Nowadays, blogging is so popular, you need to know how to cross-promote a blog to stand out. In the old days —i.e. 1990s — bloggers went by another name: diarists. In other words, blogging wasn’t a very popular activity. It was totally nerdy.

If you were blogging in the 1990s, you didn’t ask to be taken seriously; you had no goals of monetizing your online readership; your “web logs” were personal, private, and likely reserved for the tech geek community.

Today, you’ll find these headlines:

The state of blogging has done a total 180° turn.

Small businesses have entered the game to educate customers, brand advocates are blogging for both themselves and their favorite companies, new media sites are cropping up every day. The internet is saturated. 

Cross-promote a blog, however, and you’ll cut through the noise so that a loyal readership easily finds you and your insights.

PARTNER WITH A FRIEND IN YOUR NICHE AND BLOG-SWAP

It’s called guest-blogging — and usually it only goes one way. You’ll submit or pitch another company and (hopefully) land yourself the opportunity to write a guest post for their publication.

Here’s an open secret, though. Guest-blogging can go both ways. In other words, posting on someone else’s site is just as valuable as having someone else post on yours. Why?

Aside from helping to fill each others’ editorial calendars, the two of you can generate mutually-beneficial backlinks, both benefit from exposure to each other’s audience, and you lend each other social credibility: “oh, these two experts are friends? I’m definitely going to follow both now.”

That’s all theory. In practice, here’s how you actually both benefit when you cross-promote a blog with a friend. This is the crux, the promotional aspect of cross-promotion:

Include a call-to-action in your post.

CTAs are, in the marketing world, phrases which activate the reader. Reading is generally a passive activity. You read a blog post. It’s interesting. It fills your time. It inspires a train of thought — and then what? What do you do after you catch up with the news of the day? You usually move on to another activity.

Call-to-actions catch the reader before they move on. They include an action verb which tells your reader to do something next.

“But wait! Catch more good reads on [INSERT BLOG TOPIC] here.”

“If you enjoyed that one; you’re also enjoy [THIS BLOG POST].”

If you can’t get enough of [GUEST CONTRIBUTOR], sign up for her upcoming webinar on [RELEVANT TOPIC]!”

When you cross-promote a blog with another blogger, you need to make your CTA about them. That’s the agreement! They helped you by writing a blog post for your site. Now, you need to help them by giving them the benefit of the marketing practice.

Tell your readers to follow your friend on social, to check out their ebook, to sign up for an upcoming webinar they’re hosting, or to check out more blog posts on their site. Of course,  you’ll need to discuss your mutual goals before either of you publish. How would you like to capitalize on access to your friend’s readers?

PLEASE, DON’T RE-POST

That’s right. One of the best ways to cross-promote is to not cross-post. Let’s be clear that cross-promotion is not the same as a cross-post, although the two techniques are commonly conflated. Cross-posting refers to the practice of sharing the same exact post on different channels: same headline, same image, same caption, same caption. Did I say caption, twice? The point is that cross-posting is monotonous and easily, you’ll lose your audience.

Think about it. You created multiple channels under the assumption that your audience varies across channels. