Welcome back, everyone, to this week’s Interview With A Blogpire. Before the break Aimee L Salter shared some fantastic advice on blog building, and now we’re talking about how to promote your amazing content to the world. Here goes…
Since you’re posting a few times a week, how do you get the most out of twitter a as a promotional tool – without bombarding it?
This is something that took me a long time to figure out. I had to work through the process and learn how to use Twitter by trial and error, and believe me, there were errors over the years!But I feel like I’ve settled on what works now. My opinion is this (and it is just my opinion):
- Bombarding twitter with links to something several times in an hour is pointless. You’re hitting the same audience every time. So whatever clicks you get will probably stop after the second tweet. Spread your promotional tweets out so that you’re hitting different time zones and twitter habits.
“I usually tweet a blog link 4 or 5 times in a day – but those tweets have 3-5 hours between them and I only promote a blog post for one day. (That means I’m only “promoting” my work 2 days out of 7.”
The rest of the time I’m just hanging out or RT’ing stuff that I actually read and liked).
- If you spend more time getting to know people and tweeting personal messages, getting into conversations, etc, than you do promotion, you’ll probably be okay and followers will like you. If you spend more time promoting and / or RT’ing everything under the sun just so people see you RT’ing them… you are probably just annoying.
- If the material you promote is only about you, yourself and you, people will stop paying attention. Whatever you push into the twitosphere, make sure it has some use to people beyond getting to know you.***
***The exception to this rule is when you have achieved something / created a fanbase. (A fanbase is not a platform. A platform is a group of people you have contact with who will give your material consideration. A fanbase is a group of people who associate themselves with you and your work. They feel like they know you – or want to know you – personally. They are loyal and vehement, and generally only come on the heels of something you did that they love. As writers, we gain fans when we write books that people connect with. Usually not before).
Contest or critique sessions - which do you think engages readers more?
I think it depends on "bang for your buck". One thing I see too much of is competitions that require too much for entry - retweeting, posting on facebook, blogging, AND commenting. When an entry gains the reader nothing but an entry for a book they can buy themselves... Well, I think readers are jaded enough to feel used at times. Or just too busy. But if I had an arc of the hottest YA release for the coming year? That sweetens the deal. Readers love the idea of getting in behind the scenes.
Where competitions really draw readers though, are when they offer opportunities for advancements, or short cuts past the slush pile.
As well as my own blog, I'm a contributor at YAtopia. They've run or been part of some huge competitions in the past, offering writers the chance to pitch their work directly to agents and editors. That kind of competition will always have a huge draw - because they give the reader a shot at something that is potentially of huge benefit to themselves.
So, to answer the question directly, I think critiques (provided they are of quality) will have a bigger audience than a competition for an amazon gift card. But if you can bring agents or editors to your blog, that will always trump a critique.
What has been the most useful strategy for building your blog?
For me, my most useful strategy has been to always remember that a blog has to be useful to people. Now, it can be useful in any number of ways. If you’re funny (and I mean actually funny), that’s of use to people. Most people love to laugh, to have their spirits raised on a regular basis. If you can do that, you can write about any damn thing you want because people will want to read it because they’ll enjoy it.
If you’re an expert in something you can offer advice. Technically this is where my blog falls, but because I haven’t achieved the credibility that comes with success in the industry, I had to approach it differently.
From day one I’ve said “This is what I’m learning, let me show you so you can learn it too.” I’ve never claimed to be an expert, but my work still has a practical application to my audience.
The other way to be useful to people is to bring together resources, or create resources. Angela Ackerman and Becci Puglisi did this with their Emotion Thesaurus blogsite (which is now a really popular book). Of course, in other industries, the technical interests and resources will be different. I think this is why Pinterest has become so popular – it allows people to gather up things that help them or they’re interested in.
And finally, what stellar bit of blogging advice would you like to share?
The most useful advice I received when I started blogging, bar none, was that blogging about myself wouldn’t get me anywhere. You need to find a way to connect that benefits the other person, and if you can do that you'll have a much better chance of repeat business in terms of blog views, retweets, shares and likes, etc.
So for every blog post, tweet or status update, ask yourself one question:
What's in it for the reader? If the answer is consistently only "getting to know me better," or "nothing," then you have a problem.*
Well that’s it, guys. I certainly hope you found this as useful as I did! I’d like to send a special thanks to Aimee for being an inspiration to us all, and good luck to everyone scuttling off to put her ideas into place. Have fun!
* The information for this answer came straight from Aimee’s blog, since I found it so useful I had to share it. Thanks again, Aimee. J