Following on from my first MVP Special post in the series a couple of weeks ago, Setting up a Salesforce Blog, I’d like to take it once step further and discuss marketing options once you have your blog up and running.
The phrase “Marketing your Blog” still feels a bit weird to me as I’m not a marketer and have never worked in that field, though it has always interested me. It was only after a few months of posting, publishing and sharing that I realised I was taking on a kind of marketing role. Of course, it all depends on what your goals are with blogging. If you are just looking to write down your thoughts in a diary style format, you are probably not going to be fussed about marketing your blog too much. However, if you are looking to get your name out there and be seen as a leader in your space, you are going to need to put on a pretty large marketing hat.
One of the main reasons you are probably reading this post is you want to learn the best method to generate traffic for your blog, right? Well that’s what I’m here to help with. I don’t claim to be a marketing expert or any type of SEO whizz but I have learned what does and doesn’t work over my 18 month career of blogging. I’m going to go through some of the best channels to market your blog and provide some tips and insight.
The reason I am going to talk through the social media channels first, is that you can actively start promoting your blog straight away. Other methods such as relying on SEO can take time.
Twitter – At the top of the list we have Twitter. Twitter is an obvious port of first call for most bloggers who want to share their posts around as it’s easy, can get a great reaction and be shared easily. Twitter is especially brilliant if you already have a big following, if you do not however, now is a great time to start building your network. Overall, I tend not to spam twitter with 10’s of links a day, I have tried this method and although you will probably get 1 or 2 people clicking on each link, you are mostly going to look like a spammer that people will ignore over time. What I tend to do is occasionally promote my new posts and also some of my more popular posts in the past. Over the last month Twitter has contributed to 14% of my social media total referrals.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is very similar to Twitter in the way that people in the Salesforce industry spend time out of their working day browsing for insights and news. One way I do prefer LinkedIn is how the sharing mechanism works, if someone likes or comments on an older post, it will get pushed right to the top of people’s news feeds again. Another benefit to the sharing mechanism is that if a post is particularly popular (10+ likes, 3/4 comments), it will “hang” around a lot longer. I actually prefer LinkedIn in a few ways as it offers much more of a platform to get recognised for your personal accolades like blogging, as well as professional.
LinkedIn Groups – I’ve given LinkedIn groups a separate section as they need to be treated a bit differently from Twitter/LinkedIn “status” updates. If you search LinkedIn for Salesforce and then filter it by groups, you will find a lot of very active Salesforce specific groups. These come in all kinds of flavours such as Admin, Marketing, Certification, Developer & generic groups. Primarily these are used for discussions, app/service promotion and blog posts. I tend to only submit to groups when I have a new post out that I think will appeal to a certain type of group and not repost old content. Over the last month LinkedIn has contributed 73% of my social media total referrals.
Facebook – Although Facebook is kind of the oddball here in terms of mainly being used for pleasure as opposed to work, there’s no reason not to have a page. At a minimum it can help with with your SEO ranking and at best, it can really help drive some traffic to your site. Of course it depends on the type of people that are viewing your site, but I always find a couple of likes and shares on my page each week. Over the last month Facebook has contributed 5% of my social media total referrals.
Reddit – I’m sure most people reading this post will have heard of reddit, but did you know there was a subreddit for Salesforce? I’ve been a semi-active member of the reddit community for around 2 years now and it’s a great place to help others and ask questions, all anonymously I might add. Everyone on the community really appreciates good posts and likes helpful tutorials, however, any spam or flimsy articles will be reported and you will probably get a ban. The readership only has 2,000 subscribers so it’s quite small in comparison to the success community. I would advise to join the Reddit community and monitor it for a while before contributing. Over the last month Reddit has contributed 9% of my social media total referrals.
