How to Start a Travel Blog #7 – Marketing Your Blog

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Marketing Your Blog with Social Shares

Marketing Your Blog with Social Shares – Image Credit

Imagine this. You spend countless hours setting up new a business. You stock the shelves, hire employees, train those employees, plan every little detail and on day 1 the store is empty. What went wrong? Well, you didn’t let the public know you would be opening for business. The same is true with blogging. To grow your business, you must be marketing your blog.

There are millions of blogs on the internet, so how do you attract people to your blog in hopes of establishing a following? One way is to write great content and eventually Google will find your site and let the world know that you have something good to say.

Google is great at what they do but we should be more proactive and take charge of our own online presence.

What to Expect from this “Learning to Blog” Series

This is the seventh part of a series on the topic of starting a travel blog or really starting any type of blog for that matter.

Marketing Your Blog: Becoming a Pro at Blog Promotion

If you are VERY lucky, you can start a blog, write some content and the readers just start showing up. That is highly unlikely. For every 100,000 blogs or more started daily, there are probably another 100,000 blogs shut down. It takes effort, determination and a willingness to succeed in order to build a thriving blog. But, some get lucky.

For those of us on the unlucky side, writing a blog post is 1/3 of the work. The other 2/3 of the work is blog promotion. If you want to have a loyal following, you need to be marketing your blog to your preferred audience.

Figuring Out Your Target Audience

If you develop your blog around a related group of topics, then you can probably assume your audience will enjoy reading about each topic you bring up on your blog. Let’s take my Traveling Troy site here for instance. This site originally started out as a travel blog during my first adventures in 2012, then I began thinking about the RVing Lifestyle and lately I’ve been writing about travel blogs.

The topics are closely related and I hope my audience likes the posts. This would mean my audience is mostly made up of those looking to live the RV lifestyle, people wanting to start a travel blog and others that are interested in my past and future travels.

Based on my topics, my target audience will tend to be more in the 50+ range but I hope to see more of the 35-45 year old range as more younger people experiment with traveling in their RVs while working from the road.

Tips for Getting the Word Out: Marketing Your Blog

Now that we have a basic understanding of our audience, we can begin to focus on finding that audience and direct them to our nice, new blog.

1. Content Is and Always Will Be King

In order to build a good following for your blog, you need to be creating quality content in the form of text, images and video to satisfy the readers thirst. Not only should it be quality content, but you should have at least 5-10 posts up on your site before you begin actively promoting the site. You might have published the best post ever, but if that is your only post, you may be leaving the reader wanting more with nothing else to read.

Try to post your content frequently. If the readers like your blog, they will come back often looking for your next post. One post a week is fine, but if you can do 2-3 a week, your readers will love you. 🙂

2. Start a Newsletter Subscription List

As you begin to get readers, ask them to subscribe to your newsletter in order to get reminders of fresh content on your site. You can send this newsletter out weekly or monthly to let your subscribers know about new and interesting content you’ve recently published on your blog.

You can also use this list to ask your readers questions or to let them know a little bit more personal info about you or your blog. This will get the readers involved and help you build a loyal following.

    Below are two of the more popular email list building platforms:

  • MailChimp – is a great email list builder for small and medium size sites and you can’t beat the FREE price up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails.
  • MailChimp Price List

    Pricing for MailChip

  • Aweber – Used to much more robust than MailChimp but in my opinion, MailChimp has begun to close the gap. Aweber is still the best overall email list building client available and does cost more but has more features.

3. Add Social Sharing Buttons to Your Posts

There are many options for social sharing WordPress plugins but I like using Digg Digg because it is off to the side and out of the way. It doesn’t clutter your post with a bunch of social icons. Take a look at what I’m talking about on the left side of your screen and don’t forget to Tweet, Share, G+ and leave a comment. 🙂

It really doesn’t matter which social share plugin you use. The point is to give your readers an easy way to share what they just read with others. Imagine if you didn’t have these share buttons. It would be difficult for your readers to pass along the link to a great post you just published.

Funny Stuff…

Social Status Posts

Posting to Social Media – Image Credit

4. Get to Know Your Neighbors

Find other similar bloggers with a large following and get involved on their site. Comment on their posts, answer their readers questions and shoot the site owner an email introducing yourself. You should also include a link to their site in a post on your blog and let them know you did. There is a good chance that they might promote that blog post in a tweet or FB share and they might stop in to say “Hi” in your comments.

Yes, this can be a lot of work and that is why I say publishing your post is only 1/3 of the job.

How to find blogging neighbors?
To use my site as an example, let’s say I wanted to find other blogs talking about the “RV traveling lifestyle”. I would go to Google, type in RV traveling lifestyle into the search box and press enter. Next, I would filter out the results to include blogs only.
Finding relevant blogs

Now, I can look through this list and find related blogs and join their community. Next, I can search other keywords and find more blogs. While on these blog sites, look for their favorite blogger lists (blogrolls) and find other bloggers in their comments area and reach out to them as well.

