Self-Promotion and The Blogger

Self-promotion is a quintessential aspect to being a popular blogger. There is no way around it. Most of us do not like promoting ourselves out of fear of looking like a giant narcissistic boob. However, the truth is, if you want anyone other than your parents to read your blog, you’re going to have to do it. Just because your blog is out on the Internet, doesn’t mean that people read it. It takes a lot of work to make others aware of your writing (…if you care about these sort of things….and don’t lie!….you know you do!)

Yesterday, CNN featured an article written by the creators of Stuff Hipsters Hate about online self-promotion etiquette. Though an interesting article, it was short as sh*t and only listed three ways to be humble Internet braggarts. I thought I would elaborate a little more, based off of my own personal experiences as a reluctant egomaniac.

Tips on Online Self Promotion

1.) No-no on Tweeting Song Lyrics– Don’t drink tequila and then tweet every single line to your favorite song, “This Must be the Place (Naive Melody)” by Talking Heads. Though an excellent song that many will agree with you upon, you will ultimately lose ten followers that get sick of seeing your name pop up every fifteen seconds with another song lyric. (This isn’t really an example of self-promotion, but rather what not to write online when you’re tipsy and feeling like David Byrne sings for you and you only.)

2.) Blog Accolades– Sharing blog acclaim is ok, as long as you do it in a self-deprecating manner. If your blog wins an award or is featured prominently on a website, it is a good thing to share with the world. This is in order to tell people that someone somewhere takes you seriously. However, it’s important to take the edge off of “Hey, look at me! I won accolades and you did not!” by writing something humbling, such as, “Wow! My blog actually won award that wasn’t given to me by my mother!” or “Huffington Post linked me on an article…they must have run out of material for the day.”

3.) Facebook and Twitter– The CNN article spends a lot of time discussing sending out emails and newsletters to make people aware of your blog/website/whatever the heck it is that you do. What is this? 2006? Blast that jazz on Facebook and Twitter (and when I say blast, I mean moderate and strategic posting). A good chunk of my traffic comes from Twitter. Twitter, which at one point I hated more than the way John Cusack now looks like a grandfather rather than a baby-faced bundle of nerdiness, has recently become an intricate resource in my blogging. Through Twitter, I’ve come across countless interesting blogs, bloggers, and other social media characters and hopefully they’ve come across me. Though an email blast to friends and family can never hurt, the same effect can be achieved on Facebook. Considering you’re probably FB friends with most of them already (unless you’re one of those people who refuses to become FB friends with your parents in order to keep them in the dark on your debaucherous lifestyle), why not just make a FB fanbook page and send it out to everyone? Or post a status message about your new endeavor?

4.) Stay True to Who You Are, But Save Us Some Details– I sometimes fear that I get a little out of control on the TMI front or the meaning-to-look-like-a-commonplace-personal-reference-that-I’m-hoping-makes-me-look-irreverent-and-witty-to-you-but-I-actually-spent-30-minutes-coming-up-with-it-status updates or tweets. You know what I’m talking about. The sort of messages that say, “I had a dream that I was dressed like Freddie Mercury last night and I don’t find it the slightest bit weird that I turned myself on” or “Hoping to find the Robert Mapplethorpe to my Patti Smith”. You know, those super hipstery, pop-culture referencing status updates. Let’s call them “Faux Liz Lemonisms(And she is a hipster! Just a 40 year-old one!) Yeah, make sure you limit those. Based off of personal experience of getting sick of seeing my own status messages/tweets.

5.) Facebook Whoring– Now this is a tough one. You know, the person that has over 2,000 friends and they FB friend request you and you’ve never met them in your life so you’re not sure why you accepted the request in the first place, and one day you run into them and they’re squinting their eyes at you, and say, “I know you”, and you just stare back waiting for them to say your name and when they don’t, you make a little huff noise and walk away? That annoys the livin‘ crap out of me. However, Facebook has definitely drifted away from the strictly friend platform, to networking platform- and you fall into either camp. There is a unspoken war brewing between the two, so tread lightly.
…But whore all you want on Twitter. That’s what it was made for.

How do you feel about online self-promotion? Do you promote your blog/website? What tips do you have?

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  • Reply KeLLy aNN September 23, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I do not promote mine.
    I feel weird about that.
    But I don't mind if other peeps do.
    And I absolutely have no problems with passing on other blogs I think are great..
    I have found many of these great bloggerts usually through cyber~linkage.
    I found a couple through yours, which I found through someone else.

