You probably already read a thousand posts about how to promote your blog.
Every blog about blogging has published one and, hell, I probably have written something about it too. And yet, how to put my blog on the map is one of the most frequent questions I get from clients and friends. I don’t blame you, blogging is one of the hottest marketing vehicles nowadays (I heard).
Commenting, guest posting, free gifts, you name it. If you ask me, all good advice. I’m not about to tell you not to do those things because I truly believe they help get some visibility back to your blog. Allow me a couple of minutes to make my point.
I’m writing this considering the following concept…
If you blog you are a publisher and you do need to put that content you create in front of an audience. Hopefully the right audience. The only way to do that is by promoting your blog. We have discussed the topic of self-promotion here and how you shouldn’t feel weird about it. Content is not king if nobody can find it.
What I Didn’t Do To Put SocialMouths On The Map (Or… A Little Confession)
Before I continue, I wanna say that I don’t think SocialMouths is the ultimate blog or even one of the most popular ones in the niche, I don’t even think it has reached its full potential for several reasons. As a matter of fact, I’m one of those guys that are always thinking the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But it does get 60k monthly pageviews, its email list gets about 10 new subscribers a day, Twitter followers are growing at about 100 per week and the Facebook Page grows at about the same rate. So will say that it is on the freakin’ map. =)
The following are some of the things I never did to promote the blog, some of them I still don’t do. After this I’ll tell you why, which is not relevant to my point…
Commenting on Other Blogs
I rarely, almost never comment on other blogs. I do have a list of must-read bloggers that I consume every week and I also take the time to discover new ones on a regular basis. I share a good amount of this content on Twitter and Facebook and sometimes I even say something to the author on Twitter but I almost never comment even if I love the post.
I have never, not once, written a post for another blog. I have contributed with small pieces when they feature several bloggers and I have done a couple of interviews but never a guestpost of my own. Okay I have written a couple for my wife’s blog which is not at all related, but that’s it. I had a couple of offers in the past from well-known blogs but I had to declined.
The Social Media Elite
I don’t chase the so-called “social media elite” to see if an influencer retweets my crap or maybe I can establish a conversation with them. I don’t even read their blogs with the exception of CopyBlogger, which I happen to think kicks some serious ass and I have tons to learn from. An ocasional tweet from an influencer could give you a little spark in your traffic and that’s it.
I don’t think there is anything wrong if you wanna talk to the human being but I’m uncomfortable with the thought of “talking to the social media elite”.
Social Media Automation
I do not use any social media automation tools. I have used them to learn from them but it is not a practice of mine. I don’t use TwitterFeed to send my posts or other people’s posts, when you see me share a post from somebody else I’m actually there and I use Hootlet. I don’t even schedule tweets. I do tweet about my own posts 2 or 3 times in the day they go live but I do it manually.
A lot of people say scheduling tweets saves you time, no it doesn’t, you’re just allocating that time at another time.
I pay no attention to content optimization when I’m writing, if you see me doing a couple of things in a post I’m usually playing by ear, like making some important lines bold or writing a meta description behind the scenes.
I don’t do any keyword analysis before or after writing the post.
I really feel bad about this one but I’ve never written an eBook that I can give away for an email opt-in. As a matter of fact, and this is one of the biggest mistakes I made, I started building my email list a year after I launched the blog. This should be in place even before the launch. Even today, there is no shiny eBook at the top of my sidebar.
I don’t do video because I’m troubled with my strong accent. Period. << Reminder: I should delete this line.
This is by choice, I have put it together for clients that ask for it and it’s funny but I don’t even mind when I go to my favorite blogs and I get a pop-up. I just don’t wanna have one at the moment even when other bloggers say they have increased their lists by 1,000%. Sorry!
I think you get the picture…
Glad you ask. Besides wanting to share those things with you, the reason is not the point of this post, actually, it’s pretty stupid and in most cases not valid. I don’t have enough time.
I’d love to guestpost or comment a lot and I know I will but the reality behind this blog is that I’m not a full-time blogger, I wanna get there but today I’m not. I have to run the behind-the-scenes of it which is providing services for my clients and I’m also a partner at a digital agency. Sometimes I barely have time to write a post and, on top of that, it takes me forever to write one…
Some of these things I didn’t do at the beginning out of ignorance and others are just choices I made. I’m not in any way suggesting that you do or don’t do any of these, in fact, some of them are really good advice and you should at least test them.
But like I said, that’s not the point.
But Francisco, What’s the Point?
The point is that you do not have to take all that advice you find online and make it yours, we all have different needs, different goals and different schedules. I always tell people to design a blogging strategy but, design your own. A realistic one.
I usually publish posts on Wednesday, I got this idea in my head that it’s the best day to do so but, last week I wasn’t ready. I had my post ready on Friday. So I decided to ask other bloggers on Twitter if they had other days or insights about the topic. To my surprise some of them said Tuesday, others said Thursday but most of them said they didn’t care. These are bloggers I respect, and they don’t care! They obviously have success posting whenever they want.
Erika Napoletano even told me that she gets an idea, writes the post right there and she publishes on the spot. Dude, this girl thinks of something and she starts throwing up beautiful words! I wish I had those mad skills.
Sorry. Got a little carried away… So what happened? Well, I went live on Friday and I didn’t get the response I usually get on Wednesday. From now on, I’ll do my best to post on WEDNESDAYS! That works for me.
I went to Google and turns out there are posts about when to publish, when to send an email campaign, when to tweet. That works for them but something completely different will work for you.
I know you’ve read hundreds of words on the topic of blog promotion in order to make that learning curve a little easier on yourself. Awesome. Now I want you to open your mind, forget all that and get ready to break all the rules. There is no one-size-fits-all here and there is no rule that says that if you don’t comment on other blogs you won’t make it.
There is one thing that got stuck with me a while back, it was @garyvee being bombarded with Twitter questions on a CNN interview, he answered “just follow your heart and you’ll be ok.”
Don’t think that if you don’t guest post or do video you won’t be able to put your blog on the map.
How About You?
Okay, I think I over shared here so… you go now and share what you don’t do to promote your own blog. Or, share your unique ideas on how to promote it.
I hope you all have a nice Wednesday, because this post is going out next Wednesday (you didn’t see that coming, did ‘ya?)