Updated: Nov 28, 2021
Many writers are poor marketers.
It’s an unfortunate fact given that growing and connecting with your readership is half the fun of putting content into the world.
Finding readers is perhaps even harder for businesses, who often write about technical subjects that friends and family don’t care about. It begs the hard question: How do you make sure the right people find your blog posts?
Fortunately, promoting your blog online doesn’t have to be challenging. When you know where your target readers spend their time, all you have to do is click Share. I’ve compiled this list of distribution channels to take the work out of blog promotion.
Some of these points are obvious. Hopefully others will equip you with new promotional practices to add to your repertoire.
Before you click publish
1. Create teaser posts
Write a post to your social media followers that says something like this:
“I’m really excited about an article I’m writing about _____. What are some questions you have about that topic that I can try to answer in the blog?”
Get early interest in your blog before it’s even finished. Keep track of all the people who like, comment, or share the short teaser content. As soon as your post goes live, you can direct message it to everyone who showed interest to make sure they don’t miss it.
2. Get others to weigh in
Writing a journalism-style piece? Interview some experts in your field. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to give you a few quick comments for your article when you ask.
When the article is published, tag the featured interviewees in the shared post on social media. Many people will happily spread the article with their personal networks.
3. Become a contributing writer to Medium publications
Contact a handful of your favorite topical publications on Medium. Ask their editors if you can be added as a contributing writer.
Sometimes all a publication needs to see is some of your past writing. If your content is good and relevant, they may give you permission to suggest articles for consideration.
(More on this in point #23.)
4. Optimize for virality
Even today, many bloggers spend hours fine tuning an article, only to publish their content with the first title that comes to mind.
Next to publishing high-quality, share-worthy content, creating a click-batey title is one of the most important steps you can take to make your article get more shares and clicks.
Think of at least 5 potential titles for the post. Have a colleague or fellow writer come up with additional titles. If you have access to a team, run all the titles by your team to vote on their favorite title (or present additional options).
Publish using the most popular title.
5. Optimize for search
SEO is a big topic — too big to cover in an article like this.
Suffice it to say, do your keyword research. If you use WordPress, pay attention to recommendations in Yoast.
The foundations of good SEO are to produce high-quality, informative articles, complete with keywords that Google would expect to see in an article like the one you're writing.
For a comprehensive introduction to SEO, I like the Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz.
The day your post goes live [fast tactics]
And yes, I had to start with some of the basics. Don’t give me a hard time for listing the obvious distribution channels.
You can skip to point #11 if you don’t want to hear some of the obvious social media points.
6. Share your article on Twitter
Tag anyone you may have written about or interviewed in the article. Use 2 or 3 good hashtags.
After a few days, click to retweet it — give it that last oomph. Use the search bar to look for people who may have shared your article and retweet/like their posts.
7. Share your article on LinkedIn
Again, tag any featured guests. Use some hashtags.
8. Share your article on Facebook
You know the drill: tag your featured guests. Remember to thank your aunt when she leaves a comment.
9. Share your article on Instagram
There are two ways to do this. You can share your article under an image or in your Instagram story. The link, of course, goes in the bio. Some people also enjoy using LinkTree to share multiple links at once.
10. Share your article with your newsletter followers
Another obvious one: share your article with the people who’ve already subscribed to your email list.
11. Send to newsletter curators
Many topical newsletters will curate news that’s going on in their communities. This is an opportunity to get your blog featured in front of a large newsletter following.
If you follow newsletters that regularly showcase the accomplishments of followers, try submitting your article for consideration. I’ve had multiple blog posts picked up by newsletters by simply pitching them to the curator. Often they’re excited to feature your article in the next newsletter, distributing your article to a potentially large audience.
12. Submit your article to Quora Spaces
Quora Spaces are communities on Quora that are organized around specific topics. People follow the Spaces they’re interested in — say, “writing” — and curators select content to show their followers of that Space.
People within the community can recommend articles that curators then choose to share with the group. If you share a good article with a relevant Space, it may get shared to an audience tens of thousands strong.
When your article goes live, simply search for relevant Quora Spaces and share your link with the group. From research to sharing, it can take less than 2 minutes.
Want to go more in-depth? I wrote a full article about how to use Quora Spaces for distribution.
13. Submit your article to Hacker News
Submitting to Hackers News is simple. You know that. You go to the site, share the link, and hope your article gets voted to the front page.
I don’t even go to the website. I use their bookmark feature. Essentially, if you’re starting from your blog, just click the Post to HN bookmark. You’ll be taken to another page, with the link already inserted and ready to upload. Just click Submit.
14. Submit your article to Zest.Is
Zest.is is a curated article platform. Many people in the startup space use Zest.is to comb through the huge number of articles published every day about topics like starting a business and marketing.
Submitting an article for consideration is very simple. Just get the Google Extension. From your blog, click the extension and the link will automatically upload. All you have to do is click Suggest.
If your article is accepted, it will be sent to a curated audience.
15. Email or DM your article (without being spammy)
When you write for everyone, you end up appealing to no one.
Since you’re already writing your article to a highly tailored audience, there are probably a handful of people who come to mind as you write it. When your article is published, consider sending it to them directly.
Send a message or email — something like this:
Just letting you know I was thinking of our conversation a few weeks ago as I wrote this post. Your insight particularly informed how I wrote point #6.
Make it friendly. Tell them why it may be relevant to them. Don’t use assuming messaging like “tell me your favorite point!” because it comes across as spammy.
