You stumbled across the blogging world and decided you wanted to join in. You thought all you had to do was write some content, publish it and whaddaya know? The readers come flooding in.
You thought you could be spontaneous. You got the idea that you don’t need a content calendar, a mailing list, or even be that active on social media.
Well, here’s a spoiler for you - if you want to get a breakthrough as a blogger and build an online presence that makes a difference, self-promotion is necessary.
Don’t think of it as “sales” or the world of advertising. Get out of that mindset. Your job is to let people know what you have to offer and that you’re here, offering it.
You also need to make them realise why they should read your content.
But, what if you’re just a budding blogger who’s just starting out? You don’t have many connections, you haven’t written many posts and, let’s face it, you feel like you’re talking to nobody.
The truth is you can make the most of self-promotion without it making your toes curl. Here are some things you can start doing right now to get some results.
I bet there are some bloggers on Twitter that you’ve reached out to before. Or at least one person who’s left a comment on your blog. When you’re starting out, it can even be a colleague, friend or family member.
One of the best things you can do to get yourself out there in the first instance is reach out to people that you know. Written a post about friendship? Ask your friend if she’ll share it across her social channels so you can get some more views.
Get asked a question at work that you’ve written a blog post about? Point them to your article and let them know about anything else you’ve written that could help them.
Read a lot of awesome content during a month? Curate a newsletter and mention specific bloggers, then link them to the article and ask if they’d mind sharing it with their community.
These are just a few examples, but if you put your mind to it, there are so many more you could take advantage of. You don’t have to have loads of readers to get started as a blogger.
Most of the potential clients I’m in talks with at the moment for my writing and online assistant services originally started out as readers of my blog. They’ve got to know me and my writing, and they also know that I’m tuned into what I’m talking about.
This is a great example of how you can up your self-promotion, because not only are these people loyal readers, but you might also be able to secure a testimonial. Words about your brand right from the people who pay attention to it the most is the one way that will skyrocket your authority and credibility.
In other words, it’s time to start guest posting.
This is definitely something to push you out of your comfort zone, so if you’ve not done this before, it’s okay. As a blogger, once you start building connections, it becomes fairly simple for you to get your content out there through guest posts.
When I first started, I was absolutely petrified of putting myself out there. I thought there was no way that someone would let me write for their website. So what do I do? Diddly squat. Nothing. I didn’t make any effort to reach out about guest posting whatsoever, because the fear was just too strong.
And you know what? It wasn’t until I finally bit the bullet and got my first regular guest posting gig for Launch & Hustle (which I applied for spontaneously), that I thought, well, if I’ve been successful getting this, then why stop now?
Trust me when I say that you shouldn’t wait for a certain amount of pageviews or followers. Numbers are not the most important factor here. Since I started, I’ve written content for various websites, been interviewed by lots of different bloggers and I’ve got a whole list of blogs that I want to pitch ideas to. The worst thing that could happen? You get a no. So you just take it and move onto the next.
But they could say yes.
This, friends, is the difference between bloggers who are happy just plodding along and bloggers that are striving to get breakthrough after breakthrough.
It takes a lot of skill and determination to run a successful blog, whether you have 10,000 or 100 readers. It doesn’t take long to learn that just because one piece of content went viral, it doesn’t guarantee that it’ll happen again.
If you keep pushing and work hard, blogging can be so rewarding - I’ve learnt this first hand by doubling my pageviews and engagement and recently winning a UK Blog Award. But the trick is to not get complacent. And that means you need to keep promoting.
Don’t be afraid of social media. Stop being here, there and everywhere with your content, and get yourself an editorial calendar. The two work hand in hand.
Then, you want to get sharing your content to your social platforms.
Here are even more simple ways you can promote yourself as a budding blogger:
- Link to your blog in all the bios of your social media platform (and make sure to use a bit.ly link so you can track it)
- Advertise your content on Twitter (3x on the day of publishing, the next day, the next week, the next month etc.)
- Comment on other blogs and leave a link to your own site
- Take part in Twitter chats and follow people who interest you
- Post regularly to Instagram and engage with the people you follow
- Join Facebook groups for bloggers where you can take part in discussions and develop your skills