  • Reply steff September 23, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    i tweet and i have a facebook fanpage but thats about it. i have never effectively broken the wall between self-promotion and wildly SUCCESSFUL self-promotion but i will admit that the tips you've shared should help in that dept. at least with enforcing the strength of will to go on when many days i want nothing more than to throw in the towel.

  • Reply Big Mark 243 September 23, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    If I really believed that I had any talent as a writer, I would do a little more self-promotion… but even in saying that, I do have a style.

    My blog is far to intimate to expect any kind of commercial promotion of any kind, self or otherwise. I would have to change almost everything about how I blog were something like a HuffPo (and there are a couple who read in silence and I have asked them NOT to re-blog … and if they got an idea from my scribblings, claim it in the 'no blood, no foul' fashion of playground basketball games. If they score with it, I am good.

    I think that I am at my best when I take the time to read and consider what someone wrote. If I leave a thoughtful enough comment and the blogger or reader of the comment decide to check me out, that is good enough.

    Liz Lemon a hipster @ 40+? I guess… after all, I am, was, and always will be the in-betweener, floating among the floatsam and jetsam in the seas of life…

    Now, I don't mind trying to drum up business for OTHERS blog… I know I have link to a certain New Yorker-cum-Cali-cum-Texan blog… and yeah, that is enough for me. Like I say, I write in a very personal and intimate fashion and that has a small audience…

    … not everyone is supposed to get me…

  • Reply tee September 23, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    If you're someone who wants their blog to be super successful, self-promotion is a must. 1,406 people won't just stumble upon your blog at random. However, there are ways to do it that aren't all desperate like.

    Exhbit A: Leaving a generic comment just to leave your link on my blog. Stop it. Don't do it. You don't really think those shoes I posted are "super cute!". And even if you did, that's not a relevant comment. I'd rather you just be straightforward and write something like, "hey, I think our blogs are pretty similar. Check me out! insertlink here." Cut the BS ya know?

  • Reply Matthew September 23, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    how'd you find so many people on Twitter?

  • Reply Hipstercrite September 23, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    @kelly ann- it's true! the blogging community is so good about sharing links to other blogs. i find the best blogs that way and i'm so glad that i did!

    @steff- i understand throwing in the towel…hey, are you on any of the blogging network sites?

    @mark- mark! gosh, you are an excellent writer! you should not be self-conscious AT ALL! i really enjoy your writing and your comments.

    @tee- i totally agree with you. i am not a fan of the link left in the comments. i don't do it and i typically don't click on the link unless someone left a very thoughtful comment.

    @matthew- simply by being on it all the time. being active, reading links people tweet, commenting. also, austin is a very social media friendly city.

  • Reply Pizza Girl September 23, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    It's so hard to self-promote and yet still maintain some difference between yourself and your blog. I blog about pizza and was lucky enough to get some recognition which led people to find my Twitter… where I tweet about masturbating, Star Trek, and occasionally pizza. I feel misleading when they find me on Twitter and yet it's far too late to split into two Twitter feeds.

  • Reply Randall September 23, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    You know, I know it's rarely mentioned, and sounds hokey as hell, but what little attention I've gotten I've accredited entirely to promoting the works of others. I can't help but feel like if we all hold each other up, we'll be stronger for it.

    Still, I don't want to make it sounds like that's why I do it, because I don't. People like you, Hannah, my friends John and Jaime, ton of other people who I could rattle off for pages about do good work, and it's like finding treasures in the sand as kid. I just want to run up to people with outstretched hands and go "ooooo… look at this."

    This is a really good post, too. It seems natural to use yourself as an example, but it's still quite a ballsy move. I appreciate it.

  • Reply Brooke Farmer September 23, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    For someone who has just started really putting any energy into blogging (as opposed to other forms of writing) what would you recommend as the one thing that would have the biggest impact on their exposure?

  • Reply Z.J.Ascensio September 23, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    I'm not a fan of promoting, but I do it anyway because I do want people to visit (and maybe like something and offer me a job).

    I agree with everything you've mentioned; you've pretty much nailed the best ways to make promoting as bearable for people who don't really dig spamming.

  • Reply Hipstercrite September 23, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    @pizza girl- what is your twitter name?

    @randall- i emailed you!

    @brooke- 20 something bloggers and twitter. are you on 20sb?

  • Reply Hipstercrite September 23, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    @z.j.-well, networking is different than self-promoting, i guess? or are they the same? it's such a gray area!!! thanks for your comment!

