If you want to build influence – as a blogger, as a service professional, as a consultant – you have to promote yourself. You have to get yourself out there and help people to find your amazing content.
Self promotion is a formidable task. If you promote yourself too much, you’ll end up looking like a fool. If you don’t promote yourself enough, you’ll be invisible.
It’s worth the risk. If you do it wrong at first (and many do!), learn from your mistakes. Take another leap; try another strategy.
What follows is not an exhaustive list. There are as many ways to promote yourself as there are blogs and bloggers, but I’ve listed a few of the ways that I (and bloggers I know and coach) have found success at promoting my work.
Know Your Audience
I attended the 2:1 conference over the weekend. It’s a niche conference, specifically for Christian homeschool bloggers. As you might imagine, there wasn’t much wild partying going on. I wouldn’t expect a vodka company to show up there.
You have to know your audience and show up wherever they show up. You’ve got to put your message in the places that they’ll see it. Otherwise, you’ll be shooting in the dark and hoping for the best.
Optimize Your Posts
- Make the first image on your page look good for Pinterest. Photos that are pinned over and over on Pinterest are the ones with the title on an awesome photo. If you want to see an example of a blog that consistently does this superbly, check out No Time for Flashcards.
- Make the first image on your page look good for Facebook. Facebook likes square photos; the thumbnail on any shared link is 91 x 91 pixels. If you use a rectangular image, it will get cropped, possibly awkwardly.
- When you learn the tricks of basic SEO, you offer your content to potentially thousands of Google searchers every day. It’s priceless.
Create a Community of Readers
- Have something to say. Be uniquely you, speak from your own experience. Don’t copy someone else’s posts or ideas.
- Become a member of the blogging community. Be seen in the community; comment regularly on other blogs in your niche. Leave thoughtful, interesting comments in lots of places.
- When you’re looking for blogs to comment on, go for blogs using CommentLuv. Your comment will contain a link to your most recent post, like this:
- Guest post on other blogs – in your niche and outside of your niche.
- There is a great book called Engagement from Scratch! that will show you how to build an audience for your blog. You can buy it from Amazon or download it free from the author’s website (which is totally what I did).
- Install social sharing buttons on your site. If you don’t have these (and a call to action like “Like this post? Share it with your network!”), you are missing out. My assistant coded mine in, but you can do something similar with a plugin like Shareaholic.
- Offer special content through Social Whispers or some such service. These services allow you to exchange a file – a printable, an ebook, a PDF, whatever – for a Tweet or Facebook mention.
- Join Ning groups or clubs like Mom Bloggers Club and include a link to your site in your signature
- Pin your post to a relevant board on Pinterest*
- Share your posts on Twitter with a short and catchy description (not necessarily the title)*
- Participate in chats on Twitter. Chats like #hsbloggers, #blogchat, and #speakchat. Share your stuff a little, but mostly participate thoughtfully.
- Send your posts to your Facebook page*
- Send your posts to your Google+ page*
Be Kind & Helpful
- Form a tribe. Your tribe is the handful of people to whom you can reach out when you have something important to promote. When someone in my tribe has a post that needs to be promoted, I Tweet it, share it on Facebook, pin it, Stumble it, and so on. They do the same for me.
- Do nice things for other people. When you read something great, share it in social media or on your blog.
- Write round-up posts on your blog where you link to a few great posts that your readers will enjoy. Most of the time, the author will get a pingback and allow it to publish next to the comments on their post.
- Consider buying advertising through Facebook or on other blogs that share your audience.
- Set up a signature in your email that includes a link to your site
- Set up a signature on forums like BabyCenter.com that includes the link to your site
- Check out MomAdvice’s article called Gaining Readership the Frugal Way
- Check out Money Saving Mom’s series on building your readership: part 1 part 2 part 3
*There’s so much more to being successful on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ than just sharing your own links. Be a part of the community. Make friends. Interact with people. If you’re just spewing out your own links all the time, you’re missing the point.