Welcome back to the #LetsBlogforBusiness series!
In this 3 part series, #LetsBlogforBusiness, I’m sharing the step by step to allow you to start writing a successful blog for your business from scratch. This will grow your audience, mail list and ultimately increase income for your business.
Today, I’ll be sharing 8 ways to promote your blog and grow your mail list to hundreds (or even thousands) of engaged subscribers every month.
Before you get started, if you haven't done so, make sure you download your #LetsBlogforBusiness Workbooks.
The second workbook includes a checklist to help you implement each of the strategies mentioned in this post and a done-for-you social media planner so you know exactly when to promote your blog post.
If you missed the first blog post of this series, I highly recommend reading How to write a successful blog for your business first and get writing your awesome blog post immediately.
Have you written an awesome blog post and are ready to promote and watch your mail list grow? Cool!
But first, let me ask you this question – how often do you promote your content? If you are just getting started with blogging, think about your other content that you may be currently promoting such as :
- Your freebies
- Social media posts you’ve written
- Your paid programs or products etc
People often make one significant mistake when it comes to promoting their content – they only promote ONCE (or twice if lucky). Yes, they’ve spent so much time creating their content and they forget to promote it!
Derek Halpern of Social Triggers suggests following the 20/80 rule – 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time promoting your content. Now I am not sure this is exactly correct – as you want your content to shine and not to be rushed out, but it highlights how important promotion is for online businesses.
In this blog, I’ll be sharing some of the most effective ways to promote your blog – some are very basic and others are a little more advanced. Let’s dive in :)
#1 OPTIMIZE YOUR BLOG POST
We talked about optimizing your blog post for SEO in the previous blog post. Here we’ll be talking about optimizing your blog post for more ‘share’, ‘engagement’ and ‘list building’.
ADD SOCIAL SHARE BUTTONS
You want to make it easy for your audience to share your content with other people. Adding easily accessible social share buttons is a must!
I use Shareaholic to create a “share button” on my blog posts. Don’t use the share buttons that come with your website platform such as Squarespace as they aren’t visible enough for your readers to take action.
With Shareaholic, you can customize your share button to match your brand. It also offers great analytics on your content views and sharing. I recommend having ‘Floated Share Buttons’ that hover on the side of the page (on your desktop) or bottom of the page (on mobile) so that your share buttons stay visible on the side as your readers scroll down the post.
Make sure to optimize share buttons for desktop and mobile versions. I add SMS and Whatsapp share options on my mobile version.
CONTENT UPGRADE OPT-IN FORMS
We talked about creating ‘content upgrade’ in a previous blog post, how to write a successful blog for your business. You’ll want to make sure you include several opt-in forms within the post to remind your readers to download your awesome content upgrade!
CREATE A POWERFUL ‘INDOCTRINATION’ EMAIL SEQUENCE
This is an email sequence that consists of 2-3 emails that your new subscribers receive when they sign up for content upgrade. This is your opportunity to build trust and your relationship with your new subscribers.
There will be more on email sequences (or what we call ‘sales funnel’) in the final blog post in this series.
For now, if you are not sure what to include in these initial emails, I suggest preparing a simple email delivering your content upgrade.
ADD COMMENT BOX
At the end of the blog post, encourage your readers to comment if they have any questions or want to connect with you.
I use Disqus for my blog comments as it looks much better than the standard comment box that comes with website platforms such as Squarespace and it supports both desktop and mobile devices.
ADD RELATED POSTS
Give extra value by providing links to your other blog posts that are related to the topic you covered in the post.
Your blog post is now ready for promotion!
#2 EMAIL YOUR MAIL LIST
I know, this sounds very obvious… but people often forget this part of promotion. Whenever you published a new blog post, make sure to let your existing subscribers on the mail list know about it.
Here are the key strategies to maximize open and click rates:
Send your emails on the best days & and the right times for maximum opens and clickthroughs - You can check your open and clickthroughs trends by day and time on your email service provider.
You can see from the screenshot of my own trends, Mondays seems to be the day when my subscribers open their emails the most. (Note: I’ve tested sending emails out on random days each week for good few months in the past year).
