You’ve started blogging. You’re now spending your time mining your analytics, answering your customers’ most common questions and doing your best to provide a great resource for your industry. You’ve got that part down.
Where you’re stuck is in how to market your blog, because you’ve been watching what everyone else is doing and you’ve picked up some bad habits. Not only are you annoying people, it’s also not working.
Well, of course it’s not! Below are some common bad promotion habits that newbie bloggers (and some old-timers!) pick up and how you can help break them. Because let’s face it – just because everyone you know is doing it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
1. Blog Comment Spamming
As a blogger yourself, you’re pretty well-versed in comment spam and can spot it a mile away. You’re onto those tragically named readers called Buy Shoes Online and Cheap Designer Purses who stop by to leave comments on your blog that say nothing more than “great post!” It drives you crazy having to moderate them, yet you’ve somehow found yourself engaging in the same type of behavior. It’s easy low-hanging fruit and, hey, it must work or everyone else wouldn’t be doing it, right? If this is you, please stop–because of the rest of the Internet would like to kick you.
You can absolutely use blog commenting as a marketing strategy, but you must do your homework to make sure you’re adding value and not just trolling someone else’s forum. To familiarize yourself with the blog you’re commenting on, read their last five posts and see what they’re all about. Otherwise, if you engage without research, you may find yourself harming your blog instead of helping it.
2. Using Every Email You Can Find
Networking! It’s all the rage, right? So to help market your blog, you decide to “network” with all of your favorite blogs by tracking down their owners’ email addresses and messaging them to see if they’ll link to/mention/share your blog URL. You then feel totally confused when they ignore your email, respond negatively or post it on their blog as a lesson in what not to do. What gives?
What gives is that you’re spamming them. Yes, building relationships with other bloggers in your niche is a key component to blogging success, but that doesn’t mean you should cold-call everyone you know and asking them to promote your blog for you. Do some research and determine who, realistically, needs to know about your blog.
- Who has an audience that overlaps with yours?
- Where can you provide value?
- Who could you partner with?
- What do you have that’s of interest to their readers?
Once you have that list, send a quick email introducing yourself and commenting on something they’ve written recently or addressing a problem they’ve expressed. Your first point of contact should never be about you. It’s always about the other person.
3. Talking Only About Your Blog. Everywhere.
You’re a proud parent and a little consumed with your blog. That’s understandable when you spend so much time writing content, responding to commenters and working to build awareness. However, you’ve taken normal parent pride and gone into overdrive. You can’t have a conversation online with name-dropping your blog. You work it into every conversation, every interaction–in fact, it’s the only thing you ever talk about. The only problem? People are now ignoring you.
Can I say “duh”? While I’m a huge fan of healthy self-promotion, there’s a difference between self-promotion and all-out shilling. We’re all in social media to promote what we’re up to, but that doesn’t mean there’s not time to help someone else out, highlight another resource, or share content someone else has written. You will always get more out of social media by lifting up others than by constantly promoting yourself.
4. Submit Every Post You Write to Your Favorite Social Media Site
Back to being a proud parent – you think everything you do is worthy of attention. Your content is so good that everything deserves to be submitted to all the social media sites and pushed to its fullest. Every day, you have a new post you’re trying to hawk, and you’re posting it to every channel you can. However, for some reason, your once-interested audience now appears to turn a blind eye to your content.
That’s because you’re overloading them! If you’re being honest, it’s very unlikely that every piece of content you put out is your absolute best and worthy of a big social media push. And that’s OK, because it doesn’t have to be. So save those big social media pleas for the content that truly deserves it. Not only will you spare aggravating your audience, but you’ll also help your truly stellar content get more eyeballs.
Those are some of the common blog marketing mistakes I see small business marketers making. What mistakes have you committed, um “seen” your “friends” make?