How to Promote Your Blog or Website
These days, journalists need to be their own entrepreneurs and promote themselves – and their work – like a brand. There are many and varied ways to promote your blog and/or website to increase traffic. The 10 ways listed below are probably the easiest and most efficient ways. Plus, they're all free!
1. Word of mouth: this is a very basic and old school way of marketing but it has remained because it really is effective. All you have to do is tell all your family, friends and co-workers about your new site or blog and let them do the work!
2. Submit your site to search engines: this will ensure your site or blog is include in indexes for search engines and shows up when people do Google and Yahoo searches. See http://www.google.com/addurl and http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html
3. E-mail signatures: at the end of your e-mails, attach a link to your blog. Many e-mail programs, including Gmail, allow you to change your settings to automatically include a signature everytime you send an e-mail. Mine includes my name and contact info along with a plug for my website “Find journalism jobs, internships & more @ CubReporters.org”.
4. Social media: put a link to your blog or latest post on your Facebook page. When you post a video to YouTube, put a link in the description.
5. Twitter: there are two options. First, you can manually tweet about your blog using Twitter. You can post your own personal tweets with links to your blog posts, link to other people’s content, ask readers questions, etc. Second, you can set up an RSS feed using Twitterfeed. This is free and will do all the work for you. Basically, anytime you make a new post, a tweet will also appear on Twitter. You could also do a combination of the two: utilize Twitterfeed and also make your own custom tweets. See twitterfeed.com
6. E-mail organizations and people who are interested in your topic: I have a website about journalism careers, for example, so I e-mail journalism professors to let them know I have a website that might be useful for their students. E-mailing a professor may result in dozens of their students learning about my website. Likewise, I contact various journalism organizations, such as the Society of Professional Journalists and Asian American Journalists Association, in hopes that they will spread the word to their members.
7. Link exchanges: it is important to exchange links or get one-way links from relevant sites. The best way to do this is to manually search for websites and blogs related to your site and contact them for a link exchange. Use http://blogsearch.google.com . When soliciting links, remember, flattery will get you everywhere. When you pay someone a compliment, it piques their curiosity in who you are. “Who is this person with impeccable taste?” Be honest and sincere in your flattery, but it shouldn’t be hard to come up with a compliment. Something like, “Hey, I liked your post about [insert topic] because [insert compliment]. I also have a blog that I thought you might be interested in because [insert why it’s relevant]. My blog’s URL is [insert Web address].”
8. Other blogs comments sections and forums: regardless of what you cover, there are likely Internet discussion boards and numerous blogs related to your topic. If you’ve got a post that you think relates strongly to something that another blogger has written about or that is the topic of discussion on a forum – leave a link to your own post. The key to pulling this off without being labeled a spammer is to leave a genuinely useful comment on the blog or forum. The comment itself should add value, be right on topic and contribute to the conversation. Then if you include a link introduce it with a ‘I’ve written more about this at….’ type comment rather than just a spammy call to action. Relatedly, many newspapers have likely, at some point, written a story related to your blog topic or one of your blog posts. And many newspaper websites these days allow readers to post comments about stories. You can do a search using Google News.
9. Write a press release: some press release services don’t cost anything and they can be surprisingly effective with a little luck. For example, see www.i-newswire.com, www.free-press-release.com and ww.prlog.org
10. Pitch mainstream media: some posts will have mainstream media appeal. Shoot a reporter at a paper, magazine, TV or Radio station an email – you might get lucky. For example, if you write about your university's theater department, you might email the theater critic or arts writer at local newspapers. If you cover your university's sports teams, you might e-mail the college sports reporter at the local newsaper.