So you published a blog post… Congrats! But now what? You spent all that time researching and writing and creating graphics and editing, etc., so it would be silly to just hit post and hope the traffic will come. In fact, I don’t think of any of my blog posts as “complete” until I’ve promoted them. So today I’m sharing how to promote your blog posts… or at least, how I promote mine and bring in 10’s of thousands of visitors to my site monthly!
There are three basic ways to promote your new (or existing) blog posts: via search engine optimization, social media, and paid advertising. Any one form is not necessarily better than the other. In fact, I like to use all three for a well balanced promotion. You can try one or all, and decide for yourself which are the most effective.
(This post contains affiliate links. Not sure what that means? Click here and a new tab will open with more information.)
How to Promote Your Blog Posts: Search Engine Optimization
Before you even hit publish on your blog posts, you should know whether or not they are optimized for search engine (ie., Google, Bing, etc.) traffic. If you use WordPress, it’s really easy with the help of a plug in called Yoast. Yoast will tell you if your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is working for you with a colored check mark: Grey for “Not Available” (you haven’t entered enough information into your post yet), red for “Needs Improvement”, orange for “OK” and green for “Good”. These days I don’t hit publish until I see that green check mark.
If you don’t use WordPress and/or you don’t want to use the Yoast (or similar) plug ins, you can learn how to create SEO friendly posts on your own… With things like a focus keyword that appears in your title, page URL, first paragraph of the post, headers, image descriptions, categories, tags, meta description, etc. You’ll also want to consider the word count of your blog posts: Yoast recommends at least 300 words for regular content (there are 310 words in this post so far), or 900+ words for “cornerstone” content — which Yoast describes as:
“Cornerstone content is the core of your website. It consists of the best, most important articles on your site; the pages or posts you want to rank highest in the search engines. Cornerstone articles are usually relatively long, informative articles, combining insights from different blog posts and covering everything that’s important about a certain topic.“
One other thing you’ll want to consider is the fact that Pinterest is also a search engine. A lot of people lump it in with social media, but it’s actually more of a visual search engine. The thing is, the results are mainly visual, but the text portions are just as important in helping people find your posts. Pinterest will pull your blog post description from the alt tags in your images and/or the meta description, which you can do in WordPress, or you can use a handy plug in like WP Tasty Pins, which will help you put the right information in the right places, for both SEO and Pinterest (which why, to me, it’s the smartest choice.)
How to Promote Your Blog Posts: Social Media
Now that your blog post is done, SEO ready and you’ve hit publish, then what? It’s time to start promoting it on social media! You may have noticed on the side of this blog post (or at the bottom if you’re reading it on your phone) you’ll see I use the SUMO share buttons. They’re made for readers like you who want to promote and share blog posts you like, but I also use them on my own blog posts to help me to remember everywhere I like to promote.
So I’ll simply go down the line, starting with Pinterest. Now, I know I just said that Pinterest isn’t social media, it’s more of a search engine. But Google will come and “find” my new posts, but on Pinterest I have to add them manually. So I’ll pin every image I’ve created for the post (that could be as few as one, or as many as fifty or more, like in the case of my post, 50 Modern, Minimal, Feminine WordPress Blog Themes). And I make sure that the images — especially the main, or “featured” image, is optimized for Pinterest. I do that because about 50% (sometimes much more) or my traffic comes from Pinterest. If you notice a chunk of your traffic is coming from other sites, you might want to create additional images that are optimized for those sites, too.
Then I share on Google+ — even though G+ is said to be going away, there are a couple advantages to continue to sharing posts on the platform until then. First of all, it’s owned by Google and of course, every blogger wants to be in the good graces of the search engine giant. But beyond that, sometimes Google will email your contacts and let them know that you’ve just shared a new post, and that’s always a nice little boost!
Next I post to Twitter. I don’t get a ton of traffic from Twitter, but it’s just enough that I’ll continue to share my new blog posts (and other shareable links) there.
The last button I use is to share the post on my Facebook page. Now, there are some WordPress settings that will automatically share your new posts on Facebook. I don’t have those set up just in case I publish a post and notice typos or other mistakes.
Now, you can’t share to Instagram directly from a blog post, so once I’ve done the above, I will make an Instagram-friendly image and share the post on Instagram, as well. I’ll create a post for my feed, as well as one for my stories and link directly to the blog post itself. If I scheduled a blog post to publish in advance, I will schedule a corresponding post on Instagram using Later, an Instagram-approved, 3rd party app that helps you schedule to Instagram and other platforms.
How to Promote Your Blog Posts: Advertising
One other way to promote your blog posts is with paid advertising. If you’re just starting out, you may or may not want to try advertising. Some of the places you can pay for ads are the places we’ve already discussed: search engines, social media sites (like Facebook and Instagram), as well as Pinterest.
But if you are going to try advertising, consider what your desired outcome for the ad is. Is it just traffic? Then I’d personally advise against it. Ads rarely produce the kind of traffic that will give you a return on your investment if you’re running ads on your own site and/or have affiliate links on the page and that is how you make your blogging income. Of course, there are exceptions to this, and if you think your site may be one of them, it wouldn’t to at least give advertising a try.
Is it to collect email addresses / leads? If so, that’s great! In fact, I’d say that is one of the best reasons to try advertising a blog post: to build your email list. So if you have a high converting email sign up system (like a pop-up or “welcome mat” that covers your entire page) you can drive traffic with advertising and (eventually) get a solid return on investment (or ROI) with your email list.
Two final thoughts: if you feature other people in your posts or link to other blogs or websites, let them know about it! They might also share your posts on their social media, too. And if you have an email list, be sure to share your new post with them, too!