3 Ways to Build Awareness and Get Ideas for Your Website Blog

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Knowing who your customer is and how your product or service meets their needs is absolutely critical to being successful in any business. (There’s really no way to get around this.) You need a focused marketing strategy and you cannot do this unless you know who your niche target customer is. Blogging is a great way to drive traffic to your website and to engage your current and potential customers. So, how do you find new topics to write about that will make your readers come back for more?

1.) Engage Your Readers and Customers

It’s easy to engage your website visitors by asking them questions and asking their opinion.  You can easily create polls, surveys and quizzes using PollDaddy. A free account may be all you need to get started. With a free account, you can ask up to 10 questions per survey and quiz and you’re allowed 100 survey responses per month. There’s even an easy to use WordPress plug-in for PollDaddy (for those of you who self-host).

2.) Listen to What People Have to Say

Read (and answer) blog comments. Commenting is a great way to hear what people are concerned with. Join and participate in niche blogs, forums and groups. Also ask and answer questions to build awareness. Some of the sites to participate include Twitter, LinkedIn and Quora. Don’t forget to use Google alerts to keep current on specific content too. By setting up alerts, you can receive email updates of the latest relevant Google results. Then, follow the link to see what’s being talked about. Contribute to the conversation if you can. Also, listen for ideas on topics to blog about.

3.) Be Where Your Clients and Customers Are

Business advisers often tell you to be where your customers are. That’s one reason that business expos and trade shows are so popular. If you’re marketing a product or service, it makes sense to be seen where your potential buyers are. If you’re knowledgeable in an area and are comfortable speaking before a group, you can build your authority (and awareness of your business) by offering a free presentation. Apply these same tips to building your online presence.

I was recently over at BlogEngage.com networking and found a great post by James Pruit. You can read 10 Ways to Find Niche Blogs For Your Market or watch his video here.(This is over 15 minutes but I recommend watching it when you have a chance.)

This list barely touches the surface. What are your thoughts? What works best for you and what have I forgotten to mention?

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Author: Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

77 thoughts on “3 Ways to Build Awareness and Get Ideas for Your Website Blog”

  1. thanks for these useful tips. engaging and responding to your customers and readers is the most important thing in blogging because through this way you are making your readers mind clear about your products.

  2. Hi Sherryl,

    Engaging with your readers is important – and the methods you describe are definitely among the best, in my opinion at least.

    Blog commenting is a favourite of mine. I think that it’s important to respond to comments that you receive on your blog. You should also take the time to find other blogs and comment on them.

    Polls are a good idea also, and one which I have been intending to use, but not actually got round to. So thanks for the tip on that plug-in. Off to get that now.

  3. I agree with all of this Sherryl! Engaging your readers and customers is really important to keep in touch always with them. You made a great post and I learn a lot of things. Thanks!

  4. Agreed and with the use of free tools like Google Analytics and webmaster you can check and change the pages then check the results! Love it.

  5. I’m taking this advice by really focusing on a target group. Veterans who want to work from home legitimately. As a recent combat veteran myself and a single Dad, working from home has been important to me, so identifying the REAL routes to doing so for fellow combat veterans is a natural fit.

  6. Good luck building your online presence. Can I offer a suggestion that would really help you? Because you use keywords for your name and you don’t have a profile pic, we don’t know who you are. One of the key steps to building awareness is to build name and face recognition. My best advice to you is to go to http://gravatar.com and create a profile. You’ll need to create a user name (I use my Twitter ID everywhere), the email address you post with and a profile pic. Then, when you comment on blogs, we’ll see you! 🙂
    Sherryl Perry recently posted..Google+ Social Network – Part of Your Business Strategy?My Profile

  7. Social Media is a place that you definitely have to be if you want to create awareness today.

    1. I agree Eddie that social media can definitely play a part in creating awareness. I do believe that it needs to be executed strategically though. I think some new bloggers start following people and then get overwhelmed. I firmly believe in the quality of your connections rather than acquiring sheer numbers (which is why I just went to Twitter and am now following you. 🙂 ) Thanks for leaving a comment. I hope to see more of you online.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..8 Reasons I Do NOT Follow Like or Connect on Social Networking SitesMy Profile

  8. I fully agree that it is extremely important for online entrepreneurs to know who their customers are – their age, sex, interests and so on. If you know clients perfectly you will manage to understand their needs. A successful entrepreneur is an entrepreneur, who knows customers perfectly.

