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7 Powerful Ways to Promote Your Blog Offline

This guest post is by Jennifer Michelle of Jennifer Michelle Communications.

Online marketing is a great way to grow your blog—but it’s not the only way. Traditional marketing methods can also be used to promote your blog and develop your readership. Here are seven ideas to get you started.

1. Get in the press

In the world of professional blogging, so much emphasis is placed on guest posting that it can be easy to overlook its predecessor—traditional media.

Yes, you can reach a large audience with a well-placed guest post, but you can do the same with an article in your local newspaper. Call the editor and offer to write an article for them, in exchange for a mention of your website in your byline.

“But wait,” I can hear you saying, “if they read me in the paper they won’t be able to click and visit my site.” That’s right, but they can type it into their smartphone or look you up when they get to the office.

Instant clickability isn’t always the goal—strive for memorability, instead.

When you write a solid piece for the press, you are instantly perceived as an expert. If your article is any good (and your blogging experience gives you the writing ability to ensure that it will be), people will remember it—and they’ll keep you in mind.

Media isn’t just print, though. Not by a long shot. Try radio. There are thousands of talk shows out there in the offline world. Research them. Search on talk radio shows in your topic area and pitch yourself as a guest. Do the same with magazines and television—offer your services as a source, an author, or a guest to be interviewed.

This is, in fact, the tactic I employed when starting my latest blog, Jennifer Michelle Communications. I contacted my state newspaper to pitch the topic, “Websites on a Shoestring,” and spoke with the business editor. He suggested I send him an article to review. That piece will be appearing in print next month.

I had similar success with talk radio. Using my years of blogging to craft a great headline, I made a quick ad on my topic and emailed it to several talk radio show producers. The ad consisted of a headline, a bulleted list of tantalizingly-written talking points, my credentials, and contact information.

The result? Biz Talk with Josh, a CBS station in the Washington, DC region, contacted me to have me as back up for a guest that seemed poised to do a no-show. When, as it turned out, they didn’t need me, they rescheduled me for July.

That kind of thing happens a lot when you’re working with the media, so always tell producers and reporters that they can call you at the last minute.

2. Teach a class

I know you’re used to thinking in terms of webinars, but I mean an actual class.

Take a minute to review your most popular posts. The odds are they could convert easily into intriguing class topics. Or consider your subject as a whole and teach a class relating to that. Sensual University does this with yoga and dance classes. Her message is all about the beauty and sensuality of life (a huge and varied subject in itself), but it’s through her yoga and dance classes that she pulls in new readers. When her students discover her unique, sensual approach to movement, they are eager to find out more.

The trick is to find the right venue for your topic—and your schedule. Ask yourself, are you able to teach a ten-week course or are you looking to do a one-off? Do you want to give a half-day seminar or are you thinking you’ll only need an hour? Community colleges are frequently looking for new classes, so if you’re up for a longer time commitment, give them a call.

Just want to teach for an hour or two? Then see who offers workshops in your area. Libraries are a great place to start, as they often have lecture series. Or try the Rotary club and get on their calendar.

Depending on your niche, there may be quite a lot of possibilities. For instance, if you blog on cooking, you may be able to teach a class at the local health food store.

Whatever you do, give your students print-outs of one or two of your most relevant posts—and be sure it gives your website and contact information.

3. Give an award

There’s nothing like staging an event to attract attention. Better still, when the event is an award that you are presenting, you are instantly considered an authority in your field.

There are lots of ways to go about this. You can take nominations or simply name a winner. You can announce it with a press release, or throw a big bash.

You want the award to represent your brand—ideally, it will become an annual event—so choose wisely. Make it something with broad appeal in your niche, yet something that’s intriguing enough to attract some attention.

Cupcakes Take the Cake has launched a new award this year honoring the best professional and amateur cupcake bakers. They even have a category for best cupcake video! What could be more fun than that?

The press possibilities are endless—just think of how many local newspapers will be thrilled to print that one of their local bakers won Best Cupcake Baker in their city! Every time they mention the award, they’ll mention who presented it—and that spreads the word about your blog.

4. Hand out your business card

It’s amazing how often bloggers will overlook the need for business cards, especially if their topic has limited relevance in their locale.

