We all want more eyeballs on our content right?
But, the challenge that we all face at some point is that it’s just not as quick and easy as we would like.
Sometimes, in the pursuit of promoting blog posts better, it’s easy for us to feel like we’re just spinning our wheels, not really getting anywhere fast.
I’ve been there, we all have.
The truth is that without a solid checklist to work through – we’re just throwing our time away.
And your time is valuable.
So, if you could save 2-3x as much time and potentially get as much as a 425% increase in traffic (maybe more) to your blog posts (Yep, I’ve seen it happen).
Would you want to?
If you do, use this post as your road map to effectively promoting every blog post that you publish.
A quick productivity hack to get you started
Before you get started, you need to pull together various pieces of information.
You need to put it in a document which will allow you to easily copy the information and paste it into whichever website you need.
I prefer using regular text files in notepad for this, one of the reasons is that it has no formatting which can be an asset when pasting into certain platforms.
Here is an example:
- Headlines – I usually have 5-10 headlines for each post (sometimes more), I pick the best and use the rest for things like social media updates.
- Brief description – I typically write out several different descriptions which I can then share across different platforms.
- Post excerpt – Using the intro works well.
- URL – Just your URL or you can take it a step further and create individual ‘custom URL’s’ using Google’s URL builder. This will allow you to track referral sources better in Google Analytics.
- Shortened URL – I use Bitly.com, plenty of others work but you may prefer one that allows you to track clicks.
- Influencer contact details and social profiles – If you’ve mentioned anyone in your post, get their contact details and social profiles ready in advance. Keeping a database, in something as basic as a spreadsheet can help you save time in future.
- Contact details of people/companies who may find the content valuable – Chances are that you know people who would love to share your content if you ask them.
Email the post to your list
This is first up on my list.
Start off by writing a short but unique email for your subscribers.
The subject line should generate curiosity while the email itself should be short, snappy and to the point.
Your goal here is to drive traffic to your blog post.
If you haven’t started building your email list, now is the time.
Leverage key social networks
You will now need to think about which social profiles you have available to you on popular networks.
If you have multiple writers or a team working with you on your blog, don’t forget to make sure that blog posts are shared on their accounts too.
I usually focus on the following:
Depending on your niche and audience, you may have some to add/remove from the list.
Although, I have found that just sharing a post on social media once isn’t enough. Each tweet may only be seen by 5% of your followers (or less).
To get around this problem, I have a list of my top posts which I keep feeding into my Buffer account. This allows me to add updates which will be recycled after a pre-determined amount of time.
As for Pinterest, there are tools which allow pins to be scheduled; I prefer to share them straight after publishing, manually.
This means I can share custom images designed specifically for Pinterest (check out Elna’s post on Pinterest for more help).
On Google+ I manually share posts so I can tag influencers and optimize the post for maximum impact.
Important note: I recommend you get setup on Triberr, create your own tribes and join others (providing they are relevant). It’s a social platform designed for bloggers. Think of it as the “reach multiplier”.
Each of your posts will be imported automatically, but it’s worth engaging and sharing other people’s stuff.
Bookmark on popular social bookmarking sites
There are plenty of social bookmarking sites about, but be careful about spreading yourself too thin.
Your ultimate goal should be to go where your audience is.
Be careful on Reddit, don’t just drop links and promote only your own stuff. You won’t get far with that.
It’s all about the conversation and kick starting a discussion that adds value.
Avoid the home page and focus on sub-Reddit’s and you will get better results.
Also, you may want to take a precaution and have a CDN like MaxCDN in place to cope with the potential traffic spike.
You may not get much traffic from Reddit, but in certain niches the traffic is EXPLOSIVE.
Seriously, we are talking server burning levels of traffic.
Utilize niche social bookmarking sites
As well as the popular social bookmarking sites, there are a lot of hyper relevant niche bookmarking sites you can use.
I usually get better results with these than the likes of Digg.
Try these for starters:
- Growthhackers.com – Growth hacking
- Inbound.org – Inbound marketing
- Hacker News – Startups, Programming etc
- BizSugar.com – Business
- ManageWP.org – WordPress
- N4G.com – Gaming
- Filmwatch.com – Films
- Techspy.com – Technology
- 11×2.com – Sport
Find relevant online communities and groups
There are established communities that are a perfect fit for your blog. And they are ready for you to tap into.
- Google+ communities
- Facebook groups
- Linkedin groups
- Skype groups
- Niche forums
If you’re struggling to find niche forums, try using Board Reader or running a quick Google search.
As with Reddit, you need to be careful when promoting to communities and groups. They have rules and you need to follow them.
If you just drop a quick link – you’ll not be doing yourself any favours.
Kick start a discussion that adds value, it works better.
Curate your blog post
There are also social sites which allow you to curate content into lists and collections.
You can use the sites below to setup relevant lists that fit with your blog posts topic and continue to build upon them as you publish more blog posts.
Leverage personal relationships
Think about who you know that has an audience which matches up with your blog post.
You could put together a database here to help you.
Something as basic as a Google Docs spreadsheet could work for you, but, CRM software like Nimble would help you streamline the process.
Email is the best form of communication for this but you need to think about whether your relationship is at a stage where you can ask them for help.
Before you ask someone to promote your content, ask them this:
“What else can we do to help each other?”
They may have the same idea in mind.
Remember that there’s give and take in every relationship – expect to share their content too or better yet, share it before they have to ask.
Mentioned an influencer? Let them know
If you have mentioned anyone or any company in your post – let them know about it.
Follow these steps:
- Email the influencer – You don’t always have to ask them to share, just give them a heads up.
