Congratulations! You’ve just published a new blog post.
There it is, on your blog, ready for the whole wide world to read.
Fantastic. Now the work starts.
Just kidding … but only a little. You see, many of us are a bit stuck in a “if you build it, they will come” mentality with our posts. Sure, we might do a few things to promote them (write a Facebook update, tweet a few times, send it to our email list), but often that’s about it. We’ve done a fine job on the content creation, but left most of the content promotion untouched.
50/50 Post Creation and Promotion
To give you an idea how far some marketers go to promote their content, consider that at least one major Internet marketing guru admonishes his followers to put four or five times as much work into promoting a post as they did into writing it. Yikes!
While that might well work, it’s a bit extreme. However, many smart and successful bloggers do hold themselves to spending as much time promoting their posts as they did writing those posts. These bloggers advise a 50/50 split between content creation and promotion.
If you just rolled your eyes and thought “Great. Now I have twice as much work to do,” I hear that. It is a problem. But consider this:
- You could also be getting two, three or even four times as much results from the posts you write.
- Some of that promotion work can be automated.
- With a little experimentation and some Google analytics tracking, you can figure out what works best for your audience, and then pare down your promotion tactics to only the most super-effective.
About your blog post …
Before we get started on how to promote that post, let’s examine the post itself a bit.
The second most common reason people don’t promote their posts (after not having the time) is because they get a little wobbly about having enough confidence to promote those posts. Fundamentally, that’s a lack of faith in the post they’ve written.
Aside from lots of therapy, the only real way to overcome this is to actually write posts you’re genuinely proud of. Posts that are good enough to be worth interrupting your readers and saying, “Hey: You gotta read this. I think it could really help you.”
Also, in all honesty, you need a really good post to make this promotion stuff worth your time. Otherwise, it’s kinda like putting lipstick on a pig. (This is also a key SEO strategy, but hey … we’re going to focus on promotion this time out.)
How much time is all this promotion going to take?
Let’s assume you’re about average in terms of how long it takes you to write a blog post, and you finished your most recent post in 3-4 hours. By some miracle, you’ve found 3-4 hours of free time to promote it. Here are 26 things you could do:
Make your post easy to share
This is key, and there are several ways to do it.
1. Make some sentences of your post tweetable…
… and set them up with a plugin that makes them tweetable with one click. There’s a free “Click to Tweet” plugin available from CoSchedule that’s a snap to setup.
2. Add social sharing buttons.
Kind of a no brainer, this one. But you’d be surprised how many sites and blogs don’t have any social sharing buttons up. And if you do have sharing buttons up… are you sure they’re working?
3. Add a Twitter card to your post.
This is a type of markup that will basically make your post look way better on Twitter. Because it will look so much better, your tweet will get retweeted and liked more.
Twitter cards are free to use, and don’t take more than a few minutes to set up. Get the free plugin WordPress SEO by Yoast to make setup faster (and to give yourself an awesome SEO optimization tool).
4. Add a few Open Graph tags.
Open graph tags are like HTML meta tags, but are used for social media sites, particularly Facebook. They can be added to the source code for any page (for free) to make it look better on different social media platforms.
To give you an example of how powerful they can be, consider this: Tumblr got 250% more traffic from Facebook after it set up open graph tags. Neil Patel increased his Facebook traffic by 174% with open graph tags.
There are a couple of different plugins that make setting open graph tags up pretty easy. To keep things simple, start with WordPress SEO by Yoast, which is also recommended above. If that doesn’t work well for you, try the webZunder or WP Open Graph plugins. They’re all free.
5. Set up Feedburner.
Thousands of people read RSS feeds every day. Make sure your posts are available in this format.
6. Use rich snippets.
This is a type of HTML markup that makes your pages look extra good in search results. It regularly increases clickthrough rates by 30%. You can use the free All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets plugin to dress your pages up. Then confirm they look good with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool (http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets).
Promote Your Post to Your Existing Audience
7. Add links from other pages on your site to your new post.
Everybody misses this one, but it’s a brilliant way to get more traffic to a new post. It will also help your internal link profile, which is good for SEO. Another twist on this is setting up a related posts plugin.
8. Send an update to your email list about the post.
There’s no better way to get attention to your new content than to tell your email subscribers about it. These are the people who specifically raised their hands to get updates from you, so don’t let them down. If you publish daily, you might consider creating a preference center that would allow people to receive all your posts in one weekly round-up. It’s friendly to let them manage how often you contact them.
9. Fire up your Buffer (or HootSuite).
Buffer and HootSuite are terrific social media automation tools that could potentially change your life. Seriously. If you have been manually creating updates, being able to automate them will free up a ton of your time.