Timing can be a little tricky if you have subscribers from all parts of the world. Most email service providers will tell you where all your contacts are from. I suggest going for the local time where the most of your contacts are from. You’ll also want to think about your market too – are they likely to be working in 9-5 jobs or are they stay-at-home mums?
You need a powerful subject line or its Game Over!
Your subject line is the gateway to your email. Get it right and your move onto the next step, with your reader opening your email. Get it wrong and its Game Over! Another wasted opportunity.
So here is some simple advice.
1) Keep it short – many of your emails will be read on mobile devices or applications such as Outlook. These tend to only show the first part of your email, so often if you haven’t captured your reader’s eye in the first few words then you’ve lost them.
2) Try for 6-10 words, as these have the best open rates.
3) Use your reader’s first name if you have it – again this provides higher open rates.
4) Speak to your audience in their ‘language’. If there are certain accepted terms or words you know your audience uses, then do the same. Your email will hit a chord.
5) Use your keywords at the start of the sentence.
6) The jury is out as to whether including terms like ‘free’ in the title send the message to spam or ‘promotions’. Free always catches the eye, so maybe split test and see what happens.
7) Try and intrigue your reader to want to know more.
8) DO NOT – promise something that you cannot deliver just to get attention. Such as: ‘Free $1,000 for first 10 people to open this email!’. Then in the body of the email say ‘Now I’ve got your attention – I was only kidding but I've got a great vacuum cleaner to sell you etc. People will hate you for this and any credibility you had has now dropped to zero.
9) Try not to over-sensationalise things. People aren’t (generally) stupid and will avoid obvious exaggeration.
10) Avoid too many !!!! or $$$$
11) For a helping hand try running your subject lines through CoSchedule Headline Analyzer. This will provide you with a score and some advice to make your subject line more ‘clickable’. This is not the Holy Grail and use your common sense, but it’s interesting to see what it recommends. Give it a try!
You can also A/B test your subject lines. Most email service providers will have an option for A/B testing.
A/B testing is comparing two versions of subject lines by sending out two variants to your subscribers.
You can either:
- Choose to send two versions to your entire list and determine which subject line is the winner by manually checking the report yourself. Then manually re-sending the same email with the winning subject line to people who DID NOT open the initial email one week later,
- Send two versions to 20% of your list and let your email service provider determine the winner (after a certain period after sending the email out) and send the email with the winning subject line to the rest of your list (80% in this case).
Keep your email short and straight to the point:
You want your readers to click the link to your blog post and not get bored after reading the first few sentences. Get straight the point and tell them the benefits of the blog post then direct them to your awesome blog!
Send plain text email without images:
HubSpot did an in-depth study on plain text email vs. HTML email*.
Their A/B testing results show that the HTML email (with images) had 25% lower open rate than the plain text email and increasing amount of HTML email lowered open rate by 23%.
*HTML email is an email that is formatted like a web page, using colors, graphics, table columns and links.
It’s pretty when you have a fancy header and images in your email but HTML rich email increases the chance of getting flagged by email services such as Gmail as “commercial” emails therefore your email gets delivered to their ‘promotions’ inbox rather than ‘primary’ inbox. This decreases the chance of people finding your email in the first place.
I usually send the plain text email (although my emails often include links) to my mail list. You can test both by A/B testing and find out what is working best for you.
If you want to read the full study by, read Plain Text vs. HTML Emails: Which Is Better? [New Data]
#3 EMAIL SIGNATURES
Add a link to your blog post in your email signature. Sounds pretty simple right? It is! If you have a team, why don’t you ask them to add the link to your blog post as well and spread the love.
#4 FACEBOOK GROUPS
Your own Facebook group:
If you have your own Facebook group, definitely share your blog post with your members and pin the post at the top. I also highly recommend adding a link to your blog post at the top of the ‘Group Description’.
Other people’s Facebook groups:
Share your blog in other Facebook groups if they allow promotion or if they have their designated ‘share’ or ‘promo’ day.
You can also take advantage of the Facebook group’s search box and search keywords related to your niche to find out if people are asking questions you can answer. Once you’ve got a few conversations going, you can share your blog post in that thread! So it doesn’t feel like a self-promotion and instead you are helping and giving value to others.
