Sitting alone, at home, in the dark, the glow of the laptop screen the only illumination, you sit back in your chair with a satisfied sigh. You’ve done it! You finally completed your epic blog post!
Your cursor hovers over the publish button, but you hesitate.
What if no one reads it? What if no one cares? All that work… All that research and planning and hours of writing… Wasted.
You clench your hand into a fist, feeling your fingernails digging into the flesh of your palm. There must be a better way! you think.
A) Give up. Publish the post but lower your expectations. There’s no way you’ll get noticed in all the noise out there.
B) Decide this time will be different. THIS TIME you’ll have a promotional plan.
If you choose B, welcome to the blog promotion adventure. It’s a jungle out here. There are blog posts that promise you hundreds of ways to promote your blog post — but which ones are right for you?
The first thing I want to say here is DON’T GET OVERWHELMED. There are a LOT of ideas in this post, but you don’t need to implement them all at once. In fact, some may not be relevant to you at all.
The goal of this Adventure is to get you thinking about your options and then make a plan. Read through the suggestions I make here, and then choose your own promotional adventure.
Choose Your Promotional Paths
I’ve identified four main promotional paths you might take to promote your blog, and the specific steps you might take to achieve each one. But each promotional journey will be different. Only you can choose your promotional adventure.
Path 1. Make Sure Your Content is Shareable
You secretly dream of having something you post go viral. But for something to go viral, it must first be shared, and many bloggers don’t make it easy for their content to be shared. For every blog post you publish, be sure you’re taking these steps:
- ASK for the share. It seems silly, but even just asking for people to share your work increases the likelihood that they will.
- Put sharing buttons in your layout to make sharing easy. There are lots of plugins to accomplish this.
- Include “tweetables” in your post. I use the plugin Click to Tweet to create little pull-quote boxes that a person can easily click and tweet out to their followers, but there are lots of similar plugins and free tools out there that accomplish the same thing.
- Include multimedia elements — ESPECIALLY in your epic posts. These days, people share things on many different social media sites, and gorgeous media will entice them to share. Make lovely images pinnable, include videos that can be shared, infographics, slide decks, worksheets, etc. Heck, put some music in there, too, if you think it will help.
- Ensure your images are sharable. All the different social media outlets have different image sizes, which can be frustrating. That’s why I was singing hallelujah when I found this article, which discovered the perfect way to create ONE image that looks good across almost all channels.
- Work on your headline a little bit more. Headlines go a long way to determining what gets clicked, opened, read, and shared online. Make sure yours is a doozy.
Completed this Adventure? Go on to Path two…
Path 2. Promote to your tribe.
Once you hit publish, you want to promote to your tribe: those people who have liked, followed, and subscribed. These people who have already positively selected themselves as WANTING to hear from you are the ones most likely to interact with your post and share it more widely.
- Email your subscribers. Email is still the best way to reach people, so whether you have 2 subscribers or 20,000, send them an email to let them know you’ve published something new. You can also ask them to share with their friends and followers.
- Tweet out your post. Twitter is a great place to start a conversation. Tweet out your post and include a request for retweets. (The Twitter shorthand is “Pls RT.”)
- Schedule additional Tweets. Of course, Twitter moves so fast, if you only Tweet once, you’ll be lost in mere minutes. But when and how often to Tweet? Guy Kawasaki Tweets his content 4 times, 8 hours apart. This is a great article that goes deep into this question.
- The best way to determine WHEN you should schedule those Tweets is to look at your Twitter analytics. This will show you when the majority of your followers are online.
- I use CoSchedule to schedule my social media shares, but Buffer, Hootsuite, Edgar, or any other program you prefer will also work well.
- Use JustRetweet for more shares. This site works on a tit-for-tat model; you share a certain number of Tweets to earn credits, which you then “spend” to “pay” people to share yours.
- Use RiteTag to optimize your hashtags. This site will suggest hashtags for every post.
- Share to Facebook. Similar to Twitter, you want to share to your fans and followers on Facebook. Because of the way Facebook works, unless you pay, you’ll never reach 100% of your audience — but it’s still worth it to post.
- Use big, eye-catching images. Images are still hugely popular on Facebook, so use that big beautiful one you created when you made your post.
