Are you marketing your blog?

By Daniel Scocco

There is a myth around the blogosphere that bloggers should not spend money on advertising for their blogs. It is founded on the success stories where established bloggers affirm that they achieved thousands of dollars in monthly revenues without spending a dime on advertising or other marketing techniques.

While those stories are obviously true they do not reflect the situation of the majority of the bloggers out there. Those successful bloggers usually started blogging many years ago and they basically created their own niche. Now a days the blogosphere is crowded. As a consequence it is much harder to make your blog stand out, regardless of the quality of its content.

Marketing is the name of the game

One of the solutions for this problem is called marketing. Most bloggers do have a marketing strategy (even if not clearly stated), but they focus on the free methods to promote their blogs. Free marketing techniques include leaving comments on other blogs, using online forums to spread the word about your content, article directories, blog carnivals, social bookmarking sites and so on.

Why do bloggers focus almost exclusively on those free methods? Exactly because they are free, you might say. That is true, but only partially true. The other half of the answer is connected with the fact that bloggers and other online publishers usually fail to perceive the value that a paid marketing campaign could create.

It is like saying “Hey, why don’t you invest $100 to advertise your blog?”. That is the questions that most people elaborate, and the common answer is “No thanks, I would rather use some free promotional methods”. What if we complete the question to “Hey, why don’t you invest $100 to advertise your blog? It will create a value of $500 for you!”? Now the idea is more interesting. It is the second part of the sentence that bloggers fail to grasp, and that is the fact the paid marketing might actually create value beyond the initial investment.

Value not money

Notice that I am using the term value and not money. While promotion might end up generating money for you it is not the only benefit that it will bring. Actually that is the reason why people fail to perceive the value. Not all the benefits coming from a marketing campaign can be measured with dollars. Below you will find 5 reasons (some tangible and some intangible) to actively market your blog, hopefully they will clarify why investing money into promotion might be a good idea:

Traffic: traffic is the most used currency on the Internet. Whether we talk about a blog, an online forum or a business website traffic is one of the most important factors for success. While free promotional techniques can also bring traffic paid solutions offer more consistent results. A couple of hundred dollars should generate thousands of highly target visitors for your website. Provided you have good content part of that paid traffic will also convert into regular readers.

Direct revenues
: if you increase the traffic on your website you will also be increasing the monetization potential. People running Pay-per-Click programs like Google Adsense or Pay-per-Action affiliate programs will directly increase their revenue with promotional campaigns.

Branding: when I think about sportswear I think about Nike. Why? “Just do it!”. Marketing campaigns allow you to deliver a specific message to customers (readers in the case of a blog). After they see that message for three or four times they will end up associating the message with your product or blog.

Credibility: investing money in marketing can improve the credibility of your blog in several ways. If readers see that you are actually spending money to promote your blog they will know that you are serious about it and that you are pretty confident on the quality of your content. Secondly when you promote your blog on respected websites the readers will unconsciously think that the authors of that website endorse your blog.

Indirect revenues: traffic, brand awareness and credibility will also indirectly generate revenues for your blog. They might make easier for you to find potential sponsors or partnership agreements. Moreover if part of the paid traffic convert into regular readers they will contribute to your Adsense or affiliate program earnings even after the campaign is concluded.




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24 Responses to “Are you marketing your blog?”

  • George C.

    Hi Daniel, Good post! Everyone should follow this steps, pretty Cool, good work!

  • Donnie

    I think a lot of bloggers are just looking for the easy way. Easy = cheap… Good post! I’ll take this advice on my future blogs. I’ve often thought that the “problogger” probably started blogging before anybody else.

  • Mike Panic

    Great write-up. In the blogger face-off’s you’ve been doing, none of the larger blogs seem to be spending money, except for ProBlogger.net which is doing a Google Adwords war with John Chow. One of the first things I did after launching Randomn3ss.com was to get some text links from the advertising forum on WHT to help generate a little traffic right off the bat. Adding a link to a sig on a forum helps, but you need to be active on a forum for people to see it and the forum you are on needs to do some serious traffic as well.

