How to market your blog effectively is a great question — and since we are solely focused on SEO at Victorious, I thought it might be valuable to reach out to one of our customers, Linear, who happens to be a PPC agency, for their expert opinion on the topic of blog promotion. And just as I thought, their answer was not simply to go scream “Check out our blog!” every day on social media…
The rest of this post comes directly from Ariana Harris, PPC extraordinaire at Linear. (Speaking of how to promote your blog, there’s some great blog promotion right in here, with several great links in this article to the Linear blog, which goes into more depth on some of these specific topics.)
How To Market Your Blog Effectively
Content marketers commonly use social channels for the bulk of blog promotion, but unfortunately, algorithm changes and increased competition mean that organic posts get only a fraction of the reach they used to. This trend is especially concerning since, according to a study by Animalz, the size of a blog (in total page views) is a primary factor in its growth rate the following year.
Leveraging PPC effectively means using Google Ads and other paid social channels to promote your blog. Blogs are key to increasing brand loyalty and web traffic, so your blog promotion strategy is critical.
We invest a lot in content production, so what can we do to attract more of our target audience and ensure our content scales into the future?
One effective way to expand your blog’s reach is by using pay-per-click (PPC) strategies. Paid advertising isn’t just for routing traffic to your website and landing pages. It can also be a powerful strategy to get unique audiences engaging directly with your blog content.
7 Blog Promotion Techniques
“Where should I promote my blog?” We find this question more commonly asked than its “how” counterpart. Most marketers understand how to promote their content, but the landscape of where it can be promoted evolves every year, if not every day. And of course, if I’m looking at how to promote my blog, I’m really trying to figure out where to reach the people in my target audience.
The following PPC strategies will help you promote your blog with PPC. These seven not-so-common ideas work for small to large businesses alike, and will help you get your best content pieces thriving.
1. Facebook Dark Posts
If you haven’t heard of dark posts yet, no, these are not ads for banned products or poorly lit Facebook videos. ‘Dark’ describes their primary trait: unlike organic social posts, they won’t show on your timeline or in your followers’ feeds.
Dark posts (also referred to as unpublished posts) are ideal for content marketers who know which type of blog visitors generate value for the business. They’re also useful if you want more relevant traffic on your blog.
Dark posts appear as sponsored content to specific users you choose through ad targeting, broadening their reach. So why choose dark posts over boosting an organic post or running a normal ad?
Here are some key reasons Facebook dark posts are great to promote your blog:
- Precise targeting: Dark posts are more personalized than organic ones. You can control who sees which posts using audience filters. Targeting helps you deliver ads only to people who are interested, so you can spend your content marketing budget wisely. Beyond targeting the blog post itself, since you know who you’re targeting (or retargeting), you can customize ads for the blog for each audience.
- A/B testing: With dark posts, you can use audience controls to A/B test changes to your posts on social. Track your audiences’ responses to change to continuously increase engagement.
- Insights to improve your content: Besides increasing traffic, PPC data can help you improve other content, and that content data can inspire strategy changes. Additionally, well-performing dark posts can do well organically, creating a strategic win-win for your content marketing.
- Avoid spamminess: Dark posts reduce clutter on your business page and followers’ feeds. Too much promotional content looks spammy and is likely to annoy your audience. Instead, you can use dark posts to keep your feed clean and curated, and ensure your followers aren’t inundated with your advertising.
Dark posts are available on most social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. Used correctly, they’ll help you pinpoint what works for your content wheelhouse and drive more relevant traffic to your blog.
2. Google Ads
Some people worry that it might be too expensive to market content on Google Ads. But if you’re trying to figure out how to promote a blog, advertising your content on this platform can be affordable (and profitable)! You just need to know exactly who you want to advertise to and why. Let’s briefly cover when to use three Google Ads types. (If you’re looking for a more detailed guide, please check out the full guide to Google Ads.)
