This is a bit of a departure from my usual recipes, but I've finally got around to writing a blog post about blogging.
Jam and Clotted Cream has been in existence for very nearly 9 years now, which is a miracle in itself as I'm not usually one for sticking at something that long - I must really love it! Although it's still just a hobby for me (I'm a Town Planner in 'real life'), I feel I've acquired a lot of knowledge on the subject of blogging over the last few years and thought it was about time I shared some of that with newbie bloggers out there or people who are thinking about starting a blog.
With so much competition in the blogosphere, I learnt the hard way that even if you write the most amazing post with fantastic photo's, without promotion, it wont go anywhere. Over time I developed a 10 point checklist for myself to work through once I hit that publish button and I've found it really useful in keeping me focused. After all, there's no point posting my recipes online if no-ones going to read them. As a food blogger, you'll notice a couple of the points are very specific to promoting recipes but no matter what your blogging niche, I hope you find it useful too!
Pin the blog post for later...
Let's take this delicious Vanilla Raspberry Bundt cake and I'll show you what I did to promote it once I hit publish.
10 THINGS I DO AFTER HITTING PUBLISH
- Save a pinnable image of the recipe to Pinterest. I then use a link back to the pinned image in other social posts on Facebook and Google+ (e.g Pin the recipe for later 'INSERT LINK TO PIN' ). If you don't know how to create a pinnable image, take a look at this blog post from What Katy Said. Like Katy, I also use PicMonkey, and since she wrote her post, Pinterest have made it even easier to create Pinterest friendly images by adding a 'Pinterest Pin' crop function in the basic edits.
- Publish a picture of the recipe on Instagram and change the link in my bio to a link of the recipe I'm promoting. In terms of hashtags, I use about 7 key targeted hashtags in my post and then in the comments I might paste in some general hashtags such as #easyrecipe #homecooked #comfortfood. I have a list of these general hashtags saved in a google doc which I can access from my phone and I just copy and paste this into the comments as soon as I've published the Instagram photo.
- Schedule a post for Facebook using Buffer (Buffer tells you the best times to publish on different social channels so you can set up a schedule which optimises exposure). I generally don't pay to boost my posts but I may make an exception for a commissioned post. Facebook is my second biggest referrer so this point is an important one for me.
- Send a tweet with a link and picture of the recipe and schedule in a few more over the coming few days (I use Buffer for this but there are other social schedulers out there like Meet Edgar - unfortunately I can't justify the expense but I know several pro bloggers love it).
- Blogger automatically posts new blog posts to my Google+ Brand Page but I also like to publicise it on my personal Google+ profile and more importantly share on the various communities I belong to e.g. Food Bloggers and Cooking & Baking.
- Save the post to Stumble Upon and then click again to actually stumble it. For a long time I just saved the post not knowing I needed to click again to stumble it. I use the SumoMe social share buttons on my blog to do this.
- Save the recipe to Yummly, which is basically a digital recipe box that people can search through.
- Save the very BEST image I have of the recipe to Foodgawker, which is an online photo gallery that allows visual search and discovery of new recipes... and then I pray my photo gets accepted. Since I started using my 50mm prime lens on my Canon (and using the DIY lightbox that hubby made me) over 90% of my photo's are accepted. I get a lot of traffic from Foodgawker so I'm trying really hard to improve my photography and my aim is to get 100% of my photo's published by the end of the year.
- Bloggers love a linky and I'm no exception. There are LOADS out there (this article from Tots100 lists a good number of them that you can link up to) but I always make sure I link up to A Mummy Too's #recipeoftheweek as I get the most traffic from this one.
- To help the post gain traction, the day I publish it I use threads on several Facebook groups I belong to (e.g. Bloggers Helping Each Other and Blogger Club UK) to help promote it. I'd really recommend joining these groups if you're a blogger. You can add your blog post link and also social links to the various different daily threads and other bloggers will share, like, RT, Pin it, comment etc for you...and you reciprocate for them. You rely on people completing the threads on time and unfortunately as with everything in life there are a very small minority of bloggers who let the side down on this front (which I'm happy to ignore rather than naming and shaming like some people do). In general though they are well run and well managed by the admins.
It's also worth pointing out that engagement is really important in the blogging world too, so make sure you join in debates and conversations on your social channels and not just be known a link dumper. If my real life job was blogging and not planning, I would double my efforts on the engagement front but as it is I try and do a little bit every day if I can.
So that's my list! What do you do to publicise your blog posts? Is there anything I'm missing?
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