We all want more blog traffic.
Well actually, what we really want is engagement, leads and revenue.
Inevitably, the more (qualified) traffic you get, the more chance you have of achieving those things too.
So yeah, we want more traffic.
How do you currently get the traffic you desire?
But how many non-digital promotion channels have you tapped into?
There are tonnes of ways to bring in readers from the offline world, that most of us are missing out on.
(This article assumes that you already have a focused theme for your blog and are writing specifically about one niche. If not, you’ll probably need to select and fine-tune your angle first.)
Let’s take a look at three offline opportunities you may be missing to boost your blog’s traffic.
1. In-person networking
We’ll start with the oldest, still most-effective strategy known to promoters: in-person networking.
People trust word of mouth because it comes from human connection, an essential component of success in any endeavour.
There are always people who network so they can manipulate and use others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build real relationships through your own networking endeavors.
The way to build these relationships is just to hang out with the people who know what you want to know.
If you know of a marketing genius who could get you a lot more readers by mentioning you in their sphere, find the networking events he or she frequents and seek them out for some casual conversation.
(Don’t try to lead the conversation; just let him tell you about what they like. Inspiration can spring from any topic if it’s being handled by an interested person.)
If you’ve got your eye on a particular industry influencer whose expertise could help your blog, attend a speech he’s giving and ask afterward if he’d be interested in a little happy hour + eats so you can pick his brain further.
You don’t have to have the world’s most magnetic personality to do this.
As Penelope Trunk would say, just be interested in others. Don’t come in asking for anything, and don’t try to be too smooth – others will pick up on it. Just being you is likely to leave a much more positive memory than any amount of name-dropping or thinly veiled pleas for attention.
Offer to talk about something that already interests your contact, even if it isn’t business-related. If they don’t have time for you at the moment, you should respect that, but don’t give up completely.
A brief email the next day, asking if you can reconnect at some point, is entirely appropriate. As long as you don’t come across as a con artist, your genuine interest will usually get you a friendly response.
Foster these new relationships over time – it won’t be long until they start turning into more blog traffic.
2. Print marketing
Sending out a traditional newsletter to remind people to read your blog, when the blog itself offers much more information in a convenient, easily navigable manner? How cheesy is that?
It’s actually not a bad idea. People still like to get personal snail mail.
Seeing a physical acknowledgment from you in their mailbox, reminding them that you value their readership will go a long way to retaining your most faithful blog followers.
This is especially effective if you throw in individualized touches, like a handwritten greeting, and offer information that none of your online-only readers receive.
Even large companies like Cascade Hollow Whiskey still see the value of print newsletters.
The key is to not overdo this tactic. Email is preferable for weekly or monthly updates, while a physical mailer would be better to send out quarterly or semi-annually.
If you don’t trust your own sense of how often would be too often to send out a printed update, get your friends’ opinions on how frequently they’d like to receive that kind of thing. (When averaging the timespans they name, err on the less-frequent side.)
You can also prospect for new readers by using print.
Many large companies will post physical addresses for their staff on the “Contact” or “Bio” section of their websites.
You can use these to send a postcard or smartly written informational letter to industry influencers whom you would like to look at your site.
Offering a coupon if you also sell products will sweeten the deal nicely.
And, as always, another print option that will serve you well in face-to-face situations is a good business card.
Having an attractive card to give away when you meet a new contact not only makes you more memorable; its excellent design may even be the motivating factor for someone to visit your blog.
You should strongly consider hiring a good graphic designer to give your blog an aesthetic that you can carry over into your card design.
3. Community involvement
This ties in with the first point about in-person networking.
How are you going to meet the people who live around you if you spend all your time at home, in front of your computer?
If you need help finding nearby activities that can help you meet people, or if your main desire is to benefit others’ lives, volunteering is for you.
Sites like Network for Good can help you find the perfect opportunity for your skills and location.
You’ll meet a lot of awesome people when you volunteer.
Like you, they don’t want to remain islands unto themselves. They want to use what they have to help others.
Arianna Huffington who started one of the most-read blogs in the world, agrees that volunteering is necessary for personal development as well as for the betterment of one’s community.
(Every volunteer organization does, admittedly, have a few image-cultivators who are only serving the community to make themselves look good, but you’ll make many selfless acquaintances as well.)
Volunteering differs from networking, in that you can’t go into it hoping to meet a specific person who works in a specific industry. It’s more about putting your skills to visible use in a socially responsible way, and just seeing whom you meet as a result.
You can learn a lot about your community and its pain points by volunteering your skill set.
Through volunteering, you may discover a talent you never knew you had, or a stress-release outlet that you desperately needed.
Your experiences will also develop a lot of blogging material, which can expand your online reach as well.
What about you?
How have you considered reaching out offline to expand your online sphere of influence?
If you’ve accumulated any tips or tricks throughout your own blogging journey, share them with us below!
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Author: Katherine Halek is a Content Strategist at Signazon.com, a leading online printer that works with thousands of small businesses around the country. Katherine enjoys writing about entrepreneurship, marketing, and career advice. Connect with her on Google+.