No matter whether you’ve been running your blog or business for three months or three years, there’s something you need to make sure of.
Whenever you’re not working on it, your online presence still has to be active.
Sure thing, Holly - but what does that actually mean?
Well. Think about how many bloggers and business owners are out there right now, promoting what they have to offer. Do you want to be forgotten about? Do you want to take a whole month off without publishing a post, scheduling or a tweet or interacting with your community?
My answer would be no and I hope yours is too. Because, truthfully, if the above IS your plan, then it’s going to be really tough for you to get a breakthrough. You’re going to have to be determined, network all the time and work your little booty off once you come back from that break (whenever you decide that is).
I’ll give you a spoiler though. There are some super easy ways to have an active online presence every day - even if you’re not actually doing it directly. Even when you go on holiday, take a break for the weekend or you’re just so busy that you don’t have time to be online.
And I’m not going to tell you things that I’ve told you before. I’m not going to tell you to start an editorial calendar, take part in Twitter chats or even experiment with social media to stay consistent and generate more readers.
Nope. Because what does being online start with? Marketing.
I know we’ve talked about it a lot recently.
And I know a lot of you are afraid of it. I mean, you’re just doing what you love, right? Why should you have to sell yourself?
I hate to break it to you, friend, but if you truly want to get a breakthrough with your blog - whatever that breakthrough means to you - marketing has to be your number one pal.
Don’t think of marketing as selling yourself
When I think about marketing my services, I don’t see it as a sleazy way of advertising what I do. I look at it differently and that’s why it works. Think of it as networking. You have a way of introducing yourself and whenever you get chance to, you go for it.
You keep on communicating and you build a relationship.
So even if you hate marketing (or what you think marketing is), there are some less obvious ways to market yourself online that are still super effective.
Some of these tasks might take longer than others and some of them might make you feel really uncomfortable until you start seeing results.
But it’ll all be worth it - I promise.
#1 | CREATE AN EMAIL SIGNATURE
Let me guess - as a blogger or business owner, you’re no stranger to your inbox, right?
My inbox can double within the space of a few days.
That’s A LOT of emails.
Some of them are service inquiries, some of them are from my readers, and some of them are newsletters I’ve signed up to. But one thing is for sure - there are opportunities daily.
So in every email I send I make sure to use a signature. This is a super simple way of promoting yourself. Take a look at mine:
Sure, it’s simple, but I have all the information that I need and want to share. Here are a few other things you could include:
- Your profile picture
- Your Skype username
- A phone number
#2 | HAVE DIFFERENT PLACES TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
There is so much out there in the online world, so you want to be active in as many places as you can manage. For bloggers and business owners, this means being on various social media platforms.
If you’re not sure where to start, my best bets would be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Typically, they’re the main four where your audience is likely to be hanging out.
There are many different types of content you can share to these platforms, like your own content, other people’s blog posts, tips, inspiration and so on.
Make the most of all of them!
For the longest time I only used to share links to my social channels, but once I started creating more personalised content, my engagement and following skyrocketed.
I recently also started putting a lot more effort into planning my Instagram content. What I love about Instagram is that it gives you a completely different platform to take your audience behind-the-scenes.
The goal is to get each piece of content on as many of your boards as possible. So create a spreadsheet and get pinning!
#3 | CREATE A CONTENT STRATEGY
Hear me out.
I know I say this in a lot of blog posts (ok, almost every one 😉), but having a solid content strategy is one of the best ways that you can get a breakthrough with your blog.
Oh, and it’s also a great way to attract new readers.
Narrowing down your focus to just a couple of key umbrella categories shows you know what you’re talking about. For instance, an online entrepreneur I love, Kayla, is known for creating content about all things community - that is her niche.
You can also use your blog to write about topics you want to become known for, or want to create services in. This is exactly what my online friend, Zoe, has done. She’s a social media and influencer marketing strategist and the content on her blog reflects this expertise.
Blogging in this way means you always have content that reflects what you know and what you’re good at. You can also do what I did.
I rebranded my blog into a digital marketing website, helping bloggers, creative entrepreneurs and small business owners work to get a breakthrough with their blog. People can also hire me to write for their site, and by seeing how powerful my content is at generating readers and converting them into a part of my loyal community, they’re more keen to get in touch.
There are three key things to check when it comes to your content: engagement, the written word and formatting. Once you start promoting on social media, readers will come flocking your way.
#4 | SAY WHAT YOU OFFER IN YOUR BIO
One thing I started doing right from the offset was specifying what I offer as a blogger in my social media bios - and I’ve altered this as my online presence has grown and I’ve started offering services.
