If you hope to get your blog in front of potential readers, fans, and (eventually) buyers/customers, you’ll need to develop a promotion strategy. In this post, I’ll be sharing 60 free ways to promote your blog.
If you followed my advice on how to create content for your blog, then you are acutely, painfully aware of how much time it takes to create high-quality, engaging content that’s useful for your readers. You’ve ticked your checklist: you’ve done your research, wrote a fantastic article (with headings and subheadings, too!), and included a smooth call to action.
But no one’s reading your posts.
How do you get those readers to read your awesome content?
You have to promote your posts.
“How do I do that?” you ask.
In today’s post, I’ll be listing down some ways to promote your blog. Note that there are a lot of tips here, and it’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed by it all. My tip would be to take one or two ideas that you feel may be a good fit for you and your blog and test if they work for you. If not, then you have many other tips to try. It’s okay to test and fail than to never start at all.
It’s worth mentioning as well that these are free ways to promote your blog. Frankly, you’ll get better results faster with paid promotion, but they require quite a budget and continuous monitoring to get right. If you’re just starting, it’s much better to minimize costs at the beginning. We’ll get around to discussing paid promotions, but for now, we’ll tackle the free options.
Believe it or not, the design of your blog already has some elements in it that you can use to promote your blog. If you’re using WordPress like I highly recommended you to, some of these will be much easier for you, but I’m sure there are ways to do these in other blogging platforms. You can also leverage the content you post to promote your blog.
Social share buttons are seemingly a minor addition to your blog, but used correctly, it’s a powerful tool to increase your exposure and traffic. However, used incorrectly, it can actually hurt your blog.
As a general rule, use three social sharing buttons for the top three social sites Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, and then include one for sharing to email. Depending on your niche and target audience, you might add one or two for other social media sites, like Pinterest or LinkedIn. Make sure they’re in a prominent spot on your page where your readers can easily see them.
Remember, though, that too many buttons increase the clutter and increase the possibility that readers will become paralyzed by the choices and just click away.
Aside from adding links to your previous posts within your article, you can also add a section at the end of your post that contains links to previous posts that are related to the article that your visitor is currently reading. There are WordPress plugins that can automatically display these for you, such as YARPP, so you don’t have to think about which ones to link every time you make a new post.
Include at least two relevant images in your blog post: one as your featured image and one somewhere in your post. The key here is relevance; that is, ensure that these images relate to the topic you’re discussing.
Why are visuals so important? A study has shown that 65% of the general population are visual learners. Featuring an image in your social media posts has also been proven to increase engagement. Another study, this time by Socialbakers, showed that 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook were photos.
Thus, images serve a double purpose. You can use images to capture your readers’ interest, and to promote your blog post on social media.
Quite simply, an infographic is a visual representation of data and information using different elements such as images, graphs, charts, checklists, etc. Like images, you can use infographics to capture your readers’ interest, as well as in promoting your blog post on social media. You can also give it as a free gift to readers who subscribe to your blog as exclusive content.
They look like they take a lot of time and work to do, and normally they do, but a lot of sites offer free infographic templates to make it easy on you. You can start using these ones from HubSpot.
Creating a controversy is one way to grab attention. Picking a side and showing that you’re different from the competition can gain you loyal followers that can make great future customers. Done artfully, you’ll be able to incite emotion in your readers while armed with solid reasoning.
The basic approach is to target something in your niche that is headed in the wrong direction. Do your research, discuss why it’s flawed, and what might be a better solution. Debunking myths in your niche is another way to go about it.
Another approach is to take a shot at a bigger, well-established competitor; that is, pick a fight. Create a controversial response to a popular post of said competitor. That will get a rise out of that blogger and their followers.
If you go this route, though, prepare for the backlash this will likely generate. Retaliation may come swift and may result in you being a pariah. If negative, even threatening, comments are things you don’t want to deal with, stick to the basic critiques instead of taking on another blogger head-on.
Promoting previous posts doesn’t mean just simply rehashing old content. It involves updating that content so it’s relevant and fresh again. Remove outdated information, add new developments, and push it to the forefront by updating the date (include the date when you originally posted it for reference).
You need to be selective when doing this. It is a more valuable use of your time to update and re-promote your most popular posts. This is not you being lazy—it’s updating the information on your blog so that it’s always relevant no matter when your readers stumble upon it.
When you’re going through a drought of ideas, the news can save you. It’s an easy way to add fresh content to your blog and be search engine-friendly as well. People tend to get interested in trending or viral content and search for it on search engines and social media. If you capitalize on this using an angle relevant to your niche, it is quite possible to get quality traffic.
The crucial thing here is the timing. If you take a long time to write, you might not be able to maximize on the popularity of that news item you decided to write about. Make sure to monitor your social media accounts and the news to know what’s hot right at this moment.
Besides Facebook and Twitter, Google News offers a good overview of news items that come from reputable sources and are updated every few minutes.
As long as you’re monitoring the most current news, you might want to keep an eye out for which public figure is trending and write about them. Aside from reaching people who are searching for them, you might actually catch the attention of that particular personality (or whoever’s handling their social media for them) and you might get a shoutout for your post.
Note: For #7 and #8, you’ll want to keep it related to your niche, or else you risk alienating your existing readers while trying to reach out to new ones.
Longer, more in-depth articles are ranked better by search engines nowadays. Why? When search engines index your site, they look at every single word, tag, and bit of information. They index your title, headlines, metadata, alt text (on images), etc.
