So, you have a blog. Congrats! It'll definitely help your inbound marketing efforts.
But thousands of other people and businesses also have a blog. Yes, your competitors too. They may be writing about the same things as you, and maybe they even draw a bigger readership, for one reason or another.
Against this sea of content, you may now be wondering how to promote your blog effectively at the same time as learning how to blog better. Why, since you're asking, I must say that yes, you're better off learning both at the same time rather than post and post content without any plan to promote it.
After all, if I was able to learn to knit AND crochet at the same time, you'll be able to learn writing AND promotion at the same time too.
The value of inbound links
Like it or not, inbound links are one of the main signals that Google uses to determine the relevance of your post. The more inbound links to your content, the better Google likes your stuff.
But of course, inbound links wouldn't be that important if they were easy to get. Through subsequent algorithm updates, Google has weeded out link farms, paid link schemes and dubious link exchanges and penalized the pages that use them.
So, what's left? Basically, people naturally linking to your content because they want to, not because you paid them to.
But beyond SEO, there's also another kind of value to inbound links: readership. When someone links to your content, he or she basically says "hey, check this piece out!" It's usually a pretty strong sign that your content was interesting enough to bother linking to.
Some inbound strategies
First off, a warning: doing too much inbound linking (especially in the form of guest blogging) may hurt your SEO rankings. But done moderately and through relevant channels and content, you'll see a definite spike in visits, and hopefully targeted traffic too.
Guest blogging today is a time-honored way to demonstrate your expertise to the audience you're courting but who may be reading other stuff. (That's all right though–they'll soon be reading yours.)
The basic formula is simple: contact another blog (with a bigger but related readership), submit a guest post, and see your profile increase on the web.
In practical terms, though, it's NOT that easy: different blogs have different editorial requirements, some don't accept guest posts at all, and it's good to have a previous relationship with the editor or owner to get your content through.
But the effort is often worth it: you'll get your content in front of the eyes of hundreds of readers who may just be intrigued enough to click through to your own blog. Nifty!
Social media promotion
Even though most social media shares don't count as signals for Google (or so they say), it's still an occasion to get your links out there and shared.
But what you really want is someone to pick up on your post and write about it or link to it in something they write. This requires, as mentioned above, excellent content that controversies (I invented a new verb!), intrigues or excites.
You can also directly share something from your blog in answer to someone's question on social media–writers often ask for posts or information to help for pieces they are currently working on. Hopefully, it means they'll link back to you in the final post.
Forums and reddits
Forums and reddits are particularly underestimated because so few marketers really bother with them. But have you ever seen something go viral because it spread like wildfire on Reddit? Every. Single. Week. The Huffington Post is often behind reddit as far as viral news go.
Of course, you need to be careful when sharing content on Reddit, LinkedIn groups, Quora and other forum-type websites. You don't want to just be coming in to boost your own posts; you need to be an active participant and share other stuff, too. So this strategy only really works well when you are already engaged in the community.
But the benefits of this engagement are immense: users already trust you, they're more likely to click, and they're definitely more likely to comment and share.
Ready to soar your blog readership?
Of course, when it comes to internet popularity, there's no perfect recipe. Getting new readership requires a bit of work, sure, but also a bit of luck. Sometimes the right post gets in front of the right person, and your visbility jumps up. But getting the odds in your favor can't hurt!
A blog helps increase the visbility of your website. But it's not the only thing. See our 25 Effective Ways To Improve your website ebook for 24 other web improvement tips for more traffic, leads and sales.