Make your Blog work Harder for You

This is the first of two blog articles on how to more effectively market your blog.  My students at Northwestern and my clients often create blogs and are publishing on a regular schedule…with little results.  These two blog articles will give you free tools and a template on how to best market your blog to maximize its impact in your readership base.  Enjoy and feel free to leave comments with tips and ideas to help each other improve our blogging results.

As a professor of social marketing in the Northwestern Medill IMC [Integrated Marketing Communications] program, I have my graduate and undergraduate students develop blog articles on topics relevant to a target market they want to attract.  They are on a wide range of marketing and social topics and can be seen by clicking here.  However, the purpose of this blog is not to discuss their work but what they do with these blogs after they are published.

You work hard to create your blog

In working with my students and clients on establishing a blog presence, most create and publish their blog article,  post it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and – perhaps – tweet it once on Twitter and then they ……. hope.  They hope someone will see it, read it and comment on it.  But this is the exact wrong way to grow your blog readership.  You have worked hard to create an interesting and timely blog article.  Now you need to make your blog work harder for you to achieve your readership goals.

Meet Maslow

Maslow Hierarchy of NeedsIn 1943, Abraham Maslow published his hierarchy of needs.  Shown at the left, he identified that all individuals are concerned with dealing with five different levels of needs.  His Needs Hierarchy starts with our most basic needs at the bottom and more advanced, higher level needs at the top.  From bottom to top, they are:

  •  Physiological – these are our basic needs and we do not need to consider them for blogging
  • Safety – We want to be safe and healthy
  • Belonging – We want to be “with the crowd” and don’t want to be “left behind”
  • Esteem – Earning the respect of others because of our achievements
  • Self-actualization – Reaching our higher self or becoming all we can be

What does Maslow have to do with Blogging?

Actually, a great deal.  Whether you are blogging to consumers or business professionals, they respond to different types of messages and ignore others.  As a result, you need to test multiple messages to find the best way to connect with your desired readership.  In my Northwestern class, we call it Test & Learn.  If you test different messages in the marketplace, your markets will tell you want works.

Test & Learn is the way to grow!

This is the first of two articles so I am going to take on this Test & Learn methodology in two blogs.  When you write a blog article, you will finish and publish it.  Before you promote it, there are several steps you will need to take.  While we will discuss these steps in the next blog, what you want to focus on is the creation of different messages – based on the Maslow Hierarchy – that you can test to attract your readership.

For example, let’s say you write a blog article on gourmet egg cooking and you wanted to attract chefs interested in this high level of cooking.  If you wanted to attract them to your article using the Maslow levels [except physiological], what message might you test?  Let’s try some:

  • Safety/Security – Gourmet eggs are hot in the marketplace.  Learn how to cook exceptional eggs with my blog.
  • Belonging – Chefs across the country are raving about gourmet egg recipes,  see the best ones at my blog
  • Self-Esteem – When you cook a true gourmet egg, your customers will rave.  Learn how at my blog
  • Self-Actualization – The sign of a truly great chef is their gourmet egg cooking.  Learn how the best do it at my blog

While I’m sure it is apparent I know nothing about gourmet eggs, notice how the same article can be crafted and promoted using the Maslow Hierarchy?

Now you try it

I know for many of my students, it is difficult to get started without some assistance.  So I have some for you.  I have created a spreadsheet which takes you through the entire marketing process.  You can get it by clicking here.  Go to it and then download it to your computer.  You can then use it for every blog you publish.

To get started, take you last [or next] blog, go to the message tab and try to create a couple of messages using the Maslow Hierarchy.  It takes a few to get the hang of it but just try it.  I have given you an example from one of my best students – Megan Paniewski to show how it is done.  Don’t worry about the hash tags [#] or the links.  That is in the next blog.  For now, have some fun and try to make different messages – targeted to your ideal readers – using all 4 of the top Maslow levels.  If you have time, take a look at the results tab as it shows it really works…but more on that in the next blog.

ENJOY and always have fun with blogging!  Let me know your comments and ideas on how you improve your blogging results! 

Randy Thumbnail 1Randy Hlavac is CEO and founder of Marketing Synergy Inc – an integrated and social marketing company located in Naperville IL.  Founded in 1990, Marketing Synergy works with companies to build measurable, highly profitable marketing programs and the database and analytical systems to drive them.  Randy works with B2B and B2C organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 firms.  In addition to Marketing Synergy, Randy has been a Lecturer Professor of Integrated and Social Marketing at Northwestern’s Medill IMC program for the last 21 years.  His graduate and undergraduate courses focus on the development of high impact Social IMC marketing programs and many of the course “graduates” work in social marketing today.  Dialog with Randy on Twitter @randyhlavac or discuss social issues with this hash tag #NUSocialIMC.  Randy can also be reached through Marketing Synergy website.



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Randy Hlavac
Randy Hlavac is a marketing futurist who – since 1990 – has worked to integrate new technologies into the marketing strategies & tactics of B2B and B2C companies.

February 2013
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