Promoting your blog: an overview – The compass and the keys

Compass Keys & Map

The old tools are still the best

The higher up in your thinking you go, the more effective you can be in creating the outcomes you want.

This overview will help orientate yourself and create a stable center of strategy and certainty, so that when distractions, or opportunities arise you’ll recognize them and act with confidence.

The most important elements of an effective online promotional strategy:

The Compass

What are you about?

The most central aspect of promotion, is having something unique that appeals to a specific sub-set of the population. You must center your blog on some core benefit that draws on your strengths and real-world experience.

This becomes your catch-cry or core benefit that separates you from the noise of the internet and media in general.

This is your compass.

Whenever you get off track or feel lost, go back to this mission and sense of direction to regain your center. If you constantly recommit to the ‘true north’ of what you know to be important, you cannot fail.

How it’s used:

  • Informs your personal creed
  • Creates your website’s tagline
  • Determines how you do things and your basic approach
  • Sets the tone for how you deal with challenges

This is the ideal kind of promotion because when you become a specialist, establish a reputation and provide something of value, people will recommend you to others automatically.

The best marketing strategy is to be remarkable ~ Seth Godin

The Keys

Who are you readers?

If having a mission and a clear USP is the self-awareness, this part is the awareness of others. It’s a detailed picture of your ideal readers and their fears, concerns and priorities.

Create a profile of at least two different readers of your blog. You can give them fictional names and even profile images if you like.

Some characteristics you need:

  • Age, sex, marital status and income.
  • What their priorities and fears might be
  • Where they go for business and recreation both off and online

If you’re just starting out with your blog or website you will need to make this information up to get you started, and flesh it out with some other strategies as you go.

Discover more about your readers by:

  • Conducting surveys with your current readers
  • Using search and asking questions on Twitter
  • Searching in Google for relevant keywords then noting common themes
  • Using Google Trends search and other demographics sites like Quantcast.

These are your keys. 

A tool you use to enter the realm of interaction and contribution. Underinvestment in this area is one of the main reasons for ineffective marketing and promotion efforts.

It’s impossible to find an audience you don’t understand.

Now that we have a better idea of our target audience we need to…

Create something just for them

In order to be promotable you need to have something to offer. It may be a skill, a product or service, or some unique knowledge that only you possess. You may just have a unique way of presenting something that’s already available to suite your target audience.

For bloggers writing about their daily lives such as Eden Riley at Edenland, that unique perspective is themselves. It’s their personal style and insight that people are ‘buying’ when they read their articles or watch their videos.

Your reader profiles will give you a good idea of what the most effective delivery method will be.

Most common website styles:

  • A blog – A series of publications of either original or curated content.
  • An e-commerce store – It’s main focus is to provide products or services
  • A consultative site – Most often used for Business to Business services
  • Online services – Used for software both for PCs, Browsers and other devices.

Now it’s a matter of publishing or creating a site or application that successfully sells what you have to offer.

Once you have something that you feel excited about it’s time to…

Find your readers and engage with them

Once you have an idea who your ideal readers are it’s much easier to start reaching out to them. Start by narrowing down a few sites with a high likelihood of your audience being present. For example if you’re into fashion, Pinterest is a must.

Now we need to compile some keywords that your target audience uses on a regular basis.

There are two different kinds of keywords:

  • Search Keywords – used for search engines
  • Conversational Phrases – used in social media, in comments and forums

Use the search engine keywords to create content that they will find valuable, and the conversational ones to find them on your chosen network.

Let’s say your target audience are diabetics looking for healthy sugar alternatives.

The search keywords would be things like “sugar free recipes” and therefore article titles like “10 sugar free recipes that the kids won’t suspect are healthy” will go over really well.

However, on a site like Twitter or Google plus they’re unlikely to type in these exact keywords. They might be chatting to a friend and say something like, “gave up sugar” or, “I’ve got diabetes”  (including inverted commas).

Once you can reliably find good leads with your chosen platform and search terms, start following those people and observing. Listen in to some of their conversations and get a feel for their situation.

When you find something that you can contribute to, add a comment or leave a reply. You can offer to help in some way, provide trustworthy advice or simply be one of the girls/boys, interested in the same things.

As long as you’re being yourself and don’t over promote your own content they will find your content.

How you know when you’ve found your audience:

  • They will thank you for following them, or posting links to your own articles or media
  • You’ll get people sharing your content with others and giving you feedback

Now that you have at least a steady trickle of targeted readers, we need to…

Convert your visitors to subscribers

Once you have the right people coming to your website, your prime focus should be to offer something free, in exchange for their email addresses. It might be a chapter from your book, an exclusive report, or a rare recipe they can print out and use to make sugar free cookies! As a fallback, you should also provide links to relevant social networks that your audience uses.

The design and layout of your site must serve this conversion process. Your visitors only become subscribers when they either sign-up to your newsletter, or follow you on one of your networking channels. Anything that distracts or obstructs that process of becoming a subscriber must be addressed.

Some common mistakes that hurt conversion:

  • Video and audio that auto plays – this includes automatic slideshows
  • Putting the email sign-up down the page and with no enticement
  • No about page or signs of a real person that creates the site
  • Amateurish looking site with obvious code and typography issues

Once you we’ve generated some momentum in converting visitors we need to…

Notice what’s working

To keep us focused we need to keep a record of what is and isn’t working. Something effective will work on a very small scale. An ineffective strategy will not work no matter how many people you follow or engage with.

The more responsive you are to these signals, the faster you will find the combination of site, approach, and strategy that will work.

Some tools for monitoring results:

  • Google Analytics – Find the pages that people spend the most time on and trace back where they came from.
  • Engagement – Where do most of your comments or replies come from? What kind of people are they?
  • Sales – If your site is an e-commerce site this is an obvious judge of success.
  • Email sign-ups – Use goals in Google Analytics to find out where they are coming from.

When you find someone that has really appreciated your content and responded positively, visit their profile page and use it to update your reader profile. This will help refine your search and conversational skills.

From here we need to just…

Rinse and repeat

Stay in touch with the people you have gotten to know, and converted to subscribers. Don’t just focus on the numbers. Remain committed to the quality of your content and refining your ability to communicate authentically.

Whatever the format that your web presence comes in, remember that your reputation is always at stake. If you are consistent and real and push yourself to create something you are proud of, the people you share it with will appreciate it.

Keep publishing, keep searching and stay curious.

Did you find this overview useful? Anything you found confusing? Let us know in the comments and we’ll reply forthwith!

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2 Responses to “Promoting your blog: an overview – The compass and the keys”

  1. Leigh Robshaw December 29, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Thanks for such a comprehensive post. I like the idea of the compass and the keys: it helps you remember both concepts easily. Nice work!

    • Roberta McDonnell December 30, 2012 at 3:39 am #

      Brilliant resource, very helpful and more understandable than a manual, thank you :)

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