Saturday, October 23, 2010

Best Practices for Promoting Your Blog

How do I get my Blog Noticed?

What's the best way to spread the word and get visitors to my blog?

Based on the number of times I see these questions, and their various iterations, these are the top concerns for people thinking about blogging. Related questions like "which WordPress theme should I use?" and "which hosting platform should I blog on?" still come down to the real meat of the matter - how do you get noticed?

Once you've decided to blog, regardless of what Wordpress theme you use, SEO strategy you choose, directories you list your blog in, here are three best practices which are the key to being noticed by people who count.

Cultivate contacts in your industry

Know the other bloggers who write about topics relevant to your audience. Comment on their blogs, follow them on Twitter, meet up with them at networking events. Take the time to build relationships with your industry news sources and blogs similar or tangential to yours. Relationships with others in your field will get your blog added to Blogrolls and link pages on profiles and sites that people with similar interests and concerns will visit. Feel free to link to them in your posts, engage in conversation with them, move that conversation across both your blogs (and on to other platforms on which you interact) and you'll find that you can expand each other's audience in a totally organic way.

Provide an open environment for discussion

It's very easy to state an opinion. Strong opinions will sometimes provoke strong reactions. But to get a true conversation going, you need to provide an environment that encourages and inspires diverse ideas. Asking a question of your readers, or inviting them to chime in with their ideas is a way to open the floor and get some noise going. The more people who feel free to comment, the more they will feel free to share your post and links to the comments among their contacts.

Reward your most engaged readers

Promotional campaigns aren't just for companies. Finding a way to "promote" your readers when they promote your blog can make a huge impact, in a simple way. On my other blog, I award Hero badges to people who sponsor a review, and Correspondent badges to people who provide tips for our weekly news report. Make your most engaged readers feel special and they'll want to support you even more.

These three tips all involve incremental additional work. Rather than spending time on LinkedIn asking how you can get your blog noticed, you can get out there and comment on a related blog, share some knowledge on Twitter, talk to someone at an event. In the same time it took to ask "how do I?" you'll see continued growth in your readership, more engagement in the comments and more passion from your advocates.

Now it's your turn: What do you consider a "Best Practice" in promoting your blog and expanding your audience? I'll collect up the answers for a follow-up post!
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