    Time = money. I don’t have countless hours per day to comment on other peoples’ blogs, although I seem to for this one, lol. I can use the time I have to create new content, which is what blogging is all about anyway, if any is left over I’ll move to free advertising methods.

    I’m also a huge fan of getting readers to come back for a second look. Getting the first hit is one thing, getting that same person to come back daily is a real challenge, which is why branding is important, something I’m still working on, so I’m glad you brought it up.

  • sinisterkid987

    great post, I’m thinking about investing some money for my blog. For now I’m doing the free way and I’m trying to advertise by word of mouth or chat lol. Take Care. Peace.

  • Bes Z

    Daniel, you bring up an important point that many people avoid addressing: most successful bloggers today started blogging when their niche market was not crowded, and thus did not need to pay for advertising back then.

    Even though many bloggers stick to free tools and free forms of marketing, I want to know how many bloggers actually cannot afford marketing, and how many bloggers have money to spend on various unnecessary items everyday in their offline lives but do not spend much, or at all, on their blogs.

    Daniel, do you think reader comments can also be one of the ways to see if your blog is being marketed well or not? Or do comments fall under traffic?

  • Daniel

    Bes, I think the number of comments is directly related to the traffic and niche of the blog (more traffic more comments, tech related blog more comments, etc).

    Maybe you could say that an advertising campaign would benefit the comments on your blog if you managed to gain some active readers from other blogs, for instance.

  • Sarahblogversary

    THANK YOU! I was just thinking about doing this because ultimately it is up the blogger to what they wish and the fact still remains that unless I do something serious like put out money I will never get the dooce type readership.

    Well done.

  • Mark

    Daniel
    Yep I’m definitely guilty as charged in the ‘OK if its free’ marketing mentality’.
    I would love to identify a good value for money form of promotion/marketing/advertising but sometimes cannot see the wood for the trees.
    Can you Daniel or anyone out there suggest good, PAID FOR, value for money, marketing ideas or sources.

  • Daniel

    Mark, I will cover that on a post next week, I was about to include it on this post but it would result on a very long article to I decided to cut it out.

  • Mark

    Thanks Daniel, looking forward to the post.

  • Everton

    When I started reading this post Daniel I was hoping you’d mention the successful campaigns you’ve been running on my site 🙁

  • Daniel

    Everton, if people ask me I will be glad to refer ConnectedInternet :), I just did not mention any campaign at all and on this post to focus on the main message.

  • Everton

    you just did lol

    Thanks!

    Very impressed with your feedcount growth btw. Other than the campaigns on my site ;-), what’s driving the growth? Any particular posts or just general site-wide usage?

  • Jose Pinto

    Hi all,
    Thanks you for the lessons.
    But I need to write a commnent, even with the certain that I do not know much.
    First thing to trafic and to success is to do something that people want to see, not what people need. Sometimes you need something baddly but you don´t want to face the situation, and maybe you just need soemthing to have some fun and this is now what people is looking for the most.
    I write a Blog, the only one in portuguese, that has articles about backups and hard disk, but people does not want to read they prefer to see silly videos, what I need to do ?
    Maye I will need to do what we do with children when they need to have some medicine – to give something sweet first.

  • Daniel

    Jose Pinto, in fact writing in Portuguese about backups and hard disks is a very small niche.

    It is OK is that is your hobby. If you are trying to make money though I would suggest picking a larger niche, yet one that you still have passion for.

    Backups and Hard Drivers in English, for instance, could be a good one.

  • Everton

    There are over 200m Portuguese speakers in the world, so I wouldn’t call it a small niche!

    My advice Jose would be to post in both languages

  • blogr

    i initially marketed my blog using google adwords and all for a few months. when i started get traffic, i stopped it. now i am living with little traffic. your article helped to me rethink my blogging strategy.

    thank a lot.

    -blogrtools
    http://blogrtools.blogspot.com

  • Maher Saleh

    Great post i am planning to set some budget for advertising

  • Locos

    Yeah, it’s great when someone visit your blog and i know it’s not easy to promote a blog.. I’m also thinking to pay for adwords to attract more traffic. I always trying to use free method but seem likely not really work.

  • SEO Genius

    Great post Daniel again some excellent tips.

  • Bang Kritikus

    Yes, I’m

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