How do you market a new blog?
April 16, 2010 9:08 AM   Subscribe

How do you market a new blog?

I recently started blogging, and I'm having trouble getting this thing off of the ground. The design is well-done and I'm interacting with the readers who are making comments on my blog, but I feel like the blog is stagnating. I post daily, 1000-word articles.

What I'm already doing / about to do:
-Find several dozen blogs related to my field and comment on them daily
-Join a few syndication groups of new bloggers
-Interacting with people through targeted Twitter searches

I would like to avoid spamming people buy buying some type of an e-mail list, but these past few weeks have given me insight into why marketers use those lists in the first place.

Have any of you started a blog and run a successful marketing campaign?

*Note: I've omitted the domain name of the blog intentionally, to avoid all of you from interpreting this question itself as a sophisticated marketing ploy. If that information proves to be critically important, I'll provide it later or MeFi-Mail it to those asking for it.
posted by gacxllr9 to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
What are your goals? How many daily users are you looking for? Are you trying to get ad revenue, or are you trying to leverage blog readers for some other purpose?
posted by restless_nomad at 9:10 AM on April 16, 2010

Response by poster: I'm not sure how many daily users I'm looking for (more than I have now), but I'm trying to attract readers to the blog to get them interested in my consulting service. The blog entries are meant to provide tips and resources related to the field in which I consult. I don't have any advertising on the site, besides self-advertisements, and I don't plan to include any.

By the way, sorry about the "buy" *by typo up there. That was amateurish.

If I could sign 42 readers on as clients (it's a 30-day, one-time consulting process) each month, I would consider that a success. In order to do that, I imagine I would need to attract a few thousand readers to the blog.
posted by gacxllr9 at 9:15 AM on April 16, 2010

If I could sign 42 readers on as clients (it's a 30-day, one-time consulting process) each month, I would consider that a success. In order to do that, I imagine I would need to attract a few thousand readers to the blog.

I strongly recommend you figure out a) what a realistic conversion percentage is and b) therefore how many new readers you will need each month. (A 2% conversion rate is probably pretty high, though, especially to begin with.) Then figure out how to get that many.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 9:19 AM on April 16, 2010

The advice is going to change depending on what type of blog it is. You market a web design blog differently than you do a blog about food and cooking, so perhaps you could share the field you're in.

But some general advice:

- Buy cheap advertising on those several dozen blogs related to your field.

- Find products or other interesting people in your field and review/interview them on your blog. Tell them you're writing about them. If you're lucky, you'll wind up on their press page.

- Get someone to sponsor a contest on your site (or buy a cheap GC to give away). Preferably a contest that involves retweeting the contest page.

- Be realistic about your traffic and goals - the quickest I've had a blog "take off" was in about 6 months. Don't expect huge numbers over night. Be happy about getting comments at all - that's a huge deal. I have a 3 yr old blog that, by all rights, is successful in its niche and I still only get about 3 comments a week.
posted by finitejest at 9:20 AM on April 16, 2010

It is going to take some time. How long ago did you start it. I would be looking at 6 months to one year to get it off the ground and build up authority.
posted by Vaike at 9:21 AM on April 16, 2010

Don't be afraid of email lists. Just deliver relevant content, be genuine and not salesy.
posted by emptyinside at 9:47 AM on April 16, 2010

If there are communities or professional organizations in your field, joining them might be a good way to get some cross-linking going.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:51 AM on April 16, 2010

Also, are you doing any advertising *besides* blogging? Blogs can be a great tool, but they don't in any way replace pounding the pavement in more traditional forms when you're looking for clients.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:00 AM on April 16, 2010

Response by poster: I started the blog *very* recently (as in, there are only a handful of posts up right now), and I've been consulting since early February. I'm getting about 10 clients per month, but I'd like to bring that number up.

I consult clients in time management, with some personal development thrown in there. I started consulting more or less due to dissatisfaction with the ambiguity and vagueness of advice currently given by the personal development industry. (Think Lifehacker, not the Secret)

@emptyinside - are you referring to lists that I develop myself, or the lists that I can buy from certain disreputable organizations? (The ones that provide you with one million e-mails for $5000). I've wondered about whether that would constitute spam, since each of those million users had been targeted by signing up for other self-improvement/time-management/personal development newsletters.

@Vaike - definitely undestand that. As a sidenote, though, the very first blog comment that I ever left ended up attracting a client. Someone saw the comment and signed on. I don't know what to do with that information, but it happened.

@chesty_a_arthur - I understand what you're saying about conversation rates, but at this point I don't feel like such an analysis would really benefit me. What's the point of figuring out what the conversion rate should be if there are hardly any readers there in the first place?

