Tuesday, June 7, 2016

10 Simple Ways to Promote Your Blog (For Writers)

If you are a writer, you absolutely must keep a blog. Why? Because blogs are a great way for agents and/or editors to see how you write informally and, of course, your fans will enjoy reading your blog posts.

The problem faced by bloggers is the same faced by up-and-coming writers. How will people find you? If you have not yet published a book (and even if you have) it is difficult to make yourself known in the vast Blogosphere.

Fortunately, there are many ways to promote your posts. You can precycle by publishing your posts on other well-trafficked sites first, you can guest post, you can also post links to your posts on various platforms.

A few sites also allow you to recycle your posts. That is, you can re-publish your posts on another, larger, platform. (See LinkedIn, Medium, Scriggler, and Niume below.)

When you re-post, remember to include a call to action at the end. The call to action is a simple statement of who you are and what your blog is about, along with a link. It should inspire people to check out your blog.

As a case in point, here is my call to action:

Erica Verrillo has published five books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on how to get an agent, lists agents who are looking for clients as well as publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers, explains how to market and promote your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews, how to self-publish, and where to find markets for your work on Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity.

The following are the sites I have found to be the most productive in terms of generating traffic to my blog.
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Google+ - Google Plus is an excellent platform for bloggers. There you will find numerous writing communities of all stripes: marketing for authors, self-publishing, fantasy writers, poetry, horror, sci-fi writers, bloggers - you name it, there's a community for it. If you haven't already, set up your Google Plus profile, and join the appropriate communities. Once you've joined, you can post links to your relevant blog posts on community boards. You can also post your writing, depending on the community rules. (Make sure you read those rules before you post!)

Because you only post a link to your post along with a short intro, Google Plus directly increases traffic to your blog. There is no need for a call to action, although you should make sure to place the name of your blog at the top of your intro. An additional benefit is that people on Google Plus groups are likely to recommend your post to others.

LinkedIn - LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network, allows members to publish blog posts. You can either compose a post, or simply copy and paste your blog posts onto your LinkedIn blog. There is no predicting how many people will see your post. Most of my LinkedIn posts have gotten a less than impressive response, but a few have gotten over 10,000 views, so don't forget your call to action on these posts!

Like Google Plus, LinkedIn has groups. Because LinkedIn is aimed primarily at professionals, the discussions tend to focus on practical aspects of writing. This is an ideal place to share experience, advice, and tips.

Medium - Medium was developed by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams. The idea was to create a platform for both amateurs and professionals featuring publications that operated as a form of social journalism. Since its inception, the platform has changed, and bloggers can no longer simply add their posts to publications. (Adding posts to publications is now by invitation.) Even though the new restriction cuts down on traffic, it is possible to generate tens of thousands of views on Medium because it is directly connected to Twitter. All of your Twitter followers who are also on Medium will automatically become your Medium followers.

Medium does not have a lot of bells and whistles. You can easily upload images and do basic formatting, but not much else. On the plus side, you can import blog posts, which eliminates tedious copying and pasting. In general, Medium has a nice clean look, which makes posts easy to read. Medium followers are also more apt to look at your profile. While, like LinkedIn, most of my posts on Medium have only generated a modest number of views, occasionally one will take off, generating tens of thousands of views. For that reason alone, it's worth it to post on Medium.

Niume - Niume is a relatively new collaborate blogging platform. It groups posts into Spheres, which are collections sharing a similar theme. When you sign up for Niume, you will be asked to join five Spheres. (Choose those which most closely conform to your blog topics.) After you've joined you can publish your blog posts in any of those Spheres.)

Niume is a little more cumbersome than Medium. It does not allow direct imports of blog posts, and when you copy and paste all your formatting and links will be lost. As far as followers are concerned you will be starting from scratch. (However, the number of views for any given post is entirely unrelated to followers.) Niume also ranks Niumers by "hype" which is a concept I cannot explain to you, because I don't have any idea how it is calculated. (Sometimes, one of my posts will get a lot of reads but no hype. Even more confusing, sometimes a post gets hype but few reads. Go figure.) As Niumers accumulate hype, they advance in rank and influence, which means the posts they give a thumbs up to will gain more hype. The "leaderboard" of each sphere ranks Niumers with the most hype by week, month and all time.

