Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How well do you market yourself or your blog?

I've been writing Fluttering Butterflies for well over 7 years now. And it's only recently that I came to a very important realisation... and that is that I am absolutely CRAP at marketing either myself or this blog. I can't begin to count how many times I've been at a bookish event surrounded by other bookish people (librarians, booksellers, authors, other bloggers) who had probably never heard of my blog before.  And during the course of these events I'd have conversations with these people and the subject of my blog would come up. Here is a typical example:

Interested bookish person: And you write a book blog? I've not heard of it before, is it successful?
Me: I do okay. *quickly changes subject*

Once, I even had a lovely author (who I'm going to assume marketing herself and her books is somewhat of a requirement) jump into one of these conversations in which I was doing everything in my power NOT to be the center of attention and she sang my praises. Mentioned that I'd won awards, that I'd been doing this blogging thing awhile, that a lot of bloggers and authors and publicists know who I am, said a bit about my focus on Awesome Women and UKYA and Love month. And I just stood there silently. And afterwards I thought to myself 'why the hell didn't *I* say all that?'

Word of mouth 

So, I'm pretty much failing at the whole tooting my own horn thing. My family on the whole do not know of my blog. Many of my friends don't either. I've only recently started giving out the blog address to people that I know. The looks on their faces when I tell them I've been blogging for over 7 years is always interesting. Especially because it's a huge part of my life and I just never mention it to people. I'm not sure how many of my friends or family would regularly read my blog even if they knew that I did it? But that isn't a great excuse for why I don't tell people.

Have you ever googled ways to get more blog followers or more traffic to your blog? I have. I lap up those articles with top 10/30/50 Best Things To Do lists. And then I ignore nearly all of their tips and advice.

Business cards and link to blog in email signature
 
I've been to many events since I started blogging. I meet lots of new people at these places and every single time I'm at an event, I'll meet someone new. Somebody nice and interesting and I think 'I must go home and bookmark this person's blog/website address' and if they have a business card, all the easier. I love receiving someone's business card. Me on the other hand, I never promote myself at events, even when asked. I have a bunch of pretty business cards (that N made for me for the sole purpose of handing out at bookish events) that I also never give out. I feel shy and self-conscious about these things.

I've gone as far as including a link to my blog in my email signature and called it a day. What can I say? I don't like being showy about certain things. It's something that I need to get over already.

Commenting on other blogs 

I do pretty well with commenting on other blogs. I never think of it as 'networking' and I comment on the blogs in which I think I have something to say or add and while I hope comments will be incentive for that blogger to also visit my site and comment, I don't generally think of it in those terms. And I've never stopped reading or commenting on a blog because they've never visited/commented on my blog either.

There are lots of people out there who comment on blogs and end their comments with a link to their blog. I find that sometimes to be annoying but mostly I find it helpful as it's one easy click away to someone else's blog and I always think to myself that I just do that more often. Never do though.

RSS feeds

I know that I am not the best at putting it out there for readers to easily know the different ways of reading my blog. I should be. I should at least mention occasionally that you can follow me via BlogLovin' easily. I use Feedly and you can follow me on there if that's your preference.  Perhaps I should have a link in my sidebar for easy access to that?

Giveaways

One of the biggest ways that I've seen bloggers promote themselves is by giving extra entries in giveaways for things like following their blog, following them on twitter or liking a Facebook page. And while I can see the appeal of all these extra followers, I've never done it.  I read someone say years ago that they'd prefer to gain followers because of their own good content and the readability of their blog and I liked the sentiment of that.  But sometimes I also curse myself and my stupid ideals when I see other blogs gaining 100s of GFC followers and likes on their Facebook page during a giveaway and when I look back and realise that I haven't had a significant increase in any of my followers in a long time.

Twitter 

I am on Twitter. I don't think I use it to its full potential.  I'll mention a current blog post on Twitter occasionally, more if it's a guest post, blog tour, interview or giveaway. But I don't do timed tweets. I don't use hashtags to their full potential. I don't always link publishers into my reviews. I don't think I'm overly original or interesting in the way I tweet about my blog posts either. I do try my best to tweet about other interesting things, to help promote other blogger's or author's posts, but I think I could do more for my own possibly.

Facebook

Ah, Facebook. As I mentioned previously, not many friends of family know about my blog. Therefore, I don't update my personal Facebook page with links to my blog posts. I'm even shy about sending friend requests to other book bloggers or authors I know.

I do have a Fluttering Butterflies Facebook page that I update regularly and where I try to add content that isn't found on this blog. And while I do have several lovely readers who 'like' my status updates and comment on it often, it still has less than 100 'likes' and I don't know how to bump up that number in a non-annoying manner. It doesn't even automatically link to my current blog posts anymore!

StumbleUpon

All of the articles I've read about getting more traffic/followers to a blog recommend StumbleUpon. I'll admit, I logged onto it just now to see if this time would be any different ... and I still don't know how it works. It's too confusing for me and I hate that I just don't get it. I certainly don't use StumbleUpon to boost my traffic, though I remember that once, I did get a lot of traffic when someone else highlighted one of my posts.

