My process for writing a blog post usually goes something like this:
Wake up, yoga, a hot cup of tea as I settle down to my favorite spot at the kitchen table where I'm able to bask in the morning sun for an hour or so. Write, write, write... distraction, distraction, distraction... research, research, research... 'I should probably check my favorite blogs to see what's new in the world'... edit, edit, edit... add the finishing touches, like pictures, links or credits. One last read-through, and publish!
No matter the time it takes to write a blog post - sometimes as little as two hours or as much as two days - by the time I hit the publish button, I'm always ready to give myself a self-congratulatory pat on the back and take the rest of the day off. A tangible piece of work up on the website! I'm definitely done for the day.
I hate to say it, but the finished blog post should only be the beginning of a blogger's job. Even if you're the best writer in the world, your content will never promote itself. But, never fear! With this list in hand, you can easily start promoting your blog today.
Why? Facebook is the most popular social networking platform in the world. With over 500 million users, the marketing potential is huge. Your friends, family, peers and colleagues all reside here - your biggest fans! Facebook also makes sharing very easy, so make sure you actively encourage your friends to repost your content to their own pages.
How? Consider starting a separate fan page for your blog, and then adding a NetworkedBlogs link to your page. Many bloggers also create a separate, like-minded Facebook group with no direct affiliation to themselves that they are then able to curate and spark genuine interest and conversation. Most importantly, Facebook is a conversation. Post your blog post URL as an attached link so Facebook can pick up the meta-data, and pose a question to your friends. Don't forget to respond when someone replies.
Why? Twitter users see hundreds of tweets go past on a daily basis. In order to pick out the information that is most applicable to their interests, smart Twitter users make use of hashtags and Twitter communities. Twitter makes content easily searchable, so long as you're using the right keywords.
How? Do your research - figure out where your target audience hangs out, and format your tweets accordingly (try these popular hashtags first). Use a bit.ly account to shorten and track your links, and always respond to RTs or DMs. With all that Twitter volume, tweets only show up for a short amount of time, so remember to always double-promote your content. I tend to post my blog link once for the morning crowd, and once for the afternoon crowd. Use Time.ly to find the best times your tweets will have the most impact.
Why? LinkedIn is another major social networking site that focuses on niche sectors and business. Many individuals are able to pick up new clients, promote new products or websites, or receive a full-time job because of the way they utilize the Groups, Companies, or Q&A sections of LinkedIn.
How? In the Q&A section, ask compelling questions in order to be recognized as an industry expert. The more valuable your questions are to the community, the more people will be encouraged to click through to your profile. Join and create Groups relative to your niche, and update your profile with a link to your blog. Utilize LinkedIn's plug-ins that allow you to stream content from your Wordpress blog or Twitter account. Post your blog as a status update to your profile, too. Also, keep in mind that you can export your LinkedIn contacts to Excel to be added to your email client at any time.
Why? Digg is the most popular social news site on the internet, and getting to the front page can get your blog a lot of views. Users are also able to add friends to their Digg networks, as well as comment and share with other networks.
How? Digg helps drive traffic to your blog if you make it to the front page, but that can be difficult at first. To best promote your blog on Digg, get ready to become a part of the Digg community by sharing other content first. Build up a following before using Digg to promote your own site. Also, Digg's social aspect can help you network with other like-minded bloggers and communities by commenting on their submissions, sharing their content, and adding them to your own network. The best way to use Digg as a blog promotion tool is to become a valuable member of the community by sharing unique and interesting content.
Why? Another social bookmarking site, StumbleUpon is one of the biggest social networking sites on the planet, coming only second to Twitter with 11 million users. The major difference between StumbleUpon and Digg is the content: StumbleUpon usually houses more alternative content than Digg, which is primarily a news source. Many bloggers credit StumbleUpon as being a major source of traffic, ranging from 130 to over 14,000 unique visitors daily from StumbleUpon. Worth it!
