How to Blog in a Small Niche – Blog Promotion

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So your blog is set up!  Congratulations.  Now it’s time to find someone to read it!

When your niche is small, you have to be creative in getting the word out to your readers.

So let’s think outside the box together, shall we?

First, if you happened upon this post and have never visited my site, welcome.  I blog about being married to and raising a family with a chef.  If you can’t relate to that, you are not my target audience.  Lol!  I know that you will probably only return to my site for this series.  I’m OK with that.  I don’t follow blogs I can’t relate to either.

HOWEVER, you ARE currently on my site because of another topic that you CAN relate to, blogging.  So while you’re here and before you read any farther, I’m going to ask you a favor. 

If you know someone married to or dating someone in the restaurant industry, (a chef, server, line cook, manager, bartender, etc.) will you share my blog via email with them?  I appreciate your help in getting the word out about my blog.  (See below for more information on how I created that cool link for you to share my blog.)

Moving on to the reason you really came here. 🙂  How do you promote your blog when your niche is small?

How to Blog - Blog Promotion

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Below is a list of the things I have done.  Some have worked better than others, but since you are never totally sure what will work well until you’ve tried it, I’ll list them all so you can try them for yourself.

Ask for Support from Family and Friends:

The day I launched my blog to the public, I sent out an email to everyone in my personal address book (185 family and friends).  I wanted to let them know about the blog, not because I thought they would follow it (although some have), but more because I was excited about this new project and I wanted them to pray for me as I was not only going to be sharing about what it was like to be married to a chef, but would also occasionally be sharing about my faith in God.

I also knew there was a chance they knew someone in the restaurant industry that they could share the blog with.  The response from friends and family was amazing.  I still get emails from people replying back to the old email who just want to check in and see how things are going.  I’ve also had a few of them meet a chef wife/girlfriend and they have passed on the blog to them.  You never know who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows a chef wife or girlfriend.

Comment on Other Blogs:

It’s obvious to comment on other blogs in your niche.  However, it never hurts to comment on other blogs you can relate to outside of your niche.  If it applies, I try to sneak in a key word or two to intrigue someone to click over to my site.  For example, if I’m commenting on a chef’s blog, I might say, “While I’m not a chef but have been married to one for 19 years. . .” and then leave the rest of my comment.

You know when you fill in the information about yourself and your blog before you type the comment?  Think about linking to a specific page in your blog instead of the home page.  For example, if I’m commenting on a blog post about losing a parent, I will leave a link to the post where I talk about losing my Mom.  That way if someone clicks on my name (Jennifer @ Emulsified Family) and goes over to my site, it will take them to related content!  Brilliant!  I know!  It’s not my idea to take credit for, but unfortunately I can’t remember where I read this idea early on.

Guest Posting on other blogs:

“Everyone” says to guest post on other blogs.  But when there’s only a handful of others blogs in your niche, your options are limited.

For my first guest post, I did the obvious.  I asked to post on the biggest site in my niche, MarriedtoaChef.com.  Her site ranks #1 in search engines on this topic (and I had already introduced myself and had been chatting back and forth with her for a few months.)  This brought some traffic to my site and still occasionally does almost a year later.  She has also guest posted on my site as well.

I have been fortunate to have some posts published on The Huffington Post.  Don’t be too impressed.  It sounds way more impressive than it is.  Most of the posts just received some likes and shares.  One did really well and was featured on the front page of the Huffington Post for a day.  While it got thousands of likes, shares and some great comments, most people that clicked over to my site did not stick around.  The only other post that brought a spike of traffic didn’t last long either.  Every now and then I’ll get some referrals from that site, but it’s pretty sporadic.

I have also posted on BlogHer.  The posts have been read by a small amount of people, but there have been no comments or shares and only 3, yes 3, clicks back to my website.  I might still try a few more on there, but if I don’t see any results, will be move on to something else.

UPDATE:  Just a few minutes ago I received an email from Blogher saying that they will be featuring one of my posts.  (It’s like they knew I was writing about them – lol.)  So I’ll get back to you on how that worked soon!

UPDATE #2:  After being featured 2 weeks ago, Google Analytics now shows 6 clicks back from BlogHer to my site.  It was read by over 300 people, which is great, but no luck with getting traffic back to my site.

Link-ups:

I have not found any link-ups that I really fit in, so I haven’t been able to use that tactic much.  I did link up with a few blogs that were out of my niche when a certain post of mine fit.  And while that brought some traffic and comments to that one post, there was no reason for most of the readers to stick around and keep reading because they were not married to or dating a chef.  So at this point, link-ups are not really worth my time.

I have thought about contacting the others in my small niche about group posting on a topic and starting my own link-up, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet.  I hope to do that sometime soon.

Getting my Chef/Husband Involved in Spreading the Word:

After blogging for about 8 months, my chef/husband sent out a message to the 900+ followers he has on Linkedin, most of whom are in the restaurant industry.  That brought in some traffic and email subscribers.  There have also been times when different chefs and line cooks have shared personal things going on in their lives with him and he’s mentioned my blog as a resource for their spouse or girlfriend.  (There’s even been a few times someone at work has come up to him and told him that they just found my blog.  Yay!!)

Post a Blog Post on a Popular Topic That is Outside Your Niche and Promote it Like Crazy:

Obviously, if you are going to do this, you need to choose a topic that you know something about.  I chose to write a short series on what I learned about blogging in a small niche.  Again, it’s a shot in the dark at reaching my target audience, but at least along the way I might be able to help another blogger who is struggling to find their audience like I am.  I have no idea how successful this will be in driving traffic to my site as this is only the second post, but I’ll let you know when I find out!

