Whether your blog is brand new or already established, you can never have enough traffic.
I work at an SaaS company called Ahrefs, and even though the Ahrefs blog pulls in over 200k organic traffic every month, we still experiment with ways to promote our blog and bring in more traffic.
Because let’s face it:
It’s 2019. Simply sending an email blast to your subscriber list doesn’t cut it anymore.
But don’t fret.
If you’re stuck coming up with new ideas for how to promote your blog, here are 9 tried-and-tested tactics that have worked for us.
Let’s dig in.
#1. Work with Podcasts
Let’s start things off with the buzzword of the year: podcasts.
Thanks to their flexibility (you can listen to them while you’re at work or when you’re on the go), they’re the most popular form of audio content.
They’re also widely available on services like iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify.
Some quick facts:
- Over 44% of the US population has listened to a podcast;
- They’re extremely targeted, with multiple podcasts covering every niche imaginable;
- Their audiences are incredibly engaged.
Ahrefs has had great success with sponsoring podcasts (paid advertising) as well as guesting on them — that is, sending a member of our team to be interviewed on a show.
Here’s an actual comment from a new customer and blog reader of ours:
For sponsoring podcasts, think of this tactic as a type of influencer marketing.
Your job is to sell your blog to the podcast host and the podcast host’s job is, in turn, to sell your blog to their audience.
How to Promote Your Blog by Sponsoring Podcasts
If you have the budget, sponsoring podcasts is a great way to promote your blog. Here’s how you do it:
Step #1. Do Your Research
Create a list of podcasts whose audiences are a good match for your blog. If you have no idea where to start, here’s a tip:
Try using a specialized podcast search engine like Listen Notes. Browse the shows and pick your favorites.
Step #2. Make Contact
Once you’ve created a list of targets, you’ll need to contact the podcasts and inquire about sponsorship details.
What are their pricing packages? What dates do they have available? Are there any gotchas?
Prices can range from $50 to $5,000 and beyond per episode, so work within your particular budget.
Step #3. Iron Out the Details
This includes your ad copy, delivery, and any other deliverables like your blog’s logo and elevator pitch.
In my experience, organic reads do much better than “scripted ads.”
The goal is to get the podcast host to sound like a fan and regular reader of your blog.
Step #4. Wait for Your Ad to Air
If anything is off, be sure to let the podcast know as soon as possible!
How to Promote Your Blog with Podcast Interviews
If you’re strapped for cash (or simply don’t want to do podcast advertising), another approach is to appear as a guest on podcasts.
This is usually free — unless you’re approaching extremely-popular podcasts, which tend to charge a one-time appearance fee.
The catch is you’ll need some kind of credibility to your name. In other words, you’ll need to convince the podcast host that you’re someone their audience would love to listen to.
The process for this is similar to the one detailed above:
Step #1. Create a Target List
Use Listen Notes or a similar tool to create a list of podcast targets.
Step #2. Check if They Accept Interviews
Often, podcasts will explicitly state on their websites whether or not they accept interview requests.
And if they don’t accept interview requests? Ask anyway.
Send in your pitch and convince them you have lots of value to add.
Step #3. Follow the Host’s Lead
Every podcast will have their own process. Some may want to do pre-interviews, some may want to work on a rough content online with you, and some may want to just “wing it.”
Whatever the process, remember to be courteous and respectful — you’re a guest, after all.
Just don’t forget to mention your blog!
#2. Republishing on Medium
Sure, you can publish tons of absolutely amazing posts on your own blog.
But if you never extend your reach, whether it’s by growing your list of email subscribers or boosting your number of social media followers, your audience will be limited.
So what do you do if you don’t have time to create promotional content and extend your reach?
Republish your existing posts on blogging platforms like Medium.
Your content will be seen by a whole new audience — some of which will then visit your blog and discover all the great content you have to offer.
For example, look at this blog post I published on the Ahrefs blog last December:
It got 463 shares and 43 comments — very decent engagement considering the fact that the topic likely didn’t appeal to our blog’s core audience (people interested in search engine optimization).
In a bid to push the post out to a wider audience, we republished it on Medium. It turned out to be a fantastic decision.
Here are the stats as of March this year:
That’s 13.6k views in total, with 22% of readers actually finishing the whole post.
