Does your blogging activity look like this: write, publish, write, publish, write, publish . . . ? If so, you are missing one of the most vital parts of making your blog a success: promoting your blog posts. And I’m not just talking about an occasional tweet or link on your Facebook page. For your blog to reach its full potential, you need to promote your blog posts like a pro across multiple platforms. This guide will show you how to expertly promote your posts on no less than fourteen platforms.
The Ultimate Guide to Promoting Your Blog Posts
There are two stages to this guide on promoting your blog posts across multiple platforms:
- Generating the resources required for promoting your blog posts.
- Putting the resources into action and promoting your blog posts.
The techniques described here are for promoting your blog posts after they have been published. However, because it’s important to promote your posts as soon as possible after publishing them, I recommend doing at least a little of the groundwork before you hit publish.
Before you start creating the resources, you should choose a suitable featured image for your post. This image will form the basis of all your promotions so choose it well. I like to use an attractive photograph from Flickr that in some way ties into the subject of the post. I must admit, if I’m particularly fond of a photograph, sometimes the link can be quite weak (but you get the link between the great photo above of all the staples and nail and a post about promoting stuff, right?)! This featured photograph forms the background in all my social media promotions.
1. Generate the Resources Required for Promoting Your Posts
Create Shareable Images for the Post
The first step in your cross-platform promotion is to create images suitable for sharing on all the social media platforms you use.
Creating attractive, professional images for your social media promotions is extremely important if you want your promotions to be effective. Dreary images, stale fonts, bad color schemes, and poor wording; all of these will result in your social media promotions bombing.
For your images to be truly effective they must be custom made to the optimum dimensions for each platform. You could create templates using your favorite graphics program (Illustrator, Photoshop, PowerPoint etc.) or you could use a great tool called Canva.
Canva is a free drag and drop graphics program that you can use to create images of the optimum size for most social media platforms.
As a minimum, I suggest you create the following images using your featured photograph as the background:
- Twitter: at least three images using the Twitter Post template. One with the title of the post, and two or more with an interesting quote or statistic from the post.
- Facebook: one image using the Facebook Post template with the post title or an interesting quote.
- Google+: one image using the square Instagram Post template with the post title or interesting quote.
- Pinterest: one portrait image using the Pinterest Graphic template with a teaser headline.
- Instagram: one extra square image (plus the one you created for Google+) using the Instagram Post template with the post title or an interesting quote.
- Tumblr: two portrait images using the Tumblr Graphic template with a teaser headline.
- Infographic: this may not be suitable for every post, but if it’s possible to make a simple infographic that summarizes the main points of your post, you should create one. It can do wonders for your traffic.
This may sound like a lot of work, but you can duplicate the titles and quotes across multiple images. Don’t forget to add your URL or logo to the images.
You should aim for cohesion across your images. Don’t use the same fonts and color schemes for all your post promotion campaigns, but use the same ones for all the images in a particular campaign. This will give your social media promotions a standard appearance across all platforms and increase brand recognition.
Click the links below to see the images I created and used to promote the post you are reading now (I’ll add the links as I post my social media updates):
- Twitter: one, two, three.
- Facebook: one, note.
- Google+: one.
- Pinterest: one.
- Instagram: one, two.
- Tumblr: one, two.
Create a Stripped and Condensed Version of the Post
For some of the promotion tactics described below, you will need a stripped and condensed version of the original post. To strip your post, remove all images, videos, click-to-tweets, text highlighting, shortcodes, and links. Basically, remove everything that isn’t simple text.
To condense your post, first you need to remove any references to images, videos etc. Next, read through your post and delete anything that is not essential to the main message of the post. Condensing a post is a difficult task. Your aim should be to reduce the length of the post without losing the point and keeping it engaging and valuable to the reader. The condensed version of your post should be a maximum of 1,000 words and preferably closer to 500 words. If your original post was already within this range, remove the references to images, videos etc., and tighten up the prose.
