Updated July 5, 2016
How can you spread the word about your site, blog, book, business, product, event, service or project? In today’s marketing, building relationships, being helpful and establishing trust are key.
Those three things take time, but once you commit to them, answer these two questions:
- Who is your target audience? Who is your perfect reader or customer? This is so important to identify and will make marketing a whole lot easier. Be specific. “Everyone” is not a good answer. Your marketing will be too thin to be effective.
- Do you have a website? If not, get one. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. You can follow the steps I outline here. They work whether you want a blog or just a static website. If it’s a website you want without a blog, follow those steps and then make the tiny tweaks I mention in #5 here. Or, choose a theme with a different front page built in. Here’s the theme I use and my tips for choosing a design that works for you.
Once you’re set on those things, here are some marketing ideas:
1. Get involved in social media
Be kind, be helpful. Don’t just promote your own stuff, build relationships. Not sure where to start? As I mention in my post about the best social media platforms to use, think about where your target audience hangs out and start there.
2. Make the most of your social media profiles
Craft intriguing profiles on all your social media channels. Consider the audience you’re likely to attract and tailor your profile for each. You don’t have to use the same one for each platform. Also, remember many social media platforms are integrated with the search engines, like Twitter & Google and Pinterest & Google so pay attention to keywords (see #4) in your profiles, descriptions and posts.
3. Make social sharing easy on your site
Include social media sharing buttons on your content and encourage others to share. I list my favorite plugin for this here.
4. Buy social media ads
Like it or not, social media is moving from “free to play” to “pay to play.” For example, gone are the days when you could create a Facebook Page and anyone who liked it would see your posts. Pinterest, Instagram and other social media platforms are following suit. If you have it in your budget, consider buying social media ads.
5. Start or find a mastermind group
A mastermind group is an excellent way to build relationships and enjoy the mutual benefits of working together to promote each others’ stuff. Read my post, Why You Should Be Part of a Mastermind Group for more.
6. Take part in online collaborations
There are many ways people are working together, pooling their resources and coming out way ahead. Some examples are the Ultimate Bundle sales (be an author), the 31 Days writing challenge, NaNoWriMo (write a novel in a month), Facebook groups, Pinterest group boards and more.
If you’re a blogger, band with other bloggers and write a series and promote it together. Here are some past examples: The Ultimate Blog Swap, 4 Moms, Simple Ways to Save Money and 31 Days of Amazement.
7. Go to a conference or meet-up
This is one of my top networking tips. If you can meet people face to face, do it. I cannot tell you how many people I’ve heard say they saw a significant uptick in traffic or business after making connections in real life. People are much more likely to trust you and/or promote your stuff if they know you in person. Again, relationships.
8. Start a podcast
So many people are enjoying the benefits of this relatively new and therefore uncrowded space. And podcast popularity is bound to increase. Podcast Launch by John Lee Dumas (podcasting guru; affiliate link) is a good place to start.
9. Do live broadcasting
If you like to be spontaneous, Facebook Live is quickly becoming the livestreaming place to be. But you could also use YouTube Live. Use live video to establish yourself as an authority, share useful content and connect with others.
10. Use video (vlogging)
If you prefer to plan, or you want the chance to edit or do multiple takes, pre-recorded video is a great option too. If, for example, you post videos on YouTube (my channel), you’ll have access to a group of people you might not encounter on other parts of the web. These videos are also easy to embed on your site and share elsewhere.
11. Do a webinar
This is when you put together a slide presentation and conduct a live training session online. Here’s a free webinar workshop.
12. Create screencasts or tutorials
A lot of people are visual learners and appreciate a step by step video to help them perform a particular task. If you can show people how to do things on your computer, use a tool like Screencast-O-Matic (free) or ScreenFlow (my favorite for Macs; affiliate link) to record your computer screen while you verbally instruct.
13. Comment on content created by others
This is an easy way to get your face or brand in front of people. It can also be a great strategy for establishing yourself as a pillar in a niche if you offer helpful advice. Here are my tips for commenting on blogs effectively, but the tips can be applied to almost any online interaction.
14. Create an iPhone app
Mobile is exploding and a lot of people are creating apps for their site or product. You can do it yourself (google will return a lot of tutorials) or hire someone to do it for you. Try a place like Upwork or a developer.
15. Reach out to traditional media channels
The post 109 Ways to Make Your Business Irresistible to the Media is a good one to get you started. And this podcast interview, How Lauren Greutman Gets on TV All The Time, is full of great tips too.
16. Write for a trade magazine
If it makes sense for your topic or niche and you know your target audience reads trade magazines, here’s an article with tips to help.
17. Get testimonials
Consider contacting people who have emailed or commented with nice things to say about you, your blog, ebook, product or service. Ask if you they’d be willing to provide a testimonial. Here are some ways to maximize testimonials.
