Marketing Your Blog
After publishing, your post sits there on your site. When you first launch a website, odds are you won’t have a following right away. You’re going to need to gather readers if you want that amazing post you just created to get some recognition. Marketing your blog is extremely important or else how will you get subscribers? You also need to have subscribers if you want your blog to make any kind of money. It would be great if you could just rely on dumb luck, but that’s just not how it works. Yes, there is more work ahead, but you will have fun with it.
It should be noted that you can set up your site so that when you publish a post, it gets automatically shared on social media sites of your choosing. This feature can be very helpful. But if you use this method, make sure the shared post says what you want it to. Take the time to set it up each time you publish a post. Some people like that method better, especially after becoming more successful. There isn’t a whole lot of time in the day to individually share your post on each social media site.
There are, however, several bloggers who will tell you not to automate your social media sharing. Twitter only lets you use one hundred and forty characters per post. This means your share must be short and to the point, with room for the hashtags you want to use. Facebook lets you use all the characters you want. You’ll still want to keep your share shorter, but you have more wiggle room for a better description of what you are sharing. Instagram needs a picture to be shared, and Pinterest is its own beast. It may be more time-consuming to share to each site individually, but sometimes it can be well worth it.
Social Media Marketing :
Social Media (you know, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) can be a major source of subscribers. You’re already on Facebook all day long (come on, you know you are), so why not use it to your advantage? Social media is a fantastic way to connect with potential readers. Yes, your first subscribers will probably be family and close friends. No, that’s not as pathetic as it sounds. Subscribers are subscribers.
Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have an advertising feature you can use to promote either your entire site or a singular post. This is not free, however, but there are reasonably priced options. Advertising on social media can be really helpful. Set up an ad and let it run for a bit. You can choose your plan options and duration of the ad on each social media site. You can get a lot of clicks and likes this way.
You shouldn’t completely rely on social media, however. Paying for advertisements constantly will drain your bank account really fast, and you don’t always get loyal followers this way. If you are just starting your blog, you will want to focus on organic growth. Organic reach is when people find your content without paid advertising. I know, I know, but how will you get your blog out there if you’re not making advertisements?
One big thing you are going to want to learn is hashtags. Or as some of you know them, the pound sign (#). Hashtags are what everyone uses to connect different themes and ideas. Have you heard of #MotivationMonday? Search it sometime in any social media outlet, and you will find a ridiculous amount of sickeningly peppy, motivating pictures and quotes. Hashtags are how people find things they are interested in and see what others are saying about them.
Each time you publish a blog post, share it on social media. On Twitter, it’s automatically public, but on Facebook, it’s not. Make your posts about your blog public on Facebook, then add hashtags that relate to your target audience and the blog post itself. Still writing about cats? Each time you post a link to a cat article, hashtag it with words like #cutecats, #crazycats, #kittens, etc. Anyone who searches for cat posts will eventually come across your cat posts.
At first, it feels weird to promote yourself so much. Most of us are taught from a young age not to brag. But in the blogging business, you pretty much have to brag all the time. Not only that, but you have to do it in a way that doesn’t say, “Look at me! I’m the best!” You should get it out there that this is what you do, that your niche is what you are interested in, and that people will want what you have to offer. It’s okay to talk yourself up a bit but don’t be condescending. You want readers to start thinking about you when they see something that involves your blog and niche. When someone sees a cat, let them be reminded that you have a great cat blog and then maybe they will go and check it out.
Another social media technique to use is to start getting involved with the community. Get on Twitter and start following people who share similar interests. Find people who share your love of books, or other bloggers in your niche. Twitter users almost always follow you back! Find groups on Facebook that may be interested in what you have to offer, and join those groups. Even if only a few people find you at first, that’s okay. We all start somewhere. Remember too that every person who finds your blog and likes it will most likely tell someone else that they should check out your blog as well.
Pinterest is kind of a big deal now. It used to be so simple, but now it’s grown into a trendy way to market yourself. Get to know Pinterest. Create an account just for your blog. Start boards that have to do with your niche and add your blog posts. Come up with creative board names and pin regularly. Make you’re your blog name is listed on your profile so people can easily see it when they check out your profile. Write in fun descriptions when you pin and don’t over promote your blog either. Pinterest can get you a lot of followers and subscribers. All you need are some great pictures and good content. Follow others and they will follow you back.
Make sure that your blog name and URL is on your profile of every social media account you have. Set that part of your information to “public” and make it as bold as you can. When people look at your profile to see who you are, make sure they see you have your own website. If they like the content you share on social media already, they are likely to follow the links to your blog as well.
Remember that blogging can feel a lot like a popularity contest, but you still need to keep the social media aspect of it. Not only will marketing on social media get you subscribers, but it builds a hefty group of followers on each platform. This will come into play later when you want to get advertisers to work with you. You are going to want to show sponsors or advertisers that people listen to what you have to say.
