10 Smart Strategies To Promote Your Blog
There are millions of people out there who are spending money in the market you've chosen and you just know that you've found the perfect niche with endless possibilities.
But the traffic wave that you're expecting doesn't come automatically, does it?
There is a lot you still need to do to ensure that flood of visitors to your new site. The research phase of building your new site has infinite appeal because everything exists in a vacuum while you're picking niches, and getting started on your blog.
But soon after you launch your blog, it all starts to get messy.
This guide is to help you navigate those treacherous waters after launching your blog so that you can have a steady stream of visitors to your site.
But in order for these strategies to have the best effect, it's of vital importance that each post you publish on your blog is properly optimized prior to publishing it.
But you already know that, right?
OK, on to the more important stuff:
How to Promote Your New Posts
Whoever said “If you build it, they will come,” certainly wasn't talking about online businesses!
You can build the grandest business the Internet has ever seen, but without a plan to drive web traffic to it, it will be worthless. The same goes for your content.
Even if you write the best blog post ever, you still need to promote it the right way in order to get people to view it.
Unfortunately for us, we don't live in a world where you can launch a brand new blog today, create awesome posts, get recognized by the great and powerful Google, then instantly be rewarded with tons of traffic.
In reality, SEO will only get you so far.
Also, most of the SEO depends on social proof such as back-links and social shares (of which you have none when you're just starting out...) and so unless you're just a naturally lucky human being, the truth is that even if you build the best blog ever, no one will come to it unless you promote it.
But what does blog promotion look like nowadays?
The basic equation when promoting a new blog is as follows:
Outflow = Inflow.
What this means is that when it comes to promoting your new blog, the more stuff you do, the bigger the results you'll get, the more traffic you'll get and the more income you'll make.
So basically, if you want more traffic, sales, or leads, all you have to ask yourself is how you can promote more.
Most new bloggers make the mistake of thinking that they will get more traffic just by publishing new posts. Publishing new posts isn't 'outflow' because no one knows that the post has been published. It may be 'outPUT' because you took the time to create the work, but it isn't the outflow that is necessary for our equation to take effect.
Outflow, in this case, means all the actions that you're going to take to promote your blog and the communication that you're going to be conducting with other people in your niche.
Now, on to the strategy:
1. Get Ready, Shoot, Then Aim
A lot of times, bloggers continuously tweak their blogs because they feel that they're doing something meaningful. But all it does is keep you in your 'safe' zone. You convince yourself that the endless tweaking will ensure long-term success, but in truth, it's just another way of procrastinating.
Stop it right now. If you have a blog that's ready to launch, do it.
Resist the urge to tweak small things, and just hit publish. After all, the design of your blog won't matter at all if no one knows about it, right? And besides, if you keep tweaking your blog, that's going to end up turning into a huge project (I know because I've been there...)
You go in to make a couple of small changes and you end up with something that is practically a re-design!
Yes, you can justify it in your own head, but no matter how much time you spend on it, it won't do much to move the needle, so stop it.
Give yourself a maximum of 60 days to get your blog to a functional state, and then another 60 days after that when you just don't tweak anything at all, but you work on promoting your new blog.
During this time you will only work on outflow and nothing else.
2. Craft Some Amazing Pillar Posts
It's important to have the overall strategy in mind while doing this.
Pillar posts are the foundation of your content and they are created to hold your blog up just as pillars hold buildings up, and so take your time to ensure that the content you craft is of the highest quality and value. These posts are going to be major resource posts for your blog and you're going to promote the heck out of them.
When people come across your pillar post, they should feel like they just hit the mother lode.
This means that you have to decide on the topic of your pillar post strategically:
What are the major topics within your niche?
What are other people doing on the topic?
You need to answer these questions and then come up with something even better than what is already out there.
Use BuzzSumo to find the content that is shared the most for any given keyword. You can then figure out how to create something that has more value for your audience. When you create pillar posts that put your over and above the rest in your niche, you position yourself as an authority in your niche.
One way of doing this is to be a content curator.
Create a major resource post just by combining some great content of your own creation with great content from other people, whether it's Youtube videos, blog posts, or any other type of content.
Put it all together in one mega post.