Plus, the Medium publication of this post averages a steady trickle of 10-30 readers every day.
How to Republish on Medium
Medium has made the process of importing and republishing content super simple. Here’s how you do it:
Step #1. Choose a Post to Republish
Ideally, pick one of your top performers (since it’s already proved it’s popular).
You can use a tool like Ahrefs’ Top Content report in Site Explorer to see which of your posts have the most shares on social media.
Since they’ve proven themselves on social media, these posts are the most likely to resonate with audiences beyond your blog’s existing one.
Step #2. Import Your Post Into Medium
Enter the URL of your post into the Medium import tool and hit “Import”.
Step #3. Publish Your Post on Medium
Follow Medium’s guidelines to format and polish your post, then click “Publish”.
That’s all there is to it!
#3. Smart Social Sharing
I know, I know.
It’s 2019, and promoting your blog posts on social media is by no means a new strategy.
BUT — there’s more to social media promotion than pasting a link and clicking a “Tweet” button.
Here’s an example of the success we’ve seen from smart sharing on the Ahrefs Twitter account:
Pretty impressive, right?
Here’s another example:
These tweets received amazing engagement, but we actually spent very little time creating them.
We achieved this ROI by working smarter, not harder.
How to Promote Your Blog Using Social Media (Smartly)
Here’s our process:
Step #1. Brainstorm Ideas and Organize Them
The great thing about social media content is it’s all fleeting. Even if an idea is a flop, it’s easy to turn the page and try the next idea.
But to make the most of these (admittedly fleeting) opportunities, you need two things:
- A large list of ideas;
- A method for grouping similar ideas into categories.
To brainstorm ideas, get a pen and paper (or launch Google Docs, Microsoft Word, etc.) and jot down things you would like to try.
Get as creative as you want.
Think memes would be popular with your audience? Write it down. Believe infographics or inspirational quotes could be successful? Write them down. Believe posts or tweets on Topic X or Topic Y could receive high engagement?
(You get the idea.)
By listing all of your ideas, you’ll then be able to group them into categories. This will help you track which categories are successful and which are not.
Step #2. Craft and Publish (and Monitor) Your Content
Once your social media posts begin making their way into the wild, you’ll be able to track their progress.
Do some receive more comments, while others receive more shares and retweets? Are some more popular in the mornings, while others receive more engagement during the evenings?
All data, both good and bad, will help you in the next step.
Step #3. Review the Results
After an appropriate amount of time has gone by, hold a review.
Drop the categories that didn’t perform well. Keep the ones with potential and refine them.
You want to focus on the categories your audience likes and tweak them.
Do they like emojis, or do they gravitate towards a more “serious” tone? Do they like infographics, or long chunks of copy with statistics thrown in?
And so on.
From here, keep repeating steps 1-3 until you’ve locked down the type of content your audience loves.
And once you’ve figured out what they love, keep giving it to them.
Step #4. Advertising (Optional)
If you want to try advertising, the above process will save you some serious money.
Pick your top organic performers from Step #3 and put money into promoting them.
Since they’ve already proven themselves to be popular, this is a safe and effective way to buy ads to promote your blog (without wasting time and money on losers).
#4. Create Roundup Posts
The perks of this strategy pretty much sell themselves.
Here’s what happens when you publish a good roundup post:
- First off, it’s easy to write since most of the content is created for you;
- You make new and powerful connections within your industry;
- Thanks to those connections, you gain access to new audiences;
- Your post naturally gains backlinks and social shares.
So… what’s a roundup post, anyway?
Here’s an example:
Essentially, a roundup post features a compilation of answers to a single question, ideally by established experts in the field.
A great roundup post adds immense value to readers since they offer a range of expert opinions in one place.
Plus, they tend to bring in lots of traffic since the experts featured in them will often share the post with their own audiences.
What’s not to love?
How to Create Roundup Posts
Here are the basics of roundup posts so you can create your own:
Step #1. Craft Your Question
Don’t take this step lightly.
If you ask too much of the experts you’ll be polling, most won’t have time to participate (even if they want to). And if you ask a question they’ve heard (and answered) a million times, most won’t be interested.
Your question needs to be clear, succinct, and something that will appeal both to your readers and the experts you’ll be asking to participate.