Quite simply, the longer your post is, the more of it gets indexed. The more your post gets indexed, the better it will rank in search results.
It’s not all about length. The quality and frequency of your posts play a big part too in whether your blog post is successful or not. As a general rule, it’s better to post longer, high-quality content on a regular schedule (e.g., once a week, twice a month, etc.) than it is to post lower quality content daily.
Creating long-form content just for the sake of plugging in keywords just won’t work anymore. Modern bots look for context, synonyms, and related words in your post. If your content isn’t well-thought-out, all these elements are lost. Similarly, if you post too rarely, there won’t be enough information to index, and your blog will get lost in the mire.
I’ve touched on headlines when I wrote about how to create content for your blog, but for the purposes of promoting your blog, let me dig a little deeper.
The point of creating excellent content is for your readers to find it valuable enough to search for. You’ll need to help them find your content by making sure that your headlines use the words that your target audience is likely searching for. For this reason, the best headlines always focus on a keyword.
With that in mind, remember that the best headlines are:
If it makes sense for your post to follow one of these formats, go for it. Remember that sometimes, headlines are all your potential readers see because they’re all that gets shared in social media.
There are some bloggers who prefer to turn off comments on their blogs. They have different reasons, such as replying takes too much time, or it’s too difficult to weed out spam, or they’d rather engage on social media.
While these may be valid reasons, there are three reasons why reader comments on your blog are still important, especially when promoting your blog.
How you respond to comments (your word choice, your tone, how quickly you reply) will also show a little more of your personality as a blogger. Read your reply out loud before you post it just to make sure it’s how you want to be perceived. As a general rule, you want to make your commenters feel glad they took the time to comment.
Effective contests are a fun way to promote your blog. Give away free stuff or even cash in exchange for sharing your blog in participants’ social media or own blogs. You can even take this opportunity to ask them for help generating user-generated content.
A basic example would be hosting an Instagram contest where you ask participants to post artful photos with your blog (like from their smartphone, tablet, or laptop), and then tag you, mention your Instagram handle, and use the official contest hashtag. That kind of exposure should help boost your social media presence and spread the word about your blog.
If you can get sponsors for your prizes in exchange for promoting them on your blog, that’s even better. You offset the cost of the prizes, plus if your sponsors promote your contest on their social media accounts, that’s even more publicity for your blog.
Researching on statistics about high-activity days and hours as well as low-activity ones will help you strike a balance between the heavy competition during high-activity times and the fewer potential visitors during low-activity times.
Compiling related posts into a single in-depth ebook gives you multiple possibilities for promotion. It can serve as a content upgrade when you start building an email list. You can give it away for free to establish your authority in your niche (make sure your profile and links to your blog are prominent in the ebook!). You can even sell the ebook someday, if the content is substantial enough.
Search engine optimization is an often-overlooked aspect of blog promotion because it’s more passive compared to proactively promoting your blog. But SEO, especially on-page SEO, is actually a vital part of the whole marketing strategy. You still want your blog post to rank on that elusive first page of search results so that you’ll get organic traffic (that is, visits to your blog post from search result pages).
Keyword research is where everything starts. Keyword research is the process of researching and selecting words and phrases that users will most likely input into search engines when looking for a topic. Businesses use this for marketing entire websites, but in the context of creating a specific post, you’ll be looking for words and phrases that are related to the topic you want to write about.
The point of this exercise is to find a keyword that you can create your post around so that if a user searches for that particular keyword, your blog post will be on their search results (hopefully on the first page).
How do you do this, though?
I’ve written a step-by-step guide to keyword research if you want more details, but here’s a brief summary.
Good keywords strike a balance between how many times that keyword is searched (you can think of this as the demand for that keyword) and how many other posts match or have that keyword (your competition). If no one is searching for that keyword, it’s hardly worth writing about it. Similarly, if you have too much competition, it’s going to be difficult to push past them to get on the first page of the search results.
Try to use long-tail keywords (that is, a search phrase containing 3 or more words). They’re the most popular type of search (especially for Google), usually less competitive, and more likely to drive high-quality traffic your way.
The keywords you come up with are central to the next steps in your SEO strategy. Here are some ways you can optimize your blog posts for search engines.
You can read more details about basic on-page optimization in this article. But to summarize, cover the basics and include your keywords in the following parts of your post.
Make sure your keyword is within the first 65 characters of your headline.
This helps search engines better understand what your content is about.
If you followed my advice here, you should have an introduction in your blog post. Make sure your keyword is in there, particularly in the first 100 words.
Use your keyword throughout the post whenever it makes sense. Don’t just stuff keywords in the copy and hope for the best. At best, Google will ignore it and at worst, your blog will get penalized by lowering your ranking. Just make sure your content has some mentions of the keywords as well as synonyms, since Google now counts those.
Search engines look at your URL to figure out what your post is about, so include it here. WordPress allows you to edit this. An example would be: https://stoppingscams.com/your-keyword-here
This is a snippet of your post that Google displays directly below the URL. WordPress allows you to edit this as well, so make sure your target keyword is here.
In HTML, the alt attribute of an image is an alternate text for the image if the image can’t be displayed for some reason. It could be an error in the code, a slow or intermittent internet connection, or if the user uses a screen reader. This is called “alt tag” for short.
Keep in mind the original purpose of this attribute. Make the alt tag truly descriptive while naturally integrating the target keyword if you can.