The day your post goes live cont. [more time intensive]
16. Repurpose your article for Quora
Quora is a great place to use your content to answer people’s questions directly, but doing it right takes some energy.
Find already-popular questions along the topic of your article. It helps if there are already a few popular answers to the question. Your goal will be to create an even better answer using content from your article.
I usually try to summarize the key points of my article. Obviously the answer should be tailored to the specific question — it seldom works to just copy-paste.
Once you’ve written your summary post, link your original article at the bottom of your answer. I usually say, “You can find more information in my original article on this topic.”
Do this on multiple topical posts. You may get some traction. Quora may even email your answer to their subscriber lists, like the time my answer was emailed to 100K people.
17. Repurpose your article for Facebook groups
Repurposing the content of your article for Facebook groups is not something you can do without prior investment in the group.
Most reputable Facebook groups are strict about self-promotional content. They’ll kick you out of a group fast. That means you have to invest a lot into a group before you ever start mentioning things you’ve written.
Once you’ve built a good reputation within the group, look for opportunities to be helpful and answer questions.
If someone asks a question that you’ve answered in a previous article, use some of the key points of the article to answer the question directly in the comment. At the bottom of the response, softly plug the original article by saying, “you can learn more about this topic here: <link>.”
Again, this takes tact. Even that level of subtlety will get you kicked out of Facebook groups. Proceed with patience and self-awareness.
18. Create a graphic for Pinterest
Turn the main points of your article into a succinct graphic or infographic. You can embed this graphic into the original article to give more imagery to your original blog post. But you can also publish the graphic to Pinterest to get even more traction for your article.
Pinterest has an internal search engine. With the right keywords, your graphic can make your article evergreen on the platform, driving traffic to your website for months or years after it goes live. Pay particular attention to the words along the top of the screen when you search, as these are related keywords you may want to use in your post.
19. Repurpose for Reddit
Similar to repurposing for Facebook groups, repurposing an article for Reddit requires tact. You can easily get booted from a subreddit for being too self-promotional.
The key is to offer sound advice within Reddit text threads — in other words, don’t make people click a link to get your advice. Answer questions along the topic of your article. At the bottom of your answer, subtly link the original post.
The best practice is to give value without making people leave Reddit.com. As long as people see you’re honestly there to help, they won’t call you out for promoting your blog — mostly, anyway.
20. Send to journalists and bloggers
Type your topic into Google. Sort the results by clicking “News.” Who’s been writing about your subject recently?
Click on a few articles and discover who the journalists and bloggers are. If their contact information is easy to find (hint: many journalists make their email address public on Twitter), send them a fast email.
I see you write a lot about Twitter. I loved your recent piece about the future of Twitter. I thought you might like my new article about getting more followers.
Short, sweet, personal, and to the point.
A week after your post goes live
21. Republish for Hackernoon
Many techie conversations take place on Hackernoon. Your SaaS blog article can be a nice contribution.
Hackernoon allows republished articles. Simple copy-paste the contents of your article into a new draft. In the settings, you can fill in the First Seen At box to tell the algorithm that this is a republished story.
One of the benefits of republishing on Hackernoon is the forum feature. Articles can easily spark larger forum-style conversations, resulting in more opportunities to expound upon points or arguments from the article.
22. Republish on Thrive Global
While Thrive Global isn’t a good place for technical pieces, it can be a reputable place to publish thought leadership-style SaaS articles and productivity hacks. If you have opinions about the tech industry, workplace wellbeing, or work-life balance, your article might perform well on Thrive Global.
Plus, it’s a reputable site that most people don’t realize is a mostly-open blogging platform. They have parameters and will turn down irrelevant or smarmy articles, but they’re also fairly easy to publish on. The traction you get can be surprising.
23. Republish your article on Medium
Returning to the discussion I opened in #3, Medium is a great place to republish a blog post. Most notably, when you republish, you can choose to submit your article for consideration at Medium publications.
If a large Medium publisher like The Startup picks up your piece, they’ll put it in front of their half a million subscribers.
24. Republish your article on LinkedIn Pulse
LinkedIn is like many search engines. It tries to deter users from driving traffic away from their own site. There are theories that publishing an article direct to LinkedIn gives your content better reach.
You can republish your article to LinkedIn Pulse, complete with images, a link back to the original article, and heading tags. It’s an easy way to possibly get more people to read and interact with your article.
25. Share your article in various LinkedIn Groups
Whenever I publish an article on LinkedIn Pulse, I follow it up by sharing the article to relevant LinkedIn groups. Often these groups have 10,000+ members. If it’s a strong article, LinkedIn groups can be a great place to give an extra boost to your published content.
Plus, you might gain a few followers along the way.
A note about republishing
When you republish to outlets like LinkedIn, Medium, and Thrive Global, the process resets. You can literally start from the beginning of this article and start implementing many of these tactics a second time.
Share your republished article to Twitter, Facebook, and beyond. You can garner even more traction using the same tactics, making your content go even farther.
The secret to blog promotion is two-fold. On one hand, you want to know the distribution tactics that will position your blog posts in front of the largest possible audience. On the other hand, you want your content to build upon itself over time.
That second part comes down to audience retention. Every time you write an article, it’s important to make it easy for readers to follow more of your work in the future.
Create a simple email list or nudge people to follow your work on LinkedIn or Medium. By putting these nudges into place early, your distribution power grows over time. Your personal audience expands, opening new distribution opportunities and providing you more readers for less work.
Interested in more ideas for promoting your content? Subscribe to my newsletter for a checklist with over 30 ideas for promoting your blog. Plus, every week I’ll send additional tips for promoting your content online.