Did you know that on the WordPress platform alone, over 2.5 billion blog pages are visited each month by over 300 million users? Despite our fascination with and dedication to blogs, getting and keeping blog subscribers is a challenge for even the largest among them. According to Blogrank by www.invesp.com, the largest marketing blog (ranked by number of subscribers) is Seth Godin’s blog, with 542,894 subscribers. After number one, the subscriber number drops to a little over 38,000 for Adverblog, and then the numbers plummet rapidly with the 20th blog having around 8,600 subscribers and the 50th blog having only 2,500 subscribers. That’s a pretty steep decline — you have to wonder where most company blogs rank.
Here are three content cures that we recommend to our clients to help bring in and keep their blog subscribers.
1. Hold a Contest
Free stuff — especially good free stuff — really works. Just ask Team Instagram. Give your current users an incentive to engage on your blog by creating a contest that speaks to their interest. Got a human resources blog? Consider launching a contest that requires users to share an experience they’ve had with HR. Use the social community as your judges and provide the winner with two tickets to a local conference, or send them to the industry annual event.
2. Feature Guest Authors
Nobody likes a know-it-all or someone who promotes only his or her own ideas. Create content that is well-rounded and sculpted by people with many different perspectives to show breadth and be responsive to your audience by inviting outside experts to contribute to your blog. Create an editorial plan and structure themes for upcoming topics around the guest blogger’s post. Also, make it a point to engage with other blogs and join their conversations when you have value to add. This will build relationships with other bloggers, which may be a benefit down the road.
3. Reward People for Subscribing
Offering an instant reward for people who subscribe to your site is a great method to grow your audience. SEOmoz and other websites do this by offering a limited-functionality web-metrics tool to all users and a premium, more robust tool to those that register with the PRO community. Whether it’s tools, whitepapers, videos, or even entrance to a contest, creating an incentive to join your community will have a positive effect on your subscriber base.
Ultimately, engaging content is what creates loyal followers. Contractors must survey the land before they start building and the same should be done online. A crucial and often-overlooked question tends to be “What exactly are we striving to build?” When answering this question, look at the communities that already exist in your industry. What are people talking about? What problems or concerns do people have, and are there insight or solutions that we can offer? This reflection can help illuminate the topics that your potential community is interested in discussing and can help you find your way into those conversations. Increasing your blog subscribers is a good goal to have; providing value to your audience is the key to getting there.
Sources: seomoz.org, writetodone.com (via problogger.net)