A sitemap is simply a file that contains all your individual webpages’ URLs. You can create this through a plugin if you’re using WordPress (the most popular is the Google XML Sitemap plugin).
Why bother with a sitemap at all? This allows search engine crawlers, or bots, to index your content. The more pages that they index from you, the more trust your site gains.
Internal links are links to other parts of your website within the same domain name. They help your page’s SEO because it creates a tight-knit network of pages and posts, extends the time that users spend on your site, and provides clear routes for search engine bots to index your page (they’re also shown to pass “link juice” and authority throughout your site, which we can’t really dig into without getting into the weeds).
As with using keywords throughout your content, doing this haphazardly can hurt your rankings instead of helping them. Here are some tips for using internal links for SEO:
This seems like a no-brainer, but you’ll probably be tempted to insert as many internal links as you can in a post. Don’t give in! Only link to related posts that are helpful to your reader, like to give context or to expand on a point that is discussed briefly on your post.
“Click here” is the common anchor text used when linking to another page. And why not? It’s effective in enticing your reader to click. However, this may be an opportunity to use keywords related to that other post. See if you can use keywords naturally in the anchor text, and if you can, go for it! Again, do it with your readers in mind. If you use the exact same keywords to each and every one of your anchor texts, it’s going to look awkward and you’ll distract your reader.
If you update the URL for your posts for any reason, make sure that the corresponding links to it are updated. This is manageable if you have few posts on your site, but if you already have a lot, there are applications you can use to check your site for broken links. Screaming Frog SEO Spider is one of those. It does a lot more SEO-related stuff, but it’s very helpful for checking broken links, specifically.
External links, in contrast to internal links, are links to other websites. Whether they help or hurt SEO has always been controversial among SEO experts, but it’s the general consensus nowadays that if done properly, they do help SEO ranking. At the very least, they don’t hurt your rankings.
Why do it at all? First, when you link out to more authoritative pages, it reflects on your credibility as a blogger. You build trust with your readers because you only lead them to trustworthy, credible information. Reader trust is priceless and not easily obtained, so this works for you.
In addition, when you link out to other blogs, you just might get a link back. Of course, don’t expect one back just because you linked to them. It doesn’t hurt to inform them, though. It’s an opportunity for you to network.
Here are some guidelines when linking out from your post:
Always keep user experience in mind. Ask yourself first if it really adds value to your post and if that page covers your topic really well.
Make sure those pages you’re linking to are reliable resources. They’re usually high-ranking if they’re reliable, and associating your site with high-quality sites wouldn’t hurt.
This is so your readers don’t have to leave your post to see that post you linked to.
Like I said, this is an opportunity to network. Aside from networking, though, you provide your readers with more evidence that you’re knowledgeable in your niche because you know who the experts are.
Having external links every other sentence can be annoying. You may come off as being too lazy to make actual useful content. If you need to link out that much, you may not be writing your best content.
According to this report by Hitwise, roughly 58% of overall search query volume from the US came from mobile phones. This was from a year ago, and it is not inconceivable to assume that mobile search queries have increased since then. It’s important now, more than ever, that your blog uses a mobile-responsive theme.
Google has also started testing their mobile-first index, which will use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site. This means that sites that have separate mobile and desktop versions are at a huge disadvantage, because they often have different data structures, and the mobile version normally has less data that search engines find useful.
If your site is already mobile responsive, then you don’t need to do anything else. That’s a huge load off your shoulders right there.
Note: If you aren’t sure, you can test if your page is mobile-friendly here using Google’s own tool.
When talking about ways to promote your blog, social media always comes up. And for good reason.
In just a few short years, social media has changed the online marketing world. Previously, you could only get traffic from search engines and paid traffic. But the situation has since changed, and internet marketing has adapted to include social media in their strategy.
What does this mean for you as a blogger? It means incorporating social media is now vital to the success of your blog. It’s free, it’s targeted, and it promotes community.
In this section, I’ll give you some ideas to get started with your social media strategy.
I’ve already mentioned that Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are the top three social sites. But when considering if you should engage in a particular social media site, you’ll want to ask these questions:
Often, we take for granted the amount of time and effort that goes into social media posting. Are you comfortable using this platform? Can you dedicate time for it?
Keep in mind the length, quality, and type of content you’re putting out. Does this platform showcase your content in the best way possible? Or is there something out there that’s a better fit for your content?
Do your readers spend time here? Is the reach wide enough so you can reach more potential readers? Does the demographic of this platform fit the readers that I want reading my blog?
Remember: you don’t need to promote on all of the social networking sites out there. It is much more important to pick the few sites that you can focus on and makes sense for you, your content, and your target audience.
To help you make your decision, here’s a quick rundown of the major social media sites you can start considering.
It is the most popular network by a large margin and also the most diverse. Facebook is most useful if your primary target is to increase awareness of your blog because it has the largest potential reach.
A younger crowd uses Twitter, so if your target audience is mostly older people, you might want to look somewhere else. These are also the users who tend to be more glued to their mobile phones, so make sure your blog is mobile-responsive.
It’s kind of low-key, but it’s the second largest social network in terms of overall interaction. Google+ is good at aligning users to their interests, which will work for you if you want a more targeted approach. Another good thing about it is that Google+ posts are visible in Google organic searches.
Recently, Pinterest has been driving a lot of traffic for a large number of bloggers. The primary users of this platform are adult women, so if that sounds like your target audience, this might be worth looking into.