Google Search Ads
Google Search ads are listed on Google’s Search network. Bid on long-tail keywords that receive reasonable search traffic and minimal competition to capture warm leads.
For example, here’s a top ad result for “how to use a content management system”:
Here are some things to ask yourself so you can create ads for the right audience:
- What problem are you solving for your customers or clients?
- What question(s) is your audience asking that your content can answer?
- What content gaps are my competition missing?
The customers you describe with these questions are low-hanging fruit: they’re warm prospects that are already interested in the topics you’re covering in your blog. These people are also the most likely to find value in your content, and you can target them with affordable keywords for searches with reasonable traffic and low competition.
Google Display Ads
Display ads are most often used for products, but you can use them to alert prospects to your blog. Use graphics that show common problems or questions that your blog solves. You can use the same questions used above to tailor effective display ads that target your ideal blog audience.
Here’s an example display ad for a blog:
The ads that perform well can also inform your content strategy. A/B test the problem you present, the call-to-action, and other elements to see what engages viewers. Then tailor future content to dive deeper on those topics or cover multiple angles.
Gmail Sponsored Ads
Sponsored ads in Gmail look just like emails and appear in users’ inboxes. This works well for blog promotion because (unlike with an email campaign) you don’t need their email to reach them.
Here’s how sponsored gmail ads appear in the gmail mobile app:
In contrast to Search ads, these types of Google ads are cold leads. In other words, users that see this ad type may not already be looking for your offer. Because of this, make sure to use a compelling offer or a truly great piece of content to bring the viewer to your blog. Educational pre-funnel or top-of-funnel content performs best. These ads are usually employed to build brand awareness.
In this case, remember your content is your landing page. Optimize it accordingly, but don’t be overly sales pitchy. Set up your call to action for the stage of the sales funnel this user is in.
3. Quora Ads
Many content marketers might say, “Quora ads? Really?”
And sure, this avenue is not for everyone. But give it a second thought if you’re already dismissing it — you might be surprised by the audience variety on the platform. Quora and Reddit are both places where your ideal reader could be asking those critical buying questions.
And your content is answering those questions. Here’s what a sponsored ad looks like on Quora:
Here’s how to promote a blog on Quora:
- First, determine if your audience uses the platform. Install the Quora pixel on your website. Collect data from your Quora pixel over a few weeks.
- Next, export the Quora list to a CSV file. Upload the file to Quora, and create a match-list from your current subscribers and web visitors.
- If you have a high match rate (over 3K), you can create a Lookalike Audience. If not, start with a Match List campaign.
- Continue to research questions people ask on Quora that you can answer. Note metrics like followers, overall views, and last follow date. These metrics tell you how relevant and frequent the question is (and how much traffic you could gain by linking to the answer in your blog). You can also follow relevant topics and check periodically for an increase in interest.
- Run a test ad that answers a promising question on Quora. Record user interest and traffic to your content. Remember, your content is your ‘landing page’ in this case.
- Run a test ad to well-performing Google Search Ads topics.
- Finally, run a Quora ad when you find a topic that consistently delivers a high traffic volume.
You might have to play around a little to get Quora right, but once you settle on a topic and set of questions that work well for you, the relevant traffic to your content will increase exponentially.
4. LinkedIn Ads (B2B)
If your business or blog sits in the B2B space and you’re not harnessing the power of LinkedIn ads, you’re missing out. LinkedIn ads are hyper-targeted and your customers are definitely already on the platform.
How do you drive traffic to your content? LinkedIn makes it pretty easy. One way is to use dark posts. You can see some case studies and examples of how other brands have used them on LinkedIn here.
There are a variety of other ad types you can use. Here are a few of them:
- Organic posts (boost a well-performing existing post on LinkedIn)
- Display ads
- Carousel ads
- Video ads (these short ads that link to your content perform particularly well on LinkedIn)
- Sponsored InMail Campaigns (these deliver content directly to your lead’s inboxes)
Don’t forget the added bonus here: the data you gain from Linkedin ads will help inform your content strategy and shape your target audience.
