Marketing Methods

This entry is part 15 of the series Build a Better Blog

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Today we’re moving on with our ways to build a better blog, and we’ve reached the letter M. So here we go: .

M is for Marketing Methods.

“But surely,” some of you may be saying, “I don’t need to market my writing? This is a blog, not a book!”

Well,  it may be “only” a blog, but it’s still taken you time to think about the topic and write the text. Perhaps you’ve spent time, maybe a long time, searching for suitable images. Why have you gone to all this bother, if you don’t want anyone to read what you’ve written? So  yes, of course you need to market your blog. And, you writers  out there, most of these ideas will also help you when you’re marketing your books. So let’s get started.

  • Target your blog to a specific audience.

We said more about this on A is for Awareness Alert. You must have in mind who you are writing for and their needs. You can’t write for everyone. So, for example, this series is being addressed to people who enjoy blogging and want to make the most of their blog. A couple of the blogs I’m visiting on a regular basis are geared for the mid-lifers and beyond. Select who is likely to read your material, and then target them so they keep coming.

  • Come up with a catchy title for your blog.

Now if you’re a writer,  you may be stuck with your name as I am: shirleycorder.com. But I titled the website Write to Inspire and keep using that title when I speak to people. Nevertheless, the more people get to know your name, or the name of  your blog, the more they’ll want to see what you have to say. You don’t need to consciously keep marketing your blog, indeed you shouldn’t. But make it as appealing as you can.

  • Be honest!

Verify your facts. If you’re saying something outside your own scope of experience, provide links so the reader can confirm it for himself. If you’re not certain that something will work, say so! All you need say is, “I don’t have any personal experience of this, but XXX says . . . “. Then your reader will trust you not to lead him astray. This won’t directly help your marketing strategy, but it will convince your reader you’re genuine, and in this world of fraud everyone enjoys an honest person!

  • You need to build a platform.

Start as soon as you can to create connections, contacts, and readers. Tell people about your blog on Facebook and Twitter. Talk to all your friends and ask them to spread the word. Visit other people’s blogs and make sure you leave a comment, and a return address. (Go to the previous post and read How to leave a live signature link.) You don’t need to be on the challenge to leave a return link. Most people prefer this so they can pay you a return visit.

  • Simplify your reader’s experience.

I really don’t enjoy leaving comments on blogs where I need a maths degree to leave a comment. Make it easy for your visitors to leave a comment. I appreciate the need for good security, but don’t make it as difficult as breaking into the bank after hours!

If you want to leave a comment after this post (and I hope you do) you simply type in your comment, and leave your name, email address (which will remain private) and website. If it’s the first time you’ve posted, your comment will be held back until I’ve had a chance to read it and clear it. (This may take several hours, as I live in South Africa. You may live in the States, or in Australia. So at the time you post your comment, I may be deep in the Land of Nod!) After your first post is approved, you’re free to comment without moderation.

  • Don’t avoid  conflict or disagreements.

I said I modify the first comment. If it happens to be one saying you didn’t agree with a point I’ve made, I would still approve the message. We’re diverse human beings. We don’t all see things the same way. I will not permit foul language, blasphemy, or any type of “hate speech”, but you’re free to have a different opinion to me. I probably won’t argue, I’ll just thank you sincerely for giving up your time to visit and read my blog.

  • Look for areas that you would like to learn about, and perhaps diversify.

You can turn your blog into a book (See Blog a Book) and invite your readers to come along for the ride. For example, you could say you were planning to  turn these posts  into an e-book (See K is for Kindle) and if they would like to receive a free copy with a view to giving a review, they must please give you their email. This will give you names for any newsletter you plan to start as well as giving you some reviews.  (Just don’t forget to send them their free copy of the book (which could be in pdf format) before your book goes live. By doing this, you are not only marketing your blog, you are marketing your book of the future.

A visit to another blog just reminded me that a newsletter is a great boost to your blog. Come back tomorrow as we look at N is for Nuggets of News.

  • Make it easy to share your blog on Social Media. 

