On St. Patrick’s Day I shared the four “leaves” every blog needs. Click here to see all four strategies. Today I’ll explain Leaf #2: Promote Your Blog by Syndicating Your Content.
What is syndication?
1. Supply of content (articles, cartoons, stories, etc.) or information (business and economic data, news stories, etc.) on a subscription basis to marketers or media (periodicals, radio and television, websites).
Here we’ll define it as: sending your content out beyond your blog to places where it gets seen by more people and draws traffic back to your site.
Why do you need to this? Because you’ve got to let people know about all the awesome, helpful content that you’re creating on your blog!
Think of your blog like the center of your online universe (as in the “sun” because you’re the bright shining star!) — orbiting around you are planets filled with real life creatures that you want to tell about your blog so they’ll come visit.
Sure, you can stand on your own planet, the sun, with your content and wait for them to come.
Or, you could broadcast out into the universe and get the message to each of those planets in their own preferred language.
Which one do you think is going to work better? Getting your message to where they are and in a way they’ll choose to consume/understand it, of course!!
Some of your most loyal readers are just waiting to be discovered — but they want you to send your blog via email, or to their rss reader, or to them on Facebook where they’re already hanging out… or maybe they want you to tweet them a reminder about your content or they need you to share it in audio format.
This post will help you get the systems into place that you need to reach out and find new fans in the way they prefer to connect with you.
Let’s cover some basic options and then some additional ideas you can explore.
Your “RSS” (Real Simple Syndication) Feed
RSS is built into most blogs. RSS is a way for you to notify subscribers when there’s new content on your blog. So you’re “pushing” your content out to them, instead of them having to remember to stop by and see if there’s anything new on your blog.
Here’s an awesome video explaining what RSS is and how it works from a subscriber/reader perspective: http://www.commoncraft.com/rss_plain_english If you’re not totally clear on what RSS is, watch that video, then come back.
To get an idea of how a feed works, you’re welcome to subscribe to mine through a reader with this link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MichelleShaeffer Or subscribe by email by putting your email address in the box near the top right of this page, just above the Twitter birdie.
So step 1, find your RSS feed.
- On wordpress.org blogs, your feed is http://yoursite.com/feed
- On wordpress.com blogs, your feed is http://yoursite.wordpress.com/feed
- On blogger.com blogs, your feed is http://yoursite.blogspot.com/atom.xml
- On typepad.com blogs, your feed is http://yoursite.typepad.com/blog_folder_name/rss.xml
Step 2, decide if you want to use Feedburner or just use the built in feed.
- If you want to use Feedburner, sign up (it’s free) then use a plugin like FD Feedburner Redirect for WordPress.
- Whichever way you go with your feed, you may want to customize your settings. In WordPress this is hiding under “Settings” > “Reading”
- Note: If you’re using Aweber or another mail list you can also syndicate your feed via email through their system.
Step 3, let visitors know they can subscribe!
- Add an RSS icon to your blog. There are lots of choices. Try here: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/free-rss-feed-icons-the-ultimate-list/ or here: http://www.problogdesign.com/resources/60-great-rss-icons-for-your-blog/
- Add a subscribe by email box to your blog (here’s how).
Syndicating Your Blog to the Social Networks
And you can reach these audiences FREE by syndicating your blog content to these platforms.
For most of them it’s as simple as setting up a “connection” from your blog to the social network once, and then that connection will broadcast your new content each time you add a post to your blog.
For Facebook you’ve got several options. I personally use (and really like!) NetworkedBlogs.com. Once I set my blog up with NetworkedBlogs.com I chose to have it both auto-post my blogs to my fan page, as well as add a link to my page with a list of my recent posts. Here’s a screenshot of how it posts:
Other apps you can look at for this are RSS Graffiti or Facebook’s Notes. I’ve tried both and preferred NetworkedBlogs. It’s got additional features like the directory on it’s site and the follow option for visitors, as well as the very cool box of smiling faces you can add to your blog showing who’s following you.
