Thursday, November 10, 2011

Blogging and the Tricky Art of Self-Promotion


I recently re-Tweeted a video of a woman who is trying to win Physicians Formula's glowy skin contest. The woman has the username Howrouge on Youtube. She's everything that someone needs to be successful: natural on camera, a great product reviewer, and absolutely genuine and nice. She isn't followed more because she keeps a very low profile. She replied with a thank you and said she knows how I feel about self-promotion. I clarified that I don't mind self-promotion, but a lot of people have forgotten the fine line between that and essentially spamming.

What is spamming vs. self-promoting? It's when you put yourself everywhere: In comments sections, on pages of high-profile beauty bloggers, anywhere to drive traffic to your site or Youtube account or blog. This probably works somewhat, but I've always stayed firmly in this mindset: If you're truly good, people will find you. Or you can drive your traffic through your own efforts, rather than tying a rope to someone else's star. You don't need to post yourself everywhere to get noticed.

Think of it this way: What is the effect on you when an advertisement keeps replaying or a song comes on the radio too much? Your blog, no matter good it is, will have the same effect on others if you're spamming it.

When I started out, I promoted myself through advertising that I paid for: My reasoning was, I wanted anyone who followed my page to have opted in solely through my own efforts. I refused to go around and post on pages of more popular beauty bloggers or companies. In the end, I knew I would stick to who I was and what I was passionate about: If people liked that, great. If they didn't, that's the way it goes. No one is everything to everyone, and it's ok. I wasn't going to morph to whatever I thought would make me popular just to get popular.

The other thing that jumps into my head about spamming your work: It becomes a game of trying to drive up your numbers and not putting quality work out there. If you're in the game trying to get sponsored or make money and not because of a true passion, most people can sense this. Beauty vlogger Xsparkage said it best when she acknowledged there are tons of people in the beauty game, and it's becoming harder and harder to get noticed. Still, she maintains to avoid spamming your work to try to stand out. For someone looking for free product or sponsorship from companies, her advice is clear: "Don't go to them. They will find you."

A few tips for self-promotion:

1. When you post a link to your blog, limit it to once per day. Yes, that's it. You've put yourself out there. Also, add a comment on why you think the link would be useful to others. Posting random links with "please follow my blog" is grating on many people..

2. If you're posting on someone else's site, do what many don't do and be polite: Ask the admin first if it's OK. Many people are happy to help someone else out, but in this day and age, people feel free to welcome themselves onto other people's pages for self-promotion purposes. Just asking first will set you apart.

3. Keep posting relevant: If you've written something topical, adding it to a site that specifically addresses that subject will interest the readers. Again, keep your posting targeted. The more you do this, the less it appears to be spam.

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