Toward the end of the “How to Market Your Blog and Turn It Into a Brand/Business” session, Elina asked the panel to give her some tangible examples for marketing her blog. I don’t think we ever really answered her question because we ran out of time, so here are my suggestions for what you can DO to market your blog.
Get Out of Your House
This is my number one tip for marketing your blog: Get out of your house and meet people! This is a great way to tell people about your blog and explain what it’s all about. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to meet other bloggers and find ways to work together.
I attend a lot of blogger events and conferences– many of which are open for everyone to attend. Here are just some of the blog conferences out there: Fitbloggin, Healthy Living Summit, BlogHer, BlogHer Food, Foodbuzz Festival, BlogWorld, Urban Running Blogger Summit, and Blissdom. (Just sign up for the event’s newsletter to stay in the loop about their upcoming events.) Twitter is also a great way to find out about events in your area. Twitter is all about WHO you follow!
Participate in the Blog Community
If you haven’t noticed already, the blog world thrives on community, so be sure to participate in anyway that you can. Here are just a few ideas: link to blogs and posts that you like, comment on blogs, host and participate in contests/giveaways, make friends on Twitter, offer to donate or bake something for an online auction, attend or host your own blogger meet-up in your area, contribute a guest post on another blog. All of these things help you make connections and spread the world about you and your blog.
Reach Out to Your Favorite Brands
Offer to write a guest post or submit a recipe to your favorite brands’ website or blog. In the past, I’ve written guest posts for Back on My Feet and Eggland’s Best. Reaching out to your favorite brands is a great way to build relationships and get new readers to your site.
Think Outside of Your Community
When thinking about guest posting, look outside of your usual blog community to find new audiences. A lot of my traffic comes from the healthy living and foodie communities, but I’d like to expand my reach to the fitness and running communities, so I recently offered to write a guest post for the Lisa Johnson Fitness.
Lisa has a large following (more than 19,000 followers on Twitter!), so I knew reaching out to her would be a great way to market my blog to a new audience. Bigger bloggers tend to get busy, so a lot of the time, they’re looking for content to feature on their blogs. It takes you just as long to write a guest post as it does a regular post on your own blog, so it really doesn’t take you anymore time or effort. The other blogger gets content for their site and you gain some new readers, so it’s a win-win for everyone. (FYI: I’m always looking for guest posts on Trading Up Downtown!)
Register Your Blog with Blog Directories
Registering your blog with various directories around the web is an easy way for people to discover your blog. Here are just a few of the blog directories out there: BlogCatalog, Healthy Living Blogs, Foodbuzz, BlogHer, BlogWise, Foodie Blogroll, and Technorati.
Create an Offline Presence
Quite a few bloggers are starting to expand their presence offline. For instance, Matt of No Meat Athlete has done a really great job with his t-shirts. I swear, I see at least one at every road race I run! There’s a million ways to create an offline presence, but anything that creates buzz for your blog will do.
Recently, I’ve had some success with creating CNC t-shirts and stickers. I only make about $1 off each shirt that I sell, but every one has the CNC logo on the back, so anytime someone wears it, my blog gets some free marketing. Similarly, I gave away CNC stickers to my readers. I had to pay for the postage to mail them, but it was totally worth it for some extra blog promotion. Plus, fun stickers make people happy.
Use Some Basic SEO Practices
At Fitbloggin‘ this year, Matt of No Meat Athlete covered some basic (not sketchy) search engine optimization (SEO) practices that bloggers can implement to help search engines find their sites. The session was summarized here: SEO for Fitness Bloggers and then later turned into a webinar, so you can see all of Matt’s suggestions. Here are a few of my favorites that I’ve used on CNC. Additionally, a great presentation about SEO for Food Writing from TECHmunch also provided a number of useful tips and tricks for making it easier for Google to find your recipes.
You don’t have to post 2-3 times a day like crazy people like I do, but posting frequently keeps your loyal readers interested and coming back for more. I know a lot of bloggers who create a posting schedule to keep themselves on track. Maybe your goal is to publish a post four times a week. Plan it out on your calendar and then stick to it!
Leave Business Cards
This one is really simple, especially if you already have business cards for your blog. If not, VistaPrint.com is really easy to use and has some great deals!
At stores with community bulletin boards, like Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Bruegger’s, I sometimes post a couple of my business cards on the bulletin board. You never know who might find it, and it’s a quick and easy way to market your blog.
Create a Facebook Fan Page
People always ask me when I first I saw a spike in my blog traffic. About six months after I started CNC, I added my blog URL to my Facebook profile and posted a couple of links on my wall. Once I did that, I saw a considerable jump in my blog traffic.
Since then, I haven’t used Facebook much to market my blog, which is crazy because Facebook has something like 500 million users. A couple of weeks ago, however, I created a Carrots ‘N’ Cake Facebook fan page, and I’ve already seen a small spike in traffic. I mean, just think about how many connections the average Facebook user has— there’s so much potential for people to discover your blog!
Participate in Twitter Chats
The first step with this one is creating a Twitter account and then tweeting! Twitter is such an amazing way to network and promote your blog.
Participating in Twitter chats is another way to connect with people of similar interests and help them discover your blog. It’s also a great way to find new blogs to add to your own daily rotation. Two of my favorite Twitter chats are #runchat, which is held on the second and fourth Sunday of each month, and #FitBlog, which is held every Tuesday at 9 p.m.
What are your tips for marketing your blog? Please share!