If you’re following my advice, you may have decided that the online home for your coaching business will be a blog. Perhaps you’ve already launched your new blog, or you’re getting ready to. Now the question is how to build your audience.
There are dozens of ways to drive traffic to your blog, including search engine optimization (SEO), affiliates and joint ventures, advertising, press releases and more. SEO is a must, but that’s for another post.
But to produce results, many traffic building techniques require long lead times and significant investments of time and money. Here I’m going to focus on the first of three ways to publicize your blog that you can easily do yourself and that may get you some quick traction. Two more ways coming.
First, a word about the essential preliminary step.
Focus, Focus, Focus
You’ve heard it from me before. Before you start creating your blog, let alone publicizing it, make sure you have focused in on a viable coaching market. That’s how to set yourself up for success when it’s time to start building your audience.
Look at it this way. Every time your blog gains a new reader, they are giving you something highly valuable: their time and attention. To make sure you’re not wasting it, blog about what they care about, not just what you think is interesting.
How do you know what they care about? When you focus your coaching business on one viable market, everything you do teaches you more about their top challenges and goals, and hones your ability to address those issues in language they will relate to.
That kind of focus will also help you build an audience. So, to the first technique.
Publish Where Your Market Is Reading
Once you have chosen a narrow enough target market, it’s pretty easy to find out what they are reading. Scope out where your market gets their information online, then get in front of them on those sites.
- Comment on other blogs.
- Find publishers for your blog feed.
- Provide guest posts to other blogs.
Find other blogs that address your market, and research which are the most popular and valuable. (Tools like Alexa can give you popularity data, or consult your web designer or SEO consultant.) Subscribe, so you get notified of new content. Then, make a habit of commenting on their posts. Make your comments brief, useful, and early (to get near the top of the comments queue).
The comments section generally will allow you to post a link back to your own blog. If your comments are pithy and helpful, this will draw visitors. Over time, your commenting habit can also help you open relationships with leading bloggers in your market.
Does your market have:
- Associations or clubs?
- Online magazines?
- Its own social networks?
- Product or service providers who have an offering related to what you blog about?
Any of these places may have websites that would gladly pass on your content to their readers. Find out if they will host your blog’s RSS feed, or give you a regular column. Make sure that they will link back to your blog, and that you retain the copyright.
Once you have built some credibility as a writer and some relationships with other bloggers in and around your market, opportunities may come your way to provide guest posts for other blogs. Take them (or create them). Generally the host blog will include a link back to your blog as part of your guest author bio.
… And a Bonus Technique
Here’s an old fashioned promotional technique that has been adopted by the Web.
- Participate in contests.
Contests are pretty common in the blogosphere, because they are such reliable buzz generators. A well run contest is a lot of work, but the contest promoter benefits from much more traffic than they could pull in alone.
But don’t start by running your own contest. Instead, look for opportunities to enter your blog in a contest someone else is running. Any time you qualify, it’s a chance to get your blog listed on a page that others – the contest promoter and the other contestants – are driving traffic to.
My blog is entered in a contest that’s running right now: the Best Coaching Blogs of 2010 contest, sponsored by the School of Coaching Mastery.
In fact – a moment of self promotion here – my blog holds the lead in the voting so far!
But the contest is still in its early days. Submissions are open through May 31, and I encourage you to join in. If you have a blog for your coaching business, it probably qualifies. The spirit of the contest is, vote for as many blogs as you think are deserving (only once each, of course). Every blog gets more exposure, so everyone wins.
If you want to vote for my blog as the Best of 2010, follow the instructions in the box below this post. And thanks!