Unfortunately, it’s not enough to write great content and hope people will find you. And even if you improved your blog for SEO, well, it takes a while before search engines will notice you. Yes, crafting and committing to a good SEO strategy can bring large, long-lasting, and free traffic to your blog. But it also takes about 6 months on average before you see an increase in traffic, while the full results are visible only after 12 to 24 months.
However, you can’t just sit idly by and wait for things to happen. Good things come to those who wait, sure, but better things come to those who go out and get them. So while waiting for your SEO strategy to yield results, you should be proactive and be out there promoting and endorsing your blog.
Promotion is just as important as creating and optimizing your content – if not more so. In fact, many marketers swear by the simple formula of spending 10% of your time writing a blog post, and the remaining 90% promoting it. So here are some of the very best channels you can use to get the word out about your blog – for free.
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Email promotion is a tried-and-true-formula for endorsing your blog effectively and for free. Old-fashioned, maybe, but it’s worked before, it still works now, and it will likely work just as well in the future. Hence, why it’s been a favorite of bloggers ever since. Here are some reasons why you should love email marketing, too:
- Widespread. There are over 4 billion email users worldwide and over 7 billion email accounts. Over 3 million emails are sent every second. And 95% of people check their email every day.
- Effective. You’re 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet. Email is 40x more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook or Twitter. And email subscribers are 3x more likely to share your content on social media than visitors from other sources.
- High ROI. The average return on investment (ROI) for email marketing is $42 for every dollar spent.
- Profitable. About 4.24% of visitors from email marketing buy something, compared to 2.49% of visitors from search engines and 0.59% from social media.
- Personalized. Delivering personalized emails that are relevant, interesting, and useful straight to your subscribers’ inbox can make them feel special and help build meaningful connections.
- Easy. Email marketing is simple and uncomplicated. Plus, opt-in plugins and email marketing platforms do most of the work for you.
- You own your list. Your list of email subscribers is your earned traffic. Google, Facebook, or any other platform can’t take it away from you. You can get traction and build traffic with your own email list even if you’re not getting any love from Google, even if search engines or social media decide to change everything.
How email promotion works is simple. It begins with you convincing your visitors to sign up on your email list. Offer them something worthwhile in exchange for their email address – apart from interesting and valuable content, of course – like free ebooks, online courses, stock photos, or anything related to your topic that your readers will find useful.
Once you have a list of emails, you can then send your subscribers promotional material – say an update about a new post or product, or even better, a newsletter or blog digest containing a roundup of your best posts for the month, quarter, or year, etc.
Beyond that, here are some more tips to help you succeed in email marketing:
- Install a WordPress opt-in plugin. Build your email list with a good opt-in plugin, which provides users with a sign-up form or page (pop-ups, sidebar opt-ins, in-post opt-ins, etc.) where they can opt to subscribe to more of your content, delivered straight to their email inbox. Note that you can’t send emails to people without their permission; you can only send to those who sign up and actually want to receive your content. You can use plugins like OptinMonster, Sumo, MailPoet, Holler Box, etc.
- Offer something worthwhile in exchange for emails. People will only part with their email if you offer them something valuable in return. Good, useful content is foremost among that. You can also offer freebies like ebooks, courses, webinars, cheat sheets, templates, discounts, etc.
- Join an email marketing platform. This is the software that allows you to create and send well-designed emails (like newsletters or blog digests) to your subscribers, and see important stats like open rates (what percent of your subscribers are opening your emails), click-through rates (what percent of them are clicking your links), etc. You have to set up an account with an email marketing platform and then connect it with your WordPress email opt-in plugin. Many email marketing platforms are free, but you need to upgrade to a paid premium account after a while to access more and better tools. The most popular include MailChimp, Moosend, HubSpot, SendInBlue, etc.
- Pick a sending schedule. Choose how often do you want send emails to your subscribers. Will it be weekly, monthly, etc.? Consider how often you’re publishing new content. Plus, you should know that sending too frequently might annoy your subscribers and lead them to unsubscribe, while sending seldomly might make them forget and lose interest.
- Send only your best content. Sending irrelevant or badly written or designed emails will make your subscribers think you’re spamming them. So make sure you’re only sending them the best content. Write clickworthy titles, subjects, and emails. Design your newsletters beautifully. And make sure your content is fresh and interesting.
