Once You Build It, How Do You Promote It?

by derek on July 27, 2010 · 51 comments

There is no shortage of people that have taken the head-first dive into blogging with the dreams of hitting the jackpot and walking away from their 9-5 job.
Many of these bloggers, including yours truly as that was my mindset when I first started, write outstanding content and slowly but surely build up the volume of traffic that reaches their blog on a daily basis.
Yet the windfall of cash eludes them.
Why?
Well, all you need to do is take one look across the Interweb at some of the well-known blogs that are making money and you notice one significant difference…
The List.
That’s right – the money is in the list. You’ve likely heard or read that phrase numerous times as you cut your teeth on blogging. There are few bloggers making significant money that don’t have a list while there is a near endless number of bloggers making little money that don’t have a list (yes, I am guilty of not building a list here on this blog).
Whether you have taken the steps to begin building your list or not, the next question that often comes to mind is what you do with your list – or better yet, how you connect with your list.
Think about the “lists” that you belong to yourself.
More often than not, you become – and remain – a member of these lists because you feel that you have a personal connection to the author. You value their feedback. You trust their opinion. You have a shared interest.
In order to build a successful list, you really need to approach your list from the mindset of what you can do to make a connection with the people that value you (or your killer free giveaway) enough to sign up for your list.
The light may already being going off for you, but what is one of the best ways to form this connection with people?
Social media.
Writing on a blog and having a dialog via comments is a great way to begin building the foundation of a relationship with your readers. When you take that a step further and connect with people with a variety of social media tools, you will find that the relationship takes on a new degree of trust and familiarity.
Many people do not recognize this connection and don’t maximize their efforts to integrate their social media efforts with their email marketing – or list building – efforts, and frankly this is a huge missed opportunity.
How do you learn to maximize this integration?
There is no shortage of information available on strategies that you can implement, or at least read about, but often times people learn the best from seeing (and hearing) how other people are already making this connection successfully.
Where can you see and hear from the experts?
Conferences, of course.
Not only that, but conferences really offer an outstanding opportunity to form relationships with other people in the industry that can become close friends and possibly even business partners. Some of you might remember my trip to BlogWorld but for those that don’t, I can tell you that this conference was worth the cost many times over just based on the people that I was able to meet.
When it comes to social media and email marketing integration, one conference that you should take a look at is the Social Email Marketing conference being held in San Fransisco, California.
This is a one-day event this coming September where you will be exposed to presentations, case studies, and interactive discussions focused on the process of integrating your email marketing and social media into one cohesive tool. The event includes an exhibition area featuring tools and services, handout with notes, and refreshments during the day with a networking event that evening – this is often where the real value of these events can be found!
If you’re interested in learning more about the conference, be sure to check out their official site for the full details, including information on the following speakers: Brian Solis, Kristin Hersant, Dan Martell, Chase McMichael, Jennifer Neeley Lindsay, Murray Newlands, Luke Brynley-Jones, and Marissa Louie.

Save 10% when registering by using this discount code: iem5

In honor of full disclosure, not only do you save 10% by using the discount code above but I will earn 10% commission as well.

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew @ Blogging Guide July 28, 2010 at 5:22 am

Within the first few weeks of me starting my on-line business (4 years ago now), I was told by my mentor (at the time)…build a list…and I did.
And that is what I recommend to all my clients but building the list is, in fact, the easy part. Find out what people want and provide them with a killer free product. A bit of research, a few late nights and done! You are building a list.
Now what?
As you say, build trust. Don’t just sell, sell, sell…provides loads of extra advice. Help people…answer their questions.
Social media is crucial – just wish I could attend the conference – I’m in the UK!
Andrew

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derek July 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Andrew, thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. It is always helpful to hear reinforcement from those that have walked the walk.
I thought being in Chicago was too far, but you’ve got me beat by quite a bit. 🙂

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Andrew @ Blogging Guide July 29, 2010 at 1:34 am

I need Murray to organize something like this for London!
Andrew

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derek July 29, 2010 at 7:33 am

That would be a great idea, as travel for conferences is often a difficult proposition for many people.

