PR blog

[240] How to drive more traffic to your business blog

Would you like to attract more readers to your business blog? In this episode, I explain the four things you need to do to get more eyeballs on your content.

Here’s what you’ll learn this episode:

  • Why you need to build as many links back to your blog as possible (2:42)
  • The importance of attracting one reader at a time (4:30)
  • Where you should be promoting your content (6:30)
  • The benefits of creating guest content (7:33)
  • How press coverage can help grow your traffic (8:08)
  • Why you need to be a helpful person on the platforms your customers are hanging out (8:53)
  • Why I celebrate every new visitor to my blog - and you should too (14:50)

Resources:

Episode 238: Three types of blog posts you should be creating regularly

Soulful PR Podcast Guide

My YouTube channel

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional

Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

My FREE Soulful PR Facebook Community: tips & advice for promoting your business

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

 

Why you need a blog for your small business

If you run your own business, you may be wondering if it’s worth starting a blog.  

Here’s five compelling reasons you should start a blog for your business.  

1.You’ll attract traffic to your website (traffic you can convert into sales)

When you create high-quality content - the type of content your ideal customers/clients are already searching for in Google - you’ll attract more traffic to your website.

For example, my blog post on how to write an effective press release for your small business appears on the first page of Google. Despite being a few years old (I recently updated the post) it sends hundreds of visitors to my website every single week - qualified leads I can convert into customers.

2. It will help you build credibility

Running a business is not simply about selling a product/service - it’s about solving your customers’ problems.

So if you want to build credibility and trust with prospective customers, you need to show them that you’re an expert in what you make/do. A blog/vlog is great way to show off your expertise.

It’s also a great way to land speaking gigs, publishing deals, press coverage and other profile-raising opportunities. 

When I’m looking for guests for my podcast or speakers for my live events, I’m looking for people who are sharing their expertise on a blog, podcast and/or a book. Why? Because this shows they know their subject (and/or their product) have credibility.

Me with Helen Packham, who appeared in my recent podcast episode - how to land your first TEDx talk

3. It’s more effective (and safer) than social media

Being active on social media is great, but you are not in control of what happens to your content - something I was reminded of when my YouTube channel was inexplicably deleted recently. While it was gutting to see the subscribers and views disappear overnight, knowing I had hundreds of blogs, vlogs and podcast episodes on my own website meant I could still reach my prospective customers. In fact I was even able to email my 15k email subscribers (who have opted-in to my list after visiting the content on my website) to help me rebuild my YouTube following.

Trying to build your audience on social media is a risky strategy. Not only could you have the rug pulled out from you at any time (through algorithm changes, for example), most people need seven or eight touchpoints with you before they buy.

When I look at the journey of a customer who buys my media diary for example, they have generally downloaded a few of my free courses and attended a few webinars before they buy - in response to an email (not a social media post).

While social media can be a great way to remind people about your products/services, it generally is just that - a reminder. If you’re serious about making sales in your business, you need an email list - and creating high-quality content that gets people to visit your website is the best way to start building yours. Here's five strategies to help grow your email list. 

Even if you’re using paid ads, getting traffic to your website is crucial, as one of the most effective ways to make sales from Facebook ads is to target people who’ve already visited your website.

2018 media diary pink spot and Soulful PR notebook on white background
Even for a relatively low cost product, your customers like to feel they have got to know you before they make a purchase

4. You can deal with customers’ objections - before they even raise them

Publishing content on your blog that answers your customers’ questions about your products/services - often before they even raise them - can be extremely effective when it comes to converting customers who are ‘on the fence’.

Whenever I’m launching a new product, event or service, I publish a series of blog posts addressing the reasons why people might not want to buy. For example:

Common concerns about the 2018 Media Diary 

Eight common concerns about joining the Soulful PR Studio 

Eight common concerns about attending Your Year in PR 

Ten common concerns about enrolling for Soulful PR for Starters 

Eight common concerns about attending Soulful PR Live

I’ve even created blog posts for people who say they can’t afford my events/products/services with practical ideas on how they can raise the cash. These have also proved successful in converting undecided customers.

