My first blog launched to crickets, as most do. Because of course, I had no idea what I was doing. Write whatever comes to mind, hit publish and then write a status on Facebook to promote it. That’s how this blogging and marketing thing works, right?
Well it’s been two years since then, and I thankfully learned a thing or three from my own errors and a lot of reading.
It’s been a total of 19 days since this blog launched, and I’m happy to report the launch could not have been more different from my last one. That’s my polite Caanadian, non-braggey way of saying, this launch was wildly successful.
While writing whatever comes to mind, hitting publish and sharing a Facebook status is one method of launching a blog, unfortunately there won’t be much success found with it.
There were a countless number of things I did to prepare this blog for success right from launch day. Today I’m going to walk you through the top 3 steps I took which really were the difference to making this blog a success, right out of the gate.
If there’s one thing I learned from my first blog, it was that Pinterest is God’s gift to bloggers. Pinterest is an unbelievable traffic driver, and pins tend to snowball in reach over time, so it’s a gift that keeps on giving months and years after a post has gone live. Pinterest was always my top referrer and it is for almost every other blogger I know.
To make Pinterest work for me again this time around with my new blog, I started by building up my following and joining group boards, weeks before my blog ever launched.
Group boards are sort of a chicken and egg thing. You need them to reach a greater number of people when you start because your following is small, but very few group boards will allow pinners with a teeny tiny following to join them. So first I built up my following, my original goal was 1,000, but I actually started requesting to join group boards at 800 followers which worked too.
The second important aspect to my Pinterest strategy? Already knowing the value of being recognized by consistent pins, I created my own Pin image that could be altered for every post, right from the get-go. My pins are characterized by my consistent use of fonts, The Paige Studio seal on the top right corner and my consistent colour palette. That is, different shades of my signature navy blue and beige.
While I toyed with the idea of creating pins with images, ultimately, I went for less is more with just text and a basic design. I knew keeping up with finding the perfect images long-term would be time consuming, and I really didn’t want that non-essential task to be sucking up my time.
There’s no doubt that with time of my pins circulating out there in the Pinterest Interwebs they will begin to be immediately recognized as content that came from my blog.
Pin the image to share with friends!
A common piece of advice you’ll hear for blogging success is to build relationships with those in your industry. When you do, you’ll be able to collaborate, refer work to each other, and share each others blog posts and offerings with your followings who is conveniently already interested in your common topic. Not to mention, being affiliated with others in your industry earns you a little bit of social proof through being connected.
Alright, so building relationships with those in your industry is good advice and all, but I know you’re wondering, ‘how do I actually do that?’
One surefire method is to flatter those in your industry of course. You’ve heard the saying right? ‘Flattery will get you anywhere.’ Well, it’s true!
I rounded up the 10 must-read articles for Squarespace beginners from some bloggers in my industry. Not only is that a helpful post for my readers, as I haven’t had the chance yet to write a complete beginners guide to Squarespace yet, but it also gave me the perfect opportunity to begin a convo with fellow Squarespace bloggers.
I followed up the post with a personal email to each letting them know they and their post were included. Almost every blogger did some form of social sharing of the post, which of course is getting my article read by their followers, who are conveniently already interested in reading Squarespace-related articles.
What’s in it for the other blogger? It’s social proof for them, showing that they were included in a ‘Top XYZ’ post gives them credibility in that they’ve been recognized by others.
Yours truly was pleased to be included and of course shared it around, as did most others. Including every big name in Squarespace blogging was of course genius, as they’ve now gotten AtomicMarketing in front the exact readers they want frequenting their blog. Not to mention, it lets others in the industry know AtomicMarketing exists if someone hadn’t already stumbled upon their new blog at some point prior.
What is the mistake some of the biggest names in the online space made? Yep, top bloggers Pat Flynn, Amy Porterfield, and Ramit Sethi all made it.
They didn’t start and focus on email list building from Day 1.
After hearing everyone online say ‘start building your email list from the very beginning,’ this was one piece of advice I wasn’t about to ignore.
So while I was preparing to launch this blog, I made sure creating relevant opt-in gifts was included in my pre-launch work. My goal was to have an opt-in gift ready for each of my 4 categories, plus 2 to go along with specific blog posts.
Even with 1 less opt-in gift ready than I intended to launch with, these little gifts have been hard at work, building my email list steadily every day.
I’m seeing a 1,000% increase in email subscribers weekly, compared to before my blog and opt-in gifts.
What opt-in gifts did I create?
For my blog category, I created a blog engagement mini course
For my Squarespace category, I created a website scorecard
For my online tools category, I created a complete guide to my 100 favourite & free online tools
For my This 1 Doc Saves Countless Business Hours blog post, I give away my example Welcome PDF other service-based business owners can use as a guide to create their own
For my How I Only Ever Booked My Most Expensive Package blog post, I created a workbook to show others how to copy my pricing strategy
So, how do people find these gifts? They’re sprinkled all over the site, you’d be hard-pressed to visit the website and not find one.
I added a Free Gems page to my website housing these gifts, and placed an opt-in gift at the top of every blog category page. I also have an email subscribe option in my footer (my most viewed) and on my About page.
I regularly publish social posts mentioning them, always add links to them in relevant Facebook Group share threads and also mention them within blog posts (like this one!).
These three practices made a huge difference to the impact I was able to make online right from the very beginning. I encourage you to steal these best-practices, apply them to your blog, and create your own success story.
If you’re similarly launching a blog soon or have launched and are thinking, ‘eeek, that didn’t go how I wanted’, tell me about it in the comments! And of course, if you have a strategy I didn’t mention here for a successful launch, I want to hear about it, if you’d be so kind to share that is!