The thing to remember, though, is that you never know who you are going to meet—and you never know who they will know.

There’s also just something about having your business card in hand that makes you suddenly see thousands of opportunities for telling people about your blog.

When you design your card, be sure to include your logo, tagline, and all your contact information. For more, see this article about what to put on a blogger business card.

And if you want some great examples, check out MomComm’s blogger business card showcase.

Attend a conference for pro bloggers

Sometimes your online and offline worlds converge beautifully—and never moreso than at a conference dedicated to the needs of professional bloggers.

Email isn’t the only way to get a gig guest posting on your favorite blog. How about raising the possibility over drinks at a cocktail party? Or what about going out to lunch with your favorite bloggers and brainstorming ways you could work together?

Just because the end goal is an online event doesn’t mean offline marketing strategies aren’t the best way to get you there.

That’s what blogger conventions are all about—forging networks and creating partnerships (not to mention making some great friends).

Your goal offline should be the same as your goal online: to be as helpful and useful as possible in whatever partnership idea you propose. Help your fellow bloggers get where they want to go and they’ll be sure to remember you—and want to work with you again.

While you’re networking, be careful not to focus too heavily on the most famous bloggers in your niche. Partnering with mid-level bloggers is not to be ignored—they have devoted subscriber lists, too.

SXSW and Blog World Expo are two of the biggest blog events, and of course there’s also the Melbourne ProBlogger Event.

General blogging events aren’t the only way to go, either, so spend some time searching for events targeting bloggers in your niche, like this Wine Bloggers Conference.

6. Attend a conference that’s not targeted to bloggers

If you want to find your readers, niche conferences are the place to look.

They are also an amazing source for new ideas. A couple of days talking with your target demographic and you’ll walk away with a list of new blog posts you can’t wait t to write and a bunch of new product ideas you want to get cracking on. You’ll also be exposed to the latest trends in your field—and get to see firsthand people’s responses to them.

These conferences are filled with workshops and speakers, all of whom are potential partners. There is also, needless to say, the possibility of you being one of the presenters. That’s what Jesse Friedman of Beer & Nosh did at the Craft Brewers Conference.

Since organizers need months to pull these events together, make a point of meeting with them and get on their radar for next year.

7. Donate prizes

People who put on events are always on the hunt for door prizes, enclosures for gift bags, and donations for silent auctions.
When targeted to the right event, these contributions have great marketing reach. Every person at the event will see the door prize and receive the gift bag. If it’s a silent auction, everyone there will walk by each item on display.

Moreover, as a prize contributor, you will be listed in the program and the website, and may even be mentioned in event press releases.

This is a technique I’ve used numerous times to promote PoleSkivvies, the niche sports apparel brand I launched with only a blog and a newsletter. I’ve donated prizes to pole fitness championships from New York to New Zealand and I’ve even donated beyond my immediate niche, giving prizes to silent auctions that were fundraising for other dance styles.

One word of caution: I wouldn’t count on the prize winner becoming a devoted reader or customer. They will surely enjoy their prize, but the impact from this marketing tactic has more to do with brand recognition. You want people to know you’re out there.

That means it’s important to put some thought into what you donate. A copy of your ebook, a consulting package, or a video course are all possibilities. Look over your product list and see what would be the most intriguing.

However, don’t donate something you give away free on your website. Event organizers like to list the value of prizes to increase people’s excitement about winning, so get in the spirit and donate something meaningful.

If you can, attend the event. There’s nothing like mentioning you donated the door prize to strike up a conversation and get people talking about you and your blog.

Bonus tip

An easy way to get people you meet in the offline world to visit your blog is to put a QR code on everything you pass out. From copies of your blog posts to business cards, include a QR code to some of your most popular posts or product pages, as well as your URL.

Smartphones are everywhere these days, and most of them have apps for reading QR codes—make use of them.

Have you tried offline promotions?

Running a professional blog doesn’t mean you should forget about time-honored methods of traditional marketing. Incorporate them into your overall strategy and your blog will be the stronger for it.

Have you promoted your blog offline? Tell us how it went in the comments!

Jennifer Michelle built a niche sportswear company from the ground up using just a blog and a newsletter. She now helps small business owners bridge the gap between their own online and offline marketing. Check out her tips on 21 Ways to Market Your Blog Offline.

