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Use Word-of-Mouth Promotion to Boost Blog Traffic

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.

Who?

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?

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.

Where?

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?

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.

How?

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!

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Comments

  1. I actually do that. I had some business cards made and I hand those out with a verbal plug every chance I get. Even gave one to my doctor.

    • Jeszlene says:

      That’s wonderful Patty,
      hopefully your doctor passes your card or URL to someone else too!

      Thanks for sharing =)

      Jesz

  2. Samuel says:

    That is an Idea.

    Word of mouth can work on your behalf.

    I tend to promote everything on the internet!

    • Jeszlene says:

      Thanks Samuel!

      The internet is fantastic, but if you’re out meeting people, you might as well maximize the opportunities =)
      Thanks again for sharing~

      Jesz

  3. Beth Hewitt says:

    Hi Jezslene,

    This is a great post. We should never miss an opportunity to promote ourselves and word of mouth and face to face interactions are a great way to tell the world about our blog.

    I particularly love the elevator pitch site above, I just used it and loved it.

    Thanks,

    Beth :)

  4. Cold says:

    I’ve also used an old school tactic to pull traffic to my site through proper targeting. My main blog is a Warcraft gaming blog. So when the annual gaming conventions are in town, I print up a bunch of promo flyers w my blog address and plaster the flyers under the wiper blades of every car in the convention center parking lot. It works very well at bringing in fresh highly relevant targeted traffic and my incoming visits and subscriptions boost noticeably well the days after the convention ends. I also utilize the free promo boards within the gaming convention halls to post a flyer with my sites info and address and I’m always sure to leave a few extra just laying around on the tables in the convention halls during convention weekend.

    Super easy and not much effort that does work.

    • Jeszlene says:

      That’s a fantastic technique Cold,
      Thanks for sharing your tactics with us!
      All the best in growing your blog too =)

      Jesz

  5. Personally I’ve actually found it helpful to begin the conversation on the social networks before moving to real-world promotion. I’ve been consistently surprised at home many of my friends, when I run into them at a bar, will ask about my website b/c they heard about it on FB or twitter. That’s when the opportunity to use word-of-mouth is valuable b/c it solidifies in their mind “oh hey, maybe I should actually go visit the site now – he seemed really into it.” The social media is like a primer b/c usually people take some time to warm up to new things. Just my observation though.

    • Jeszlene says:

      Thanks Christopher for sharing,
      I find that either way works, depending on the types of relationships or social circle you mingle with.
      Sometimes I casually mention my social media projects, skipping specific details until people get curious enough to ask. However, if I’m hanging out with those within the industry, I tend to jump straight into my sales pitch.

      Love your insights though!

      Jesz

  6. Richard says:

    Word of mouth work much better than any thing else. I mostly take an opportunity and tell people why my blog is different from others and you can answer their questions at that time only.

  7. Richard Ng says:

    Hi Jeszlene,

    Thanks for bringing up this evergreen “old method” of promoting something/anything…. I can see where you are coming from but being an Asian (I am from Singapore), I think it is less likely for us to self-promote our blog up-front (especially if we are not a full-time professional blogger or not a business blogger) in the face to face context (unless being asked about it).

    Just my personal view.

    Cheers!

    • Jeszlene says:

      Hi Richard,

      As a fellow Singaporean, I agree that many Asians tend to wait for an opportunity to be “asked about it.” Why not slip in your blog promotion when answering common social questions such as “so what do you do in your spare time,” “what did you do last weekend,” or “what have you been busy with?”

      However, as a communications practitioner I have no issues with face-to-face self-promotion. I just use a different set of techniques when dealing with the Asian audience =)

      Jesz

  8. Luke says:

    Good idea and why not write blog’s url at business card, just like web’s url.

    • Jeszlene says:

      Definitely Luke,
      I’ve both my blog URL and twitter handle on my business card.
      You can also add other social media links (or icons) such as LinkedIn, FaceBook or About.me details too!

      Thanks for sharing =)

      Jesz

  9. Christiano says:

    When people hear it from the horse’s mouth, they remember.