I appreciate the answers so far. Thanks.
posted by gacxllr9 at 10:04 AM on April 16, 2010

Response by poster: *I just want to clarify this: I support Lifehacker's focus (at least, where the focus was in 2006-2007), while disapproving of systems like "The Secret.
posted by gacxllr9 at 10:05 AM on April 16, 2010

Understanding conversion rates will help you understand what the drivers are that are affecting orders, and also how quickly you can expect things to change. If you need more readers, then you need to be marketing to people who haven't read before (PPC, maybe?); if you need higher conversion, then you need to be getting more of your readers to buy (by improving the product, optimizing the checkout flow, etc).

In a way, it's just algebra: x * y = 42 orders.

X is the number of readers you need to (or can possibly) achieve.
Y is the conversion rate you need to (or can possibly) achieve.

You can move each of these numbers, and how much depends on a whole bunch of factors. But if you want to market your blog effectively, you need to know what your goals are. For example, if you're getting 10,000 new readers a month but only 10 orders, then your conversion rate is .1%. You can either raise your conversion rate, or you can increase the number of readers, or both, and if you understand which you need to do, you can create a strategy.

I don't know if that answers your question, but that's what I was getting at.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:36 AM on April 16, 2010

-Find several dozen blogs related to my field and comment on them daily

Also look outside your field. For example, blogs about living frugally often have components of time management. I know as a reader of frugal blogs, if a commenter said something interesting and relevant about time management, and if their user-name was a link to their blog, I've clicked through (didn't buy the consulting service, though).

Maybe brainstorm a bit about other topics that have a time management component and visit their blogs too:
-teenagers (college prep, especially)
-new college grads
-weight loss/exercise
posted by CathyG at 11:37 AM on April 16, 2010

Best answer: I've done quite a lot of professional blogging. In fact, blogging has been my main source of income for the last year.

First of all, those 1,000 word articles. Whoa! Way too long. Seriously, people on the internet do not like to read. If you ask them to read, they will get annoyed. Anecdotal evidence I have observed suggests that most people's eyes glaze over at about the 300 word mark.

My #1 suggestion is to break those articles down into bite sized chunks. If you can reduce portions of them to bullet points or numbered lists, all the better. The internet fucking LOVES lists ("N ways to improve your time management skills," "Streamline your workflow in N simple steps," etc.)

You're writing essays for a college course. If you want to get popular, you need to be writing snacky little pull-out sidebar articles for magazines.

Quick hits 'cause I've been dawdling on AskMe too long already and I need to get moving:

* Leaving thoughtful comments on other relevant blogs (with your URL, natch) is a great way to draw people in. As you've already seen. Make it a goal to leave one comment somewhere a day.

* Don't buy lists or spam people. Like, ever. You're not selling herbal viagra, you're selling yourself as a brand and a trusted resource. Sending unsolicited emails is, shall we say, contra-indicated.

* You can submit your own articles to Reddit and Digg. Sometimes this works; sometimes it doesn't. But it only takes a couple minutes.

* Google loves fresh content. Update your blog with something once every day, without fail, 7 days a week. Your platform should let you schedule posts into the future. Use this! Even if you're only updating with a photo or a quick "here's a link to a neat thing I found," a daily update will boost your Google juice as well as entice people to come back more often.

* Be open about the fact that you're a consultant, and you're for hire. Drop phrases like "In my practice, I would advise X" or "I was working with a client on something the other day that made me think..."
posted by ErikaB at 12:24 PM on April 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

Post to Projects. I did, and things really took off.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:42 PM on April 16, 2010

@Vaike - definitely undestand that. As a sidenote, though, the very first blog comment that I ever left ended up attracting a client. Someone saw the comment and signed on. I don't know what to do with that information, but it happened.

Wonderful! But that is anecdotal evidence, not statistical evidence, so can very well mean nothing but random chance. So enjoy it, but keep in mind that it will take longer to broaden your readership it will take time as you incorporate everyone else's suggestions.
posted by Vaike at 2:53 PM on April 16, 2010

Response by poster: @The corpse in the library: I'm not familiar with Projects. What's the URL?

@ErikaB: I had initially thought about breaking them down, but this was my reasoning: I have each article broken apart in sections by bold headings. If the reader wants to skim the piece, he/she can be selective about the heading, rather than leaving after 300 words. Plus, every personal development article I find seems to run on the longer side. I might as well include ALL of the information (for the reader's benefit and for SEO) and let readers pick and choose what they'd like read.
posted by gacxllr9 at 3:12 PM on April 16, 2010

Response by poster: @The corpse in the library and everyone else: Okay, that took me about 5 seconds to reason out. I'm an idiot. Projects is linked to in the top right corner of Metafilter.
posted by gacxllr9 at 3:14 PM on April 16, 2010

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