5. Twitter Ads
Like Quora, when looking for blog promotion techniques, many businesses overlook Twitter as an ad platform, as they wonder if their users are there. Whether you’re a B2B platform or a B2C or DTC business, Twitter likely has a hashtag, trend, or topic you could target.
How do you reach new followers and audiences with your blog content on Twitter?
- Promoted Tweets: A good policy is to promote Tweets that people are engaging with organically or ones that are specific to current trends.
- Promoted Trends: The trends listed on the right side of Twitter change pretty frequently. Get better results promoting trends that are doing well organically or with evergreen topics that resonate with your audience.
- Promoted Moments: Twitter moments are a curated group of Tweets that tell a story. You can include your related content and get a lot of traction out of these.
Another idea that works for a lot of brands is creating a thread on Twitter. A thread is simply a series of Tweets you tie together. This way, all you have to do is promote the first Tweet, which leads the viewer to your thread. Think of it as a text-only carousel ad. If the thread offers relevant content and illustrates several points from the source material, the user will click on your link at the end of the thread. Ta-da: traffic.
Beware that threads can also be a risk. They can either go viral or go nowhere, promoted or not. Be sure to research trends carefully before trying this method.
6. Microsoft Ads
While Google is the advertising giant, Bing is its lesser-known cousin. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth considering for your blog promotion. If your content appeals to an older demographic or hardcore Microsoft users, Microsoft ads can work.
The Bing search engine does own 26% of the desktop search traffic in the United States, and that amount is actually growing. Perhaps more importantly, depending on your budget, Microsoft ads have a lower average cost-per-click and less competition.
If your readers belong to the appropriate category here, you can benefit from some unique features here (especially for B2B marketers who are also using Linkedin ads).
- Competition Tab: You can look at some of your top competitors’ ads here, complete with some data.
- LinkedIn Profile Targeting: You can target users based on industry, company, and even position.
- Import Ads from Google Ads: you can import your Google ads into Bing, allowing you to duplicate and edit ads you are already using.
Microsoft and Bing may not be as large as Google, but Bing may yet find its place. If you have the right target audience, it could turn into a premium traffic source for your content.
7. Quuu Promote
Have you ever heard of Quuu? This is a fun one that you may not have considered.
There are two sides to Quuu. Navigate to the first side of Quuu to find relevant, niche content to share. Quuu approves all content manually, so platform users trust that they’re sharing valuable content, not spam or a promotional post.
The other side is the Quuu Promote side. This is the side content marketers and bloggers will use. You can pay to have the platform market to their users, who will share it with their relevant networks.
Here’s how it works:
- Select automatic or manual submission for your content.
- Automatic submission runs through your blog RSS feed automatically for the Quuu team to review.
- With the manual option, you upload select content for approval.
- Pay per website and promote two articles per day.
Understand that Quu may not approve every post. The team can make content suggestions, reject an article if it’s too commercial or controversial, or reject it because of the post type. For instance, they rarely approve product reviews.
That aside, Quuu Promote can save you a lot of time, get real shares from real people, and increase engagement on your post.
Perhaps worth noting, this method technically isn’t PPC. It’s more like a “pay to curate” program. Quuu is affordable for many content marketers and can make a huge difference to traffic volume and quality.
(It’s also a strategy that not everyone thinks of, so it can give you an edge in your niche)
You care about the content you publish and have an audience that will love the content you produce. So when you’re thinking, “How do I promote my blog?” let’s make sure they see it.
While improving organic posting can be a great way to showcase your content, it shouldn’t be the only strategy you use to send traffic to your site. Consider these 7 not-so-common ways to promote your blog using PPC. It’s a great way to overcome limited reach, set yourself apart from your competitors, get Google’s attention, and fill your lead funnel with qualified prospects.