    1. Exactly Terje. A few months ago, I was approached by a client who wanted me to build a website for her. When I asked her who her target customer was, she said everyone. We worked together and brainstormed. After identifying a specific (and under served) niche market, we were able to build a site that she’s very happy with. Once she identified her target, she was able to understand their needs and write the benefits of her products to them.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Low Cost Resources Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Can AccessMy Profile

  9. Hi Sherryl,

    After reading your post i have a better understanding of what about blogs really is.
    Your post have the information that is helpful and very informative. I would like you to keep up the good work.
    You know how to make your post understandable for most of the people.

    Thumbs up and Thanks.

  10. Hi Sherryl,
    Business awareness is the important thing if we want to move on. And it’s good to know it from you. Thanks for giving me an idea from your post here.

  11. I think you are right when you say “Be Where Your Clients and Customers Are”. However, I think it is important that this is not outsourced to a third party, as they can easily look unknowledgable about your business or even look like spammers if they are posting on sites on someone else’s behalf.

    1. Richard, You make a good point about outsourcing your social networking unless you’re working with someone who you can trust to represent you. I’m seeing more people these days who are setting themselves up as virtual assistants who focus on managing social interactions such as Facebook. Social networking can be time consuming. I would like to continue doing it myself but I can see where this is a field where there are opportunities to fill a need.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Low Cost Resources Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Can AccessMy Profile

  12. I absolutely agree on this. Knowing your target audience, acknowledge them by replying to each of their comments, and follow them.

    But one thing that is hard for me to do is.. Gathering your target people.

      1. Competition on our can be a good reason. But the main reason why I find it hard is just because I have lots of field taking care of. Finding target customers for fields of Loans, real estate, location, Asphalt/Concrete and other Construction products.. and my main source of finding them are the Social Networking sites.. I hard these days to to get what you want in social networking sites specially in FB.. 🙁

        1. Out of curiosity John, do you offer any sorts of workshops or speak at any local events like business expos? One of the methods that I use for promoting my consulting is teaching classes at a local non-profit. In addition to being approached by students who want to hire me, it’s an opportunity to promote my classes in the training calendar of a monthly business newspaper that has a broad distribution.
          Sherryl Perry recently posted..Social Networking and Casting a Bigger NetMy Profile

  13. This is such a great overview, Sherryl! To me, listening is key. I like to participate in Facebook groups and forums, listening to what people are talking about and asking about. I also love reading news articles in my field — they’re great for inspiration! =)

    I’m curious, and you may have already written a post about this, but how do you use Google Alerts to get a feel for current topics? Can you share an example? =)

    Thanks for having me think about this, Sherryl! I know I often need new inspiration for my posts! =)

    1. Honestly Samantha, right now, I only have Google alerts set up to notify me when my name, my Twitter username or the keywords from some of my other sites shows up. Since you asked, it did make me think about what I would search on. Recently, I blogged about Google Panda. If I wanted to write a follow-up post, I could set up an alert to find out if there was any news about it or possibly an article that I could link to and comment on. Since, I’d be searching only for ideas this one time, rather than saving the alert, I’d only preview it.

      1. Same here! I was only using Google alerts for my name. Thanks for the idea about alerts for my Twitter username and keywords as well! =) In fact, that would be the key for me. If I had alerts for Huancayo, I’d see what the trends were for Huancayo-related pages! =) Thanks so much for your help, Sherryl! =)

  14. Great tips as always, Sherryl. I will never forget that engaging word now because you also mentioned it here and Danny Brown also wrote about its difference with being engaged. If only I have more time in a day, I would be able to follow on all the tips that I like and learn from online like the ones you put out. But, as it is, I am going at things slowly, being the tortoise instead of the hare, as I also always tell Danny. But, since I have people like you and Danny in my network, I know, I will be able to reach my goals sooner or later. Thanks! 🙂

    1. Thanks for always letting me know that you find my posts valuable Wes. I think we could all use more time Wes. I for one seem to have been late for everything this week. I’m even late replying to comments which is not setting a good example!

