A few months ago, Gidge did an intro to marketing for bloggers seeking to get the world out about their blog on different social networks. That social network marketing is a critical portion of marketing your blog, particularly in its first few months before it gets added to any feeds. Once you have some history, though, it’s time to start taking additional steps.
People will get in the habit of checking your blog regularly if you blog consistently. This does not have to be everyday. It can even be just once a week, but then make sure you do blog once a week, not once this week and four times three weeks later. Make it habitual so people can count on you. If they visit your blog three times without finding new content, they will quit visiting.
Once you have been blogging for three months or so, it is time to apply to be added to feeds. A feed aggregates posts from multiple web sites so people can look at the single feed instead of going to multiple websites. Most feeds will not add a blog that does not have 6 weeks or longer of sustained, regular blog posts.
Being on a feed increases your exposure, though not necessarily your traffic unless you have a way to monitor feed traffic. When WordPress changed their stats for a week or so to include feed traffic, our traffic jumped by several thousand views a day. Of course, I know I page down a lot when checking out a feed so who can say whether those views were “Ohh, I like that.” or “Meh, page down.” views.
So how do you get on a feed? Most of the time you apply. There are a few personally curated feeds that do not accept applications. Don’t harass those feed owners for inclusion, they clearly monitor other feeds enough that they will find you if they want you. The best way to be included on feeds is to read the directions and follow them. If you are turned down, don’t complain because you may be accepted later if you don’t burn any bridges. There is a comprehensive list of feeds with links to submission information at Blogging Second Life.
Check out the feeds and see which ones you would like to be on. I don’t think it’s useful to be on every feed, but that’s just me. I think people might get tired of seeing my posts everywhere they look.
Expos, Fairs and Hunts
Once you have blogged for a few months, you also have the sort of history that may qualify you to be named an official blogger for an event. There are always some new events going on, fairs, expos, fundraisers and hunts. They generally have a few official bloggers. The best way to be included is to keep your eyes open and look for announcements and invitations. You will usually be asked to fill out an online application or send a notecard. Follow directions and hope for the best.
Most events choose a mix of older and newer bloggers because they want to increase exposure. The most common criteria they look at is whether or not your blog has regular updates, whether you credit the sort of items that are in the event and how well you present the things you blog. This will get you listed on the event blog site. Some events will cross post your posting, expanding your exposure. Make sure to include the name of the event in each post with event items – even if the event has closed. It will probably run the following year. You should also put the event name in your keywords so that your posts will come up near the top when people search for info on that event. Event organizers can click on that keyword in your post and see all your event postings on one page, making it easy for them to see you fulfilled your obligation to the event. Most importantly, if you agree to blog an event, blog the event as much as you can.
Most of the events are announced on one of the feeds and on social media like SLUniverse, Twitter or Plurk. If you know that an event will be coming, you can ask organizers when and where they will announce information on the application process.
If you belong to a group blog or blog on another site, unless the owners of that site expressly forbid it, there’s no reason not to have links to your main blog somewhere in your post or on the page. People follow links, so link back to your main site.
Comment on Other Blogs
Now there are two types of comments on other blogs. The first, expressing relevant opinions on the post are good. A comment that says “come read my blog” is bad. That’s spam. The thing is, if you make interesting comments and you have filled out your commenting profile correctly, many people will be interested and click your name where there is usually a link to your blog – without you ever typing out your blog URL or asking people to come. It also fosters more camaraderie and goodwill, never a bad thing.
Blogging Second Life
Blogging Second Life is a directory of SL blogs and stores curated by a group of five people, including myself. Currently people find at least 150 different links to follow at Blogging Second Life every day. One of them could be yours if you are listed. Make sure you are.
Your blogroll is an invitation to reciprocate. Ask people whose blogs you like to exchange links. Here at It’s Only Fashion we have simply added whether people add us or not, but link exchange is common and most everyone agrees to it. Many people, including me, follow links to blogs on blogrolls.
When trying to get your feed listed in a feed, on a directory or as part of an event, one of the essential ingredients for success is honesty. If you don’t regularly credit poses, don’t apply to blog a pose fair. If you don’t blog men’s fashions, don’t claim that you do. Everyone checks your blog before adding you, whether it’s an event, feed or directory, everyone checks. If your blog is not what you claim it is, it will damage your chances of being included because it will make people wary.
Enthusiasm, Patience & Positivity
People respond best to positivity and enthusiasm. That doesn’t mean your blog posts need to be filled with rainbows and kittens. That doesn’t mean you should not be yourself. However, when contacting people to seek inclusion on their feed, their event, their directory, be positive and enthusiastic about it. They are providing you with something – access to a wider audience – and they don’t owe you anything. They pay the freight in terms of bandwidth and time, often for nothing other than the pleasure of providing a resource to the community. Remember they, too, have first and second lives and may take time to respond. Good manners and patience never hurt anyone. Remember, a no today could be a yes tomorrow, if you don’t burn any relationships.
- IOF PSA: Marketing 101 for Bloggers – Social Networks
- Marketing 201 for Bloggers – Feeds, Fairs and Comments
- Marketing 301 for Bloggers – Designer Relationships and Review copies
- Marketing 401 for Bloggers – Using Flickr to increase traffic