Blogging, at first sight, is a very independent and sometimes lonely task.
You can feel that. You are alone on one side of your computer, screaming into the blogosphere and social networks trying to be seen.
One of the most organic and genuine ways to promote your blog is to get others involved.
Why? When someone else has a stake in a post on your blog, they’ll likely share it without being prompted. Rather than screaming at them and their readers through Twitter and email, you have simply invited them to share in your community, and offered them exposure in return.
These five types of posts are often utilized because they add value to a blog, but they also present fantastic networking opportunities.
Interviews (or expert roundups) are a great way to add value to your blog by bringing in outside expertise. Reach out to people in your niche who have more experience than you, or people who specialize in something totally different that can be of use to readers in your niche.
Interviewees will be happy to reach readers in your niche, and they’ll share the post with their followers, leading brand-new traffic to your blog. Many bloggers also link quality interviews on their About or other introductory pages (practice I follow myself), so if your interview stands out, you may see long-term traffic from the post.
Tips: Keep it brief. Remember, this is still a blog post, so make sure that the interview doesn’t far exceed the typical length of posts on your blog. Also for expert roundups, don’t overwhelm them with too many questions. Try to be unique. Don’t ask for information that can found on the interviewee’s about page or through a quick Google search. Ask thoughtful questions that allow your interviewee to display her expertise and her unique perspective on the topic (for general information, include an intro with the basics and a link to the interviewee’s website where readers can learn more).
2. Guest Posts
Inviting guest posts to your blog can offer much-needed exposure to talented up-and-comers. If you make it clear that you are seeking guest bloggers, they’ll likely find you and pitch ideas that you may not have considered on your own.
Conversely, this is another great opportunity for your blog to engage in a topic that you don’t specialize in. Request a guest post from an expert in another niche to cover something of value to your readers that you don’t feel comfortable going into yourself.
Tips: offer clear guidelines. Create a landing page on your blog or write a stock email that lists the topics you want covered, a description of your audience, a word count range, and how often you post guest posts. If your guests know exactly what you’re looking for, you’ll get much higher quality pitches, and you’ll avoid a lot of back-and-forth. Stay consistent. Inviting outside voices is great, but make sure your guests still fit well into the overall tone of your blog. Don’t blindside your readers with a post that is way longer or shorter, or more casual, more formal, or more technical than what they’re used to from your blog.
Writing reviews – of books, movies, websites, etc. related to your niche – can help you get the attention of experts in your niche. You don’t need someone’s permission to review their work, so writing the post is not contingent on their response.
However, once you have posted the review, let them know, and they’ll be sure to check it out. If it’s favorable, they’ll probably share it, or even link it on their product page. If it’s unfavorable, but honest, fair, and insightful, then you have displayed your expertise to them, and they’ll (generally) respect your insight and remember you.
Tips: write a thorough and fair review. Include the pros AND cons of the item (everything has both), as well as the audience to whom you’d recommend it. Most readers also like a simple rating system to accompany the review, for an easy-to-remember and quick assessment of the product. Write timely reviews. Your best chance for gaining exposure from a review post is to review a product soon after it’s released, or before, if you have the opportunity. The reviewee will be eager to spread the word and share your post, and consumers will be actively searching for reviews of the product.
4. Features/Spotlight Post
You can write a feature story or spotlight post on a subject with or without their direct involvement. If you’re able to reach someone ahead of time, interview them for details and quotes. But, you can also simply write a post that highlights a person – or their blog, course, business, etc. – and let them find you.
Write about someone in your niche whom you admire, someone who is in a place you aspire to. It’s a great way to expose your readers to new resources, and your analysis and unsolicited promotion of a person or their product will be sure to catch their eye and earn their appreciation.
An example? Read this post at PositiveWriter about Top 50 Writing Blogs for 2015.
Tips: hone in on an interesting story. If you’re writing about a high-profile person, the basics are probably already written everywhere. Stand out by noticing something unique; find an unexpected connection to your niche. Conversely, don’t be afraid to write about interesting, but unknown, figures. They’ll be eager to share the post, and you’re readers will be happy to discover someone new. Write about someone who is where you WANT to be. Catching the attention of someone farther down the road in the career you want can help you build a valuable network. Featuring their product or service is a good way for you to display your understanding of your niche and to offer praise without bombarding them directly.
5. Link Posts
In addition to being widely-shared and easily-read posts, link posts can also help you get someone’s attention and reach a wide audience. Most people who are paying attention to their online presence will find your post that links to their site before you even tell them. If done right, link posts can be a valuable networking tool.
Tips: use the opportunity to be a “connector”. Create a list of sites or posts that not only complement your own content, but also each other’s. If someone discovers a new website that they love or a person they can work with through you, chances are they’ll remember you as a valuable resource.
Follow up! This goes for all of these posts. For interviews and guest posts, be sure to send a quick email to thank your guest, and include the link to the post to make it easier for them to find it and share with their network.
Since you can write reviews, features, and link posts without a person’s direct involvement, make sure you let them know once you’ve published the post. Find their Twitter handle to include in the promotional tweet for the post, and send an email with a link to the post, and a brief explanation of who you are and why you chose to write about them or their product.
Have you ever being involved in such kind of posts?
Please share your experience in the comments below, thanks!