Promotion gets a bad rap.
People associate it with people twirling those cardboard signs outside restaurants, being badgered by people handing out brochures, or, in the digital world, spam.
But that’s not what we’re talking about.
When we talk about promotion, particularly for your blog, we’re talking about smart tactics that will reward you for your hard work. Better yet, if you’re looking to monetize your blog, these tactics will get you paid.
It’s not enough to just have in-depth, well-researched content, and that provides value to your readers. All of the work that goes into getting that piece of content written is worth much less if not enough people read it.
So that’s why this post is all about:
Let’s get into it.
Grant is an outstanding chef. He creates food that is delicious, visually stunning and also, fun. He and his business partner have found a location, hired staff, and opened the doors.
A few people have visited, but the place is less than 50% full on weekends, much less than the 90% capacity restaurants typically need on weekends to turn a profit.
Ella designs cars. They are beautiful. And she has been working with a small company to create a smart, affordable car that looks like a luxury model using sustainable materials for certain parts. The prototype is built. But that was finished 6 months ago. And nothing else has happened yet.
Do you see the common problem?
Both Grant and Ella are dedicated and good and what they do.
They are producing very different but very valuable goods and services.
But, they aren’t getting rewarded for their passion and hard work.
Their output is sitting unappreciated.
What they need to do is to work with someone (or learn themselves) to correctly get their products in front of the right people who will appreciate it.
There’s a word for that: promotion.
Now put yourself in the same situation.
Maybe you’ve got a blog, a website, or a social media page where you put up good quality, strong content.
Are you anything like Grant and Ella? Do you feel as though there is a bigger audience out there who would appreciate your work - if only they could find it?
Did you find out the hard way that just because you built it does not necessarily mean that they will come?
Chances are your audience exists, and you have to use the correct tactics and strategies to find them.
This isn’t about clickbait and spam to quickly grow page views and get more eyeballs on your stuff. It’s about building a strong, sustainable audience who gets genuine value from your content.
One true fan is worth multiple casual browsers.
So, that’s why promotion matters. If you’re convinced that promoting your blog is worth your time, and you want to find out exactly how you can do it using specific tactics, then read on.
In short, write once, publish multiple times.
Chances are that when you hit “publish”, you probably think the job is done.
You’re selling yourself very short. Reward yourself for doing the hard work of getting a piece of content written by publishing it multiple times.
Publish it across multiple channels. Your own blog or website should always be your primary location first. You want to retain your audience, not only “rent” them on social media platforms.
However, sharing your article on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter should also be part of your regular plan.
Whenever you share it on another platform, you should link it back to its primary location.
And be smart about how you do it.
Instagram is a visual medium, so a beautiful, well-chosen image with an excerpt of your piece in the caption will go further than a bland stock photo and the article title.
Facebook will allow you a bit more text, but be smart about how you use it – for example, by highlighting the key points in a bullet-pointed list and using a poll or question in your post to drive engagement and interaction.
And Twitter’s status as an “up to the minute” reaction platform means that you can drop links to other pieces you’ve published into conversations around a trending topic when you see a conversation getting traction.
Further, you can even create unique content that seems more native to that social media platform with a link back to your original post.
Get over the cringe.
How many times have you seen an ad for a particular brand of car? Or for a common fast food restaurant?
Probably hundreds of times. Does it make you hate them? Does it make you think, “man, that ad is annoying, I’m never buying (insert brand here) again!”?
For the vast majority of people, the answer to that is No.
The modern human is very used to being marketed to. You’ve been bombarded by promotions your entire life, so don’t worry about the risk that someone might see your content more than once and be annoyed by it. It’s not a real risk.
People are only generally averse to ads if they ruin their browsing experience or don't add value.
Keep your delivery method by choosing different images, captions, and target audiences– and test to see what works best.
Work smarter, not harder.
Constantly producing new, fresh, engaging content can feel daunting and exhausting because, well, it is.
