We all want to believe that great content will market itself. Even Google claims that the best way to get found in the search engines is to write quality content. It's true that this is an absolute must. It's also true that great content can market itself, but this is only true after you have reached a certain "critical mass" of people who have seen and shared your content. That's why promotion is just as important for blogging as writing.

How does promotion work? The cop-out answer is that there are more promotional strategies than there are bloggers, and there's some truth to that. The useful answer is that most successful bloggers use some of the following strategies, or at least think along the same lines.

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How to Promote Your Blog Posts Effectively

How to Promote Your Blog Posts Effectively

1. Pinging

Use Pingoat or Ping-o-Matic to notify the search engines and several sites across the web that your blog has been updated. This gets you indexed faster and can help generate buzz. The benefits are small, but they are certainly worth the 30 seconds of work it takes to ping your site.

2. Newsletters

Set up a prominent "subscribe" button for people to receive updates from you. Make it clear that the subscription is free. Especially in non-tech industries, many users still think that a subscription costs money. Keep bringing these users back by updating them with your latest blog posts. If you post frequently, send them an update every week, instead of every time a post goes live. Frequent emails run the risk of getting ignored and falling under the spam category.

3. Niche Forums

Forums may sound old-fashioned, but they are alive and well and often bring the most loyal users. Unlike social media sites, forums are often entire websites dedicated specifically to your topic. If you become a prolific and helpful member of a community forum, it's almost impossible not to build a following. It's best not to get too promotional. Just include a link to your site in your signature, and occasionally link to one of your blog posts when it's genuinely useful. Forum promotion doesn't work for every niche, however, so pay attention to results.

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4. Social Bookmarking

This tactic is surprisingly underrated. Users go to social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Tumblr specifically because they want to find something new and interesting. Blog posts can quickly go viral on these services and reach a broad audience. It takes an understanding of viral psychology, and luck is undoubtedly a factor, but you ignore these sites at your peril.

5. Blog Commenting

This is also old-school, but it can work if done right. While some blogs use Comment-Luv and offer "do-follow" backlinks, it's best not to get too obsessed with this. Instead, use blog comments as a networking opportunity. If nothing else, webmasters take note if you keep the conversation going on their blog, and they become more likely to repay the favor one way or another.

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6. Social Media

It's probably not a stretch to assume you've heard of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. What you might not know is that a great way to improve shareability is to tag people that you mention in your blog posts. You also might not have heard that it's a good idea to PM your friends and ask them to comment on your shares, so that you can get a conversation going instead of just getting re-tweets and likes. Of course, all of this should be built on top of a solid networking foundation. Spend most of your time on these sites being helpful and genuine, devoting about 10 percent of your time to outright promotion.