If you’ve already got a business blog up and running in 2016, it’s time to strap yourself in for a big 2017.

Content marketing is set to have the biggest commercial impact of all forms of online marketing in the next year. On top of that, leading online marketers in Australasia agree that blogging is the most effective type of content marketing out there for growing your sales and taking your business to the next level.

So just by blogging, you’re already ahead of the pack. But there’s a big difference between blogs that attract a huge number of readers and those that end up in the marketing experiment trash can.

It’s because most businesses know how to start a blog, but don’t know how to get their blog seen by the right people.

Here are 5 tips you can use today to get your posts in front of more readers and ensure your blog is a success story instead of a pipe dream.

1. Create compelling content

The most vital way to turn your blog into a magnet for new readers is by producing content about things they really care about.

This means spending time conducting research to really understand what makes your ideal readers tick, so you can solve their problems and position yourself as a useful resource in their community.

To ensure your content is speaking to the right people, try creating an ideal buyer persona and put as much detail into it as you can. Run surveys and ask existing readers to answer questions to help you learn about what your community is talking about and how you can best serve their needs.

Whatever is buzzing in that industry, write about it. You’ll earn more readers who will ultimately buy from you because you provide them with genuine, memorable value.

2. Promote your content

Promoting your content is just as important as creating it, if not more so. Derek Halpern recommends an 80-20 rule where 80% of your time should be spent on promoting blog posts.

The best way to ensure your posts are seen and shared is by using a promotion checklist that you follow after each blog post is released.

Include social posting on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or Pinterest depending on where your brand promotes itself, and even a promotion schedule to drive your content further. And don’t forget to build and nurture your email list – which includes letting them know when your new stuff is hot off the press.

3. Plan ahead

You wouldn’t run your business without planning ahead, so why wouldn’t you do the same with your blog? The right planning is crucial to growing your readership, authority in your industry, and ultimately the sales your blog generates.

One of the tools that separates professionals from amateurs is a content marketing calendar, a visual planning document used to structure content, stay accountable, save ideas and make use of seasonal events like Christmas and Easter. If your blog is managed by a team of people, a calendar is a must-have document to ensure everyone’s on the same page and can work on building your blog together.

A content marketing strategy is also essential to commercial success in the blogosphere. 73% of leading companies with advanced content marketing have a clearly defined strategy that keeps them accountable to their blogging goals. If you want to get real results, consider drawing up a strategy of your own.

4. Call to actions and content offers

All good marketing has a clearly defined action it wants the reader to take next. As a key marketing tool for your business, your blog posts should always have a clearly defined next step for the audience.

Each time a new reader stumbles across your blog is a new opportunity to start them in your sales funnel. If there isn’t a next action, they could consume your valuable content and ride off into the night, never to return again.

By including a call-to-action or content offer at the end of each blog post, you offer each new visitor an obvious next step that provides them with value. Offer something irresistible to your buyer persona and ask for an email address or more in return. Build a mailing list, and reap the rewards later.

5. Optimise for search

Search engines can be a very powerful traffic stream to your blog if done correctly. If you’re answering questions your readers want to know, they’ll be looking for it with Google like everyone else.

To make sure your posts can be seen, you need to make sure they’re optimised for the search engines.

Search engine optimisation includes things like using a keyword strategy with your posts, aligning your titles and headings with that strategy and writing accurate blog post descriptions. If you’re running a WordPress blog, SEO plugins like Yoast can be great tools to boost SEO results for you.

Bottom line on attracting more blog readers

Blog posts can be powerful lead magnets for your business but readers don’t come easily. By implementing the tips above to make sure you’re producing and promoting great content that brings people back, you’ll be well on your way to getting the calibre of results you’ve been dreaming about.