The key to achieving these goals is connecting to the right audience. Luckily, there are lots of ways to promote your posts. The perfect promotion strategy will look different for every business, so don’t be afraid to try out different tactics until you find a good fit.
Drive visits from search
Prioritize search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is a complex topic, but can be boiled down to a few steps:
- Write your blog post with a single search query in mind
- Include the search query in the URL and title tag of your blog post
- Write a compelling meta description
Need a more in-depth explanation of SEO? Read more about how to optimize your posts for search engines.
Include a link to your blog within your main site navigation
Most websites have a menu at the top of the page which allows visitors to quickly get to different sections of the site. For example, on the Mailchimp site, there’s a link to Resources in the main menu and a dropdown menu for subsections like Marketing Tips.
Make sure you’ve included a link to your blog on the main navigation in a similar way. This makes it easy for visitors to navigate to the section of the site that most interests them, and it’s good for search too. Search engines use these links a lot like human visitors do—in order to discover the content on your site.
Link to relevant blog content across your site
In a similar vein, it’s a good idea to include links to relevant blog posts across your site. Think about places on your site where your posts could provide more information about a topic or help your site visitors discover related content. Including links where they make sense will not only improve your visitors’ experiences, but also help search engines discover and rank your blog posts.
Drive visits from social media
If your customer base is active on 1 or more social media sites, there are lots of things you can do to drive traffic from those sites.
Optimize your blog posts for social media
Several elements determine how your content appears when it’s shared on social media sites. By optimizing these elements, you’ll make your posts more visually appealing and increase the likelihood of attracting visits from these sites.
The Open Graph protocol is used by a number of social media sites including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Twitter uses some open graph elements, but also has a separate set of elements called Twitter card tags which determine how your content appears when it is shared.
Your strategy depends on which social media sites your audience uses. The easiest way to implement these tags is by using a plugin, which is a downloadable software add-on. Many plugins are free and compatible with Google Chrome. If you’re confident when it comes to coding, you can also implement these tags directly on your blog posts by adding the relevant tags to the .
You can read more about optimizing for social media, but here are the basics.
Implement Open Graph tags (for Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest)
- Optimize og:title, og:description, og:type;
- Specify an og:image and og:url
Implement Twitter card tags
- Specify twitter:card, twitter:site and twitter:image
- Optimize twitter:title and twitter:description
Share your posts on social media
Sharing your own blog posts is a great way to attract readers. You could do this via your own personal profiles (if appropriate) in addition to sharing via your company profiles.
Experiment with the timing—you can play around with both the time of day that you post and how many times you share. Think about how people use a specific social network. For example, Twitter feeds tend to be pretty busy, and sharing a blog post just once here might mean it’s unlikely to be seen. You might elect to share each post a couple of times, at different times, or on various days.
Be active on social media
The strength of social media platforms is that they’re designed for interactions, not just broadcast. Make new connections by sharing links to blog posts or articles that others have written that you found interesting, getting involved with conversations (including those that don’t relate to posts you’ve written), and asking questions to encourage discussion.
If someone else shares a post you’ve written on social media, it’s a great idea to thank them, and engage them in conversation if it feels appropriate.
Consider relevant forums and Q&A sites
Depending on the industry you’re in, there may be forums or Q&A sites where your target audience is active. If this is the case, you can use these sites both to broadcast and interact.
Spend time asking and answering questions and get involved with conversations. You can share your own blog posts if they’re relevant to the site, but the primary focus of your activity should be interaction. Creating these connections can bring traffic to your blog simply by making yourself known in the community.
Include links to your blog on your social profiles
Most social media profiles allow you to include a link to your personal or professional website. If you link to your blog, anyone who views your profile can click through directly.
Encourage others to share your blog posts
You can make it easy for people to share your blog posts by including social share buttons when building the post. There are a range of plugins available which make this really easy to do.
Additionally, if your audience is active on Twitter, you can implement Click to Tweet so readers can Tweet quotes direct from your blog posts.
Consider paid promotion on social media
If you have space in your advertising budget, you can pay to promote your content on various social networks. Prices vary depending on the platforms you choose, but there are several options for smaller budgets that will still expose a wider audience to your posts.
Drive visits to your blog via email
Email is a powerful marketing tool, and there are a number of ways you can use it to promote your blog posts.
You can create an email list specifically to notify your blog readers when you publish new posts, or include links to your posts in an email newsletter which you already produce.
You can also include relevant links to blog posts in automated emails you’ve already set up for your business. For example, automated welcome emails and order confirmation emails are great places to link to your blog content.