#5 SOCIAL MEDIA
Share in many places, several times:
Don’t just share once and hope that people will see your post and actually click the link to read your blog post. The key to getting noticed is to share your blog in many places, several times!
I did say share in many places, several times… but you want to make sure you are not using the same headlines or texts in every post you share. Brainstorm 10 headlines and then select 5 powerful headlines and alternate those.
As with headlines, you’ll also want to mix it up with different images. Create 2-3 images you can alternate. I also recommend mixing it up between posts with blog links in the text (on the left), where the image is used to capture your readers attention but has no link attached and posts that have the link connected to the image, so when the image is clicked your reader is taken directly to your website.
Add a link to your blog post via your social media account profiles:
Every social media platform has a profile section where you add a short bio and a link to your website. Add a URL link to your blog post instead of your homepage.
Want to know the exact schedule to promote your new blog post?
DOWNLOAD YOUR #LETSBLOGFORBUSINESS WORKBOOKS!
FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE
Post when your fans are more likely to be online:
You can check when your fans are online by going to Insights -> Posts -> When Your Fans are Online (see screenshot below).
Tweet several times at the best times:
Tweet about your blog post at least twice on the first day of publishing your blog, then once a day for the next 3-4 days. (Make sure you are tweeting other posts too current advice recommends 10-15 tweets a day!).
Tweriod is a great tool that analyses your Twitter account for both your tweets and your followers and provides you the best times to tweet. You can use it for free!
Make sure you use hashtags related to your topic in order to reach out to a wider audience. You can search hastags by entering keywords on search box on Twitter.
Pin to your boards and group boards:
Remember that you created an image specifically for Pinterest in the previous post? You want to pin that image to your branded board. You should have a ‘pin it’ button when you hover over the Pinterest image. If not, you may have to add your Pinterest account on your website platform.
Your branded board is a board where you pin ONLY your blog posts. See the screenshot below – the first board on the left is my branded board.
Once you have pinned your blog to your own branded post, click edit and add a description onto your pin. I usually list the keywords for example, but you can also type in a short paragraph with keywords.
Then save your pin to any other boards you have that are related to the blog topic. Also save your pin to any relevant group boards you have joined. I recommend joining at least 5 group boards where you will be pinning your own posts and also other people’s posts.
Direct your followers to your profile:
Instagram doesn’t allow any links in the actual posts, therefore if you are promoting your blog on Instagram make sure to add a call to action in your post to direct your followers to click the link in your bio.
#6 DISCOVERY ENGINE SITES
These websites provide social networks that help people discover unique and interesting stories and content. You can submit your blog to these websites to the category related to your niche and market to get your content in front of a wider audience.
ALLTOP and DIGG
#7 ROUND-UP LINK BUILDING
What is link round-up?
It’s basically a weekly or monthly summary of the best content in your industry or niche. Getting placed in these link round-ups is a great way to get referral traffic to your site.
You can use keywords to search your relevant blog or website that do round-ups.
Check out how you can strategically use keywords to find the relevant blog in The Frugal Guide to Content Marketing (Part 3): How To Promote Your Content With ZERO Budget by Edward Dennis.
Once you’ve found the relevant blog or website, next step is to reach out and pitch your content.
#8 WHO’S SHARING YOUR CONTENT?
And finally, as you create more valuable content and encourage people to share your content, you’ll want to start monitoring who’s sharing your content and send a ‘thank you’ message to them for sharing your content. You can find out who’s sharing your content by setting up alerts on Google Alerts or go to Social Mention and search using keywords such as your name.
NOW LET’S GET YOUR AWESOME CONTENT OUT THERE!
DOWNLOAD YOUR #LETSBLOGFORBUSINESS WORKBOOKS!
Make sure that you cover all the strategies mentioned above by downloading the Content Promotion Workbook below. This workbook includes a checklist to help you implement each of the strategies mentioned in this post and a done-for-you social media planner so you know exactly when to promote your blog post.
HAPPY PROMOTING MY FRIEND!
I can’t wait to share my final blog post of this #LetsBlogforBusiness series next week. I’ll be sharing each step you can take to build a trusting relationship with your new subscribers and turn your subscribers into loyal clients.
In the meantime, if you have any questions on creating your blog content, just type in your question in the comment box below and I’ll get back to you.