Step #2. Create a List of Influencers
Once you’ve crafted your question, it’s time to create your influencer wish list. These are the influencers (“experts”) you’ll be asking to participate in your roundup post.
Since not everyone will respond to you, reach out to significantly more experts than you need.
For example, if you need 20 people for your roundup post, reach out to 40 experts (or more).
A roundup post is only as good as the people you feature. While it takes exponentially more time and effort to get a response from a more recognized name in your industry, it’s likely worth it.
With that said, don’t expect the Michael Jordans of your industry to respond to your outreach — try to find people with a reasonable level of influence who aren’t complete titans.
Step #3. Reach Out to the Experts
Quick tips for the message you send:
- Keep it short;
- Keep it genuine.
Step #4. Follow Up (But Only Once)
There’s a chance your first email will slip past the expert you’re trying to reach. After all, they’re very busy and likely receive dozens (or hundreds) of emails every single day.
This is why sending a follow-up email is helpful:
However, please don’t follow-up more than once — any more than that and you’re just being a nuisance.
Step #5. Compile Your Responses
At this point, you’ll have a bunch of answers ready to sift through. Now all you need to do is turn them into a cohesive post.
Try to find trends in the responses and sort them into sections.
Next, add your own introduction to each section, as well as your opinion on why certain trends occurred.
This is how you put your stamp on the roundup post and make it your own.
Step #6. Publish Your Post (And Tell the Experts)
Once your post is published, it’s time to let everyone know about it.
Email everyone who responded to your outreach emails (whether they ultimately contributed to your post or not) and thank them for their time. Include a link to your post, and be sure to send them well-wishes.
You can also ask them (politely) to share your post with their audience, but this is often implied.
#5. Advocate In-Person
While all blogs are digital in nature, your promotional efforts aren’t limited to the digital world alone.
It might be a step (or ten!) outside your comfort zone, but try this:
Approach a local event in your niche and pitch yourself as a speaker.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world or how big the event is — it could even be a small meet-up session.
The idea is to reach out to new people and give the work you do a huge visibility boost.
How to Promote Your Blog by Speaking at Events
If you’re interested in this advanced promotional tactic, here’s how to get started:
Step #1. Shortlist a Few Events or Meet-Ups You’d Like to Attend
If you’re not sure where to start, look around on Reddit, Facebook groups, or Slack groups and join some communities in your industry.
Chances are good people are organizing and promoting events in these communities.
Make a list of potential targets, underline your favorites, and move on to the next step.
Step #2. Pitch Yourself to Event Organizers
When pitching yourself, propose some topics that you’d be comfortable speaking about and explain how your content will add value to their audience.
Hopefully it goes without saying, but you should know these topics very well.
Step #3. Craft Your Presentation
Try to deliver as much value as you can and position your blog as a great resource. This is also a good time to promote your social media accounts, which are ideally already geared towards driving traffic to your blog.
Just be sure not to make it all about you. Your job is to teach, to impart your know-how to others.
And when you’re able to do this well, promoting your blog will happen organically.
Step #4. Speak
Show up to the event, deliver your speech, meet lots of new people, and enjoy converting some new readers!
#6. Integrate Your Blog with Your Product
Most businesses have blogs that are completely disconnected from their main product.
If you blog for a brand or business, why not align your messaging and integrate your blog posts directly into your UI (for software products) or in your product descriptions and previews (for e-commerce)?
This lets you direct traffic over to your blog and gives your customers a more seamless experience.
How to Fuse Your Blog and Product
For software products, one way to notify people of your newest blog posts is to include a (preferably unobtrusive) in-app notification.
Here’s what it looks like when using Ahrefs:
Click the bell icon and we display a simple drop-down menu listing all our newest content.
So simple, but so effective.
If you have an e-commerce website and your blog posts are educational in nature, you can promote them directly on your homepage.
Beardbrand does this beautifully:
Another way to do this is by scattering in individual links and excerpts of your blog posts wherever they’re relevant. This is how Mr Porter does it:
Time to get creative!
#7. Collaborate with Other Blogs
Creating content in collaboration with another blog means you’re able to tap into each other’s audiences and can promote yourself to a whole new set of blog readers.
You can even split the work!
