Only five years ago, you might have heard, “Radio doesn’t sell books. TV sells books.” Now, you’re more likely to hear, “TV is okay, but social media sells books.” If you get bloggers talking, tweeting, sharing, and posting about your books, you’re likely to experience enhanced success at marketing your book.
But, alas, marketing your blog is different from marketing your regular website. Specifically, plain old search engine optimization (a.k.a., SEO) isn’t enough to make you a widely read blogger.
The blogging system has added variables beyond SEO, like the warm, fuzzy, social element (hence the “social” in “social media.”) Search engines are “cold” and comb through blogs, looking for key words, tags, page relevance, back-links from other reputable sites, etc., but real people are “warm” and click on “forward” and “share” buttons if they feel that your message resonates with them on a personal, emotional level. Catch my drift? You have to be an expert at both the cold and warm elements in order to succeed at blogging.
By the way, in case you’re wondering what a “back-link” is, I’m going to be self-serving and include one here. It’s a link back to my own website, www.TheEdenDiet.com. Voila! I just raised my own website’s search engine ranking by linking it to the highly respected Wordserve Watercooler blog.
In the same way, let me return a favor to a fellow Wordserve author. A while back, Jordyn Redwood interviewed me on her blog, Redwood’s Medical Edge, and she included a back-link to my Eden Diet website. Now, I just returned the favor with a back-link from the Watercooler. Her blog’s search engine rankings just went up a bit. Do you see how it works? The “social” in “social media” augments your search engine optimization.
Unfortunately, even if your blog content resonates with people on a warm, human level, only a small percentage of your subscribers will click “share” and “forward.” Probably, most will be passive and neither comment on nor share your posts. Thus, to expand your subscriber list, you must find ways to engage and mobilize that small minority of blog followers who could actually help you spread your message.
One way to recruit supportive blog followers is to cross-promote with other reputable bloggers who have large subscriber lists. Imagine the ripple effect of increased numbers of subscribers when other big-time bloggers link back to your blog (not to mention that the back-links will raise your blog’s standings with the search engines).
Because it isn’t easy to get big-time bloggers to notice let alone promote and share your content, let me tell you some strategies that have worked for me: (1) Ask to feature/interview other bloggers for your own blog. Try to pick those with large followings. Many will offer to feature/interview you on their blog, in return. (2) Offer free books to those who interview you and suggest that they give them away to their own followers. When you first help others, some return the favor!
In summary, your ideal blog marketing strategy should be (1) get noticed (through regular SEO, using key words and tags, getting back-links, etc.); (2) hold your readers’ attention with a warm message that fills their needs; (3) encourage readers to actually participate and share your message; and (4) get noticed by and develop relationships with well-known bloggers who have big followings. Help your fellow bloggers spread their message by featuring them on your site, and maybe someday they will offer to help you spread your message.