Friend Friday: Blogger Self-Promotion

Remember when I used to do the Friday Five every week some weeks? To be honest, I barely remember it myself, for it was a long, long time ago (I can still remember how those questions used to make me smile…). I did enjoy the question and answer format, though, mostly because I am lazy, and it meant I didn’t have to think up an actual blog topic all by myself, so last week I found myself signing up for Modly Chic’s Friend Friday. You can read more about it here, but basically every week there’s a set of questions about fashion, or blogging, or both, and everyone who’s participating posts their answers. Simple, no?

Here’s a quick introduction to this week’s questions, from Modly Chic:

“Since many of you are participating in the 30 for 30 challenge you might have noticed a trend… more readers and more comments. But of those additional comments have you noticed that at least a handful of them are the generic spam-like ‘nice outfit’ ‘cute shoes’ etc… Don’t get me wrong I like comments but what’s up with that?

The thought about this hadn’t fully formed in my head until this morning when I read this post on Dressful about blogger self promotion. When is it too much? When are you doing it wrong? Of course that flipped my brain into overdrive and FBFF questions rolled out from there.”

And here are my answers:

1. How do you promote your blog?

Honestly? I pretty much don’t actively promote my blogs, other than posting links to them on Twitter and Facebook – oh, and my weekly link roundup on The Fashion Police where I link out to each site. In the case of my business blogs, we’ve mostly relied on search engine optimisation to gain traffic, and that’s worked for us. In the case of this blog, well, I’ve realised by now that it’s probably never going to be popular, so other than the aforementioned Twitter/Facebook links, I just leave it to fate. With the other sites, I’m hoping that will change next year when I’m looking at arranging my workload a little better so I have time to look into doing more active promotion – at the moment I’m always too busy creating content to think about anything else, and that really has to change, for the sake of my sanity if nothing else!

2. In your experience what has been the most effective form of self  promotion?

A large amount of our traffic these days comes from Facebook, so I guess I’d say that setting up a dedicated Facebook page for each blog has been the most effective thing I’ve done, this year at least. I’ve found that more and more of my readers seem to be abandoning RSS and bookmarks in favour of social media, so they’ll click on a link they see on Facebook/Twitter, but won’t necessarily make the effort to check a feed reader, or go to the blog directly to check for updates. The fact that all of my sites are interlinked via the banner at the top of each page is also pretty effective for us.

3. Do you think there is a wrong way to promote yourself and your blog?

Absolutely: most new bloggers seem to get the idea that the best way to gain readers is to post comments on other people’s blogs, and while that may well be true, the comments have to be genuine ones – comments that simply say, “Hi, check out my blog!” are spam, plain and simple, and no one likes a spammer. I also really hate all of the “please follow my blog and I’ll follow you back!” requests I get on IFB. Again, they just seem spammy and desperate, and I honestly can’t see the point of following someone purely so they follow you back. I’d much rather have a handful of followers who actually read my blog and comment on it than a million followers who’re there purely in the hope of boosting their own follower numbers. I think a lot of people seem to view it almost as a popularity contest: they’re not really interested in readers, they just want to be able to say, “ooh, look, I have x amount of followers!” and I think that’s missing the whole point of blogging.

4. When is comes to others pushing their product what annoys you?

Any kind of spam drives me crazy, but I get particularly annoyed when big-name brands do it. Earlier this year I had run-ins with a couple of household name brands (we’re talking multinational companies) who were posting blatant spam on The Fashion Police and Shoeperwoman . It really annoyed me, not only because I feel these companies should know better than to reduce themselves to the same level as a Viagra spammer, but because I’m a small business owner who relies on selling advertising on my sites to survive. When businesses try to sneak an advert on without paying for it, it almost feels like they’re stealing from me, and it’s just utterly disrespectful to use someone else’s website as a vehicle for your own self-promotion. I know they have huge advertising budgets, so the fact that they chose to spam me instead says a lot about both their business practices and the level of respect they have for bloggers: they’re happy to take advantage of our traffic, but they’re not about to give us anything in return. So there’s that.

