1. What does your target population read?
Let’s say your blog deals with parenting products, your target customers will almost certainly be parents, teachers or others who are interested in that service. Your next step, then, is to compile a list of magazines, journals or other reading material that they would most likely read, and pitch the editors fascinating ideas that link readers to your blog. There’s a craft to getting your articles accepted. Find resources at the end of this post.
2. Write guest posts
It’s enormously difficult to get editors to pay for your writings. A better shot-in is to scout for papers that are looking for free posts, otherwise known as guest posts. Solvid has a list of 300+ websites to submit guest blog posts to, and here's another one that lists resources in over 25 categories. You can also Google keywords such as “guest posts” and your subject, or “submissions wanted” and your subject. Play around with similar keywords and pitch, showing how your article and profession gives the paper’s readers something that these readers are looking for. Make an impression and you’re bound to be approached by similar sites.
3. Quora – Questions and Answers
As mentioned in another Bloominari article, Quora, which has more than 100 million monthly unique visitors to date, is an amazing place for free promotion. You can use it for free marketing by responding to one or more questions on one of the more than 400,000 topics. If your response is brilliant, your answer may be voted to the top which means that your post will be forwarded to the myriads of people who subscribe to that topic, and you’ll gain a lot of visibility.
4. Article directories
Article directories help you distribute your posts to websites free of charge. E-zineArticles, the most famous, reports that newsletter publishers constantly browse their site for content. Other article directories include ArticlesBase, Hubpages, Examiner, Buzzle, AssociatedContent and Suite101. Some of these resources give you ad revenue too. You’re not paid for your writing, but you don’t pay for advertising.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a resource founded in 2008, when Peter Shankman matched journalists looking for stories with people looking for free promotion. Today, HARO links 50,000 journalists from world-reaching media outlets with people like you. HARO helps entrepreneurs in almost any industry. So, let's say, you write a blog about parenting, you sign up for the resource, mention your specialization, and wait until a journalist or more interviews you. Presto, free promotion.
6. Reach out to prospective readers
The best way to make this work rolls back to your blog. Create posts that zone into your readers and give them what they want. So if you're doing a parenting blog, research your targeted readers’ typical needs by following them on social media. Use this same social media - usually Twitter, Facebook and the like, rarely LinkedIn and Google Plus - to find followers by typing in typical keywords that your blog addresses. Example: ‘bedwetting’, ‘breastfeeding’, ‘colic’, and so forth. Casually invite people who have these problems to your blog by mentioning that you came across their post and think you can help them. Link to your solution.
7. Interview relevant people
Interview, or profile, individuals that tie in to your subjects. These people will likely distribute your post to their followers giving your blog free promotion. Alternately, you can write about, or mention, influencers in your industry, before gifting them with your post. Done flatteringly enough, they, too, may spread your post. A related idea was mentioned by noted marketing expert, Neil Patel who suggests that you reach out to individuals, laud their relevant expertise, and ask them to comment on your blog. Not only do you grow your group, but you extend your blog to others.
If you are to remember anything, it’s this: Have your target people in mind as you write. Address their concerns, give them something that they're looking for and that’s preferably different to content that’s being fed them elsewhere. Many content marketing strategists advise to link to trending news. That may get you traffic but may not yield followers.
One of the reasons why Seth Godin became viral is that he spends 16 hours researching and 15 minutes writing. Says he: “If you use your money to create exceptional products and services, you won't need to spend it on advertising.” Do that, and your blog may become one of the increasingly few blogs that is actually making its mark today.
Think of how you can help your reader, not of how you can advertise yourself. Research your readers’ needs and give them what they want.
Write for sites that your readers read.
Use the social media that they follow, answer their questions, and refer them to your site where they can find solutions. Quora can help you.
Distribute your writing via free article directories, HARO, or influencers whom you interview, mention, or profile, so that they distribute your posts to others.
- How to get editors to read your pitch: Business site Inc. advises “Keep it to 150 words, stick to the facts, say what separates your product from others, and above all, pitch the right story to the right editor.”
- Article directories: You’ll find a collection of free article directories on HubPage’s Top 10 Aritcle Directories and 14 more resources on Top Similar Sites.
- Sources that help you recruit followers on social media: Socialbearing helps you drill Twitter. It is excellent for tracking real-time conversations. Twazzup is a new all-in-one Twitter search engine that returns related data that actually gives results. Smashfuse browses Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, Vimeo, Tumblr, and Flickr among others.
- Where to publish your guest blog posts: Checkout this list of 180+ websites that accept blog posts