Try to work on at least 5 pillar posts in the beginning. You'll create more as time goes on, but the important thing to remember is that whatever content you create, you have to promote it if you want to get the right results.
In fact, in the beginning, the bulk of your time is going to be spent on promoting and not on blogging until you get some momentum going.
3. Don't Do Ads
As counter-intuitive as that sounds, you have to say no to ads. I know that for most of you who are looking to monetize your blogs and start making money as soon as possible, this may seem like a good way to do so, but it really isn't. Trying to monetize your blog using ads is like trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip.
I do recommend that you monetize your blog as early as possible, but ads are not the way to go.
All banner ads do is distract your audience. They 'cheapen' your blog. Not to mention that their only purpose is to turn people away from your blog and on to someone else's site.
After all the work you've done to get your visitors to your site, you're just going to send them somewhere else for a few bucks?
That's just crazy.
But following the strategies that you'll learn here will help you make hundreds, if not thousands of dollars from those same visitors just by leveraging two lists: your email list, and your retargeting pixeled list.
In previous posts, we've talked (and talked) about the importance of building your email list.
Also, create extremely relevant content upgrades that you can drop in your pillar posts as email opt-ins and you'll be able to put even more people on to your list.
The second list, however, is for retargeting. This one is just as important as the first one, but almost every blogger or online business owner forgets about it (or maybe they're just not aware).
Retargeting is a way of reaching out to anyone who visited your site using paid ads. It's actually extremely easy and affordable to do.
Your blog is the ideal asset to build a base of visitors that you can target this way. You don't have to spend any money doing this, but you're building an asset that will come in handy later.
Set up Facebook Ad Pixel on your site so that Facebook can start building a custom audience using all the visitors who come to your blog. They do this behind the scenes but it will be invaluable to you later (trust me).
4. Determine Who the Players in the Market Are
When it comes to promotion, the first step is to have someone to talk to.
Because promotion involves outgoing communication, it's going to be very hard to get started if you don't know who on earth you're talking to.
So, you need to spend some time getting to know the ins and outs of your niche. Who the big players are, who the small players are, and who the influencers are. Once you have that information, you will be able to proceed to the next step.
The major things to look for include:
Communities and Groups
Products for Sale
Podcasts in your particular Niche
Major Youtube Channels
Of course, there's more, but you get the idea.
Over time you will have a huge reference file covering all the competitors in your niche. You should know who the people are, what they talk about, as well as how to contact them. What are they selling, and for how much?
Gathering this information is going to take time, so don't feel that you have to do it all at once. The important thing here is to get started. While you may not know the big players in your niche right now since you're new, you still have to realize that your intended audience already exists.
They're out there just waiting for you to dazzle them with something that they want. All you need to do is to find out where they are in order to reach them.
And for you to be able to do that, you're going to have to do a heck of a lot of research into your niche and the players already in it.
5. Time for Some Outreach
If you've done step 4, you already have a list of some of the big players in your niche.
But remember, this isn't just about the famous people in your market, it also includes some of the smaller players. In almost every market you'll find a huge bunch of lower-level marketers, then some bigger B-players, and a few A-players who command the most eyeballs.
You should include them all.
But now, it's time to make yourself known, as well. So let the promotion begin.
Start by getting in touch with some of those people so that you can get on their radar.
DO NOT email them asking them to share your stuff on social media or to link to you.
The more popular the blog or person is, the more emails they get from bloggers like you, so what you need to do is the opposite of what everyone else is doing if you want to be noticed.
Find Out what THEY Want and Need
If you want to get results, you're gonna have to forget about what you want and focus rather on what they want.
Here are some examples to help you accomplish that:
Find out if they have an interview-based podcast. If they do, they're always going to be looking for guests. If you think that you'd make a great guest for them, then just email them and propose the idea.
If they have a product for sale then they would absolutely love to get a testimonial or case study. If you can do that for them, they will most likely promote the heck out of you.
If they have a blog post that has a broken link or a link that's going to an outdated article, you can let them know and suggest one of your stellar pillar posts as a replacement for it.
If they are asking questions about something that you can help them with, maybe in a blog post or a social post, contact them and offer to help for free.