10. Did you mention any people…
…or any companies in your new post? Go tell those people/companies about the free PR you just gave them. This can get your post serious exposure sometimes. It’s amazing what one tweet from someone with 200,000 Twitter followers can do.
11. Tweet at or email people who would be interested in your post.
This is most effective when you’re contacting “influencers” or editors. You’ll need to really have faith in your post, but if you’re polite, brief, and helpful, and your post is good, this can work like wildfire. Just be 100% sure the people you reach out to will be interested in your post, and make 100% sure (again) your post is worth their attention.
You can find influencers and super-sharers in your niche with BuzzSumo.
12. Check out Q&A sites.
13. Comment on other blogs.
Again – be real careful about this. You want to contribute, not to spam, okay? But where it makes sense, mentioning your related post in a comment can work very nicely. Avoid looking like you’re trying to hijack readers; make it clear you’re augmenting what the post offers.
14. Talk to your groupies.
Okay, not those kinds of groupies. These kinds:
- Google+ communities
- Facebook groups
- Linkedin groups
- Yahoo groups
- Niche forums
- Professional groups
Always read the rules of any group you want to post to before you post. Also remember you should be contributing to these kinds of sites, not necessarily promoting. You may need to pick 3-5 core groups that you actually participate on, and contribute to those groups when you have new content. Use a light touch or you can get flagged as a spammer.
Do Some Outreach
15. Participate in approved content sharing sites…
16. Post to content aggregation sites.
17. Syndicate your post.
Start with a few of the 500 sites listed on Buzzblogger.
18. Bookmark your post on the top bookmarking sites.
Start with these:
Also bookmark your post on niche bookmarking sites. Search on “bookmarking” and click around to find a few sites that serve the interests of your likely readers. One caveat: promote only on sites that are clearly active. By “active” I mean they are active on social media, and other people are clearly using the site a lot. Don’t bookmark on sites that have little to no activity. There’s no point in promoting to a ghost town, and you want to avoid sites Google might view as a “bad neighborhood.” Search Engine Journal has a good collection of bookmarking sites to get you started.
19. Do some content curation on any one of the sites listed below.
This is particularly effective if you have a series of posts on a topic, or if you want to create a collection of posts on a specific topic. Collections work best when you include a few posts from other blogs, too.
20. Republish your post.
Try LinkedIn, Tumblr, Business2Community and Medium. These aren’t appropriate for everyone, but if you’re in the B2B market, it may be something you should try. The graphic below shows how much extra reach Scoop.it’s bloggers got by posting to other sites, aka “republishing”.
21. Use List.ly
This is a terrific, though somewhat less known, content sharing platform. List.ly lets you create lists on any topic, then share those lists on their site or embed those lists on your site. To make things even cooler, you can actually add items to other people’s lists if they’ve set them to be publicly editable.
Perhaps there are a few lists your new post should be on?
22. Do some paid promotion.
Is this cheating? Maybe, but big blogs do it all the time. You may not have $10,000 to spend to promote a post, but why not $20? Unpublished paid posts on Facebook can be particularly effective, especially when shown to custom audiences. And if you don’t want to put money into Facebook, you could also try StumbleUpon, Outbrain or Taboola.
Reformat Your Post
23. Make your post into a SlideShare.
This is easier than it sounds, and SlideShare can deliver a surprising amount of traffic. You don’t need to create a 30-slide PowerPoint deck – even 10-15 slides summarizing your post is enough.
Extra credit: Embed the SlideShare in the post to give people an extra way to “consume” your content.
Extra, extra credit: Set up the now free lead capture feature in your new SlideShare to grow your email list.
24. Make your post into an infographic, then post it on Pinterest.
Bonus: Is there an image related to your post you could share on Instagram?
25. Create a PDF version and submit to PDF sites.
This works best for checklists, calendars and diagrams, but it’s worth a shot even if your post is mostly text. There are dozens of PDF sharing sites, but here are a few of the best ones. As always, post only on active sites that look well maintained. More is not better with links anymore.
26. Create a video.
You’ve done the hard work of the research, and it won’t take too long to adapt what you’ve written into a video script. So break out that smartphone and start recording! Remember: YouTube is the second largest search engine…
Whew! Tired yet?
So that’s the list. There’s enough there to promote your blog post for four weeks, not just four hours, but you can pick and choose which tactics you want to try. Given your specific audience and the topics you blog about, some of these are going to work better than others. Once you find them, you can focus on them.
And, of course, let me know in the comments if I missed any of your favorite promotion tactics.
On a related topic…if you’re interested in the intersection of social and SEO, check out Act-On’s new eBook: