18

Yelling into a vacuum- The importance of online promotion

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

“Without promotion something terrible happens… Nothing!”- PT Barnum

Importance of online promotionFor the past couple of weeks I have spent a lot of time on an important subject: productivity.

Productivity is all about getting things done.  In the past few weeks I have discussed:

Hopefully these articles have given you some inspirational ideas AND actionable tips on increasing productivity.  So now you have free time.  (Yeah, right!)  It is time to take all those free hours and turn an eye toward online promotion.

What is online promotion?

Online Promotion is everything you do to publicize a project, venture, blog, article or online business.  It is all about getting the word out there.  It can be as simple as a Digg or a Stumble or as complex as writing an EBook.

In fact let’s just look at just a few of the sites that are great for blog promotion:

This list is by no means, “complete” either.  Off the top of my head I can of about 20 more.  With research I am sure I could come up with another 100-200 of variable efficiency.  As you can see, finding places to do your online promotion should never be the issue.  The important part will be finding the time to do as much as you may want to do.

But we cleared that up, right?

You now have time because you have increased your efficiency.  All that time you have saved on increasing productivity can now be spent on promotion.

Well still there are so many means out there for promotion; you can never do them all.

Pick a few of the “quick” ones from the list above.  Try to do those every day.

After that, it is important to schedule time blocks for some of the following promotion ideas.

Well it is a Saturday, my “link-love” day, so enough of my blathering.  Let’s look what some other great people have said on the general subject of “Online Promotion

Social Media

I will be the first to admit that I am not a social media, “expert.”  I am constantly in a position where I feel I am “not doing enough” in this venue.  That being said, I am still doing, “enough” that I gain a considerable amount of traffic on a regular basis from social media.

Chances are you have a Twitter and Facebook account and understand the importance and reach of social media.

If not is reply to you with a resounding, “huh?”

How could it be possible in this day and age for anyone to still not have heard (a billion times) about the power and scope of these social media tools.  Did you awaken from a 10 year sleep like a modern day Rip Van Winkle?

Anyway I am not going to bore you with “5 reasons to be on twitter” or “8 reasons why Facebook is cool” articles.

Suffice to say, if you have not yet started trying to connect on a couple of Social Media platforms; you should.

There is one article that could be particularly useful for Social Media and online promotion.  For anyone who owns a local business this tip by Charlene is essential.  Even if you do not own a local business there are many reasons why learning to use Twitter to connect to local businesses can be very effective.

Email Marketing:

You may goggle at the fact that I start the section of “Email Marketing” for online Promotion with a link to the Blog Tyrant’s post on how to Make an EBook.  This is because I think it is essential to have free offers for your email list.

A free ebook, special offers, programs… Basically whatever it takes and as much of it as you can get.  You need to give away what is hopefully a lot of valuable free stuff to engage people and get them onto your “list”.

James starts us off this week with a basic description of an Email Marketing Plan.  Over-time you will surely want to refine things, but the concept is simple.

  1. Make a plan
  2. Make an offer (EBook etc.) for Opt-in
  3. Make a Squeeze Page
  4. Give good Free information and build a “relationship”
  5. Keep it regular

If you are new to the concept of email marketing, make sure to read James article.  It goes in depth on these (and other) topics.

This week Robert had a podcast interview with Ben, an email marketer.  Ben said a lot of things that go against the grain of the “conventional wisdom” of email marketing.  He even said a lot of things my own personal experience have shown the opposite of.

However, he did make some very interesting points, and I may be doing some direct tests on some of the things he said.  For the experienced email marketer this podcast on creating an undeletable email may be very intriguing, even if (like me) you are unsure if it works it gives what is, at very least, a really fresh perspective.

For those of you wondering some of the things he says that I disagree with:

  • Send emails daily
  • Do not provide too much free content in emails
  • Don’t soft sell

I still have to disagree on all these points, but it is interesting that he makes cogent arguments for all of these points.

Now on the other hand there is an email marketing article by Ana (2nd link for her this week) that I do agree with almost point by point top-to-bottom.  (I think a little differently, but only in a nit-picky fashion)

Ana discusses topics like how often to email your list, what the content should be, how hard should you promote.

While we are on the subject (not to be overly promotional myself)  here are a few articles you might like on the topic of Email lists.

Link Building

Many of the other methods work to link build.  Commenting builds links.  Social media builds links and connecting with others socially encourages them to also link to you.  Email marketing may not directly build links, but it can be used to drive traffic.

Link building is best thought of as something slow and steady.  Trying to “brute force” a 1000 links to a site, article or post in a week may drive you insane and also may land you in the Google sand-box.

