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How to Promote your Blog without Spending Too Much Time

promote-blogYou’ve got awesome content in place – but your blog is still a ghost town…

What gives?

When blogs first built massive audiences in the early 2000s, it was a heck of a lot easier to attract a dedicated following.  Blogs at the time were new and fascinating, and those that managed to hit on a niche grew explosively in popularity.

Now it’s a different story…you’re out of the loop if you’re not blogging.

You can’t just blog and hope for visitors anymore – promotion is necessary if you want to have any chance at building your audience at all.

If you’re not careful, you can easily spend more time promoting your blog than you have hours in a day.  So, if you have a limited amount of time, what do you do?

I suggest you follow these steps:

1.  Consistently Write Great Content 

This is still the first part of the equation.  Your content has to be unique and fascinating.  You should have at least 10 posts or so before you even start thinking of building an audience.

Try different things.  Go highly in-depth with your content.  Keep some posts shorter.  Use infographics, video, regular graphics, and create your own graphical information.

Whatever you do, give it your very, very best.

2.  Build Relationships with B-Level Bloggers

Going for the A-listers – that takes time, networking, luck, and you have to be a master in your niche to have any chance at getting published on the big-name blogs.  You can certainly go for them, but focus the brunt of your time on going for those blogs just below everyone’s radar.

What types of blogs are these?  They usually have a page rank of 3-5, posts with 3-10 comments, and a couple thousand social media followers.  You can get in with these guys much easier, and you can receive some decent traffic from many of them.

Then, all you do is write a good guest post, and that gets you 20-40 unique visits per month right there.

3.  Participate in High-Traffic, Relevant Forums

Ahh the forum.  It flies way below everyone’s radar these days,  but it works incredibly well for links and traffic.  Google’s slowly working on phasing out the value of the links forums provide, but you can get some very nice traffic.

The key here is to provide awesome answers to people’s questions.  The better the answer, the more people read it, and the more traffic you get.  With the links, which help you rank organically (and still do as far as I know), just make sure 80% of the link text does not target your primary keywords.

4.  Reach out to Influencers

Getting in touch with people who have large social media followings is a tough endeavor.  It takes a ton of time, but if you want to create a blog with a massive following, you’re at the mercy of the “big dogs.”

The Skyscraper Technique, created by Brian Dean of Backlinko, maximizes the results you get from contacting influencers.  This is what you do:

  • Identify top influencers in your niche
  • Check out the types of content they’re sharing
  • View the comments and social shares those posts receive
  • Create content on the same topic, but take a different angle or go much farther in-depth
  • Contact the influencer on social media, notifying them of the content, and invite them to check it out
  • If you’ve created awesome content, they’ll share it with their audience

5.  Do Organic SEO

It’s very hard to rank your blog posts individually.  I’ve tried it and have done better when not trying at all.  To get a blog post to rank for a search, do keyword research in Adwords.  You’re generally looking for keywords with a few hundred to a couple thousand searches per month.

Make sure the target keyword appears in the post’s title.  Add a couple other keywords throughout the post.  From there, you cross your fingers and hope.  If you really want the post to rank, build links to it.  But, there’s not promises on how that’ll work.

The better SEO to do is the following:

  • Link off your post to credible third-party sources (makes you look good to Google and your readers)
  • Add a link or two to various important pages on your website
  • Make sure the anchor text on your links is keyword-rich less than 10% of the time
  • Optimize the alt tags on images
  • Create in-depth content (1000 words+) consistently
  • Share it on social media
  • Get target keywords for your website into the posts

That type of SEO is more reliable and yields stable long-term results.

6.  Content Syndication Networks

Credit Quicksprout for this tip.  You know those groups of pictures you see at the bottom of websites like Huffington Post and Forbes?

Those are content syndication networks.  Yeah, they’re kind of spammy, but Quicksprout’s information is always as good as gold.  Zemanta is a good one.

The process for you is easy:

  • Check out which posts of yours have done well
  • Identify a budget (these networks charge a pay-per-click cost)
  • Analyze the content network’s results, and adjust your tactics over time

7.  Participate in Social Sharing Communities like Reddit and StumbleUpon

When you do participate, do so with the intention of contributing value.  Just dropping a link or a simple “thank you” comment won’t get you very far.

Also, keep your eyes open for what topics trend on these communities.  That gives you ideas for future posts.

8.  Make Sure You Have a Great Design

The “feel” of  your website – how it initially looks to your visitors – has a lot to do with how much they comment, like, and how long they stay on your site.

Make sure you have an attractive, professional design.  If you can scrape up the cash, have a pro do the design.  Or, talk a friend or family member into it.

Do whatever you have to in order to make it look good and load fast – that makes it something people want to share.

So, I can’t tell you in what ratios you should use those tactics, but those are the most effective ones I know about.

What tactics do you think give you the best return for your time?  Let me know in the comments below:

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/76657755@N04/7214596024/