Whether you only dabble in blogging, or you pour copious amounts of time, passion and dedication into your blog, we all want our work to be seen by more people. With a plethora of blogs all vying for visibility and probably zero budget to work with, it can seem like an impossible endeavour.
Sure, some types of marketing are the preserve of the wealthy – those businesses with the swanky budgets and hot shot marketing teams. But what about us bloggers who make only a little or no money from our blogs? Well luckily there are a lot of ways to market your blog for free. Yes, free! Plus, you don’t need to be a marketing whizkid or PR pro. You just need a killer starter list (you’re welcome) and a healthy dose of savviness.
In this post, I share 16 ways to market your blog for free. Some you’ll already know but many will hopefully inspire new ideas and approaches which you have not previously considered.
1. Social media
Starting with the most obvious. Choose your platforms carefully – personally I find the most success with Instagram. If visual then create an aesthetic style that is consistent and representative of your personal brand. Post regularly, be genuinely interesting and not overly promotional.
2. Twitter chats
Twitter chats are a fantastic way of engaging with other bloggers and raising awareness of your blog as a result. Some great friendships can also be formed when a group of like-minded people get together to discuss a topic. Increase exposure and have some social fun at the same time! Here’s a handy list of all the best Twitter chats.
3. Comment on blogs
A great way of drawing attention to yourself while doing a good deed. Just don’t be spammy. Take the time to read the post and leave a genuine, thoughtful comment. There’s no harm in leaving your blog URL in the comment, as it’s very common practice.
4. Guest blog on other sites
Contribute to other blogs or sites to get your name out there. Choose blogs which are relevant to yours. For example, if you have a food blog, don’t contribute to an intergalactic space blog. If you can also get a link back to your blog then that also gets you some SEO points.
5. Invite guest bloggers onto your site
It works both ways! Reach out to relevant bloggers or experts in your niche and ask them to contribute to your blog. You can offer exposure and a link back to them in return. This often works best as an interview format. Chances are that they’ll share the resulting post across their own social channels, enabling you to reach a whole new audience.
6. Email marketing
Emails are a fantastic way of pointing established readers to your blog and re-engaging old or lost readers. Install an email capture form on your blog (usually ‘sign up to my newsletter’). Once you have enough email data, start distributing emails via a free platform like MailChimp. Promote your most exciting content, offer some kind of value and avoid sending them too often, or else people will hit unsubscribe. You can also use email data to create a custom audience for Facebook advertising. However, be aware of the the new GDPR regulations which are coming into effect, so you don’t end up accidentally breaking the law.
7. Partner with other bloggers
Carefully considered collaborations with other bloggers can provide a whole host of mutual benefits. Ideally you’ll need to find someone who operates within the same niche as you but with a different audience. This will make cross promotion all the more effective. The finer details of the collaboration will need to be agreed between you.
8. Attend events
Blogger events and other networking opportunities can provide a fantastic platform for promoting your blog in person. Events can be daunting, especially if you’re attending on your own. But you can guarantee there will be other people just like you. Put on your friendliest smile and start making connections, partnerships and friendships.
9. Word of mouth
In short: tell as many people about your blog as possible! Get friends and family to spread the word. Remind people that your blog exists. Just try not to be too irritating with it!
10. Submit content to blogging platforms
Sometimes you need a bit of leverage to get your content seen. That’s where blogging platforms come in. It’s worth submitting the odd post to platforms like Medium in order to reach new readers. Remember to make it clear that the article on your blog is the original post (Medium allows you to do this) to avoid duplicate content issues.
Free stuff. We all love it. That’s one of the reasons you’re reading this post! Holding a giveaway generates buzz and heaps of engagement. Collaborate with a company who will provide a free product for your giveaway and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime. Don’t forget to blast it on social.
12. Distribute a press release
This is only applicable if you have something ‘news worthy’ to say. That does not mean you have to break a new world record to qualify for breaking news, but it does mean that a standard informational blog post probably won’t do.
13. Contact journalists
Similar to the above – if your press release does not get lift-off then try reaching out direct. Identify the most relevant journalists and pitch your idea. Twitter is great for this – a journalist once said to me that if you can pitch an idea in 140 characters (now 280) rather than a waffly email, then she’ll listen. Also monitor and respond to hashtags, such as #journorequest.
14. Keyword research
SEO should be a core part of your marketing strategy. It can seem like a bit of a minefield on first glance but the key principles are actually very straightforward (not that I’m trying to undermine my full-time job). Begin with keyword research to gain a better understanding of what people are searching for in relation to the content you provide.
Get into the habit of writing metadata (SEO title and meta description) for every new page or post you publish. Think of it as marketing your blog to the search engines and the people who use them.
16. Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tools
If you haven’t already then set up Google Search Console and also Bing Webmaster Tools for the Bing equivalent (11% of searches use Bing, let’s not let Google steal all of the limelight). Here you can access handy information like crawl errors and search analytics. You can also submit an XML sitemap and submit new page or posts to Google so that they get crawled faster and therefore show in the SERPs sooner.
I’m sure I’ve probably missed something but there’s plenty to get started with for now. Digital marketing takes time but if you really want to elevate your blog then you need to be engaging in at least a handful of these ways to market your blog for free.
I’d love to hear from you if you have any other advice around marketing your blog for free and whether you have the time to do it. Comment below, hit me up on social or send a carrier pigeon. Over and out!