  15. Hey Sherryl!
    Straight to the point! How do you expect to improve if you dont know what your customers are saying or want? How do you expect to reach your customers if you are not were they are? And finally how do you expect them to talk to you if you’re not ready to talk to them?
    Straight to the point on the tips Sherryl!

    Martinsays: Thanks

    1. That is so true Renee. The only way to really market a product or service is to promote the benefits to your target customers. If you don’t understand your customer, how can you understand why they would need or want what you’re promoting/selling?

  16. Great tips. Another tip would be to link out to similar blogs. This helps to establish a relationship with other bloggers but from an SEO perspective it also helps to give Google an indication of your neighborhood which helps to catergorize your site.

    1. More great advice! Some people seem to be afraid of competition but I for one believe that there’s plenty of work to go around. Forming relationships with bloggers who share your niche is a great way to help promote each others’ business. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and collaboration is a great way to help each other.

      Thanks for joining the conversation Matt.

  17. Thanks for the reminder Sherryl! I hope I’m able to do no.3 which is to build my online presence. I wish to do this by being active on Tweeter and Facebook page. Perhaps joining an appropriate forum will also help.

    1. Andrew, You didn’t leave your Twitter ID or a link to your blog. I follow a lot of the readers who take the time to comment here. Kudos for having a Gravatar. That’s a great start to building your online presence.

  18. Very profound tips Sherryl! Engaging your viewers and customers is the way. Also, creating useful and interesting topics can be very helpful to start a healthy discussion while at the same time, you can get a wealth of ideas for your future topics.
    Paul recently posted..Ever Heard Of Google Think InsightsMy Profile

    1. I had never heard of Google Think Insights before Paul. This is definitely something that I’m going to check out in greater depth. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes Julie, I finally included video but I did take the easy way out. 🙂 Actually, I had no intention of including video but I stumbled across James’ video and he did such a great job of illustrating how to find niche blogs to comment on, I had to share. That was an excellent use of video and yes . . . I need to create my own some day soon.

  19. Thanks for your input. It’s going to be very interesting how social interactions are going to be measured and what the true impact will be. From the viewpoint of an SEO professional, are you seeing any impact on your business as a result of these recent changes?

  20. HI Sherryl
    I think listening to what your audience has to say is the most important of all. Two years ago I decided to develop an online calorie counter. I visited relevant forums and read thousands of comments. The information I gathered was incredible. I then starting building the application based entirely on what the users wanted. I continue to apply this technique to everything I want to create online.

    1. Matthew, Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It’s helpful to hear from someone who has successfully implemented this strategy. It helps to validate it.

  21. I love tip number 3! I’m heading over to read Jame’s blog now. I definitely need to be more involved in areas where my potential readers are. Thanks so much for the tips!

    1. I hope you enjoy James’s video. He did such a good job of showing how to find potential customers. I appreciate the fact that the example he used was a niche that he was totally unfamiliar with.

  22. Thanks, Sherryl, for these excellent tips. I’ve just downloaded the WP plugin for Poll Daddy which I’ll try when I come up with a good enough idea for a poll. Also, I just checked out blogengage.com which I hadn’t known about. I’d recommend a guest blog written by Danny Iny today on copyblogger entitled “21 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue” which is chock full of good ideas for coming up with blog topics.

    1. I’ll look forward to taking your poll Jeannette. Thanks for the link to Danny’s post. That’s a good read. I tweeted and liked it for him and am now following him on Twitter. Isn’t social networking a wonderful thing?

  23. After watching your video I tried BlogEngage. I wasn’t too impressed. I didn’t realize bloggers had to pay monthly to be on it. I think Technorati or just a Google Blog search provides equally good results. But his search techniques are excellent.

    I think your tip #2 and #3 will get the best results. Maybe no necessarily the most, but the highest quality.

    1. Whitney, You don’t have to pay to join BlogEngage. That’s an option if you want to subscribe your RSS feed and have your posts automatically included. I was a member for over a year before I decided to opt for the $1.99 a month subscription. For me, it’s worth it. I figure that comes down to about 50 cents (or less) to have my posts automatically submitted. I still do have to “publish” them but that only takes me a few seconds to do. The real benefit to me is the value of the connections that I’ve made. That’s in addition to Google, Technorati, BlogInteract, BizSugar and a whole list of other sites I try to remain active on.