5. In Dressful’s post on this topic earlier in the week she said, “It’s impossible to respect someone who wants all the attention, but adds nothing worthwhile to the conversation.” Do you agree?

Yes, absolutely: for me one of the best things about blogging is the community that builds up around a blog. When someone tries to use that community purely to help themselves, it’s a little depressing.

You can see everyone else’s answers to these questions at Modly Chic.


9 Comments

  • Tali says:

    Thanks for this interesting post. It’s only too short for my taste as I’d like to read much more about your expirience and anyway, read your writing)) I’m a fan.

    I guess for me visiting other blogs, reading and commenting is the way of getting to know other people, as I do it better/easier online than in real life, as sad as it is.
    Besides, this way I get the chance to read about/write to people I’d never meet in my normal everyday life without the help of the internet.
    And of course, all the information about fashion! I’m truly addicted, I read as many blogs as I can. Only now I realized how it feels to find something that really fascinates you.

    I guess my comment has not much to do with your post, but I just wanted to write it))

    And oh, I must thank Fashion Police for introducing the fashion blogging word to me. That was the first fashion blog I came around while googling for best/worst dressed at some Oscar ceremony. Then it was Shoeperwoman. Btw, Facebook links indeed are the best! Easiest way for me to see when new posts are published. And tweeter.

    And nothing remains but to apologize for so many letters) I’ll go now to read other bloggers answers)

    • Amber says:

      “Besides, this way I get the chance to read about/write to people I’d never meet in my normal everyday life without the help of the internet.”

      This is exactly what got me interested in blogs, too. I find it absolutely fascinating to get little insights into other people’s lives, especially people who’re living totally different lifes from me – it’s an education, and as you say, it can be such a great way to get to know people you’d otherwise never have known existed!

  • Minka says:

    I must say that FP was my first introduction into fashion blogging or in blogging in general, and it also inspired me to start my own fashion blog, unfortunately it’s not doing too well, I think I haven’t posted for more than a month now. I just have no free time whatsoever, you know, some of us still have regular jobs. :) I guess it would be wonderful, if I’d get payed for doing sth I love… :)

    • Amber says:

      I feel really lucky to be able to do something I love all day: it’s something I didn’t think I’d ever be able to pull off, so I’m constantly amazed that it did!

  • #3. Amen, amen, AMEN! I think we’re absolutely of the same ilk in terms of our blogging philosophies. Must be why I like you so much. :)

    ♥ V
    http://www.gritandglamour.com
    twitter: @gritandglamour

  • Nicola says:

    Question 5 reminded me of a couple of characters in Jane Eyre. (I’m re-reading it, so it’s fresh in my mind.)

    Self-promotion is really hard. I shrink from it, I kind of think that it’s a little bit un-British to be naturally good at promoting yourself, so we have to learn. I’ve had some examples of how not to do it on my blog, I wrote a post called ‘Hen Weekend Purchases’ which was just about some high street shopping I did while on a hen weekend, but companies who sell stupid hen night tat were drawn to it like moths to a flame. It’s months old and I still occasionally delete some hen-themed spam from that post, which no one else is reading apart from other hen night companies who are desperate to advertise their crappy products. Who knew that hen nights were such big business?

    • Amber says:

      They actually do that to try and improve their Google ranking, rather than in the hopes that someone will actually click on it: theoretically, the more links (from related sites) you have pointing towards your blog, with particular keywords as the link text, the higher you’ll rank in Google for those keywords. It’s still kind of pointless, though, because a lot of blogs use nofollow scripts in their comments, which stops Google following the links in them anyway, so there really is no point to it.

      The thing is, most blogs have a URL field in their comments, so if they took the time to leave a relevant comment, that actually contributed to the conversation, and didn’t use keywords as a name, I think people would be much more likely to click on it and maybe buy something from them. I know I never, ever click on a link from a spammer, because quite apart from anything else, I wouldn’t ever want to buy something from a business that spams people, but I would click on a link from another commenter, so they’re missing out by spamming.

      Sorry, I’ve rambled on here. I’m actually really interested in spammers: I’m guessing it must work, but I just can’t imagine HOW it works!

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