Online marketing is a great way to grow your blog—but it’s not the only way as there are many ways to promote your blog or website offline. You may want to promote your blog offline, but aren’t sure how to do so without walking up to people and whispering your blog name in their ear? Traditional marketing methods can also be used to promote your blog and develop your readership.
Have no fear, I’ve chatted with some of the coolest bloggers on the web to create this list for you. The Secret of Successful Bloggers? They also network offline. Check it out! Here are ideas to get you started.
1. Write Articles For A Local Newspaper or Magazine
Write an article for your local newspaper or magazine. Find the magazine that caters to your target market and write articles for submission. This will set up your local credibility, and if people like what they read, they’ll head over to your blog to check out your content.
Yes, you can reach readers and potential readers of your blog with an article in your local newspaper. Call the editor and offer to write an article for them, in exchange for a mention of your website in your byline.
“But wait,” I can hear you saying, “if they read me in the paper they won’t be able to click and visit my site.” That’s right, but they can type it into their smartphone or look you up when they get to the office.
Instant clickability isn’t always the goal—strive for memorability, instead. When you write a solid piece for the press, you are instantly perceived as an expert. If your article is any good (and your blogging experience gives you the writing ability to ensure that it will be), people will remember it—and they’ll keep you in mind.
Media isn’t just print, though. Not by a long shot. Try radio. There are thousands of talk shows out there in the offline world. Research them. Search on talk radio shows in your topic area and pitch yourself as a guest. Do the same with magazines —offer your services as a source, an author, or a guest to be interviewed.
I would recommend people read an article or two on how to format a press release, and start firing them off to newspapers. Make a list of the top 20 newspapers that serve cities of around 100,000 people (this is the sweet spot). After you have emailed it, give it a few days and call and ask to speak to the assignment editor (this is the person who picks reporters to cover stories). It can also be helpful to email it directly to a reporter you know covers your niche. That kind of thing happens a lot when you’re working with the media, so always tell producers and reporters that they can call you at the last minute.
2. Teach A Class or Organise Seminar
I know you’re used to thinking in terms of webinars, but I mean an actual class.
Take a minute to review your most popular posts. The odds are they could convert easily into intriguing class topics. Or consider your subject as a whole and teach a class relating to that. Sensual University does this with yoga and dance classes. Her message is all about the beauty and sensuality of life (a huge and varied subject in itself), but it’s through her yoga and dance classes that she pulls in new readers. When her students discover her unique, sensual approach to movement, they are eager to find out more.
The trick is to find the right venue for your topic—and your schedule. Ask yourself, are you able to teach a ten-week course or are you looking to do a one-off? Do you want to give a half-day seminar or are you thinking you’ll only need an hour? Community colleges are frequently looking for new classes, so if you’re up for a longer time commitment, give them a call.
Just want to teach for an hour or two? Then see who offers workshops in your area. Libraries are a great place to start, as they often have lecture series. Or try the Rotary club and get on their calendar.
Depending on your niche, there may be quite a lot of possibilities. For instance, if you blog on cooking, you may be able to teach a class at the local health food store. Whatever you do, give your students print-outs of one or two of your most relevant posts—and be sure it gives your website and contact information.
3. Give An award
Everyone loves winning stuff! Seek out someone who is doing really well at something related to your blog, and honor them with an award. Send out press releases about what they are doing that is so fantastic and explain why your award is honoring them. Interview them and post it on your blog. They will promote the award, in turn promoting your blog.
There’s nothing like staging an event to attract attention. Better still, when the event is an award that you are presenting, you are instantly considered an authority in your field.
There are lots of ways to go about this. You can take nominations or simply name a winner. You can announce it with a press release, or throw a big bash.
You want the award to represent your brand—ideally, it will become an annual event—so choose wisely. Make it something with broad appeal in your niche, yet something that’s intriguing enough to attract some attention.
4. Hand Out Your Business Cards And Flyers
It’s amazing how often bloggers will overlook the need for business cards, especially if their topic has limited relevance in their locale.
The thing to remember, though, is that you never know who you are going to meet—and you never know who they will know.
There’s also just something about having your business card in hand that makes you suddenly see thousands of opportunities for telling people about your blog.
When you design your card, be sure to include your logo, tagline, and all your contact information. For more, see this article about what to put on a blogger business card.
5. Attend a Conference For Bloggers
Sometimes your online and offline worlds converge beautifully—and never more so than at a conference dedicated to the needs of professional bloggers.
Email isn’t the only way to get a gig guest posting on your favorite blog. How about raising the possibility over drinks at a cocktail party? Or what about going out to lunch with your favorite bloggers and brainstorming ways you could work together?
Just because the end goal is an online event doesn’t mean offline marketing strategies aren’t the best way to get you there.
That’s what blogger conventions are all about—forging networks and creating partnerships (not to mention making some great friends).
Your goal offline should be the same as your goal online: to be as helpful and useful as possible in whatever partnership idea you propose. Help your fellow bloggers get where they want to go and they’ll be sure to remember you—and want to work with you again.
