This guest post is by Jeszlene Zhou of First Communication Job.
I love the idea of using a blog as your personal hub, and how it creates a centralised space for all your social media sites, your portfolio, and more.
Most bloggers and social media professionals promote a link to their blog or website, and shamelessly direct traffic towards their personal hub. Yet interestingly, they do not promote their personal hub via word-of-mouth in the “real world.”
Here’s a true story. Over the past few months, I’ve attended a few social media conferences, and met dozens of social media professionals. However, in all that time only one person invited me to view her blog.
What a pity, as the events were filled with bloggers and social media practitioners with great online influence—perfect for the community engagements we spend hours seeking to build behind our little screens. Great opportunities to increase blog traffic were wasted. In fact, paying hundreds of dollars to attend industry conferences without telling the people you meet about your blog is like having a trade show booth that doesn’t display its marketing materials.
Word-of-mouth promotion, despite its bad reputation, does not have to be shameless and annoying. There are many soft-sell methods to bring your message across. Here’s a basic Who, What, Where, When and How for using word-of-mouth promotion to increase your blog traffic.
You—and everyone! If blogging is the home of your core business, your blog should be shared with as many people as you can possibly reach—even if they are not heavy internet users.
You’ll never know who might visit out of mere curiosity, or if they will share your site with others.
What is your blog about and why it is different from others? Communicate your blog’s URL and unique selling point to create interest in those your speak to and eventually drive traffic there.
Sometimes it is wiser to connect first in your target audiences’ preferred social media platform—in certain contexts, communicating your LinkedIn, FaceBook or Twitter profile might be more appropriate than giving out your blog URL.
Just make sure that all your social media profiles have links back to your blog, so that these new connections can flow through when they’re ready to find out more.
Everywhere appropriate! I would list industry conferences and networking events as the top venues for word-of-mouth promotion. But as long as you’re having a conversation with someone, why not bring up your blog?
When people ask “what do you do?”
Instead of listing your day job, which you might be dragging your feet to on a daily basis, why not mention your blog? It makes you sound more interesting and can be a fantastic chance for you to generate interest and traffic to your online presence.
However while being opportunistic is important, be patient and wait for an appropriate opening so you don’t appear pushy—which can have the reverse effect on your sales and promotion efforts.
The elevator pitch is a great tool many sales people use on a daily basis, and Harvard University has created The Harvard Elevator Pitch Builder for novices to use.
You can also bring up an interview request or a guest blog invitation when appropriate, instead of limiting those queries to email engagements. And if a sales pitch isn’t your style, why not let your business card do the talking? While many consider cards to be increasingly obsolete in today’s digital world, a physical piece of information still serves to reinforce that first contact. Furthermore, if everyone else is stopping using traditional cards, carrying one will definitely help you stand out!
Improving your word-of-mouth promotion
There are many great sales books that will help to improve both your face-to-face communication techniques and online engagement skills, one of them being Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.
I highly recommend this book to get a better understanding of successful networking through building mutually beneficial relationships—lessons that are applicable in both off and online interactions.
However, the best word-of-mouth promoters are people who practice, practice, and practice some more. So the next time you meet someone face-to-face, give this a go!
What are some of your experiences at networking events? Do many of the people you meet tell you about their blogs? What are some offline methods you use to encourage friends, family members and others to visit your site? Have you visited a blog through word-of-mouth?
Please share your thoughts, ideas and stories in the comments section below!
Jeszlene Zhou is a communications practitioner. Her blog, First Communication Job discusses tactics for entering the fields of media and communications, including professional blogging and social media. Be friendly, say hi to her on twitter too!