I am coming up on the one year anniversary for my personal blog, Toronto Uncovered, and it started me thinking about how far I've come in the past year and how much I've learned about blogging. Since my blog's focus is Toronto, I have a lot of competition. There are tons of well established blogs devoted to Toronto news and reviews (BlogTO, Torontoist, Spacing, and the list goes on), not to mention all of the general websites (Toronto.com, Toronto.ca) that provide similar information. That being said, I love my blog; I love writing about Toronto and I try and take a different approach from competing sites. With so much online competition, I have had to work extra hard at getting my blog noticed. Blogger outreach (how to get your news noticed and covered on blogs) is a hot topic among PR and marketing professionals, but as a new blogger, I have had to do a lot reaching out myself. If you're having a hard time getting traffic to your site, maybe these ideas will help:
First and foremost, don't be shy! Whenever I am at an event that I want to cover or researching people, products, or places to write about, I introduce myself to the people closest to my topic. Restaurant managers, shop owners, yoga teachers, whoever. Ill often e-mail them questions or let them know what I'm setting out to do so that I can get as much help and input as I need.
Second, make a habit of sending the link to your post to the people it features. Everyone likes to see a write up about themselves, no matter how big or small your site. More often than not, they will post it to their own website or Facebook fan pages, increasing awareness and traffic to your blog.
Third, distribute across as many relevant channels as you can. Find the sites that cater to your audience and start there. Also get active on social media channels. I distribute my posts to both Twitter and Facebook because I know the topics I write about are relevant to that audience.
Communications is really all about building relationships and those relationships go both ways. In the last few months, I have received more invites to Toronto events, and pitches to check out diverse Toronto-based companies and products. I attribute this to my ongoing outreach efforts. Until you get enough content and traffic on your blog to be able to rely on the powers of Google alone, put some effort into reaching out to your community. It'll pay off!
What kind of outreach are you doing? Any more tips for new bloggers?