Look at you! You're blogging! Likely because you've heard us (or countless other sources) tell you how important and beneficial it is for an effective inbound marketing strategy. So ... where are all the readers? According to the movie Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come." So why aren't they coming?
Well, my friends, this isn't baseball -- or a movie -- and unfortunately, that's not really how it works. Blogs take some good old-fashioned elbow grease. So if you're sitting there wondering, "Where in the heck are all the readers?" ... this post is for you.
Here Are 9 Good Reasons No One Is Reading Your Blog
1) You just launched your blog.
Here's the thing, folks: Your blog isn't going to start getting tons of visitors overnight. Building up your readership takes time. You need to create lots of content so it opens up more inroads to your blog via search, establish credibility as a reputable source of information, and take other steps necessary to actually build your audience (more on that in a moment). We never said blogging was easy -- but boy is it rewarding if you stick with it.
2) Your blog content isn't optimized for search.
As I hinted in my first point, one of the reasons blogging is such an effective inbound marketing tool is its direct tie to search. Because each blog post you publish is another page to get indexed in search engines, the more blog content you create, the more opportunities you have to get found by searchers. In fact, the average company will see a 45% growth in traffic when increasing total blog articles from 11-20 to 21-50 articles.
And the great thing is, these blog posts will continue to drive results over time, since they'll continue to get discovered long after they were originally published. But you'll get much better results if you're following search engine optimization best practices as you create content for your blog. If you haven't really given any thought to SEO as part of your blogging strategy, check out this blog post for some great blog SEO tips: "Blog SEO for the Modern Marketer: How to Optimize Your Posts."
3) You're not promoting your blog.
Okay, so how do you build up audience if no one even knows your blog exists? Well, are you doing any blog marketing? You know ... marketing your blog? If you really want to get your blog out there, you need to think like a marketer, with your blog being the product.
Promote your blog posts in social media, include blog content in lead-nurturing workflows, and send a dedicated email to your list to announce that your blog even exists. And what about on your website? Do you have a link to your blog in the main navigation of your site? Can you include links to posts on other pages of your site where appropriate to serve as helpful resources for your visitors?
It's time to think like a marketer, not a blogger -- the success of your blog isn't only dependent on the editorial side of things (but yes, we'll get to that soon, too).
4) Your blog isn't optimized for social sharing.
Speaking of social media promotion, you know you're not the only one who can spread your blog posts via social, right? Add social sharing buttons to every post you publish to enable your current visitors to share your content, too. This way, you'll expose your blog to the people in your readers' networks -- in other words, new audiences you might not have reached otherwise.
You can learn how to create these social sharing buttons in this post. And to increase the likelihood your visitors will share your content in the first place, there are other things you can do aside from adding social sharing buttons, like including compelling imagery and crafting attention-grabbing titles. And if you're publishing visual content on your blog, go the extra mile to improve the social shareability of said visual content by following the tips in this post.
5) You're not encouraging email subscription.
Now, once you get these new readers to your blog, you want them to stick around, don't you? The best way to do this is to get them to subscribe, particularly via email, since email subscribers get notifications directly to their inbox when new content is available on your blog. RSS subscribers, while still valuable, have the liberty of being a bit more passive, since it's up to them to check their RSS reader on their own to learn about your new content.
So, display your email subscription form prominently on your blog, consider inserting a call-to-action within your posts to promote subscription, and add a blog subscribe check box to your landing page forms -- all of which you can learn more about in this post. Turn those casual readers into dedicated subscribers and fans of your content!
6) You're blogging about your products, services, and accomplishments.
But what about the editorial side of things? Doesn't the actual content matter when it comes to building readership? Why yes, yes it does (a great deal, in fact) -- which is why we'll dedicate the rest of the items on this list to the content creation piece of the pie.
First things first -- stop blogging about yourself already! That's not what your business blog is for. For the purpose of attracting new visitors at the top of the funnel, you want your blog to provide value to the types of people you'd ultimately like to convert into customers -- in other words, your buyer personas. That means providing content that matters to them. If your visitors know nothing about you, they couldn't care less about your products and services right now.
So if you want a place to talk about all your awesome new products and services, award wins, and other accolades, start a separate company news blog, and put it all there.
7) Your content isn't valuable to your target audience.
Let's piggyback off number six a little, since I mentioned "providing value," but didn't exactly say what "value" is. In simplest terms, valuable content is content that satisfies your target audience's needs, interests, or questions. So how do you know what your target audience's needs, interests, and questions are? The key is to start with your buyer personas. So if you haven't spent a great deal of time thinking about your buyer personas, that's your first to-do (this guide will help).
By knowing what makes those people tick, you'll have a much better understanding of the types of content you can create to appeal to them. And as a result, you'll have created a destination that will naturally draw in the types of people you actually want as readers. If you're still not sure if your content is actually valuable to your target audience, conduct a quick audit using the tips in this post.
8) Your copywriting is boring (or just plain sucks).
Let's tackle the sentiment in the parentheticals first. Quality content starts with quality writing. And at the very least, your writing needs to have the basics down pat. We're talking grammar, spelling (yes, spelling), and clarity. If you have good ideas but aren't the best writer, consider hiring an editor. And even if you have solid writing skills and don't need a full-time editor, make sure you have someone proof everything you publish. After all, everyone makes mistakes.
In terms of "boring" copywriting, let's face it -- many of us aren't exactly peddling the sexiest of products (you know, like marketing software). But that doesn't mean our content has to be equally boring. In fact, truly interesting and engaging writing is one of the best ways to make your blog stand out from competitors' blogs.
If I had the choice between two equally informative blogs in the same industry and one had much more delightful copywriting than the other, you can bet your buttons I'd go with the one with the delightful copywriting.
Remember -- your content can still be credible and helpful without sounding like a stuffy academic paper. Be conversational and witty, tell stories, and sound like a human. To understand the principles of irresistible copywriting, check out this post, and to get inspired by other brands with awesome copywriting, look here and here.
9) You're publishing infrequently and inconsistently.
Here's the thing: Even if you do convert those casual readers into dedicated subscribers and create high-quality, beautifully written content, no one is ever going to come back for more if, well, there isn't more.
Getting people hooked on your content but failing to publish on a frequent and consistent basis is a great way to make them lose interest. In fact, in a benchmarking study of 7,000 businesses, we found the following:
- Companies that blog 15 or more times per month get 5X more traffic than companies that don't blog at all.
- Companies that increase blogging from 3-5X/month to 6-8X/month almost double their leads.
Pretty convincing evidence that frequency and volume make a difference, isn't it?
Commit to a publishing schedule, and stick to it (we have a great free blogging editorial calendar template to help you out). If time is an issue, start with one post a week and work your way up. Frequency is key to a successful business blog and a tribe of dedicated readers.
What are some other reasons your blog might be lacking readers? How can you overcome those blockers?