Salesforce Success Community – One of the most obvious channels for promoting is of course, the Success Community. If you have a big following on the community then it’s a great place to share posts you have just created. As well as sharing on your own profile, there is a group called The Blog Group, this is the best place to post without annoying others as this is what it was created for. You are of course welcome to share posts on other groups, but I would only recommend doing this if you know for sure it’s a valuable resource for them. Unfortunately I cannot measure the % of referrals from the Success Community.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
After covering social media referrals and getting a rough idea about how much each source contributes overall to my social media traffic, I can tell you that it only contributes roughly 25% overall. A whopping 70% of my traffic comes from Search Engines (I will cover the over 5% in the next section). What I’m going to try and do in this section is explain how to think in a more SEO kind of way when writing your posts, it always takes time but you can make slight tweaks that Search Engines will prefer.
Think about your Audience – When writing a post, always think about the kind of people that are going to read this and how they are going to discover it. If you are writing a very niche tutorial about a particular feature in Salesforce, users probably aren’t going to discover it via Social Media, they will discover it when searching it on Google. However, if you are going to be posting a more fun and lighthearted post like my post titled, 8 Amazing Salesforce Facts You Never Knew, this is probably going to be discovered more on Social Media than Google.
Think about your Title – After you’ve thought about your Audience, you need to think about your title. If you go are going for a niche tutorial based post it’s probably better to call it “How to use Niche Feature in Salesforce” as opposed to “Amazing new feature tutorial in Salesforce!”. The reason? Think about what people are actually going to be typing into Google.
Use SEO Plugins – WordPress has a huge amount of free and premium plugins. Some of these plugins are designed to help you when writing your posts in a more SEO friendly fashion. The one I personally use is called Yoast, this plugin will give you a “score” based on a variety of factors, you can then revise your post based on these facts to get your score up. I’ve used this since the start of my blogging career and I can’t speak more highly of it.
Research SEO – Although I can’t speak too much on SEO, I have learned a lot from reading other blogs that have subconsciously rubbed off on me. Here are a few great posts to start you off, Blog Tyrant, Search Engine Watch, SEO Book.
Guest Posting & More
As mentioned previously there is still 5% of traffic unaccounted for, but this can vary by a lot month to month. This traffic comes from various source such as, blogs I’ve guest posted on (Links back to my site), question sites like Reddit & Stackexchange where I’ve written a tutorial in which people reference, and other blogs that have posted links to my site. All of these I’m very grateful for and take time and networking to do.
Guest Posting – Posting on other peoples blogs is a great way to start off getting your name out there. If you do not have a huge following on social media then this is one of the best places to start out. Other more well known blogs usually get a lot of traffic, and guest posting can help expose your post to more Salesforce users and therefore push traffic to your own site. As well as this benefit, it’s a great chance for you to meet other bloggers in the industry, introduce yourself and also ask any questions that they might be able to help out with. One tip I would give for guest posting is never lower the quality of your writing because it’s only a “guest post”. If the post is of low quality or blatantly only trying to drive traffic to your site rather than provide insight, it’s likely no one will accept it as a guest post and users probably will not click on the link to your site.
Tutorials – Tutorials are great posts to write, they are informative and if you write a completely knock out tutorial, there is no reason for anyone else to write one. When I first started out blogging Recurring Milestones had just come out in the latest release for Service Cloud and the only documentation I could find was very loose, so i wrote one myself, Recurring Milestones. Another post that has consistently been very popular is my URL Hacking mini series.
App Reviews – This is another great topic of post to write. App reviews are always popular as people always want to know what other members of the community think about a particular one, they are also likely to score higher on Google. However, on the note of marketing, App vendors LOVE honest reviews. They will most likely tweet, share on facebook/linkedin about a particularly good review that they think their customers/prospects will like to read.
Hopefully this post has given you a nice insight into areas you can explore to promote your blog. It’s easy to start blogging but it’s not easy go through those first few months where you might be getting next to no recognition for your hard work. But if you do push through and your blog starts registering on people’s radars, you can really start to reap the rewards!
In my next and final post in this blogging series I will cover measuring success and tools used. It can be hard when to know you are actually succeeding in what you do and how to measure yourself against others, this will cover all of that and more.