If You Don't Promote Your Work, Nobody Else Will.

This man shouldn’t be the only shameless promoter in town

For my sins, I’ve rejoined the hive of villainy that is Reddit. And due to my huge capacity to look at funny pictures, I’m quite enjoying it.

But yesterday I did something I swore never to do. I posted some of my own work (the writer’s flowchart) to /r/writing. In a few hours, it hit 70-odd upvotes and generated a few, generally supportive, comments.

And one attack that made me stop and think. Just who do people think is going to promote their work for them?

I’ve been a user of social media sites long enough to not be surprised or upset by these comments, but they’ve made me think:

Pile ‘O Crap.

I “understand” SEO enough to know that it’s a snake-oil scam.

And to anticipate the inevitable shill who’s going to respond “Oh, I dunno, parts of it seem legit, if you get a white-hat SEO and follow practices blah blah blah…”: BULLSHIT! SCAM SCAM SCAM!

It was good until the bottom fork. SEO is seriously a cancer.

On the other note, I write tremendously fantastic stuff both for my own site and for others as a freelance writer, and I’d never have the brass balls to pimp my own work to social media. So now you’re twice the shitstain you were before.

So if SEO is a scam, and posting your own work to social media sites is a terrible slight on mankind, just how does this guy think he’s going to get his work seen?

Remember This: The World DOESN’T Owe You A Favour

If you follow that worldview above, you’re relying on other people to promote your work. And no matter how good your tremendously fantastic stuff is, you’re going to be hard pushed convincing them to put in the effort that you’re unable or unwilling to do.

The Basics of Promoting Your Work Online

If you can’t rely on the kindness of strangers, you need to take responsibility for promoting your own site. Start off with SEO, then move on to social channels. And remember – if you’re not promoting, people aren’t reading.

SEO

SEO isn’t a scam. It isn’t a joke. It isn’t snake oil and it isn’t the end of the world. Its your way of guaranteeing a base level of traffic to your site. Get on Google and find some good, basic SEO advice. SEOmoz is a great place to start. And then follow it. Get some links coming in to your site, make sure you’ve not made any silly mistakes, and then forget about it.

Once you’re promoting your site properly, your SEO should pretty much take care of itself on a day-to-day basis. Unless you’re going for really competitive phrases, which are going to take much more elbow grease.

Twitter

The next step is to start building a network on Twitter. Find people in your niche, and start communicating. Chat, RT their work and develop your online personality.

If you’re a genuinely decent and interesting person, other users will gravitate towards you, and they’ll start promoting your stuff. As long as you’re asking them to. Remember, you’re taking responsibility, not relying on others, so ask for ReTweets.

Facebook

Facebook’s the most popular site on the web. Bigger than Google. So get on Facebook. Set up a fan page. Add a widget to your site (HINT: Look to your right). Start communicating with people on your Facebook page, throw them exclusive or early content (HINT: Follow the 603 Copywriting page).

Do it right, and you should now have networks on two, powerful channels. Twitter and Facebook. Treat those networks right, and they’ll share your work amongst their friends. As long as you keep promoting your work.

After that, hit the bookmarking and news aggregator sites. There are three I’ll be looking at, and dozens more you can find for yourself.

SERPd

If you’re reading Unmemorable Title, chances are that you’re interested in SEO, Social Media and Copywriting. Luckily for you, SERPd is a community devoted to SEO, Social Media and Copywriting where you can share stories on, well, you’ve probably guessed.

So submit your work. But don’t just walk away. Promote. Ask your network if they’re on SERPd (and if not, why not), and remind them that if they enjoy your content, they can upvote it. Keep promoting, keep leveraging that network, and SERPd can bring you more RSS subscribers, Twitter followers and Facebook fans.

Reddit

Canny Promotion or Cancerous Shitstain?

Reddit isn’t the best place to promote your work. There are cliques, trolls and a strong dislike of anyone trying to make a buck off the site. But if you’ve got genuinely interesting content then submitting it to /r/writing or /r/seo could just stir up a bit of interest. And dog’s abuse.

Nine times out of ten, you’re best off avoiding it. On the tenth time, you’ll understand why Reddit’s on this list. So use your common sense. If you’ve got an opportunity to promote your work, take it.

So yeah, promote your work. Promote it hard, and promote it often.

Otherwise, just why are you writing?

6 Comments comments for "If You Don’t Promote Your Work, Nobody Else Will."

  1. Julie says:

    If you promote your work, that means you believe it’s worth anybody’s time. :)

  2. Yeah, there is this idea that your stuff will just find its way on to social media as if by magic. While that happens to me sometimes, I get far better results by pushing my own posts on Twitter the whole time. The only question is what level of promotion is acceptable.

    Even my regular readers, aren’t checking my blog the whole time to see what I’ve written. People see a lot of links and I need to get mine out there if it’s going to have a chance of being seen. And of course, people aren’t on Twitter all the time, so I need to Tweet a few times just to reach them all. An obvious example is US readers who aren’t awake in our morning.

    I also get new followers and therefore feel justified in tweeting old posts again so they can see them.

    The fact that these tweets, including the old ones, are often picked up and retweeted seems to indicate that most people don’t have a problem with self-promotion through Twitter.

    That said, you can take it to extremes. I think your self-promotion probably needs to be not more than 5% of your feed, and repetition is bad too. People need to be able to ignore it if they’re not interested. Some of the pimping I see really is too much – that’s when you get into ‘brass balls’ territory.

    I can’t believe the old ‘SEO is rubbish’ chestnut is still being dropped in seriousness. Building a site and not SEOing is like making a great ad and then not buying any media space for it. SEO is the discipline through which you define and attract the audience for a web page. I don’t know what planet people are on if they think audiences will somehow just find the pages they need or want to find. It reminds me of someone I knew who said there must be a natural remedy for every human illness out there. It would be nice to think so, but no.

  3. Quincy says:

    “Building a site and not SEOing is like making a great ad and then not buying any media space for it.”

    Love that line, Tom. Perfect analogy.

  4. I mostly blog for my own amusement, because I like writing.

    However i’d be lying profusely if I pretended I didnt want people to read what I write. Like most (I assume) I get a bit of a thrill when Google analytics tells me a particular blog was a hit.

    Should you share on Stumbleupon and Reddit as a matter of course, or just those blogs you are particularly proud of?

    • Andrew says:

      Stumble as a matter of course, save your very best bits for Reddit (and don’t expect to see much in the way of a return).

  5. Sweetbearies says:

    People seem to balk at a blogger promoting themselves, but hardly bat an eye lid when major corporations do this on a daily basis. The truth is everyone promotes themselves, to some degree, and as long as you are not posting your links to other people’s pages, I see no problem with sharing your own blog post on your own Twitter page.

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