Does organic traffic feel elusive? If so, you need new tactics. That's why in this episode I'm sharing 10 ways to promote your blog for free! And, as promised in the podcast episode, below the video is where you can find all my notes from my 10 Ways to Promote Your Blog for Free audio presentation. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope these tips help you out!
Here's the episode - 10 Ways To Promote Your Blog for FREE
And here are all the show notes I promised for 10 Ways To Promote Your Blog for FREE:
I’m all about getting free traffic. The more free visits I can get the better. Here’s the thing – as bloggers, it can get darn expensive for us when we try and use paid advertising to generate traffic for us. Sure, if we have products to sell, it might be worth it for us. However, most of us are on extreme budgets and have to save every penny we possibly can.
In my day job as a ghost blogger, most of my clients are small business owners trying to do everything on a shoestring budget. That’s another reason I went in search of ways of generating free traffic for blogs. They needed help getting people to their sites so they could make money! Without further ado, here are my best 10 ways to promote your blog for FREE!
1. Guest PostingThis is by far my favorite way to get more traffic!!! In fact, I guest post every single month, and I convince my clients to guest post as often as possible to drive traffic! Rather than try and re-invent the wheel with what I want to say about guest posting, here’s the guest post I wrote about guest posting for GoDaddy:
More and more business owners are hopping on the blogging train as they realize how much blogging can set them apart as experts in their field. Unfortunately, though, your own blog can only take you so far in establishing credibility in your industry. At some point, you’ll want to learn how to guest blog to get featured on other blogs, which helps spread your message to a larger audience.
Guest posting is a fantastic way to showcase your message on other blogs. A guest post is simply a blog post written by you (or at least with your byline) and hosted on a website other than your own.But how can you land a guest post on your blog of choice? Here’s the quick and easy path to becoming #internetfamous and gaining some serious #streetcred with guest posting.
How to guest blog in 5 easy steps
Now that you’re ready to showcase your stuff on another blogger’s platform, here are five tips to get you creating content that leaps off the page.
- Research ahead of time.
- Pick a handful of blogs.
- Get crafty with your pitch.
- Send and be patient.
- Write the post.
If you you really want to learn how to guest blog, keep reading for a deeper dive into each of these steps. Before you know it, you’ll be guest blogging with the best of us.
1. Research ahead of timeI know, I know. It’s tedious and sometimes annoying, but like it or not this is your first step on the path to productive guest posting. You need to find blogs that are relevant to your business. For example, if you are a nutritionist you want to put together a list of nutrition, health and wellness blogs. Search for the best blogs out there in your business’s niche.
You also want to find blogs that allow contributors. My awesome bloggy friends, Jill and Josh Stanton from Screw the Nine to Five, have a fantastic way to quickly find blogs that are looking for contributors. Simply head over to Google and type your niche and “write for us” into the search box; the results should include a bunch of potential blogs for guest posts. If this method doesn’t yield enough results, try typing your niche and phrases like “contribute,” “guest post,” “submit a post,” “work with us,” and “guest writer” into the search box.
Pro tip: Avoid blogs that haven’t been updated in months and those with broken links, spammy ads and spammy comments. Your goal is to be on reputable blogs with decent traffic. It’s a great sign if the posts on your target blogs are packed with killer information and feature lots of high-quality comments.
2. Pick a handful of blogsNow, nail down five to 10 blogs you would like to pitch. Brainstorm post topics that are relevant to each blog’s community and that will tickle the brains of their readers. Make sure your ideas haven’t already been covered on their blog! If you notice a published post that’s got a ton of comments (i.e. it was popular), figure out a fresh angle for that particular subject. Determine whether or not you should include pictures, infographics, or videos — all of which make posts more shareable, and thus, your pitch more appealing.
3. Get crafty with your pitchIf you’ve found a blog that has specific guest post guidelines, your pitch just got a hell of a lot easier for you. All you have to do is craft your guest post pitch in accordance with the guidelines. No guidelines means you will be sending a cold pitch, which is a little trickier but totally doable.
First, figure out who to send the pitch to. If you can’t find an email address for the blog owner or editor or whoever handles guest post inquiries, you might just need to head to their “contact us” page and fill out a generic form. Not ideal, but not a dealbreaker. Either way you will need to write up an awesome, but short and sweet, pitch that gets their attention and makes them want to use your stuff.