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This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

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Comments

  1. Samuel says:

    These tips, I have heard them before. I don’t think it is the best way to promote them and I really do think the online world is a much better place to promote.

    I would think getting in the press is the way to go offline , since it is as close as you can get to the online world. Another one you mentioned is attending events where you can meet real bloggers and people.

    Nice article.

    • Anuj says:

      I Think your opinion is right because these methods require much larger time
      and it also require some money investment.

  2. Jen c says:

    I go to craft fairs at churches if they are cheap to have a booth and allow outside vendors. Its usually only $10 or $15 and since I have a hyperlocal component to my blog I get to meet a lot of people in the community. And sometimes get to network with small business owners. I usually have a drawing for a prize that I get a company to sponsor and that’s how I will collect more email subscribers.

  3. chris says:

    The links in this article are messed up.

  4. I would recommend people read an article or two on how to format a press release, and start firing them off to newspapers. Make a list of the top 20 newspapers that serve cities of around 100,000 people (this is the sweet spot). After you have emailed it, give it a few days and call and ask to speak to the assignment editor (this is the person who picks reporters to cover stories). It can also be helpful to email it directly to a reporter you know covers your niche.

    As far as business cards, it might be sly to start leaving them everywhere you go, like the bookstore or in the pumps of gas stations. Make it something they will want to look up when they get home.

  5. Love these suggestions! It’s so important to step a-w-a-y from the computer and do offline outreach too. And I find that this can have a much more immediate result.

    Recently I went to a networking event where two women artists were eager to talk to me after overhearing a conversation I was having with another event attendee about using blogging and social media to market small niche creative businesses. I gave both my contact info and both signed up to my email list the next day. And the kicker is, both want to talk to me further about how I can help them with their blogging efforts. Making personal connections like these with people who sign up to your list gives you greater insight into the needs and challenges of potential clients, I think.
    (Plus, from a quality of life perspective, it’s just so nice to talk to real, live human beings about marketing and so on, rather than always doing it virtually.)

    I totally agree that getting press in traditional media can be hugely beneficial. Especially if you’re in a small market — I always suggest to clients that DIY PR is one of the best ways to up their business visibility without spending a dime!

    Thanks for this terrific article, I’ve saved the link so I can go back to it later for a second read. : )

    PS — Chris is right, the links in the article don’t appear to be working . . . .

  6. david says:

    I like the idea of speaking to non-blogging groups. public speaking is an art unto itself and requires a bit of training and practice. I tried Toastmasters – it is a good place to work on your public speaking skills.

    I saw a couple of very well honed people. But I believe to get to that level took them years and years of work.

    btw. I do not know if it is a mistake or something but most of the hyperlinks in your post go to a ‘cannot be found’ error page.

  7. These are some great tips and I’ve noted a few that I’ll be putting into practice this week!

    I joined the local chamber of commerce, I’m participating in two summer festivals for dog lovers, and I’m a member of our town’s dog park organization.

    I also post my business card and/or flyer at local veterinarian offices and restaurants that have billboards.

    Kimberly

  8. As a windsurfer (doing some competitions), I ordered stickers to get my sails stickered-up with my blog-url.

    More then 50 days a year my url is blasting over the water and visible on all pictures/video’s online.

    http://www.dailybits.be/wp-content/2012/04/gruissan8.jpg

    Best 50€ I sent on promotion last year. ;-)

  9. The underlying theme in this post is huge. Traditional marketing methods aren’t really going anywhere. Sure, marketing agencies have to play a different game, but they still see a hybrid of both inbound and traditional methods. I’m heading off to the local Chamber of Commerce to see if I can drum up some b2b leads. Who wants to tag along?

  10. Dion Lynk says:

    Business cards are crucial. Sitting behind the monitor plugged in is nice, but communicating interpersonally and putting a business card in someone’s hand is a dying art that people take note of when presented to them. Nowadays the old is the new and vice versa. A couple of weeks ago, ~7 clients responded to business cards that I handed out in unique settings. How many leads did you get from that tweet you sent out about ‘making money online’? Printing signs and putting them in busy intersections also works for me.

