Friday, March 11, 2011

Blog Promo and Audience

OK, before we were so rudely interrupted on Wednesday, we were deep in conversation about blogs. How you have to have them and what to write on them, and what not to write on them. We are making so. much. progress.

Now, you've got this blog! It's your online brand-y-hub thing! You are crafting a message both personal and interesting to your audience!

Whoa. Audience? Who said anything about that?


Your audience, as you doubtless know, is numero uno. It's more important than your witty quips or cool stories. Plus, if you keep checking your comments and you've still only got that one from your mom asking about your change of address, we've you've got a problem.

Two things on audience: Who they are and how to get on their radar screen.

Both take a little legwork. Your blog has a topic--you don't only have to talk about that one thing, but it should constitute the majorty of your content. So research that topic! Google keywords and see what comes up. Take a look on Twitter to see who's talking about the things you're blogging about. Use this info to:
  1. See who should follow/friend/link to--as in other bloggers
  2. Decide how to tailor your posts and labels (at the bottom of blog posts) so that you include the keywords people most often search when looking for your topic. They're the intuitive ones. The ones you Googled. You're dabbling in SEO now!! You techy, you.

The people involved in the internet discussions you uncovered with your Googling are your core audience--they're already interested. Their followers/friends/readers are interested in what they're retweeting/posting/blogging--meaning they're valuable. They'll extend your "reach." Marketing lingo! Look at you...

Now you talks to them!! But before you start broadcasting your presence, hedge your bets a little. Get about a week's worth of your best material queued up to pose. You can take one of two routes:

  • Have a big launch day.
  • Just sort of ease onto the scene

The former is appropriate if you've got something you know people will want. I had some assurance that people would like the prizes I hawked offered on my launch day (thank you, btw!!), so this was a no brainer to me. I knew it would drive traffic and, through retweets, etc., that people would spread the word (THANK YOU!). Do you? Be creative now...and make sure it's not random. It needs to make sense in the context of your blog.

If you don't do a launch day, tha's cool. Just ease in there--post that week's worth of material before you start promoting yourself. But make sure your best, most interesting post is the one you post on the day you start buzzing about yourself. One that'll hook 'em, and get them clicking around your other posts. Doesn't hurt to cross link to your other posts, either.

When you're ready, just slide into the conversations you've been watching:

  • Twitter is the easiest place to do this. Make comments or retweet. Use hashtags. Don't be afraid to talk directly (@) people. You can link to your blog in your tweets, but also link to other sites that you find interesting. Be interesting/linky and not only will people follow you, but they'll check out your profile, which lists your blog (right???).
  • Other blogs are fantastic ways to get ideas for content or crosslinking. Someone say something you have Opinions about? Response blog and link to it. Mention your response, using the other person's handle, on Twitter. You can build on others' posts and, by linking to them, build a presence in the community.
  • Facebook. I don't know. Post a picture or something. Facebook is a weird and wild animal. It'll have it's own series here somewhere. Plus, I use mine only for personal use. You have to be careful with that. With all the pictures.
  • Quora. OMG this place is so underappreciated. People ask questions, other people answer them. It's a great place to build a platform and find things to blog about. The things people are asking about are the things that they'll want to read blog posts about.

So that's it! KNow that you'll do probably 5 hours of work up front, figuring out where your audience is and how to best talk to them. Expect that, and don't be discouraged. Your time investment will reduce as you find the most efficient means of talking to your readers. And as your readers start reblogging/retweeting you...doing your work for you. :)


  1. Meredith and everyone, how d'you feel about tastefully monetized blogs? I'm not talking about Adsense sh*te; perhaps four to six recommended books (Amazon) about writing or books my favorite authors?

  2. Thanks for demystifying, Meredith. Sometimes figuring out how to do this makes my head spin, so I just put my head down and write my posts. But your suggestions are really concrete and actionable, which takes some of the headless-chicken feeling out of it for me. And, by the way--thanks for the mention earlier this week!

  3. When I first started my blog, I knew it was for teens. I'm a teen, helloooo.

    So what I did was post links to my blog on teen forums/message boards. It really worked--I built a pretty good readership. :-)

  4. I'll have to check out quora. I only 12 followers so far. I do the blog chains on aw. They bring new followers and they're a ton of fun.

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  7. Is there a certain protocol (i.e. asking permission, giving a heads up etc) to linking blogs, or can you just say hey, this is a really cool site, and post the link?

  8. Audiences are harder to drum up than I thought. Just spent some time this morning "talking" to people in various places. Thinking about doing a contest at this point. *looks around for something to give away*

  9. thanks for this!!

  10. Whoa!
    I had no idea about Quora! I love learning new stuff. Great tips. Blogging is a lot of work, I had no idea....

    Following now so I don't miss any of the good stuff!
    The Survival Mama

  11. @Melissa: I think ads (especially advertising other people's stuff!) are fine. Put them lower down in the sidebar so they're not overwhelming.

  12. @DotHutchison Nope! You can link to anything. In fact, you should always link to anything you reference--consider it like siting source material in a paper ('member those?? ew.)

  13. @maryBK Remember, contests don't have to be a giveaway a la ARC contests that are so prevalent in publishing. It can be a guest post slot or a small custom piece (for artists out there) or something funny--like writing someone a personalized Mad Lib or something.

  14. HUGE apology for my comments. I was using my droid and I thought nothing was posting...I'm really not a tool!