A question I receive time and time again is “Once you’ve published a blog post, how do you promote it?” and right now my response is simply “I share links to it on Facebook and Twitter.” That’s it. And I don’t even do this manually; the process is automated thanks to RSS feeds.
Of course, I’m able to do this because I’ve managed to grow the audience to a considerable size here at ViperChill. If you’re trying to get a new blog off the ground, it’s advised that you put in quite a lot more work. Even though I do such little promotion, many posts get hundreds of retweets and comments. The reasons why are quite simple.
Twitter is consistently a top 10 referring source of traffic to this website. Every day I receive targeted visitors from the site who tend to stick around for quite a while. If someone you’re following puts a link out there, there’s a good chance it will be relevant to you because you’re following that person in the first place.
Although you can automate Twitter traffic and get a ton of untargeted visitors, the type of targeted traffic I’m referring to in this post can be massive in helping you to promote your blog.
Comments help you to show a form of social proof that you can’t fake without a lot of time and they allow you to see if people are really interested in the type of content you’re putting out there. If you can get someone to comment on your blog, there’s a good chance you can get them to subscribe to it as well.
Finally, comments also help you drive more search engine traffic to your site thanks to the long-tail traffic that the words in them generate. Anything that shows community on your site is also a good thing in my eyes.
Instead of just talking about things in some roundabout way as most blogs tend to do, I prefer to show results from personal experiences to back up my advice. Without any egotistical intentions, here are some of my articles that received a large number of comments and tweets.
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As you can see, I’ve had a lot of success at attracting both. Now let’s look at how you can do the same.
Perhaps the most obvious – but also the most useful – piece of advice I can give you in this area is to do what you can to grow your following. If I have 100 targeted followers on Twitter then simple logic would suggest that having 1,000 targeted followers would help me to get more retweets.
Similarly, if you have 100 blog subscribers then you’re simply not reaching as many people who can comment as you would if you had 1,000. Although the growth of this blog hasn’t directly correlated with more comments and tweets, it’s definitely had a large effect.
Controversy creates attention. If someone in your social circle does something way out of the norm, there’s a good chance every member of that circle will quickly hear about it. If even a C-list celebrity releases a sex-tape, every large magazine and celebrity gossip blog is talking about them.
It’s important to know about the different types of controversy, however, before you try to utilise this on your blog. I’ve been to one blogging “seminar” in my life and it was held right here in Cape Town. To say I was disappointed is a total understatement.
One speaker – whom the others agreed with – told the audience of new bloggers to:
And other bad advice I don’t want to pass on to you. Needless to say, the type of actions they promote may get you some traffic, but it will be fleeting and not something you could build a reputable brand with. Unless, of course, attacking people or pornography are the focus of your blog.
The type of controversy I’m talking about is writing posts that go against the grain, but only because you believe in something different. I did that in “The Most Important Blog Post You’ll Probably Never Read” which revealed that a lot of bloggers simply make money by teaching other people how to make money.
It went beyond what most people are willing to talk about in this industry but it also came from my heart and was total truth. It hit a nerve with readers and was a very successful post.
If I can’t find a ‘retweet’ button on your website and didn’t find your post through Tweetdeck, I’m not going to tweet it. That doesn’t go for all Twitter users, I’m sure, but for myself and many others, we want you to make it easy for us to share your content. It makes no sense not to.
At the top of all ViperChill posts (click through if you’re reading this in a feed reader or your inbox) you will see a large button which shows how many tweets this post has and encourages other people to tweet it as well. It’s provided by Backtype and is available as a free plugin for WordPress.
I also include a tweet button at the bottom of all posts as well, and there’s a simple explanation for that. Someone is far more likely to share something after they’ve read it, rather than before just based on the title. The button at the top is more of a social proof indicator to show people that the post is probably worth reading.
Although you may think this applies more to generating Retweets, it certainly applies to comments as well. As building a large following will help more people see your work, writing the write right title is going to encourage more of those readers to click through to your post.
I’ve said multiple times that your headline is the most important part of your blog post. Just make sure you can back it up with the content that follows. I know with a lot of confidence that many people retweet my posts just based on the title, rather than actually having read them.
Your title can also be used to ask a question so that when people start reading it they’re already in the frame of mind where they’re going to give you a response. If you ask the right questions then people might skip the post content altogether just to give you feedback in the comments section.
If I link to the same blogger in three different blog posts there’s a good chance that they’re going to eventually link to me back. If I continually comment on the blog of someone who isn’t too large to notice individual commenters then it’s likely they’re going to come to my site to share their thoughts.
If I retweet you three times it’s likely that you’ll follow me and retweet some of my own posts as well. There are lots of cases and people where this wont work, but it will work the majority of the time from my experience.
The reason I mention three is not because it’s some magical number but it just implies repetition and some form of giving back. Anyone can retweet, comment, or link to you once. Performing any of those actions multiple times shows you’re not just some “Fly-by-nighter” and you actually care about the other persons website.
Many of the people who comment on and retweet posts from ViperChill are actually not people who I have done the same for. To be honest, I’m quite lazy in this regard because most of my time is spent on buying and grow websites; not on trying to grow this blog in any way.
Most posts tend to get around 50-70 tweets on average, depending on what they’re about. When I write a really good post it can spread naturally and get in excess of 100 tweets. However, most posts are pushed past 100 tweets by being tweeted by someone with a ton of followers.
I’m not going to use any specific examples but they’ll just get inundated with requets, but there are two people with 80,000+ followers that I have asked on a couple of occasions to Tweet my articles. They were both relevant to my industry and people I’ve interacted with in the past.
Everytime they do that, my posts get a ton of retweets. They’re now both loyal blog readers and regularly tweet things that I never ask them to which helps get my content seen by a much wider audience. Once you’ve identified and connected with the influeners in your niche, don’t be afraid to just ask them for a tweet.
What’s the worst that can happen?
The clear difference between the content of mine which receives a lot of comments and gets a lot of retweets is simply the content that is the most compelling. For example, even though people seem to really enjoy my stats post and get a lot out of the transparency I share, they always get less tweets and comments than any other post.
They’re interesting to current readers, but it’s not really something you want to tell your friends “Hey, go check this out.” Especially when I do one of those posts each month. Instead, if I write something that people find directly useful to them and they think it will help others, then that’s far more likely to get shared.
If not on a conscious then definitely on a subconscious level, people view their own tweets as a representation of themselves. They don’t just want to share anything. So, something that’s packed with value in terms of information, humour, entertainment or news is far more likely to get shared than something generic or overly-personal.
Look at the kind of content that you comment on at other blogs and the kind of stories you share on Twitter. Doing this alone can help you see what it is in other peoples blog posts that you may be missing in your own.
BONUS TIP: Respond to your first few commentors as quickly as possible. People are more likely to join in the conversation if they feel like the post owner will respond to them personally. I make sure I’m online for at least 30 minutes after each post goes live so that I can do this.