How to Join Forces With Another Blog
Collaborating with blogs significantly larger than yours probably isn’t in the cards. However, collaborating with a site similar in size is definitely doable.
Here’s how to get started:
Step #1. Find Opportunities in Your Niche
Look for opportunities to work with blogs within the same niche as yours.
Start by approaching bloggers you have an existing relationship with and ask if they’d like to collaborate. You should leave cold pitching as a last resort.
If you have no idea which blogs to approach, Ahrefs offers a nifty trick:
In Content Explorer, enter a relevant keyword phrase in your niche.
Set the “published” filter to “Last 12 months” and the “Language” filter to “English”. Next, highlight the “one link per domain” option.
Finally, you’ll want to set one more filter: DR (“domain rating”).
The higher this number, the more authoritative the website; however, the more authoritative the website the harder it will be for you to get the blogger’s attention.
In the screenshot below, we set the DR to 40:
This will pull a list of active blogs in your niche.
From here, just sift through the possibilities and pick the ones you’d like to approach.
Step #2. Make Your Pitch
The process is pretty similar to advocating in-person: you need to make your best pitch.
Focus on explaining why you want to work with that particular blogger, as well as how collaboration will benefit them.
Feel free to suggest a couple of topics you feel would work well.
Step #3. Create
Finalize your content with the blogger you’re working with and remember to stay prompt and gracious throughout.
This is not the time to get pushy or rude and make an enemy out of a would-be ally.
Step #4. Publish and Promote
Promote the post to your newsletter and social media accounts. Make sure to tag and give credit to the other blogger too.
#8. Repurpose Content Into Other Formats to Reach New Audiences
You’ve spent all this time and effort to create amazing content in the form of blog posts.
Why not get more out of the same piece of content?
Since your customers hang out in multiple places online and have their own preferences when it comes to content formats, you should try to reach audiences beyond blog readers.
And you do that by repurposing your content.
How to Repurpose Your Content
- Turn your blog posts into SlideShare presentations;
- Take a small section of your blog post and reimagine it as an infographic;
- Convert your blog post into a YouTube video.
Or, do it in reverse.
We published a YouTube tutorial on WordPress SEO. It has over 20,000 views and 70 comments — not too shabby.
We decided to turn it into a blog post. Here’s how it performed:
By re-creating our video in written form, we were able to reach an entirely new audience on an entirely different platform.
And the best part?
We didn’t have to come up with fresh content for the post. We took what we already had and created something new with it.
#9. Monitor Online Conversations for Opportunities to Promote Yourself
People talk about all sorts of things on the Internet, including your niche.
If you monitor these conversations, you’ll get lots of chances to slide into the discussion, add value, and (subtly) promote your blog.
Here’s a pretty meta example of this tactic in action.
I once mentioned Talkwalker alerts in a blog post I wrote, and an employee commented on the post to provide the link:
How to Monitor Conversations for Promotion Opportunities
Tracking online conversations is surprisingly easy. Here’s how you do it:
Step #1. Set up Your Alert
For Ahrefs, go to Alerts, Mentions, +New Alert, and enter your keyword you’d like to track.
What these tools do is send you an email every time a keyword is mentioned on the web.
From there, you can simply follow the link in the email to find out where you’ve been mentioned.
Step #2. Carefully Monitor Your Mentions
Whether your mention comes in a blog article or a forum discussion, look for suitable areas where you can add value.
For example, if you’re a food blogger and you receive an alert for a discussion of a restaurant, it’s your time to shine by talking about your own experience.
However, a word of warning:
It’s extremely important not to shoehorn yourself into conversations.
If you’re clearly only there to advertise your own blog, people will catch on pretty quickly.
So, be sure to link to your own blog strategically, and only after you’d added value to the discussion.
Over to You
If you sometimes find yourself lying in bed at night wondering, “how do I increase my blog traffic?”, I feel your pain.
I did my best to stay away from the more common methods of blog promotion, so hopefully you found something new to try.
Of course, not all of the tactics we discussed will be suitable for, or will work for, your blog and your particular niche.
You’ll need to experiment and find what works for you.
When it comes down to it, marketing is always about experimenting — experimenting, failing, and going at it again and again until you succeed.
Now, go forth and get that traffic!