Want to join the Soulful PR Studio but don’t have the budget? Here’s how

Want to sign up for an online course but don’t have the budget. Here’s how…

Want to attend a conference but don’t have the budget? Here’s how…

Creating these kinds of posts can also save you tons of time answering customer questions via email and on social media.

5. It can help you improve your customer experience

Your business blog doesn’t have to be solely focused on attracting new customers (in fact I’d advise against this).  It should also be a resource for your existing customers to help get the most out of your products/services and get the best possible experience. For example:

How to get the most out of your 2018 Media Diary

How to prepare for Your Year in PR

How to prepare for Soulful PR for Starters

How to prepare for a conference or workshop

How to get the most out of your Soulful PR Studio Membership

Remember that your existing customers are the most likely to buy from you again and/or recommend you to their friends. Which means you need to keep marketing to them long after they’ve bought your product or service.

Publishing high quality blog content to support your existing customers is also a great marketing strategy for new customers - if they can see you really look after your current customers, they’re much more likely to want to do business with you.

Want help getting started with a blog for your business? Find out more about working with my in my membership community The Soulful PR Studio 

Eight common concerns about attending Your Year In PR

Thinking about attending Your Year in PR but can’t make up your mind? I get it.

It’s perfectly natural to worry about whether you’re making the right decision to attend a conference or workshop.

It’s not just about the ticket price. On top of the cost of your ticket, you may also need to budget for travel, accommodation, food - and time spent away from your business. So you need to be sure you’ll get a return on your investment.

With that in mind, here are some of the most common concerns small business owners raise about attending Your Year in PR - and the advice I offer.

If you’re not familiar with the event, Your Year in PR is a media planning masterclass. It’s your chance to dedicate a day planning out the content for your blog/vlog (if you have one), social media, email marketing and press activities for the whole of 2018. You’ll learn strategies you can use to generate ideas, re-purpose content and schedule well ahead of time - so you’ll never be stuck for ideas again. If you want to create content that attracts more likes, comments and shares, you can stay on for a second day of training that focuses on creating shareable content that will help you make more sales in your business

Concern 1: ‘I can’t afford it ’

Some prospective delegates tell me they love the idea of the event - and would attend if they could - but can’t afford it.

My advice

If this sounds like you, the first thing you need to do is change your mindset. Instead of saying ‘I can’t afford it’ ask yourself ‘‘what could I do to make it affordable?’

If you’re reading this post, you’re an entrepreneurial sort. So if you really want to attend an event, I believe you’ve got what it takes to figure out how to get yourself there. Here’s a list of ten things you can try to raise the money to attend a live event.

Try them and let me know how you get on.

Concern 2: ‘I can’t afford to take time away from my business’

Some prospective delegates tell me they love the idea of the event - and think it could be really beneficial - but can’t spare the time away from their business. This is particularly common in product-based business owners, who are often at their busiest in the run up to Christmas.

My advice

Are you really so busy that you can’t spare a day to invest in the long-term health of your business?  Could you put in a few extra hours on a weekend or in the evenings to make up the time - or outsource some tasks that would free you up to attend?

It’s great to be busy, but if you’re firefighting at the expense of promoting your business, in a few months time, you may find you’re short on clients.

When you run a seasonal business, it’s easy to tell yourself that quieter periods are the norm - but it doesn’t have to be the way. Taking time out for some strategic PR planning could help ensure you’re busy all year round - not just at Christmas.

Concern 3: ‘I’m afraid I won’t have time to implement what I learn’

A common concern I hear from owners of prospective delegates is that they won’t get time to implement everything they’ve learned.

My advice

Taking some time out of your normal routine is bound to leave you buzzing with ideas. But once you’re back at your desk, there’s a risk you’ll get bogged down in the day-to-day running of your business and not put into practice what you’ve learned.

Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by blocking out a few hours (ideally in the week or so after the event ) to reflect on what you’ve learned and make a plan to put it into action.

If you come along to Your Year in PR, you’ll also be invited to take part in a live follow-up call with me in January 2018, which will give you accountability and a chance to ask questions about what you’ve learned.  