This social site caters more to business professionals than any other demographic. Accordingly, they have more purchasing power. LinkedIn is filled with great insight on job hunting, productivity, and other work-related topics.
Instagram is a visual-oriented site, so if your niche is art, photography, or graphic design, you might benefit from incorporating this site. It’s also great to pair with either Facebook or Twitter.
Once you’ve decided which social media sites to include in your strategy, make sure you display the URL of your blog prominently in your user profile. That way, when a potential reader stumbles upon a post you made, gets curious, and clicks your user profile, they have a way to access your blog.
Posting on social media shouldn’t be done whenever you feel like it. Just like any other ad, your post has to be in the right place/platform, at the right time, at just the right frequency.
Study when the most users are logged in to your chosen social media platform, and when they are more likely to engage instead of just glossing over their feeds. CoSchedule did an in-depth analysis citing a total of 20 studies of the best times to post on various social media platforms.
Deciding how frequently you should post requires knowing the lifespan of your social media posts. For example, a study done by Moz found that the lifespan of a tweet is 18 minutes. The key to Twitter posts, then, is to post as frequently as you can.
A lot of work goes into posting on social media. You’ll have to go into the social site, type up your post, and then send it. Nowadays, there are tools available so you can schedule your social media posts automatically. Here’s three of them to get you started:
Hashtags make finding your blog easier when people search for content in your niche, so try to find hashtags that are commonly used in your topic. You should also have your own hashtag based on your domain name or the title of your blog so that curious readers can find your other blog posts. If you created a post based on a trending topic on social media, make sure to use the relevant hashtag when promoting your post as well.
Different social media sites have different attitudes as well when it comes to hashtags. For example, on Twitter, it’s best to limit your hashtags to 1 or 2, otherwise it becomes annoying when the hashtags take over your post. By contrast, using more than 10 hashtags on Instagram attracts greater interactions than using just 1 or 2.
You’ve made the effort to make your blog post look visually appealing. Now reuse those images, infographics, and other media you used to make your social media posts look nice. Bear in mind as well to check how it looks. Different social media present blog posts differently.
Sharing your blog post once won’t be enough. Push old articles again, especially if they proved popular, you’ve updated them, or when they’re related to a currently trending news item. Popular bloggers share links to their old articles for months, even years after they first posted them.
Conversely, when social engagement for a blog post plummets, accept that it might be time to stop promoting it. Your blog post may simply not be compelling or useful enough for your audience, and that’s okay. It’s going to sting, but that’s part of your learning. Now you know what not to do next time.
Another reason may be that it wasn’t the right time for that blog post. You can try to repromote it some months or even years later and see if there’s any response.
A famous quote in business goes “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Fun fact: This quote is often attributed to Peter Drucker, though there are some who say he didn’t really say it.
Whoever said it, this is true in your social media strategy. If you don’t know what your engagement looks like, you won’t know what to work on and what to keep doing. Luckily, these social media sites have their own tools for analyzing traffic, such as Facebook Insights, Twitter analytics, and Google+ Influence. Free external social media analytics tools are also available, like Buffer and Google Analytics.
Whatever tool you employ, use the data to tweak and improve how you promote your blog. Be careful not to let it rule your entire blogging experience, though. Keep in mind that social media promotion is just a tiny fraction of your success as a blogger. The quality of your posts should still be your top priority.
When you visit your social media homepage, does it look like just a bunch of titles and links to your blog? It’s disconcerting to your potential readers; it makes them think that there’s no one behind your social media account but a robot or an application.
Instead, actually post on your social media. It can be something as mundane as a reaction to a news on your niche, or even just current events in general. Find out what’s trending and get on it, like you would on your personal social media account (don’t forget that hashtag!).
Don’t get too personal, either. People don’t want to know what you had for lunch (unless you’re a food blogger, of course!) or that you came down with the flu. Keep it related to your niche as much as possible.
Slow news day? At a loss for words? Go back to your recent posts or even old posts and find a snippet or two to post, but don’t link to the post. That way, it looks like just another post you would do, no big deal.
This can also be an opportunity for you to post those tips or tricks that don’t warrant an entire blog post. Little-known trivia, facts and figures, as well as quotes related to your niche are a welcome respite to links to your blog posts. If your status updates are interesting, your followers are more likely to head on over to your blog.
It’s called social media for a reason. Aside from posting, use social media to engage with your audience. Reply to comments on your Facebook post. Someone mentioned you on Twitter? Give them an RT or a shoutout. Showing that you’re paying attention to people on your social media fosters community, much like engaging with your commenters on your blog.
Never forget the human aspect of social media.
You should never forget the human aspect of blogging, either.
Your readers are the most important part of your blogging journey, because without your readers, you will never become successful.
It’s not enough that you have quality content, your blog gets searched, and your social media efforts are on point. You need to get your readers on board and convince them that your blog is worth promoting.
Here are some techniques to help you encourage your readers to promote your blog.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking. Near the end of your post, call their attention to the share buttons. It could be as simple as “Did you find my post helpful? Share it so your friends can benefit from this post!” Always tell your reader why they need to share your post so they’ll be more motivated to do it.
I’ve stressed the importance of opening your comments section. Now it’s time to invite your readers to comment. Just like asking them to share your post, it’s as simple as asking questions after your post and then inviting them to answer that question in the comments.
After you’ve invited them, and readers took time to reply, reply to each and every one. Exceptions would be obvious spam comments (but if you set up your WordPress correctly, these should be taken care of automatically). Always start off your reply by thanking them, whether it’s a positive comment, a question, or a negative comment.