18. Write list posts
Think about your topic. Let’s say it’s woodworking. Now think about lists you can make related to woodworking. For example, “The 5 woodworkers to follow on YouTube” or “10 tools all woodworkers shouldn’t do without” or “The 8 best woodworking websites” or “15 woodworking tricks to save time.” You get the idea.
Some of the best list posts are the ones highlighting others. Why? Because then you can contact the people you’ve listed (I prefer via social media, but email is acceptable if it’s not spammy) and tell them you featured them. They will often share your post with their own followers.
Another popular tactic is to think of a topic and then email a bunch of influencers in your niche. Tell them you’re putting together a post about [topic] and ask them something like “I’d love to include you. Can you tell me one of your top tips for [topic]?” If they participate, thank them, name & link to them in the post (of course) and shoot them a quick email with the post link when the post goes live.
19. Write a comprehensive, easy-to-follow “how to” guide
One thing about the internet is the information gets scattered all over the place making it hard to find. It’s nice when things are all put together neatly, and clearly accessible for anyone visiting. How-to guides are a lot of work, but people love to share them. If you write a great one, the potential for it spreading is great. And you have the potential of standing out as a thought leader in your niche. This is what I did with How to Start a Blog and it is the source of excellent traffic for me.
20. Do a case study
Why not choose a reader to feature, ask for a problem they have and then solve it for them in a post, series, podcast or video? People love practical, hands-on, “this is how I would do it” type of instruction. The added benefit is, hopefully the reader you helped will promote your post or series too.
21. Join forums or groups
Join a forum or Facebook Group with the intention of helping others legitimately. Read the terms of any group you join, but generally, it’s acceptable to include a link to your blog or website in your profile signature (for forums). Don’t be afraid to start new threads or ask questions. More people are likely to see your face that way. If you only respond to established threads, your responses tend to get buried.
22. Build an email list
Offer something irresistible and free to people if they subscribe to your email list. This gives you the opportunity to market to them over and over again. The tools I use to build my email list is listed on my Tools page.
23. Guest post
Write some great content for someone else’s blog. This is a very popular way to get exposure to a new audience. Just make sure you read my tips for guest posting first.
24. Get interviewed
If you really have something valuable to offer, many times you can find a podcast host or YouTuber to feature you. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities and don’t be afraid to reach out. Just be sure it’s a win-win. Read my post about pitches for tips.
25. Create an infographic
26. Create a SlideShare presentation
Maybe you’ve got experience creating presentations (PowerPoint, etc.). Put those skills to good use and create visual appealing presentations for SlideShare. Even a small handful of slides can work well. Search for popular ones in your niche to give you ideas.
27. Create image graphics
People love to share quote graphics and other lovely images on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and more. Create a branded feel so people start to associate you with those graphics. Or, chop up your posts into bite-sized tips and create a graphic for each one. Link back to your original post of course.
28. Launch something
A launch provides a natural reason to drum up buzz. You could launch a book, a product, or something as simple as your blog. Launch ideas to consider: gather a launch team, have an IRL (in real life) party, do giveaways, post on social media. People are doing launches all the time. Watch closely for endless ideas.
29. Practice good SEO
If your site is optimized for SEO, you’re more likely to show up in the results when others are looking for content you provide. Read my SEO tips for more.
Related: What is SEO? (And Why It Matters)
30. Promote others
I’m not talking about promoting someone else just so they’ll promote you. Instead, add “promote others” to your regular to-do list. Make it a habit. Regularly highlight others on social media, on your site or in your emails. It’s amazing how genuine kindness extended toward others often comes back to you in ways you least expect. There’s nothing like spreading love.
31. Email signature
Don’t forget about your email signature. Include links to your site, Facebook page, Twitter or whatever you’d like to highlight. If you use Gmail, it’s easy to do (see #4). My advice here is to keep it short.
32. Advertise on smaller blogs and websites
A lot of bloggers or website owners accept sponsors and will put a button or graphic in their sidebar. Some may also write a review or accept sponsored posts. The fees for large websites are often prohibitive, but sometimes smaller sites have very reasonable fees.
33. Sponsor an event
Event hosts are often looking for people willing to shell out a bit of cash (or product) in exchange for some promotion. If it’s in your budget and it’s a good fit, this can be very effective. You can sponsor an event online (ex. online conference) or offline (ex. local 5K run). Again, think about what events your target audience would participate in and pursue those.
Even more tips
If you want more ideas or more in-depth explanation of some of the above ideas, consider purchasing access to my Knowtbook. If you’d rather not do that, I highly encourage you to subscribe to the Useletter if you’re not already. It’s free and includes quick tips (often traffic or marketing tips) each week.