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Scott@Affordable SEO Services July 28, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Try interviews for blog promotion. Interview is 100% sure fire way to get free traffic to your blog. Besides, it has two-way benefits, both for interviewee and interviewer too. People love to talk about themselves and this is a great way for newbies to get exposure. Nice article!

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derek July 29, 2010 at 7:20 am

You’re absolutely correct Scott and that is a great point. A short while back I actually had an opportunity to be interviewed by Murray Newlands. In addition, I have had the opportunity to interview bloggers such as Darren Rowse, Shoemoney, and Leo Babauta.
I highly recommend participating in interviews whenever possible, either as the interviewer or the interviewee.

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Demetrios July 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that offline promotion techniques can also work well. I’ve seen flyers inserted in windshield wipers work miracles 🙂

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derek July 30, 2010 at 12:42 pm

That is a great point, thanks for sharing. Offline promotion can include items such as business cards, t-shirts, flyers, pens, etc. Anything extra that can be done to get your brand out there is worth exploring.

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live answering services July 30, 2010 at 1:50 am

I want a lot of traffic in my site and do some things my self some increases need more and more visitors so please provide me some suggestions.
Thanks

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derek July 30, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Give a read through some of the archives where we discuss topics that can help you increase your traffic. 🙂

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chris July 30, 2010 at 8:43 am

I was once too in that same circle…I thought that if could just get 100 websites all into the top rankings of Google then I could quit my day job and just play on my laptop from anywhere in the world. Boy was I wrong..it really isn’t that easy when you have to put in all the leg work to promote each site.
Lifegear Inversion Table

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derek July 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm

That is an interesting topic Chris…whether it is better to focus all of your energy on building one large brand / presence or to build a larger number of small niche sites.
Are you currently focusing on a single site or are you still working on the assortment of sites?

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Kristi July 30, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I’d say if you want to get the word about your blog out, plus build yourself up as an authority on your topic which should lead to more opt-ins to your list, then social media and blog commenting should be on your list of things to do right from the start. And if you can make some in person connections at seminars and conferences, that is all the better.
I’m going to my first Blog World Expo this year – looking to finally meet some of my online contacts in person!

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derek July 30, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Thanks for stopping by Kristi!
It is amazing how commenting can build up name recognition and even lead to exciting opportunities. Awhile back, my commenting led to an opportunity to be a blog owner / author for the eMom (which then became Sparkplugging) network with Wendy Piersall.
Hope you have a good time at Blog World. I haven’t had the chance to get back to another one but the one I did go to was a blast. The sessions were pretty good, but the time on the expo floor was invaluable as I hung out with some good online friends and met some really cool bloggers that I knew by name but had never met – some of which I have since worked with on projects.

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Kristi July 30, 2010 at 2:54 pm

I think more than anything, I’m looking forward to the in-person networking. Actually, I’m terrified of it (being an introvert) but it is one of my main goals for going! Glad to hear you had a positive experience!

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derek July 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm

That is too funny as I am exactly the same way and that was one of my goals in attending Blog World and SOBCon. Here are a few thoughts on me being introverted.
My personal preference is usually to simply be a wall-flower and observe the interactions, but not necessarily engage in them. If you can throw caution to the wind, I think you will find that you meet some fabulous people and it won’t even hurt all that much! 🙂

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Foreclosure Queen August 2, 2010 at 12:16 pm

What I find is that for some reason building a list becomes intimidating because you don’t know what to offer the visitors for free. I find on my site that I truly want to give them something valuable but after that, then what? Because I don’t know the answer, I too am guilty of not building one.
It is also difficult to do all the social media participation, blog commenting and link building when you stand alone. These people that are making millions have an entourage working for them and they fail to give you that detail.

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derek August 27, 2010 at 10:23 am

You make a great point that has been a hang-up of mine as well; what exactly should I give to my readers as a free incentive for signing up and then what do I continue to deliver to them?
When I started blogging I was doing everything on my own and it was extremely time consuming, much to the detriment of my family time. I’ve since been focusing more on joint ventures / collaboration with other individuals where we can all put our best talents to use. It is still a work in progress but I think that is a model for long-term growth.

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KeithTax August 2, 2010 at 5:23 pm

I am so new at blogging and making every mistake in the books. I know I need to build a list.
It might be a good idea if I check out your other posts for more info.