While readers are on this post, ask them to share your blog with your target audience (like I did above).  I created a link which opens an email with an auto populated subject line and body.  It was easy to do.  Feel free to look at the code on this page to see how to do it.

Online Searching for New Articles and Blogs:

I search key phrases every now and then, to look for articles on line and people to connect with.  If I happen to find something that applies to my blog (even loosely), I comment on it and share it on social media.

Google Alerts:

I set up google alerts for key phrases (married to a chef, dating a chef, etc.) so I know about relevant articles online when they are posted.  I share those on social media or in my weekly newsletter. More information on how to do that can be found here.

SEO:

More people arrive at my website from searching than from a link referring them there.  Google sends the most traffic my way, with Yahoo far behind.  I use key words in my post titles, picture titles, alt tags and in the content of the post.

Email Newsletter:

From day one I would encourage you to either have a newsletter for people to subscribe to or ask them to receive your new posts via email.

To encourage people to subscribe, I offer a couple freebies for signing up.  The confirmation email for signing up has a link to my “secret subscriber page” where they can download these.  I used to only get a few subscribers here and there, but since I started offering my e-book, “Supporting your Chef from Line Cook to Corporate Chef” and a survival guide called, “How to Survive Dating a Chef,” my subscriber rate is much higher.  (It doubled the first month and tripled the second month after I made these freebies available!)

I use the Dreamgrow Scroll Triggered Box to help capture email addresses.  (Although lately it seems to be popping up more than it should be, so I might have to switch to a new one.  Elegant Themes is coming out with one later this month, so I’m planning on trying that one out.)

UPDATE:  I installed the new Bloom Email Opt In plugin from Elegant Themes the day it came out.  It was SUPER easy to install and you can modify it in so many ways!  I love it!

I have chosen to use Mail Chimp for my newsletter and have been really happy with their free service.   It’s easy to use and you can customize it easily.

Recently, to increase opens in my email newsletter, I have been resending it a few days later to the people on the list who did not open it.  (MailChimp makes it easy to send it out to only those that have not opened the previous campaign.)  I change the email title to try and grab their attention differently.  (More details on how to do this can be found on FlippedLifestyle.com.)

One last thing about email signup forms.  I have one at the bottom of every post. To make it easier to insert this, I use the plugin MailChimp for WordPress.  I have used the plugin to set up that signup form and then at the bottom of each post, I just enter a short line of code and the plugin in puts the signup form in there for me.  I am so glad I started doing this at the beginning because a few months ago when I started offering a freebie to my subscribers, I needed to change that form.  Instead of having to go into each post and remove the old signup form and put in a new one, all I had to do was change it once in the plugin settings and the plugin updated it everywhere on my site that the code was used!  WOOHOO!  I am so glad I did this in the beginning!!  Brilliant!!

For help in setting up an email newsletter for the first time, check out this post.

Email Signature:

With every email I send (personal or blogEmail Signature related), I have an email signature at the bottom.  Again, you never know who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows a chef wife or girlfriend.  I created my email signature on Wisestamp.com.  It’s free and easy to setup!

Blog Promotion through Social Media:

I have chosen to focus on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to help drive traffic to my site.  (I have Google+ and  Instagram accounts, but don’t do much with them.  I just don’t have time to do it all.  Plus it looks like Google+ is making some major changes soon.)

There is so much to cover with each of those topics, I decided to create separate pages for them.  (I’ll be posting them on Wednesdays for the next few weeks, so keep checking back.)

Here are some other great resources I think you’ll find helpful:

  1. The first is The Knowtbook by Amy Lynn Andrews.  From day one, she has been my #1 go to resource on all things blogging.  She is a wealth of information.  She has a great website and Useletter, but her new Knowtbook goes above and beyond that.  It’s her working notebook that you can have access to.  I LOVE that she is constantly updating it for me (well, for anyone that buys it.)   It’s her notebook that she uses for all of her notes and she’s sharing it with us!!  Best idea ever!  You can find out more details over on her website.  I highly recommend this Knowtbook if you are a blogger!  It’s money well spent.
  2. The Blogging Bunch – Sarah has been so helpful to me this year as I have been fine tuning my blog.  She has some great ideas and resources on her website and a wonderful Facebook group where you can ask questions of other bloggers!
  3. Brilliant Business Moms – A great resource if you are looking to make your blog a business.  They have some AMAZING podcasts that I have found super helpful and also have a great Facebook group.
  4. Blog Chikca Blog – Jill is my go-to gal for all things Pinterest.  More about her and my love of Pinterest in this post.
  5. How to Blog for Profit without Selling Your Soul – What a great book this is (and I’m not a reader.  So for me to recommend a book it has to be REALLY good.)  I learned a ton from it as I began to promote my blog!

Other posts in this series:

How to Blog in a small niche

How to Blog - blog set-up and organization

How to Blog - Blog Promotion

How to Blog in a small niche - pinterest

how to not let facebook consume your life as a blogger

So that’s what I’m doing to try and connect with readers since I’m blogging in such a small niche.  If you are finding yourself in the same boat, what can you add to the list?  Please share it in the comments below!  I need all the help I can get!

From one chef wife (or blogger) to another,

Jennifer

 

 

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