Five blog promotion shortcuts that won’t work

Small companies try all kinds of tricks to make themselves look bigger and more established than they are. They outsource their receptions to call centres, rent tiny post boxes in the centres of major cities to lead prospects to believe they have swish urban headquarters, and some even announce quarterly results (on newswires, because no real outlet is interested) using vague percentages and YOY increases rather than actual turnover figures.

People love bigging themselves up too: Think about that time your company won an award and every employee within a five-year radius added ‘key contributor to award-winning campaign’ to their CV. Or how about your friend who went freelance and set up a company called “Your-Friend’s-Name-Enterprises”?

So I guess it’s no surprise that some bloggers have now taken to stretching the truth to mislead readers into thinking their blogs are more widely read than they actually are. Well, bloggers, the cat’s out of the bag now, as I expose five sneaky little blogger tricks that won’t catch me out (and that ultimately won’t work to increase blog readership and engagement):

  1. Removing the dateline from posts: I see what you’re trying to do here – if there’s no date on any of your posts, you can slack right off and visitors will have no way of knowing that you haven’t posted a paragraph since Joan Rivers was funny. But wily blogger, we’re on to you – all we have to do is copy the title of your post into our favourite search engine and Google will tell us exactly when you did it.
  2. Add a ‘visitor counter’ and set it to start at 10,000 visits. I’m afraid you can’t pull the wool over our eyes here either. You’ve probably done this because you know you can’t attract many readers on your own, and this will become immediately obvious when we read your most recent post. The numbers just won’t add up. 
  3. Faking your Twitter following: Okay, you’re not technically lying when you tell us on your ‘advertise with us’ page that you have 20,000 Twitter followers. But all I need to do is dig a little deeper (like onto your Twitter page) to see that you actually follow 22,000 Twitter accounts. Now there’s no need to pretend with me – I know what you’ve done. You’ve followed accounts that follow back people who follow them, which means your Twitter account is adding as much value to the social media sphere as your blog.
  4. Offering a sponsored review: as soon as I see on your advertising page that I can pay you money to review my own company on your blog, I immediately realise that something must be amiss. If I review my own company on your blog, I will either come across as stupid (if I put my name to it) or I will be breaking the blogger code of conduct (if I do it anonymously). Every review on your blog now looks strangely suspicious.
  5. When I only have to scroll down twice to reach the end of your post, but I can continue to scroll down another six times to reach the end of your advertising, despite the fact that only a third of your ad slots are occupied (the rest just shout ‘advertise here’ out at me), I start to wonder if you’re really in it for the love of blogging. Yes I expect to see ads on some of the world’s leading blogs, but these blogs don’t assault me with them because they know that’ll seriously deter me from visiting again. Your ad attack only serves to remind me that you’re something of an amateur.

These tricks are the diet pills of blogging. They offer your blog a quick fix, but you know that you’re unlikely to get any sustainable results. Unfortunately, in blogging, as in life, there are no shortcuts. If you want genuine engagement and you truly want to see your analytics soar, then you have to put in the hard work.

In my experience, quality blog posts that are well researched and targeted specifically to your desired audience takes a lot of time, say up to five hours a week to maintain a blog that publishes daily. But, it’s worth it (and there are no shortcuts that don’t require you to compromise on quality). A high quality blog, that adds something to the blogosphere, can generate leads, increase social engagement and attract the brightest and best to work for your company.

Comments

  1. says

    Dear Heather,

    I am writing a golf business blog since 2009 (www.golfbusinessmonitor.typepad.com). I do not want to be a defender/lawyer of anybody who are writing “sponsored reviews”, but bloggers want to monetize their blog. Google AdSense, Amazon affiliate ads or other affiliate ads might not deliver sufficient income to the blogger or even banners. So I can understand those bloggers who are ready to write such reviews. At the same it is possible to write reviews on demand that does not sound “sponsored”. Although I do not write such posts, I can imagine, if you keep a healthy ratio of sponsored and non-sponsored posts then it can be fine and will not hurt the credibility of the blogger. What do you think?

    • says

      Miklós, you say “at the same it is possible to write reviews on demand that does not sound “sponsored” ” – in my humble opinion these are the very worst kind of blog post as they purposefully deceive the reader. Any blogger worth their weight in salt should have the editorial integrity to tell their readers they’ve been paid to write something (or, even better, not write paid reviews at all).

      • says

        Dear Hanna,

        I had a guest writer from Portugal, actually the founder of Hole19 golf mobile application developer Anthony Douglas. He wrote two posts about golf mobile applications. I briefed Anthony how to phrase his post to avoid self-pormotion or marketing taste: http://golfbusinessmonitor.typepad.com/golf_industry/2012/10/golf-mobile-applications-as-a-source-of-revenue-part-2.html. This was not a sponsored post, I had no financial interest from this post. At the beginning of the post I highlighted that in the following you will read something that is not necessarily in line with my opinion. The post received 1 comment (neutral-positive) and 2 LIKEs.

        What kind of solutions do you recommend for bloggers to monetize their blog? What do you think if the blogger would start his/her blog like this. “I was asked by TaylorMade to test their brand new R1 driver…” and after that I write what do I think about their product…

        At the same I agree with you that blogger should keep on expressing their views and opinion as they did before. In the past I had a blogger campaign for Telenor (Norwegian mobile service provider in Hungary). The campaign was about promoting a certain product and subscription package. We gave 30 words to selected bloggers who were asked to write posts including these words. The best post received a prize. What do you think about this solution?

    • says

      Miklos, thanks for your response.
      I understand that bloggers want to monetise their blogs, but having a blog does not give you a right to income. Basic economics suggests that if your blog is not bringing in money through advertising, it is not meeting a market demand. I agree that it is perfectly possible to write reviews that do not sound sponsored but the fact is that misleads the public, so you have to question the ethics of doing so.
      If you genuinely want to turn your blog into a money making machine, you need to create something so brilliant and so readable that people can’t help but come back. The more relevant, engaged readers you have, the more likely you will be able to sell advertising at a good profit. There are no shortcuts!
      Heather

      • says

        Heather,

        Regarding “blog is not bringing in money through advertising”…it also can be that my topic is a niche topic. I hope my blog will be informative and useful for the golf industry. Finally, please could you add me to your Linkedin network.

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