Create a Facebook page just for your blog and invite everyone you know to like it. Share the link to your page on other social media platforms and be sure to direct people to your page when the situation calls for it. Having a well-liked page will only benefit you when you are trying to make money blogging. Make sure that the page has great content and does not just have links to your latest blog posts. Be a person, tell jokes, and try to stay within your niche as much as possible. But people enjoy seeing that you are a normal person and it’s not all about the blog for you.
You can also start up a Facebook group just for your blog or for your niche. Get people involved with your blog or the niche. If you are blogging about blogging, set up a Facebook group just for your subscribers or for other aspiring bloggers. If you blog about dogs, start up a group all about dogs, peoples’ love of dogs, or useful dog owner tips. People like to get involved and feel like they are a part of something. Set up a group for this!
And please, don’t be pushy with your social media promoting. Letting people know some new information about your blog or the newest post you created is great. But bombarding people with posts about your blog gets boring for followers. Do you like it when friends continuously push stuff in your face (think Lularoe or Beachbody) all the time? Post about your blog once a day, but then engage in building relationships with followers and post about other things too. Make sure people see that blogging isn’t your entire life.
Email Marketing :
Email marketing is probably one of the best ways to make and then keep followers. You create emails and send them out so many times a month (not every day!). First, you will need to find a site that you can use to create popups, opt-ins, and emails. ConvertKit and MailChimp are two very popular email marketing tools. MailChimp has a completely free option that works very well if you are not making money yet. ConvertKit is a paid subscription but offers a lot more for your marketing needs.
When using these tools, you will want to set up some kind of opt-in for your blog. You can create a simple “subscribe” button for your site. One of the best opt-ins is the pop-up form. This is a window that appears on your blog for viewers after they have been on a page for a certain length of time. You can choose a pop-up to come up after a visitor clicks on a link, or after they have been on a page for ten seconds. The pop-up is great because it’s not something your followers will miss. It shows up right in front of them and they can opt out, but at least the option is right in front of their face. Once you have created the pop-up with your email marketing site, you can plug in the code it gives you into the widget section of your blog.
Okay, so you’re ready to set up an email. One of the first emails you should get going is the “welcome” email. This email will get sent out to people who have recently subscribed to your blog. It gives your subscribers some more information about you or the blog. It could contain an incentive you offered (we will get into this soon) or ways to reach you. The welcome email will let your subscribers know what to expect from here on out and how often they will receive emails from you. Make the welcome email inviting and friendly. After all, you are welcoming a new subscriber home to your community. Let them know what they can expect from you and the blog, and that they can find you on social media too.
You should also take the time to set up templates for your emails. Create a basic design you want your emails to look like and save it so that each time you create new emails, the template is already ready and all you have to do is plug in the information. Your email blasts should contain information about the new things happening with your blog such as store news, recent posts, new offers, and ways to share! Sending emails to your followers keeps you connected to them on a more personal level. Did you know that you can even customize your email blasts to include the name of the recipients? People love that! It’s as if you personally sent each follower an individual email.
Be sure to keep a close eye on your email analytics. Most email marketing companies offer this option. With it, you can see if people are opening emails, clicking on them, or unsubscribing. If you have a large number of people who aren’t engaging, you have lots of work to do.
You can use these numbers to better your email marketing. Separate your subscribers into lists such as “store customers”, newsletter subscribers”, and “second chances”. Create more enticing emails for those who don’t seem to be interested. Send emails about your latest store updates (if you have a store) to the people who make purchases in your shop.
Your email lists are important. So many bloggers don’t focus enough on their email marketing strategies and their blog suffers because of it. Your emails are how you connect with new and returning readers. This is where you can get more personal with your readers and share new things in your life and with the blog. Ask readers to respond to your emails and take time to read through those emails when they start responding. Show them you care and actually take the time to listen to what they have to say. You are building relationships with your email subscribers. This will prompt people to either stay with you or even invite others to join your community.
Remember to be true to your word. If you tell subscribers you will send emails once a week, you better send them once a week. Any more or less than that will drive subscribers away. They want good content that arrives when promised. If you can’t keep you word on that, you won’t keep subscribers.
How to Get Email Subscribers :
To get new subscribers to your email list, you need to be prepared to offer others something. People need to be coaxed a little bit into giving up their email. Everyone is already asking everyone else to sign up for things. And a simple “sign up for updates” campaign isn’t going to get you many subscribers. People want to be compensated for their time. What can you offer them?
Time to start thinking about what you have to offer people. Remember when we talked about being able to solve a problem for people? This is where you can really use that information. If you blog about how to make money blogging, you can offer new subscribers a free eBook on how to email marketing. If you blog about cats, offer a special email series about the best ways to train your cat. Do you blog about Bigfoot? Tell new subscribers they will get a special weekly email with top-secret Bigfoot information.