Be cool and helpful.
Don't do any of these as 'bulk activities'. You need to contact individual people on a one-on-one basis and build relationships.
Be a person and treat them like people.
Don't feel awkward or weird about any part of this, you're helping them.
I don't care how famous someone is in the Internet world, if you're offering them help for free, they're going to love you for it.
But remember, don't be a pest. There's no need to hammer an A-player until they give you an answer. If they don't reply to you, move on. There's plenty more fish in the sea.
An even better strategy would be to build some proof of your own first.
Connect to the B and C players in your market - that will be a lot easier. Become a regular contributor to their blogs, and in their groups and soon they will start to recognize your name through repeated exposure. Before long, you will be able to connect with them.
6. Be a Guest Expert on Other Blogs
Now it's time to think outside of the box.
Your future prospects are already out there, they just don't know you yet. They are watching, reading, and listening... to someone else.
So, what's the best way to get your stuff in front of them? By being a guest expert.
If one of the blogs in your niche has lots of guest posters, find out if you can contribute, too. Look for podcasts that do guest interviews. Those blogs are always looking for new guests and it's probably going to be extremely easy to get on one.
Try it out.
If you find a community within your niche that is very influential, become an expert within that community. Answer other people's questions and provide lots of value. Display your expertise on your topic. This will position you as one of the 'big kahunas' that others in the community look up to.
But, you have to think outside the box (in this particular case, outside of your niche's obvious confines).
This is particularly important because just by putting a new twist on a topic, it's possible to make that topic relevant to a whole new set of people.
Say I wanted to start working with small businesses locally, for example, a roof repair service.
While this site, PlanetBizOp, may not seem to have anything in common with that type of business, you'll find that topics such as content marketing do apply to that kind of business.
I could write a post explaining some of the simple strategies for marketing your blog and specifically tailor it to those people in the roof repair business.
I could then use Facebook Ads (or any other type of advertising) to get my post viewed by anyone interested in roof repair. I might even target local areas geographically if my desire was to work with those types of people directly as a consultant.
That's just one example, but there are endless possibilities.
More on that in a bit.
7. Don't Underestimate the Power of Comments
Commenting (smartly) on other sites is a super effective way of promoting your blog. It's been around a very long time but surprisingly, many bloggers are still getting it wrong. And that's why they don't get the results that they desire from it.
They focus on blog commenting as a means of getting back-links. This just leads to a spam mentality.
It could be, but that should only be the byproduct, not the main reason.
You should only do it to position yourself in your industry as an expert and also to learn what your market wants and needs.
If the community that you're commenting on is connected to a bigger blog, influencer, or brand, that's another way of getting on their radar, just as long as you're truly helping to give value to their readers.
You'd be surprised at the number of useless, crappy comments that most blogs get with people saying shallow nonsense just to get back-links to their site.
It's just ridiculous.
It's vitally important that you don't do that. Rather, post comments on blogs only if you actually have something relevant and useful to add, otherwise, your comments will most likely get trashed.
Don't link-drop your stuff.
This is just as much to do with discovering what your market wants and needs as it is about anything else. Through these interactions, you will learn a lot of valuable information that will help you to create better content that will actually resonate with your audience.
8. Acknowledge People
Communication is a two-way thing. As bloggers, it's easy to fall into the one-way flow. You continue talking and imagine that there are some anonymous people listening out there.
If you really want to connect and create effective communication, you must have a two-way flow.
What you have to do is:
Get people talking back to you
When they do, always acknowledge them
Most new bloggers get discouraged when they don't receive a lot of comments (if they get any at all) on their blogs.
That's not really something that you should worry too much about in the beginning. The more important thing right now is for you to become active in whatever conversation is going on, wherever it's taking place. If it's not in your blog comments section, so be it.
Go where the conversation is and offer tons of value.
You must be able to facilitate a two-way communication no matter where it's based.
Pose questions to people, get them to reply to the questions and that's how you get them talking to you.
Just start a conversation.
Again, even if it's not on your blog, it's alright. If the conversation is happening on Facebook, be there. Go where your audience is for now. Eventually, they will follow you home.