The aim of the stripped and condensed post is to encourage readers to visit your blog for more information. Read it through. Would you click through? Work on it till it works.
2. Put the Resources Into Action and Promote Your Posts
- SEE ALSO: The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter
- SEE ALSO: Get More Twitter Followers with These Twelve Tips
Schedule tweets for the next three days
The first thing I do after publishing my posts is to schedule 7 tweets promoting the post to go live on the following schedule:
- On publishing (you can set up Jetpack Publicize or an RSS to Tweet via Hootsuite to do this).
- 6 hours after publishing
- 12 hours after publishing
- 18 hours after publishing
- 24 hours after publishing
- 2 days after publishing
- 3 days after publishing
The aim of these tweets is twofold: 1) cover as many time zones as possible in the first 24 hours without bombarding your followers; 2) promote different aspects of the post. Both of these objectives boil down to one thing: making your post appealing to as wide an audience as possible.
For the tweets themselves, use the different images you created earlier and mix them up with different headlines to maximize impact. I’ve written some advice you might find useful on writing appealing headlines. Add two or three relevant hashtags to each tweet.
Share to your page
Next on my promotion checklist is Facebook. Soon after publishing the post I share it on my Facebook page using the image I created earlier. When you paste your link into the Facebook field, Facebook will scrape your site and pull an image. Facebook does this really badly and often pulls the most random image from the post. Thankfully, you can delete the image Facebook suggests and upload your own. Phew!
Once you’ve pasted your link and uploaded your image, you need to optimize the post. First, delete the link at the top of the post. The image you uploaded is already linked to the destination post so you don’t need it anymore. Instead, replace it with an intriguing headline. Finally, edit the little snippet of text that Facebook has pulled from the post so it entices readers to click. Hit publish and you’re done.
Share to your personal profile
As soon as you’ve published your Facebook post, you should share it to your personal Facebook profile. Any interested friends, family, or colleagues can now see your post if they don’t follow your page.
If you really want to leverage your personal Facebook profile to promote your blog, you should work hard on building your number of friends. Every friend you add is another potential visitor to your blog or another share on Facebook. If you’re worried about polluting your home feed with updates from people you haven’t seen since kindergarten, you can easily hide updates from people you don’t want to see. Just hope they don’t do the same to you!
Publish a note on your page
Notes are a great way to add longer content to your Facebook feed. They also look good by adding variety to the type of content you post.
Unfortunately, Canva does not have a template for a note cover image so you should create one using custom dimensions or use another design tool. Your featured image cropped and resized will do fine. The optimum cover image dimensions are 1,200 x 445 pixels.
For the content of the note, you simply paste in the stripped and condensed version of your post and add a little note at the bottom saying something like, visit my blog [link to post] for more details, screenshots, and a free downloadable infographic.
Facebook notes support embedded images so you could actually reproduce your post in full. However, that is time-consuming and the point of this promotion is to drive traffic to your blog where visitors will hopefully hang out and click around.
Publish the note two or three days after you published the original post. You could also share the note to your personal profile but be careful of boring your friends and relatives who, unlike your page followers, may not be that interested in your blog.
Share to your groups
If you are a member of any relevant Facebook groups, you should share your post with them too if the rules allow (some groups are quite strict about self-promotion).
If you are not a member of any Facebook groups, you should think about joining one. They can be a great way of generating traffic for your site and meeting like-minded people. You can search for groups in your niche using the Facebook search.
There should be a Facebook group for just about any niche you blog in. If you can’t find one you could always start one yourself. There are also blogging groups for people who blog about any subject such as Show Your Blog Love. This particular group can also help with promoting your posts on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and StumbleUpon.
Share to your Google+ Brand Account and Circles
The first thing to do for your Google+ promotion is to share the post on your Brand Account and Circles. You could just share a link or an image but this is another case where I like to share the stripped and condensed version of the post together with an image.
