How to Promote Your Blog: 21 NEW Strategies
In today's post, I'll show you exactly how to promote your blog.
These are the same strategies I used to grow my blog to 553,682 monthly visitors:
Let's dive right in.
1. Guest Posting Bonuses
If you're just starting out, guest posting is a GREAT way to grow your blog.
There's only one problem:
It's REALLY hard to get people of your guest post to your website.
In fact, an industry study found that an average guest post only gets 50 visitors.
Guest Posting Bonuses.
With a guest posting bonus, you don't just throw a link at the bottom of your post.
Instead, you offer people something that will get them to visit your website.
For example, some time ago I published this guest post on The Buffer blog.
Yes, I had a bio link from the author.
But I also created a guest posting bonus just for the readers of my guest posting.
And this single guest post brought 471 visitors in the first month:
And many of these new visitors have signed up for my newsletter.
2. Publish data-driven content
Data-driven content is currently BLOW-UP.
And for a good reason:
Content with data is a great way for your blog to stand out from the crowd.
For example, a few years ago we published this extensive study on the ranking factors of search engines.
Overall, this post resulted in thousands of shares on social media.
And loads of backlinks.
The only problem was:
This study was insanely difficult (and expensive) to do.
There were servers. Creeper. Data partner. Error. Problems. Millions of data points. And much more.
Yes, data-driven content requires more work than a list post.
But it doesn't have to be THAT difficult.
For example, following the study on search engine ranking factors, we published this study on voice search.
Make no mistake: it took a lot of work.
First, our CTO had to manually ask his Google Home device 10,000 questions.
Then we transcribed the answers.
Finally, we analyzed the data.
So yeah, it wasn't easy. But this study was about 20x easier than our big Google study.
And it still worked BIG.
In fact, we had a huge increase in traffic on day 1.
And people are still linking and citing our study.
All that anyone really needed to get this done was a Google Home device and someone ready to get the job done.
We happened to be the first to do this.
3. Update and update old content
A few years ago I started a Manhattan project for the Backlinko blog:
Update every single post on our website.
It was'nt easy.
But this mega-project helped increase Backlinko's total traffic by 25.71% compared to last year:
Well, 25% may not sound like a lot.
But this increase by 25.71% = 410,322 additional annual visitors.
(Which is a lot.)
With that, let's dive into the steps.
First, go to the last page of your blog feed.
Then, update and improve every post.
For example, I hadn't updated this post much in YEARS.
Most of the strategies in my post still worked.
But a lot of the content was out of date.
So I went in and passed the post office.
For example, I replaced old visuals and images.
Old strategies removed:
And overall, the post made MUCH more topical.
In the end, I pushed the changes live … and changed the "last update" date in the post.
Which increased the total traffic on this site by 22.52%.
Rinse and repeat for as many posts as possible.
Depending on how many posts you have, this could take months (or even years).
In fact, it took me 6 weeks to update all of our content.
But as you saw, it was absolutely worth it.
4. LinkedIn Syndication
LinkedIn now has 756 million users.
Despite these crazy numbers, I don't see a lot of people talking on LinkedIn.
This is good news for you and me. Because it means that LinkedIn is largely untapped.
You can get serious attraction on LinkedIn by simply posting your best content there.
For example, I reposted this post on LinkedIn a while ago.
I literally copied the exact post word for word.
And even though it's an old post, it has over 3,800 views.
This works because NOBODY is posting anything interesting on LinkedIn.
So when you post something cool, you can get noticed right away.
5. Facebook boosted posts (with retargeting)
It's no secret that Facebook's organic reach is practically 0% for most pages right now.
That means you MUST improve your posts if you want them to be seen.
CPCs on Facebook are getting super expensive.
(Especially if you work in a B2B area like me.)
Fortunately, you can reduce your CPC by 25-75% with retargeting.
For example, I posted this on the Backlinko Facebook page a while back:
And I decided to go with some fancy targeting options.
Which ended up costing $ 2.60 CPC per click.
Not crazy. But not a big ROI either.
When I strengthened this post a few months later, I decided to only promote it to people who have visited Backlinko in the past 60 days.
And because I targeted people I KNOW would be interested in our content, our CPC was only 0.67 cents each:
6. The super simple newsletter
One of the first lessons I learned with Backlinko was:
Newsletters are a GREAT way to promote new posts.
Over the years I have tested more than 25 different formats and layouts for our email newsletters.
And all of these tests had led to one great finding:
Super simple newsletters work best.
For example, here is a newsletter that we sent to the Backlinko community via a new post:
No fancy graphics.
Not a long introduction.
Just a short intro and a link to the article.
And since our newsletters focus on the main message (that we just published a new post), our CTRs for a list our size are 2-3x higher than the industry average.
7. Dust your audience
As you may know, I don't post a lot on Twitter.
(In fact, I average about 1-2 tweets per week.)
And yet I have over 117,000 Twitter followers.
I ask new email subscribers to follow me on Twitter.
In fact, I've had this CTA since 2013.
And that simple button has generated over 20,000 Twitter followers.
8. Collaboration with other blogs
For the past few years I've worked on infographics with other blogs.
And case studies for the blog.