  10. Hello Jeszlene Zhou,

    Really great post! It is important for bloggers to take advantage of the viral nature of internet and I believe that a word of mouth is the ideal example for such a concept. I totally agree with you cause people have a huge percentage of curiosity inside them and definetely they are going to visit your blog and share some really awesome content! You know it is great to promote your business to people but to tell you the truth your content must be of a high value…!!

    Thank you,
    Zouras

    • Jeszlene says:

      Thanks Zouras for sharing,

      I agree, after all content is king! However good content is also wasted if nobody see it >.<
      Also curiosity is a great thing to leverage on, especially if your existing content is interesting.

      Thanks again =)

      Jesz

  11. I have business cards made up as well and do hand out locally. Due to my blog being about NYC and I actually live in PA, it can be handy because many here visit the city since it is only a 2 hour drive. I am very big on talking about the blog to locals and anyone really as they always seem very excited about it. You have to promote yourself any way possible to get your name out there. I do feel however for me the social media is best for me to advertise. I went to a local blog networking get together and it seemed they were not too impressed with my site, so I am tending to not go that route again. But regular folks work well for me.
    Great post!!

    • Jeszlene says:

      Thanks Rosemary for sharing your story.

      Sometimes those whom we expect to read our blogs might not be our actual audience, so I’m glad you tried promoting your blog to different groups of people! Sounds like you’re putting in a lot of effort and doing a great job.

      All the best! =)

      Jesz

  12. Word of Mouth is such a fantastic tool. I mention my blog at least 1x a week at the dog park (don’t want people to get bored with me) and it’s amazing how many people will now approach me in our town with questions about dogs or comments about a recent article. Mostly, I love hearing that someone told their friend who just adopted a dog!

    Free PR is fantastic; the connections are priceless!

    • Jeszlene says:

      That sounds beautiful Kimberly!

      Nothing demonstrates the success of a blog like questions and comments from your offline community! Good on you babe =)

      Thanks for the blog post affirmation and for sharing too.

      Jesz

  13. this post really got me,this week i attended a live coaching seminar and honestly i didn’t really intended of talking about my blog,but fortunately for me we were asked to introduced ourselves to each other so i used the opportunity to talked about my blog to a few people and believe me i notice a few changes in traffic coming to my blog.
    i even got a job to design a blog for one of the seminar attendee after viewing my blog he did like what he saw.Thank a lots.Next time i attend such ,i would try and do much better.

  14. Dale Halbur says:

    Like a lot of things in life – simple is usually better…

    As bloggers we tend to spend time researching ways to promote our presence using internet-based tools, and reading tips on the internet. In Malcom Gladwell’s book “Tipping Point” he describes how certain products took off, or reached the “tipping point” by and large because of word of mouth. I believe that if one person has a meaningful, pleasant, or inspiring experience they generally want to share that with others.

    Thanks for the advice…

    • Jeszlene says:

      What a great insight!

      Thanks Dale for sharing the book and it’s wisdom, alongside your views.
      Glad you enjoyed my post too =)

      Jesz

  15. Ben Jacobson says:

    Marketing one’s blog in the flesh is somewhat akin to marketing one’s blog via print media. The impact of the audience-targeted call to action is as compelling as it’s going to get, but when the recipient can’t click through on the spot, the response rates are inherently going to be compromised.

    • Jeszlene says:

      Hi Ben,

      I agree that word-of-mouth or face-to-face promotions is not most effective way of promoting a blog, but it is an alternative means of communication that can be very complementary to online efforts when used correctly.

      Thanks for sharing =)

      Jesz

  16. I have just started using word of mouth recently! It’s free and can really help your traffic.

    • Jeszlene says:

      So glad you found word-of-mouth promotions helpful, will love to hear details of your successes!
      Thanks for sharing too =)

      Jesz

  17. Atish Ranjan says:

    Word of mouth works everywhere not only in blogging. And for this you have to earn goodwill among your readers. nice post

  18. Word of mouth, of-course good idea, and effective too, but reach is very less, I will still vote for internet

    • Jeszlene says:

      Agreed Jitesh,
      Word-of-mouth promotion is a good complement to social media publicity and not a replacement =)

      Thanks for sharing! =)

      Jesz

  19. Agree with Atish word of mouth works every and for any type of business.