- Call-to-action (CTA). Include a clear and attention-grabbing CTA on every email so your subscribers know what action you want them to take (buy a product, get the discount, read the article, share on social, etc.)
- Personalize. Did you know that personalizing emails, like addressing your subscribers by their first name, tend to deliver 6x higher transaction rates? Your subscribers’ first and last names are part of the sign-up form provided by your email opt-in plugin, and you can adjust the settings of your email newsletters (like using first names) on your chosen email marketing platform.
- Optimize for mobile. About 63% of emails are opened on mobile devices, so your emails should be mobile-friendly.
- Option to unsubscribe. Your subscribers have the right to unsubscribe to your content if they no longer want it. Show and tell them exactly how to do it (buttons, links, steps, etc.). And when they do unsubscribe, make sure you respect their choice.
- Measure engagement. See how your emails are doing by monitoring important stats like open and click-through rates. Track what email designs, titles, subjects, etc. work best for your users and what doesn’t, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
2. Social media
Social media sites are some of the most effective platforms to promote your blog on. With vast and diverse audiences, unlimited global reach, and easy to use tools to communicate and engage, social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest could catapult your blog from obscurity to worldwide fame. And best of all, social media is free.
That said, not all social networking sites are built the same. Not all of them are compatible with your blog. While it’s perfectly understandable that you want to establish a presence on all social media sites, the fact is that each one of them requires valuable time and effort, things you’ll be constantly short of, especially when you’re juggling your schedule between content creation, site maintenance, promotion, and a host of other tasks.
The best thing you can do is to pick one or two of the most appropriate social media platforms and excel in those. So take a look at the some of the most popular and relevant social media sites and see where your blog is best suited.
- Facebook. The biggest social network worldwide, with roughly 2.91 billion monthly active users as per the latest data. Males account for 56.5% of global ad audience (those reached by ads), and females 43.5% (data reports only male and female). Meanwhile, over 31% of total ad audience are aged 25 to 34, the largest age group, followed by users aged 18 to 24, which account for 23% of total ad audience. India has the most Facebook users (reached by ads), at least 349 million, while the US comes in second at 194 million. Note that total number of users vs. total number of users reached by ads are different.
Best ways to promote your blog on Facebook are by creating a Facebook Page where you can share your blog posts, or by forming a Facebook Group where you can build a community for people who care about your blog, its niche, or other related topics. Add prominent images to your posts for more engagement. Plus, share juicy snippets, quotable quotes, interesting stats, etc. from your articles apart from just linking your posts wholesale.
- Instagram. With almost 1.5 billion monthly active users, it’s the fourth most-used social media platform. Females make up 48.4% of total ad audience, while males constitute 51.4%. The largest age group are users 25 to 34 years old, which account for 32% of total ad audience, while users aged 18 to 24 are at second at 30%. India (201 million) and the US (157 million) have the two greatest number of users (reached by ads) worldwide.
Instagram is all about the visuals (mostly). So promote your blog using only the best images and videos to capture your audience’s attention. Utilize Instagram Stories to share your blog content and don’t forget to include your Instagram handle with your blog or blog post URL posted there. And captions shouldn’t be an afterthought – write short but compelling and relatable descriptions that users will be emotionally invested in and that will drive them to your blog.
- Twitter. There are around 436.4 million users on Twitter worldwide. Of its total ad audience, 29.6% are female and 70.4% are male. The biggest age group on Twitter are users 18 to 24 years old, making up 28% of total ad audience, while the second biggest are users aged 25 to 34, or 24% of total ad audience. The US has the largest number of active Twitter users (reached by ads) at 77.8 million, while Japan ranks second at 58.2 million.
It’s Twitter, so when promoting your blog posts, your tweets should be short and sweet. Write something brief but provocative, or include an intriguing quote or statistic from your article. Add something visual – featured image, GIF, or video – for greater engagement. Retweet if your blog content gets tweeted by others. And remember to include your blog link on your bio.
- Pinterest. See the next section.