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derek August 27, 2010 at 10:24 am

Welcome Keith, I hope you have had some time to check out my older posts. As I have always told my readers, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or shoot me an email if you ever have any questions. Helping people learn is always high on my list!

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Kendall Howard August 5, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Who ever said blogging was an easy job!! lol! My first thoughts were like yours, if I write well than my blog will do amazing. But this as you said is not true. It take a whole lot more! I have recently gotten into the social websites and have had lots of success with them.

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derek August 27, 2010 at 10:26 am

Kendall, you hit the nail on the head. It is not easy work, and that is why you can find so many abandoned blogs as people start them up thinking it will be a piece of cake. The dream of sitting on the beach while the money rolls in quickly fades and they give up.
Give me a shout on twitter @dereksemmler so we can connect there too!

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wedding planning ideas August 20, 2010 at 2:40 am

Could you tell how to build my blog in social media very fast..?Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

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derek August 27, 2010 at 10:29 am

To build up your social media presence, my best piece of advice is to be yourself and be open / honest. People will read right through your BS and you will flounder. Don’t try to be something you are not and focus on actually communicating with people, not just broadcasting news about your site.
Also, use sites such as twellow.com or wefollow.com to find people interested in things that you are passionate about. Follow them, engage them, share with them.

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Martin Blank@Professional locksmith Seattle August 20, 2010 at 6:02 am

There are more ways to promote your blog. It is a matter of creativity and diligence. Every time you interact and meet people, it is a chance for blog promotion. You may not want to be too direct with your promotion though because that may sound desperate and needy. Smart bloggers know when to pimp their blog and when to be helpful and resourceful.

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derek August 27, 2010 at 10:30 am

Great point Martin! There are many ways that you can use to promote your blog and brand, but the key is to not be overbearing.
What is the most creative way you have promoted your blog?

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Brent@smart art August 21, 2010 at 3:41 am

It’s no different than the real world. There’s no better advertisement than a direct reference from a happy customer.

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derek August 27, 2010 at 10:30 am

Very true! Thanks for the input Brent.

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D. Smith@home based income August 23, 2010 at 2:31 am

Blog Marketing and blog promotion are an excellent way to build web links and develop a strong position on the internet for your online business. Link building services and website promotion are essential to grow your business on the web. Blog Marketing and Promotion have proven to be a highly successful method of driving targeted traffic and relevant search engine indexed text links straight to your web site!

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derek August 27, 2010 at 10:32 am

As mentioned above, the key is to not be a nuisance with the message or you will likely turn many people off.

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Penny Holowitz August 25, 2010 at 10:50 pm

They provided fresh angles on issues that I was already concerned about. The little light bulb over my head was working overtime.It was brilliant.

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derek August 27, 2010 at 10:32 am

Who is this they that you speak of? 😉

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marbella August 27, 2010 at 9:23 am

I can clearly see through your comments to your valuable readers that you are one dedicated blog writer. you have come up with some great tips regarding the fan following or readership of blogs and why they lose their readership for committing some common mistakes or flaws. There is no short cut to success and one should take his time in learning and adjusting to its surroundings. It is a competitive world out there and one should learn the tactics of dealing with its readers sincerely and humbly.

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derek August 27, 2010 at 10:34 am

Thanks for the feedback. Lately, I have not been as involved in the writing as I’ve been focusing on the back-end. Remember when I mentioned the joint ventures? Well, my passion lies in coding and thus I have been the technical resource on a number of JV sites and unfortunately that means my writing has been reduced.
But the important thing to remember is that the readers are critical to your success. Be helpful, be honest, and be helpful. 🙂

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Dennis August 28, 2010 at 1:12 am

Exacly, being helpful is the key to success. It is crucial to find out what people need and what they are looking for. And then of course provide it.

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Ruby Clifton August 29, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Its not just the lists. The key to success lies in approaching a problem in a systematic manner.

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Hemoriva August 31, 2010 at 3:44 pm

ıcan totally relate to your story. My degree was in Marketing and Advertising and now I manage technology platforms for Realtors in OK and CA.
It has been a really tough and very expensive transition but I will tell you I really enjoy it and I’m good at it!