Pro tip: Don’t send a generic request to every blog you want to post for. I’ve been on the receiving end of this lazy tactic and it feels tacky and inauthentic. It’s a fast way to get your pitch deleted almost instantly.
You want your pitch to feel like you know your stuff and you have quality information to share. It’s also really important for your pitch to make it clear that you understand your target blog’s content genre and audience — and that you genuinely care about their readers. Be warm but authoritative. Explain, briefly, why your post idea is a great fit for their blog. It can help to cite a few related posts on their blog that caught your attention. If you have stats to back up the idea you’re pitching, share them now.
4. Send and be patientThis is the hard part. You might even feel like you sent the pitch into the ether never to be seen again, but be patient, Grasshopper. Give it a good week before you reach out again. Most bloggers are nice enough to respond pretty quickly with a yes or no to your request to guest post. Others are as A.D.D. as me and need a gentle reminder you pitched them in the first place.
Make sure you kept a copy of the original pitch in case you need to resend it. Hopefully, you will get a response that says you are welcome to send over your post; if so, continue onto step five. If not, go back to step one and start over.
5. Write the post
The blog you are salivating over accepted your guest post pitch! Awesome! Now write the crap out of that awesome post and submit it clean and mean and on time. If you’ve never had anyone you trust read over your posts before you publish them on your site, now is the time to start. Ask someone to proofread it for you! It’s vital to submit as-flawless-as-possible copy, which will boost your chances of a repeat invitation.
Include a brief bio (about 100 words or so) at the end of the post, along with a link back to your website. Most blogs will have no problem including a linkback, but it’s courteous to ask in advance if that’s acceptable. Find out if you should submit an author photo and, if so, send it in the specified dimensions.
Share the love
When I guest blog I will often write a quick reference post on my own site. It’s basically just a short post that tells my readers that I had the opportunity to share some knowledge nuggets with readers of Blog X, with a link to the guest post. It’s a great way to thank the hosting site for letting you hang out with their community. This is optional, but I love doing it!
You can also add the name of the guest site and link your post to the “as featured on” section of your about page or media kit. Of course, you’ll want to share the heck of that baby on your social media channels, too.
Congratulations, bloggy friend! You now know how to guest blog. You are spreading your knowledge and earning your street cred. I’m so proud of you! When you’re ready, you can even consider allowing others to guest blog on your site.
Host them, participate in them, love them! You’ve seen them all over the interwebs.
– 20 Thanksgiving recipes
– 15 Halloween costume ideas
– 10 Valentine’s DIYs
Each one of those round-up posts typically links back to another blogger’s awesome post that was just perfect for the themed write up.
How can you create a post of your own? Let’s say you want to do a post like 17 Rum Recipes. You could reach out to other bloggers and ask them to submit links to posts that fit the theme you want to write about. Or you could search for rum recipes and then ask the authors of the ones you find for permission to share them in your post.
Why ask for permission? Well, if you want to use any of the images in your blog post, you technically need to have permission to do so. And, be letting a blogger know ahead of time that they will be featured, they are 10 times more likely to share your post when it goes live.
Facebook is a fabulous resource for finding bloggers interested in hosting or participating in roundups. In fact, I’ve found several Facebook groups dedicated to roundups. Simply go to Facebook, search “blogger roundups,” and then click “Groups” on Facebook and you should find a few groups that are perfect for participating in and hosting roundups.
Once you start posting more and more roundups, you might begin being asked to submit links to other bloggers for their own roundups.
Another great way to participate in a roundup is to submit links to linky parties. But, what are linky parties?
A “linky party” or “link up” is a party on the Internet with colorful drinks and gluten-filled snacks, where only the most prestigious members of the blogosphere hang out and make fun of other bloggers with crappy traffic. #justkidding
In its simplest form a linky party is an event that a blogger hosts on their blog. They invite other bloggers to share their work with a new audience on a specific topic or theme. You don’t actually need to be invited to the party; you simply need content that relates to that linky party’s theme. Then, just like that guy at work who always seems to know when there’s cake in the breakroom, you mosey on in and join the party.
Let’s say you run a blog about nutritious recipes. You could host a linky party by inviting other bloggers to share links to posts with their favorite nutritious recipes. You might niche it down even further by limiting the event’s topic to nutritious desserts or gluten-free recipes.
How can you participate in a linky party?
You’ve got two choices here:
- You can catch wind of another blogger’s linky party and add a link related to the chosen topic.
- You can host your own linky party.
