A blog launch is exciting, but it can also be awfully lonely for up to a year as you build readership, unless you plan to begin with a bang.
So, here are my tips for beginner writers who plan on doing just that.
This strategy does not require you to have an existing audience to use as a springboard. In fact, I’m assuming you’re starting cold.
The winning blog-launch blueprint
The blog-launch blueprint we’ll cover today consists of three steps …
Let’s look at each one.
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1. Cornerstone: Start your blog on a firm foundation
Cornerstone content enhances the user experience and should also include the primary keyword phrases you hope to rank for in search engines.
I suggest doing a series of posts tied together on a landing page, as I did with Copywriting 101 when I started Copyblogger in 2006.
Should you write this series before your blog launch?
After you write each post, add it to the landing page and link to it in your future articles when you mention the topic of the post. This method gives you time to concurrently work on Step 2.
2. Networking: Create awareness and form relationships
You may or may not have contacts with other bloggers and content creators in your niche.
If you do, let them know you’ve started blogging, and specifically point out your cornerstone series. If not, identify your competitors and blogs with related topics, and start leaving smart comments.
Eventually send over an email introducing yourself, but don’t ask for a link or pitch your content. Remember, this is the process of relationship building, not closing the deal.
You need to make sure you’re identifying potential promotional partners, but also keep in mind that if you annoy these people, you may never get another shot after your blog launch. The trust you’re aiming to build could be damaged.
Also, don’t forget about traditional websites, social media news outlets that are compatible with your topic, and email newsletter publishers.
It’s easy to dismiss publishers with small audiences here, but smaller communities are often more engaged. If they care about your topic, reaching them could be a fast way to gain new readers.
Do this research and outreach while you build your cornerstone series with your blog post ideas, one post at a time.
You may want to sprinkle in other posts that conversationally link to other sites in your niche to demonstrate your knowledge and your willingness to promote others.
3. Attraction: The big bang comes third, not first
Now we come to the big bang — a single piece of content that is designed to get people linking and visiting in as large amounts as we can manage for our niche.
It can be a PDF report, an awesome video tutorial, or an industry resource that everyone in your niche will want to acknowledge.
You’ll have figured out during the networking phase which approach has the best chance of succeeding, which is another reason to focus on research and take your time. If you rush your blog launch, you’ll likely know less about your audience, and overlook networking and promotional opportunities.
So, why not simply launch the blog with your attraction content?
You can, and successful blogs have done so.
But here’s why I advocate this three-step approach:
Your attraction content should do more than just get attention. It should also clearly demonstrate that your blog is worth reading on a regular basis.
And to do that, you’ll want to point out your cornerstone content for reference, right? Ultimately, your business blogging educates people on what it’s like to do business with you, as well as how to do business with you.
For example, I mixed in my introductory copywriting series with other posts.
Then I released Viral Copy, a 30-page PDF on how copywriting skills can help you attract links and traffic when blogging.
Viral Copy was a useful resource on its own, but it was also designed to convince the reader that copywriting skills, and hence Copyblogger, are essential to building blog traffic.
What if people weren’t familiar with copywriting?
Viral Copy pointed people toward the Copywriting 101 series. The cornerstone set in the first step supports (and promotes) your blog every step of the way as you continue to create new content.
A blog launch with a one-two punch
Taking this three-step approach can lead to interesting outcomes.
Naturally, having another prominent piece of killer content magnifies the value of your blog beyond the attraction content itself.
But more than that, you end up not only pulling in links to your attraction content, but to your cornerstone content as well.
And since your cornerstone content should be built around sensible SEO and the most relevant keywords for your blog, those links will help you begin to rank well in search engines and grow your audience further.
In my case, the links to the Copywriting 101 series continued to pour in months after the buzz over Viral Copy died down.
Because I took the time to build a foundation for the blog launch before focusing on a specific promotional campaign, the attraction content did more than just score links — it sold reading my blog and my other content to other relevant bloggers.
This approach may seem counterintuitive, and it requires patience. For example, it was a full two months from starting Copyblogger to releasing Viral Copy.
But blogging always requires patience and dedication to your blog without any immediate reward. If you’re in it for the long haul and want to build authority, this is a strategy that’s worth a try and may work well for you.
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