When you have a blog, a big part of making it profitable is marketing. The more you’re able to market your blog successfully, the more traffic you get. And while massive traffic isn’t the be-all, end-all for blogging success, it does matter.
More traffic means more eyeballs on your content, and the more eyeballs you get, the more likely it is that you’ll find true fans among your readers. It’s these fans and loyal readers who will ultimately carry your blog to success, so it makes sense to reach them as best you can. And that’s what marketing is all about — reaching the right people.
The First Step to Any Marketing Strategy
Marketing is all about boosting your blog’s visibility among the right crowd. And before you can do that, you have to know who the right crowd really is. That means you need to get crystal-clear on your target audience. Who is your ideal reader, and what can you provide for that person?
Once you know your ideal reader, you can do a much better job of creating content and offers for that person. You need to be sure that the “implied promises” you make through your entire blog are delivered.
There should be a specific problem that you set out to help (even if it doesn’t “look like” a problem necessarily), and that promise should be easy to identify right away. Maybe your problem is not knowing what to make for dinner, or how to save money, or how to take good pictures. Know what problem you solve, and who the person is in need of your help.
Once you’re clear on that, you need to make sure your blog actually helps solve that problem in a very real way. Look at your blog posts. Check out your post titles and then see if the content you provide actually delivers on what the headline promises. So many times, I’ve clicked on a link that sounded awesome, only to be completely let down by what was in the actual post. If your post doesn’t deliver on the real issue, you need to start over.
Bottom line is, you can’t waste your reader’s time. Make sure everything you’ve got is delivering.
Make Sure Your Blog Is Ready
For any marketing strategy to work, your content needs to be solid and relevant, as we discussed above. But there are some technical and strategic things that need to happen for your blog to be ready, too. This is called optimization, and there are quite a few things you can do to make it happen.
The first thing to look at is the first impression your blog will make. Does it look nice? Is it easy to navigate? What are you offering your readers when they first get there, and what do you offer as they go deeper? I’m talking about having an enticing opt-in visible and content upgrades on your blog posts.
Have you made it easy to share your blog and posts? Social share buttons should appear on each post, as well as on your homepage. You’ll also want to have pinnable images for each post — or at the very least, your top posts.
Once you’ve got these basics in place, it’s time to roll out the red carpet for your readers. One key benefit to knowing your ideal readers well and being able to meet their needs is that you’ll know (or be able to figure out) where they are hanging out, which will be your first clue in where to focus your marketing efforts. Here are some foundational blog marketing strategies to get you started!
Social Media Marketing
There are a few different facets to social media marketing for bloggers. The most important thing to remember as you set up your social media is to be consistent on the platform(s) you pick. Consistency is the key to success with social media marketing. And for that reason, I’d advise you to pick just one or two platforms to begin with.
When you’re just starting out and you’re running your own social media, you need to make it as easy as possible to stay engaged and committed. You do not have to be everywhere, no matter what the big-name bloggers say and do. Pick the one or two you like the best and save the rest for later. Find the places where your readers hang out, and work on being visible and accessible.
I’d recommend you make either Facebook or YouTube one of those platforms if you can, because video is becoming more and more important for bloggers. Facebook Live videos are easy to produce right on your blog/business page, and YouTube is connected with Google so you’ve got extra search engine power if you’re using it right. (The key for that is to use good keywords in your video title and description.)
Here’s one more little tip to make your social media strategy really work: spend a little bit of time each week promoting others. See a blog post or free resource you love? Share it and tag the author. Pin some great pins you find. Mention someone you admire and why you admire them. In short, spread a little love, and you’ll find that love is spread your way, too.
Power Up Pinterest
Pinterest is a fantastic marketing tool for bloggers, and it’s something (like social media marketing) that doesn’t necessarily have to cost anything. It will require some time if you want to avoid subscribing to third-party services like Tailwind, but it’s still possible to make Pinterest work for you without paying for a service.
The most important thing for Pinterest marketing (in addition to consistency) is really good-looking pins that make people want to click, save, and share. If your pins stand out, you’ll get more attention — and more attention means more love from Pinterest.
One of the best ways to come up with great pins is to scan your own Pinterest feed and see what stands out to you. What colors, layouts, and fonts to do you love? How can you apply those same ideas to your own content?
Once you’ve got great pins, you can upload them to Pinterest. Make sure to include a solid pin description that is enthusiastic, enticing, and contains some of the keywords or search terms that fit the post.
Take your new pin and re-pin it to your relevant board(s) as well as any group boards where it makes sense. It’s in repinning that you get “juice” from the Pinterest search engine. If nothing else, you should have a “best of your blog” board up at the top of your page, where you put one pin for each of your cornerstone blog posts.
There are entire courses built on Pinterest marketing, but you can learn a lot of the basics by doing your own search for information. If you’d like a step-by-step plan, here are some of my favorite Pinterest courses:
Guest Posts and Appearances
A great way to capture the attention of a whole new audience is to appear on someone else’s blog or platform. This might take the form of writing a guest post. Maybe, instead of writing a post, you’re interviewed by another blogger and the interview becomes a post. Podcast interviews and even YouTube interviews are another great way to appear in front of someone else’s audience (and invite them to join yours as well).
What you want to do with this strategy is find bloggers whose blog topic is related to yours somehow but isn’t exactly the same. You don’t want direct competition, you want overlapping interest. That way the audiences can easily be “shared” instead of putting the same type of information in front of them from two different sources.
Optimize Your Online Presence
An easily overlooked detail that can make a big difference in your marketing efforts is your “presence” across various platforms. I’m talking about your profile pages and your bios.
For every profile page, make sure you have a line in your bio in which you’re inviting the viewer to join your circle. Include a link to your best opt-in, or (when possible) have a sign-up button right there. If your profile includes things like a header or cover photo (like on Facebook), promote your opt-in in that image. Canva has some great free templates to get you started with this.
Every time you have a guest post or a guest appearance with someone else, the bio you send shouldn’t really be about you — it should be about what you offer. Make sure your bio gives that reader or listener a reason to come to your website. You might want to put together an opt-in just for that audience, for example. Make the last line of your bio a clickable link, if possible (and if not possible, make it be a pretty link).
For example, here’s a version of my own bio:
Angie Nelson, the Work at Home Wife, loves to help people find legitimate work-at-home jobs and create home businesses and blogs they love. Visit her site to get instant free access to her top affiliate marketer tips that helped her earn over $19,000 during a one-week affiliate promotion.
You see how it shows who I help and how I help them, and then it gives a juicy offer that the right person would love to get? You want something similar for your own bio.
Bonus points: Use UTM parameters to easily track in Google Analytics how your guest posts perform.
These are some of my best tips for marketing your blog. Whatever you do, make sure you’re doing it consistently. It’s the showing up day in and day out that will really help you get off the ground and get noticed.