So you’ve created a stylish blog with a beautiful layout and creative content. You have all of your social media accounts linked and a brand new subscriber list ready to be filled to its capacity, and your feelings of accomplishment are out of this world! After being in a world of blogging bliss, few months or so go by and you realize with a quick look at your analytics that nothing is happening on your website.
Want to know the worst part? It’s actually true. Ain’t nobody reading your blog but your momma and maybe your best friend when she has the time. This is the painful reality for the majority of bloggers. It’s a vicious cycle that happens continuously and that I see all too often, even having been there myself. It's frustrating to think that you're actually an amazing blogger who has a powerful message to share and the only thing holding you back is an audience. In this day and age, it isn’t enough to put up a blog and post content. You need a strategic marketing plan to get people to come to know who you are and read what you have to say. Even though I'm a broke girl and don't have money bags set aside for a marketing consultant, I thankfully learned a thing or two about how to market and promote my personal blog on a dime and of course I’m going to share my tips with you! What else are friends for?
The right marketing plan starts with a goal.
What do you want to accomplish with your blog? Is it hundreds of loyal subscribers?
Thousands of pageviews? Whatever the reason may be, it is essential in creating an effective marketing plan for yourself.
Here are some easy ways that I found helped me the most in marketing for my blog that didn’t cost me a thang:
1. Join Twitter chats and Facebook groups.
I was terrified the first time I mustered up the courage to speak candidly about my blog and personal opinions on Twitter. To my surprise, I made a few blogging friends and gained some followers to my site. I not only love having an excuse to grab a cup of coffee and snuggle up with my laptop to chat with other creatives, but I truly appreciate the feedback, support, and love the amazing blogging community brings to the internet every day. For Facebook groups, it's the same idea as Twitter chats, where you can meet and talk with other bloggers in your niche. It would be a good move to involve yourself in either platform. The best part is, they’re totally free!
2. Use #hashtags.
I usually use hashtags in my promotional social media posts to present myself to a specific group of people who may be interested in the post I've just published. I suggest using hashtags in conjunction with your posts (whether on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter) to increase the potential of people seeing it. If the hashtag is a popular one, you can reach thousands instantly with a click of a button! It's free to use a few at the end of your blog to boost your exposure. Score!
3. Shameless word-of-mouth promo.
This marketing tip is probably one of the oldest in the book. Ain’t nothing wrong with telling your friends, family and random people you meet every day about your blog. Some of my biggest blog promoters have been my family (thanks, mom!) who have shared my content with those who would find it helpful. Some friends will promote you just because they know you personally and like what you're doing. Be sure to get ready to answer some questions about who you are and what you write about because they almost always come at you with questions! I suggest getting some business cards with your name, social media handles and website to easily pass out when you're talking about how amazing you are. It'll be easy for them to remember you and look you up later.
4. Guest blogging or collabs.
I love the idea of being able to present yourself to a whole new audience other than your own. I’ve done a few guest posts in the past and loved every minute of it! I was able to work with other bloggers and create a post that not only appealed to my audience but to theirs as well. Most bloggers who host you on your site are total sweethearts and share your website and social media with their readers as well. It's a great way to get your blog out there in front of other people and snag a few more subscribers for your blog.
5. Follow blogger networks online.
I follow a few blogger networks online who share and promote bloggers on a consistent basis. There are a lot out there but the ones I love the most are "Bloggers of Colour", "Blogging Gals", and "Blogger Bees" where all you have to do is follow and either "@" them or use a special hashtag for them to review your post and get retweeted to thousands of their followers! This is amazing exposure for you and your blog. Out all of the tips I recommend in this post, this has been the best way for me to get my blogs seen by new eyes. I also like to involve myself with special Pinterest group boards where you can pin your blog for others to see and gain views that way.
6. Ask readers to share your posts.
They say a closed mouth doesn't get fed and I can't believe how true that is for this next tip. If you want more people to read your blog, just ASK! Be sure to mention to your followers that you want them to share and promote. I would suggest using this marketing method with more of a self-help or awareness post that gives your reader knowledge and something to take from it, those are the easiest to share along! Pair this method with a few hashtags and your blog could be the next trending topic online, and this could all be yours fo' freezies! How cool is that?
These methods got me a spot in front of some pretty cool people who saw my blog and stuck to me like glue! From one blogger to the next, I can honestly say these marketing strategies are nothing short of something magical and only slightly better than getting a venti iced latte on a sunny morning... only slightly.