This immediately tells new readers and potential clients what my brand is all about and it’s a great strategy to implement when you’re looking to grow.
For example, this is what all my social media bios look like at the moment:
And make sure that you’re consistent across every social platform - including your picture.
#5 | STAY TARGETED
I know this can be a challenge for a lot of new bloggers and business owners. But once you choose your target industry, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t ever branch out from there.
Instead of choosing an industry that you think might be popular or profitable, choose one that involves what you love to write about.
I started with lifestyle, music and fashion as my target topics, but quickly learned I was drowning in all the noise and couldn’t make myself stand out enough. It wasn’t until after completing a Masters degree and having various jobs within digital marketing, that I realised how much I love this particular industry - and helping others to see success.
Once you find what content you’re passionate about creating, go with it. Start to create blog post after blog post. Model your services around these topics. Productivity and blogging are the two topics A Branch of Holly encompasses now, and that’s because I’ve built up knowledge and skills in these two areas across the past four years.
Now I’m offering digital marketing and blogging services to some awesome clients and I love it.
People read my blog, they can see that I know my stuff and then they inquire about my services within the digital marketing industry.
So, not only can you establish authority within your industry, this also acts as a great marketing strategy for potential readers and clients who are looking for someone like you.
#6 | GET INVOLVED WITH OTHER BLOGGERS
In one of the latest posts I’ve written, I talked about how reaching out to other people on a daily basis is one of the best ways to get yourself out there.
And reaching out specifically to other bloggers who can become part of your community is key. Why?
A blogger I love I met through Twitter. When I was first starting out offering my Online Business Management services, she asked me to come on board her team. She did this because she knew I had the skills - she gave me a chance.
And that, friends, is how I got one of my first clients.
#7 | CONNECT WITH INFLUENCERS
I love the word influencer. That’s the great thing about our industry - you can reach out to absolutely anyone, whether they have 1,000 or 10,000 Twitter followers.
There are so many different ways you can do this. I’ll give you one example.
Back in 2015, I created the 101 Websites Series, celebrating the best sites out there in the online marketing world. I wanted to get quotes from each brand I featured, so this is an example of the email I sent and a response.
This then led to us building a relationship on social media and now we chat on Instagram and Twitter all the time, as well as share each other’s content.
It’s that simple.
So go for it. Connect with influencers not just in your specific industry, but in the blogging/business industry as a whole and get interacting!
They may even ask you to feature in their post or even write a whole guest post - you’ll never know unless you try.
#8 | PIN SOMETHING PROMOTIONAL TO THE TOP OF EACH SOCIAL PROFILE
Don’t just share your latest blog post. Make it something super special. Something you’re proud of.
If you pin it to the top of your Facebook and Twitter feed that means it stays there. So anyone coming to your page for the first time will see that message and be instantly impressed.
This is my current pinned tweet:
Winning an award is a big indicator that you’re great at what you do. It makes readers realise more quickly that you’ll be able to help them, and helps potential clients make a decision about wanting to hire you.
You can also pin a testimonial or a little ad of your latest offering. This is what Rebecca Viner did:
#9 | INTERACT WITH BLOGGERS YOU WANT TO COLLABORATE WITH
I told you these were less obvious ways of marketing yourself 😉
Make a list of the bloggers you want to collaborate with. Start commenting on their blog posts, replying to their tweets and leaving comments on their Instagram photos.
This is also how I landed one of my first clients - by taking part in her weekly Twitter chat.
I made sure to take part every week, chat to the other people taking part in the chat, share my experiences and answer all the questions. We made a connection. She knew I was a big fan of my brand and when she asked about my services, I directed her to my “Work With Me” page.
The rest, as they say, is history.
#10 | ASK FOR GUEST POSTERS
One final less obvious way to market yourself is to advertise that you’re looking for guest posters within your content schedule.
A lot of people don’t like asking for guest posters for fear that they’ll direct people away from their blog. That’s the way with advertising - not with guest posting.
By asking others to guest post on your blog, you’re getting your community involved in helping to promote your brand. What could be easier than that?
Being a blogger is more than just creating content and being active on social media. It’s knowing how to do marketing well. But you don’t have to have years of experience. You just need to know how to do it effectively.
The ten ways listed here will definitely help you stand out and put you on the right path to getting a breakthrough.
Now it’s your turn - which of these strategies are you most excited to try out first?
If you’re really ready to get a breakthrough with your blog, you can get your step-by-step online presence guide by joining Blogging Breakthrough. It walks you through the exact action steps you need to grow your audience, increase engagement and build your brand.