It’s even more laborious when you don’t see the sweet results of your hard efforts come to fruition.
Producing dozens of articles only to have them fall on deaf ears can be particularly demoralizing.
Make your content work smarter by creating different forms of the same narratives.
For example, infographics and visual content fantastic ways to add to a written blog post.
YouTube tutorials and courses from places like Udemy and Lynda, paired with tools like Canva, will take even someone with very basic (or non-existent) knowledge of graphic creation to an above-average standard.
And there’s statistical reason to do this.
Data shows that over 6 out of every 10 people identify as visual learners. It’s also proven that attractive images and graphics cause people to slow their scrolling on phones and desktops to view the image.
In fact, blog posts with visuals get over 90% MORE views than those without.
The main benefit to you?
You get more “miles” out of your existing content while also presenting the ideas in a way that will appeal to a completely different group of people.
An audience and fan base of professionals in a particular field can be very valuable depending on the kind of content you publish.
That’s because we are all drawn to ideas that might help us save time or earn more.
If you know your audience lives on a specific subreddit on Reddit, go there.
Secondly, consider reaching out directly to people via email.
Don’t include your whole blog post in an email – that will not endear you to them. But introduce yourself, say why you got in touch, and invite them to read your piece.
By following the same etiquette as you would offline, you may well get a new fan online.
There is one problem with an article like this. It doesn’t account for the fact that content targeted at buyers of real estate in one city won’t benefit from the same promotional tactics as content about helping teachers build better classroom resources.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ advice when it comes to content promotion. But there is a fix for that. And it’s a pretty simple one.
You need to track what tactics you are using and how they perform.
Then, when you get to your next piece of content, repeat that process.
After a few times, you now have a data set. You can look at it to see which tactics perform best specifically for your style of content.
And when you find something that’s working, double down on it and repeat your earlier steps. Think of it like cooking. The first time you make something new, it’s probably not perfect. But after a handful of attempts, you’ve worked out the kinks and maybe even personalized it to make it your own.
You arrive at the best results by testing, learning, then refining.
If you’re purposeful about this process with your content, then you’ll get more and more reach as you publish more. No shortcuts, but it definitely works.
Ask yourself this very specific question.
You definitely need to know what you are creating to promote your blog well. And that starts with asking yourself an obvious, tactical question when you begin.
“What problem am I solving for my reader once they’ve read this?”
That one straightforward control question will level up your blogs and promotions in a big way.
There are millions of blogs published every day. In addition, there are hundreds of millions of additional posts and pieces of content created for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and LinkedIn every day.
That is an absolute ocean of content.
If you don’t know exactly what you’re trying to do with yours, then your blog post is going to end up as one tiny drop, lost in that ocean where no one will see it.
This tactic is really closely tied to Tactic #6.
Blogs and blog content have a special advantage over other kinds of content.
Take two examples.
A tweet doesn’t have enough depth or detail to break down a complex topic.
And Instagram is a visual medium and suited to scrolling.
Some audiences may only use these networks as passive entertainment rather than with a learning-oriented mindset.
Blogs are different.
If someone is reading blog content, then chances are that they are in a ‘discovery’ or ‘learning’ mindset. That is really important. It means that you can create content that is in-depth and has more detail.
It also means that a certain type of content is best suited to blogs: specific problem-solving content.
Content breaks down a problem and then suggests a solution. This kind of content can be incredibly varied.
Take a look at these examples:
These types of content solve a problem for the reader. And as you can see, there is huge diversity in the content topics, spanning from education to plumbing to professional development and BBQ tips!
The other great advantage to this kind of content for blogs specifically is that it is completely aligned with how search engines work.
If your blog post can answer the question being asked in a clear, direct way, then it is far more likely to get a good ranking on Google.
Of course, problem-solving content isn’t the only type of blog content you can create. It's good to vary your content types.