Scriggler - Unlike the other platforms mentioned here, Scriggler is entirely devoted to writers and writing. Once you've signed up, you can post stories, news, and opinion. (Opinion is a good place for blog posts.) Scriggler also sponsors writing contests.

Because Scriggler caters to writers, it actively promotes stories that are posted on the site. Scriggler sends a Publication of the Day to everyone who joins the site, and actively tweets new stories and opinion pieces. Members are enthusiastic, and happy to leave comments.

Reddit - Reddit advertises itself as "the front page of the Internet." Its demographic is young men who have some college education. You can post links to your blog posts on various subreddits, provided that you join first. Subreddits are moderated. Here is a list of subreddits for writers: Reddit for Writers.

Facebook - With well over a billion active users, Facebook is the undisputed king of social media. Posts that go "viral" often do so because of Facebook. (One of my Medium posts got 25,000 views in 48 hours because of Facebook.) If you don't already have a Facebook page, open one, gather up some "friends" and start posting your blog.

In addition to your own Facebook page, there are dozens of public Facebook groups for writers where you can post anything related to writing. If you don't have a lot of "friends" on Facebook, this is a marvelous opportunity! Some of these groups have tens of thousands of members. Start with this list: 39 Facebook Groups for Authors.

#MondayBlogs on Twitter - Author Rachel Thompson started #MondayBlogs as a convenient vehicle for bloggers to share their posts. Every Monday, bloggers tweet their most recent (and/or most interesting) blog posts using the hashtag #MondayBlogs (don't forget the s). #MondayBlogs is wildly popular, with tens of thousands of tweets. (You can tweet anything EXCEPT your book. No ads or photos are allowed.) Use only 120 characters for your tweets to allow others to re-tweet.

In contrast to tweeting randomly, I've seen a significant bump in my blog traffic on Mondays due to #MondayBlogs, especially when people with lots of followers re-tweet my tweets. Here are additional hashtags for writers: 246 Hashtags for Writers.

Pinterest - Founder Ben Silbermann describes Pinterest as a "catalog of ideas," rather than a social network. It is a convenient and elegant means of storing information using images. So, make sure you have a great image on every single one of your blog posts to encourage your visitors to pin.

You can make a board specifically for your blog. Give it a title that matches what your blog is about to make it easier to find in a search. Describe it as "The Best of ____ (name of your blog goes in the blank)" and make sure to use plenty of popular search terms in your description. (You can find these by typing the first few letters of any term into the search bar. Watch what pops up.)

Forums - There are numerous forums for writers - Writer's Digest ForumWriting Forums, Litopia, My Writers Circle, Writer's Beat,  Absolute Write, to name a few. Most forums discourage posting links to blogs until you have introduced yourself and participated in a few discussions, so make sure you check the forum rules before posting.

For more ideas on how to promote your blog, see DIY Author's, How to Promote Your Blog

Also see:

Precycling: A Great Way to Get the Most Mileage Out of Your Blogs

Flogging your Blog

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the Pinterest material. I've been thinking about trying that.

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  2. Oh no, more social media! Thanks for the info. I'll check these out and see how they work. For now, I don't see how Facebook will make an impact when you have few followers.

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  3. Thanks for the info. Will look into these other options

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  4. Thank you for the thoughtful article, Erica. Another idea is to create awareness within comment feeds where relevant. I've done this in Disqus comment feeds (used by various publishers, e.g. Rolling Stone, The Atlantic), in Facebook comment threads, and in LinkedIn status updates. Having up to date profiles helps, too. AboutMe, Google Plus, LinkedIn, etc. And for those on Amazon an author page it good. Mine is amazon.com/author/gregoryolson

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