Blogging is a great way to share your expertise and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. So, how can you get better results from your blog?

Traffic tells a story. I started my “Smart Marketing Strategy” blog almost four years ago to promote my marketing firm. Blogging has produced great results for my business. It has helped me establish credibility as a marketing strategist, generate leads from prospects who have become clients, boost my firm’s Google rankings and drive thousands of visitors to my website each month.

I track blog traffic via Google Analytics, Bitly links and Jetpack (a WordPress plugin). When I analyzed my traffic to better understand what people are searching for and reading on my blog, I learned some valuable lessons about blogging:

  1. Focus on your core area of expertise. While I blog about many marketing topics, colleagues and clients look to me for guidance on strategy. Traffic analysis confirms it: Marketing strategy posts are the most read items on my site. One post, written more than two years ago, continues to be a top five, most-read post every day — even on weekends.
  2. Help readers solve problems. Readers like how-to posts that help them address a challenge or do their jobs more effectively. My posts on such topics as how to develop a branding tagline, create a white paper, use promotional premiums and direct mail, avoid overused creative themes and deploy “old school” direct mail tactics are among the most highly read. Traffic analysis reveals how often these terms are searched.
  3. Optimize your blog for search engines. Organic searches on Google generate more traffic to my blog than any other source. This underscores the importance of using the best practices of search engine optimization on your blog and developing blog content with keywords matching probable search terms.
  4. Turn news into traffic. Heard of “news-jacking”? It’s when you create a blog post related to a topic or event in the news. My post about the volume of direct mail we received during the 2012 presidential election was well read and led to my being featured in two stories on this topic by the Associated Press and CBS News, which produced even more blog visits.
  5. Social-media promotion is essential. Each time I write a post, I link to it on social-media sites. Analysis proves that this consistent social-media promotion works. After organic searches performed on Google, my biggest sources of traffic are Twitter and LinkedIn. And, I always benefit when friends and colleagues share my links on social media.

Analyze your traffic. If you’re using a blog to promote your business, traffic analysis can offer helpful insights for attracting more visitors and creating content readers will find relevant. Use easy, free tools such as Google Analytics and WordPress plugins to turn your blog into the most useful tool in your marketing toolbox.

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Jean M. Gianfagna is a marketing strategy expert and the founder and president of Gianfagna Strategic Marketing which provides marketing strategy and creative services to leading business-to-business and consumer marketers. Read her blog for more marketing tips at http://www.gianfagnamarketing.com/blog.