How To Quickly Create An Award Winning Blog

Ian Cleary: How To Create An Award Winning Blog In Six Months
Want to know how to become a top blogger on the Internet? Ian Cleary is considered one of the global experts in social media technology, Ian Cleary launched his Razor Social tools and technology blog which was named one of the top 10 social media blogs in the largest and most recognized annual global social media blog awards.

Here is an interview with Ian for Success Secrets Of The Social Media Marketing Superstars

The following content is excerpted from Success Secrets Of The Online Marketing Superstars by Mitch Meyerson (Entrepreneur Press Feb 2015)

In August 2012, we launched a marketing technology blog focused on social media tools and technology and, in January 2013, we were listed as one of the top 10 social media blogs in a global competition run by Social Media Examiner.

Winning in this competition was not luck. We followed an approach to blogging that can be followed by any new blog that is starting out, or by existing blogs that want to dramatically improve on their traffic and reputation, even in a crowded market.

Your blog is the magnet that attracts traffic to your site and, if you use the right approach, this magnet will keep drawing more and more traffic that will result in you becoming recognized in your industry, building amazing business partnerships and setting up systems for the low-cost acquisition of customers for your business.

Can you achieve similar success and see rapid growth in your blog and business over a short period of time? Absolutely. Let’s get started.

Research your market to identify what makes your blog different

There are millions of blogs around the world so it’s very difficult to stand out unless there is some uniqueness to your blog. Identifying a niche or something that helps differentiate your blog from other competitor blogs makes a massive difference to the speed your blog will grow.

This involves some research to find out who your competitors are, what they are writing about, what gaps exist in areas that they don’t write about, and how popular the content they create is.

It starts with an Excel spreadsheet for your research:

  1. Search Google for keywords relevant to your product or service to see who appears regularly. Check out their content and see what they write about.
  2. Research the competitors that you already know of. What content do they write about.
  3. Use OpenSiteExplorer.org to rank you and your competitors. This tool ranks websites and pages of websites out of 100. The higher the scores, the harder it will be to beat the competitor in search results when you are competing for the same keywords.
  4. Add a column in your Excel spreadsheet for the estimated traffic of your competitors. Use tools like Compete, Quantcast or SEMRush to get estimates.
  5. Use Ahrefs or similar tools to find out what blog posts on their website has the most links pointing to it. Content that is popular will be linked to by other websites.
  6. Use SocialCrawlytics.com to analyze the volume of social sharing on your competitor’s blog content. Popular content gets shared a lot.

In our case we noticed, from research, that our competitors sometimes wrote about social media tools and these were very popular posts, but they didn’t focus all their attention on that area. By focusing all our attention on this area, coming up with much better content and delivering content from a different angle, we ended up with really popular blog posts. We began to own and dominate the niche very quickly.

Produce Quality, Shareable Content

It’s great if you can produce a lot of content, but don’t ever sacrifice quality for quantity. If you can only produce one quality post a week then don’t be tempted to write two poor ones instead!

I advise a lot of companies to write long, detailed posts. This is not the case for everybody but my reasoning is that it’s very difficult to write great content in a couple of hundred words. Great content is what people talk about, share and link to. So if you can’t write a masterpiece in a couple of hundred words then write longer, more detailed content.

In research by Neil Patel, it was found that the majority of blog posts in the top 10 search results are more than 2,000 words. Google doesn’t only look for long content but, in terms of links and shares, this is content that has done really well.

Which articles are going to get the most links, shares and attention? An “Introduction to Online Advertising”, at 300 words, or “The Ultimate Guide to Online Advertising” at 2000 words?

One good tactic for getting a lot of attention is to do a group post that includes information from some of your influencers. We did a group post where 54 influencers told us their favorite WordPress tools. We included a picture of each person and then shared it out on social media channels. Most of the influencers will also share the post with their followers so you get a lot of extra attention, shares and links to the post. This post got massive attention, links, shares etc.

Infographics work really well and our trick is to reference lots of influencers and/or tools in each infographic. We referenced over 30 tool providers in an infographic and, of course, they shared it like crazy and created blog posts sharing the infographic with their audience.

But never post an infographic without a full blog post explaining the infographic. This is just an image for Google, you still need a good detailed blog post.

Build Relationships with Influencers

Relationships are a key part of the success of any blog.

Without a plan for building relationships with relevant people in your industry, your blog will not get the growth it deserves. The influencers can be people or websites which, of course, have people at their core.

Influencers online typically have a large audience, they are connected to many other influencers, and people take action based on what they share and talk about. Leverage their audiences to get your content in as many relevant hands as possible.

How do you find out who the influencers are for your industry?

From your research you will have come across competitors that you may want to develop relationships with, and other websites that may be coming up all the time in search results.

Use tools such as GetLittleBird, GroupHigh or Twtrland to help you make a list of key influential people in your industry. When someone is influential, they are followed by other influencers.

  • GettLittleBird produces a list of people, ordered based on who has the most influencers following them. This can be a very useful way to identify influencers.
  • GroupHigh is very focused on bloggers, so if you want to find the top bloggers in your industry you can filter based on topics and then view a lot of detail for each blogger.
  • You can also use social media analysis tools such as Twtrland to identify influencers on channels such as Twitter.

How do you build relationships with these influencers?

 The best way of building relationships with influencers is by helping them!

Share their content: Set up systems to make sure you find their new content and can share the best of it. For example, create a list of influencers within Twitter and add it as a column in Hootsuite. Now, you can track the influencers’ activities and look for opportunities to interact. Add their websites to Feedly, which is a tool for reading and subscribing to blogs. Through Feedly’s integration with an application called Buffer you can automatically schedule the content sharing.

Comment on their blogs: Most people are lurkers and don’t comment, so bloggers really love getting comments.

Profile them on your blog: Ask them for an interview. Influencers like doing interviews! By interviewing them, you get a chance to speak and interact with them and get to know them. Group posts where you ask a question or series of questions to different influencers and profile them all in one post works amazingly well!

Guest post for them: Influencers have very little time and they have high demands for content. The majority will allow you to guest post but it depends on your approach. Be a subscriber, interact with them, understand what content their audience likes and then approach them.

Hear Ian’s audio interview for Success Secrets Of the Online Marketing Superstars by opting in at the top right of this page