We all know that we want as many people as possible to read our blog posts (I’m assuming everyone knows how to WRITE a blog post already). If you spend hours crafting the greatest post you’ve ever written, and no one finds and reads that content — you have a problem. If you want your blog content to be found, you need a blog promotion strategy!
There are those that say great content will market itself. I agree with Darren Rowse that there are elements of truth to that concept. But, as Darren says, the reality is that unless you have a considerable built-in audience, the chances are good that no one knows your content exists except you. Blog promotion is all about changing that and maximizing he chances it’ll get picked up by others. So, what do you do AFTER you hit the publish button to ensure your blog gets read?
First of all, you need to seed your content into the places where it’s easy for others to help you share it with others. Here are some basic things you should do to seed your content in the social web:
- Post it on Twitter, with a custom, catchy headline. I admit I’m guilty of not customizing the title for Twitter very often (I have posts auto populate via Twitterfeed) – and David Gibbons continues to give me a hard time about it.
- Post it as a Facebook status update. This is where your close network spends hours and hours every day; maximize the chances they’ll see your blog post in their feed by posting it as an update – ideally, in the middle of the day.
- Submit your RSS feed to Outside.in and make sure to tag your post with the appropriate tag (only relevant if your post is locally focused). Especially in a market where Outside.in has media partners such as STLToday.com, I think you’ll find some decent traffic clicking through to your site.
- Tag your post in Delicious. For instance, you’d tag a post mentioning the new Seattle light rail with “Seattle“
- Get one of your close friends to submit it on Digg. Digging your own articles is frowned upon, and you’ll be less likely to get votes for it if you take that approach.
- Share your article on Stumbleupon. The traffic will be hit or miss and fairly unqualified, but it’s still worth trying.
The above steps are a good start, but I genuinely feel success with blog promotion comes down to relationships, just as success in life and business does. The more relationships you have in place and the stronger those relationships are, the more likely your blog will get read — and the more likely your network will help market your blog to their respective networks. Here’s how I recommend approaching blog promotion as it relates to networking:
- Use good blog posts (NOT every blog post) as a reason to touch base with your network.
- Be strategic about who you personally reach out to with each blog post. Don’t reach out to everyone with every blog post you are trying to promote. If you cover a range of different topics on your blog — for instance, real estate, tech, and global warming — you should have a list of 10 people in each of those niches that you can reach out to.
- Email them about more than just your blog post. Take a look at their blog and mention something they wrote recently, or something they posted on their Facebook or Twitter accounts. If you are close with the person, you likely already know something recent, but that’s not always the case. And I think it goes without saying that you should be interested in what they are doing; it’s not all about YOU.
- Include something to the tune of “any help in spreading the word or feedback you can provide would be appreciated” in your personal note.
- If they respond to your email, write a thank you email to them whether or not they wrote about your article. This is more important than you may think.
- If there is someone you consider influential and you know them (and they cover a topic relevant to your post), call them to catch up — and make sure you mention your recent blog post during that conversation. This both not only notifies that person of your post, but also helps you build a stronger long term relationship.
Lastly, remember that you still have to write, record, or design great content if you want others to read it; don’t expect a crappy (or even mediocre) blog post to get picked up by others.
Are there other things you do to promote your blog posts? Questions, suggestions, or observations – share them in the comments!