- LinkedIn. With 790.4 million users, it’s one of the largest social media platforms worldwide. Females constitute 43.4% of total ad audience, while males 56.6%. Members aged 25 to 34 account for the largest share of total global users, a whopping 61%, while users 18 to 24 years old make up the second largest, at 21%. The US (180 million) ranks first with the highest number of members (reached by ads), followed by India (81 million).
LinkedIn is a business-oriented site used by companies and professionals, so it’s not for all blogs. You can share your blog entries or write articles directly on the site (that link back to your blog). Take note – posts with images, especially larger images, get 2x higher engagement, while a video post is 20x more likely to be shared by members. Don’t forget to check your publication section and featured section on your profile – it’s there you can list and link your blog posts and encourage people to read them.
- TikTok. Global monthly active users number 1 billion, making it one of the world’s largest and most active social media platforms. Total ad audience is 56.1% female and 43.9% male. Users aged 18 to 24 make up nearly half of total ad audience at 44%, while those aged 25 to 34 account for more than a third, at 32%. The US has the most users (reached by ads) at 120.8 million, and Indonesia (87.5 million) has the second most.
Love it or hate it, TikTok is here to stay, and it’s growing really fast. It’s also an effective platform for promoting your blog. Create super short but interesting and entertaining videos about your blog posts, but mix it up with other non-blog content, especially viral/trending ones. Go for a Business Account instead of a personal one so you can access more analytics tools. And don’t forget to link your blog to your bio.
All social media platforms come with their own features, nuances, and caveats, and you should tailor your blog promotion strategy according to the platform you’re using. But there’s also plenty of things you can do that work for all platforms, namely:
- Create social share buttons. Make it easier and automatic for your audience to share your blog content with just a click or two. FYI, social share buttons are the little icons for each social platform which you can add to your blog or blog post for one-click sharing to social media. They sometimes come with your blog theme, or you can add them via a plugin like Smash Balloon, Shared Counts, Revive Social, Social Warfare, etc.
- Don’t forget to link. Make it easier for your audience to go directly to your blog or blog post by linking. Your links should be visible at all times. If possible, all your images or posts should be clickable links. And all your social profiles should have your blog links.
- Stick to a schedule. Find the optimal hours to post your content, as well as the optimal frequency of posting, and be consistent with those. Again, different social media platforms have different optimal timings, so plan accordingly.
- Stay in tune with the latest. When it comes to social media, jumping on the bandwagon is a good thing. Take advantage of trends, hacks, challenges, and other viral social media stuff, and use them to promote your blog.
- Maximize hashtags. Almost all social media platforms use hashtags. They allow your content to be easily discovered, engaged with, and promoted. For maximum effect, keep your hashtags simple, relevant, and not too many. Use trending hashtags whenever appropriate. And don’t forget to create your own unique hashtag/s for brand awareness.
- Optimize for mobile. The latest stats show that 91% or about nine in 10 people use mobile devices to access social media. This means your content for both social media and on your blog should be mobile-friendly.
- Track your Google Analytics. Keep an eye on your metrics. See what social media platform or campaign work best in sending your traffic and maximize your efforts there. Track where you’re performing bad and adjust your strategy.
Alright, so these are just a few tips you can use to promote your blog on some of the biggest and most used social media sites. If you’re a savvy social media user, then you can definitely add more to the list, so use all that social media knowledge and know-how to get the word out on your blog in the most effective and efficient way.
Out of all social media platforms, Pinterest deserves a section of its own, simply because it’s not like quite the others. Pinterest is a visual social site, just like Instagram. But it’s also a visual search engine (or a visual discovery engine, as it calls itself), just like Google Images. So really, Pinterest is a mix between a social network and a search engine.
Now you probably already know how Pinterest works. It allows you to collect or pin images and graphics from across the Web – they are called Pins – and curate them into your boards (think of them like pinboards in real life). You can create a board for every topic you want – vegan food, antigravity yoga, farmhouse decor, positive affirmations, etc. And you can also create your own Pins and upload them directly to your Pinterest account.
But what you probably don’t know is that Pinterest is quite the perfect platform to promote your blog. Here are some reasons why:
- Large and active. Pinterest has 444 million monthly active users, making it one of the biggest and most used social media platforms worldwide. In the US, Pinterest is the fourth most popular social media site, where it has the highest number of users among all countries.
