First off, let’s be up-front here about one (unfortunate) thing when it comes to learning how to promote your blog…
Scratch that … this goes way beyond blogs. It works pretty much the same when promoting anything else, really.
To make any sort of promotion actually work, you need either of two resources: …
(That’s time and money, in case you have emoji disabled.)This is chapter 10 of a bigger guide on how to start a successful blog. All Chapters (Click to Access)
How to #promote a #blog: Learn what successful blogs ACTUALLY do to get #trafficCLICK TO TWEET There are no silver bullets when it comes to learning how to promote your blog, or, rather, they very rarely occur.
For example, when Medium first got off the ground, lots of people got exposure by moving their articles over to that new platform, and then linking them back to their original blogs.
In principle, the tactic was simple – this was very near to what we could call a silver bullet.
But opportunities like that don’t come often, and when they do, you can only take advantage of them for a short while.
So what to do instead? Like I said, either of two things … or both:
- spend time promoting your blog regularly using a couple of methods, each time perfecting your approach,
- spend money to get blog traffic instantly and hope that it’s going to be enough to get the ball rolling.
Neither is perfect. Neither is better. Both have their place, and both can be used when learning how to promote your blog.
So, what do we recommend specifically – as in, what to do to promote your new blog effectively?
Here’s the process that works:
How to promote your blog
1. It starts with your content
We’ve spent a sizable part of this guide discussing how to decide what to blog about, plus how to then come up with specific content ideas. We’ve done that because your content is the most important asset of your blog. In other words, no amount of promotion will ever matter if the content itself is not top notch.
Or, to say it yet another way, only the best content is worth promoting.Only the best #blog #content is worth bothering to promoteCLICK TO TWEET Basically, if you’re promoting the type of content that’s not the best on a given topic then you’re only losing time and/or money because that thing is never going to rise to the top. There’s always going to be someone better, with a better article/study/video/whatnot.
So, again, think content first. If you’ve really given it your best and you have a truly awesome piece of content in your hands, this is when you promote it!
Here’s an example I mentioned before – our post on how to simplify the admin interface in WordPress. As you can see, it’s not huge, and it’s not flashy or anything, but it did tackle a topic that no one knew was a thing, yet was really interesting for people building sites for clients. Other posts that did cover similar topics were not written from the perspective of simplifying the interface, but were rather direct how-tos on the individual tools. Our post followed a different angle and thus was able to resonate better with the readers.
Another example on how to promote your blog from a different blogger.
This post generated lots of discussion and attention in the WordPress niche, despite the site being relatively small and not so popular. It presented an interesting opinion, was published at the right time and to the right people.
2. ABN – Always Be Networking
This rule is just as true when it comes to promoting a blog as it is in any line of business – who you know is just as important as what you know.
Knowing the right people can take your blog post from just another page on the web, to one of the trending sensations of the week, and I’m not exaggerating here.
…Take this post of ours as an example, it’s a direct battle/comparison between the tree main mega themes in the market – Divi, Avada, and X. One of the main things we did to promote it was shared it with each theme’s community group on Facebook. We knew some of the people there. We shared their content previously, we interacted with them. So when it was us who had something to share, they were eager to check it out.
These days, networking becomes easier and easier. We have Facebook groups for nearly any topic imaginable, there are forums, subreddits, and so on. Meeting likeminded people really isn’t difficult.
Therefore, what you should do first when learning how to promote your blog is join every Facebook group that’s relevant to your niche.
- Start by listening in. Pay attention to the discussions going on, interact with people, start helping them with whatever you can help them with.
- Every once in a while, ask your own questions. Not fake ones, though. I’m talking about some genuine things that you’re curious about regarding your niche/blog topic.
With time, you will become known in the group and people will naturally pay attention to what you want to show them as well.
Another thing you can do is join an online course either related to your niche, or on general business topics. Many online courses have a community component to them, usually in the form of an online forum. Interact with people there in a similar manner.
Over time, your network will grow to the point where you will be able to make a “payout” every once in a while by asking people to take a look and possibly promote something that you wrote.
3. Do one thing, repeatedly
Your network will come in handy when you want to promote a new piece of your “cornerstone content” – something big that you publish only once in a while, and something that you really want people to see.
However, you can’t be asking people to share your content every time you publish anything new. This would make them quite annoyed with you really quickly.
So for regular promotion, it’s good to build your own process, which you can reliably execute every time you publish a new post.
The idea is to use that process as a launch pad. Here’s what I mean:
- You begin by promoting every piece of content the same way.
- Pay attention to the early results coming in.