This is certainly a case of the Tortoise and the Hare.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Take a little time every-day to work on some form of link building promotion.   For instance, as soon as I hit publish I try to do 5 links.  Usually it is Blogengage, Blokube and Amplify.  For the other two methods (usually quick), I try to mix it up a little for each post.  This ensures at least a few links for each post.

Later on, I go back and may try to do more links.  But a few quick links done every day pile up over time.

For something like a niche site or a landing page, it will obviously take a little bit more, “concentrated” effort.

If you are unsure of the best link building methods Zarko has fortunately written a great post this week that goes over 20 of these link building methods.

Jane gives a good idea of the mistakes to avoid while link building.

Of course the words you choose for your link-building is important.  Anchor text matters.  If you are able to choose the words for you links, choose them carefully.  (this is part of the reason I like Ana’s tip that I put under “blog commenting”)

Blog Commenting:

Without a doubt, blog commenting is a great way to promote your blog.  It is particularly effective when a blog is starting out, but as a blog grows the effectiveness does not scale.  Even when your blog is relatively well trafficked, it is still worth investing some time and effort in this.

I do believe there is a right way to do blog commenting.

Joe starts us off by showing some ways to find blogs to comment on.  Then Suresh continues by giving a great guide to the unwritten rules of blog commenting.  Follow these tips and your comments will be valuable to both you and the blog you comment on.  Good commenting is symbiosis, not parasitism.  The goal should be to leave something valuable to the person who’s blog you are posting on as well as getting a link back to your site.

Next Paul has (as usual) an insightful and interesting view of the basic models of blog commenting from the view of the site owner.  From trying to respond to every comment to turning comments off completely there are many different ways bloggers view comments.  All blogs fall into one of the models of comment interaction.

I have been doing this whole blogging thing for a while.  It is not often that I find a little trick that is 100% new to me.  Ana found such a trick with this little way to get a little more out of your commentluv comments.

Final Thoughts:

As you probably noticed, there is a lot to this “online promotion” thing.  It takes a lot of time and effort to do it right.  One of the biggest examples I can think of a blog, “exploding” is Marcus over at the Sales Lion.

He wrote a wonderful article this week about what it takes to create massive blog growth.  Even if you do not have a blog, it is an important read, because it shows (to me) an important fact.  Truly incredible results are only received by connecting with people and busting your butt.

In the article Marcus discusses how even though a handful of months ago his blog was not heavily trafficked he had a recent article where the comments section was over 200 comments.  Most of them long and engaged comments too.  Literally, there were more words in the comments than most ebooks.

Amazing!

How can that happen?  Only one way truly caring and doing what other people will not do.  In one point of the article Marcus mentions he spent 1.5 hours writing the post and nearly 7 hours responding.

Wow!

Now comes the time when I tie Marcus’ efforts to online promotion. Marcus effort, and his obvious connection with others, is what it takes to guarantee success.

To be honest, I couldn’t do it.  If I spent 7 hours promoting/commenting etc.  all of the projects I have, I would spent about 32 hours a day on it.  Even outsourcing some parts of it, the math doesn’t work.

But the concept is still there.  When you post an article, create a niche web-site, make a squeeze page or any other sort of effort an online business that is just the start.  It is not even half the effort.  Perhaps 1/3 of the effort.

Get out there and promote.  Make connections.    I cannot over-emphasis the importance of online promotion.

Remember the quote I opened this piece with:

Without promotion something terrible happens… Nothing!”-

Good luck!  Now go promote!

Take Action. Get Results.



{ 18 comments }

paul wolfe

Steve

Great collection of links – thanks for including me. Always appreciated.

Two things I want to add/mention/comment on.

First – eBooks. The more I think about it the more i think putting eBooks together is something just about every blogger should be doing – either for creating revenue, creating subscribers, or creating ‘reach.’ And the info out there is still pretty vague – Blog Tyrant’s post was OK, but there’s so much more room to go into the topic. (I’m gonna create a course doing exactly that and use it as my ‘opt-in’ report – I think too many bloggers are not doing the eBook thang because of some form of resistance).

Second – promotion. When I started, I thought I needed to get a nice bed of posts on the site, so that if someone came from Google, or wherever, they would find a ton of content to dig into.

So I spent the best part of two and a half months writing posts – and wrote about 30 – before I started going out and promoting. If this is YOU – stop what you’re doing, and start promoting NOW. That’s the one thing I would change if I was starting over from scratch – once you’ve written two or three posts, get out there and start commenting.

People won’t mind that you’ve got a new blog – in fact they’ll embrace that if the content is good – the sooner you start promoting your blog, the sooner you’ll start getting traffic, comments, subscribers etc etc.
And building relationships that may lead to guest post opportunities, retweets, etc etc ect.

HTH.

Paul

Steve Scott

Paul,

Ebooks:
You are right in many ways. Eboks whether they are short “special report” type of links or “sale ready” type of ebooks are something every blogger should have. Actually over time you should have a few.

FOr SSS alone I have 3 of the “special report” types here. A very old Personal development one. One on niches and the current “Income Trilogy”.

They are well worth the effort.

At a minimum every blogger should at least “rework” their content or at least rework some quality PLR stuff.

I also agree that BT’s article (and most out there) are just great starting points.
The important thing (IMHO) is to have a ‘start’. Sitting and debating about it all day does no good. People need to get out there and work up these free offers/ebooks.

I would love to see what your opt-in “how-to” free ebook would be. I think it will rock, and have just the right amount of inspiration mixed with actionable items.
—–
Thanks for some great words on promotion. I concur. While it is great to have a “body” of content for people to read, there really is no time like the present to get started.

I have to say my first few months, I did the same thing Paul. It wasn’t until I aggressively commenting and promoting that I got any traction at all. (I am actually doing a lot less now than I used to)

As always thanks for the great comments Paul!

– Steve

paul wolfe

Steve

You’re right – the important thing (for just about anything) is to start.
When I get the ‘opt-in’ course on creating eBooks out there I think I might start with a ‘quick start’ method of creating an eBook.

That would be Week 1. And then the rest of the course would follow ….thanks for the idea!

Thanks again for a great link post, and including me.

Paul

Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion

Steve, wow, I’ve been reading your ‘review’ posts for a while, but you went above and beyond with this one, and I’m not just saying that because you were so incredibly kind with what you said about me here.

Going out of your way to promote others is such a powerful thing, and although you may say you wouldn’t spend ‘7 hours commenting’, articles like this take major time to formulate, so you’re doing your thing, no doubt about it.

And going back to your list at the top, doesn’t it seem to grow every day?? It’s crazy man. But what I have found is the key to all of this is it’s better to be a master of one or two vs a jack of all..if you know what I mean.

Continued success to you Steve, you were so kind to me in this article, and I very much appreciate it.

Cheers,

Marcus

Steve Scott

Thanks Marcus,

Glad you liked this one. I must admit I did spend a few hours wording one it. (somehow a “quick” link post morphed into a 2000 word essay)

YOu are right about the list of “backlink” sites. Both social bookmarking, articles and others grows every day. I have a master bookmarkfile that (including article marketing sites) runs probably close to 100 sites.

It would be insane to think you could use all of those effectively.

I agree (for the most part) that it is best (like you said to master a few) You gain a sense of community in what you do that what.

For PURELY link purposes though I think it is also a good idea to throw in a wildcard or two every so often.

My thinking is that this shows some link diversity So while if I write an article I will usually use Squidoo or Ezinearticles, every so often I will use a different site like articlebase. And while I normaly “social bookmark” daily on Digg and SU. I may sometimes “Fave” or “Diigo”

I am not sure if the bookmarks are effective that way…but what the heck, it only takes a little time.

Thanks for all the articles you have been doing man! The put the “i” in inspirational (I am not sure if that line really made sense, but it sounded cool… so I went with it)

Have a great day

Jane@Blogging Tips

Hey Steve,

I strongly strongly support your views on blog commenting. There is always a wrong way of doing it which will destroy our reputation online. I treat comments as equal to blog posts, only the lengths vary. They still represent us in the blogosphere, so we ought to be extra careful and accountable.

Thanks for mentioning my guest post @ Basic Blog Tips.

Cheers,
Jane.

Steve Scott

Thanks Jane,

Yeah comments are important. The really are the easiest way to work on branding yourself, and it all down to how you want to represent yourself.

As someone who is only in it for the link or someone who wants to be (at least to an extent, part of a community.

Thanks for dropping by Jane!

-Steve

Suresh Khanal@Bivori

Thank you Steve for the link love. This is certainly a precious support.

Blog commenting costs time and effort but it worth the stronger relationship and growing together. I really feel sorry to trash any comment into spam folder. Hope, we’ll make better use of this powerful tool and make blogging enjoying.

Steve Scott

No Problem Suresh!

Thanks for your article! I liked it.

I disagree a little with you. I do not feel too bad to trash a comment. There are some that are obviously 100% spam. The ones like.

