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How I’d Promote My Blog If I Were Starting Out Again

How I'd Promote My Blog If I Were Starting Out Again

Photo by Lukasz Grudzien on Unsplash

Today I want to explore a ‘secret’ of growing the readership of a blog.

A few weeks ago I explored how to increase the number of subscribers on your blog through creating anticipation. The more people anticipate that they’ll get something of value from your blog in the future the more likely they are to want to come back and subscribe.

The problem is that you can create anticipation on your blog as much as you like without increasing your readership one iota if you don’t also do what I’m going to share with you today.

I touched on this ‘secret’ last November in a post titled Blog Promotion: Are You Preaching to the Converted? but let me summarize the mistake that I see many bloggers (big and small) running into when they’re promoting their blogs.

The Problem of Preaching to the Converted

The mistake that I think many of us make in our blog promotion is that we continue to promote our subscription methods to the same people – those who have already subscribed to it – our regular readers.

We’re preaching to the converted – or to use another analogy we’re mining the same patch of dirt over and over again.

Some Promotion to the Loyal is OK

Now I’m not arguing with this post that you shouldn’t talk about your subscription methods to regular readers or that they should never see your invitations to subscribe (promoting your methods of subscription prominently is an important technique in building RSS subscriber numbers) – however doing it to your regular readers will have a diminishing conversion rate the more you do it.

Perhaps the most public example of this was in the post that I linked to above where I observed that John Chow and Shoemoney’s competition to increase subscriber numbers seemed to largely pitched to their current readers – however I see daily examples of how many bloggers do this (and have done it myself).

Example One – I once followed a blogger who writes a post each week which promotes their subscription methods.
Example Two – I follow another blog that has an invitation to subscribe to it’s RSS feed actually in the footer of every post on that same RSS feed.

While I do encourage you to post about subscription methods (see point #2 here) – the more you do this the less impact it will have over time. In fact the more you do it the more you run the risk of annoying your regular readers (illustrated by the point that I no longer read the blog in example 1 above).

I guess what I’m saying is that it’s ok to preach to the converted a little (it does work) but your main efforts when it comes to promoting your blog should be happening OFF your blog.

If you really want to grow your blog’s subscriber count you need to find new potential readers to draw in.

Another Obvious Secret

Yes this is another obvious piece of knowledge – yet it’s something that many of us fail to understand and live out. We continue to dig in the same patch of dirt expecting our blogs to grow.

So How Do You Expose Your Blog to NEW Readers?

Ok – so the ‘secret’ is to keep your blog promotion efforts more OFF your blog on readers that you’re yet to connect with rather than those that area already loyal – but how do you do it?

I will say up front that as easy as the principle is in practice it’s a lot harder. Getting word out about your blog to new groups of readers is not easy – however unless you make a concerted effort to get yourself out there your subscriber count will remain slow (at best).

How I’d Promote My Blog If I Were Starting Out Again

I’m regularly asked how I’d promote my blog if I was starting out blogging again today and didn’t have the profile that I currently have. This week I want to answer that question with a series of posts – all of which are focused upon this topic of finding NEW readers.

I’m going to cover five areas that I’d focus upon as a new blogger attempting to give my blog a start. I hope you find them useful.

5 Ways to Promote Your Blog (the series):

  1. Guest Posting
  2. Networking
  3. Advertising
  4. Social Media
  5. Viral Content


If you’re serious about building an audience for your blog and want to supercharge your traffic ProBlogger’s Find Readers Course will give you the roadmap and guide you through 6 clear steps to find readers.

How I'd Promote My Blog If I Were Starting Out Again

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Way to leave us hanging Darren. :) Looking forward to the followup posts.

  2. Excellent post, with an even better use of a cliffhanger. I was just leaning forward in my seat, ready to absorb the information.

    But, since I’m already a loyal reader, isn’t building anticipation preaching to the converted? :p

  3. Excellent example of how to “create anticipation”.

    Wait? That’s not what this post was about? :)

  4. My blog is supposed to be geared to newbies who are interested in creating their first website, but instead Ive found that my audience is a core group of other bloggers, and I’m interested in trying to expand it. Does anybody have any tips to do this? I have found that it is very difficult, since many newbies don’t seem to know what a blog is, to try to capture their interest while not boring my regular readers.

