So you’ve got a blog, written some amazing content and now you’re delving into the seedy world of increasing conversions and blog optimization. And its working. Subscribers are increasing, comment counts are at Blog Tyrant levels and you’re getting more followers on your social media accounts.
But what about off-site marketing? What are you doing there? Anything…?
Off-site marketing is something that, when brought to your attention, seems like an absolute given. But it really seems to have fallen to the wayside in recent blogging history. In this post I want to give you a few ideas about promoting your blog off-site.
Why do you need to market off-site?
This post is partly inspired by a massively huge post I did on Problogger recently about spending some money to advertise your blog. The major response? Most people didn’t want to spend any money.
To me this seems totally ridiculous. People want to be “pro-bloggers” and live off their blogging income but don’t want to spend any money to get it to that level.
What about if you were a plumber? Would you spend money taking out a Yellow Pages advert? Would you take out ads in the local newspaper? Would you put signage on your van and give business cards to all your friends? Of course you would. So why don’t bloggers do it? I don’t know.
If you want to make your blog a real life business that makes money and pays taxes and gets bigger you need to advertise it. Unless you are a freak of nature like Dosh Dosh (now dead) who can generate buzz by writing the most pristine content you’ll ever see, or a genius like Glen from Viper Chill who seems to promote his blog by giving away free and original technologies, you’ll need to start promoting your blog off-site.
Some off-site marketing ideas
I’d like to do something a bit different and give you two starting elements for an off-site marketing strategy. These are essential and common to any business. If you want to know more about the next steps we can discuss it in the comments.
1. Develop an actual strategy
I’ve done some marketing at University and spend the majority of my working life thinking about it so I am pretty anal about how marketing campaigns come about. A haphazard approach that gets thrown together without any real strategy makes me nervous.
That being said, not everyone has the knowledge or time to devote to developing a proper strategy. What I will say though is that is it really important that you at least think about:
- Who you want to target
What kind of person are you targeting? Sex, age, location, income level, internet experience, etc. all need to be considered.
- Your final goal
Why are you promoting your blog? Is it to get more email subscribers or to sell a product? Make sure this final goal/conversion is extremely well defined or you will have no way to measure your success.
- Your marketing methods
Are you going to market offline or using online methods? How much are you going to spend? How will you track your performance.
Spend a few weeks reading about these things (I’ll give you some resources) and come up with a loose plan of action that you can refine and perfect as time goes on.
2. Reinvest a portion of everything you make
This was one of the main arguments I put forth in the Problogger post; you should be reinvesting a portion of everything you make in to advertising and off-site marketing.
It is just logical.
All “real” businesses around the world use marketing to grow their business, especially when things are bad. And they get this money from either a start-up loan or by reinvesting a portion of their profits. We should do the same.
Just like I suggested you do for tax, I think everyone should be putting aside a small amount like 5% for marketing. Imagine that this money doesn’t belong to you and put it straight into a separate account when you receive your money. Then, once you have developed your plan of attack you can tap into that money in order to make things grow.
What have you tried?
Without those two steps nothing will ever happen. But now that’s said and done, I’d love to hear about what you have tried on your own blogs. Adwords, Stumble, print media? Anything worked? Also, if you’d like to discuss some ideas for your own blog marketing I’ll be happy to chat down below.
25 CommentsJoin in. The comments are closed after 30 days.
Good to see some content from you lately, as always it is interesting and challenging. I have been giving this topic a lot of thought lately as I want to try and encourage more Australian readers on my site. I have a few ideas, but as usual you have given me more to think about!
Shaun I haven’t forgotten about our catch up. When I get the time you are first on my list bro.
This is definitely something I need to put more time into, offline marketing! However, I do put a lot of what I earn right back into my site for building backlinks, copywriting, SEO and all that. Great to see you BT thanks!
