May 27, 2008Filed under: Blogging Tips -- Darren Rowse @ 07:25am
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.