Blogging Guidelines, Part 4: Promoting Your Blog

Alan Belniakguidelines, Social Media2 Comments

Promotion

"For our next act, ..."

This is part four of a five-part series I’m writing.  The five parts are homeworkbeing mindful when writing, mechanics, promotion, and follow-up.   The first installment also has a bit more of an introduction that sets up the what/why of this.

This section lists some suggestions to go about promoting a post once you have it created and just publish it.  As with the mechanics post, each person will find their own routine, and perhaps this is only a starter list.  In fact, if you’re well-read (like some of the people  I mention here and from where I’ve drawn some influences), then you probably don’t need to promote much at all.  The mere value of your content is all the promotion you need.  If you follow a different protocol (or use additional protocols), please share that with me and the other readers in the comments.

  1. If you don’t yet already have one, get a Twitter ID/handle.  If you are blogging, you should have a Twitter ID. It’s one of the best ways to promote a blog and to keep in touch with readers.  Plus, more blogs are permitting sign-in to the comments via Twitter IDs.

  2. Tweet it out (Guy Kawasaki suggests 12:00n ET is a good time, to catch lunch time on the east coast and coffee time on the west coast, but I guess it depends on your target audience; Dan Zarrella has some really good stats here).  One of the most click-worthy tweet messages goes something like this: “new blog post: “{title}” ({bit.ly link})”  Flat-out saying that you have a new blog post is fine (presuming you’re also sharing other content, too, and not just using Twitter as a broadcast vehicle).  Also, if you want to be re-tweeted (if you want this to be shared, with a chance of it going viral), leave room so people can re-tweet you.  Save at least the length of your username plus five more characters (RT @{username}) of the 140 character max.

  3. Send out a short notice about your blog post to an in-house distribution list, based on your blog topic or product focus.
    1. Encourage these people to send it to their own internal networks.  Encourage people to promote the blog post in status updates (Linked in, Twitter, Facebook, Xing – anywhere else).
      1. Advanced promoting: if any of you are deep into social sites, you might even have a ping.fm account to aid in propagating that message faster.
    2. Provide some canned text for people to use for the various channels…
      1. a short (140 characters or fewer) blurb for Twitter and LinkedIn
      2. a more casual, but longer message (up to 420 characters for Facebook)
      3. a bit of a different message for e-mail (and remember to add, as indicated above, the overall link to your blog in your e-mail signature; a specific message promoting a specific post will contain a specific URL)
      4. an in-house message through a micro-blogging service (like Yammer)
      5. use the same bit.ly link in all the messages.
    3. Take-away: The purpose of promotion is to spread the word.  As long as you are not obnoxious about it, you can leverage the depth and breadth of your collective social networks.

  4. In the homework section, you spent some time in various forums and sites to understand where the conversations are happening.  Now that you’ve become a member in these communities, you can safely drop a note about your recent post in one of the comments.
    1. Find a related post, and make the comment there.  Do not just drop a link to your blog post.  Comment back thoughtfully, and gently guide the discussion back to your blog post.  Again, use the same bit.ly link.

  5. Pinging the bloggers in your space directly, and as soon as your post is published (maybe even just before) so they can scoop it/comment on it.
    1. A currency among many (though not all) bloggers is the ability to leak or scoop a story before others do.  Giving their site the traffic (and ideally they will link back to the original post) might be the currency they want to write a post… about your post.
      1. Advanced promotion technique: Selectively tag this post on social bookmarking sites (delicious, digg, StumbleUpon, reddit, Yahoo! Buzz, etc.)
        1. Selectively means not instantly tagging every single one of your posts with every keyword you can think of; that’s kind of like spamming.
        2. http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-bookmarking-websites (as of January 2010)
        3. Create accounts there if you do not have any.
        4. Example:
          1. Go to delicious and search on a tag .  See the people who tagged a link with the same tag.  Add them to your delicious network (presuming you’ve created an account).  Then, when you publish your blog post about the same topic, you tag it as such in delicious, and then send that link (with a short polite note) to them, using delicious.

  6. Look at your dashboard or Google Analytics info – see from where your inbound traffic is coming (referral sites).  Go there and establish a presence.  Over time, become a member of that community, and start to comment.
    1. Advanced promotion technique: If you have a Facebook profile, consider adding your blog to the Networked Blogs network through the app.  Note that Facebook has recently disabled the ability for apps to auto-publish to user profiles, so this may be of limited usefulness.
    2. Advanced promotion technique: Consider adding the Zemanta plug-in (or other similar service) to spread the news of your blog posts into the footers of other, related blog posts. http://www.zemanta.com.


  7. Finally, here’s a Google thread on how to increase blog traffic (i.e., how to quickly promote it): http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?tid=783df3ee11f507f1&hl=en



What other promotion tools and techniques do you use?  Let me know in the comments section.  Up next is part 5: the encore.

image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/victius/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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