Bought any sites lately bro? 🙂
I haven’t started advertising any of my blogs yet, but it’s been heavy on my mind for a few months now. I probably haven’t implemented because I’m still trying to decide exactly what my focus needs to be. I wear a LOT of hats, but when my fiction writing started getting attention (and cash), it felt like that should be the area of focus. But then, I am looking to expand my business by Q1 2012, so it feels like the neglected business site should be the primary focus. Oh, wait, but then there’s the Piper and a few others that are important. *sighs*
There’s a very large part of me right now that just wants to go into blog hibernation for the rest of the year, retreating to my writing cave of solitude to deal with all the content (fiction and non-fiction) I’ll need for all these sites and then reemerge ready to storm the marketing platforms. But then there’s this other part of me that’s screaming, “You want to continue to neglect your sites for another 4.5 months!?!?!?! What!?!?!?!”
So, I really have no concept of what my next step is going to be. Awesome.
I’d advise you to take the middle road. Maybe reduce your posting frequency or pre-write a bunch of posts and schedule them.
Reach out to professional associations and trade organizations related to your blog’s focus. Nonprofits are hungry for content. Make sure you are on their blog rolls and they are on yours, and offer to share your content (as long as credit’s given and there’s a link back to your site). Try trade-outs: offer free ads or listings on your site in exchange for adding your ad or link to your site on theirs.
Can you give an example of a NP looking for content? Interesting.
Wait….there’s this whole world outside the internet I should be promoting my blog on? Ooops. Seems so many bloggers pretend the off line world doesn’t exist sometimes (I’ve been guilty of it too). With all the online advertising options available at the click of a mouse, it’s easy to forget we need to reach people in the “real world”. I also find that many campaigns try to reach too many people or the generic population instead of their specific target market. It is far better to be seen by 100 people who exactly fit your target audience than 1,000 random people.
Steve you are so right. Its not about traffic, its about conversions.
I use print – yep print. Since, at least one of my sites caters to geographic area within a single city I hit the coffee shops and leave cards with attractive images and catchy phrases. I works fine, but it’s more for fun rather than business. That same time and effort would produce better results with additional online marketing.
Love to see on of your cards!
I’m not sure if it counts as marketing but I run competitions to drive interaction. I focus on facebook comments as these tends to generate more interaction again (from people seeing the comments on their facebook page). For example, at the moment I am running a poll on the blog, and I am using prizes (form our online store) to increase responses (in the form of comments on the blog).
You’re exactly right – if you want to be serious about a business you have to reconcile yourself to spending money to make money. Unfortunately, especially in a bad economy, marketing is the first budget to get cut. But if you cut your marketing dollars, your new customers will slowly slow to a stop and then the business will be forced with little option but to close. That wasn’t an affect of the bad economy – it was bad decision making.
You’re right — develop a strategy, assign a budget, and then track ROI. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t, but don’t leave the future of your business/blog up to the whims of people who may stumble across it. Be proactive and introduce yourself to them, your business/blog will thank you for it.
I always thought it was weird that marketing was the first to go. Its the ONLY area of a business that generates more business. Just doesn’t make sense.
I would go further and say that a website should have an “offline” marketing strategy. All of my most loyal readers have been people I’ve met in person, then stayed in contact with online.
My favorite way would be teach a class. It can be at a university or a more casual meetup. By giving a killer presentation, you instantly turn yourself into an authority on a subject. Be attentive and helpful to your audience, and they can become future customers.
By the way, I’m glad you mentioned DoshDosh! That was one of my all-time favorite blogs about Internet marketing, along with Viperchill, Smart Passive Income, and of course, Blog Tyrant. Was there ever any official notice that its author, Maki, passed away?
Top-tip: Although the DoshDosh website is down, you can still read his RSS feed on Feedburner. It’s stored separately on Google’s servers, so it didn’t get taken down with the website. You can check it out at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/doshdosh.
You’d want to view DoshDosh’s feed in an RSS reader rather than in raw form. Naturally, viewing it in an RSS reader isn’t the full experience like seeing the actual site. But I’m happy to still be able to read DoshDosh’s posts, rather than them be lost forever. Excellent content.
