I’m sure you’ve heard this “trick” question;
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Well, that same question can be applied to any content you create. Sites are highly dependent on content, but great content does nothing if no one reads it.
You might have also heard, “content is king”. While that might be (sort of) true, a king can’t operate by itself, it needs its assistant, or better yet, its queen.
And what would be queen? Promotion!
Promotion is highly varied; it can go simply from word of mouth to expensive advertising campaigns. But in general, it is the act of spreading the word about your site or blog.
Promotion is part of the equation that will make your site popular and bring traffic to it. Visitors don’t just appear magically. People need to hear or find out about your site one way or another in order to access it.
Won’t content be enough for promotion?
Nope. Let’s put it this way. Think about your blog as a tv series where each post is an episode. The episode by itself, no matter how great it is, does nothing if no one watches it at the time it airs. Now, tv commercial, newspaper and magazine ads, and other types of promotion are the ones that will let you know about the existence of the show.
Once you tune in, a great episode will leave you satisfied, yet it will leave you craving for more. So, you’ll tune in for next week’s episode and possibly tell your friends to tune in too.
As you can see, a killer content and great promotion go hand by hand in a symbiotic relationship.
How and where do I promote my site?
There are many ways to do it. Think about how you find out about new sites and blogs. You might think that when you find new sites, the finding was just pure luck. Um, not really. You might have stumbled into it, but that link, image, or description you saw –and convinced you to click through and check it out– was there in purpose as a way of promotion.
Isn’t self-promotion shunned?
Sort of. Many people self-promote the wrong way; eventually annoying and detracting their potential visitors. But, there are many ways you can promote, and bring traffic to your site, in a tasteful way:
- By commenting on other sites. Each time you comment your name or nickname is a link back to your site. Also, many blogs these days use CommentLuv, which shows a link to your latest post.
- By participating in forums targeted to your niche. Forums give you the ability to have a signature where you can promote and put a link to your site. If you provide valuable comments and participate often, people will see you as an authority and will be more likely to visit your site.
- By writing guest posts on other blogs in your niche and in tangential niches. You can include a link to your site in your bio and in some cases in the post’s content (only if it’s relevant).
- By putting a link to your site in every social media profile you setup. Among those are Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg, and others.
- By updating your status in Facebook and tweeting every time you publish something new. One Facebook status update per post is fine, but you can tweet a few times per day the same post.
- By submitting your content to social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Digg, etc. And better yet, encourage your readers to do so too.
- By optimizing your site to make it easier for it to rank higher in search engines like Google. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO is a little monster on it’s own, so I will expand on it in a future post.
- By making press releases if you have something that is newsworthy.
- By paying for online advertising through any ad network, Google, or Facebook.
How will others promote my site?
Now, this is where content will play its role as king. Remember the tv show example? Same thing applies to your content. Write a killer post, and people will want to come back for more and possibly even spread the word for you by tweeting it, sharing it through Facebook, or social bookmarking it.
It is important to make it easy for them to spread the word by having the social media buttons visible at the beginning or end of the post and properly configured. Also, it works if you tell them to share your content with others if they liked it or found it useful.
As your site grows popularity, people will start promoting it more since social approval influences how people see and interact with everything, including blogs.
But even better, try to create raving fans and a friendship network. Interact with your readers and with other bloggers. When you make a personal connection they will be more willing to promote you.
Other quick tips that help in getting free promotion include linking to other bloggers with complimentary comments in your post and allowing guest posts in your site. The former will encourage the referenced blogger to link back to you or do some promotion to show your positive comment with their audience, and the latter will help you in a similar way as the guest blogger will promote their work with their audience too.
As you can see getting that desired traffic is a spiral process between great content and promotion. Promotion will bring the initial visitors, but great content will make your visitors come back and even promote for you, thus bringing more visitors.
So, make sure you have killer content to make your promotion worth the effort and get the most out of it.