Launching a brand new blog 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.
I’ve had several readers ask me questions related to launching a new blog, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on doing 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 blog launch blueprint consists of these 3 steps:
1. Cornerstone – Build Your Blog on a Firm Foundation
Your cornerstone content is the foundation of your blog—the information any visitor needs to get the most out of following your blog. It enhances the user experience and should also be one of the primary search terms you hope to rank for. I’ve written extensively about cornerstone content already, so check out that post if you missed it.
I suggest doing a series of posts tied together on a landing page, such as I did with Copywriting 101. You’ll find this approach to be much more impressive to new visitors and the linkerati as well. This is important as we’ll see in a bit. Also, make sure you’ve written a strong “about” page before you launch.
Should you write the series before you go live? You can, but why not just turn the blog on and start posting on your own schedule? This gives you time to concurrently start working on Step 2.
2. Networking – Create Awareness and Form Relationships
You may or may not have contacts with other bloggers 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 subject matter, and start leaving smart comments. Find these people on Twitter, follow them, and retweet their content. Eventually send over an email introducing yourself, but don’t ask for a link or pitch your content. You’re trying to start a relationship, not close the deal.
Also make sure you’ve got a clear picture of possible social media news outlets that are compatible with your topic. Don’t forget about traditional websites and email newsletter publishers too. 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.
Do this while you build your cornerstone series, one post at a time. You may want to sprinkle in other posts that conversationally link to others 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, a quality Digg-bait article, 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 what approach has the best chance of succeeding, which is another reason for taking your time.
Why not simply launch the blog with your attraction content? You can, and several successful blogs have done so. But here’s why I advocate this three-step approach. Your attraction content should be about more than just getting attention. It should also be something that clearly demonstrates 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?
For example, I started off Copyblogger by writing my introductory copywriting series, mixed in with other posts. Then I released Viral Copy, a thirty-page PDF on how copywriting skills can help you attract links and traffic. Viral Copy is a useful resource on its own, but it’s also designed to convince the reader that copywriting skills, and hence Copyblogger, are essential to building traffic.
Not sure what copywriting is all about? Viral Copy points people towards Copywriting 101. The cornerstone you set in the first step is now supporting (and promoting) you every step of the way.
A Blog Launch with a One-Two Punch
Taking this 3-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 the most relevant keywords for your blog, those links will help you begin to rank well in the search engines and grow your audience further.
In my case, the links to Copywriting 101 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 before launching a promotional campaign, the attraction content did more than score links; it sold my blog and 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 if you’re in it for the long haul and really trying to create an authority site, this is a strategy that may work well for you.
For more on successful blog launches with exceptional content, check out these posts:
- Four Reasons to Write Extraordinary Articles When You’re Starting a New Blog from Dosh Dosh.
- Launching a Blog — What Type of Posts are Best? from Problogger.
- How to Launch a New Blog the Easy Way from Performancing.