Dude thanks for the Dosh Dosh feed. I really miss him.
Did some Googling this morning and found out that the site got hacked and he never fixed it up. Seems as though the domain lapsed and someone else grabbed it.
Glad to be of service! I happened to be looking at the RSS feed URL of one of my blogs, and wondered, “What if I changed the last part to DoshDosh?” I was so thrilled that it actually worked! The Internet equivalent of stumbling onto lost treasure.
The obvious question for me is – where? Where do I do off-site marketing for my niche… is it the yellow pages or the billboard or the newpaper ad? I question the value of advertising small business website works and the related SEO and blogging and social media stuff that goes along with it in these “traditional” venues. Even the newspaper seems questionable to me, because who looks in the newspaper or any of those other mediums I mentioned, looking for a website guy? Not one of my clients has come to me via yellow pages, newspaper ad or golf course scorecard ad (those are the only ‘gambles’ I’ve taken so far in real world print ads).
I couldn’t agree more that we need to take the plumber concept to heart and do what there is to do. But not just for the sake of doing, shotgun-style. I know, based on my perception of your knowledge, experience and success, that you are not advocating the “do, just to do it” mentality I mentioned. From reading a number of authoritative sources, like your blog, I know the key is to targeting my market and targeting them where they live, work, eat and sleep. The challenge is finding those zones in real world geographics – I mean latitude and longitude! Where??
It comes down to money. Would I have more success with radio and TV ads? Or how about high-powered publications in a certain target audience. Undoubtedly. Can I afford them now? Nope. And there, is your second point about reinvestment. One day, if I keep working hard, doing the next right thing, networking and reaching out to help others, I will gain the financial power to move to the next level of advertising.
Thanks for your post, BT. And it is also comforting to see you have retunred to some familar methods – I mean, who in the world would utilize Conan and Obama imagery in the same post. Fabulous. I wanted to draw conclusions (or comparisons) about your image choices – for humorous reasons – but would hate to see this pristine area become littered with political hoo-ha!
Great comment, as always, Scott.
I’ve got a lot to write about this as one of my other businesses is very similar to yours. I’ll get back to you later.
Thank you for this amazing post! It really gave me some insights I hadn’t thought about before.
Well, the reason my blog has page rank is high is simply because of a promotion I did off world…
The challenge in my business is reaching my disparate and scattered target market. A long time ago I decided that I did not want to get into the business of creating a webpage to market properties, because so many already exist, they are cheap to use and very effective. One of the websites comes to your property, takes professional pictures of the place and the photographer gives out envelopes of marketing material to every landlord. I paid a modest fee to be in the envelope.
This is back when I had a placeholder site that was really lame before I knew anything about blogging. I didn’t even list my website on my promotional material because it was so lame. But when he asked me if I wanted a link from his website to mine I said yes.
I had also asked him how many people this promotion would reach annually and he said 25,000. So I had 25,000 printed but…he lied like a rug because 4 years later he tells me he still has some flyers. So I’m still no paying him every year because as I said to him I paid to reach $25,000 people and we’re still not there. So from 2007 to now, I’m still linked to this PR6 site for $750 and they still hand out the original flyers.
The original flyer was a complete flop! I am going to do the promotion again soon, simply promoting my website. In my industry you can pay to be a “premium member” of a lot of organisations and they will promote you and link to your site.
Who wouldn’t click on a headline about Dealthy silence. I had to find out how it differed from deathly silence. If it was (fat chance) a typo, it was a good one, BT.
I talk to people I meet at networking meetings about my blog. Of course, I don’t call it a blog. It’s the website on which I write authority content.
I tell people that I’ve written an article about an issue that I’ve discovered (in conversation) they want to know more about. I offer to send them a link to the article.
That gives me a chance to get in touch after the meeting. I also get a chance to follow up a second time to ask if the article was helpful. When I do that I suggest that the person might like to sign up for my free e-course, join my LinkedIn group etc.
It is just plain business sense. If you want to earn more, invest in marketing. Off site marketing is practical and practicable.