Joining a linky party
To go with Option 1, head to your favorite search engine and enter one or more of these keywords:
- link parties
- linky parties
- blogger link up
- blog hop
- blog party
That should trigger a plethora of search results. Wading through all of the options can be frustrating because search results aren’t always reliable — surprise! — but be patient and you’ll find at least a few linky parties you might be interested in joining.
Some bloggers host linky parties weekly, others monthly, and others even less frequently. Once a blogger decides to host a linky party, they usually will announce the theme of the party and the date and time for posting links.
Choose an event that fits in the niche you want to party with and simply follow the rules for when to post, what to post and how to post.Write a post on your blog that fits with the theme of the party, and return to the hosting site at the right time to add your post’s link. (Linky party hosts typically use either Linky Tools orInlinkz to allow fellow bloggers to add their links.) Boom! You’re partying with fellow bloggers now.
Pro tip: Take note of the other bloggers at the party. Make some bloggy friends by visiting their sites and commenting on pages. And be sure to give a shoutout about the party and its host on your site — it’s not just a nice thing to do; it can generate traffic.
I need to reiterate here the importance of following the rules. The last thing you want is to get banned from future linky parties! Also, many linky parties include a disclosure that states that participating in the party grants the host permission to use the images and text of your post should they decide to feature it on their website. If you aren’t cool with this, don’t participate.
Hosting a linky party
Want to host a linky party? It’s easy. Here’s how:
- Make sure your site has a widget for a link tool (see above).
- Decide on a theme, date and time.
- Promote your party in the blogosphere. You might use a hashtag like #linkyparties, set up a Facebook invite, and include your party info in your next newsletter.
- On the day of your party, follow the instructions for your chosen tool to publish the widget for everyone to link to.
- Continue promoting on social media throughout the party.
- When you’re finished, follow the instructions on your chosen tool to close the party down.
When you host a linky party, you can then use those links to create a roundup post. Or, when you’re participating in a linky party, the host might write one that features your blog. Either way – you’ve got backlink juice flowing and this can yield more traffic.
The trick with roundups is to tag other bloggers when you share the post on social media so you can get more shares, and hence more traffic!
3. Giveaways With Other Bloggers
When you’re part of a giveaway with other bloggers, you promote each other for the good of all of you. In giveaways I’ve participated in with other bloggers it’s gone like this:
- One blogger secures the giveaway item and writes the post about the giveaway
- The host blogger also creates the giveaway entry form in Rafflecopter to share the embedded code with the rest of the bloggers
- The host blogger then shares the post and embedded entry form code with all the bloggers
- Each blogger writes their own intro, their own headline and posts that along with the verbiage and entry form code into a blog post on their own blog.
- Then, we share each other’s posts and boost each other up on social media as we drive traffic to all of our sites for people to enter to win.
- Finally, a winner is chosen and we all share who it is.
Sometimes, we’ll even link to each other’s blog posts, or a recent post within the giveaway post to drive more traffic and give each other backlink juice.
If you don’t want to host with others, you can still do giveaways yourself to drive traffic. I’ve found giveaways are a lot of work, but they can be fun and give a nice boost of visitors.
4. Use your email signature
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but if your blog name and a link to it isn’t in your email signature, it should be! Putting your blog site in your email signature is not only a decent way to generate traffic, but it could also lead to paid gigs for you. And, if nothing else, it shows you’re serious about blogging as a business.
One woman I knew through my day job started putting a few of her recent blog posts in her email signature. A few times, this lead to her emails being forwarded, and even created some new leads for a product she was selling.
On another note – if you aren’t emailing your list regularly with your latest posts, you should be. I’m horrible about this with my personal blog, but my clients always see a nice traffic surge when they send emails to their lists featuring the most recent blog posts that have been published.
5. Get in the press
One of the best ways to build credibility, and get the word out about your blog is to find a way to get in the news. How can you make that happen? Here are three easy ways to get the media’s attention:
Set yourself up as an expert in your field and reach out when the news needs you. Every day various things come up in the news. If something is making headlines that you have some expertise on you could reach out to the news desk of various media outlets and offer opinions or advice. For example, let’s say getting fit is trending in the media. If you are a blogger that writes about personal training or nutrition, you could reach out with your tips for getting fit and potentially land a TV spot or a paragraph in the paper.
Write a book or teach a class on what you know. Prior to the class or book publication send out a press release. Sometimes the media will pick up on this, other times they won’t, but you won’t know until you try.