While you’re networking, be careful not to focus too heavily on the most famous bloggers in your niche. Partnering with mid-level bloggers is not to be ignored—they have devoted subscriber lists, too.
General blogging events aren’t the only way to go, either, so spend some time searching for events targeting bloggers in your niche, like this Wine Bloggers Conference.
6. Attend a conference that’s not targeted to bloggers
If you want to find your readers, niche conferences are the place to look. They are also an amazing source for new ideas. A couple of days talking with your target demographic and you’ll walk away with a list of new blog posts you can’t wait t to write and a bunch of new product ideas you want to get cracking on. You’ll also be exposed to the latest trends in your field—and get to see firsthand people’s responses to them.
These conferences are filled with workshops and speakers, all of whom are potential partners. There is also, needless to say, the possibility of you being one of the presenters. That’s what Jesse Friedman of Beer & Nosh did at the Craft Brewers Conference.
Since organizers need months to pull these events together, make a point of meeting with them and get on their radar for next year.
7. Donate prizes
This is similar to the sponsorship tip, but if you donate a prize to a company’s giveaway (or a giveaway at a school, even!), you’ll be mentioned! People who put on events are always on the hunt for door prizes, enclosures for gift bags, and donations for silent auctions.
When targeted to the right event, these contributions have great marketing reach. Every person at the event will see the door prize and receive the gift bag. If it’s a silent auction, everyone there will walk by each item on display.
Moreover, as a prize contributor, you will be listed in the program and the website, and may even be mentioned in event press releases.
One word of caution: I wouldn’t count on the prize winner becoming a devoted reader or customer. They will surely enjoy their prize, but the impact from this marketing tactic has more to do with brand recognition. You want people to know you’re out there.
That means it’s important to put some thought into what you donate. A copy of your ebook, a consulting package, or a video course are all possibilities. Look over your product list and see what would be the most intriguing.
However, don’t donate something you give away free on your website. Event organizers like to list the value of prizes to increase people’s excitement about winning, so get in the spirit and donate something meaningful.
If you can, attend the event. There’s nothing like mentioning you donated the door prize to strike up a conversation and get people talking about you and your blog.
8. Put a QR Code On Everything You Pass Out
An easy way to get people you meet in the offline world to visit your blog is to put a QR code on everything you pass out. From copies of your blog posts to business cards, include a QR code to some of your most popular posts or product pages, as well as your URL. Smartphones are everywhere these days, and most of them have apps for
reading QR codes—make use of them.
9. Make a laptop cover with your website’s logo and URL
If you do a lot of your writing with a laptop, make a laptop cover with your website‘s logo and URL on it! Whenever you’re out in a restaurant, lecture hall or library somewhere working on your next post, your logo is up for all your fellow patrons to see, and you’d be surprised how many will come over to ask you about it — great way to get a new, loyal reader (or two!).
10. Send out thank you notes to your giveaway winners.
While sponsors are generally responsible for the shipment of prizes, your readers provide you with their addresses to pass on to them. Why not send them a hand-written thank you note to remind them that you appreciate that they read your blog?
11. Use Business Cards!
Sometimes I leave cards on the shelves at the supermarkets and superstore. When I have dinner out, I often leave my card on the table. I also tuck one inside magazines in doctor’s offices, airplanes…kind of like a little surprise for the reader. I like to leave my business cards with tips at restaurants. I have also picked up a few local readers by handing out bags full of stuff I git for free with coupons along with a letter saying it was all free and how and of course my business cards were in there…extras for them to give to friends and also by talking to the nurses anytime I go to the doctors, when they ask what I do for a living it tends to spark their interest and they ask questions. – Freetail Therapy
12. Create Slide Show Presentation In CD/DVD
Up with your Powerpoint? Create a slide show presentation of a blog post and burn it to your DVD. It’s easy to do using Google Docs, go give it a try. — The Social Source.
13. Offer Yourself As An Expert.
Why limit yourself to just what you, yourself, can write? Let reporters know your area of expertise and that you’re available as a source. Present yourself to radio stations, television stations, and print media.
14. Change Your Bluetooth/Wi-Fi Name To Your Blog Name.
When others are searching for wi-fi, it will pop up. Your blog name will be in their head, and they just might get curious. My wi-fi name is “NotJustOnline.com” — won’t you be been curious enough to look that one up. You think it might be a blog?
15. Wear A T-Shirt With Your Blog Name.
I get so many compliments on my t-shirts from Sugarbird Designs! Come up with cute and clever sayings (my favorite says “If Squats Were Easy They’d Be Your Mom”), and add your URL to the front and back. Give t-shirts away on your blog. When they wear them, it’s automatic advertising! Add a QR code to your t-shirt!
16. Advertise with Groups and Associations to which you belong.
Do you belong to a fraternity or sorority? An industry group? A chamber of commerce? A church with a newsletter? Send out an announcement about your blog. — Daily Blog Tips
17. Attend A Local Industry Event
Bridal shows, boat shows,car shows, etc. Even if it’s not your niche it’s still a good opportunity to get out there and meet people and pass out your business cards!
