New to ethical blogging? Here’s my advice for ethical bloggers and influencers on how to promote your blog posts.
I’m back with the final installment of my Green Blogging series. This last part is about how to promote your blog and blog posts. It’s a bit of a long one so I’d advise brewing a cup of tea before sitting down with this one.
And if you’re not interested in blogging then do come back tomorrow for a return to normal services – or try out these posts from my archives – a Cornish house tour, how to make fresh food last longer, and sell your crap, pay your debt, do what you love (a favourite of mine)! No more blogging chat after this post, I promise!!
The Best Places to Promote Your Blog Posts
I promote my blog posts through a variety of different channels. I don’t like to keep all my eggs in one basket, and promote in one place only, because things can change on the internet so quickly. As a blogger, it’s important to be flexible and try and keep abreast of social media trends.
Granted, it’s not easy. Especially, if like me you just blog in your spare time. However, it can just be a case of looking at your Google Analytics figures every so often. Here it’s easy to see if traffic from one source is declining or increasing compared to others so that you can see where to more effort into promoting your blog.
One of the main sites I use to promote my blog posts is Pinterest. I pin my own content to Pinterest but I also pin other relevant content from other sites. This means that my Pinterest boards can act as a useful resource for anyone interested in the different aspects of green and ethical living, and not just be a place for self-promotion.
Pinterest is a great place for ethical bloggers to promote blog posts. This is because Pinterest has the added advantage in that your posts tend to stick around. With Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, posts disappear after a couple of hours. This is because these sites prioritise new content. With Pinterest content sticks around as people search for content and pin and repin time and time again. Some of the biggest sources of traffic to my site from Pinterest are images I pinned two years ago that just keep popping up time and time again.
My top Pinterest tips are:
- Create Pinterest-friendly graphics for your blog posts. I.e. take vertically orientated photos rather than horizontal ones. This is because vertical photos are more visible on Pinterest. The photo above is a good example of a Pinterest friendly graphic!
- Installing a ‘Pin it’ button on your website, that appears over your photos helps to make it easier for people to pin your photos. I use the official Pinterest WordPress plugin for this. It’s really simple to add to your site.
- When you pin photos to Pinterest write a rich description so that people can find your pins easily.
- Join group Pinterest boards and share content on there.
- Don’t just pin your own content – share others too.
It might sound like a full-time job, but once you’re used to Pinterest best-practice it becomes second nature to optimise content for Pinterest.
I used to get a lot of visitors from Facebook, then it fell quite dramatically when Facebook introduced paid for advertising. What happened is that Facebook now only shows your Facebook post to a small percentage of your Facebook fans. You can then pay to show your Facebook post to either the rest of your fans, or to a wider audience. In short, Facebook is not brilliant for promoting your ethical blog posts.
Paid for advertising works ok if you’re a business wanting to promote a particular product that you’re selling. However, when you’re a blogger wanting to promote a blog post that you’ve written that doesn’t make you any money then it’s not particularly good! That being said, recently I’ve seen an upsurge in traffic from Facebook without doing anything differently, which I cannot explain, so I’m not going to turn my back on it!
My top Facebook tips are short but sweet:
- When you set up a Facebook page make sure it’s a community page that people can like and follow, rather than a personal page.
- Always include an image in your post. Facebook is quite a visual medium and an image means more people are likely to interact with your post.
- Occasionally share your Facebook posts on your personal Facebook account. Not all the time as your friends won’t be too happy about being spammed!
- Join some Facebook groups relevant to what you are blogging about.
- Finally, Facebook Insights is a really useful tool. You can tell which days and times your followers are most active on Facebook. As such, you can time your posts accordingly. Find the button at the top of your Facebook page and click on POSTS:
My followers are most active at the weekend around 9pm at night. This is handy to help me know when the best time to post on Facebook.
Twitter is another useful site to promote your blog posts. I get less traffic from Twitter than Pinterest or Facebook but that doesn’t mean I ignore it. I still promote my posts on Twitter.
But, more than that. I also find out lots of useful information from Twitter, keep abreast of current news on Twitter, keep up with my favourite bloggers, and more. It’s also a good site to make connections with people and to take part in blog chats. As a blogger one of my favourite chats to join in on is Blogtacular. It’s held on the first Wednesday of the month at 9pm (GMT) on the hashtag #blogtacular.
A good strategy for Twitter is, as well as sharing your own content, to share other people’s content too. It can get a bit dull when a Twitter feed is just all self-promotion! And try to include an image if you can – posts with images tend to get more engagement than just Twitter posts with text!
If I’m feeling a bit sassy then sometimes (just sometimes) I tweet people who I think might be interested in articles I’ve written. For example, recently I tweeted the Vegetarian Society about an article I wrote for the Huffington Post on vegetarianism, saying it might be up their street. Not only did they share it on Twitter but they also shared it on Facebook where it got over 100 shares, over 500 likes, and sparked a lively discussion in the comments. I don’t like to go down this route too many times as to me it seems a bit impolite and a bit too self promotion-y but very occasionally I think it’s ok. People would soon get sick of you if you did it all the time!
Something I do though, without shame, is if I mention a company or blogger in a post then I will tweet about the article and mention them in the tweet so they know I’ve been talking about them. I think that is definitely a-ok, and not self-promotion-y.
Can I just take a moment to point out a common Twitter mistake I often see? Say I want to let my readers know that Ricky Gervais has been doing some great work highlighting animal cruelty.