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ApparelCandy.com September 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I agree with hat. Don’t just post some advertisements post also things that will capture attention of the potential buyers.

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kody@p90x September 6, 2010 at 5:59 am

Thanks for the post. It was very informative.

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Scott September 8, 2010 at 5:07 am

All of the ideas here are great, but the best promotion for your blog is to write compelling and original content. Spending a lot of time on promotion won’t help much if your content doesn’t make casual readers want to come back for more. Turning casual readers into subscribers who link to you will bring the greatest return on your investment over the long run.

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derek September 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Scott, thanks for the comment. While I agree with you that the promotion lacks any punch if you don’t have compelling content. But on the flip side, compelling content is often not enough to attract large numbers of readers without a good deal of promotion.
Great point about the long-term investment with your readers. It is a great accomplishment when you’ve built your site to the point where your loyal readers are doing a good deal of promotion for your site on their own.

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scaffolding Hertfordshire September 9, 2010 at 10:06 am

Too many people start blogging with money in mind. The best ones are those that started from the bloggers love of sharing their writing, art, whatever…

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Camden September 15, 2010 at 10:20 am

Derek,
Going back to the question you asked Chris – is it better to focus on one large brand or go after many small niches? What are your thoughts on this?
I’ve noticed in looking through your blog that you have some smaller football sites, and also references to other blogs. Is that the direction you’re heading in now (several smaller niches) or is that from earlier experience?

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derek September 16, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Thank you for stopping by Camden and bumping this topic. My thoughts on the topic are muddied as I often find myself waffling on which is the right approach for me to take.
As you mentioned, I have a handful of smaller niche sites that I have built over time. The problem I have faced is that having so many different sites often leaves me stretched too thin. Between my family, daytime job, and other activities, I have found that trying to build and promote a number of smaller sites just hasn’t worked for me.
As a matter of fact, I have just launched a new consulting business – check out Team Thesis – to focus my efforts on a different area of the blogging world. Rather than trying to use my own websites to make all of my money, I am going to be helping other people with their websites. We’ll see how it goes!

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Nanaimo Real Estate October 7, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Thank-you for the in depth article, very nice! It is interesting how these connections are made and makes one wonder if the way every business operates and communicates with the public will change.

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SEO Miami December 2, 2010 at 5:42 am

What I think alot of new website owners think is that they simply build a website and traffic will comes. There indeed is a lot of work to get traffic, and that’s when reality hits home.

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David Jenyns December 30, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Hi Derek,
It is like the question of “if you build it, would they come?” Yes, we have an amazing idea to share but the concern lies on how we’re going to let the word out.
Coming up with a list is a good way to start and this will certainly keep your focus, also with interacting with your readers through comments (which you are doing greatly here, I should say) and social media. 🙂
But what about link building? Would you only connect with sites that are within the same or related topic? I asked this one because there has been a lot of talk about this in terms of website promotion. But at the end of the day, we should go and think like the Big G. Google sees it better to have more natural interaction from related niches, with a healthy mix of those from off topic sites. As long as you keep the interaction real and always offer value to your readers, then doing web or blog promotion will keep getting better.
The best of luck to your online businesses Derek. Have a nice day!
Cheers,
Dave

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Brian Kinkade@franktown real estate August 7, 2011 at 9:37 am

Another good way of connecting with people who have joined your list is through social networking sites. I have found that inviting them to follow me on Twitter, become my friend (or fan) on Facebook, and to connect with me on LinkedIn and FriendFeed are excellent ways to stay in touch.

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Charleen Larson August 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I get a goodly amount of traffic and actually have some experience in list building (for a product site, not my blog) but I can never figure out what ebook or whatever I should give away as an incentive to join the mailing list.

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Jean @ Used Tires April 9, 2012 at 5:05 am

Building a list first of all is what I was adviced by everyone I asked when I began. But then the real work was in fostering trust by being very supportive of what you sell. Go out of your way to do more wherever necessary. It will pay off big in the long run.
-Jean

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Gabriel@auto locksmith April 15, 2012 at 4:45 am

I honestly also need traffic to my site so I can render my professional services to the people out there. Thanks for the shared advice.

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