It doesn’t matter what you blog about. You need to come up with ways that you can offer new subscribers some kind of special thing for signing up. If your blog has a shop, set up a discount for first-time purchasers if they subscribe to your blog. I’m not saying you have to buy loyalty, but you kind of have to bribe people to at least get them to give your blog a chance.
Comment on Other Blogs :
Bloggers are typically awesome people. They understand that it is hard to get your blog off the ground. So, connect with them! Go search for other blogs in your niche and start reading their posts. Then, comment on them. Subscribe if you’d like. Start connecting with other bloggers.
When you take interest in other bloggers, they notice and begin to take an interest with you. They may eventually direct others to your blog for more on a certain subject, or even ask you to collaborate with them. Their subscribers may take notice of your comments and see that you also have knowledge on the information. People are nosy, and they will try to see who you are and what you’re all about. Use that to your advantage.
Collaborating : When two bloggers come together for a post, wonderful things can happen. Be a guest post on someone’s blog. Lots of bloggers want to work with others so that each blogger can gain new subscribers. You may know more on a subject than a fellow blogger, so why not work together to get you both new subscribers?
Find Communities to Interact With :
This means all types of communities that relate to your blog. No, this is not the same as social media. Look, you’re going to have to become somewhat of a social butterfly if you want people to follow you. Learn how to reach out to people and build relationships.
Online, you can find forums and sites devoted to whatever your niche may be. There are chat rooms and communities for everything. Yes, you will come across people who won’t exactly be your cup of tea, but that’s part of the business. Engage in discussions with others and communicate with them. Find out what these people are looking for in regard to your niche. Not only will you gain new subscribers, but you may also get ideas on what you can offer as an incentive for subscribing!
There are plenty of bloggers who stick to blogging from their house and don’t want to get social outside of the internet, and that still works fine for them. But I would encourage you to get out into the real world a little more and see where you can promote your blog. If you’re a book blogger, and you’re near a library, join their book club! It provides you with a space to talk with others who are similar interests and you can promote your blog in person. If you blog about dogs, go to the dog park and start making friends with people. See what they have to say about training, what types of dogs are good for kids, etc. You can learn a lot by interacting in person with others. Have business cards made that you can hand out anytime someone asks you what you do. Give them out at your book club. It is possible that people will take it and throw it away. But it is also possible that someone will take it and look into your blog.
Try to Post Often :
You won’t be bugging people because they will be subscribed to your emails (unless you set your blog up differently). If you can come up with a post every day or every couple of days, that’s great! Having a lot of good content will only help you. Then, when you send out emails, give subscribers a taste of what you have been writing about. Let them choose which articles they want to read, but make sure they have lots to choose from. You want your blog to be entertaining enough to keep your followers happy.
Get to Know Your Analytics : Knowing your stats for your blog traffic is a huge help and will come into play numerous times throughout your blogging career. Google Analytics is a go-to program for many bloggers. Signing up is free and it is worth every bit of time you invest into learning all you can about it. At its most basic, Google Analytics will give you insights into how many people visit your blog and how they are finding your blog. It would be in your best interest to take advantage of Google’s free Analytics training courses, which will be offered to you when you sign up. That way, you will learn all the ways to master analytics so that you can use that information for your marketing strategies.
There are analytics add-ons you can add to your dashboard on your site so that you have access to snippets of information about blog traffic. If you see that your organic reach (the people who find your blog without paid advertisements) is very low, you know that you must find a better way of reaching others. Google will tell you where your traffic is coming from, what they are clicking the most, and much more. If you see that your post about the best gadgets of 2017 got a lot of views, but your post on fish tanks had almost no views, then you know you should probably stick to posts like the first one.
Advertising with Search Engines : If you feel like putting the money into it, you can also advertise your blog on search engines like Google or Bing. You can easily set up advertisements with these search engines and choose where the ad will show up. You can choose for your ad to show up with search results or have a display ad set up on other sites as well.
While paid advertising can get you new subscribers and potentially get your blog some notice, you aren’t getting organic reach. Remember, organic reach is getting new subscribers through searches or any other method except paid advertising. More organic reach means that you will get recognized by search engines and get ranked higher in search results.
Marketing your blog is a lot of work, I won’t lie. But it is very worth it. You need to get your blog out there and you need people to be interested in what you have to say. You cannot make any money if no one is visiting your blog! Even if you are making money through ads and affiliates, you can’t make money with no traffic. Some marketing strategies may work better for you than others, and that is okay. You will find your own methods and combinations of marketing that work for you. Use those techniques and if something isn’t working, be flexible. Change what you need to change. Good marketing strategies will greatly increase traffic and money to your site.