  • Reply Lacie September 23, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    I just spend my time google earthing the blog of note office so one day I can break in and name myself for the day. No. Not really. But it would be an excellent promotional tactic, right? I mean, except for the jail time. Cause I'm not even sure I'd get internet there.

  • Reply Brooke Farmer September 23, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Technically I'm about to celebrate my 3rd annual 29th birthday. So it's slightly debatable whether I qualify for the 20 somethings…

  • Reply Jessica September 23, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    No promotion here. I don't really have a blog platform nor is it a source of income or my occupation.

    Thank God. The idea of self-promotion scare the crap out of me.

  • Reply Hipstercrite September 23, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    @lacie- just bug blogger every day on twitter!

    @brooke- 😀 there are other blogger networking sites like blog lovin' etc. you should love into those!

    @jessica- hahahaha…yes, self-promotion is kind of an ugly word.

  • Reply theTsaritsa September 23, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    "Don't drink tequila and then tweet every single line to your favorite song…" haha! I feel like this rule was written especially for me 🙂

    I think self-promotion is fine, but I sometimes worry that I'm getting on people's nerves with my updates. I try to post other things on Twitter so I don't just look like a pimp.

  • Reply Jonathan September 23, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    I use different social networks and link networks to get what i want. It's been working really well. My first two weeks of blogging i barely missed the 1,000 mark of views. It's not that it's a big deal, it's just really anti-depressing.

    Hipsters are cool too!

  • Reply Dugaldo September 23, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I got over feeling self-conscious about self-promoting a long time ago. More because I found myself doing it in every day conversation anyway. So I started doing it online. I never hated twitter, but I never got it either. It wasn't until I started competing for an online writing gig (which I didn't get) that I started realizing how helpful it is.

    I feel you on taking 30 minutes to construct the perfect status update for FB, but man when I was on twitter a lot more, I didn't give a flying fancy how many times people saw my annoying tweets about voting for me, or checking out my blog or adding me on so and so. I didn't that is, until I started annoying myself. You are very right, these things have to be calculated properly for a better return.

    I have a question for you. Now maybe this is something I missed along the way because you've been blogging a lot longer than I've been following, but, how exactly did you get so, famous if you will? I mean duh, the content is great no doubt, that's why I come back, but in terms of the networking and the self-promoting… was it all by accident? a little more thought out? At what point did you feel like you, took off?

    My own readership boomed for while just cause I started to get to know a lot of local Phoenicians who are down to support an artist. And I even got some publicity on some local publications. But I truly had not idea how to celebrate it and use it to my advantage. I kinda silently freaked out to be honest. Lately, I'm wallowing in some sort of blog limbo (and maybe a little laziness too). My content is suffering for it. I have so many ideas in my head, which I'm sure you are familiar with, but when it comes to sitting behind the keyboard and busting out a quick post, I don't ever feel like its me anymore. Do I write about my personal adventures? Pop culture? Cats? Like, my blog needs a facelift. A resurrection. A new direction. A certain… je ne se quoi. Yes, I went there.

    For some reason I feel like ending this with a Savage Love-esque acronym.

    Desparately Unsure Guy All Like Duh… Oh.

  • Reply John Reid & Wren September 23, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I'm brand spank'n new to blogging. I like the idea of people reading my blog but at the same time it scares me a little because I am not a very good writer and I write like I talk, a lot of curse words on subjects that are pointless. But I find it a bit therapeutic to be able to voice my opinions. I really enjoy reading your blog and others as well. There are a lot of very good witty writers out there. Self-promotion is something that I'm not very good at all. Your suggestions are great and very helpful. I may try the self promotion thing and see if people like what I'm writing about. Thanks for writing this blog because it has been something that I've been kind of wondering about.

  • Reply John Reid & Wren September 23, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I'm brand spank'n new to blogging. I like the idea of people reading my blog but at the same time it scares me a little because I am not a very good writer and I write like I talk, a lot of curse words on subjects that are pointless. But I find it a bit therapeutic to be able to voice my opinions. I really enjoy reading your blog and others as well. There are a lot of very good witty writers out there. Self-promotion is something that I'm not very good at all. Your suggestions are great and very helpful. I may try the self promotion thing and see if people like what I'm writing about. Thanks for writing this blog because it has been something that I've been kind of wondering about.

  • Reply Billy Apathy September 23, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    The fine line is whether you are self-promoting or just straight up SPAMing. Blogging is in large part about community and SPAMing is kind of like when the drunk idiot decides to make a fool of himself by talking about all the great business idea's he has. Don't be that guy.