If I tweet:
@rickygervais has been doing some great work in highlighting animal cruelty
This means only people who follow both Moral Fibres and Ricky Gervais will see this tweet. Only 3% of followers of Moral Fibres follow Ricky Gervais so I’m really limiting the size of my audience.
But if I tweet:
.@rickygervais has been doing some great work in highlighting animal cruelty
This means all followers of Moral Fibres will see this tweet. Can you see the difference? All I did was make sure the second tweet started with a different character – the ‘.’ – and not an ‘@’ sign. You should only start a tweet with an @ sign if the tweet is a direct conversation to someone, otherwise make sure you start a tweet with a different character.
One site I also wanted to address here is Instagram. Instagram isn’t my favourite place to promote your blog as it wants users to stay on Instagram rather than coming off-site to view blog posts. Instagram also has a frustrating algorithm, which only rewards those who treat Instagram as a full-time job.
As such, I don’t factor Instagram too highly into my social media strategy. I share photos from the blog on my Instagram grid and on my Instagram stories. Occasionally, I will share photos I’ve taken just for Instagram, but I don’t let it dictate my life. If you use it to promote your blog posts, don’t let it dictate yours either.
Tips on Not Being Overwhelmed When It Comes to Promoting Your Blog
The above is mainly how I promote my blog posts. If it sounds like a massive amount of work for you in promoting your blog let me share a little secret. There’s a fantastic service out there called Buffer. It lets you schedule Tweets, Facebook update and Pinterest pins in advance.
I write Moral Fibres in the evenings. By day I work part-time. And on the days I don’t work I’m busy with my daughter. So there isn’t really any time in the day for social media. I regularly set aside 30 mins one evening a week to schedule these things in advance. This means I can keep a presence on these sites without it dominating my life or stressing me out!
I also have the Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook apps on my phone. This means when I’m doing something really glamorous like sitting on the bus home from work, or standing in a queue at the Post Office, I can check in to these sites. I can then respond to people so it doesn’t look my feeds are being manned by a robot!
Outside of Social Media
Outside of social media, then if you’ve got the time guest posting on other blogs is a really good strategy in promoting your blog (hint hint – I’m always open to guest posts from other ethical bloggers on Moral Fibres – just drop me an email!). Alternatively, taking part in a blog series, or writing for other sites that accept contributors is a good way to expand your reach. Basically, anything that increases exposure beyond your own blog is never a bad thing.
My Top Ethical Blogging Tips
Before I sign off on my blogging tips series, I wanted to end with probably the two most pertinent points about blogging. It’s one that will help keep you motivated and blogging for longer:
Ignore the Numbers
When you start writing a blog it can feel like no-one else is reading. And if you’re reading other blogs with thousands upon thousands of readers it can feel a little intimidating. The truth is everyone has to start somewhere. And generally, in the world of ethical blogging, you start at the bottom and have to build a readership up over time. The keywords in that sentence are ‘over time’. There is no magic shortcut to building up loyal readers. It does comes with time (a long time).
When I first started Moral Fibres about 10 people read the blog a day – which I think were some very lovely friends and family. Even when I posted something I thought was great, the numbers didn’t go up and I felt as if no-one was really reading. I quickly realised that if I wanted to keep blogging I should just ignore the numbers and keep posting blog post after blog post. If you just keep writing it means people have more chance of stumbling upon your blog – through search engines, social media or word or mouth.
After two and half years of blogging here, I have published 334 posts. That means when someone searches the internet for something there are 334 chances my blog will show up in search results. If you have a new blog, with only four posts there are only 4 chances your blog will show up in search results. Search engines also take time to index your post. What’s more, it can take up to two years for a post you’ve written to appear on the first page of Google! So don’t pay too much attention to your visitor statistics – just keep posting! People will find you! And if you wrote a really great article when no-one was reading your blog – share it again when your blog is bigger!
Define Your Blogging Success Early On
Everyone who sets out blogging wants to have a successful blog. It’s human nature that we want to be successful. I’d suggest when you set out blogging that you define what you want your success to be. Very early on in the blog’s life, I decided that success to me is having a space I enjoy writing in, and a space that you enjoy reading and enjoy coming back to time and time again.
I don’t want the blog to be my full-time income. I have an environmental job I love and don’t have any intention to be a full-time blogger. Defining my own success means I’m judging myself on the terms I’ve set for myself. I’m and not comparing myself to others. For example, that blogger gets more page views/comments than me. Or that blogger makes more money than me). These feelings only ever leads to negativity and resentment and can burn you out faster than anything.
If by successful, you mean that you want to be a full-time blogger then do be aware that most full-time bloggers don’t support themselves just through advertising on their blog. Most have book deals, product lines, e-courses, e-books, teach classes, speak at conferences, a complimentary business, etc. The food blog Pinch of Yum publishes their monthly income reports. It’s an eye-opening look to see how a full-time blogger makes their money, and to see just how much work goes in to being a full-time blogger.
Thanks for Reading
Hope you’ve enjoyed and found this series of ethical blogging tips useful! I think I’ve exhausted all of my blogging pearls of wisdom now. However, if you have any other ideas on how to promote your blog and blog posts then do let me know in the comments below.
As this is my third and final post on blogging, I think I’ve shared everything you could ever want to know on blogging, but if there’s anything you’ve felt I’ve missed then do also let me know in the comments and I’ll address them there rather than in a future post.