18. Put Up A Sign
If you’re a business, there are tons of ways to promote your blog offline. My favorite? Business closed for the day? Why not put up a sign – “Open 24 hours a day on the internet – www.yourcompany.com” — Design Masterz
19. Put your website address/URL EVERYWHERE you possibly can!
Look for unusual promotional items at holiday times – WWW tie pins or broaches, computer shaped cookies, Christmas cards on disks (with the obligatory link to your website) – the choice is endless and it all draws attention to the fact that your company is taking advantage of the latest technology.
20. Advertise Your Primary Products
If you sell a product, take out small ads in national publications that reach your target audience. Advertise your primary products and lead people to your site for more information.
21. Notice boards
There are boards at shops, grocery stores, churches and even colleges! Add a flyer or business card or two to them to promote your blog. On a similar note, hang up flyers on electric poles (as long as it’s legal in your area).
22. Give away food at local events
Events like farmer’s markets, conventions, fairs, car shows, or other local events. People will stop by your booth and will accept a handout with your product or blog on it for a small bit of food. — Blogussion
23. Order stickers to pass out
Everyone loves stickers! Simply include your logo and URL, or maybe a catchy phrase so people will actually want to paste the stickers any place! Add stickers with your blog URL to your backpack, laptop, or even your jeans pocket!
24. Print Out Your Online Newsletter
If you offer an online newsletter, consider printing copies of it and getting permission to leave a few in your doctor’s or dentist’s waiting rooms. You could place some on community boards in your town and try a few of the methods mentioned above to distribute it.
25. Be Part of Trade Fairs.
I go to trade fairs if they are cheap to have a booth and allow outside vendors. Its usually only cost penny and since I have a hyperlocal component to my blog I get to meet a lot of people in the community. And sometimes get to network with small business owners. I usually have a drawing for a prize that I get a company to sponsor and that’s how I will collect more email subscribers.
26. Join your local Chamber of Commerce.
When I went to a Chamber meeting, people were super interested in my blogging, as well as my Virtual Assistant Services! Super easy way to make new friends, network, and even gain new clients.
27. Get on Radio and TV!
You can offer tips and tricks on a TV segment (like I did when I had a coupon blog), or perhaps a news personality wants to know a little more about your family? Either way, getting on TV is a great way to promote your blog!
I had similar success with talk radio. Using my years of blogging to craft a great headline, I made a quick ad on my topic and emailed it to several talk radio show producers. The ad consisted of a headline, a bulleted list of tantalizingly-written talking points, my credentials, and contact information.
28. Create Customize Wristband
Having and wearing wristbands are great in promoting your blog. Have wristbands for the blog that I give to every new member that I can reach.
29. Always Include Your Blog Stamp or Sticker
Any time you mail something, include your blog stamp or sticker on the outside of the envelope or package. Sometimes, I’ll even stick a business card or two on the outside. If nothing else, the mail lady will check your blog out eventually, right. Buy your stamps and customize them with your logo. Everyone you mail to will see your blog URL.
30. Put Your Business Cards In Library Books
When you check out books from the library, stick your business card in the front, back, or even in the middle. When you return them, the next person just might see it and visit your blog!
31. Design A Brochure With A QR Code That Leads To Your Blog.
Type up a few excerpts from your most popular posts, or even include a few photos. If someone is curious, they just need to scan the QR code to land directly on your blog!
32. Be Proud That You Are A Blogger
I often tell people I’m a blogger when they ask what kind of work I do. I say I’m a blogger during the everytime. That usually opens up a spot to pitch my blog.
33. Try A Meet-Up With Your Readers!
It doesn’t have to be anything more than a casual get together to simply talk about stuff, do a DIY project, or even just network! This is a great way to find new local readers! Have the meet-ups at a local restaurant, tea shop, or even the park!
34. Include Your Website URL On Your Voicemail Message On Your Phone!
Print your website address on pens, calendars, coffee mugs, and other low cost giveaways; you can also produce some more expensive items to use as contest prizes!
36. Leave business cards anywhere you can think of
Even in the bathroom! If you’re a movie blogger, leave your cards at the movie theater – in the cup holders, in the bathroom, on the counters.
37. Write your business URL in the sand on a busy beach
Sure, it’ll probably get erased by the tide or by other beach goers, but it’s fun. Offer swag at a blog conference. Even if it’s just a key chain, people love free stuff!
38. Go to a local college and leave a sheet advertising your site on bulletin boards there.
The kind where you cut slits in the bottom to make little tear off papers, each with your site’s info on it. — More From Your Blog.
39. Host Or Co-Host An In Person Workshop
Do you have an online course? Turn it into a shorter workshop and advertise it to your online readers and in the real world. Additionally you can invite another local expert on board to double the potential amount of attendees. Scott Berkun wrote an excellent guide on hosting workshops. Be sure to check it!
40. Get Invited As A Local Speaker.
Reach out to local cultural spaces, coworkings and other places that hold interesting events in your area and pitch them your idea for a talk.
Running a professional blog doesn’t mean you should forget about time-honored methods of traditional marketing. Incorporate them into your overall strategy and your blog will be the stronger for it. Have you promoted your blog offline? Tell us how it went in the comments!