How I promote my new blog posts
After I have finished writing, editing, deep linking and have published a new blog post, my work has just gotten started. Simply creating content isn't sufficient to gain readership. You need to actively promote that new post so that people can see it and have a chance to read it. It can take a long time to build up email and RSS subscribers, so in the meantime, you will need to be more proactive.
Here are all the things I do after I publish a post to get readers to it.
1. Update XML Sitemap. My Drupal site has an automatic XML Sitemap module installed. XML is a programming language, similar to HTML, that search engines like Google and Bing can read. The XML Sitemap is used to provide the search engine your website's complete content and directory structure, and to communicate changes any time there's a new piece of content. My module will update itself regularly, but as soon as I've published a new post I go ahead and run the "cron" job that will update that sitemap, ensuring that Google gets a notification of my new content to be spidered right away. There are several similar plugins for WordPress.
2. Like the post. Somewhere on every blog post, you should have buttons to help readers share your content to social networks. If possible, include widgets for the more popular platforms so that it's easy to provide social signals, and you present visual evidence of popularity. First up is Facebook with a button to Like the post. This doesn't post an update to your feed, but it will place the post in your Likes box on Facebook for your personal profile.
3. +1 the post. Similarly, we need to provide Google+ with a social signal. When my readers come to my blog, I want them to see that there's activity. It's like a party where you show up and there's already people there having a good time. No one wants to be the first person there!
4. Share to Google+. Using the same +1 button, if I leave my mouse hovered over it, a dialogue box comes up that will let me post an update to Google+ and share my new blog. The update will automatically include the title, image and description, so all I need to do is add some commentary. This is where you need to be creative and devote some more time. First, it's important that you introduce your article. Explain a little what it is about or why someone would be interested, and then try to start a discussion by asking related questions. Second, take advantage of Google's formatting options and hashtags to make your post look good and be more easily found.
5. Share to LinkedIn and LinkedIn Groups. Most LinkedIn Share widgets will give you a dialogue box that lets you simultaneously post a status update as well as Group posts. Just as with Google+, the blog will be posted as a title, image and description, but you still want to add that introduction. It can be the same or similar to what you used on Google+. A lot depends on the kinds of conversations you have on one network or the other. Make sure that you're only sharing quality content with appropriate groups, and if you need to adjust the commentary for specific groups so that it creates a better discussion starter, share to those groups separately.
6. Share to Twitter. This is the first of several times that I will typically share a new blog post to Twitter. I will typically post the Title verbatim the first time, and then use variations for future tweets, spread out throughout the day. I will also include appropriate hashtags within the tweet and/or at the end.
7. Share to Facebook Groups, and sometimes personal. I belong to a number of Facebook Groups for business, blogging, and the St. Louis area. Whenever appropriate, I will share a new article to one or more of these groups, just like LinkedIn. Again, you can use the same commentary to spark discussion, or adjust as needed to fit a specific group. Because I use my personal Facebook account primarily for family and friends, I do not share every new article there.
8. Share to Delicious, Digg, Google Bookmarks, StumbleUpon, MySpace, Bebo, Orkut, Diigo and Viadeo. These, and many more, are what I often refer to as "Third Tier" social networks. I have profiles on all of these networks and frequently share new content to them, but have no other activity and get very little traffic. It takes just seconds to post to each one so it is part of my routine. Your own list of third tier networks will vary.
10. Pin to Pinterest. Of course, every new blog post and article is pinned to Pinterest. I have a number of Boards set up for different topics like Social Media, SEO and Marketing, and I am also a member of several shared boards.
11. Share to Reddit, SlashDot and Newsvine. If I am writing about a trending news story (newsjacking), I always share that post with a few news-related services. These are challenging to use appropriately as they generally prefer that you share mostly other people's work, so if you're going to try to use them, invest some time into learning the rules and sharing a lot of other content before you promote yourself.
12. Post to my Scoop.it online magazine for curating B2B Content Marketing articles, and include shares to WordPress, Tumblr and Buffer. I use Scoop.it daily to find and share great content on B2B marketing, but I also want to make sure my own articles are listed and available for visitors. Over time, this will result in a steady flow of traffic. When I scoop a story, it is added to my online magazine immediately, and I can also choose to share the story further, with options to post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, WordPress and your Buffer accounts. If I'm scooping someone else's content, I share it immediately. If it's my own story, I wil typically add it to my Buffer to be re-shared later on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
13. Post to BizSugar. BizSugar is a service that I will cover in more detail in another post, but it is a great place to share and find content on marketing and technology and business topics.
15. Post to Quora. Quora is primarily a site for posting questions and answers. However, users are encouraged to maintain blogs and discussions. I typically post my commentary here with a link to read more, and tag appropriate topics like "Social Media" or "Blogging."
16. Share via HootSuite. I use HootSuite to post to company profiles on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook. Since I use my personal profiles on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ for most engagement, I'm OK with simply sharing links to my company pages.
17. Create a mission on Empire Avenue to ask people to share the post on Google+ or Twitter. I've mentioned before how you can use Empire Avenue to really create some buzz around your latest post, particularly on Google+. Facebook and LinkedIn missions have had poorer results for me, but that might be different for you and your brand.
18. Create a tweet on JustRetweet.com. JustRetweet is another service that I will review in more detail later, but the basic idea is that you can submit a tweet for other people to retweet, and each tweet costs points that you earn by reciprocating.
19. Check Triberr. By this time, Triberr usually has checked my RSS feed and imported the new post. If not, you can do a manual import to make sure it gets there, or just wait and check it again later. I also hop on Triberr once or twice a day to review my tribemate's blog posts and and select which ones I want to share.
20. Ping. Once a day, I use an app called BlogPingy to ping (notify) 30+ sites that my blog has new content. Sites include Yahoo, FeedBurner and Technorati.
21. Share to Google+ Communities. While you cannot instantly or automatically share your post to every Google+ Community that you're a member of, you should certainly feel free to go to your original public Google+ post for this article and share that post to specific communities, one at a time, throughout the day. I typically do no more than 2 - 3, depending on the post topic, and whether or not any of my own followers have already shared it to key communities. Do pay attention to Community guidelines and do not be afraid to ask a moderator what is acceptable for that community. Some communities forbid link sharing altogether, while others may insist that you post only new, original posts to that community. Most of the communities that I'm a member of are fine with you sharing a post to that community as long as you're not spamming, you share great content, and you are active within the community in other ways.
If that sounds like a lot of steps, it is! However, once you have all of these accounts and systems in place, running through the entire process typically takes just 20 - 30 minutes. And, much like how I advise clients that they don't have to learn and use every social network at once, the same is true for all of these promotional tools. I'd recommend that you get started on Triberr first, and then gradually add some of the other tools and services as time permits.
Let me know what questions you have about these tools, and if you're using a tool or service that I missed, please share it in the comments below!