The time it takes to replying to readers’ comments thoughtfully and tactfully is nothing compared to the relationship you are building with your readers. Show people that you respect them, their opinions, and their time, and they’ll pay you back with their respect and loyalty.
You don’t want your blog to be an echo chamber. So listen to your readers.
But first, you’ll have to make room for their voice to be heard. Aside from your comments section, here are other ways to know what they’re thinking:
Ask your readers. Want to know what they want to see more of? Less of? Thinking of posting about something you’ve never posted about before and want to know if they’ll be interested? Ask them.
You don’t even have to make a full-length blog post on it. You can make it a mini-post, or just go on over to social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ all have tools to help you create polls right on their platform).
And of course, post the results and follow their advice. They’ll feel so much more invested in your blog if you make them part of the direction it’s going.
What are your followers saying about you, your posts, your blog? It’s worth knowing. You can search for your blog title or blog name on social media and see what’s being said. You can even search your name. Another valuable resource is your social media comments.
Take time to read and learn from them.
Sounds boring and tedious, but if you know how many readers read your posts, commented on them, shared them, where they shared them, what they did afterward, you’ll know your readers better. Knowing your reader will give you a better idea of what topic engages them, what type of content they like, if they’re the type to read more of your related posts or get their answers one-off then leave.
Sometimes, readers don’t want the attention of a comment. Maybe their feedback is unrelated to your post. Or they have a question about you they’d rather not have anyone else see. Or they have feedback regarding the site.
In any case, make it easy for them. Have a contact page on your site, if you don’t have one already. Or set up an official email for feedback, and stress that you handle emails personally (make sure you do!).
After you make your readers do all of that, reward them! When you treat your readers to something, even a small thing, they feel compelled to share their positive experience with others. That promotes your blog and at the very least, piques people’s curiosity so they visit your blog and see what the deal is.
Here are some ways you can do just that:
You see your post shared by people on social media? Thank them for sharing. And don’t just reply a generic “Thanks!” to them. This is an opportunity for you to promote a related post that they might be interested in. It’s also a chance for you to engage them.
“Thanks for sharing, [their name/username]. You might find this useful: [URL to related post]”
“Thanks for sharing, [their name/username]. Let me know which tip was the most helpful for you!”
WordPress has plugins that allow you to display recent comments on your blog. This motivates blog readers to comment because they see that they are welcome on your blog and that you appreciate them.
Share and tag the top commenters on your social media as well. It shows again that you’re reading their comments and that you cared enough to give them a shoutout. Also, they tend to retweet/share your shoutout to their followers, which is never a bad thing.
Another way of rewarding your top commenters is instead of just replying to their comments on the comment section, take your response to the next level and email them directly to make them feel special.
This may come at a small cost, but you can get creative with this if you don’t have a budget for it. You can ask for sponsorships, or it can be something you made yourself.
If it’s a physical product, handing over the prize personally can even work better. You can turn it into a meet-and-greet and post on your blog about it. This entails some cost, though, and it’s not really essential that you do it in person, so just do this if you can afford to.
You can do this periodically, like every month or every two months. Just make sure that if you start doing this, do it regularly.
Some of your commenters will have their own blogs, and they’re likely to include it in their comments (just like you should do when you comment on other blogs; more on this later). Make sure to check them out and see if they’ve posted something relevant to your blog. If they do, share their link in one of your posts and then let them know. They’re likely to share that post you made and introduce your blog to their readers.
You can also share links to their blogs on social media. Again, it’s likely that they retweet/repost your shoutout and that’s more promotion for you.
A step further from just displaying a comment is to feature it in one of your posts. Again, your readers become motivated to read and engage when you show them that they’re part of your blogging journey.
It’s user-generated content, and again, a chance for you to reach new readers. Make sure, though, that the commenter you select is blogging about the same niche and has high-quality posts. If you have the budget, you can offer to pay. Or, you can offer to do a guest post in return on your reader’s blog.
Finally, try to thank them whenever possible. After all, your blog is nothing without your readers.
Outreach, in simple terms, is when you reach out to people and ask them to look at your blog posts, share them, or promote them. Outreach is normally done via email, but you can also use social media or any other means of communication. I’ve previously discussed how to plan a blogger outreach strategy.
The first thing you need to have before starting an outreach plan to promote your blog is a list of influencers in your niche. I’ve already touched on this in a previous section, but knowing who the influential people are in your niche attests to your credibility as a blogger in your niche.
Next is to follow them on social media and follow their blogs. It helps if you have a spreadsheet with the URL of their blog, name of the blogger, their social media accounts, and their email address.
Here are some ways you can leverage this list of influencers in your niche:
Some internet marketers think that this method is now outdated, as it can come off as too spammy or too self-promotional. However, done right, a single comment on a highly influential blog can send you plenty of traffic.
The trick here is to leave thoughtful, insightful comments that add to the discussion instead of a generic “this is very helpful” comment. It helps to be specific about which part of the article was most helpful to you, or answer questions that the author posed for their readers.
You may or may not get a link or even a reply out of it, but the more blogs you comment on, the more visible your blog is to readers of those types of blogs. More exposure can only do you good, provided you project a positive image of you and your blog.
Above all, keep in mind that a meaningful participation in a discussion in a blog establishes a relationship with that blogger, no matter how tenuous it starts.
Another way to get noticed by the influencers in your niche is to mention a post of theirs in one of your posts as an expert source or reference. After you’ve done this, contact them through email to let them know.
