One of the most common questions I'm asked about blogging is, "Once I've published something new to my blog, how do people know it's there?"
There are three ways to spread the seeds of your blogging tree so that you can grow your audience and your business.
You can set the wind in motion by spreading the news that you have valuable information to share.
One of the simplest ways to do this is through social media. Social media – isn't that just for keeping in touch with your friends? Yes, that's one purpose, but social media is also a powerful tool for growing your business.
In an earlier blog post that provides ten reasons (and ways) to share your blog posts on social media, I discussed how blogging can turn social networking into business networking. Plus you can automate or outsource part of this process so it doesn't take over your day.
You can also share links to a specific blog post whenever a conversation leads you there. Let's say you meet someone at a Chamber of Commerce event. When he finds out what you do, he says, "That's funny that I should meet you today. I just had a situation come up where . . ." Since the purpose of networking events is make connections, not necessarily have in-depth conversations, let him know that you wrote a blog post on that topic and that you'll email a link to him later.
Following up after networking events can be challenging, which is why some people don't do it. These same people tend to comment that networking doesn't work for them. In the example above, following up was a lot easier. There was no selling, no "cold call" and nothing to be uncomfortable or nervous about.
You can email blog post links to other people as well. You can add a personal message and send it to individuals who might have a special interest in the topic, and/or you can email it to a group of people who have agreed to receive regular updates from you (and only people who have agreed). (Click these links for more details about email service providers and automating your blog post emails.)
You have plenty of other opportunities to invite and remind people to visit your blog. One is to mention it in your introduction or bio every time you do public speaking. Another is to add a blog link to your email signature, business card or QR code.
When you share your new blog posts with people in your network, in turn they can share them with their own contacts. Some call this "going viral" – when a piece of content gets quickly passed around the web. On your blogging tree, your contacts are the bees that buzz around from tree to tree, sharing the latest and greatest news. (That's why it's so important to be consistently publishing high-quality content!)
You'll have the strongest relationships with people you have a genuine connection with, starting with those you already know. You also want to expand your network, and specifically seek out industry leaders who could potentially introduce you to many prospective new clients. Show your respect and admiration for them by sharing and commenting on their content, and then build on that starting point to make contact.
When your readers indulge in the delicious fruit you have produced, you're planting seeds not only for them to become prospective clients, but for them to become prospective referral sources. They'll likely start by sharing your content via social media, and then eventually, someone will ask, "Do you know anyone who . . ." and they just might think of you!
Another way that your readers help you spread the seeds of your blogging tree is by sharing their own thoughts and comments. Depending on your audience, they may do this on the blog or by email, or they may just wait until the next time they speak to you by phone or in person.
Regardless of how you hear from them, listen carefully to your readers' comments. These ideas can be the seeds of your next blog post, whether you answer frequently asked questions or just focus on topics your audience cares most about.
If you work consistently to spread the seeds of your blogging tree, over time you will grow your relationships, your ideas and your business.