Promoting a Blog 101: Building an Audience & Getting Traffic

If you’ve built a blog, it’s not worth much if people aren’t visiting, reading, and sharing your content. Promotion is a critical step in reaching new audiences, and turning that traffic into a revenue generator for your business.

Before you start promoting your blog, however, you must first make sure you have rock-solid content that’s worth promoting. If you’re simply regurgitating everything that’s already out there on high ranking blogs in your niche, you’re going to have a hard time standing out from the crowd.

Turn to Social Media

Social media is valuable, because it gives you a place to reach the masses outside of your blog. Make social media work for you by:

Creating accounts on the social networks where your audience is active. Facebook and Twitter are a great place to start. It’s important to be authentic and avoid spamming people with your blog content. Create a Facebook fan page, and start asking your friends to like it. Go beyond sharing your blog’s content, to sharing other content that’s also relevant to your audience.

You don’t have to be everywhere on social. In fact, the more places you are, the harder it becomes to maintain an active and authentic presence there. Don’t waste time on LinkedIn if you’re a food blogger. Think about who your target audience is, and where they are most likely to be found.

There’s no set magic social media sharing formula, but you can use the 5:3:2 rule as a guide. Basically, if you post 10 posts a week on social media:

  • Five of those posts need to be content from other people that is relevant to your audience. Content curation tools can help you find timely, engaging content to share.
  • Three of those posts should be content from you, relevant to your audience, but without a sales focus.
  • Two of those posts should be fun, personal, content that helps to humanize your brand.

Whether you’re posting 10, 20, 30, or more times per week, keep it in the 5:3:2 ratio, and you’ll avoid spamming your audience.

Using Facebook Groups to connect with other bloggers and share content for each other.

Facebook is full of highly active and engaged groups specifically designed to help each other with blog promotion. When you invite others to like your pages or share your posts, be sure you’re ready to do the same thing for them.

Including a link to your blog on all your social media profiles.

Chances are you have a personal account on many, if not all of the networks you’re using to promote your blog. Put a link to your website in your bio, so that when new followers come along, they can see what you’re about.

Adding social media share buttons to each of your posts.

Make it easy for people who come to your blog, either from social media or from search engines, to share posts they love with their audience. You never know when a reader may bring additional fans to your audience.

Use hashtags.

Use relevant hashtags to help expose your content to a wider audience.

Look for Niche-Specific Promotional Opportunities

There are lots of niche based websites you can use to promote your content. For instance, food bloggers can use FoodGawker, and Food Buzz. Google “websites to promote your [niche] blog” and see what happens. You may find a new untapped community of likeminded people to engage with.

Run Advertising Campaigns

If you want to start getting fans and followers and have a bit of a budget, consider running targeted ad campaigns to find people to like your page and follow your accounts. You can do this with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

You can also do this to help get traffic to your website, if you want to promote a particular post, or your blog in general. With Facebook’s lookalike audience feature, you can target people similar to those who visiting your website, and exclude people who already like your page.

If you’re concerned about overall traffic, there’s also the option to run a Google AdWords campaign.

Create a Business Card

Use a service to design and print a business card for your blog. Carry the cards with you at all times. Leave cards on bulletin boards at the grocery store, and anywhere else you can think of where it’s allowed. Ask business owners with relevant clientele if you can leave cards with them. A little offline promotion never hurts.

Use a Lead Magnet

To encourage people to subscribe to your blog or join your mailing list, use a lead magnet. This is a freebie – whether it’s an eBook, a video series, an audio file, or something else of value to your audience – in exchange for their email address. Once you have their email address, guard it heavily. Under promise and over-deliver with email subscriber exclusive content and offers.

Email Anyone You Mention

If you mention anyone in your blog posts, email them and let them know they’ve been featured. They’ll likely share it with their network, potentially bringing you more readers. While you’re at it, add a link to your blog in your email signature, so that every email you send becomes a small advertisement.

When you share those posts on social media, tag the others you mention, so they become aware of the share. They’ll also likely re-tweet your post, because it strokes their own ego a bit.

Run a Giveaway

Use a tool like Rafflecopter to give away something your audience would love. Whether it’s one of your products, a free trial of your service, or a gift card, giveaways are a great way to draw people in. Be aware that you can’t ask for likes in exchange for contest entries, though. If you don’t have much of a budget, pitch in with a group of bloggers who can all contribute and cross-promote.

Plan on doing some kind of promotion for each one of the posts you write. More frequent posting and longer content with images statistically does better in terms of traffic.

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

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