You can also mention them on social media when you promote your post. It’s highly likely that they retweet or reshare your post if they see that they’re mentioned on it.
ALWAYS THANK THEM when they do share or otherwise acknowledge your email or social media post. Remember that you’re trying to establish relationships with these influencers, and thanking them is a big step in that direction.
An expert roundup is a type of blog post that features contributions by multiple experts. You’ll need to reach out to experts or influencers in your niche and ask them a compelling question. You then collate their responses in one blog post.
Some things to remember: don’t forget to include links to their blogs, and don’t forget to let them know they were featured in your blog post.
You have much to gain for your trouble. The influencers that participated in your roundup are likely to share your post and send you a lot of traffic. When readers find your blog post and see lots of helpful expert advice, they’re likely to share your post as well.
Associating your blog with influencers positions yourself as one of “them,” which establishes your authority in your niche. Also, this is an opportunity to promote their blogs that wise influencers won’t pass up, because this is an opportunity to collaborate without much effort besides one or two sentences.
Done with the right question, the right influencers, and the right type of promotion, this can catapult your blog to fame.
Once you’ve initiated a relationship with an influencer and received a positive response, you can take your relationship one step further and interview them for a blog post.
Make sure that your interview questions are compelling enough for them to answer. Ideally, you should have an idea of what topics they’re passionate about in their blog. You are in a common niche, but there’s bound to be one or two topics that they tend to write about more than any other topic in their blog. Find out what those are and use them to formulate your questions.
Again, it’s going to be hard for them to refuse if they see it as a chance to gain more readers through your blog, as well as to provide their own readers with material that they don’t often see (you can’t really interview yourself, can you?). They’ll tend to share your post with their readers as a result.
It’s also going to be difficult for them to turn down an interview if they’re on the verge of launching a product, course, or service. An interview would be a chance for them to promote their new project to a new audience (yours).
Chances are, there are bloggers in your niche that do roundup posts or roundup emails/newsletters on regular basis. Reach out to these bloggers and build a relationship. When you’re comfortable, try to pitch some of your posts to be included in their roundups.
If you need a little help finding these bloggers, you can try to search for them using a little Google hack. Search for this: “intitle:roundup” + your industry/keyword (without the quotes)
With a bit of luck, you should be able to find at least a couple of bloggers who post roundups that have a lot of readers.
Invite an influencer to do a “shoutout exchange,” that is, you promote their blog and they promote yours. That’s it. No content or interviews to think about, just a straight-up shoutout exchange. This is easily done through social media. You can even schedule this on a day of the week, like “Shoutout Fridays.”
This may not be as effective as promoting actual content, but getting your blog out there through influencers would definitely help your traffic. At the same time, aligning your name with influencers in your niche establishes your authority.
The knowledge that one has helped someone else achieve a goal is an incredible motivator. Find an influencer’s piece of advice, apply it, and then document how you did it and what results you achieved.
After you do the post, email that influencer with a link to your post. They’ll love sharing your success story to their readers, which establishes their authority while promoting your blog post as well. This also builds a relationship with this influencer.
The classic way of guest blogging was to create a piece of content containing keywords that you want to rank for that you think might be interesting to other websites. You then pitch this content to the websites and pray that someone gets interested enough to post it.
The problem with this approach is the competition. If your target influencer has plenty of followers, chances are they are already receiving too many pitches for a guest post on their blog.
So how do you stand out from the rest?
Systematically, that’s how. Impress them first, get on their radar, build rapport, and then pitch your idea. For a simple but comprehensive guide, read this article on guest blogging.
While researching for your post, you’re likely to happen across posts with similar content. Find the people who’ve shared/liked/reposted these posts and then contact them with a link to your blog post. You do need to ensure that what you’ve written is indeed related and that it outdoes or at least matches the quality of that content.
The simplest way to go about finding your targets is looking for the URL itself in social media sites. From there, you already have a list of people you can contact. Either send them a direct message or if they have a blog or website, try to get their contact information so you can email them directly.
Those posts with similar content you saw when you were researching? You can directly contact the writers of those blog posts. Having written about it, they should be interested to learn more about the subject. It would be especially interesting if you have a different take or contrasting view on the topic.
You can contact them through email, on social media, or by commenting on their blog (see #34). Whichever way you go about it, be respectful and polite. Don’t assert the superiority of your content too much because the point is to establish a relationship, not alienate these bloggers.
You’ve strived to create your community with your readers, and you’ve endeavored to reach out to the movers and shakers in your niche. Here, we’re going to explore some ways to promote your blog to a bigger audience.
They’re not as effective as they used to be, mainly because of the proliferation of low-quality blog directories. However, high-quality blog directories still have the potential to drive high-quality traffic to your blog. ShoutMeLoud and BlogPress have updated lists of blog directories you can go through.
Blogging communities are where bloggers can interact and engage with each other. They can be viewed as social networks for bloggers. Look for a blogging community in your niche that you can share interesting articles with and occasionally submit your articles.
Forums have been around for a long time. There are forums dedicated to helping people ask questions and have experts give solid advice. Yahoo! Answers is one such forum, but it’s more advisable to find forums specific to your niche. You can search “intitle:forum + [your niche keyword]” in Google to find these forums.
Don’t just spam these forums with links to your blog. First, look for questions you are confident you have answers to, and then answer them. When you post your answer, link to a relevant article in your blog, if you have one. If you have a forum signature that allows you post a link to your blog, use it.