Tumblr

Yes, I have a Tumblr account. And yes, I do check it ... maybe once or twice every few months. Only once in all of that time did I try to use that account (and my paltry number of followers) to promote a blog post. Mostly it's all funny gifs, right? I think if I were updating more and had more followers there than it might be more useful, but I can't see myself putting in that much effort to build a new following.

Pinterest

No. Just no. I know lots of people who use it. And I do get hits from Pinterest boards, which I'm thankful for. But I just don't want to do it. I don't want to take part in another online community where I'll be sucked into a time-waste. I just don't wanna. You can't make me.

YouTube

The BookTubing community is one that I've been hearing a lot about. Mostly it's other book bloggers that are concerned that BookTubers are becoming more widely known over book blogs. And that maybe book blogs are going out of fashion based on the popularity these BookTubers are gaining? Is all that true? I don't know. Creating vlogs is still something that I'd like to do (my YouTube channel), and I'd like to dip my toes in the BookTubing community ... will it lead to more traffic or readers of this blog? I'm thinking no, but it could still be fun.

Other online communities

 Can you think of other online communities that you're part of that you could utilise better? I have lots of friends on GoodReads. I'm part of the Nerdfighter community. Do I use either of these places to promote myself or my blog? Why are you surprised that the answer is still 'no' hmm?

So, what do you say? How well do you market yourself or your blog?

30 comments:

  1. Excellent post Clover! Networking is so hard especially in this part of the world because I think we have an insecurity and sense that promoting yourself is obnoxious but it's not! It's difficult to get over tho! Your blog is fab tho so scream it from the rooftops!! ;-)

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    1. Thanks Danielle! And you're so right - it is hard and I do sometimes feel like I'm being obnoxious when I try to promote my blog! ...Will do my best to let it go :)

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  2. This post has really hit home. I've been feeling very bleh about my blog recently but you've reminded me that it's something I'm proud of and that I should promote. I'll be looking into all of the methods you've mentioned today! Also, ALL of your posts are awesome and deserve ample promotion. You've reminded me how much I'd like to help others promote too and I'll be in touch re. a feature in that vein soon! xx

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    1. Your blog is amazing and you definitely need to be proud of it! Glad this post has helped with whatever it is :) I'll be looking forward to hearing from you!

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  3. I have business cards but I've never given them to anyone. I also have my link in the signoff in emails, mostly for publishers. Like you, I don't really like selling myself like that, no matter how proud of my blog I am! Very interesting post Clover, like it :)

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    1. Thanks Anya! I hope you manage to get over your hesitance in promoting yourself and your blog as well!

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  4. Great post, Clover!

    I probably don't do enough to promote my blog - mainly because it's so time consuming. I have links in my email signature and I utilise twitter a lot, but not much else on a day to day basis. My blog links automatically to Facebook but apart from that I'm not a fan of FB and I never check it. Like you, I've never figured out Stumbleupon.It's a mystery!

    I do include extra entries in a lot of my giveaways and for me at least it's not all about increasing the GFC tally - it's more to do with getting the blog name out there/circulating around social networks/getting a wider readership so I think that works well as a promotion tool.

    Not a lot of offline people know about my blog - my sister and my boyfriend but that's about it.I've never even thought of having business cards for my blog but then I don't really attend events as they're all in the UK and I'm in Ireland, so I wouldn't have much use for them. :)

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    1. I'm surprised that most people are saying that they don't talk about their blogs with people they know. Very surprised. Isn't a big part of our lives?!

      I think no book events would be the saddest thing ever. I'm sad on your behalf!

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  5. I totally hear you! I'm truly terrible at promoting my blog. I occasionally remember to link to my blog posts on Facebook, and sometimes other things. My Twitter is mostly automated updates from Goodreads, which I'm sure isn't bringing in any followers. And while I have lots of friends on Goodreads, no one ever likes my reviews there, so that would suggest that no one is clicking through to my blog from there either. Le sigh. Definitely need to work on this!

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    1. Oh I hear you about having a gazillion friends on Goodreads .. all of whom are not reading my reviews there :( I don't know. It's something interesting to think about anyway. I'm not sure how much I'll do moving forward from this post...

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  6. Fantastic post Clover! I only just discovered your blog but I'm liking it so far, I'll be sure to check out more in a minute. :)

    Ann@Blogging E-books

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    1. Oh thank you :) That's lovely to hear!

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  7. Great post :) I'm not good at marketing myself either or networking. It is time consuming and that puts me off a bit. I try to nip on Bloglovin and Feedly once a day hence how I found this post. I don't get StumbledUpon and got fed up with LinkedIn. Nice to know that a lot of folks know your blog is out there :)

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    1. Oh, LinkedIn. I try to avoid all things LinkedIn! Seems a lot of us are in the same position..