You can’t possibly keep up to date with all the Social Media sites. Choose a few, and follow them. But put a range of social media icons close to your blog post as others will follow different ones to you.

I personally love Facebook and the interaction it affords me with my readers.  I am selective of what I share, and I do not get drawn into arguments with people. I have created an author page (a.k.a.Fan Page) and always post the URL for my latest blog post with an invitation for my FB readers to read my blog post too.

I do not spend a lot of time on Twitter, but I do use the plugin “Better Click to Tweet” on my WordPress blog. I’m not sure if Blogger has the same facility, but it’s quite possible it does. I find this encourages people to give a quick click on a banner – resulting in a tweet going off into the cyber world.

I use the Better Click to Tweet plugin to simplify sending tweets from my blog. Click To Tweet

During this challenge, I’ve heard from two different people that it pays to promote your blog post on G+ as soon as it goes live. I don’t know if this is true, but it certainly can’t do any harm. So guess what I will be doing as soon as I hit the “live” button!

  • Choose your keywords with care.

Don’t just use broad words like “Book” or “Review”. Those keywords will get lost in the noise of cyber space. Make the keywords more specific, like “Book review of new romantic suspense novels.” That is more likely to get attention. Most people won’t use such a long term in their search, but if they use several of those words you have a good chance of getting your blog noticed. Also, when you select your primary keyword, make sure you use it in your title, as well as scattered throughout the post. Avoid, however, using it on a monotonous obvious way. Google will notice and penalise you for it.

  • Show your reader you’re in for the long haul.

This is especially important if you’re doing something like this A to Z Challenge.Your readers will want to know what’s coming next. Should they stick around or look for fresh pastures? You may not plan to continue blogging on a daily basis (few can) but let them know in advance what you plan to do, so they are not left hanging. With so many blogs out there, they’re not going to wait around for you.

  • Believe your blog is worth reading.

If you believe it is, you’ll concentrate on making it the most interesting you can. Believe you are writing something that will benefit others, and that will give you a reason for doing your very best and for marketing it to the public.

This is probably the most important tip for success. Love your blog–and love your readers. They’ll soon respond to the warmth they sense coming from your blog and you will find your blog’s outreach growing. Without really trying, you’re successfully marketing your blog.

 FURTHER POSTS TO READ:

  • Dogged Determination
  • Eager Enthusiasm
  • Fact or Fiction
  • Go for Google
  • Harnessing Hashtags
  • Interesting Images
  • Joy of Journaling
  • K for Kindle and KDP
  • L is for Live and Learn
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– an exciting “hands-on” self-publishing course conducted by Val Waldeck which will take you through the basics of how to self-publish your Kindle book on Amazon. All you need do is comment on this post, then follow the link. When asked, use the code SCVW20-04 Note: This offer expires at midnight April 30. 

3D-Women-BLOGHow about you?

What do you find the most difficult or challenging about marketing your blog? Do you think you should do this deliberately, or just let it take its chances on the big wide world spider-web we call the Internet?

Special offer on Kindle Publishing Made Easy, a hands-on course. Expires end April. Click To Tweet

44 comments on “Marketing Methods

  1. I recently added a plugin that automatically posts to twitter, Facebook pages, Google + and others when I post from the blog. Promotion of blog posts is a must. Automating social media helps save time. They might not be perfectly crafted for each social media site however better than not promoting.

    • Fran, this interests me. Is that a WordPress plugin? If so, what is it? I use Hootsuite for Twitter but post direct onto my Facebook page. I recently added a plugin so that when I reply to a post (as I’m doing now) you will receive a copy. The old CommentLuv was super, but it is no longer functional.

      • I only started recently as I finally added Jetpack and it was in there. Its under the area to configure the sharing. I’m using self hosted wordpress. I use for work a product called Co-Schedule. There is a cost but it has more social media sites including pinterest and instagram reminders. Also you can run it from their site or within a wordpress blog. If you start with a blog post you can schedule on publishing and then over time. Hootsuite has the advantage that you can monitor streams. I also recently downloaded the wordpress app to my ipad and this is good for drafts and commenting on the run.

