How to Grow a Blog Organically

A lot of people ask me about my blogging strategy. They want to know, for instance, how I post articles, build a list, and drive traffic to my blog. More importantly, they want to know what I do for my own SEO.

Those are good questions.

The short answer, of course, is to post good content — content your audience will find valuable and helpful. You can do some simple keyword research — not to find specific keywords to add to your content but to learn about topics of interest to your audience and the kinds of questions they’re asking.

But here’s something you might find surprising.

How I blog today is the complete opposite of how I used to do it for a long time.

I use my blog as a process to manage, deliver, and distribute content. But for decades, it was only a repository. I would post to my blog as a last resort.

In the mid-90s, I wrote for other publications and was the editor of The Internet Marketing Chronicles, one of the world’s first online marketing newsletters, which was later acquired by Corey Rudl. At its height, the newsletter had 120,000 subscribers. Back in the 90s, that was an astonishing number.

But as part of my agreement, I had the permission to reprint my articles. Since I published my own newsletter, I reposted them to my list. Eventually, I started a blog as a way to keep a portfolio of my work online.

In the beginning, I kept the blog and newsletter mostly separate. I focused primarily on growing my list while blogging was just an afterthought.

Remember, social media didn’t exist yet. So I was leveraging other blogs and newsletters to bring me traffic. My blog included a note giving other publishers permission to reprint my articles as long as the “about the author” resource box was left intact, which promoted my newsletter.

Over time, when I saw how more and more people were finding my blog through SEO and not just referral links from my reprinted articles, I decided that I could start focusing on writing for the blog, too.

I wasn’t trying to blog for SEO directly. I simply wanted to put content that could get noticed and perhaps bring me some new subscribers. I figured, if people found my content, they would hopefully join my list for more.

In turn, I would include teasers in my newsletter that would drive readers back to my blog to read full-length articles — partly to save space in my email, and partly to gauge interest (e.g., open rates, clickthrough rates, etc).

This is how I did it for many years.

Then just recently, I started doing the opposite.

I now start with the blog post and then distribute the content through other channels. It reverses the writing and publishing process, where blogging becomes a springboard rather than a repository. It’s something I learned from Philip Morgan who teaches this technique in his Expertise Incubator training.

Once I post to my blog, my email newsletter service picks up the new content via RSS feed, and sends it out to my newsletter list.

So blogging is now my focal point.

By the way, here’s a related question for you: Philip Morgan and some other experts I follow usually include a link to view the full article on their blogs. It’s like the option to “view the email in your browser,” but in this case, it’s linked to the blog version. Let me know what you think and if you would like that.

Nevertheless, the way I drive traffic to this blog and build my list of subscribers is purely organic. I don’t buy ads or sponsor anything outside of it. Internally, other than a few affiliate links in my emails as an afterthought, I don’t promote anything else, either. I prefer to stick to educational content.

I still plug my newsletter when I can, such as including a link in the article resource box (like I always did) or mentioning it on someone’s podcast.

But there are very specific things I do to help me grow this blog.

Above all, I blog often. I post a new article every day, which goes out to my list. My newsletter is called “The Daily Marketing Memo” for that reason. It’s not a set-in-stone thing. But stating publicly that I publish daily keeps me on my toes and holds me accountable. More importantly, it keeps me consistent.

In fact, when it comes to content marketing, there are three things that help, especially with regards to SEO. That’s:

  1. Consistency
  2. Frequency
  3. Recency

Consistency comes from posting regularly. I’m not consistent in terms of the time of day, but I do write every day, which is mostly in the mornings.

Frequency is how often I choose to post. I post daily (except on Sundays or holidays). Philip Morgan recommends daily or at minimum three times a week. Statistics show that frequency matters for both SEO and brand awareness.

Third, recency is key. Google prefers fresh content. Fresh and refreshed content is better than old, stale, and underperforming content. Every quarter or so, I audit my content to see what pages need a refresh.

A frequent content refresh also allows me to find internal linking opportunities. Internal links create content relationships, provides context for SEO, and increases dwell time, which is now a ranking factor.

Finally, remember to promote your blog.

Sounds obvious but it’s too easy to forget.

When I started, I not only leveraged other blogs and newsletters but also was active in discussion groups. I participated in discussions, answered questions, and offered advice. I mentioned or linked to my blog when appropriate.

The key wasn’t how I promoted my blog. It was where. I focused on blogs, newsletters, and discussion groups frequented by my target audience.

Today, social media may be vast but it’s filled with active communities — groups and pages where your audience congregates. I’m a member of about 50 of them. I’m also in several Slack channels in my industry, too.

Nevertheless, don’t forget to promote your blog. Social media may be the perfect opportunity to share and amplify your blog content. But these tiny but targeted communities can be quite effective in growing your blog’s visibility.

About The Author

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Michel Fortin is a certified SEO consultant, content strategist, and marketing advisor helping plastic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons, and medical aesthetic clinics attract more patients. Since 1991, he helps cosmetic and aesthetic professionals increase their visibility and grow their practices. He is the author of the More Traffic Memo™ SEO email newsletter.

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