You work hard on your blog. Every day you’re putting yourself out there, crafting posts and sharing them with everyone imaginable. You’ve worked on your writing and explain your points in clear, concise language. You respond to comments to keep the conversations flowing. In other words, you’re doing seemingly everything right.
Only, you’re not seeing results. Your traffic has flat-lined and hasn’t moved for months, maybe even years. Social media? Those numbers are stuck too. Sure, you have a small core of loyal readers, but they haven’t snowballed into a critical mass. What are you doing wrong?
If you’re anything like the clients I advise, the answer is simple. It’s at the core of why people visit blogs in the first place. Before we get into this, let’s be clear on a few things.
1. People don’t come to your blog to read your opinions. You might express opinions on your blog. Most of us do. But that’s not why people come back every day. Everyone has an opinion, and most people aren’t open to changing theirs.
2. People don’t come to your blog to read the news. Even if you’re in Google News, chances are you’re only getting fleeting traffic from it. There are hundreds of sites that provide up to the minute news on any given industry. If you’re not already among the elite, chances are you’re not going to get there by reblogging the news.
Why do people come to your blog, then? Clearly you bring something to the table, as evidenced by your core readers. But if you’re not providing them with consistent value, you’ll lose them too. So how do you provide that consistent value?
Teach Them Something New
People read blogs to kill time, sure. But there are so many established blogs for doing that: BuzzFeed, Gawker, Engadget, etc. They provide all-day distractions for millions of people. But that’s not your target audience. You want people looking for something a bit deeper than the latest Apple rumor, or the latest cat video. You need to give readers something extra, something they can take with them even when they leave your site.
Chances are you do teach your readers something new. Or, at least, you used to. In fact, you might have read the large type above and thought, “duh.” Yes, you need to teach your readers something they didn’t know before they visited your site. That can be a how-to guide, a quick tip, a connection you made between different articles or documents, etc. It can be any number of things, so long as the reader leaves a bit more knowledgeable.
We all have something we can teach others, since we all possess a unique intellect. Unfortunately, that well of knowledge dries up eventually. Once you’ve taught them everything you know, then what? How can you continue running a successful blog if you have no new knowledge to impart? It’s a tricky situation that has a simple solution.
Take Yourself To School
The solution might be simple, but it’s not easy. Young bloggers might find it difficult, because they have formal schooling obligations. Older bloggers might find it difficult, because they cast aside their learning mentality once they finished school. Yet it remains the only way to keep up with your niche. If you don’t have anything new to add on your own, you have to go learn new things.
I have a client who faced this same issue not long ago. He’s a handy dude, and so a while ago he started a DIY home improvement blog. At first it was a great idea. Using pictures and words he showed people how to perform home maintenance and improvement on their own, saving them thousands of dollars in the process. Advertisers loved his blog, and he made quite a few dollars from affiliate marketing tactics. But eventually he ran out of post ideas, because he shared most of what he knew.
We sat down and mapped out a plan for him. It involved reading everything there was to know about home improvement, from tools to methods. We found books and websites that could teach him about home improvement projects he didn’t yet know. He went from teaching people how to build a table to teaching them how to maintain their heating and air conditioning systems. The result? More visitors than ever, with an avalanche of social shares.
That session took a long time. We had to figure out what he needed to learn, and then how he was going to learn it. Here’s an outline of how I’d suggest someone else do this.
- Start with books. Pound for pound, books contain more knowledge than any other media. They’re also the most versatile learning tools. They can cover general topics, or go deep into a topic.
- Pinpoint the best blogs. There are likely many blogs that contain the knowledge you seek. Don’t subscribe to them, though. Dig through their archives and find the posts that will help you.
- Subscribe to trade magazines. It might cost you a few dollars, but trade magazines will provide you with information that the general public just can’t get.
- Build up a presence on forums. People share their troubles on forums. Get in on that and learn what you can from the experts. Ask questions first, but answer where you can.
The aim is to make yourself into an expert. Only when you reach expert status will you see your blog traffic skyrocket. But even that’s not enough. Even experts have to continue learning. But with a blueprint like this you can continue expanding your knowledge in perpetuity.
Are you suffering from the knowledge problem?
If so, don’t worry. The solution is easy: start learning more. It might feel difficult at first, but that’s just initial resistance. If you truly love your blog’s topic, you’ll naturally want to learn more. When you learn more, you can share more with your audience. And when you share more with your audience, you’ll see your blog really take off. I’ve seen it happen enough times.
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