        • Thanks so much, Fran. I don’t use Jetpack as I’ve been told it doesn’t play nicely with my other SEO pack. But maybe I need to look into it again. I’m also using self hosted Wordpres. I’ve just started using WordPress Editorial Calendar and like it very much. It doesn’t include the social media, but it has a very useful calendar that you can access from any page or post, and you can drag and drop the posts if you want to change dates. I did use WP Scheduled Posts for scheduling, but now I’m using the calendar that isn’t needed so I’ve deactivated it and plan to delete it. I also monitor my comments on my tablet or even my smartphone.

          • I had been avoiding it for the same reason but when trying to keep up with work social media and my personal blog I got to the stage I decided to give it a go so it so that the social media posts automatically happened for FB page, TW, G+ profile and G+page. It does some others too but I did not set them up.
            I use the free Yoast SEO as this helps me create better posts. Hopefully my lazy side is not causing to much SEO damage. And it is countered by visits generated by Social Media.
            WPEditorial Calendar is great. I use it for my personal blog. I love moving draft posts using this.
            Nice to chat but I better finish off work and go home.
            Fran

          • It’s been lovely chatting. I’ve never had such a long chat with someone via my blog. 🙂 I also use Yoast. It’s very good. So maybe I’ll give Jetpack a go. Thank you.

  2. Really good tips here. The ebook is a good idea. Personally, I’ve cut down on facebook and twitter marketing as I find it is a waste of time. Pointless getting twitter RTs if nobody clicks on your blog! Recently, I’ve concentrated on content which seems to be paying off. Great post. Thanks. Andreax

    • Thanks for the visit Andreax. Yes I promote my blog posts on Twitter and belong to Monday Bloggers, but I get far more value out of Facebook.

  3. Excellent suggestions. I don’t know about Google plus. I have heard from 2 ‘experts’ that this platform is slowly dying. I might try it though. It can’t hurt.

    • I haven’t done much with G+ either, but I’ve heard from two sources during this challenge that you should click on G+ as soon as your post goes live. So I figure, as you say, it can’t do any harm.

  4. Hi Shirley!
    I see you’re doing a completely different set of topics than what I chose for my A to Z of Blogging! Loved going through these Marketing Tips. A lot of useful info in one post.
    I’m planning to turn this series into an ebook too. Let’s see how soon I do that though! 😛
    Thank you for dropping by. Glad to connect with you during this AtoZ.
    Happy AtoZing!
    Chicky @ http://www.mysteriouskaddu.com

    • Thanks for popping in. I see on your site that you’ve published an A to Z on blogging from a previous challenge. Well done! I did the challenge on Out of Africa using lots of photographs. I also planned to turn it into an eBook until I thought of all those photos. It really wasn’t viable, so it stayed on my website! Hopefully this time will work out better.
      Blessings!

  5. Happy Easter to you too Shirley! This could be the best that could have happened to me today.. I usually shy away from marketing my blog for some reason and yours has now given me a reason not to and how to as well!

    Thank you!

  6. Great tips! I’m glad I found you. Marketing is some of the reason I’m doing the #AtoZChallenge – I want to meet new people and make connections.

  7. Happy Easter. Love your blog. Great advice!

    Do you have any for those of us who have chosen to stay off of facebook, twitter, and other social media?

    • Hi Andy. Thanks for the visit. As far as marketing is concerned, I would say your best plan would be word of mouth. To spread the news to family and friends, perhaps by getting small business cards made with your blog address? You can also send emails to all those in your address book, telling of your plan and saying you would like to put them on a list to receive your newsletter, but they will have the chance to say “No thanks!”. Then come back on Monday and read the next post on this topic: Nuggets and Newsletters! Hope that helps.

  8. Very helpful points Shirley. Thanks for sharing them. I don’t have a link of my blog on any of the social media platform. Maybe I should seriously consider it!

    • Hi Radhika. Thanks for the visit. It is easy to put the links to the most common social media onto your blog, then folk are able to share it however they want to. In the meantime, you could click on the links yourself for whichever you use. All the best!