Some time ago, for example, I teamed up with Pitchbox for this industry study.
This collaboration was a win-win situation.
Got great data that I could use for a data-driven post.
And they showcased their product (and the revamped blog) in front of thousands of people.
9. Super personalized use
Have you ever received such a general contact email?
You're not alone.
More and more people are using blogger outreach to promote their content.
And as you have probably noticed they are doing everything wrong.
In particular, they are sending the exact same pitch to hundreds of people.
This is the bad news.
The good news is that you can EASILY get noticed.
How? Personalize every outreach email you send.
In fact, the aforementioned outreach study found that personalized messages received 32% more responses than those using the exact same template.
For example, I found this broken link:
And realized we had a guide that would make a PERFECT replacement.
So I sent this personalized message:
And because I didn't use a lame template or ask for a link, they happily added my link to their post.
10. Flashy social media images
From MANY tests I can tell you that your social image makes a huge difference.
For example, we clapped our social media pics at the last minute. Or use a random image from the post.
Today we are creating social media images that stand out on someone's Twitter or Facebook feed.
For example, when we publish something with data, we provide a compelling chart:
(And we're resizing the chart so it's optimized for the image dimensions of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.)
And when we publish a list post or step-by-step guide, we let our designer create something that stands out.
Something like this takes a little extra effort.
But in my experience, the increase in traffic you get is definitely worth it.
11. Turn blog content into YouTube videos
I used to restart every YouTube video from scratch.
And it took forever.
In fact, I spent 10 hours on a single 15 minute video.
(And I would estimate I spent 70% of that time on the video script.)
Today I base my videos on existing content from blog posts, newsletters, and keynote speeches.
And it makes this process MUCH easier.
Note: I'm not converting a blog post into a video. It's lame. Instead, I use quality content as the basis for my script.
For example, this video from my channel is a mishmash of content from one of my e-books, a newsletter, several different blog posts … plus some new stuff.
And because the video isn't just a rehash of an old blog post, it garnered 148,168 views.
You may have noticed that I get a ton of comments on every post.
What's my secret
First, I ONLY publish world class content.
(In other words, content worth commenting on.)
Second, I answer pretty much every comment someone leaves … especially in the first 48 hours after a post goes live.
In fact, according to our WordPress data, we have 29,142 comments on the blog.
And roughly 40% of those comments are in response to comments from backlinko readers.
That means that I answered 11,656 comments so far.
It's kind of crazy. And answering 11,656 comments takes time and effort.
But these answers show that I care about people who take the time to leave comments. Even if it's just a simple "thank you".
It also gives me the opportunity to answer questions that people have.
And at the end of the day, responding to comments is one of the main reasons we've been able to build such an active community here on the Backlinko blog.
13. Write blog posts on NEW topics
Are there a number of solid competitors in your niche?
Trust me i was there.
When I first started the Backlinko blog, I plunged headlong into the brutally competitive area of marketing.
And I was a one-man show that had dozens of staff against HUGE competitors.
How did I get noticed and get traction?
I posted content on NEW topics that my competitors weren't covering.
For example, one of the first posts I posted on the blog was about YouTube SEO:
And another early post was about building an email list:
Those were two topics my competitors didn't write about. Which helped my content stand out.
It's a strategy that I still follow today.
A while back I published this in-depth guide to Google RankBrain:
And because I was so early, this post didn't fit in with the 100 other posts about RankBrain.
(Because there weren't any.)
What helped my content really stand out:
14. Podcast Bonuses
This is like the guest posting bonus strategy I talked about earlier.
But instead of creating a bonus for every guest post …
… create a series of bonuses for every podcast you visit as a guest.
For example, when I was attending Pat Flynn's podcast, I created this bonus section for his listeners:
And at the end of the podcast, I specifically mentioned this bonus section.
Which led to a traffic influx …
… and especially email subscribers.
So here is the exact process.
First, create something that the listeners of this podcast want.
Ideally, your bonuses should complement what you will be talking about on the podcast.
For example, before going into Pat's podcast, I created a bonus section.
This bonus section included:
- A brief case study
- An on-page SEO checklist
- And a swipe file with 25 high quality link building videos and posts
Second, run it from the podcast host. Since you're offering something very valuable to your audience, most won't have a problem with it. But it never hurts to check in beforehand.
In the end, host the bonus section landing page on a URL that is easy to remember and enter.
For example, I created the URL for my Pat Flynn podcast appearance: backlinko.com/pat.
Then all that's left to do is set up your email marketing platform to deliver the bonuses after signing up.
That's all there is to it.
15. Speak at events
Speaking at conferences is a GREAT way to promote your blog.
But not for the reason you might think.
I explain …
When I first launched Backlinko, I spoke at as many conferences as possible.
In fact, I spoke at events in:
- And many more cities and countries
Has getting on stage in front of 300 people boosted my blog's growth?
How have these conferences helped me?
Because I had to meet other speakers.
(Speakers who are leaders in SEO and marketing.)
In fact, speaking at these events helped me build partnerships, mastermind groups, and friendships with really smart people.
It even gave me the chance to make an early investment in a startup.