To create the post, copy and paste your condensed version into the ‘what’s new with you’ window. Again, you should add a note to the bottom telling interested readers they can find more information plus screen shots etc. on your blog and include the link. Add three or four relevant hashtags.
Next, upload the image you created earlier and choose who you want to send the post to. You could send it to your brand account, circles, extended circles, communities etc. in one go but I like to post to communities separately as I’ll explain below.
Share to your Google+ communities
Google+ communities are similar to Facebook groups; a group of like-minded people sharing content and discussing a topic of interest. Some of these communities can have many thousands of members. Image the kind of exposure a well-written post coupled with an attractive image and an intriguing headline could bring.
When posting to Google+ communities you must add value to the reader. That’s why I recommend posting the stripped and condensed version of the post. Upload the image you created earlier and add a note directing interested readers to your blog for more information. Select who you want to share it with as show in the image above (if you scroll down, you’ll find the communities you are a member of at the bottom). This time you don’t want to share it publically so remove ‘public’ and select one community at a time.
I recommend writing an original headline and introduction for each community you share your post to. Don’t post identical posts to multiple communities: Google+ may penalize you for spamming.
Pin to a relevant board
Next, pin the Pinterest image you created earlier to one of the boards on your Pinterest account. Add a link to the original post, write a short, keyword-rich description, and add three or four relevant hashtags.
As many as 87% of Pinterest users are female. If you want your Pinterest promotions to hit the mark, be sure to use visuals that appeal to women.
Repin to another relevant board
A day or two after pinning your post, repin it. Pins which receive activity such as comments, likes, and repins are more likely to be returned in category searches, so why not give your pin a little boost. This technique also increases your visibility to people who are following you.
Repinning your old pins occasionally is a good strategy to improve your Pinterest exposure in general. Try repinning your popular pins every month or two.
Pin your infographic
If you’ve created an infographic for your post, pin it to Pinterest three or four days after publishing the post. Infographics do incredibly well on Pinterest. Make sure you use an attractive design and make it so readers can’t resist clicking through to your blog for more information.
Instagram is a platform I don’t use that often to promote my posts, mainly because of the hassle of uploading images to my Instagram account. The easiest way I’ve found of uploading images to Instagram is to first create the images in Canva on my computer, save them to my desktop, email them to myself, save them to my image gallery on my Android phone, and then upload them to Instagram via the app. It’s a big hassle and I’m not sure it’s worth it.
If you blog in a more appropriate niche (fashion and beauty for example), where you can take a snap with your phone and upload it straight away, you might get more mileage out of Instagram. Posting to Instagram certainly won’t do your blog any harm, whatever your niche. If you can be bothered to go through the above process, or know of a better way (please let me know in the comments!), go ahead.
Post to a relevant subreddit
Self-promoters are not looked on kindly by Redditors so tread carefully when sharing your content to Reddit. To get on the right side of the Reddit community, your posts should add value in themselves without readers having to click away to your blog. This is where the stripped and condensed version of your post comes into its own.
First, find a relevant subreddit to post to. There’s bound to be one in your niche. Then give your post a good title. This is absolutely vital in Reddit where your headline will make or break your post. Then copy and paste your stripped and condensed post and add a note at the bottom directing readers to your blog for more information including images, screenshots, and free downloads etc.
If you’re using Reddit to promote your posts, it’s important to become an active part of the community. By posting quality content and commenting on other user’s posts, you increase your post and comment karma which will help identify you as a serious user rather than a blatant self-promoter.
StumbleUpon is a fantastic tool for promoting your posts. It works like this: users tell StumbleUpon what topics they are interested in and StumbleUpon returns web pages that match their requirements. If they don’t like the page it returns, they hit the Stumble button and a new page is returned. When your content is added to StumbleUpon and categorized, it is added to the queue and can show up in appropriate Stumbles. Content that is liked more often gets returned more frequently.