Concern 4: ‘I sell products rather than offer a service.’

Some prospective delegates tell me they don’t think the event is right for them because they run a product-based business.

My advice

If you’re selling products online, you need to be publishing regular content - ideally on a blog/vlog, on social media and via email - so you can build relationships with prospective customers and attract them to your website (or wherever you’re selling your products). Creating a content schedule - so you know what you’re going to publish, when and where - will keep you consistent, accountable and ensure you never run out of ideas. It will also save you tons of time.

Concern 5: ‘It’s not the right time for me’

Something I hear a lot from prospective delegates is: ‘I love the idea of this event but I don’t think it’s the right time for me. I’m too busy working on my website/I’m building up my client base/I’m not ready to be the face of my business.’

My advice:

A bit of tough love: if you’re selling your products/services online you need to be publishing regular content - ideally on a blog/vlog, on social media and via email - so you can have conversations with prospective customers and attract them to your website. So if now’s not the right time to focus on your content strategy - and make sure this actually happens in 2018 - when will be?

If you’re too busy working in your business to take time out to work on your business I can pretty much guarantee that this time next year you’ll be in exactly the same position as you are right now - wondering where your next customer or client will be coming from. Do you really want to leave it a year to start making positive changes in your business?

Concern 6: ‘I’m worried the content/delegates aren’t a good fit for me’

Some prospective delegates say they love my content - and the Soulful PR community - but they’re not sure if the content/delegates will be a good fit for them.

My advice:

I’ve tried to give as much information as I can on the sales page - including a list of who I the event is right for (and who I think it isn’t). If you have any other questions...just ask!

It’s really not in my interest to have you at the event if it’s not a good fit for you. I want everyone who comes to have a great experience and I certainly don’t want you to leave negative feedback (!) so if it’s not a good fit for you, I’ll tell you straight. So please feel free to share you concerns and ask anything you like. Email me on [email protected] and I’ll get straight back to you.

Concern 7: ‘I’m worried it won’t work for me’

Some prospective delegates say they love the idea of the event, but are worried my media planning strategies won’t work for them.

My advice:

I can’t give you guarantees.  What I can tell you is that I’ve trained hundreds of people in this approach - and it works (even if you have a product-based business).  The key thing is that this is a partnership. I can share all my best ideas, tips and strategies but if you’re not willing to put in the work to make it happen, you won’t get the results you desire. But if you’re willing to do the work and make media planning and content creation a priority, you will get results.

Concern 8: ‘I won’t know anyone else attending’

If you haven’t been to a Soulful PR event before, you may feel worried about not knowing anyone.

My advice

Walking into a conference hall can be intimidating - even when you do know people. That’s why I hold a briefing call ahead of the event where you can ask any questions you have. I have also created a Twitter list and a Facebook group where you can meet other delegates ahead of the event. I’m in the process of putting together a blog post on how to prepare for the event - so when you arrive at the event you’ll already feel part of the family. You can also check out this video to get a feel for what it’s like to attend a Soulful PR event.

I'd love you to join me at Your Year in PR, so if you're ready to get your 2018 PR plan in place, then click here to book your place

 

What's the point of press coverage?

If you run your own business, you may be wondering if it’s worth bothering with traditional PR i.e. coverage in newspapers, magazines and on radio & TV.

You get that it could raise your profile, but you're not sure how it could impact the bottom line of your business.

Here’s four reasons why you should care about traditional PR.

1.It will boost your credibility

Not everyone gets the chance to be interviewed for the BBC or quoted in a top-selling magazine like Marie Claire or Grazia. So if journalists from those kinds of publications or programmes think it’s worth talking to you - or featuring your products - you must be brilliant at what you do.

That’s what your prospective customers or clients will think when they visit your website and it says (ideally on the homepage) ‘as featured in’ the Guardian, Telegraph, BBC, Marie Claire, Huffington Post….’ (or wherever you have been featured). It will also impress potential sponsors, brands, book publishers, event organisers who are looking for speakers - anyone you’d love to work with, in fact.

