If Content is King, Promotion is Prime Minister

  • March 10, 2010 by Corbett Barr
  • 13 Comments

website trafficYou’ve heard that saying right, that “content is king?”

It’s true, most sites on the Web (and all blogs) exist to provide visitors with some form of content. If you want those visitors to come back and possibly tell their friends about your site, your content better be great.

In that way, yes, content is king.

But great content alone won’t magically make your site popular. Promotion (or marketing, advertising or whatever else you want to call it) is also essential for building a high-traffic site.

For that reason, I like to say if content is king, promotion is prime minister.

What is Promotion, Anyway? Why Do I Need To Do It?

Promotion is simply the act of getting the word out about your site or blog to potential visitors.

It can be as simple as sending someone an email about your site, or as complicated as running an ad campaign. The point is that even if you built an awesome site filled with fantastic content, people will never visit unless they hear about the site somehow.

If you’re lucky enough to build something that spreads naturally via word-of-mouth, congratulations. You’ve won the marketing lottery. Until that happens though, your job is to pound the proverbial pavement and spread the word about your site.

Where Do I Promote My Site? Don’t People Hate Self-Promotion?

Whoa! What’s with all the questions at once? Let’s take one at a time ;)

First, yes people do tend to dislike self-promotion when it’s overdone or obnoxious. This is a legitimate concern, but there are plenty of ways to promote your site without being a jerk.

Think about how you find out about new sites and blogs. You are constantly finding new things on a daily basis, right?

A lot of those new discoveries aren’t by accident. Chances are that someone purposefully got their site in front of you somewhere and convinced you to click through and check it out.

Second, there are lots of ways you can tastefully promote your site (and we’ll be talking about many more promotional tactics here at Think Traffic in the future):

  • Anytime you setup a profile on a social media service like Facebook, Twitter, etc., add a link to your site.
  • Leave comments on other blogs and include a link to your site.
  • Optimize your site so that the search engines will be more likely to include your site high up in the search results.
  • Send out a status update on your social media profiles whenever you publish new content.
  • Send out a press release when you have something newsworthy to say.
  • Submit your content to social sharing and bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Digg, etc.
  • Write guest posts on other blogs and include a link to your site in your bio.
  • Pay for online advertising.
  • Have these guys wear your site’s T-shirt (OK, who knows how effective that one is, but I thought it was funny at least).

These are just some of the basics. There are other more clever promotional tactics that we’ll dive into in future posts.

How Can I Get Other People To Promote My Site As Well?

Great question!

The most popular sites don’t do much self-promotion at all. Eventually, people will actually promote your content for you, without you even asking. Just look at how many mentions on Twitter each article receives on a site like Copyblogger.

When you’re just starting out, there are things you can do that will naturally encourage other people to promote your site and content. What’s better than free promotion?

The goal here is to create raving fans and build compelling content that people just want to share with others. You also will want to make it easy for people to share your content in the way you design your site.

Here are some basic things you can do to encourage sharing of your content:

  • Get to know other bloggers via email, phone, in-person, etc. When you form real friendships with other bloggers, they are more likely to promote your site.
  • Add social media buttons on content pages at your site. These let readers click a button and share your site on StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, etc.
  • Write articles that mention other people or site in a complimentary or provocative way. This is sometimes known as link bait, because it encourages other people to link back to your site.
  • Write especially in-depth or groundbreaking content. If you take the time to write something really useful or eye-opening, people will notice and promote it for you.
  • Allow other bloggers to write guest posts for your blog. When someone writes a guest post, it’s almost guaranteed that they will promote that post themselves.

I hope this gets you thinking about why promotion is so important in building a high-traffic website or blog. We will be discussing promotional tactics and strategies often here at Think Traffic, so I know you’ll stick around and learn more.

Get the full scoop on website traffic basics in the Website Traffic 101 series.

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Richard Riley March 16, 2010 at 7:45 am

Just wanted to say thanks for the tips! I’m really looking forward to this blog. As someone who just recently created a website, I’m constantly trying to get as much information as I can about drawing traffic back to my site.

Corbett Barr March 16, 2010 at 7:52 am

Fantastic, Richard. I look forward to helping you build some traffic!

Richard Riley March 16, 2010 at 8:29 am

Thanks! What are your plans for the site? Are you going to be doing a step-by-step approach with tutorials or giving out ideas about how to attract visitors to your site? Or a combination of both? Either way, it looks to be a fascinating blog.

As someone who just started there are a lot of things I would be interested in learning about, such as (probably, very noobie questions): what’s the best way to get my website/blog listed in google? Should I submit it and wait or write an article in ezinearticles.com and link back to my site/other method? How should I go about submitting my own website to digg without seeming like I’m desperate for backlinks/visitors, etc?

Corbett Barr March 16, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I plan to do a combination of both tutorial-style content and ideas/strategies.

To get your site indexed by Google, you need to register it with Google’s Webmaster tools and try to get some high-quality links from other sites. The bigger the better. It can take as little as a few days or as long as a month or two to get indexed. See this post at Gatejumper for more info: How long does it take for Google to index a new site?

I’ll try to tackle your Digg (same applies to most social bookmarking sites) question in an upcoming post.

Asatar Bair April 29, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Wow, this is great stuff! Thank you very much. Very thought-provoking.

mk akan June 16, 2010 at 9:24 am

content is king but promoted content is the renown king.good content not discovered is not useful to people and the blogger…the down side is sometimes it takes more time to promote a post than write a post but it is worth the effort.

Jill Heijligers-Peloquin July 30, 2010 at 11:12 am

Just wanted to express my gratitude. I have been scouring your ThinkTraffic blog and gathering gems. It has been a ridiculously wonderful learning place for me! I just recently gave up my brick and mortar business to pursue my e:commerce business (Eyelash Extensions Supplies) and am exploring new ways to stretch and grow the experience. While we do have a successful nucleus business of providing professional back bar supplies, I have been dreaming and scheming ways that I can set my company Lash FX in a key position to help grow and promote our niche in the beauty industry. Healthy competition aside, the beauty industry is a highly competitive, snarky (catty) atmosphere. When you share your secrets to success, it actually polishes the reputation of the whole industry – doesn’t take away any pieces of your pie at all! You have a wonderfully generous spirit here, and I am all over that! Thanks so much! Hope my baby blog http://tipsntricks.lashfx.com will grow and will benefit many.

Corbett Barr July 30, 2010 at 11:19 am

Awesome, Jill. I’m happy to help and wish you the best of luck. Please keep me up-to-date on your progress and let me know if you have any specific questions about audience building.

Dean April 8, 2011 at 9:52 am

How do I get the “like” buttons on my website?

Corbett April 8, 2011 at 11:09 am

Here’s the page at Facebook where they explain how:

http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like/

Michael Chibuzor July 8, 2011 at 11:42 am

You have powerful promotion tips on this post. I wish I read this earlier while starting my blog. Thanks for sharing and I’m going to put it to work.

Richard Riley March 17, 2010 at 7:00 am

Thanks for the link! That has a lot of good information. I haven’t set up google’s webmaster tool yet as I haven’t had much time, but that is something I’ll definitely have to do soon. I’ve already linked to twitter and facebook per the answer in the link. I’ll be looking forward to your article about digg.

Dean April 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Thanks! I’ll put that to good use.

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