      1. Oops, my mistake. Good to know about the secondary benefits. You can never do too much networking. 🙂

  24. Catarina, I’m sure if you wrote an article on celebrities, beauty or something similar, you’d find a way to put a spin on it so that we’d learn something new and it would have an international slant to it. Look what you wrote about diamonds.

  25. Great idea Sherryl!! Thanks.

    Will definitely do a poll to find out what my readers want me to write about. International relations, communications, leadership or what? Hopefully the answer is not celebrities, beauty or something like that:-)

  26. Hey Sherryl,
    Nice article.I like about being people oriented.This is the best way.The author should behave as if he is solely engrossed with his customers.Everyone loves to get importance.THis will make an instant rapport between the two.

    1. Great advice Shivam. It’s that human connection that can be the differentiation that makes someone want to work with (or buy from) you. We all like to do business with people we like.

  27. Hi, Sherryl.

    This is my first time here and I am very glad I came over to visit. My blog is fairly new. It was just recently when my boss listened to my suggestion and gave me the go signal to put up a blog for our rendering company. So, right now, I am basically trying to feel my way around while writing blog articles, which my boss wants to about “All Things 2D Renderings”. I found Bill Dorman through Ari Herzog who advised that I should start on building a community and now, I found you who gave me ways to build awareness and get ideas for my blog. I am so lucky that I found wonderful people and bloggers during the first weeks of blogging.

    Thanks for the tips. I will surely come and visit again. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback Kim and please do come back. I hope you have time to read the comments too. Someone is always leaving great feedback and if you follow the links to some of the articles, you can learn a lot and in some cases be entertained.

      I’m building a blog/website for an architectural photographer right now. So, I’m going to hop over to read your post now. You never know who you’ll meet online and what we may have in common. 🙂

      1. Thanks for the warm welcome, Sherryl. I will surely come back for more. I do read the comments and am learning from them as I go. I am also going to follow your advice and click through to some of the articles mentioned right after the commenters. A number of them definitely caught my eye like Susan’s. 🙂

  28. Good advice Sherryl. I would also add especially if you do polls is to make sure you have a large enough sample, otherwise the results may not be reliable. The other thing is often you need to interpret the results and not take what they say literally. This often comes down to the design of the questions.
    Susan Oakes recently posted..A Focussed Marketing Strategy is Always a WinnerMy Profile

    1. Susan, That is an excellent point! I used to work with a man who actually understood the mechanics behind a good survey and anytime I needed to survey anyone, I’d always run it by him first. (I don’t have that luxury anymore.)

      The only time I’ve run a poll on this blog was simply to get opinions on whether Twitter is a help or a waste of time. I did notice that it helped engage people somewhat but I certainly won’t be tweeting the validity of the “results” any time soon. 🙂

    1. Thanks Dennis. Listening is definitely an important skill for everyone to have. Meeting you and participating in our Bloggers Helping Bloggers group on LinkedIn has been both a pleasure and a boon. It’s great to be able to exchange ideas with people who have different areas of expertise. I really appreciate the added value of having comments from readers who can share from their own varied experiences.

  29. Hey thats me… awesome. thanks for the mention. Besides blogs, I like to use forums too. especially paid forums like membership sites that have a forum, or products that have a private members only forum. These are a great source of targeted traffic and proven buyers to get to your site. engage them, and help them,. I have found that by helping out in paid forums, the product owners notice, and often want to help me in return.

    1. Helping out in paid forums is a great tip James and one I hadn’t thought of before. Ileane Smith had RT’d your BlogEngage post and when I watched your video, it resonated with me. I have a couple of clients who have very specific niche blogs and I have suggested to them in the past that they build awareness by finding forums and other blogs that related to their niche. I’ve forwarded a link to your video to both of them. Thanks so much for dropping by.

  30. I love your approach, practical, useful and informative. Keep up the good work Sherryl

    1. Thanks Roberta. I appreciate the feedback. I thought this video was so well done that I wanted to share it. I know a lot of people with eCommerce sites want to add a blog but are concerned that they might not have enough content.

  31. Yes, the tips are very important for a company blog. Engage with your readers/customers and listen to what their need absolutely will help our business in many ways. Thanks for the article.

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