With blogs and websites we all own a printing press today. While the Internet has revolutionized publishing, social networking has revolutionized the distribution of people’s writings and video production. Anyone anywhere in the world can see your work within moments of you publishing it on the web.
However, it is not a “build it and they will come” game. Your news, unless you are a traditional newspaper, is not going to automatically land on your audience’s doorstep. Nor will they necessarily find you on their own and subscribe and diligently read every missive you send out. If you thought to yourself, I’ve researched and written the blog post, and added the right graphics and photos, and now my work is done, think again. Promotion, or distribution, is the second, perhaps even more important, half of the battle to get people to read your blog.
Just like ten years ago, you might have written out a mini media plan for your press conference around your report release, today you need to do the same if you are serious about getting new eyeballs on blog posts or anything else you publish online. If you have already done due diligence in building the right following for social media properties like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (create a unique board for your blog posts), LinkedIn, and Google +, you can start sharing there first. For Facebook, we recommend posting a full size image and embedding the link in the text field, rather than using Facebook’s automated thumbnail. This will help your post appear in more fans’ newsfeeds. For Twitter, compose a tweet that highlights a surprising fact or compelling quote from your post, and be sure to include relevant hashtags.
While social media will help your blog posts in front of your existing network, search is a way to reach new audiences. But for the right people to find your content, you need to use the same language they might type into Google or Bing. To find out what terms people are using for your topic, check out Google’s free keyword tool. Then include these keywords and phrases in the post title and copy. For more on search engine optimization, check out our handy guide.
Finally, we recommend submitting timely posts to high profile blogs that have built in followings. Celebrating a new wilderness area, or fighting a pipeline? Consider writing something for High Country News or Huffington Post. The former accepts essays on a variety of topics, and the latter publishes content from subject matter experts ranging from nonprofit leaders to scientists and celebrities.
Building a solid following takes time, so it is worth putting effort into cross placement as well as the promotion of your own properties. By developing a promotion plan and committing a few hours per month, this may be the year you can say that you actually followed through on your New Year’s resolution!