Perhaps the second most common question I see about blogging, right along with “how often should I blog?” is “How often should I promote my blog? On this point there is a fair amount of disagreement, so I will just tell you my approach, and then you can tell me if yours is similar, or why you do things differently.
Here is my “strategy” in a nutshell.
1. Publish blog
2. Copy a link with maybe a bit of description (since you have the room) to Facebook – I have tried importing the notes before but the importing time frame is so unreliable and irritating that I just do it manually
3. Copy link to a URL shortener, post to Twitter
And that’s it.
Usually, I can tell right away if the blog is going to get traction or not. If people start commenting or retweeting in the first hour or so, then I know that I’ve hit on something that people are finding helpful. If I hear crickets, then I know that my post is probably not hitting people in a big way.
Sometimes, if I feel like the subject matter really could help people, or if it seems like Twitter is having a bit of a slow day (it does happen), I will tweet out a second link later in the day. Very rarely.
This strategy came about as part of my overall approach to Social Media. I am not here to get enough traffic to crash my site every day. I’m not here to get 75 comments, come hell or high water (pardon the expression). I am here to try to help people. If a post isn’t resonating, then I simply have missed the mark. I do not get mournful about this – sometimes posts hit people different ways at different times. I, like my Twitter stream, move on.
There are lots of people who think this is kind of a silly way to go about things. There are different time zones you need to account for (around the world, mind you). Plus Twitter is a constantly moving target. Your tweets are like little twigs on a river – they float on by and people may or may not catch them the first time around. I don’t really worry about that either. The way I figure it, I am promoting my blog posts every day because I am posting a new blog every day. If you come here and read my first post, maybe you’ll see what else I’ve been up to.
Now of course, I must note that if you are not posting every day, your promotion rules would change. If I was posting, say, 3 times a week, I would tweet out the same post 1-2 times on the days in between posts. I would jog the times to try to hit different crowds. But I would still not tweet out the post dozens of times.
I would toss out there that if you want to tweet a link to your own post several times throughout the day, make sure you are doing even more promoting of other people while you’re at it.
Other ways to promote blog posts
There are a couple of other ways I promote blog posts. If someone asks a question that I know I cover specifically in a blog post, I will put it out there. For example, recently my friend Lauren Gray expressed some concerns about migrating her blog site from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. I sent her a link to the presentation I did about that very issue because I thought (and hoped) it might help her out. Since I am developing content with the intent of helping other people, this is a great scenario for me, where I can really feel like I’m being at least semi-useful.
Occasionally, I might tweet a relevant post during a chat for the same reason. If someone brings up a topic I just wrote about, I might say something like, “FYI, I wrote about this earlier this week if you want to take a look.” The same can be done on LinkedIn. I am cautious about doing this because I think too many links away from a chat can be distracting, plus not many people will move away from a fast-moving chat to read a blog post.
Finally, when I comment on peoples’ blogs, I fill in the “website” part of the form with this blog site’s URL. I very very very seldom link to a specific blog post, though I might mention a blog post I had done on a similar topic. If someone likes a comment I have made and they want to learn more about me, the link is accessible without me shoving it down everyone’s throats.
Things that bug me
There are a couple of things people do to promote their blogs that I personally find kind of annoying.
Auto-tweet the same post over and over again: There are a couple of people on my Twitter stream who have been tweeting out the same blog posts for months. There are a few problems with this in my opinion First, it gives the impression that you have nothing new to say. Second, if the post you are tweeting isn’t hitting people the right way, then you are going to decrease the amount of interest every time the tweet goes out. Third, it makes people start to wonder if you actually remember you have those auto tweets turned on.
Blog-droppers: You know how some people are name droppers? Like, literally, they could be connected with anyone famous who has ever lived. Elivs probably looked at their mother. The first cave man to paint a picture in a cave was their great great great great great (etc) grandfather (twice removed). Well, there are some folks who drop their blog posts in the same way. If you talk about chicken, they will link you to a post they did about food. If you mention cockroaches, they will link you to a post. I believe that if you are truly useful, people will figure it out. If you have doubts about whether they will find you useful, you may want to rethink your strategy.
So that’s my take on promoting blog posts. What’s yours?