Another option to consider is including a link to your small business blog, or to a specific blog post if that’s more appropriate, in your email signature. That way you can easily promote your posts in your everyday communication.
Drive visits from networking
You will likely find that there are plenty of people creating and sharing content in your industry, some of which your existing and potential customers may already read. You can tap into your business community to build relationships and encourage people to share your content.
Read, comment on, and share other people’s posts
When you interact with posts written by others in your industry, think about creating a dialogue rather than just sharing or liking. Leave comments and replies to share your related thoughts and experiences, and don’t be afraid to ask questions that will open up further discussion with other readers.
Be cautious about using these conversations as a vehicle for your own self-promotion. If you make genuinely valuable contributions to conversations, people will be attracted to your content because they’re interested in what you’re writing about.
If you already have relationships with other writers or bloggers, you might consider asking them directly if they’d be willing to read and share your posts. Be mindful of how your content might fit into their online presence or brand, and ask for these favors sparingly.
Get out there and meet people in real life
Going to conferences, networking events, or meet-ups is a great way to build relationships with people. This is another tactic where conversation, not self-promotion, is effective. Use these events as opportunities to learn new things, talk about challenges, and get to know people. If your intentions are genuine, you’ll likely gain readers naturally.
Interview influential people in your industry
Every industry has people who are considered experts and have strong followings on social media because of the content they produce. One way to tap into their audience is by interviewing these people.
Be thoughtful about your approach and bear in mind that these people (just like you) likely have lots of demands on their time. Make it as easy as possible for them to say yes.
First, provide a preset list of questions which you’d like them to answer. Take the time to give this some thought so your questions are original. Try to avoid the generic questions they may have already answered several times.
You should also provide a variety of ways for them to respond. If you’re going to be in the same place at the same time, like at a conference, ask if they’d be willing to spend a few minutes with you answering your questions in person. If you’re in different locations, a voice or video call (which you can record and transcribe given their consent) is a great option. Otherwise, you can send them your list of questions and ask for a written response.
Once you have completed the interview and written your blog post, be sure to let your interviewee know when their interview goes live on your site. They’ll likely share your post with their followers, which will drive more visitors to your blog.
Collaborate with others to create blog content
Perhaps you’ve got a big idea, but you need a little help to bring it to life. Looking to your business community can help you find willing, proficient collaborators.
When approaching potential teammates, make sure to clearly explain what it is you want to create. Make sure to outline why collaborating on this project would benefit them. Set explicit responsibilities and tasks for each of you, and as with expert interviews, make it as easy as possible for them to say yes.
Reaching out to others in your industry can help you create blog content that would be difficult on your own. Make sure to let your collaborators know when the piece goes live so that they can share it with their network.
Curate other people’s content
Another way of building relationships with people in your industry is to create a regular round-up post where you include links to other blog posts which you’ve read and found valuable.
Posts like this should be planned ahead. When you come across something you enjoy, save the link and make a note of why you found it useful. Make sure that the content can benefit your readers as well.
Seek out opportunities to write on other sites
Many sites offer guest writing opportunities. This can be a great way of reaching new audiences.
Start by considering which sites would harmonize nicely with the types of posts you write. Next, write a pitch email to send. Your pitch should be a concrete idea for an article, and should include an outline and why you think it would be a good fit for the site. Make sure you comply with any writing guidelines the site may supply. You can include links to posts you’ve written as well as to your social profiles.
Invite others to write a post for your site
If you decide to offer others in your industry a chance to write a guest post, write some style guidelines so that people have a clear idea about the content you want to publish.
Make sure to accept posts which complement your blog and that are valuable to your readers, and turn down thinly veiled sales pitches and off-topic posts.
Drive visits from offline activity
Many of the things you already do offline can translate into visits to your blog.
If you’re leading a workshop or speaking at an event like a conference, write up a blog post with further details about your session and include a link to this blog post in your slide deck. You can provide additional resources, more in-depth analysis, a free tool, or a promotional offer in this post to give people a reason to visit your blog. You can also include your social media handles here to encourage people to follow you.
If you’re creating printed materials to bring to an event (like leaflets, postcards, or business cards), include a link to your blog to encourage people to visit. Similarly, any physical products you send out (like receipts or packaging materials) are a great place to promote your blog and social media profiles.
Now that you have some ideas to promote your blog posts, don’t be afraid to start small. Experiment with just a couple of tactics for a few months, then review your activity. What seems to be working, and what doesn’t? Based on what you’ve learned, you can then refine your activity or even try out other tactics.
The right combination of promotional tactics may take time to develop, but by doing so you’ll learn a lot about your audience.