- Share “quote” images. Use those Tweetables to create quote images that people love to share on Facebook. Canva is an easy way to do this. You can link to the post in the description of the image.
- Share video. Facebook is pushing video hard, so share one if you have it; more of your followers will see videos than any other type of content.
- Write a long text post. One thing I’ve seen working well is to take the first few paragraphs of your post, and put them into a LONG post on Facebook. Then, include the link to the post in the first comment.
- Share with relevant Facebook groups. Just be sure to read the rules of participation carefully. Many groups I belong to have one opportunity a week to share.
- Share on Google+. There’s a lot of noise lately that Google is phasing out Google+, but until they do, G+ communities are one of the best — and most overlooked — places to share your content. Remember to engage first; ask and answer questions and participate in the group instead of just spamming. Find several relevant communities to share your post and share away. Use that lovely image you created.
- Share on LinkedIn. If your content is in any way relevant to business interests, share on LinkedIn. If your peeps don’t hang out there, skip it.
- Share to LinkedIn groups. Another overlooked traffic driver, if you can find the right LinkedIn group, it can be traffic gold.
- Pin to Pinterest. Another good reason to have that lovely optimized image — but you might want a Pinterest-specific image, as they like tall images, while the others prefer wide.
- Submit to any other social media sites you use. Big on Instagram? Screen shot your blog. Make a Vine, queue it up on Tumbler, Snapchat that sucker or do a Periscope.
- Share to niche social bookmarking sites. These sites aggregate content in different, specific niches. Here are a few examples:
- BlogEngage.com (Business)
Kingged.com (Internet Marketing)
GrowthHackers.com (Business & Growth Hacking)
Hacker News (Startups, Programming, Technology)
Dzone.com (Programming & Website Development)
DesignFloat.com (Graphic Design)
TheWebBlend.com (Web Design, Programming, WordPress, & Photography)
Care2.com. (Green Lifestyle)
Designm.ag (Design News)
- BlogEngage.com (Business)
- Submit to content aggregator sites. These include big ones like AllTop.com, Affposts.com, AffBuzz.com, and AffDaily.com, but you may find others in your niche.
- Put a link to your latest epic post in your email signature. You can also put a click-to-tweet here.
Join a social sharing group. I run one called The Network, but there are plenty of them out there. Find one in your niche and use it religiously.
- Thank everyone who shares. They’ll be more likely to share again.
You open a door and discover Path three…
Path 3. Outreach
Strategy 3 is all about outreach — reaching out to trendsetters and tastemakers who can help promote your content to their audiences.
- Email anyone you mentioned in your post. You can use this template to construct a friendly, non-demanding email to ask for a share. In fact, it is a good strategy to mention tastemakers regularly in order to use this strategy to its maximum potential.
- Tag, @ mention, etc. anyone you mentioned in your post. When you’re writing all your social media shares in the previous strategy, be sure to tag anyone you mention in the article. Many people are more likely to respond when you Tweet them than when you email them.
- Set up a Google Alert for your topic. When you do, you’ll get an email as soon as anything new is published on that topic. When you see a new article, jump over and leave a brief, relevant, and useful comment, ideally with a link back to your epic post. If you leave the comment early enough, it will drive traffic from other commenters. But it will also get you on the other expert’s radar as a contemporary.
- Monitor relevant hashtags. One free service for Twitter hashtags is Warble. When you see a conversation happening, you can jump in and offer your thoughts — and your link — as an addition to the conversation.
- “Pitch” your topic to reporters and writers. Got a favorite writer on a big site like HuffPo, Lifehacker, or Forbes? If not, you should. Go to your favorite BIG sites, and find out who covers your topic, then follow them on Twitter. Any time you see them Tweet about your topic, you can tweet back and say something like, “Loved the article! I’ve written something that would be a nice companion.”
- Email 100 bloggers in your niche. Whew! Sound like a lot? It is. But if you really want publicity for your epic post, this is a good way to get it.
- Start by going to sites like Topsy.com, BuzzSumo.com, Alltop.com, WeFollow.com, Twellow.com or CircleCount.com and use their free tools to make a list of 100 (or really, any number you choose) influencers in your niche.
- Then, when you’re ready to promote your EPIC content (and really, this should only be used for the best of the best), send them a brief email, asking if they’d be interested in reading your article. IF they respond, go ahead and send them a link and ask for the share. Easy and pretty painless.