You should not like your own content on StumbleUpon. You may be banned if you do*. Instead, you need to find people who will like your content on your behalf. Facebook groups such as Show Your Blog Love offer a StumbleUpon sharing group. You could try sending a ‘Please Stumble this’ tweet (design a banner image you could use to attract attention and offer to Stumble a post in return to anyone who replies). You could also ask your StumbleUpon followers to like it for you.
The social element to StumbleUpon is not as strong as say Twitter, but by gathering followers you can share your content directly with them and start increasing your likes and shares. StumbleUpon allows you to add any page to a list. Simply create a list exclusively for your content and add your new posts to it. By slowly adding new posts as you publish them, and Stumbling and liking other people’s posts, you shouldn’t be penalized. Once a post is on a list you can send it to your followers and ask them to like it for you.
While StumbleUpon can drive bucket-loads of traffic to your site, the traffic is quite low quality. StumbleUpon visitors often spend only a few seconds on a post and the bounce rate (the percentage of visitors that visit only one page before leaving) is very high.
*StumbleUpon say in their documentation that noncommercial users can share their own content up to a limit.
Post to your Tumblr account
Tumblr gives you a variety of post types to choose from. You can drop the URL of your post in the box and Tumblr will scrape your site and return an image. However, the image it returns may not be the most appropriate for the platform. Instead, I like to use a text post, upload one of the images I created in Canva specifically for Tumblr, and manually add the link, headline, and a tantalizing description.
Don’t forget to add some hashtags to your post (Tumblr provides a specific area for tags). The first five hashtags are searchable from the Tumblr dashboard so make sure you add at least five hashtags to your Tumblr posts with the most relevant first.
Schedule a second post to Tumblr
Tumblr allows you to schedule posts right from the dashboard, so go ahead and schedule a second post to go out a day or two after the first. Use the second image you created earlier and give it a fresh headline.
Post to your LinkedIn account
LinkedIn is a promotion tool that is overlooked by many bloggers, but the fact is LinkedIn is a melting pot of knowledge, full of people wanting to teach and be taught. I don’t promote all my content to LinkedIn, but for those posts I think are relevant, it can be a nice source of traffic.
You have a few options when posting to LinkedIn: text update (you can post a link and LinkedIn will scrape your site and fetch an image and meta data), upload an image (you can add a link and description manually), or write an article (this is where you can drop in the stripped and condensed version of your post).
I’ve found a short, enticing paragraph coupled with a nice image and a link back to the original post performs just as well as a full article, but occasionally I’ll post the stripped and condensed version of my post plus a link for variety or when I think the post is especially good.
The key to success with LinkedIn is to only post outstanding content. The LinkedIn audience is a discerning one and any weak, short, or poorly researched content will not do well.
Post to LinkedIn groups
LinkedIn groups can help put your content in front of interested readers. By sharing your posts to relevant groups (there are groups for most niches), you can guarantee an audience who is looking for the kind of information you can provide. Like a post to your personal LinkedIn account, an enticing description coupled with an image and link can perform just as well as a full article containing your stripped and condensed post. Again, I like to mix and match them for variety.
To really make your mark in a LinkedIn group, you should join in discussions on other posts and invite readers to comment on yours. There’s a real community feel to LinkedIn, in part because the user base is much smaller. By including a question or engagement prompt in your description or article you can spark a discussion that will encourage click through to your original post.
As described above, the primary methods for promoting your blog posts involve social media. But there are other methods you can try. Here’re a few to get you started:
Boost your social media updates on CoPromote
CoPromote is a free (there’s also a premium upgrade) share-for-share social sharing platform that can rocket your social media updates. At any one time, you can boost one post each from Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Vine, and Instagram. Other CoPromote users share your posts to their followers and you do the same in return.
Be careful not to bombard your own followers with too many irrelevant shares. This will lead to your followers abandoning you. With careful management, such as only sharing content that is relevant to your audience, CoPromote can massively increase your post exposure.
Create an account with Bloglovin’ and add your blog
This is a one-time only action; once you’ve added your blog to Bloglovin’, the platform will pick up your new posts through your RSS feed. That’s not to say you should forget about Bloglovin’ after signing up. Of course, you still need to interact with other users, build relationships, build trust, and build followers.