  5. Good post :)

    And btw your post “Blog Promotion: Are You Preaching to the Converted?” was a classic one!!

  6. well having a new blog that I don’t know how to promote, I will be interested in this!

  7. Ah, more anticipation.

    I can’t wait!!!!

  8. Darren,

    I think you just gave up a secret! The way you are promoting this series. Subscribe and don’t miss an installment about how I’d promote my blog today. lol.

  9. Great. So he gave a perfect example of creating anticipation.

    Now we all have to come back to get the tips. LOL

  10. The real secret (the only one that works, I find) is to get your blog noticed by the right people. And the way to do this is, I’m afraid, to break a major story that gets into the national or international press. Print. That way people will come looking for you.

    The second best method is to get links from sites such as gawker, boingboing, lgf and other sites with hundreds of thousands of daily visitors, and also the websites of major news organisations. But again, you have to have something worth saying, or something new. But if you’ve got it, they want to know.

  11. Gosh, I love reading smart posts…and implementing them too! I caught this post while in the middle of writing my current article; methinks I’ll give it now an extra tweakie to build up anticipation. Thanks muchly Darren!!


  12. I’m glad to read your words and introduce your way to our blogger team.

  13. I cant wait to read your thoughts darren, im totally into learning more and more everyday! Your blog is a great source to learn from and I thank God that he showed it to me!

  14. Well Darren – I have to say that I love and hate these suspense posts both at the same time.

    But, I understand what you’re saying about preaching to the converted – even though I did just go out and get the biggest, in your face RSS button possible.

    So, I’m really looking forward to your posts on how to attract new subcribers.

  15. I’m really looking forward to this series!

    I have spent most of my blogging life learning about my chosen topic area, building content and learning CSS. Now though – I am almost ready to start trying to build my audience through other avenues than search engines.

  16. Great Post—You couldn’t be starting this series at a better time, at least for me. My new blog is just now getting off the ground so I’m very excited to see what you advice is for promotion.

  17. I completely agree with you points on not over preaching to your loyalists. We made a design change a few months back that only pushed the newsletter sign-up on anonymous visitors.

    Regulars (authenticated) visitors didn’t get the newsletter sales pitch on every page. If they have signed up for the site, they have already either accepted or declined our newsletter, so why keep bothering them?

    Good to hear our approach makes sense from someone else… =)

  18. BTW – Nice anticipation move in this post! ;-)

  19. The thing about anticipation is the you must deliver the goods. Here’s hoping you do in the next few days. : )

  20. Whilst this does make sense, I find that often you have no way of separating your new readers from your existing readers.

    If for example you write a killer post on your blog and that gets sumbitted to StumbleUpon, that could bring in a whole bunch of NEW people to your blog, but at the same time, that post has also gone out to your RSS feed as normal.

    Also, many regular readers will not necessarily use RSS but will still read your blog regularly just by visiting the home page which is the exact same way that other people will often find your site.

  21. Aaaargh!! I hate the cliffhanger, but I admit to doing it too. And obviously you know whay you’re talking about, because you got me to subscribe to your blog! : D

  22. Seriously. What a tease. It definitely worked though. Judging by the reactions in these comments, we’re hooked.

  23. Thanks for the great opener for what I know will be a very informative and helpful post.
    Question…. I would love to know how you create the nifty little graphics in your posts. Thanks in advance!

  24. Looking forward to hearing more. As you said, New readers are always key, which I am one. This is a facinating field and I look forward to any good advice that comes my way. THANKS.

  25. An excellent post, and you have definitely created a sense of anticipation to me now. I shall certainly be back to read all of these posts, which is exactly the kind of behavior all blog owners want to create, so cant wait for the other posts.

  26. I have recently changed my advertising strategy with Entrecard by purchasing more adverts on topics closely aligned to my niche, but not directly in my category. This leads to increased readership as people from different perspecitives come across my blog. Before, I was only buying adverts in my same category and found out quickly that wasn’t a quick way to convert new readers to subscribers.

  27. I fell off the cliff. In fact, I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Now I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. ;)

  28. I would like to know if this blog provide anything regards people who own forums…?

  29. “Incentivize” – even if that isn’t a real word, I thing you understand what I am saying.

    I have made an effort to reward people for sending visitors to my site by embedding their affiliate id in any of my products I have. Nothing like sharing a little good old fashion money to get the readership levels up.



