You blog. You’re on facebook. You even tweet. How do you make all of these channels work together to communicate a strong brand? This section will address the why and how of promoting your blog once you’ve set it up and are ready to share your post[s].
Why promote the blog?
Though some folks are pretty good at shameless self promotion, that’s not what the majority of social media users are about. We’ve heard it before: it’s about content and it’s about conversation and authenticity. So, why promote a blog? Here are a few reasons:
- Get (and stay) connected. Yes, it’s about relationships. Web 2.0 [or whatever iteration we’re on now] is fabulous for reaching out and networking with folks we may not have otherwise ‘met.’ Some folks have called channels like twitter, a cocktail party#. You meet folks, exchange info and you’re friends/followers. Promoting your blog allows you to sustain those connections with good content. You may even get a guest blogger out of this. Win win.
- Gain new users and build audiences. If we’re in the business of spreading the digital media gospel, we have to be about evangelizing folks. We have good content going for the FTM blog, but it’s no good if we’re an echo chamber. Our relationships or word of mouth may drive them here, but content will keep them as audiences.
- Conversation. It’s not a one way street. We should expect conversation and comments from our posts. That probably means that we’re also asking questions–whether it’s when we share the link to the post or in the post itself. Promoting the blog isn’t just to get folks to visit the site. It’s about keeping them there long enough to talk back.
I’ve published a post. Now what?
Unfortunately, people don’t just find posts–riveting as they are–on their own. We can’t solely rely on luck. We have to drive people here. Assuming your blog has “share this” buttons or a ShareThis WP plugin, readers can choose to share the post a number of ways directly from the blog entry. Outside of that, here are a few ways for us to think about promoting:
- Twitter: Pretty standard for promoting anything, these days. In fact, make this one of your default options.
- Set up auto tweets via WP. Keep in mind that the blog titles should be short and catchy so they re-post/tweet well#.
- Create schedule/rotation for faculty/staff, board to RT posts [that make sense, given their research interests/areas] so that reach is broadened.
- Folks on FTM team help RT on their personal pages, tagging @uwmcdm or @flipthemedia and the author.
- Facebook: There’s always a risk of posts being noise, so be sure that what you post is relevant enough to your followers. This goes for any communication channel. As always, Provide some context to your link and tag MCDM when you can.
- FTM contributers/staff share a link when a new post is up.
- Create a FTM fb page as an aggregator of posts/related conversations
- Also consider posting/reposting more than once during the day/week so it moves to the top of people’s news feeds. According to mashable:
- the biggest usage spikes happen on weekdays at 8am, Noon and 5pm PST.
- Morning posts are most effective
- Wednesday noontime posts are consistently the busiest.
- Don’t bother posting much on Sundays.
**Note**: Use a third-party tool like TweetDeck that allows you to post via Facebook , LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare, MySpace and Buzz, or hootsuite [same as TweetDeck plus PingFm, WordPress, mixi, Ning] at the same time.
- Ping it: A “ping” is simply a way of letting specific search engines and other websites know that you’ve updated your blog. This doesn’t cause a noticeable difference right off the bat, but it will attract search engine spiders to your website and will help get your new blog post quickly indexed. It takes less than a minute and has great returns#.
- Aggregated email: Allow readers to subscribe via RSS so they can receive posts in batches. KUOW does this, as does Mashable. Because information comes at us at such a rapid pace, we can help our readers figure out what they missed.
- Away message w/ link. Seems pretty simple, but it’s another easy way to get the word out. If you use some IM service or gChat, throw the link up with a quick line about the post.
- Shareaholic: Download it for your browser. It will show you:
- bit.ly: share it via twitter/bit.ly, how many have clicked on it, what conversations people have had about it
- delicious, reddit, digg (how many have saved it as a bookmark, etc)
- Guest bloggers
- Invite guests to blog. This guarantees wider reach and builds brand reputation. Digital media is an interdisciplinary field, so don’t limit ‘experts’ to social media gurus and tech geeks.
There are plenty of ways to promote a blog online. It takes coordination and consistency, but using third party tools like TweetDeck or hootsuite makes the work a whole lot easier. Do it often and do it well.
And check out these WP plugins from Socialmediatoday.
This post was written by Sophia Agtarap, Marketing and Communications Specialist for the University of Washington (UW) Graduate School and graduate student in the Master of Communication in Digital Media program at UW. Follow her @sophiakristina or via her blog.