- If anything starts bringing in, say, 10x the usual results (more shares, more comments), ramp up your promotion efforts by either sharing with your network or investing more funds in paid promotion.
This sounds great, right, but how to promote your blog exactly – what to do exactly? How to build this promotion process?
There are two main ways: the free route or the paid route. The free route consists of sharing your own content to different social media channels and bookmarking sites. Think things like Reddit but for your specific niche.
- For instance, in the WordPress space we have ManageWP.org.
- In tech, there’s HackerNews.
- For software products there’s ProductHunt.
- Growth Hub for marketing stuff (formerly known as Inbound.org).
- GrowthHackers for productivity and education.
- Designer News for all-things design.
- And so on.
Find the most popular such platforms in your niche – or the niche directly above yours (if it’s too small) – and start building up your profile there. Begin sharing content and also read and vote up other people’s content. The paid route is even simpler. All you need is $5 a day to promote your posts on Facebook.
Let’s not get into how to best do that specifically here, since it’s a rather large topic (feel free to check out this guide), but the principle is simple:
Research what your ideal audience’s demographics are → target them on Facebook directly.
Show them your content, and pay close attention to what sort of results you’re getting.The fact is that we never know what will ultimately turn out to be a popular post. You just can’t predict such things.
This is why you need to promote everything equally and then pay attention to what works.
The point of both the free route and the paid route is to start getting even the tiniest bit of exposure for your posts.Promote every #blog #post equally, you never know which one is going to be a winnerCLICK TO TWEET
4. Important: Double down on what works!
This is the most important step of them all when it comes to learning how to promote your blog.
Once you’re doing your day-to-day promotion, perfecting your methods and learning the process, you will inevitably have some posts that do much better than others. It’s when something starts getting 10x the shares or comments.
This is the time to double down on your efforts.
- Allocate more budget to promoting the post on Facebook (or start promoting it in the first place if you’ve only been doing free promotion so far).
- Reach out to your network and show them the post.
- Submit the post to more social networking / bookmarking channels if you haven’t already.
The goal is to make the post go as “viral” as we can. If enough people see it, it will inevitably get to some influencers as well, at which stage it can be shared even further.
Viral posts will also lead to more links coming to your site, and thus more people following those links to check you out.
What you’re ultimately looking for are big wins. If some post remains ignored for the most part by your audience then don’t try to shove it down their throats repeatedly no matter what. This is not how to promote your blog. Just move on to the next post.
After that, it’s your job to keep those people on the site, which brings me to:
5. Keep people engaged
40.5% – that’s the average bounce rate reported by Mercury.one. Bounce rate stands for the number of people that visit your site only for a second and leave basically immediately upon arrival.
Getting people to visit you is just half the battle…
You also want to keep them on your site somehow, so that they can consume even more content. There are two main ways to do that:
a) Interlink your content heavily
A good internal linking structure is a hugely underrated thing.
Without good internal links, people won’t consume any more of your content than the page they originally came to see.
Aim to include at least one internal link per 250 words of blog post content.
You’ll be surprised how effective this can be as you learn how to promote your blog.
b) Start a newsletter
A professional (or semi-professional but money-making) blog needs a newsletter list.
The idea is that once you convince your website visitors to subscribe to the newsletter, you get to notify them of any new posts that you publish. Great for blog growth.
The difficult part is the convincing.
There are various ways to do that. Chief of them is offering people some free resource in exchange for subscribing.
- Another idea, content upgrades. Read more about those here.
To run the newsletter itself, you can use platforms like SendinBlue, MailChimp, Sendy or MailPoet. The setup is rather straightforward and can be done in under an hour. The newsletter can be a digest-style message that you send out to your email subscribers regularly.
The promotion puzzle – a bird’s-eye view
Taking all of the above into account, this is what blog promotion is all about:How to #promote a #blog: Learn what successful blogs ACTUALLY do to get #trafficCLICK TO TWEET
- Create content worth promoting.
- Always be networking – take active part in relevant Facebook groups.
- Build a promotion process that you can reliably execute every time you publish a new post. Rely on free and/or paid methods.
- Double down on what works! Meaning, allocate more resources to promoting the content that brings in 10x more initial results than your average post.
- Keep people engaged and on your site. Do this by interlinking your content well. Also start a newsletter.
As you can see, learning how to promote your blog and actually being able to pull it off is not very sexy. It’s mainly a combination of doing the same things over and over again, and being no less discouraged each time you get 0 response. The ones who manage to stick with it are the ones who win.
So, what can happen when you do “win”? This is what the next chapter is about: