This is the start of a new series on the JI where I discuss tips on how to blog. These will usually be short, down-and-dirty tips.
If you’ve just started a blog, you’re probably wondering, “how do I get people to read my blog?”
Sure, you can tell your friends and colleagues about it. You can e-mail prominent bloggers and ask them to mention your new blog or to add you to their blogroll. You can post about your new blog on Twitter and Facebook.
All fine, but if you really want your blog to get noticed (especially if it’s an independent blog), you need to join the community. If you’re blogging about journalism, start mixing it up on other journalism blogs.
When I first started blogging, I went out and found the top journalism bloggers, read their blogs and started interacting with them. Every time I left a comment, I made sure to leave my real name and my blog address. Most blog commenting systems ask for a user to leave their name, e-mail address and URL, if applicable.
So, when I leave a comment on Mindy McAdam’s fabulous Teaching Online Journalism blog my name shows up and my name is a link back to my blog. People who find my comments thoughtful or who want to learn more about me will click on my name. This started sending my blog traffic and still does.
This also started getting my name and my blog’s name out there. How are people supposed to find my blog otherwise? Grass roots marketing is the best way to build a following.
If you have a blog and you post under an alias like “longtime journalist,” you’re making a huge mistake. Use your real name every time you post on a blog or other relevant Web site. Link back to your site.
Get that Google juice working. This advice primarily applies to when you are interacting within your own online community, but won’t hurt when you post on other sites either (as long as you don’t leave flame bait all other the Internet). I’m active in the journalism blogging community, and I always use my real name when I post comments in the community.
Keep in mind that some of the best marketing you could ever do for your blog is to go to other blogs and Web sites that are in the community you want to join and start posting under your real name with a link back to your blog. This may seem so simple, but it really is a great way to drive traffic.
When you first start off, I would really try to leave comments on several blogs everyday. Leave thoughtful comments that add to the discussion. Respond to other users, leave links to interesting content you find on the Web and add something to the conversation.
Just remember, however, that this only applies to those who leave thoughtful comments. Stuff like, “Great post, check out my Web site!” does not fit the bill.