- You can also try tweeting them or sending them a direct message on LinkedIn.
- Reach out to influencers who are sharing similar content. True story: Here’s an email I got once:Hey Lacy, I was checking you out on Twitter and noticed that you retweeted one of my favourite articles a little while ago: [link to article].
Reading it gave me the idea of putting together a helpful resource filled with all of the tips and tricks I could think of to help people get ideas for blog posts. As such, I’ve written a post that I just published on the topic and would love your feedback: [link to article].
Might be worth a tweet or share if you think your followers would find it useful.
Either way, keep up the great tweets!
AYou too can follow this strategy. Use sites like Topsy and BuzzSumo to see who is sharing content similar to yours, and then reach out.
- Submit and publish on other sites. You can also publish your work to other websites, like Medium.com and Quora.com. If you’re writing a how-to article, submit it to tutorial sites like Tutorialized.com, Pixel2Life.com, Good-Tutorials.com and CraftGawker.com. Find sites that might accept your articles in your niche.
- Subscribe to HARO and pitch the press. Help A Reporter Out sends out an email (you pick the frequency) with info requests from reporters. Browse for topics that fit your niche and pitch yourself or your blog post. You never know!
- Find bloggers in your niche who do “link roundup” type posts, and pitch your post. You can google your keywords with “roundup” or “newsletter” and see what you can come up with.
- Email your commenters. When someone leaves a positive comment on your post, send them a quick email to say thanks and ask for a share. You’d be surprised how often they are happy to do so!
Fighting your way through the jungle, you suddenly stumble on Path 4…
Path 4. Paid Promotion
I’m not going to say too much about how to do paid promotion here because it’s too big a topic to cover in this post. There are entire courses and program dedicated to Facebook ads alone! And if that’s something you want to pursue, I leave you in those experts’ capable hands.
What I will say, however, is that this is a viable option for anyone at any level. No matter how small your marketing budget, you can afford to run a few small ads. You can run a Facebook ad for as little as $5 and reach thousands of fans, if you set it up correctly. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Reddit, YouTube, and many other social sites have ad programs you can use affordably.
Each platform will have its pros and cons. My best advice to you would be to choose ONE on which you will focus and then put in the time and effort to get it right — or hire someone to do it for you.
A marketing guru I respect recently said that anyone can buy an audience and notoriety and a 10,000-person email list these days if they have the advertising budget.
Paid promotion is certainly the fastest way to promote your blog and your business, but it’s also the most expensive. It’s up to you to weigh that balance.
Fight Your Battle: Creating Your Promotional Plan
So, now that you’re totally overwhelmed with all the options for promoting your work (and believe me: this is only a hand-picked selection!), I want you to take a step back and look at this from a standpoint of what you can and will do for your NEXT epic post.
Basically, I believe there are two levels of promotion: your every day (week, whatever) sort of promotional strategy, and your EPIC POST promotion strategy.
Obviously, if you’re spending a lot of extra time and energy to create an epic post, you should spend at least an EQUAL amount of time and energy to promote it. Don’t you think?
Quick check: How much time did you spend (or are you planning to spend) creating your epic post?
So, in other words, if you spend 8 hours creating it, you should spend 8 hours promoting it. Have you ever spent that much time promoting a post? (No, neither have I!)
Derek Halpern of Social Triggers says that you should spend 80 percent of your time promoting content you produce for your blog. Does that number sound high?
When I was in a slump one month, my business coach asked me how much time I was spending marketing myself. I made up a number (not having been keeping track of that sort of thing), and she told me that it’s a generally accepted rule that if you’re actively looking for new customers, you should be spending fully half your working hours marketing yourself. (In other words, if you work 8 hours a day, 4 of them should be spent on some kind of marketing work.)
This is a pretty widely held understanding, and it makes me think we should probably ALL be paying more attention to our promotion and marketing.
So, to get down to brass tacks, keep this in mind when you’re planning your promotion strategy. Remember that, while it is true that you’ve got some momentum when a post is brand new, not everything has to happen on the exact day you push publish on your post.
Now, it’s up to you to carry on the adventure. Which of the promotional strategies above will you be applying to your next epic work? Comment below with the beginning of your promotional adventure plan.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Choose Your Own Adventure Blog Promotion Plan
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