- Positive. About 91%of people believe Pinterest is a positive place. Indeed, in one survey, 90% of respondents called Pinterest an ’online oasis’.
- Inspiring. Pinterest is a place to discover new ideas. Nine in 10 Pinners use the platform for purchase inspiration. About 85% say they use it to plan new projects. Around 98% say they try new things based on what they see on the site. And 77% of Pinners have discovered a new brand or product on Pinterest.
- Lucrative. More than 47% of time spent on Pinterest is spent shopping. About 66% of Pinners are actively searching for products and services to buy based on what they on Pinterest. A whopping 85% of users have purchased a product inspired by Pinterest content. Also, Pinners spend 80% more in retail than consumers who don’t use Pinterest. And shoppers on Pinterest have 85% bigger baskets than shoppers on other platforms, and they spend twice as much per month.
- Effective. Bloggers have been using Pinterest to drive massive amounts of traffic and conversions to their blogs for years. After all, Pinners are 3x more likely to click to your blog or website to learn more about your product, service, or article than on any other social media platform. And Pinterest Pins have the longest average lifespan – about three months – compared to posts on Facebook (5-6 hours), Instagram (48 hours), or Twitter (15-20 minutes). In fact, your Pins could still be sending you traffic a year, or two, or even three after publishing it!
Promoting your blog on Pinterest is very straightforward. You simply create a Pin for your blog post, upload it on Pinterest, and when other users find your Pin, they can click it to go to your article. Or you can pin images from your blog post directly to your Pinterest boards. Here are some more useful tips to help you succeed in Pinterest:
- Set up a free business account. You get access to analytics so you can track and measure your Pinterest strategy, plus have the ability to open a Shop or run ads.
- Claim your website. You will receive the analytics for all Pins from your site, regardless if you or others did the pinning, and let people know where they can find more of your content.
- Create vertical and visually stunning Pins. Make sure your Pins are beautiful and can really attract eyes and attention. And make sure they have a 2:3 image aspect ratio – that means long images rather than square or wide.
- Write big and standout titles/text overlays. Your Pins should contain large and easily readable titles or text overlays that state the headline of your article, what action you want users to take, additional info, etc.
- Add your brand. Include your blog name or logo on every Pin you design, so people will know who or where to go to for similar content. Also, so your Pins won’t be stolen. Include your brand in a conspicuous yet tasteful way.
- Add ‘pinnable’ images to your blog posts. Make it easy for your readers to share your articles on Pinterest with beautiful, bespoke Pins.
- Add a Pinterest plugin to your website. Use a WordPress plugin to make it easy and instant for readers to share all your images on Pinterest with just a click or two.
- Create multiple Pins for the same article. Craft a variety of beautiful Pins for each of your blog entry to see what specific design, layout, or color works well for users.
- Pin during optimal times, and consistently. Bloggers and marketers say that the best days to pin are Fridays and Saturdays, and the best hours from 2 to 4 AM and 8 to 11 PM (Note that majority of Pinners live in the West – US, Canada, Western Europe, Brazil, Mexico, etc., so use the appropriate time zone). However, you can also pin multiple times a day every day. Timing is important, but consistency more so. Whatever schedule you choose, be consistent with it.
- Plan ahead. Pinners plan for seasonal events way ahead of time, and so should you. In fact, on Pinterest, Christmas planning starts as early as April!
- Optimize descriptions, everything. Pinterest is also a search engine, so optimize your Pin titles and descriptions, hashtags, board names and descriptions, as well as your profile name and description, with the right keywords.
- Track analytics. See how your individual Pins are performing, what design or title or pinning schedule works, and calibrate your Pinterest strategy accordingly.
These are just a few tips to help you maximize your Pinterest strategy. You’ll discover more on your own when you use Pinterest. But the best thing you can do is to stay on top of changes. Pinterest makes updates every now and then, some very minor, but others very big, so keep an eye out for those. Know what new things to look out for and know what current strategies still work and what do not anymore.
Note that these are but a few of the ways you can promote your blog effectively and for free. There are plenty more things you can do to get the word out on your blog, from something as simple as telling your mom, your friends, and your cat about your blog; going old-fashioned and sending out business cards with your blog name and link on it; to joining online forums like Quora and promoting your blog there in a natural and non-spammy way.