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A lot of times we bloggers get stuck in this mindset of living, promoting, and basically existing online. We think about everything in terms of virality, page views, social shares, and growth possibilities. We evaluate branding decisions, photo shoots, and purchases to determine whether or not they are “blog-worthy” or shareable. With so much emphasis on our online presence it’s easy for us to disconnect and forget about all of the options we have to be engaged with building a following and growing our blogs in the real world. I know, it’s a crazy concept 😉 but I want to talk about promoting your blog offline.
For the longest time I deliberately kept my blog separated from my real life. I didn’t share my blog with my IRL family or friends. I remember a conversation with a friend about a year and a half ago that changed things. She and I had been friends for about 3 years and she was thinking of starting a blog. I began sharing a few beginner tips with her and only then did she realize I blogged! I kept it so low-profile that a friend for 3 years didn’t know about it.
At first I found it awkward to talk about my blog offline. I felt weird, like, how do you bring it up? What do you say? How do you explain it? Is it a job? A hobby? What’s the point? Well, it’s been about a while and I feel like I’ve finally reached a point where I’m comfortable with a few different tactics and techniques which I want to share with you today.
How to promote your blog offline
If you’re not already comfortable talking about your blog offline, get ready!
Craft your ‘Elevator Pitch’
An blog elevator pitch is a short (20-30 seconds) sales pitch for your blog. It should quickly tell someone what it is, what it’s about, and how to find it. For example, my elevator pitch for Far Beyond Love is currently, “A lifestyle blog about building a joy-filled balanced life despite living with depression. You can find me online at farbeyondlove.com or on (this social network) at (this handle).” I’ll change the social network based on what I’m trying to grow at that time.
Having your elevator pitch ready to go when the blog comes up in conversation makes it much easier to share quickly and easily without stumbling over your words.
Teach a class
I don’t mean webinars or eCourses; I mean actual IRL classes or workshops. Depending on what you write about, reach out to your local community and offer to lead a workshop or class about what you do. If you create crafts you could reach out to your local library, youth center, or rotary club. If you are a food blogger you could talk to the organizers of a farmer’s market or local store. If you blog about business and productivity talk to your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary club, or other associations about teaching a course on apps or business hacks.
Whatever you do and wherever you teach, make sure you create a couple of handouts that share your top tips and refer to your blog for more info.
Give out your business card
You do have business cards for your blog, don’t you? I highly recommend using Minted for business cards if you need to place an order. They are beautiful, great quality, and affordable. I’ve ordered my business cards through them for about the last two years and I’ve never been disappointed. You never know who you might meet that would be interested in your card so don’t be hesitant to offer it to other parents, other crafters, someone interested in yoga / fitness, etc. If someone has expressed interest in your last trip to Italy, share your business card so they can stop by your blog for your budget travel tips so they can plan their own vacation.
Drop your business card in contest entries, leave it on networking tables, pass it out at events, and put it in the hand of anyone interested in your blogging categories. Basically, leave it everywhere!
Get on the sticker trend
Where do you see stickers? I see them everywhere! I see them on cars, on laptops, on laptop cases, cell phones, books, journals, etc… People love to sticker or label things so jump on board and use stickers or labels to promote your blog or blog url. Check out a company like Label Your Stuff for stickers or labels you can attach to surfaces that people will see when you’re out in public. You never know who might visit your url out of curiosity or strike up a conversation about it.
(Be prepared with your elevator pitch in case someone asks, “What’s that?” as they point to your url.)
Change your wifi / bluetooth name to your blog
I recently changed my bluetooth name to “FarBeyondLoveDotCom”. I thought about changing my home wifi too but held off for various privacy and security concerns. Anything mobile though, I’m down to change it. People are going to see it throughout the day (maybe only 1, maybe more) and there’s always a chance they’ll look you up.
Take advantage of their curiosity to get those page views and try to convert them to regular readers and subscribers.
Attend an industry event
When is the last time you attended an event related to your blogging niche? I do not mean blogging conferences! Blogging conferences is great but you’re only meeting other bloggers and brand there. If you want to grow your following and fill it with more than competitors you need to get out there and reach your target audience.
Attend a food + wine event, a bridal show, a car show, a pet-friendly game or pet-walk, a support group, etc and engage with the other attendees. Get to know them and share your blog. If they are attending an event related to your niche they are likely to love your content as well.
Send snail mail
There have been a couple of times I’ve received a piece of unsolicited snail mail from a blogger and every single time it’s encouraged me to revisit their blog and check them out again. How’d they get my address? I’m not sure. Sometimes it’s a requirement of entering a giveaway, sometimes it’s because I won a giveaway, sometimes it’s because I bought an ad in their sidebar for a month; the important thing is that when they got it, they used it.
I use Minted to order branded Thank You cards, envelopes, address stickers, and stationery so that I can use snail mail to reach out to people and remind them, offline, to visit my blog. People have learned to ignore email but pop in their actual mailbox and they’ll do a double take. It’s a great way to promote your blog offline.
Sponsor local events
If you can’t attend the local niche-related events, try joining as a sponsor. It’s up to you to choose your budget for this kind of advertising but I’ve seen sponsorship packages for events everywhere from $25 to $5,000 so there’s bound to be something that fits your budget regardless of how much or how little you have to spend. Think about who your audience is and how you can best reach them.
If you talk about pets and animal behavior, check with local veterinary offices or shelters for the opportunity to sponsor an upcoming event. If you write about surviving college and post-grad life, reach out to local high schools about sponsoring an athletic event, senior club, senior trip, or yearbook. Whatever gets you in front of the right people.
Ummm, talk to people
I know, it’s a crazy idea right? I mean, just talk to people! The littlest of things can really spark a great conversation, attract a new blog reader, and potentially lead to an IRL friendship. If you see someone looking at a product you reviewed on your blog, chime in with a tip or recommendation if you can. A word of warning though – don’t be sleazy, salesy, or pushy. That’s just gross. Just be authentic and helpful in a conversation and mention your blog.
Here’s an example – I was in PetSmart a couple of weeks ago buying dog food and a couple of new toys. There was another customer in the dog food aisle on her phone looking up a brand of dog food I had reviewed on my blog. As I picked up a bag I said to her, “Did you have any questions about this dog food? I just worked with this brand on my blog, Far Beyond Love, and would be happy to answer any questions so you don’t have to fumble with Google while shopping.” We ended up chatting for about 10 minutes and I left her with my blogging business card so she could get in touch and we can schedule a doggy play-date at the park.Great tips!!! @ashleyfromfbl is sharing her recommendations to help you promote your blog OFFline. Click To Tweet
I love talking to people as a way of driving new traffic to Far Beyond Love because it usually comes from a conversation about a product or service I’ve recommended. When I can drive traffic directly to those posts (example – “If you’re still on the fence about buying it, you should check out my blog Far Beyond Love. Just search (product name) and you’ll see everything I’ve written about it, both good and bad.”). This helps drive people to your affiliate posts where you can earn a commission of they make a purchase. WIN-WIN. 🙂 Check my Blogging Resources page for more tips and info!