  30. When can we expect the rest of the posts? I, uh – guess I’m going to have to check back.

  31. nice post thanks :)

    Im sure that million’s are asking the same question at each second … but really its so hard to start over ;)

  32. I would be very keen to know how long it would take you to get your 30k+ subscription level in todays busier blogosphere if you were starting out again, I am prepared to bet the slog would be longer and more arduous.

  33. Whoa! I fell, too. Nice. The articles in ProBlogger.net have been great for this new blogger–I will now go practice the art of the cliffhanger. Thanks to both the authors and to those posting comments: I am learning from all of you!

    Keep on blogging ~

  34. Darren – why don’t you start a new blog and show us in real time how your strategy for promoting a new blog will be implemented? Or pick up one of your (or b5 media’s) many existing blogs and apply your strategy to grow that blogs readership by x% by implementing some of your ideas in today’s crowded blogspace.

    The one concern I have with all the expert or pro-bloggers out there is that a lot of their ideas are great in theory and they probably worked because they started many years ago when the blogosphere was much smaller – but when it comes to practice, new bloggers (without all those years of experience and technical know-how) can not even come close to replicating the theoretical results.

    All this being said, I do think your blog provides some excellent practical ideas (it was one of the reasons I started blogging). I would just like to see the theoretical ideas be implemented in practice.

    Look forward to reading the upcoming posts!


  35. Great post :) I love your analogy about the dirt, some readers are definitely dirty ;)

  36. You tease! I am dying to read what comes next. Good job with the cliffhanger. :) I have a new blog (more personal than biz) and will be launching a new blog next week that I hope to sell products on. I can use all the help I can get. :)

  37. I’m very much looking forward to this series. Surprisingly, despite the amount of meta-bloggers out there, where to find new visitors seems to be a very neglected topic.

    I anticipate that the success of the series will depend heavily on finding techniques that can be used for all bloggers. For example, getting to the front page of Digg can often quite easy for a tech blog while a rather difficult challenge for a more “mundane” topic like finance or education.

    Best of luck :)

  38. Curse you and your darn anticipation. Heh, look forward to the posts :)

  39. Darren,

    Definitely you got my attention, looking forward to reading more about this topic.


  40. This post came out just in time for me. I have an older blog that’s very much a niche affair, but I’ve just launched a brand new blog with a potentially much larger audience, and I’m either doing well with it or on the verge of making some of the mistakes you’re talking about here. For example, I’m running a subscriber contest for ad space, but we’ll see how it goes. On any given day I think it’s the best idea I ever had or the online equivalent of a Public Television telethon. I guess the results will educate me one way or the other.

  41. This post made me think about something from band operations that could be applied to blogging. That is fans bringing new fans to live shows. As blogging isn’t really the same as a live show I thought about it for a few minutes and here is how I would variate it.

    Set-up some sort of referal option i.e. “so and so refered me to your blog and I subscribed.” You could then run some sort of benefit for those who refer so many new subscribers.

    Then something I have been playing with this week for blog promotions and am still undecided though it has been great. Is combining analytics to see where my readers are from then posting on craigslist in a low reader area parts of my most popular blog posts.

  42. Looking forward to the series of posts Darren. I am just finishing the final touches on my new (first) blog so the timing could not be better.

  43. Talk about a teaser. Can’t wait to read what you have to say tomorrow Darren. Hope you are doing well!

  44. Wow, disappointment and great desire to come back and read what you have to say. I do agree with Andy though, how about starting new blog and show us newbies how to do it right.

    Don’t tell us…lead us!

    Dimitri Nosarev

  45. I’ve been wondering about this myself. It’s timely! I can’t wait!

  46. You really got me curious. I have been reading you blog for about 7 months now and I am finally leaving a comment. I think you really do a great job trying to communicate really information. Some of those ‘most’ popular blogs I just don’t get. Thanks for you time and dedication and I cant wait to read the followups.

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  47. Dave Eaves says: 03/11/2008 at 3:45 pm

    Excellent practicing of what you are preaching.

  48. I will stay tunned. I think i really need to start new as a blogger again.. lolz

  49. We are all eagerly waiting.

    Leader foot prints are always followed.

  50. Look forward to reading these as I am starting two new blog/ websites (Kick2Kick & WotUThink) and so I will be eagarly awaiting these articles/ insights.


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