    Cheers,
    Dion

  11. Melissa says:

    I think business card is a good idea. Actually, I was even thinking of maybe handing out business cards at parties, bars or eating at restaurants. I see some people advertising their website on their car, which could be a good or bad thing. Anyway, nice article…been a fan of this website for a few years now. Keep it up!

  12. Kevin says:

    Enjoyed the article. A lot of this stuff isn’t things I would normally think of, or think that I could do. Who me? Good enough to actually get published in actual print? I would have never dreamed of it. But you are right about how our ability to write on our blogs can transfer over to printed media as well. It may be something that I look into in the future.

  13. I also like the idea of creating a well-designed Blogger Business Card (which includes your contact information, social profiles on Twitter, Linkedin and facebook and your blog’s link). Handing it out to people that are interested in what you do may also help you in promoting your business blog.

  14. Ben Troy says:

    There is one more effective way to promote blog offline , that is write a Magazine Article. There are plenty of local magazines around your area. We just need to find the magazine that caters to demographic and write articles for submission. This will help in your ability to gain traction with a knowledge hungry public.

  15. It can make a huge difference to actually get out and meet people. It puts a face and a personality to your blog. People like to connect with other people, and will be more likely to check out the work of someone that they “know”.

  16. John Banks says:

    Its a great article. Being a new blogger myself I think both online and offline promotion serves its purpose. You can never have too much right? I have three websites and have business cards for all of them. You never know who you are going to bump into, I have also had some minor wins with local advertising in local shop windows etc. There are also so many other ones I do, I sell eBooks on disks on eBay etc, just taking the extra time to label the disk with the website URL on it has also generated some extra publicity.

    Ok, so its not going to bring in the masses but websites can have a ripple like effect, if the right person comes along you can all of a sudden find yourself getting a lot of traffic rather quickly……

    Regards,
    John

  17. Jarom Adair says:

    This is very relevant information. You might as well take advantage of offline efforts whenever you’re doing stuff offline.

    Here’s a tip that netted me 5X more email signups at networking events and booths…

    Whenever you talk to somebody for more than a minute who is a member of your target market (and before you give them your business card) give them a 10-second pitch about the kind of information you send to your readers by email and then ask them if you can put them on your email list.

    Everybody says “sure”.

    Then get their email and add it to your list when you get back to your computer. Exchange business cards etc… too, but asking them if you can add them almost guarantees they’ll agree and makes offline networking a lot more effective.

  18. Ayaz says:

    Hi Jennifer!

    Great tips and I didn’t get into these kinds of promotions before but I think doing online promotion of the blogger is better place to have promoted your blog but I think that attending conferences like pro bloggers will certainly teach you lots of new techniques by having face to face meeting with the top blogger’s.

  19. Hey,

    Great work , well written content and well captured concepts !

    You have posted some good points about attending conferences of pro bloggers. if you met some pro bloggers and ask their life and all the points which they kept in mind while promoting blogs then you can have new experience about others experience and you can learn them from too.

    Also i would like to add some points that the best method to promote a blog is to do Social media marketing on right audience. Once you have the right traffic, you will achieve a lot of targets easily !

    Thanks

    Saif

  20. zac says:

    Some Awesome points to promote blog
    Thanks you so much

  21. Priyanka says:

    Good blog post…..Keep it up…!!!

  22. Thanks for the information, Jennifer! The past couple of days I’ve been considering ways to get published via magazines, but hadn’t thought of my local newspaper. The only problem is, I have no idea what kind of idea/story to pitch. Most of my focus on my blog is church & outreach-related, with outreach stuff being my passion. I’m not sure how that would relate to a continuous story in the local paper.

  23. Ben Troy says:

    To be honest, the way I see it is that the more powerful the internet becomes the less people pay attention to offline promotions. Although I can’t blame them because internet activities does require less effort and costs, most of the time. But in order to be effective in business, we have to utilize all aspects of it and make use of it all to our advantage. That’s how we can outlast the competition.

  24. cj says:

    Very good information. Thanks for the tips.

  25. Car decals are also great! Get a big one with your website to run across the back windshield and get smaller ones for friends and family. I have a book review blog, so I also got a stamp and stamp any books that I donate with my website. Business cards are great because most local stores/bookshops/coffee shops have a section to leave cards (or a community board).