by Karen I just wrote a blog post. Now what?
When I first started blogging in February 2009, I used to publish posts with zero promotion. I wasn't expecting followers nor did I particularly want any at the time - my content wasn't that interesting. I was blogging as an experiment initially, but when a couple of people found out, the encouragement I received actually made me want to continue. Eventually, I took the plunge and posted a link to one of my blog posts on twitter. Even though I had only about 100 followers at the time, I felt very exposed. It was nerve-wracking. Because I was on Blogger (which has no built-in stats) and hadn't set up Google Analytics, I have no idea if anyone even paid attention to my posts.
After committing to blog more regularly and moving to a more sophisticated blogging platform (Squarespace), I started to wonder how to promote my blog better and make it easier for people to follow me. So, how do people "follow" blogs?
The easiest way for people to follow a blog is through the RSS feed. RSS stands for really simple syndication. Every blogging platform allows RSS, via email or through the feed that goes to various readers. I use Google Reader. There are many readers out there. To follow a blog with a reader, you can copy and paste the home page of the blog into the reader to subscribe. This is pretty easy, but whenever I see a blog I want to follow that has a Feedburner link to the RSS, I mentally bless the blogger.
What's so great about Feedburner? It's just so darn easy - for the blog owner and their readers.
- When I click on a Feedburner RSS link, I get to pick which reader I want to use out of about a dozen common readers and it adds it to my feed automatically. No copying and pasting.
- As a blog owner with a Feedburner feed:
- I can see feed stats: how many subscribers I have and if my subscribers are actually clicking on my content (as opposed to marking all as read).
- I can change my domain, which changes my RSS feed link and my subscribers do NOT have to resubscribe. Why? Because I just go change the link in Feedburner. I recently did this and didn't lose a single subscriber. Feedburner, FTW!
- I can also subscribe to a bulletin for my feed that will tell me if there were any problems pulling the feed. Then it tells me when it's working again.
It's actually a Facebook app, but you can use it to syndicate your blog posts to your twitter account. Networked Blogs is very easy to set up and it uses your blog's RSS feed to automatically share your latest post on your Facebook page, personal FB profile and/or twitter. This tool saves me time by helping me promote my blog when I'm busy doing other things. Other Networked Blogs users can also follow your blog through the app as well as like (or dislike) your posts.
Other Promotion Tools
Where and how many places you choose to promote your content is up to you, but there are lots of ways to get the word out about what you've got to say. Most of your promotion can be done automatically through various automated tools. For example, my Digg account is linked to my RSS feed, so it automatically "Diggs" new posts. Ping.fm also has the ability to broadcast to dozens of networks simultaneously. Just link up your account and Ping.fm does the work for you.
Is all of this required for blogging? Not at all. You get to choose for yourself just how much you want to do. That's the beauty of social media - it's completely customizable for everyone.
Karen is married to Matt and has an almost-3-year-old little boy named Brandon. You can read more about their lives at Karen's Chronicles.