Earlier this week I wrote about the importance of writing a good blog post, but after a post is written and made available to all, your work is only half done. You need to work harder than ever to make sure people read it.
When I started reading blogs in 2004 and then started my own blog in 2005 there were three primary ways to drive traffic to your blog.
- Share an RSS feed so that readers can subscribe.
- Ask other blogs to list you on their blog roll.
- Participate in the discussions on other blogs.
While some of these methods still work, especially the third one, the first two are not quite as relevant anymore. In fact, there are a few other ways to market your blog that may be even more necessary these days.
As I mentioned in my previous post, competition is fierce. There are a lot of great blogs out there fighting for the limited attention of readers. Here are some thoughts on why marketing your blog is more important than ever:
Readers Want You to Find Them
Folks are using Twitter, Facebook, and other social media tools to share their information with others. When big news happens, many people don’t have to look much further than their facebook or twitter feeds. In fact, these days I find out most big stories from social media before I hear them on the news. Readers expect the best content to find them, even if they won’t admit it.
Today’s Online Tools Give Immediate Access to Your Blog
Rather than praying for someone to subscribe to your RSS feed, you can stick your posts right into the Twitter and Facebook feeds of hundreds, if not thousands of readers. It’s very easy to promote a link on social media a few times a day, so why not plan on it 3-times a day? Those two sites are the most important sources of traffic for my blog.
Blog Rolls are Less Important
While it’s never bad to have your blog listed on the sidebar of a high-profile blog, or any blog for that matter, blog rolls are becoming less important with the large number of blogs out there and the variety of ways the people read blogs these days that render a blog roll link useless.
Online Conversation Has Not Changed
It’s still vitally important to comment on the blogs of those with similar interests. Finding time for this is the most challenging part of blog promotion for me, but it can also be the most rewarding since you’ll make some great friends and acquaintances along the way. Some of these friends have become friends in person or have become collaborators in projects.
Align Your Promotion Plan with Your Goals
A big part of determining how hard you want to work at promoting your work will depend on your personal goals. Perhaps you just want to write as a personal discipline or as a way to share ideas with your friends. That’s a good and viable plan for a blog. However, if you want to be a major contributor to an area of knowledge or even a leader, then you’ll need to think of ways you can ensure that readers have multiple opportunities to run into your work.