Internet advertising is growing leaps and bounds each year, as evidenced by the graph above, and if you aren’t taking advantage of the medium to reach and interact with potential customers, your business is lagging behind the competition.
Fortunately, you don’t have to use paid advertising from Google AdWords or Facebook to get visitors to your corporate website. Free organic traffic can be earned by starting a blog to promote your business. Starting a blog is cheap and easy. Businesses use blogs for content marketing by developing industry-relevant articles that resonate with readers and build authority and trust.
Now, you may already know the value of blogging and content marketing, but you’re concerned about getting a return on investment. Maybe you’ve devoted the time and energy, but haven’t grown a loyal following yet. There are millions of blogs out there, and you want to know how to promote yours effectively.
Here are some excellent ways to promote and grow your business blog. With some thought, planning and consistency, your efforts will pay off.
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Even if you blog for personal reasons, you need to understand branding. All branding really means is knowing exactly what your blog represents. Good branding involves creating and sending clear and consistent messages in everything you do both on and off your blog, including your social media accounts, email responses, etc.
Core message. The first thing you did as a blogger was conceive the name of your blog or business. This is because naming is one of the most important ways to communicate your blog’s core message: the message you want to broadcast to your readers (or customers) in every word you write. Your core message must always come through in every aspect of your blog: its name, design, posts, and visual content.
There are several questions you need to ask yourself as you ensure your message is clear and on point:
- Who exactly is your target audience?
- Why do you want to attract them?
- How does your knowledge or product/service help address a problem or need?
- What will your blog say to them and offer?
When you have answered all of these questions clearly, your core message should shine through. Repeat it creatively and often for your target audience, but always be consistent. Otherwise, you lose sight of your purpose.
Find fresh ways to communicate your core message and increase your brand’s exposure. Leaving comments on related blogs that add value, especially blogs with good traffic, is a great strategy. Linking and guest posting on these blogs is also a good idea. Using social media effectively, which I discuss more below, is also a must.
And finally, make sure your core message is getting across in the best ways that it can. Keep your content current, relevant, and helpful. Make it visually appealing, and use images and videos whenever possible. Keep your points short and easy to understand; use bullets when you can. Link to authoritative resources.
Remember: the best blog in the world won’t be read without effective branding.
2. Build Your Online Presence To Establish Trust and Authority
Producing high-quality, educational content is only half the battle. Making sure your work gets seen and read is even harder. If you want to build a successful blog, you will need to continuously, yet tastefully promote yourself and your blog.
Join online communities within your niche. If you’re not relevant, no one cares. There’s no sense posting or commenting in a community that isn’t related to your work. Take the time to find groups that would take an interest in your knowledge. After all, what good is it to have 100,000 visits a month and no revenue?
When you do find ideal online communities and forums, don’t be rude. Take the time to read what others are posting, and get a meaningful sense of what the community thinks. This is the only real way to add value. Link to yourself only when relevant.
Social media groups are also great communities for promotion of your work. They are home to many influencers. Again, make sure you are targeting only relevant groups and that you understand the culture and social norms before you participate. Good social media communities to know include Google+, Facebook pages, LinkedIn groups, SubReddits, and Twitter chats.
If your niche concerns business or marketing, take advantage of the active online communities that are dedicated to these topics. You can submit your work on anything from content marketing to SEO techniques, and then just like on Reddit, the community votes up the best pieces. Community algorithms determine front page news, and this means that competition is fierce and quality is high. But it also means that if your work gets upvotes initially, you have a great shot at some major exposure. Check out BizSugar, Growthhackers, and Inbound.org.
3. Network With Influencers
Sometimes all you need to do is ask someone for help. Reach out to influencers, but add value and engage with them before you ask for help. Interact with them via social media or directly on their blogs. Then send them a tailored email:
I noticed that you posted a link from [Name] about [issue]. I have a similar post called [Title] that deals with [issue]. Here’s the link: [link]. I would appreciate your share very much!
If you just can’t do that, why not start a conversation? These are things you genuinely care about, remember? That’s why you’re doing this. Tell them that you mentioned, quoted, or linked to them in a post, or that you noticed something that they posted, shared, or linked to that was on a similar issue. Chances are great that you have a lot in common.
4. Market Your Content Effectively
Be an expert and a source of great content for others. Repost your work on Quora, Medium, and StumbleUpon. All these have massive audiences, a huge array of categories, and a vast numbers of opinions. Include your bio and a link to your blog on your profile.
Turn posts into podcasts that would-be readers can listen to while they’re working, commuting, or doing chores at home. Create a transcript based on the post and either read it aloud or hire someone else to read it. Submit podcasts to Apple, Blog Talk Radio, Digital Podcast, Podbean, or Podomatic for circulation.
More visual versions of your written content are also excellent re-purposing goals. Slideshows also get many clicks. Use PowerPoint or Keynote to keep your project easy. When you’re done, upload your slideshow to Scribd, Slideboom, Slideshare, or Slideworld. Video is just as simple, and you can combine a podcast and a slideshow to make a video. Submit videos to YouTube, Vimeo, or Yahoo.
If you’re taking your content and turning it into a feast for the eyes, do not miss out on infographics. They are among the hottest and most powerful forms of content today because they generate tons of backlinks and social shares for your blog. Use tools like Piktochart to create infographics yourself, and then submit them to Cool Infographics, Daily Infographics, Flickr, Infographics Archive, Infographics Journal, Infographics Showcase, Visual.ly, or Visual Loop.
If you have enough content, turn your blog posts into a substantial eBook. This allows you to provide an in-depth look at your topic while your readers consume your work on their own schedule. You can upload an eBook as a PDF file on many sites, including Addicted to eBooks, Author Marketing Club, Books on The Knob, Digital Book Today, eBooks Habit, Free eBooks Daily, and MBG eBooks Gallery.
You can also turn your aggregated content, whether it’s an eBook or a collection of blog posts, into an AutoResponder email course in exchange for email subscribers. You can make each chapter or content area into an email lesson and pace it in whatever way feels appropriate. This technique allows you to offer real value in the form of a course for free while collecting emails.
Finally, remember that there is no substitute for live engagement. Webinars, chats, live podcasts, and hangouts are high-quality ways to build an active audience. The most successful events feature other thought leaders from your niche because you can work together to drive traffic to both blogs.
Remember the reasons you started your blog – to grow your business. Take it seriously and promote it professionally, and you will realize results.