“Entertainment” content exists to amuse or entertain and is best suited to get shares on social media. However, this type of blog content competes against light entertainment from many sources, including enormous content aggregators like Twitter and Instagram.
If you manage to get “in” with the algorithm on one of these platforms, you’ll likely see a flood of traffic. If you don’t, well, tough luck.
“Informative” content seeks to introduce a new idea or concept to readers. It often benefits from being linked to problem-solving style content to explore an idea in more detail.
It’s also handy for service pages on websites to explain your products and services to potential customers in more detail, including telling them a story about the product, why it exists, and what sets it apart from other products.
Be prepared to open your wallet– but with a clear plan!
Up until now, the strategies we’ve gone through have all been free.
And with good reason. Everyone likes free better than paying.
However, some paid campaigns can get you enormously profitable results.
The majority of blogs have zero dollars behind their promotions, and that’s totally fine.
However, if your goal is to monetize your blog while demonstrating your expertise, you’ve got good reason to spend some time educating yourself on how paid campaigns can help you achieve your goals.
There are many ways to pay to promote your blog.
Still, the Big 3 are Google Ads (previously Google Adwords), Facebook & Instagram ads, or paying other popular blogs or publications to allow you to post a sponsored post on their site (sometimes you can get away with this for free with a value-driven and well-executed pitch!)
It comes down to a fundamental business principle: what’s your ROI?
For example, if you’re a high-end interior designer and stylist who also works on staging homes before they are listed for sale, then your blog could be a place to showcase work and demonstrate your knowledge of style trends and the results you’ve achieved for clients.
Each booking for a four-week home staging might generate $3,000 - $6,000 revenue for you.
Once you account for costs incurred, you have your profit margin. If promoting your blog will cost less than your profit margin, it might make sense to promote your blog with some ad dollars.
Of course, you can’t just launch a campaign and hope for the best. You need to test and have data on your side.
However, let’s assume you spend $500 on a sponsored post in a popular blog in your city, and you get two new clients. That’s a minimum of $6,000 in new revenue for $500 in ad spend– that’s quite the bang for your buck!
However, would it still be worth it to you if you only got one new client?
Or, if you didn’t get any new clients at all, would you choose to stop your promotion, or would you try and tweak it to get better results?
Here's how you should think of it in logical order:
Spending ad dollars is one of the easiest things in the world– it’s getting that ROI that’s the hard part.
So, before you start, ask yourself the questions above, and you will have the building blocks in place to get a much better result from any ad spend.
Most blog and website owners are proud of their blog posts and articles. And they should be.
An incredible amount of detailed work goes into researching, drafting, and publishing a high-quality piece of content.
But that also leads many of us to assume that our blogs are a destination that people will naturally gravitate to when they pick up their phone or open their laptop.
We like to think that our content is a magnet, constantly pulling people into its magnetic force by simply existing.
Unfortunately, that’s just not true.
Statistics and user feedback show that we are oversaturated with content. For example, most people only download one new app a year.
Most people spend the majority of time on their phones (over 80%) on just 2-4 apps. That means that as a blog owner, you are fighting an uphill battle, even with the greatest content in the world.
Building an email list is one way around this. An email list helps you retain your audience and notify them when a new article is posted.
It also creates another touchpoint with those people who are interested but who might forget about you otherwise. Email is a core function of the internet, and most people check their inboxes multiple times a day.
This tactic won’t suddenly double your readership. But it’s a smart, repeatable, incremental strategy to promote your blog content and build and nurture a connection with your audience.
Some articles will tell you that ‘this is the only blog promotion strategy you’ll ever need’ in an attempt to hook you. This isn’t that.
These tactics are not quick fixes or things that will double your readership overnight.
However, applying them in a consistent, repeatable way will help you sustainably promote your blog so that you grow your audience, and more importantly, keep them.
That’s the real goal of promotion: finding people who enjoy your content and keeping them coming back for more.