And of course you don’t just get to share your media success on your website. Talking about your media appearances on your social media platforms - and sharing photographs, links and cuttings where possible - will also help you spread the word that you’re brilliant at what you do.

Vintage Style expert Kate Beavis has been featured in many national publications, including The Guardian, Elle, Psychologies, Marie Claire & Cosmopolitan,which she believes has raised her credibility. She's also appeared on national TV.

Kate Beavis with Eamonn Holmes from ITV's This Morning, after she appeared on the show

2.It will sends traffic to your website

Being featured in the press often means getting a link back to your website from a more influential site. Not only can this be great for your domain authority (which means you should rank high higher in Google), it will also send traffic to your website.

For example, this article I wrote for the Guardian on how to write a press release (published three years ago) sends tons of traffic my way, as do my other articles for the Guardian on small business PR. This particular article ranks on the first page of Google - above my article on my own blog on the topic.

Relocation consultant Melanie Haynes says this article (published over 18 months ago) on how she built a business out of being an expat in Copenhagen still sends her leads and clients, as does her regular column in the expat newspaper the local dk.

Arabel Lebrusan jewellers saw a huge spike in web traffic when this Daily Mail article appeared about an unusual wedding proposal - featuring one of their engagement rings.

Even if you don’t get a link back to your website, if people read an article that features you or hear you on the radio talking about something that interests them, they will ‘Google’ you and head over to your website to find out more.

3.It can help you get clients and customers

If you’re getting more traffic to your website as a result of your press coverage, these are leads you can convert into customers.

Designer and photographer Emma Mapp had a huge increase in orders after her stylish camera bag was featured in the Guardian’s 2016 Christmas Gift Guide. She’s also made sales from her coverage in Stylist and various in-flight magazines.

This article I wrote for PR Week on why I think every PR professionals should spend time in a newsroom before they practice landed me a consultancy job worth around £2k plus dozens of sales of my book. I have even got clients from this piece I wrote about why we need to talk more about miscarriage - proof that people like to do business with people.

Academic Lucy Parsons had a big surge in book sales after her article on how to ace every exam you’ll ever take appeared in the Daily Telegraph. She also got a coaching client directly from the article.

Emma Mapp's camera bag was featured in Stylist magazine resulting in an increase in orders

4.It’s free

A few figures for you:

Cost of a full page advert in a regional newspaper: around £2k/$3k (based on rate card price)

Hiring a PR company £12k/$18k a year (based on three days a month at a modest rate)

Cost of a full page advert in national newspaper £20k/$30k (based on rate card price)

Cost of getting coverage in a magazine or newspaper £0/$0

It gets better; not only is coverage in the media absolutely free, it’s also better for your business or brand. A journalist choosing to feature you because they think their audience will be interested in what you do (rather than because you’ve thrown a wad of cash at them for an advert) will give you far more credibility.

That being said PR is not a quick-fix solution. While you do hear of the odd article that leads to mass sales, for most business owners, PR is a marathon, not a sprint. A one-off feature in a newspaper or radio interview isn’t going to make you millions. But a steady stream of newspaper and magazine articles, and radio & TV appearances over a number of months - or more realistically - years, will help you build credibility and make sales.

If you’re serious about getting PR, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and put in the ground work. As with anything you achieve in your business, success is rarely the result of a one-off action. It comes from a series of actions you repeat, day after day, week after week, until you get so good at it, you can almost do it in your sleep.

My blog and podcast are full of resources to help. But if you’re keen to get started and don’t want to waste time searching for everything you need,  join my online PR course Soulful PR for Starters.

You’ll be guided, step-by-step through everything you need to learn to get high-profile media coverage for your business. While you’re working through the course, you’ll also get access to me - both in a dedicated Facebook group and on a series of live coaching calls.

Click here if you're ready to learn more about Soulful PR for Starters.

How to prepare for Soulful PR for Starters

Enrolling in an online course a big investment of your time and money. To get the most out of the experience, preparation is vital.

There is nothing more annoying than starting a course then finding you can’t find the materials or haven’t got enough time to complete the activities

With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about preparing for Soulful PR for Starters, which opens again in March. 