- Tag them in a Google+ post – Give them a shout out, don’t press them to share.
- @Mention them in a tweet – A tweet ending with (feat. @username) can work wonders.
There are some occasions when I know that certain people are likely to share based on being tagged in a Google+ post.
On those occasions I usually drop the email, because it’s not really needed and saves time.
The important thing is that you don’t bombard these influencers – that won’t help and will just end up burning a potentially fruitful relationship.
Reach out to bloggers who publish roundups
A lot of bloggers publish roundups of the top posts in their niche – most of them on a weekly basis.
Start off by getting a list together of each of these bloggers and make notes on the topics of posts that they include.
A quick Google search using the following phrases will help:
“niche or keyword”+”roundup”
“niche or keyword”+”this week”
When you contact bloggers, just opening with “hey will you link to me” may not work too well.
Try sharing the bloggers last roundup and letting them know in the email.
For more advice on this blogger outreach thing, read this post.
Reach out to bloggers who have relevant resource posts
Similar to how blogger publish roundups, you’ll also find that there are a lot of ‘best of [insert niche]’ style resource posts.
When you create a blog post that can be considered as a ‘resource’, it’s time to find these resources, make a list and reach out to those bloggers.
A quick Google search using the following phrase will help:
“niche or keyword”+”resources”
You need to put some thought into your approach here, and don’t expect to be successful 100% of the time.
Get your post syndicated to build authority and traffic
Content syndication is where you give permission to another site to republish your blog posts in their entirety.
You will get credit for the posts and a link to the original on your blog.
Sites like Business2Community, SteamFeed, Social Media Today, Forbes, Inc and a lot more actively publish syndicated content.
It can be a quick fire way to exposing your content to a huge audience that you don’t ordinarily have access to.
You will need to pick your best content and pitch sites on republishing your posts.
But, there are drawbacks
You would think that Google would rank the original blog post before and syndicated versions.
In a lot of cases – that doesn’t happen.
The problem is that most sites that syndicate content do it in a way that means they benefit from search engine traffic, not you.
So, there is potential that you could lose out on some search engine traffic.
If your blog is new or relies on SEO traffic, you may want to avoid this tactic.
Re-purpose your blog post and expand your reach
Look at your blog post and think about how you can turn it into another piece of content.
Content types to consider:
- Slideshare presentation
There are some great benefits to doing this:
- You instantly expand your audience (e.g. some people who prefer Slideshare presentations may not read your posts).
- You already have the content; you won’t need to do much in the way of a rewrite.
Buy traffic to seed your success
If you have any budget to play with, consider buying some cheap traffic.
I’m not talking about worthless traffic; I’m talking about highly engaged and real visitors.
I use two services for this:
- Outbrain – Adds your blog posts to ‘recommended content’ widgets below articles on sites like CNN, New York Post and Rolling Stone Magazine. Visitors are highly engaged and I’ve got clicks as low as $0.05 each.
- StumbleUpon PD – Allows you to leverage the StumbleUpon platform to get traffic to your posts and works great because there is a possibility for this to help your posts go viral. Target users based on demographics and interests. Clicks can get as low as $0.10-0.18 each.
You can get more bang for your buck from Outbrain, but StumbleUpon campaigns have the potential to earn visits which can have a significant impact.
Plan a guest posting campaign to promote your blog post
Out of everything I’ve listed, this is by far the most time consuming, but when you choose the right sites you can get incredible results.
Start by identifying the top blogs in your niche and pitch them an idea for a guest post.
Matt Cutts did discredit guest posting back in January. His post was specifically talking about low quality, scaled quest posting. Avoid that. It’s bad.
Instead focus on high quality sites that have strict editorial standards.
If anyone can get on the blog, you may want to avoid it.
Some tips to take VERY seriously:
- Avoid any guest blogging network (e.g. PostJoint) – Google may not be very forgiving.
- Don’t spread yourself too thin – Focus on writing for fewer sites, but write more guest posts for each site.
- Forget about doing this for the SEO benefit – Your focus should be on visibility, authority and traffic.
- Avoid using any keyword rich anchor text – That’ll get you into trouble.
- Give your best content every time – Don’t reserve your best stuff for your own website. You will only stop you from expanding your audience.
- Keep it relevant – E.g. If your blog is about graphic design, writing for a health blog isn’t a not a good idea.
- If in doubt go by the comments – You should have a good idea of the top blogs in your niche, but to narrow it down a bit, take a look at the comments. If a blog gets very few comments then it’s worth avoiding. Also, if they accept blatant spam comments it could be a sign of loose editorial standards.
- Don’t just drop any old link – This isn’t about dropping any old link, you may prefer to not actually link directly to your blog posts but if you do, it’s got to be relevant, make sense and add value. If it doesn’t, don’t link to your post.
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding guest posting so be careful who you take advice from – a lot of people are quick to recommend strategies (SEO related) which can be harmful to your blog.
If in doubt – read this post (or any other) by Eric Enge.
Find a combination that works
This is a substantial list and it requires that you put in a lot of time.
For that reason, it’s worth testing what works and gets results for you but be careful that you don’t eliminate a site from your list that has potential.
You need to give sites time to work, for example, StumbleUpon might not do anything for you the first few times. Then you could find your next post goes viral.
If at first you don’t succeed, try a different strategy.
After some testing you’ll be able to refine your list and get a better return on the investment of your time.
Also, it’s worth noting that some of the sites I’ve mentioned work best when you really get stuck into contributing to the community and give something back.
Over to you
You’ve put all of that time and effort into creating amazing content.
Isn’t it worthwhile making sure that people get to see it?