Share to Medium
Medium is a strange beast. It’s kind of a cross between WordPress.com and Twitter: blogging with a strong social aspect. Gaining traction with Medium will take a bit more effort than some other platforms, but if you’re willing to put in the work it can pay off.
There are two activities you should do on medium:
- Share your original posts in full.
- Write original posts specifically for medium.
Sharing your original posts in full (also called syndicating) is made easy with Medium’s ‘Import a Story’ function. You’ll probably need to do a bit of tidying before publishing your post to Medium, though Medium does an excellent job of stripping out incompatible shortcodes etc. Give your imported post five hashtags.
If you’re worried about being penalized by Google because of duplicate content, don’t. Medium’s tools for cross-posting (including the ‘Import a Story’ function) automatically add the source it is importing from as the canonical link. This means your blog will always be recognized as the original source so long as you use the official Medium tools. Never copy and paste your post into the Medium editor. I’d also advise against trying to pass the stripped and condensed version of your post as an original Medium post.
To do well on Medium you should also occasionally publish pieces written specifically for Medium and not published anywhere else. It’s up to you if you think this is a valuable exercise or if your content would do better on your own blog or as a guest post on someone else’s.
As you can tell, Medium is not a quick solution for building traffic to your blog, but if you like this platform, and many do, with a bit of effort you should be able to make it work.
Check for relevant questions on Q&A sites
First, make sure you have accounts on Q&A sites such as Quora and Yahoo Answers and that your profile includes your blog URL. Next, search for recent questions that are relevant to your niche. This is something I do regularly, maybe every couple of days, not just after publishing a new post. If you find a relevant question (and it must be very relevant), paste in the stripped and condensed version of your post, add a customized introduction and a link at the end directing readers to your blog for more information and post it.
Use your network
If you’ve been blogging for a while, or are good at building relationships, you probably have a whole network of people you could call on to help promote your posts. Friends and family who are active on social media are a good place to start. The audience may not be as targeted as some methods, but every little helps right?
Other bloggers you’ve connected with, those social media followers who always interact with your updates, and your email subscribers are great at helping to promote your posts, especially if you help promote theirs in return.
If you’ve mentioned any products, services, companies, or other bloggers in your post, drop them an email or tweet asking them to share it. If you’ve given them a glowing review or a backlink to their blog, how can they refuse?
Repurpose and reshare
To be a successful blogger, you have to learn to be efficient. Repurposing and resharing your content is a great way of wringing out every ounce of value from your hard work. Can your original post be made into a video, podcast, ebook, slideshow, or course? If so, do so. You can reshare the new resource on the platforms described above as well as new platforms that open up with new media such as SlideShare, SoundCloud, and YouTube.
We as bloggers put so much effort into developing our blog posts, it’s madness not to get as much value from them as possible.
Following all of the advice above for every post you publish is going to be a lot of work. Don’t try to launch into all of these strategies at once. Instead, start at the top and work your way down the list, gradually working out what works for you and what doesn’t. You should aim for a consistent, streamlined promotion strategy that will give your posts massive exposure for minimum effort.
It’s definitely worth putting in the time to create stripped and condensed versions of your posts. When someone asks for advice on a particular subject, just posting a link to your blog looks like desperate self-promotion. But if you can back that link up with some genuinely useful information, readers are much more likely to click through to your blog. They are also great for answering questions you receive by email.
I keep all my promotion resources, images and stripped and condensed posts, in separate folders labeled with the post name. Having the resources at my fingertips is vital for seizing every promotion opportunity without taking too much time away from writing new content.
Posting your content to the various platforms is not enough. For your promotion strategy to be effective, you need to be a part of the community on each platform. You should spend a few minutes every day interacting with other posts and users. This way you’ll build relationships, trust, and followers. Only then will your promotional efforts pay off.