1.Set up a dedicated email folder for Soulful PR for Starters

Redirect any mail relating to Soulful PR for Starters to the folder, so you can find emails relating to the course easily - including your login details for the members’ area (these will be emailed to you when the course starts officially).

Whitelist my email address (i.e. add it to a safe list of emails) to ensure they don’t end up in spam. The method for doing this will vary according to your email provider, but if you Google ‘how to whitelist an address with [INSERT NAME OF EMAIL PROVIDER]’ you can easily find instructions.

2.Bookmark the learning area (and this post)

Bookmark this post so you can revisit it when you have any questions. We’ll be updating it with more info over the next few weeks.

On the first day of the course you’ll receive your log-in details for the learning area (where the learning materials will be stored). Bookmark this URL when it arrives.

3.Introduce yourself in the members’ area

There is a private Facebook Group for Soulful PR for Starters students. This is the place to pose questions (both to myself and other members) and have conversations.  Do go ahead and introduce yourself to the other students.

4.Join Twitter (if you haven’t already)

Twitter is the social media network where most journalists hang out - and we’ll be making the most of it during the course. So if you’re not already active on Twitter, set up an account and start using it.

If you’re a complete newbie, this article on how to get started with Twitter is a useful guide.

If you want to get more experience of using Twitter, do join my #soulfulprhour Twitter chat on Sunday evenings 8-9pm (BST). If you a complete newbie, read my guide on how to take part in a Twitter chat.

You might also want to follow our Soulful PR for Starters Twitter list.

5.Study the course schedule (and get key dates in your diary)

Spend some time familiarising yourself with the course schedule, including when you’ll receive the learning materials. Soulful PR for Starters is an eight-week course that includes six classes (video lessons of around 30-45 mins long plus related activities). You’ll also get five bonus sessions, which will be published at regular intervals during the course.

Here is an outline of the programme:

Session 1: Setting your intentions

Session 2: Connecting with journalists who are already looking for help with stories

Session 3: Developing story ideas for journalists

Live call 1. Date and time tbc. N.B. NO NEW SESSIONS WILL BE PUBLISHED THIS WEEK

Session 4: Pitching to journalists (including press release writing)

Session 5: Dealing with journalists (including finding their contact details)

Session 6: Maximising your press coverage (how to make each story go further)

Live call 2. Date and time tbc. 

Bonus material will be published at regular intervals during the course.

Bonus modules:

  • Traditional PR for social media managers and marketers (available September 11)
  • Newsjacking (using topical news stories to get media coverage)
  • Dealing with negative comments/criticism
  • 3 x video interviews with editors from Marie Claire, Grazia magazine and the Huffington Post - in which they share their tips on how to get featured in their publications
  • Influencer marketing (an introduction)

6.Do some background reading

If you’re new to PR, it can be a good idea to do some background reading before you start the course. My book, Your Press Release is Breaking My Heart, is a great starting point but is absolutely not compulsory.

As a minimum, I would recommend reading these blog posts:

How to tell your story in the media (without being boring)

How to write emails journalists will actually read

How to connect with journalists on social media (without feeling like a crazy stalker)

If you're new to PR my book is a great starting point but is absolutely not compulsory

7.Consider blogging about your experience

Taking an online course can be overwhelming. There is so much information coming at you, it can be easy to miss things. Reflecting on your experience and setting goals can be a great way to document your progress as copywriter Tarzan Kay does in this review of Marie Forleo’s B-SchoolYou may also be able to turn it into useful content for your own audience.

I’d recommend writing a ‘before’ and ‘after’ blog post. Stating publicly on your blog that you are taking an online course also gives you accountability (telling your audience you’re learning how to get traditional PR coverage means you have to follow through, right?).

8.Block out time for follow up

It’s easy to finish an online course full of brilliant ideas. Sadly, it’s just as easy to get bogged down the minute the course is over, forget everything you’ve learned and not follow up on what you’ve learned. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by blocking out a few hours (ideally in the week or so after the course finishes) to reflect on what you’ve learned and make a plan to put it into action.

If you haven't yet enrolled in Soulful PR for Starters, you can do so here