A few days ago we published a post on ProBlogger titled ‘Forget about Marketing: Concentrate on Blogging‘, which led to some interesting discussion on Twitter and in the comments.
I love the points author Nicholas Whitmore made in the post but I wanted to give a few thoughts, based on my own experience, on developing great content and promoting your blog.
Nicholas wrote some great arguments for focusing your energy on writing great content as the central way of growing your blog. He writes:
“When you write and publish awesome content on your blog, good things will come your way.”
I completely agree with this sentiment. As a blogger your #1 focus needs to be on producing content that is useful, engaging and of as high a quality as possible. Without it, all the marketing you might do will be wasted as you’ll just be directing people to something that is of no value to them.
As Nicholas goes on to write:
“When you write and publish boring content then spend hours on end building links to it, trying to force people to your website, good things will never come.”
Again, I agree with the sentiment expressed here.
However, on Twitter a discussion among some of my followers highlighted that some bloggers differ quite a bit on how much effort should be put into promoting a blog vs developing content for it.
- On one hand, there were certainly people who felt that if you build a great blog that it markets itself.
- On the other hand, there were people who felt that if you didn’t get out there and market your blog you ran the risk of all your hard work in developing great content going completely unseen.
While I think we all agree that the content on your blog needs to be of a very high focus, I’m also of the belief that if a blogger wants to grow their readership they also need to put effort into promoting that blog.
I like the idea of the marketing being taken care of by your visitors, if you have good enough blog post. In my experience, there are things you can do to promote your blog to help speed the process up, without compromising the quality of your posts.
In the early days of my own current blogs (here on ProBlogger and at dPS) I estimate I probably spent almost as much time writing content as I did working on growing the readership. In fact, I’m sure there were some weeks where I did spend considerably more time promoting my blog than writing content!
In short, I don’t see marketing and creating content as mutually exclusive – both are really important to me.
How did I grow my readership (or market my blogs)?
I recorded a webinar last year on this very topic with a load of tips in it. You can listen to it and see the slides here so I won’t rehash all of that but here’s a summary slide of the points I talked through.
You can see that my process actually talks about the content that you develop as being a part of finding readers for your blog (both in points 2 and 8). But by getting off your blog to promote what you do you are certainly able to significantly grow your blog.
Point #9 shows that this is a recurring cycle.
For me, I’d say that the balance of creating content and promoting has changed over the life of my blogs over the years. This is probably partly because the life cycle of a blog but also due to my own personal circumstances and how much time I have available to work.
That said , I would always prioritise both on a daily basis… and would probably also add in that I prioritise other things too such as ‘engaging with readers/building community’ and also a focus upon ‘monetization’ (without which I can’t sustain what I do).
Where is the Balance of Promotion and Content Creation for You?
I’d love to hear how others get this balance right in your blogging?