Get involved with a charity event, or host a newsworthy event of your own. Events are one of the easiest ways to be seen by the media because of these two words- Event Calendars! Just about every local news outlet has an event calendar, and nearly every event that is posted is approved to go on the public event calendar. Send a press release about the events too if you’re the host, or majorly involved, because if the news outlet you send it to deems it newsworthy you can sometimes get a story or feature on your event too!
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind as well to help you land some media attention:
– Don’t expect the press to come to you. Reach out to the media when you have news to share.
– Social Media is your friend. Use it to its fullest potential and post your newsworthy content on all platforms.
– Donate goods, services, time and money whenever you can.
– Sponsor events as a media sponsor that serve the same audience or interests as yours.
– Consider hiring a good public relations firm to represent your blog (once you get big enough, of course).
6. Write for Medium, Reddit, Quora, etc…
Posting in forums is a FABULOUS way to get traffic to your site because you are setting yourself up as an expert. Often times this can convince a reader to come back to your site just to see if you have anything else to offer on the subject they are currently exploring.
For example, let’s say you have written a lot of posts about diet and nutrition. Rework a post and load it to Medium, or answer questions about diet and nutrition in Reddit or Quora. Often times you get to link back to your site in your profile, and you could even add links to your comments and articles loaded to the platforms.
I get random traffic to my personal blog thanks to re-purposing content onto Medium all the time!
7. Strategic Use of Social Media
– Don’t just share your posts on social media. Be strategic about it. For example, when you’re working with brands, or just talking about them – tag the brands!
– If you’ve quoted blogger friends in your post, tag them in your social media updates about said posts.
– If you don’t have have share buttons on your site, get them. TODAY! You want people to share your posts on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google Plus — everywhere. The best blogs make it easy for them by including social share buttons in every post.
– Add links to your other social sites where you can. On Facebook you can add a link to every social platform on your profile, and on your fan page. And, put your link to your blog in your bio on EVERY platform you have an account with.
– Ask for shares! REALLY! Asking is a great way to generate more traffic because people are more likely to share simply due to your requesting it.
– Share more often, and at the right times. Wait what? Yep – there are better times to post. According to Hartzer Consulting, as of 2018 anyway, these are the best times to post on your social platforms:
– Use niche-specific hashtags. When you use niche-specific hashtags to help promote blog posts on social media sites, other social media users who are following similar hashtags are more likely to find you. This is why when you use a hashtag like #yoga in a Twitter post about the yoga article you just published on your blog, yoga enthusiasts you’ve never met might bend over backwards to like and share that post. #thatsjustsmart
An added benefit to niche-specific hashtags is you’re more likely to drive qualified sales leads to your site (i.e. people who have a higher chance of buying the product). That is, when you start selling products from your blog…
– Hop on popular hashtags if you have relevant posts that make sense as well. For example, if I wanted a lot of people to see my post about Taylor Swift, I would use the hashtag #TaylorSwift. This signals to the Twittersphere that I’m one of the many people on the platform talking about the pop star.
If her tag is trending, I’m more likely to score some free traffic to my post using that hashtag.
– Use click to tweet buttons. There are several sites that offer this, and it allows you to create a button you embed into your posts that your visitors can simply click to generate a tweet about your post and links back to it.
8. Get Interviewed on Podcasts
Not only has this gotten me traffic, but it’s also gotten me paid gigs! In fact, I made $400 from being on just one podcast. Yes, REALLY!
Here are my best tips for becoming a guest on a podcast:
Target Podcasts That Cater to Your Potential Audience for your Blog
Figure out the best podcasts your readers and potential readers are listening to. There are thousands of podcasts out there, and odds are you know someone you hosts one that you would be perfect for.
Know In Advance What to Talk About
You should make a list of topics that you will talk about ahead of time that will not only show off your expertise, but also make for good information your host will want to share with their audience. For example, if you’re a food blogger and will be talking to an audience of beginner foodies that need quick meals that are easy to prepare, you can come up with a list of talking points to pitch that fits the needs of that podcast.
Pitch the podcast host with a simple email, and then wait to hear back. If you don’t hear back, try one more time (people sometimes miss the first email or forget about you because they are busy). Then, if you still don’t hear back, try again with that host in a couple of months or so.
Make Time for the Recording
Find out when you will be interviewed and prepare for it thoroughly ahead of time. Remember that you are selling your blog to people out there that are looking for your set of skills, so make sure that you do sell yourself for all you’re worth.