  • Reply Paige September 24, 2010 at 12:31 am

    oh man so true! i think commenting really helps too. People are more likely to check out your blog. and the thing about shameless self promotion is it works if your shit is actually good. if you suck… people just find you annoying.

  • Reply Little Lost Soul September 24, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Man, I read through this and said to myself "yep…. yep… yep. yep. yep…… yep!" This is exactly how I feel!
    Self promotion is definitely a must for me as the only real way I have to push my artwork is online. Blogging is a new thing for me. I use facebook, twitter, more recently 20sblogger and it sometimes makes me feel really dirty, lol! I can't stand asking people to "check out my page!" – I always feel like I should add "if you want, you know, no pressure or anything, it's cool." but I know that's not good business… urgh.
    I only follow blogs that I have a genuine interest in, otherwise there's no point. I'd like to think that the people who follow ( and eventually will follow 🙂 ) my blog feel the same and that it's not just an "I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine" deal. Don't get me wrong, the internet is often too big a place to make it on your own, and the support of online communities is fantastic, and really keeps you going, but I don't like the thought of just clicking wildly on every link, and asking for follows, spammer style. Bleh!

  • Reply Just Plain Tired September 24, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Since my blog is less than two weeks old my self promotion has been simply looking for other blogs, commenting on things I like, and hoping for a return visit. I don't have a facebook or twitter account. I hadn't been too interested in either one, but now you have me rethinking that.

  • Reply That Chelsea Girl™ September 24, 2010 at 3:29 am

    This made me laugh so hard! I'm horrible at self-promotion, but I've been lucky to be given some good opportunities through my blog.

  • Reply Patricia ~ The Naked Writer September 24, 2010 at 8:21 am

    self promotion feels a lot like begging people to like me…and I have never been very good at asking people to do stuff for me…so i often find myself using self depricating humour to get over the embarrassment of asking for people to follow me or asking them to check out my blog.
    lately i have been refraining from doing any self promotion…thank god for facebook and the automatic posts to my account which helps to get other people to spread the word for me
    cheesy pick up lines that men use in bars usually work as a good ice breaker for blogs…like how u doing *wink* whats a pretty blog like you doing in a place like this *raises eyebrow*
    oooohhh damn girl you got some sexy junk up in your blog let me have a look…don't worry i'll be gentle *winks and raises hand into fake gun*
    hey, it may not work in bars but it sure does work on blogs!

  • Reply kwerk September 24, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I mostly use Twitter as my means for the blog readers to meet me, other than reading other blogs & networking that way.

    The whole Facebook thing I keep going back & forth on as I just can't decide if I want to share that part of my life with the friends & relatives that are on there. Twitter & Facebook have long been completely different uses for me…Twitter for networking & Facebook more for keeping in touch with old friends all over the world.

    There are also networking sites that are good, like 20 Something Bloggers, that have been good to me.

  • Reply Matt Conlon September 28, 2010 at 1:52 am

    I don't like self promotion at all, though I'm not sure exactly what about it puts me off the most… The fact that there's probably someone reading my post going "Who cares?" Or the fact that I might find a degree of success, develop a following only to run out of things to say.

  • Reply Merry May Handmade October 4, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I actually just found your blog through 20sb. It's funny cause this post comes at the perfect time. Of course I would love to drive more traffic to my blog but I just have a hard time self promoting. Y'all have given me lots of good input.

  • Reply Austin Eavesdropper October 6, 2010 at 3:39 am

    Lauren! You are reading my mind here.

    I so, so agree with you on all of these points, but especially the "announce blog honors in a self-deprecating / not terribly braggy way." I get incredibly neurotic about this. Sometimes I announce nice mentions and stuff, and other times I'm like, "fuck it – let's just not mention it at all, shall we?" Which I realize is counter-productive to growing one's blogging platform…

    HOWEVER. There is one blog I read that, whenever I turn around, they are patting themselves on the back for some new honor or mention in the media, and it drives me insane. Probably b/c I'm jealous. In fact, definitely b/c I'm jealous. But instead of making me want to root for this blog, those mentions just make me roll my eyes.

    It's such a tough balance. I really appreciate that you opened up the dialogue here. I love Twitter, I do use FB now to link to posts (but try, very hard, to not be too annoying about it), and I think it would just be silly to "e-blast" my friends and family about my blog. 🙂 Teehee. I'd try my hand at direct mailing or a solid car windowshield plastering campaign before an e-blast.

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