Blog post strategies to grow your subscribers
And no, you don’t need fricking frics to teach! Just do it! Whether you’re blogging about muffins or reducing muffin tops, there is a thread within each blogging topic that can build itself into a tutorial (one post) and link into a series of posts to create a mini ecourse.
I bet you tend to Google ‘how to do….xxx’ queries more often than anything else? Apart from definitions, and the contact details of your kids’ school. If you can consistently get out tutorial style blog content, you will gain a voice among a very specific and targeted tribe of visitors who are looking for answers to certain pain points in a given field.
For example, you might be a keen amateur photographer dabbling blogging but dreaming of going more pro. At weekend, you might take family photos while out and about and each week you’re trying new techniques and so on. You could create a series of posts on how to take natural, relaxed family portraits. Even if you’re a newbie, it won’t matter as you can document what worked and what didn’t and how you learnt en route. The learning curve or ‘me too’ kind of tutorial is just as powerful for a certain target group as the pro masterclass.
Once you’ve started a clear thread of post categories that show progression in the topic and also validate your ability to teach, your site visitors will be keen not to miss another step in the learning. They should be amenable to signing up to get bonus tuts via email to complement the blog posts.
Having got a good half dozen tutorial type posts under your belt, you can already ease off just a little and cash in on them in step two coming up…
2. Create a simple, single mini ecourse or ebook
We’ve all been smash and grab on blogs, taking the bits we need – but listen up, that’s mainly because the blogger didn’t bother to show us what else was around on their blog and the value of their content. A regular ol’ sidebar or footer ‘subscribe for my enews’ isn’t going to get a look in.
The rule here is to take those five or so blogs posts in your sequence of tutorials or ‘how to’s’ and hook them up into a single downloadable product. That way, you can flag the rest of the series to your site visitors when they are on that one post that came up in search for them. These posts work best if bundled into an ebook or mini email course – you don’t need to write an opus but you will need a couple of bonus tips in the book that aren’t on the blog already.
Then, highlight the free download or email course via a call to action ideally within the post or at the post end. If you’re feeling more confident, you could add a premium plugin to create a content upgrade pop-up form that activates when the reader is part way down the post or has been on it a given number of seconds. And /or, try the next idea…
3. Landing pages for each post-related optin
Another way to show visitors that you’re professional and the go-to place for some pro freebies matching their interests is to create a special landing page for that the email course or ebook. You can link to it from in-text links or a footer call to action box, or a pop-up. Once on the landing page – which is stripped of distractions like your sidebar widgets and menus, the visitor is going to focus on your one clear offer and will be more likely sign up if it’s a freebie directly related to the post they were just on.
It won’t matter if the content in your optin is drawn from content spread around several posts. If people see something neatly packaged in one place that answers a series of their pain points, it makes life easier for them. The single product is just too enticing not to download!
4. Content upgrades for each post
Not every post need be part of a series of how to’s or tutorials. You will anyway need to shuffle the pack and provide variety in your content. Your blogger personality can shine brighter if you add in discursive or opinion posts. We all like to get a feel for the lifestyle of the blogger behind the amazing content. Life hacks or a simple lifestyle posts showing the personable everyday you are just as attractive a read. We’re all curious animals after all!
So, how do those posts gain new subscribers too? The strategy here is to add a content upgrade related to the post and ask for emails in return for that download or email sequence just as above. An example of a post talking about your freelance life and how stressful it was to start up and how you’d have done things differently with hindsight, might see a content upgrade along these lines:
Want to freelance with real freedom? Grab my ebook of hard learnt lessons: ‘5 Hacks for Solopreneur Success’.
Content upgrades can be at end of any type of post so long as they are genuinely related to the post topic and extend its value. This time, you need new content as you won’t be repackaging various posts’ content as in point 2 above. Content upgrades can include, for example, checklists, cheat sheets, schedules, menu plans, short tutorials and so on. The aren’t huge labours of love but short, sharp added-value content. The lifestyle post example I give here shows how even the least likely post topics can have upgrades and play a role in your strategy to gain subscribers.
5. Make one post last a social media week
Naturally, if you’re only posting once a week, you might worry that you’ve not enough to ‘feed’ your social streams over the seven days. As we all know, while conversion from social media isn’t always great, it is important to be out there broadcasting your freebies, optins and content upgrades.
The trick is to strategize your post content before you even start writing. Think of your post as linked chunks that can easily stand alone as social media hooks to the whole content back on your blog home. Take this post you’re reading now. I’ve chunked it into around 7 parts:
- discursive intro about new vs old-style blogging and monetization
- Why tutorial content works
- Creating mini ebooks or courses from a series of posts
- Landing pages for each free optin
- Content upgrades
- and this last point about drip-feeding chunks of your post across social media throughout the week
Aim to write chunks of content within each post that can be drip fed on your social feeds throughout the week under different formats and headlines. I use neat templates for blog post headers, my Instagram and Pinterest posts so I spend minimal time posting up variations of my blogs posts. I can tailor the same point in different ways on all my social media and also drip-feed the same post over the week taking a different point each day.
Voila’ – time saved, while I target different potential subscribers on different social platforms with content tailored to the platform and them. Perfect subscriber bate on a single blog post plate!
Oh I forgot, if you can make that lifestyle or tutorial post include a video – a screencast with or without talking head – and place it on Youtube as the start of your new channel, then you’ve gained a further platform for your blog post and another set of subscribers. And it’s your channel, not an advertiser’s!
Well, what do you know, here comes my content upgrade below!