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  8. Fantastic post (as always) - I too am terrible at promoting my blog (I can assure you you are doing way better at it than me!).

    All I have is an email signature, Facebook and Twitter. I've been to a few events but I fall into the listening to conversations category - rather than doing any networking :)

    The only thing I'd say that might help a little with Facebook is to get one of there 'like' buttons (where people can 'like' your blog without actually leaving it - takes one click if you're signed in.)

    You write fantastic posts and the world deserves to know about them!

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    1. Thank you, Jesse! It's strange with me at events. Sometimes I feel very uncomfortable and want to hide away somewhere and other times I'm at the other extreme and can't shut up. In both instances I'll leave that event and then kick myself for being so shy/obnoxious.

      The Facebook thing. That's a good idea! I shall look into that.

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  9. Fantastic post! God, I have so many opinions on this, but don't worry, I won't list them all here. Personally I don't do out of my way to market my blog, partly because I'm still undecided about what it actually is for and partly because of the reasons you've listed - I'm also not one to blow my own trumpet in general.

    I'm all for promoting myself for something that I do in a a professional capacity, but my blog feels like something personal to me. I love interacting with other bloggers, but I'm not overly fussed about page views etc. If anyone reads it, it's a bonus!

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    1. I totally want to hear your opinions on this! Seriously. I love this. All of us talking about blogging. I talk about blogging with a total of nobody!

      I can sort of see where you're going with the personal/business divide... Not sure if I totally agree but I'm still thinking about it!

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  10. fab post lovely. I really need to sort out proper cards for myself but I always worry it looks like I'm showing off or something.

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    1. I assure you, it NEVER looks like you're showing off. Seriously.

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  11. Such a great post! I'd just like to say that I don't think you've come across shy or obnoxious at events! I, too, don't tell a lot of real life people about my blog. It's not that I'm ashamed of it, more than I don't think its really good enough, or that people might laugh. Silly really.
    I'm not really sure I could be bold enough to hand out business cards. It would be interesting to see what publishers thought of them, whether they would like them.
    I do try and comment on blogs, but not for networking, more because if people write good posts I think they should be appreciated! I do use twitter quite a lot but not really any other form of social media. tumblr, pinterest, stumbleupon and all that.
    I think the interaction you have with authors and publishers shows by all the lovely guest posts you have, and that means more than having lots of followers in my opinion.

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    1. Thanks Debbie :) I know I'm not the best at viewing myself positively, especially after social gatherings!

      I think your blog is wonderful and you should definitely tell people about it! Have more confidence in the work that you put into it.

      Business cards! We've been talking about them on Twitter, so I don't have much more to say on the subject but I think they're quite good, especially if you chat to new people at events and things.

      I don't think I've met a single book blogger who really did utilise all of these other online opportunities for self-promotion! And look at the rest of the comments on this post, we're all in the same position :)

      I used to feel down about the number of followers I have in comparison to other bloggers but I'm over that now. I really strive more than anything to maintain a good level of interaction between me and my blog readers. I'd like more followers and page views and all of that, but it wouldn't mean as much without that interaction!

      Thank you for your lovely comment! :)

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  12. So interesting and kind of reassuring to read that bloggers feel much the same way about self-promotion as many authors! It can be pretty difficult if you're not normally the outgoing, get-out-there-and-in-people's-faces type. We're under a lot of pressure - probably most of it self-imposed - to get out there and build a platform, but it can feel like a pretty alien things to do, especially if you're a bit of an introvert like many of us bookish types!

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    1. Yes! I think it sort of an alien thing to do. I'm not the most confident or outgoing person so this sort of thing makes me shrivel up a little bit inside :)

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  13. I'm with you; networking and blog promotion is so difficult when you don't even know where to start! I have a twitter, and sometimes visit stumbleupon to promote my latest posts, but I have no idea if I'm utilising them to their full potential!

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    1. I think there's too much to consider now. All of my time is taken up with reading or actually writing blog posts. Plus commenting. Where am I meant to find the time for anything on top of this?! That has to be the reason that so many other bloggers/writers connect with this post!

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  14. The only way I really market myself is through Twitter and Google Plus. I link my blog posts on there occasionally but I'm not sure if people actually click them!

    I do comment a lot but like you, I don't consider it networking. I don't leave a link to my blog or ask them to follow me.

    I have a lot of links to social media on my blog but besides the aforementioned Google Plus and Twitter, I don't really use them for marketing. They're more for personal use but if people want to keep up with me there, an option for that is available!

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    1. I've never really considered Google Plus as a method for promotion... I really have no idea what it is or what to do with it :)

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  15. I too have read a lot about marketing (I've even been reading a textbook I got out of the library!) but haven't put much of it into practice. My Monday Amusements posts have helped a little - once I've featured someone, they're more likely to follow me back, on Twitter at least, and I get several retweets too.

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    1. I bet that textbook is interesting! That's interesting about Monday Amusements. It makes sense, now that you mention it..

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