For sharing my blog posts automatically on Twitter, I use the Twitter Tools plugin. Once it’s installed and setup, it adds a small box like this to my blog post page in WordPress where I can then choose whether I want each new post send to Twitter, and if so, what #hashtags I want to include.
Another option is to use your RSS feed to syndicate your content to Twitter. You can do this with TwitterFeed. That works with any blog that’s got an RSS feed enabled.
On my LinkedIn profile I use TypePad’s BlogLink Application to automatically share my new blog posts.
FriendFeed, Ping.fm, Others
There are many other social networks you can setup to auto-broadcast your content to. If you’re active on networks other than the ones above just check their help pages, google, or ask a friend and you can find ways to send your content there, too.
Sharing Your Content with Other Websites
There are many websites that are just waiting for your content! And it doesn’t have to be unique content (that’s another post!) or guest blogging. You can syndicate your blog feed of fresh content to sites like these. Since they’ll only display a headline and summary of your content you don’t need to worry about duplicate content penalties.
Technorati.com is a blog search engine and directory with more than a million blogs indexed. When you submit your blog for inclusion you’ll get a listing like this (click the image to enlarge).
Another site to consider sharing your blog on is AllTop.com. Here’s a video and explanation of how it works: http://alltop.com/about/ It’s a very cool website which grabs the latest content from sites all across the web then organizes it by topic so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.
There are other similar sites out there, as well as niche focused ones, so just do some digging and see what options are a good fit for your particular blog.
Sharing In Other Formats
Not everyone is a fan of reading. Some people prefer audio or video, or are more visual oriented. How can you get these people to consume your content and become a fan? Speak their preferred language!
You don’t have to use all of these strategies for every post. But the more often you can share your content in multiple formats, the more you’re increasing your reach.
Audio blogging (also called “Pod Casting”) is a very easy way to get your blog out there in another format.
I use CinchCast.com to share my blog posts as audio. All I have to do is login to their website, click the record button, read my blog post, and click to share. There’s even a feature that lets me tell CinchCast to send my new audio update directly to Twitter and Facebook.
You can also record over the phone so you can create an audio blog if you’ve got a computer (you do if you’re blogging, right?) and a phone (no, doesn’t have to be a landline, that cellular phone you never put down will work fine if you just stop texting and Facebooking for a few minutes to make an actual phone call).
Another popular option for audio blogging is AudioBoo.com
Tip: Once you’ve got your blog setup as an audio pod cast at the site of your choice, you can then syndicate it over to iTunes!
Got a blog post that’s just begging to be setup with illustrative graphics? Turn it into a slideshow and share it at SlideShare.com. 45 million people a month are using SlideShare (source: bottom of SlideShare.com). You can easily create a power-point style slide presentation using Google Docs online or with the Open Office presentation program (or, of course, with Power Point). Be sure to include a link back to your blog at the end.
Oh, and you can turn that slideshow into a video version of your blog, too!
YouTube is the #3 website on the internet (Alexa) with something like 490 million unique visitors per month (stat here). Love it or hate it, video gets a TON of traffic. And YouTube is only one among many options for sharing your video.
If you’ve got a web cam, you can create video versions of your blog posts to share. Simple!
And if you need some help, I’m no video expert, but I can point you in the right direction. Check out Lou Bortone’s Online Videopolis at http://www.onlinevideopolis.com/ There’s even a free membership level.
Now, go syndicate something!
Remember information is useless unless you apply it. So my challenge to you is to take action on just one idea I’ve shared here. Just one. Pick any one and do it today.
Bookmark this post and come back tomorrow or next week and apply another idea. Before you know it your blog will be everywhere!
P.S. If this has been helpful would you consider sharing it please so it can help others, too? Tweet it, Facebook it, email the link to a friend, however you’d like to share. You could even write about syndication on your own blog and link back here. It’s a great opportunity to tell your readers where else they can find your content, remind them of how they can subscribe to your email rss, or even ask them what formats they’d prefer to find your blog in. Thank you!