May 27, 2008

Offline Blog Promotion Techniques (Part 1 of 3)

Filed under: Blogging Tips -- Darren Rowse @ 07:25am

Over at ProBlogger a reader by the name of Super Blogging asked me for some tips on promoting a blog offline. I thought it was a good question and worth answering here on ScribeFire.

When confronted with the challenge of promoting a blog most bloggers immediately think that the only place to do so is online. 99% of the blog tips that I see for finding readers centre around online activities. This is logical on some levels – if you want people to read your online content then it makes sense to find people who are already online. However….

Why Promoting Your Blog Offline Can Be Worth Considering

When I started blogging four years ago on digital cameras there were only a small handful of blogs on that topic. Most of those bloggers knew one another and were more than happy to promote each other to help us each grow our sites which l lived in the shadows of some massive non blogging digital photography sites.

Online promotion was relatively easy. Leaving comments on each other’s blogs, interacting in forums, SEO and even advertising online all were met with success.

Two years ago I started a second digital photography blog (focusing more upon photography tips) and realized that in the two years since starting my first blog the blogging landscape had changed significantly – particularly in terms of promoting a blog.

The first thing I realized was that there were now hundreds of blogs competing in the photography space. Most of these bloggers were doing the things that I used to do online to promote my first blog. As a result these online promotion tactics were less effective than they used to be (they still worked, but not as much).

I realized at this point that to promote a new blog it could also be useful to go offline. I didn’t completely give up on online promotion (in fact it still is the most effective place to do promotion) but found that the offline promotion could be very effective.

Offline Blog Promotion Tips

1. Conferences and Conventions – one of the first times I learned about the power in attending conferences was back in 2004 when on the spur of the moment I decided to fly up to Sydney (I live in Melbourne Australia) to attend a photography convention. I had no idea what to expect and had little time to prepare but decided to head up and see what I could learn.

The day before I left I got some business cards and a T-shirt with my URL on it printed.

On arrival I wasn’t expecting much but quickly found that the convention centre was literally packed with opportunities on many levels, including finding new readers for my blog. Everyone at that convention was there because they had an interest in photography – so it made sense for me to position myself at this real life event.

Interestingly – there was one other photography site represented at the event. I got chatting to them at one point and we marveled at how few of our competitors were there and how we’d struck gold by attending.

Take Home Lesson - if there is a conference that relates to your topic that you have the ability to attend, do everything in your power to get there. When there, be bold, have something to promote your site (cards for starters), have something to say about your site (an elevator pitch), make friends and get them to introduce you to their contacts and be ready to make the most of every opportunity that might arise.

2. Business Cards – this is perhaps one of the more obvious tips that I’ll give today but a business card is essential if you’re going to do offline promotions. They are great for conferences, meetups, promoting to friends etc.

One thing I’ve learned about business cards is that if you can make them stand out in some way you can really grab people’s attention and open up doors to talk about yourself and your blog. At b5media we have bright green cards that are cut at an odd angle. I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve seen people take a 2nd look at our cards and ask where we got them.

Make sure your card has not only your contact details but where people can connect with you online (email, blog URL (and name), twitter etc).

Get plenty of cards printed up and give them out freely.

3. Blogger Meetups – is there a local network of bloggers in your area? If so, make sure you connect with them and attend their events.

Each time I’ve attended a blogger meetup I’ve come away with lots of great new contacts and potential promoters of my blogs. The great thing about bloggers is that they have readers already and if you can find ways to promote what each other does you can really see your readership grow.

Of course finding readers with a similar topic to yours is best – but even promoting across different niches can at times work if you find natural ways to do so.

4. Stickers – Speaking of meetups – at a ProBlogger meetup in New York a couple of years ago I saw the power of stickers to promote a blog. One blogger showed up at the meetup (I don’t remember who they were) and instead of giving business cards gave out stickers.

Of course as the night progressed the stickers ended up being ‘stuck’ on people. In fact during the night the stickers became one of the ‘features’ of the night. They appeared in loads of photos and even got mentioned in blog reviews of the evening.

In my next two posts I want to continue the focus upon offline blog promotion and will share another 9 techniques from my blog promotion tool belt as well as a number of tips from other bloggers. Stay tuned for part 2 and 3 of this series.

31 Responses to “Offline Blog Promotion Techniques (Part 1 of 3)”

  1. 1
    Tabs

    Thanks for the heads up, I will be looking into blog meetups in the SF, I am always looking for news ways promote my sites.

    Thanks

  2. 2
    yuvarlak.net » Blog Archive » Offline Blog Promotion Techniques

    [...] can read part 1 (it’s a 3 part series) here. In this post I introduce why offline blog promotion is worth considering and 4 techniques to get [...]

  3. 3
    kristarella

    Great tips Darren. I was chatting to a guy last night in a hairdressers. He came up and asked me about my MacBook (that I was using while I was waiting) because he was thinking of getting one. I told him they’re great… I wish I’d given him my URL and told him if he got one I have a great list of quality free software and some articles about using the Mac’s features to their potential. I’m totally going to get some cards printed up now!

  4. 4
    Mother of all money blogs » Blog Archive » Offline Blog Promotion Techniques

    [...] can read part 1 (it’s a 3 part series) here. In this post I introduce why offline blog promotion is worth considering and 4 techniques to get [...]

  5. 5
    Micah Elliott

    Great tips. I recently attended an event where it was nice to be able to hand out homely business cards . Like you said, blog url and twitter id are essential. Maybe even linkedin url would be helpful. Most people I meet these days are active at least in linkedin and twitter.

    The sticker idea is awesome. And I saw a guy at Startup School wearing a shirt with his username. Now I recognize all his posts on the associated Hacker News forum.

    Lastly, I like plastering my laptop, front and back, with my taped-on business cards so anyone overlooking my work will see my blog url pretty easily.

  6. 6
    Marco

    Could you please post an image of the stickers?

  7. 7
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  8. 8
    The Best of the Blogosphere: May 31, 2008 | Super Blogging

    [...] Offline Blog Promotion Techniques (Part 1 of 3) at ScribeFire. [...]

  9. 9
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    Make Money Online » More Offline Blog Promotion Tips

    [...] continues my examination of offline blog promotion techniques with another 5 tips on the topic (part 1 was here). Looking forward to hearing your tips on how you promote your blog [...]

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    yuvarlak.net » Blog Archive » More Offline Blog Promotion Tips

    [...] continues my examination of offline blog promotion techniques with another 5 tips on the topic (part 1 was here). Looking forward to hearing your tips on how you promote your blog [...]

  14. 14
    Tay at Super Blogging

    Thanks for the excellent advice, and I really appreciate that you blogged up my suggestion. Everything you write is always very helpful and insightful, and I look forward to reading the next installment. Thanks again!

  15. 15
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  18. 18
    BillinDetroit

    Darren … I surfed over here from post #3 … but there isn’t a link to post #2 from here. Please edit one in.

  19. 19
    yuvarlak.net » Blog Archive » Offline Blog Promotion Tips - Part 3

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  22. 22
    Roy Hewitt

    Hi Darren,

    Thanks for the business card idea.

  23. 23
    seo

    Thanks for the suggestion. Blogger Meetup is a better idea for off-line promotion

  24. 24
    Miley-Cyrus-Fan

    hmm.. thank you very much. usefull information

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    LieprelfTrelO

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  31. 31
    Gil

    These are great tips. What I do (I am still in school) is I print out about 40 flyers each month and give them to my fellow students. This keeps them informed on what’s new at the site and also attracts new readers.