Remember to acknowledge people whenever they engage with you, no matter what capacity they do it in. Show them that you heard them.
Reply to all your emails and comments. Yes, it's going to get harder and harder as you become more popular, but there are tons of systems and tools that you can set up to help you manage and scale this.
Just don't lose sight of the fact that this communication needs to flow in both directions.
During the first days of promoting your blog, it's crucial to connect on a personal level with each and everyone who interacts in any way.
9. Time to Monetize Your Blog – The Right Way
This may sound a little bit counter-intuitive since the traditional idea of making money from your blog requires that you already have a steady traffic flow, but stay with me here.
That type of monetization depends on affiliate links and banner ads, both of which are reactive methods of monetizing your blog.
This means that they rely on your site already having an established traffic flow, but they do nothing to help generate that traffic. In fact, affiliate links and banner ads don't help generate traffic for your blog, their sole purpose is to turn people from your blog and towards someone else's site.
A better and more proactive way of monetizing your blog would be one that can be set up even before you've established traffic, and it should also help to generate more traffic for your site.
There's pretty much just one way of doing that: offer your own product or service. The idea here is to sell something to those visitors who come to your site (or offer it if the product doesn't exist yet).
All you have to do is to set up a simple funnel for blog profits which will allow you to be able to generate leads and income from your blog. The funnel could consist of a mechanism for capturing emails with one or more offers behind it.
This structure provides your blog with the potential to create revenue.
However, this doesn't mean that just by setting up such a mechanism your blog will automatically generate revenue. You have to have traffic in order to make it work, but at least now your blog has the potential to make real revenue (not just a few bucks from banner ads).
But what does the potential to create revenue have to do with promoting your blog?
Our last promotion strategy will explain everything:
10. Exercise Control - Use Paid Media
The best blog promotion strategy is one that you have total control over. It's the one where you can do specific things and be sure that the traffic is coming as a result of that.
A strategy that takes out all the guesswork from promoting your blog has to be the best one, right?
While the idea of spending money on blog promotion flies in the face of most blog owners, the reluctance to pay for blog promotion is usually the main reason why many bloggers never make it to the big leagues.
It's simply that they want to promote their blogs the traditional way, and because results are long in coming, they end up getting discouraged and they give up too soon.
So their unwillingness to invest money into their dream of a successful venture is the reason why they fail.
As we have stated in previous posts, these days online traffic is a commodity. It's all around, and you can buy as much of it as you like. If you insist on growing it organically, it's the equivalent of you insisting on growing your own vegetables to feed yourself when you could just go get some right now from the store.
But, putting aside the arguments for self-sufficiency, it's just much easier to get what you want from a grocery store and get what you need when you need it.
If you want predictability and control, pay for traffic. That's the best way to get quick and effective results.
Worried about paying for traffic when you're not making any money yet?
Go back and read the third strategy as well as strategy number 9 of this article. If you set your blog up for leverage (#3) and you create a revenue potential (#9) then the paid traffic that you run to it will basically pay for itself.
There are tons of posts on our blog explaining how to set up paid ads the right way so that you either break even or start to make a profit. But the main thing to remember when using paid media is to not point a paid ad to your blog homepage.
Your visitors will just scatter aimlessly from there.
That would be a grossly inefficient way of spending your money. What you need to do instead is to strategically bring people to the pages that are designed to convert them into leads.
Here are some effective ways of doing this:
Send the traffic from the paid ad directly to the squeeze page
Send the traffic to a webinar invitation
Just remember that this is cold traffic.
These people don't know who on earth you are and they don't trust you yet, so don't try to sell them anything right away.
First, you must introduce yourself, give them value, and only sell when the relationship is built.
I do believe that it's a great idea to present them with an offer soon after they opt-in for your free lead magnet, but that offer doesn't need to be a hard sell.
That is the end of our best blog promotion strategies that you can use right now to start getting traffic to your site.
More traffic means more leads and more sales, and that's the main goal, isn't it?
And any one of these strategies will get you there. You have seen that promoting your blog isn't easy, but it's not rocket science either. It can be done in a pretty predictable way, so pick a strategy and get started right now.
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Updated: Originally published June 21st 2018