  9. Very informative post. I will sure use these tips on my blog. I learned something new and also realized what I have been missing in marketing mine blog.
    Thanks for sharing
    Best Wishes!

  10. Great tips. I’ve done the blog to book. I have another book in the works but finding time to compile it seems elusive. Blogger doesn’t have a plug-in, but you can use some html to set up the tweeting. I’ve used Tweet This but I found it too much work for no one to use it. Girl Who Reads

    • Congratulations on having done the blog to book. Yes, I know what you mean about finding time. Thanks for letting me know about Blogger and html.

  11. Hi Shirley,

    I’ve been blocked a few times from your site, don’t have a clue why that happened. You’ve provided some great tips here. Marketing an intangible is always a balancing act. I’ve been blogging for almost 6 years now, though can’t say I do a good job of marketing. Am generally rubbish at targeting, promotion, and also brevity 🙂

    All the best,
    Nilanjana
    Madly-in-Verse

    • Hi Nilanja. I’m SO sorry to hear you’ve been blocked! Like you, I wonder why. I’m glad you got through this time – and from now on your comments shouldn’t need moderation. Thanks for persevering!

  12. Wow, Shirley, your blog rocks! I am learning so much from you and am becoming more and more convinced blogging is the way to go. Love your work… keep on keeping on!

  13. My blog is 11 years old now, and I’ve published over 1500 posts. It’s gradually evolved as I’ve found what my readers expect from me. My keyword is brevity. I find readers, me included, have short attention spans when reading posts, particularly when hopping from blog to blog as I’m doing right now. Short, to the point, concise and most of all…interesting! Thanks for dropping into Amble Bay Shirley.

    Amble Bay’s May Fair

    • Thanks for the visit, Keith. Yes, I’m aware my posts are longer than usual, but I use lots of headers to help my visitors hop through the points. It is my plan to turn these into a book, hence the need for quite a bit of detail. Happy Easter!

        • 🙂 Okay, thanks for clarifying about the length. But my blog posts are long, as I explained, for a purpose. Yes, I could never do flash fiction. I am way too wordy for that! Thanks for getting back to me.

  14. My blog, when I’m not doing the Challenge, is about children’s, YA and genre fiction. It was an experiment when I started it, so I gave it a title which meant something to me, but was not really about children’s, YA or genre fiction. People do stumble across it, possibly not as many as if I had given it a name like Children’s Book Love! or whatever. And I sometimes wish I had a shorter surname that was easier to spell. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. But I do what I can. I comment on other blogs. I tweet each post. I offer free ebooks, though crude, cobbled-together ebooks done on Creative Bookbuilder. I have free sample chapters from some of my books. You do what you can.

    • Yes, you’re right. When you first start blogging, you may not know about things like how to choose a title. When you come to that, you have already got a following and you don’t want to start over, so you do the best you can. Like you – like me. 🙂 Happy Easter Sue!

  15. Hi Shirley – interesting and useful post … and we learn as we blog. I’ve been going for rather longer than I thought possible … but am lucky with a range of readers and thus have the ground for expanding my readership – the A-Z helps … but I’m not keen on social media – still at some stage I’ll get to it …

    Thanks for popping over to my blog and see you around for the other half … have a peaceful and happy Easter … cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/j-is-for-jellicles.html

    • Thanks for the visit, Hilary. Yes, you’re right. We learn as we go. And yes, see you around as we move into the second half. Have a very happy Easter.

  16. This is all so true Shirley – we blog because we love to share our thoughts, so when others engage with us it enhances the whole experience. I love comments, I love finding other bloggers who write in a similar niche (those Midlife Bloggers you referred to earlier!) and I also really enjoy learning new bits and pieces to apply to my blog. Thanks for being such a great resource. BTW congrats on nearly 50 yrs of marriage!
    Leanne | cresting the hill

    • Thanks for the congrats Leanne, and I’m with you all the way in your other comments too. I wish we had time to do as much with our blogs as we MAKE time for during April! Happy Easter!

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