While getting to know the neighbors, you may want to put together a spreadsheet to track where you are in the relationship with each of those cool neighbors. This is a tedious process, but will really help out your blog in the long run.

5. Ask Others to Promote Your Posts

Well, that sounds simple enough. You will be amazed just how many people will re-tweet or share your post if you just ask. Not asking = them not sharing. 🙂 This could be done over Twitter, in a Facebook group, on Google + or any of the other social networks. Just ask.

6. Show the LOVE: Promote Your Neighbors

Share, Tweet and in general talk about other influential bloggers in your niche and what they are doing. After sharing some of the work of the influential bloggers in your niche, you can occasionally ask them to share a killer post that you’ve put together. Make sure you point them to your good posts and provide them with an easy way to share.

7. Mention Others in Your Posts Then Let Them Know You Did

When you write a new post and mention one of the top bloggers in your niche, they may never know that you mentioned them unless you give them a nudge. So, shoot over an email to them and let them know you mentioned them in your latest post. Then, ask them to share it. 🙂

8. Share Your Posts More Than Once – Vary the Wording

Finishing a post at 3 am and sending out a quick tweet before heading to bed will probably only get you a small amount of traffic. It’s fine to send a tweet out or to post a message on Facebook, but make sure you should give your audience a few chances to see your message.

If you’re tweeting, send out the tweet at least 3 times throughout the day while changing the text of the tweet. You could also send one tweet with an image and the others without or send all tweets with different images.

Note: Make sure you vary your titles on the different social networks so you don’t appear to be sharing the same message across all platforms.

9. Join a Social Buzz Site For Easy Sharing

You just spent a few hours researching, writing, editing and proofreading a GREAT new post for your site and now you want to share what you’ve posted with others. The problem is you only have 100 Twitter followers and you only get 10 visitors a day to your site. How do you get eyeballs on this great content you just created?

Well, besides everything I have mentioned above, you can also join Social Buzz sites. These sites allow you to share your content with the community of bloggers. It’s a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back” type of community. They will share, like & tweet your content which will increase traffic and increase authority for your site and you should do the same for them.

Below are 4 Social Buzz Sites for you to check out:

Start a Blog That Matters

Anyone can start a blog, so if you want your blog to catch on a build an audience, then you need to Start a Blog That Matters. This means you should strive to help others with your blog, whether you’re explaining how to get discounts on travel or showing how to fix a leaking propane tank. Make your content great and make your blog matter.

After you have completed my 8-part series on starting a blog, you should try Corbett Barr’s blogging course.
Start a Blog That Matters
<--Start a Blog That Matters-->

    What’s included in Corbett’s course?

  • 13 Weekly Lessons and Action Plans
  • Over 8 hours of video
  • FAQ full of previously asked questions from 800+ students
  • 60-Day Money Back Guarantee (No Questions Asked)
  • The 90-Day Action Plan to turn nothing to a Blog That Matters

Photo Credit

What Are Your Thoughts?

I think I know what you’re thinking, “Marketing a Blog is a Ton of Work!” True. It is work, but if you put in the work, you will see your blog succeed. Which Blog Marketing strategies do you prefer?

Next Up: Make Money Blogging

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4 Responses to How to Start a Travel Blog #7 – Marketing Your Blog

  1. Lisa September 26, 2013 at 6:41 AM #

    I just commented after reading your plugins post and now I get to this one and I read it twice. If I only knew how to get traffic when I was running my blog, maybe it would still be around.

    I had a blogger blog because it was so easy. WordPress and all the tools makes it very attractive.

    Thanks for this,

    Lisa

    • Troy Wiedeman September 27, 2013 at 1:34 PM #

      Hi Lisa,

      I just left a long comment for you on the plugin post but wanted to thank you again for stopping in on my site.

      It’s a bummer you stopped posting to your blogger blog. If it’s still out there, you could move it to a WordPress installation and save all those posts. It’s a bit tricky but can be done.

      WordPress is COOL! I use it every day.

      Troy
      Troy Wiedeman recently posted…How to Start a Travel Blog – Part 1My Profile

  2. Rami @RV caravan October 9, 2016 at 9:30 AM #

    This tutorial is gold.
    I am traveling with my wife for several years in our RV Motorhome throughout Thailand and the East.
    I always wanted to start a blog. It seems that over time, we gather a lot of experiences, memories, photos and tips that we would be happy to share. In addition, there is no doubt that more money can certainly help us.
    But, for some reason, I didn’t know where to start.
    This tutorial makes the task looks easier and simple to do and I’m definitely going to get started. Thank you.

    • Troy Wiedeman October 10, 2016 at 3:22 PM #

      Hi Rami, glad the post helped. It is fairly simple to start a blog, whether you go the free option or buy a domain and pay for monthly hosting (which is actually very inexpensive).

      The costs of running a blog are very low. What it cost you is your time. Running a successful blog takes work, but if you’re consistent and have quality content, then your blog is bound to be successful.

      Good Luck!

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