There’s a story told to those in school for advertising about William Wrigley Jr., the owner and founder of Wrigley gum.
According to the story, Wrigley was on a train when another passenger asked him why he continued to spend millions of dollars when everyone knew his product and he had a virtual lock on the market.
Rather than answering the question, Wrigley responded by asking how fast the train was going. When the other passenger said, “About 70 miles per hour,” he shot back with the now-famous quip:
“Well, that’s fast enough, why don’t they unhook the engine?”
Wrigley understood that advertising and promotion was a key to growing his company and it is also key to growing your blog. However, most bloggers only focus on promotion during the earlier days and months of a blog, let it coast to hopeful success later. This can cause growth to slow to a crawl and, in extreme cases, even stop.
Whenever we launch a new blog, we are initially very eager to promote it. We tell our friends, our family and anyone else who will listen. We leave comments, we get active in the community and swap links whenever we can. In short, we fight for every visitor and celebrate every comment.
However, as sites grow we become less aggressive about that fight. We don’t promote as actively, ignoring our Twitter, avoiding leaving comments and not working with other webmasters. A lot of it is pure practicality. It takes more time to run a busier blog (more email, more comments, more spam, etc.), thus reducing the time available for promotion, but much of it is that bloggers feel they have move past promotion, as if it were just a phase.
Unfortunately, some bloggers take this to an extreme and rest on their laurels a bit too hard. They stop promoting, they stop producing top-flight content and they effectively cut off the engine that has pulled their blog to where it is. The result is that blogs carry on for a time, then slow down, then stagnate and eventually begin to stop.
For bloggers who have traffic as part of their goal, this can be a very devastating problem to have and a stagnate blog or one losing traffic is at much higher risk of abandonment than one that is actively growing.
So how do you prevent this from happening to your site? The answer is quite simple.
How to Avoid It
The simplest way to not “cut off the engine” of your blog is to quite simply remain dedicated to its promotion, even if things seem to be going great.
This may not mean that you use the same promotion tactics that you did on day one, that would be foolish, but that you don’t give up on promotion. nor do you completely abandon the steps that got you to where you are.
In short, while you may have to change and hone your tactics to find more relevant ways to promote yourself as grow, you can’t rest comfortably on your status. Consider the following steps:
- Focus on Quality Content: Good content is still your best promotion. It ranks well in the search engines and brings you new, targeted visitors daily. Keep writing good content and keep trying to outdo your previous best with every post.
- Force Yourself to Promote: Make sure you spend at least a few hours per week promoting your site. This can be about maintaining your Twitter feed, leaving comments, writing guest posts or just about anything other than blog writing and maintenance.
- Shift Tactics: As your site becomes more popular and you build a stronger name, you might not want to use the same tactics. Focus on broader-reaching methods of promotion such as email lists, Twitter, etc. and less on more targeted methods.
- Don’t Forget Your Network: That being said, continue to reach out to individual bloggers and sites as time allows. Though posting comments and sending personal emails may not be very efficient, they are important steps as no site is an island and relationship building is still crucial.
- Remember, There Are Always New People to Meet: Finally, remember that, no matter how popular your site gets, the majority of the people in the world have not heard of you and always at least some in your field who don’t know of you. There’s always new people to reach out to, it’s just a matter of finding them.
All in all, this is a pretty simple pitfall to avoid. Don’t stop promoting, refine your strategies as your needs change and don’t let your relationships slide. It’s simple. The hardest part is putting in the time and energy into keeping it up, especially as other areas of blogging take up more and more of your time and promotion is, generally, one of the least favorite blogging activities.
In that regard, blog promotion is a lot like going to the gym to get in shape. Almost everyone recognizes what they have to do, but many, if not most, simply aren’t able or aren’t willing to go through with it.
The real problem with blog promotion is that, for most bloggers, it is one of the least enjoyable part of the blogging experience. Most bloggers get into it because they have a passion for their chosen topic, which is rarely marketing.
Still, when most bloggers start they have a rabid enthusiasm for promotion and are eager to get their names out there by any means necessary. However, that enthusiasm becomes more tepid once some level of success is found, making it seem less necessary and giving the blogger other things to do.
Everyone has to keep working to get themselves out there. Complacency is the beginning of stagnation and nowhere is that more true than blog promotion and marketing. If you think your job is done, then it probably is, but only because your blog is in a holding pattern and likely soon to start coming down.