How? StumbleUpon is not designed for direct self-promotion! Just like Digg, StumbleUpon is a social community, meaning that you've got to engage your audience in the same way that you would on Facebook or Twitter. Become a StumbleUpon advocate - join, search for interesting content and share with like-minded followers, keeping in mind that too much self-promotion will put you off the map for good.
Why? Promoting your blog in targeted forums means that you are promoting your content to people that are already interested in what you're selling and want to learn more. Forums can be a great source of traffic if you're able to provide quality responses to other contributors, answer questions, and make full use of the forum by asking your own questions.
How? Google 'forums' with your target audience (i.e. 'art world travel buyers forums'), and then once you find a couple, read the FAQ so you know the rules. Join the forum and listen to others at first so you understand how members interact with each other, and thoughtfully comment on interesting threads, always leaving your blog URL in your signature.
Why? CommentLuv is a Wordpress plug-in that can be used with any blogging platform. By registering, CommentLuv users are given an automatically generated drop-down list of their last ten blog posts in which they are able to choose the post when entering their blog URL into the comments field of any other blog.
How? Automatic blog promotion! If you're a blogger writing from a blogging platform - Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr, or others - it's a no-brainer to sign up. Basically, in the comments section, you are telling your reader exactly which post you want them to click.
Why? Promoting your content takes time. That's where OnlyWire steps in, as it allows you to submit your blog posts to multiple social bookmarking sites at once, including Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Google+, StumbleUpon, and many more. There is a paid version and a free, ad-based version.
How? Not only does OnlyWire save time by streamlining the submission process for your content, but it also generates more backlinks and and improves search engine ranking. If you have a Wordpress blog, you can download the OnlyWire plug-in to start automatically submitting content to your favorite social media sites. You may also download the desktop application or bookmarklet, depending on the type of access you'd like OnlyWire to have.
Why? Simply put, BlogEngage is a social blogging community. Bloggers submit their favorite or most recent blog post to the site, and have other members vote if they like the post. Like other social bookmarking sites, you are able to share and vote on other member's posts. BlogEngage also provides backlinks to each blog, which are then given value by Google.
How? Because of spam, BlogEngage is no longer free to join (unless you join one of their membership services or email the founder), but once you purchase the one-time fee, start hitting up the community! Set up social groups, share content, vote for others and build your social profile. BlogEngage helps you network with other bloggers, build up credibility by showing others how serious you are about blogging, and increase blog traffic to your site by sharing content with hundreds of other followers.
10. Great Pictures
Why? The easiest thing you can do to automatically make your blog more searchable and appealing to your readers is to post a couple of great pictures. Flickr, Google Images search, and Picasa all make it extremely easy to find suitable pictures online if you don't have one yourself. Creative Commons licenses make it possible to use other people's photos without any legal obligations, so long as you appropriately credit the source.
How? Remember to use pictures when posting your blog post to Facebook; either upload a photo and then post your link in the attached status update, or attach a link and use the arrow buttons to sort through which pictures from your post you'd like Facebook to use when posting. Always use one or two pictures within your blog post to break up the monotony of paragraphs. If possible, have the picture speak for the blog post itself. Use cartoons or photos that convey the attitude or outlook of the post. Make sure people are drawn into the story by the pictures!
11. Guest Blogging
Why? Of course, the biggest promotion tool of all is guest-blogging, one of the best ways to promote your blog long-term. However, as I said in the beginning of this post, this list is composed of promotion ideas that you can start doing today. While guest blogging may be the most fruitful, it does take time to build relationships, send email requests, and research the actual post. However, I highly encourage you to work guest blogging into your long-term promotion plan - Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You To Be Rich has a great overview of the right way to approach guest blogging.
There are hundreds of social sites online; it's easy to get swept up by the desire to hit them all. The thing is, you don't need your content in the hands of every single person who ever clicked through a page on the internet - it's most important to market your content towards the audience that will benefit most. No matter which promotion tools you decide to use, always remember to target your content, give each promotion tool a separate, appropriate title, and credit your sources!
What are your fool-proof, never-fail blog promotion outlets or tips? Let's crowd-source this baby: share your wisdom in the comments field below!