“Thanks for your site. Your site is great. I love your arguments and I am going to tell my sister about this wonderful site”

You know the ones… very impersonal and obviously a cut-and- paste. Something that says nothing.

For people that have read the articles (or at least know how to pretend they did, though I agree. I love comments and I love real good interaction.

Thanks Suresh, have a great day!

Lesley from @lesleywrites

Steve, this was one of those posts that not only says the right things, it has appeared at the right time. In the last few weeks Ive been working on my new site and wondered when I should start to promote it, its always easier to keep going and just fill the site with more content. Thanks to this post I’ll get started with the promotion.
Thanks for all the support you gave to my posts over at easy content blueprints, I’ll hope to see you over at the new site sometime 🙂

Steve Scott

Lesley,

Glad the timing was good and you got some solid info out of this! 🙂

There certinaly is no time like the present to start promoting. I think of it as an ongoing thing.

Plus… 60 links spread over 60 days is unlikely to sandbox your page. 60 links in 1 day…certainly could.

Marlon @ productivity bits

Steve,

Aside from bookmarking, blog commenting is one of the best ways to promote your blog. Comment is a two-edged sword – 1. adds value to the post you’re commenting 2. it helps you promote your site or post (ComLuv link).

I don’t like to sound like a spam but what do you mean by “Blog comments do not scale”: “It is particularly effective when a blog is starting out, but as a blog grows the effectiveness does not scale.”?

Steve Scott

Marlon I absolutely agree as to the doubel effectiveness of blog commenting. As to as to the ‘scaling” I mentioned what I mean is this:

Lets say you comment on 10 blogs in an hour. (that gives you ten links..which of course stays just as powerful) Lets say (for the sake of argument) that you get 50 new people to visit your site from these comments over a months span.

For someone with a brand new blog that may get 10 visitors a month, that is a 500% increase in traffic. It could be well worth your time to spend 4-5 hours a day blog commenting and really getting people to NOTICE your site.

Now lets look at someone who has been blogging for a long while and has decent traffic. For one thing, many people who have ‘discovered’ the blog maybe are already visitors, so there may not be “50 new people” from a comment…. but for the sake of argument lets say it is still 50 new people.

Now this guy gets 1000 visitors a month. he gets a 5% bump in traffic for his hour commenting. It is still well worth commenting on other blogs, but not AS postent as the brand new guy

The guy with 10,000 uniques a month only gets .5% bump in traffic from an hour commenting. Still worth it; but certianly less effective

Finally around 100,000 you get to the point where the “effecitvieness” for new visitors has dropped off the scale. The bloggers may want to comment still (networking after all.. MATTERS) but that Hour could be better spent creating killer content, ebooks or networking with other high profile bloggers.

This is why you often do not see the really BIG bloggers commenting on numerous blogs unless some topic REALLY moves them. they have out SCALED its usefulness.

Of course my point is that the value of the comments and the value of the time you to them scale according to this amount traffic you get. It is all in relation to how useful it is to precious TIME. It is ALWAYS useful. But at some point other things can be MORE useful.

I hope I am clear now.

Marlon @ productivity bits

Steve,

Thank you for the explanation. You couldn’t be more clear than that. I got it. With the illustration you gave, it’s clear why blog commenting doesn’t scale!

Edward Austin

Steve – wouldn’t it be nice to have that free time! As you clearly state throughout this article, online promotion is simply stated – NEVER ENDING! Every time I turn around I find another way to help increase traffic and activity on my sites. Fortunately, I love doing this – if only we could all love what we do.
Thanks for this post, it was informative and a great read. Take care!

Steve Scott

Edward,

Yup it is ongoing and all the time. Every so ofte it is a good idea to turn an eye to those old posts and either dump them, rewrite them, or (most likely) slightly tune and add a few links to try to push them up the organic results chart.

jane from faux floral arrangements

Steve, I’m not sure how, but I seem to have ended up with a lot of small websites, the result is that I can’t promote them all. I am wondering whether I should build one website on flowers which would incorporate many of small ones, or whether it is possible to concentrate on one area of promotion rather than others, I think video is useful when you are talking about flower arranging as it is very much a hands on craft. What do you think?

Matthew

Hi Steve,

I love this quote. Indeed, nothing happens without promotion. Phineas Barnum knew that back in the 19th century. He was the most influential American showman and businessman of his time.

I have used Blogengage, Squidoo and Hubpages extensively. I am also experimenting with blog commenting lately. As you say, blog commenting is a great way to promote your blog.

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