“If I wouldn’t say it to a reporter, I wouldn’t say it on my blog.“ – Jason Goldberg
One of the great things about the Internet is that it gives anyone a voice. If you care about a particular topic, you can go ahead and write or talk about it online all you like. Odds are you’ll find a lot of like-minded people that are willing to read what you have to say, provided it’s well documented and compelling. When you’re just starting to express yourself online, it’s hard to choose an appropriate medium. You have this whole range of possibilities that didn’t exist just 20 years ago. Hey, some of them didn’t even exist 10 years ago!
You can make podcasts, you can start a blog, you can write a blog, you can use social media, you can go on dedicated message boards, you can join the various communities associated with news sites where people actively discuss the issues they’re most interested in down there in the comments section of each article. The list could go on forever.
Let’s say you’ve picked one of these options. Specifically, let’s say you’ve decided to start a blog. Well, once that choice has been made, things are smooth sailing, right? Not really. You still have to choose what blogging platform you want to use.
Are you going to be a Blogger blogger or a WordPress one? Or maybe you’re more of a Tumblr blogger. Whichever one of these you do pick, there’s still the layout of the blog to decide: what theme will you use? Will you build your own from scratch or will you use one that’s been made by someone else? Will you dish out money for it or will you just use a free one?
The Internet is all about choices. But, once you’ve made all these choices and finally have a blog, on a platform, on a domain you bought or on a .blogger, .wordpress, .tumblr or another free domain, with a custom-built or generic theme, you find yourself with the biggest question you’ll have to ask yourself while blogging. That question is, of course, “How do I make myself noticed amongst the millions of other blogs out there?” Well, let’s find out, shall we?
Social Media Is Your Friend
These days, the Internet is all about social media. Websites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are where people spend most of their time online. If you want these people to read your blog, don’t expect them to come to you. You need to take your blog to them. Create a blog profile for each of these websites. Update that page frequently. Every time you update your blog, share the article on all these social media sites.
Don’t think that simply linking to your articles on social media sites is enough. Use these pages to generate shorter content every day. Use them to your advantage. The more content you put out on your Facebook page and the more engaging that content is, the more likes you’ll get. The more likes your social media profiles have, the more people are alerted whenever you do post on your blog.
Many people refuse to use social media ads for their blogs, because, from their perspective, since the blogs aren’t generating any money, any money spent on them would be money lost. That’s not true. Your blog is a potential source of revenue. Don’t look at the cash you’re spending on the blog now as money you’ve thrown away. Look at it as an investment. Ads are useful, but they have to be good ads. Don’t start advertising the minute you create your profile. Hold on a bit, generate enough meaningful content on it to keep people who click your ad engaged for at least 5-10 minutes. Do some research. See what posts have been the most successful. Advertise those. If you choose to advertise, be smart about it!
Networking Does Wonders
Social media is basically a networking medium. That is true. So why is this a different heading than the one above? Well, because it’s not all about social media.There are many ways in which you can network online. One of them is using the various social sites, like Facebook, G+, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. Another one is guest blogging. The virtues of guest blogging are known by SEO professionals everywhere. Not only does writing for another, better-known blog raise your own profile, but it also helps generate backlinks, which, in turn, act to raise your search engine ranking.
The more reputable the blog you’re guest blogging for, the more your search engine rank goes up. The higher your search engine rank, the more visible you are in Google, Bing or other search engine searches. Let’s say, for instance, that you have a blog on design resources. Pick some of the most respected blogs in the field of design (targeted at designers, marketers and freelancers), like Hongkiat or Smashing Magazine. After you’ve been blogging a while and have a decent number of subscribers, you should pick one of your best articles and submit them to the editorial staff of these websites. Should it get published, it would do wonders for your blog.
Another great way to network is promoting other bloggers’ articles. You’ll find that, when you promote their stuff, people are likely to help you out promote your own. Cross-promotions work. That’s a proven fact. That’s fine and dandy, but where do you meet other bloggers? Well, you’re on the Internet! Go ahead and Google for blogs that are similar to your own. Join a message board on the topic – you’re bound to find people who blog about it.
While you’re on these message boards, post a link to your own blog in your signature. Use LinkedIn and Pinterest to meet people who are interested in the same area as you. Facebook works great for this too. Join a social sharing group on Facebook. There’s one for everything these days, from cut-and paste collages to dog grooming.
There’s Really No Substitute for Quality Content
You can spend all your time marketing your blog and it may not lead you anything should your work not be up to par. Substandard writing, convoluted phrases that nobody can follow, poor research, uninformed opinions, plagiarism or just plain out infrequent updates can kill your blog before it ever takes off. There are ways to avoid this. Do your research before writing about a topic you’re not familiar with. If you’re writing about a breaking news story, make sure to mention where you got the information. Don’t make stuff up when you have no more to say – a short blog article is way better than a bogus one.
Write about things you’re passionate about. Don’t avoid controversial topics. After writing the article, don’t just hit publish. Take a 10 minute break and read what you’ve written. Edit yourself. Don’t steal other people’s content. Post good articles and post them often. Create a schedule for your updates. Once per day, for instance. If posting a new article every day for you is too much, post three per week. Just make sure it always happens on the same weekday. People like routines. Reading blogs is akin to watching TV shows in this regard.People want to know that each Sunday night they have a new episode.
Choose the days in which you post, let everyone know that that’s when you’ll be posting and stick to them. If you’re going to miss an update, let people know you will and why. Maybe you’re going to Comicon for the weekend. Let people know you’re doing that, go there and then write an article about it.
That’s it for our tips on how to successfully market your blog. To sum it all up, use social media and don’t be afraid to advertise, but be clever about it. Network with other bloggers and, most of all, create good content and update frequently!
If you have any more tips for how to market your blog, make sure to post them in the comments section below.