The important thing about forums is to not be spammy, or you can get permanently banned. As with all relationships, this is give and take. Provide excellent answers to people asking for help, and they’ll be genuinely interested in checking out your blog.
Last thing to consider, if the forums aren’t as specific as you’d like, you can create one yourself, although prepare for a pretty huge undertaking if you go this route.
Social bookmarking, in simple terms, is saving a web page to a web-based application instead of your web browser so you can access it later anywhere you have an internet connection. The main difference between saving your bookmarks in a web-based application instead of your web browser is that you can also look at what other people have tagged and look at them yourself.
Getting your blog is listed on a social bookmarking site can drive quality traffic. Readers who reach your site from a social bookmarking site are likely to be there because they searched for a particular topic and your blog came up in the search results. Thus, the traffic you’re getting is targeted and engaged in the content in your blog. They’re more likely to share to a wide network as well, as users of bookmarking sites tend to use more than one.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools around. According to Radicati, the number of email users worldwide is forecasted to top 3.7 billion users by the end of 2017. Obviously, this has a lot of implications for businesses’ marketing strategy, but you can get in on this action by building your own email strategy.
As much as visitors are welcome in your blog, post views don’t do much for your blog. Unless your visitors do something, like follow you on social media or join your email list, your blog traffic will just go back to how it was. To grow your readership, you still need an email marketing strategy even if you’re not selling anything on your blog.
Email is a powerful tool for generating steady traffic on your blog. It can transform one-time visitors into lifelong readers. There are many reasons why email marketing is still part of many bloggers’ promotion strategies, but the main reason is that once you have a database of your readers’ email, you own that list, unlike your social media followers. Even if your social media gets deactivated or deleted for reasons out of your control, you’ll still have your subscribers’ email addresses and you’ll still be able to contact them.
Here are some ways you can create your email strategy.
Creating your email list starts with a good email marketing service. You need to consider factors such as how many subscribers you foresee yourself having, how comfortable you are designing your email templates, and how much help you need planning your email campaign.
Once you select your service, you’ll need a well-designed opt-in form to attract subscribers. An opt-in form is where your visitors input their name and email address so they can receive emails from you. Give your visitors an excellent opt-in experience and they’re more likely to turn into subscribers. Here are some points to keep in mind when designing your opt-in forms:
Just as you want your blog posts to have a catchy headline, you’ll want the same thing for your opt-in forms.
As a basic rule, answer the questions “What do I get?”, “How often will you email me?”, and “Can I trust you with my email address?” An example of this would be “We’ll be emailing you a monthly newsletter. We won’t spam you and we won’t sell your email address. That’s a promise.”
Distracting your readers with your opt-in forms can be annoying. Test different options if you can, but as a general rule, don’t slap them with your opt-in form the moment they arrive at your page, and make sure the form doesn’t cover your content. The ones that I personally find the least intrusive are the ones that appear in the middle of the content (if I’m in the middle of the content, it means I’m interested enough to even consider opting in), or the ones that slide in from the sides or from the bottom of the page.
Design your form such that they go with your theme colors. If you can get away with using a small image, do so, but if you find that it slows your loading time, just focus on the content.
A strong call to action is clear and highlights what happens when they click that magic button. “Sign Me Up For Monthly Updates” and “Get Me Started” are a couple of examples of strong, clear calls to action.
It’s worth mentioning that some people choose to forego this process and buy email lists instead. Don’t give in to this temptation! It’s spamming, no matter how legally you obtained that email list. Plus, if they don’t know you or your blog, they’ll tend to mark it as spam anyway, and that hurts your IP reputation. As a result, all emails from your IP will be marked as spam. You absolutely don’t want that.
To know more about building an email list, read this article.
Give your readers a strong reason to sign up; something so valuable that it overcomes their objections to giving you their email address. It’s something they’d pay for if you weren’t giving it away for free.
The usual “bribe” is a value-packed ebook, which works just fine if it’s of high-quality. But if you prefer to stand out from the crowd, here are some creative alternatives:
This course explores an important aspect of your blog topic over weeks or months. It’s bite-sized information that’s more manageable for your reader compared to a content-heavy ebook.
Your cheat sheet may be an infographic or a printable that outlines valuable data and shortcuts. It’s designed to be a handy reference so that key information is efficiently presented.
If you blog about productivity and other work-related topics, your readers might appreciate a free Excel template for tracking their vacation time. For example. I once subscribed to a mom blog who gave me a free Excel template for my household budget. If you have Excel or even Word wizardry, this could work for you.
Like an email course, but on video. You don’t even have to appear in it if you’re shy. You can screencast a presentation you’re giving and then record your voice in the background giving the presentation.
This could work for blogs about graphic design. You can offer free icons, desktop wallpapers, and stock photos. If you are a web designer, you could offer a free website template.
Writers and artists can offer up something uniquely theirs. If you’re a poet, then you can offer a poem or a haiku with a stunning background that they can print out and display. If you’re a calligrapher, you can offer a graphic file of their name or any word of their request written using calligraphy.
Email marketing is all about expectations. You set the expectations, your readers have expectations, and you have to meet those expectations. The initial follow-up email is often overlooked, but it’s actually important to the success of your email campaign.
The first follow-up email should be sent immediately. It should introduce yourself properly, describe what you plan to do with your new subscriber’s email address and how you’ll keep it safe, and explain how often they can expect an email from you (Daily? Weekly? Monthly?) and what type of content they can expect (Daily digest? Weekly newsletter? Monthly roundup?).