And that wouldn't have happened if I had randomly emailed these people, "Hey, do you want to collaborate on something?"
Now that my blog has all the appeal, I've almost stopped talking at events. But that's another story for another post …
But when I was just starting out, speaking at events was SUPER helpful.
16. Publish posts at the right time
What's the BEST time to start a new blog post?
Well, BuzzSumo and I wanted to answer that question.
And we found that… there isn't much of a difference between the different days of the week.
Every little bit helps.
And if you want to get more traffic and social shares with every post, getting it published at the right time is key.
The thing is, the "best time" is different for every blog.
For us we experimented with publishing on Sundays at 12 noon, on Fridays at 7 a.m. and on Mondays at 2 p.m.
And we finally figured out that Tuesday's 11am release worked best for us.
But that's not what an industry study or "Best Time to Post" article can tell you.
You have to experiment.
This is something I did A LOT when I started.
For example, I would leave comments that add to the discussion:
Or just supported bloggers that I rooted for:
And that helped me get on people's radar screens … without being a pushy idiot.
In fact, those helpful comments led straight to a handful of guest posts and invitations to podcast interviews.
18. Create a blog alliance
With a “blog alliance” you make friends with other bloggers.
(And “Blog Alliance” sounds a lot cooler than “Make Friends.” So that's what I did. 🙂)
For example, in the early days of Backlinko, I spoke to Bryan Harris on the phone every week.
And those calls were SUPER helpful.
Sure, it was nice to have someone to talk to about writing, attitudes, tools, products, and newsletters.
But we also shared specific tips and tactics that helped both of us grow.
So, if there's another blogger who is about your level, send them a quick message like this:
I love what you do (Blog name).
Indeed, (Something they teach) really inspires how I do (Blogging related thing).
If you're into a game I'd love to hop on skype and talk shop at some point.
19. Reader case studies
I LOVE reader case studies.
In fact, reader case studies were one of the secret weapons I used to grow my blog in record time.
With that, here is the step-by-step process.
First, identify a strategy, technique, or tip that you want to highlight.
For example, I used to want to make the skyscraper technology known.
Second, find a reader who is getting results from something you talked about.
Finally, work on an in-depth case study with your reader.
In other words, they send you the details. And you write down what happened.
So it is not a guest post. And the writing is still in your own voice.
For example, a few years ago I worked with Chris Gimmer on this case study of the skyscraper technique:
And this post did GREAT. In the first month alone, 13,486 visitors came.
And people shared it like crazy on Twitter:
20. Create cool graphs, charts and pictures
You may have noticed that I tend to sprinkle a handful of custom graphs and charts into every post.
It's not a coincidence.
I've found that these custom visuals can be shared (and linked) without having to do any public relations work.
For example, I asked our designer to create a visual of a page optimized for Voice Search SEO.
And because this visual helps people understand voice search SEO, many other bloggers have used it in their blog posts:
Bottom line? Include 2-3 graphics, charts, or mini-infographics in each post. If the post is well received, other bloggers will see your pictures. And a small but significant percentage will use your visuals in their content.
21. Double the entries in the list
List entries are a mainstay of blogging.
And they won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
Our content study with BuzzSumo found that list posts received more social shares than any other content format:
That makes sense when you think about it …
People love super tactical tips and tactics that they can apply right away.
And a list post has a number of these tactics on a single page.
When I analyzed which posts brought the most traffic, 4 of the top 10 were list entries.
Because of this, I've published several list posts (like this one) over the past few years.
And in fact, I still have a few list entries in the works.
Speaking of list posts …
Bonus # 1: Start listing with your most unique tip
Here's a mistake many bloggers make with list posts:
They put the most important and helpful tip at the top of their list.
Why is that a mistake?
Well, when someone lands on your list post, they're looking for it for something new.
So you need to give them your most unique strategy right off the bat.
So instead of organizing your list items like this:
Organize them like this:
In other words, start and finish your list with strategies your reader probably hasn't seen before.
A few years ago I published this list post on how to get more views on YouTube.
And my first tip was a new way to make more effective thumbnails.
Of all the things you could possibly do to get more views, is this the most important?
But it IS a strategy that most people have never heard of. Which means they will keep reading.
Then, later on in my list, I outline strategies that will make the biggest difference.
Bonus # 2: Add Tweetable Quotes to Your Content
This is an EASY way to get more people to share your content on Twitter.
This is how it works:
First, find a quote from your post that is worth sharing.
In other words, a Tweetable quote.
A Tweetable quote is a short, interesting quote that easily fits within Twitter's character limit.
For example, this line in my “8-Step Content Strategy” post was a twitterable quote.
Below the quote was a link "Click to Tweet This".
(BTW, I made this link using ClickToTweet.com.)
When someone clicked on this link, they would receive a pre-made tweet with this quote.
That's all there is to it.
And if your quote hits a nerve, people will share it.
(Including a lot of people who otherwise would not have shared your post.)
And I can tell you from experience that these “bonus shares” really add up.
What did you think?
Now I would like to hear from you:
Which technique from today's post will you use first?
Are you going to publish more entries in the list? Or leave comments on other blogs?
In any case, let me know by leaving a comment below.