Friday, November 03, 2006

A postscript on blog marketing

In a recent post I said that the way to build up a widely-read blog was simple - provide good content. That is still the fundamental quality required of any successful blog. Of course, it still pays to advertise your blog, especially if you want to accelerate your brand recognition.

Here are a couple of the ways I've tried to advertise this blog.

1 Everybody's favourite - leave Comments on other people's blogs. This really works provided your Comments are meaningful or witty or preferably both. The recipient will eventually check back to see who you are. This tactic has the immense benefit in that it allows you to target your potential re-visitors. I only leave Comments on blogs I like, written by people I admire. People that will add something to my blog if they ever pop over here.

2 Every now and again I write a Post that I think might interest more people than simply my current readership. The post titled "Publication date for my new novel" which I wrote a few days back was just such a post. In fact, I wrote it deliberately with the idea of leveraging it into a marketing tool. I chose the subject (writing) and the treatment (humorous) deliberately. As a result, once I'd published it on my blog I was able to send out an e-mail teaser (title: Writer employs scientific method to determine publication date of new novel) to nine A-listers in the literary blogosphere. Why nine? Well, I knew that what I was doing was pretty close to spamming so I justified my actions by restricting my campaign to only nine recipients. Such a small number couldn't really be spam, could it? Okay, I spammed them. Sometimes a marketeer just has to do what...

Two literary bloggers picked up on the story, not a bad hit rate. Bookninja was first. Within minutes of their publishing a link to my blog I started getting visitors from Canada where Bookninja is based. About fifty over a two day period. Bookninja described the Post as very funny and - somewhat inaccurately - reported that I was a "young writer". I'm fifty-eight years old and my picture leers out at anyone who visits the blog. Maybe I am still young in terms of what I've actually published. Still in the womb in fact.

A few days later POD-dy Mouth responded to my e-mail and posted up a link and I received another sixty or so visitors over the next couple of days. The day after that Amazon's Bookstore Blog (no, I didn't know they had one either) picked up on the Bookninja story and pointed out that I was anything but young (thanks Amazon). That brought me another twenty or so visitors. Finally, the Grumpy Old Bookman plugged the story yesterday (he was on my original e-mail list) and that's probably why you're reading this now.

So, quite a lot of leverage for one post. It remains to be seen how sticky the Post proves to be but if history is any guide I'm sure a few of those new readers will hang around if I continue to deliver the goods in terms of content.

Oh, then I had another idea. I thought the Post - which was humorous and book-related - might be of interst to people in the book trade, where I definitely need to raise my profile. So I sent the e-mail teaser out to half a dozen agents and a couple of publishers. Well, you never know, do you. No response from any of them as yet but...nothing ventured, nothing gained. And I've hardly got anything to lose.

9 comments:

  1. You're learning Bill - well done on the Truth front btw

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  2. Daddy4:10 pm

    Excellent example of self-promotion. Mail to the agents, the editors, the publishers; make 'em aware of you! That's the way it is in today's world.

    I believe the reason they picked up on your blog about the econometric formula is because it was original and witty. AND well written.

    Talent will out.

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  3. You're obviously doing something right, because I found you via someone else's link to your "publication date" post! :-)

    I've had the downside of blog marketing on my mind for the last 24 hours. For two years I've watched a young woman aggressively and successfully cultivate a following for her blog. She marketed herself into guru status in a stunningly short period of time, for someone in her chosen field of endeavor. (No, she's not a writer.)

    And then she started making the mistake of thinking she could blather on, day after day, about any old thing. She became hurt and offended when people started wanting to know what gives. What's with all the philosophical navel-gazing when you led us to your blog by advertising it as something entirely different?

    Oh, sure, it's your blog and you can blog what you want to. But once you've marketed to a particular audience, exercising your blogging freedom may come at the price of alienating the readership you've worked so hard to attract.

    In sum, if you've got a "genre" blog that you're marketing, have at least one other blog out there for your other stuff. I've been watching someone implode for not taking this simple precaution, and it ain't pretty.

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  4. Have you joined up with aggregator blogs, also? Metaxucafe, for example, lets you register and upload individual posts you've published on your blog. Finderoy and I am sure there are others -- I quite often read a post on an aggregator that I've already read on my regular visit to the individual blog.

    I suppose there are listings aggregators as well, eg BritBlogs, but I think it takes a while to get your blog on there.

    Do you play around with Technorati, Google and so on? I have never been bothered to do much Google manipulation, but you can use keywords judiciously to get high returns for keyword searches, and there are other tactics in use to improve Google page rankings. If you have a blog that supports technorati links, you can add technorati keywords to the end of your post, so people searching Trati will pick you up.

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  5. PS I forgot to mention Digg and similar -- sites that are collections of links, with the most accessed links floating to the top -- there is usually a voting system where readers can award a rank to the piece they've read. Again, you can have a blog which allows readers to add the post they are reading to digg (or similar, eg Connotea if you are a scientist). This comes as standard with typepad-- maybe with blogger beta, don't know, but I am sure it will do soon (especially if Google buys digg;-) )

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  6. Anonymous12:22 pm

    Good marketing Pundy...I'll link to you right now!
    Although I think that most of the few people that read my blog, already read yours. But hey ho, you never know!

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  7. Hi Maxine, thanks for the advice. I haven't done most of the things you suggest (laziness I guess) but I might try Metaxucafe. I might. At the moment I'm not sure whether I want to build the blog readership or not. Making a rod for my own back and all that. I need to give this a bit more thought.

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  8. Yes, I'm schizophrenic on that topic too, Pundy. Sometimes I think it would be nice to try to get more readers, other times I think there isn't any need, as I write it for other reasons (mainly).
    I suppose I end up just doing the things that take minimal effort, eg metaxucafe is easy, the digg and technorati things come with typepad, etc. Anything that requires proactive thought and effort gets shelved.

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  9. Not sure whether or not to build your blog readership? Oh, the contradictions ... which quite possibly brings us straight back to the Why We Blog question.

    I'm scared if I keep following this chain of thought I might disappear up my own arse ... So now I ask myself - am I commenting cos I love the Pundyman and want to chinwag with him? Or do I want to cash in on all those luverley new links his hard work has resulted in?

    Aaagh! Glug, glug ...

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