4 Ways NOT to Promote Your SMB Blog

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?

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Lisa Barone


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

18 Reactions

  1. Just remember not to take any of these to the opposite extreme. Don’t stop commenting on other blogs for fear of coming across as a troll. Don’t stop talking about your blog to people because it might come across as self-promotional. Just be a little more tactful.

  2. I agree with both Lisa and Robert. It’s all about finding that balance between too blog-promoting happy and too blog-promoting idle.

  3. The biggest mistake I’ve seen people make in their blogs is not offering an opportunity for engagement. Just asking, as Lisa did in this post, what the reader’s experience has been prompts people to reply to a blog post. Great reminders, Lisa!

  4. If only there were no money in blogging or the internet, things would be so different. Of course then I probably wouldn’t like it as much, but as long as their is the internet and the internet offers dreams cash piles there will be the SMB blogger that does the silly things above.

    Excellent warning shots to those coming up. Don’t be so greedy.

  5. Suzanne I definitely agree with you (and can be guilty of this myself at times). I find also, unfortunately, that bloggers will get some great comments and then not follow through on the engagement piece by responding to those comments. This is also a place of balance in that you don’t want to be so responsive that it stiffles interaction among the commentors, but you don’t want to miss the opportunity to engage with readers either.

  6. I just want to say thank you. I just started blogging and have been making some of these mistakes. I can at-least feel good about the fact that I have worked very hard to add value to every comment I leave. So, I’ve been doing some things right and some things not so much – thank’s to this article I can make adjustments and keep moving in the right direction.

    Great Post!

  7. You’ve got valid points here and after reading item number four, I wonder what you think of those social networking tools that lets you automatically update your social networking sites once a new blog has been posted? Do you think it’s crass? I just see a lot of folks doing so, like the Networked blogs on Facebook.

  8. Lisa, no surprise that after noting that this was a useful well written article, I saw that it was written by you. Nice work as usual.

  9. I’m guilty of submitting every post to Twitter and Facebook. I guess I’ll rethink that. Thanks for the tip.

  10. As blogger in chief for the American School of Entrepreneurship, I think this is an excellent post. I’ve been guilty of at least two of the sins: commenting on all posts and submitting everything to Facebook and Twitter.
    I blog about once a week (all I have time for)…is that enough?
    John Heinrich
    Chief Mentor, American School of Entrepreneurship

  11. Good points all. The bottom line is to add some kind of value to your readers, not waste their time. Think like the customer: How much do you want to hear about a company you do business with? And what do you want to hear?

  12. Pierre DeBois

    I like the fourth point, Lisa, particularly as some bloggers blog for several blogs (ok, no redundancy in that sentence!) :-). Seriously, the need to produce the masterpiece post can end up being a writing treadmill that sometimes requires a break.

  13. Write it and they will come is something that many have fell into. This can be true if you are a famous author, entertainer or political candidate, but for the average person promotion is key.

    Thanks for the tips posted here on what not to do. There is a fine line between not enough and too much. The key is to find out what’s to much. And this is one of the hardest things to understand.

  14. Everything in moderation, my dear … everything in moderation. :)

    Super duper post, Lisa, and I cherish your sense of humor! So few people have one, you know. And those that do rarely let it show in their posts.

    Honestly …

    I could just wrap my arms around your post and give it a great big bear hug. These are some doggone good pointers — sensible, sound, and do-able — and obviously coming from a seasoned pro.

    Thanks for a great read,
    Melanie

  15. Love the first three points, but I have to disagree about #4.
    I use Twitter and FB as my blog reader… so if you don’t share your latest post, I’m NOT going to see it, and as of yet, I haven’t found one that I’m annoyed to see pushing a post again.

    Now, if we’re friends on Stumble and you “share” ALL your posts with me, I’m going to block you!

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