Don’t leave details out. Unmet expectations is a major reason for unsubscribing.
Segmenting your email list means to split up your email list into more targeted groups. This increases the chances that your subscribers get what they want. For example, you can separate out the males and females and have different content delivered to them. In case your content isn’t really gender-specific, another way you can segment your email lists is sending visual content versus text-rich content.
You’ll have to have a good grasp of your customer data to do this blindly, but you can actually ask them! You can include clickable options in your email so that your readers can choose. For example, you can ask them whether they want daily digests or weekly newsletters, or even both.
The key takeaway is that you don’t need to restrict yourself to just one email template. You can send specific email templates to different customers.
The great thing about using email marketing software is they have their own analytics to tell you the percentage of subscribers opens your email, clicks the links, marks it as spam (ouch), and more. This data is precious, so use it to find out what works. Here are some ideas to test out.
There are applications to include links or even social share buttons right in your email. This way, you can get new visitors from social media that originated from your email campaign.
At first, it looks like a roundabout way of getting new visitors if you already have a social media campaign in place, but this is a way to reach those people on social media that wouldn’t otherwise have known about you if it wasn’t for your subscriber who shared your content.
Linking to your social media is apparently standard now, but linking to your blog post is an extra push to promote your blog to audiences who are otherwise unaware of your blog.
It’s quite simple to do this, too, with services like WiseStamp. You can also hire a programmer to create an HTML signature for you, or you can even do it yourself if you’re comfortable with HTML. Just make sure to test it on different platforms and devices so your email recipients don’t get put off.
It looks like tip #32 but it’s much more subtle. You’ll have to use your analytics again for this. For example, you notice subscribers who haven’t been opening your emails since the first one (ouch!). Try to reel them back in with a killer subject heading, but if they don’t bite, it’s time to put them in your list of people to not email. Stop sending people emails they don’t want.
Likewise, if you’re experiencing a lot of unsubscribes and a lower than usual open rate, it’s time to reassess. Don’t send emails for a reasonable period of time while you find out what went wrong and what you can do. Is it because of a change in your blog? Is it an online reputation issue? Whatever it is, try to pinpoint it first before you send out emails again.
If your emails are being marked as spam increasingly, stop your campaign immediately. Again, you don’t want your IP address to be marked as spam permanently by email providers. Do your best to determine the problem that your subscribers are having with your email.
These are some unusual, unconventional ways of promoting your blog. If you love trying new things, this will be right up your alley.
SlideShare is a slide hosting service owned by LinkedIn. It allows users to upload slide decks in various formats (e.g., PowerPoint, PDF, Keynote, or OpenDocument files). These slide decks can be viewed directly from the site or embedded in another website.
SlideShare was originally intended for businesses to share slides to their employees, mostly for training and instructional purposes. It has since expanded to host various types of slideshows.
According to SlideShare, over 80% of SlideShare’s 80 million visitors come through targeted search. Thus, when you upload to SlideShare, you reach people who are interested in your content.
Keep in mind, though, that because this is a visual medium, you’ll need to pay close attention to your slide design elements, typeface, as well as the images you use.
Quora is a question-and-answer site that currently receives a whopping 200 million monthly unique visitors (as of June 2017).
Being a question-and-answer site, it’s a great place to position yourself as an authority in your niche. First, ensure that your profile looks professional and is linked to your social media accounts. Next, make sure a link to your blog is there.
The most important part is looking for unanswered questions related to your niche. Make sure to answer them completely and include your references, if any. Most of all, if one of your blog posts has an answer to that question, link to it. This sends the message that you’re so knowledgeable about this topic, you wrote about it before anyone even asked.
For a more in-depth discussion about how to get traffic from Quora, read this blog post.
Flipboard started as a magazine-style reader for news and social networks for mobile phones and tablets. Eventually, their service expanded to the web. With this expansion, their user base grew 75% from February 2015 to June 2015, when they reported 70 million monthly active users.
If you already have a lot of content about a particular topic, you can collate this content into a Flipboard magazine. You can also collate the best content for your niche and include your blog posts. Flipboard makes it easy to share and promote your magazines, so you can do so through email or social media.
Take some of your content and turn them into videos instead to appeal to another audience. With more than 1 billion users worldwide, YouTube is perfect if you want to reach users looking for great videos. Start with your most popular content because if that blog post garnered a lot of attention, chances are the video version will gain much attention as well.
You can embed the video on the blog post itself as well as an accompanying material for those who prefer video to text.
Traditional media is undertapped when promoting blogs because it sounds counterintuitive. Why would you promote your online content offline?
It’s this lack of competition that might just work for you, especially if your audience is local. Also, traditional media are still businesses at heart, which means that more often than not, they have their own online presence via blogs or social media. Getting your blog noticed and promoted by them will unlock their following to your blog as well.
Some offline channels you can tap are:
That was a ton of information. Again, you don’t have to do all of them at once. Pick one or two and implement them. If they work, good. Keep doing them. If not, try other techniques next week or next month. Hopefully, you’ll find a few that will work for you and for your readers and add to them as you go along your blogging journey.
I would love to hear about your experience. Have you tried any of these? How was it? Did I leave out an interesting strategy that you were successful with? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it in this post!
This is the fourth of a five-part series about how to start making money blogging. I highly recommend reading them in order, but for your reference, here are links to the five articles in the series:
JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.