When the day comes for your interview, allot 30 minutes ahead of time and 30-60 minutes afterward to ensure that if the interviewer needs you earlier or the interview runs late you won’t miss out on the opportunity.
Additional tips for getting on a podcast
– Listening to previous episodes of that podcast will help you determine if you’re a good fit and/or what topics to discuss
– Avoid podcasts that have nothing to do with your field unless you have something exceptionally relevant to offer
– Don’t wing it
– Start small with smaller podcasts to then use as social proof that you deserve to be on the big name podcasts
– After the podcast goes live be sure to announce it on your website and your social media pages
9. Interview Experts & Quote Them
Interview experts on video, in person, on the phone, etc… Get the awesome knowledge bombs, and then share their wisdom in a blog post. Then, when you post it – TAG them! More often than not, they will share it when you tag them based on an interview you’ve done with them.
Can’t get an expert to connect with you? Use their quotes from podcasts, Youtube videos, and Facebook lives…with credit of course! Then, when you publish the post, tag them to increase your reach… Even if they don’t retweet or like it, your tag may show up in the feed of their followers to help you get more website visitors. And, who knows? you could get lucky and get a retweet or shout out from someone huge!
Not only can networking help you come up with things to blog about, you can sometimes help each other promote the things you are working on. Reach out to bloggers in your niche and similar niches, and find ways you can work together to cross market, and cross post each other’s work
Lost on how to network exactly? Here are a few of my favorite ways to connect:
Did you know that there are several Facebook Groups dedicated to blogging. Personally, I’m part of the Ultimate Blogging Challenge Group, Bloggers Community Group and Tampa Bay Bloggers, to name a few. I confess I’m not as active in them as I would like to be, but when I’m feeling the sadness of not interacting with people, I jump into conversations with others. In fact, I now follow a few of these bloggers regularly and thoroughly enjoy reading their posts and commenting on what they’ve written.
We started with a retweet and now we’re bloggy friends. Yup, that’s how it happens. Get on Twitter and find bloggers in your niche; you’ll already have something in common to bond over. Give a retweet or a shoutout, and all of a sudden you’re connecting. Before you know it you’ll be Skyping and Facetiming!
These are similar to Facebook Groups, but LinkedIn Groups are pretty frustrating to me. Not only do you get capped at 50 groups if you go without paying for the pro subscription, it often feels more difficult to get accepted into the closed and invitation-only groups. Nonetheless, I do get a kick out of reading some of the group posts. If you’ve got tips on making the most of this platform, please share in the Comments!
It’s OK, take the next step
After exhausting your online efforts, it’s time to start looking for face-to-face interaction with bloggy friends. Yes, you might need to change out of your PJs for a few hours — but it’ll be worth it!
I’ve attended two or three of these, and I have to say blogger Meetups are pretty fun. You actually get to hang with a bunch of other individuals who generally hide behind their computers. It’s interesting to see them in the daylight (or after dark for evening cocktails, depending on when the event is scheduled). I had a great time at Meetup held at a pizza shop. We live-tweeted the entire evening and the owner gave us free pizza. With a double win — human interaction and free pizza — like this, how can you go wrong?
I’ve been to less than a dozen full-on blogger conferences so far, but I definitely hope to go to many more over the course of the next several years. Why? Because there is nothing like being among hundreds of people who are doing the same thing you’re doing.
Attending blogging conferences makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger than me — and, not only can that help me drive traffic, it’s a major antidote for loneliness.
You might find this hard to believe, but you can find fellow bloggers in local networking groups. There is one networking group here in Tampa Bay that I used to frequent and I found four fellow bloggers who I still regularly read and interact with. Can’t find a local networking group that works for you? Start your own.
So, get out there and get some bloggy friends. It might seem difficult at first, but keep in mind that many of your brethren in the blogosphere are probably just as hopeful to connect with someone as you are. And if you want to be my bloggy friend, hit me up on Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. I’d love to have you in my life and truly believe you can never have enough bloggy friends!
Bonus Tip – Speak in a summit/conference
Speak in a summit, and/or in conferences like Florida Blog Con! When I speak, I often notice an uptick in traffic. Not only does the conference I’m speaking at typically share my website, but as I share that I’ll be speaking I’m guessing it gets people interesting in finding my site as well.
I’ve helped clients in my day job to find speaking gigs too by ghostwriting their speaker applications. Every time they are chosen to speak they rave about how much higher their page views are in the month that they speak!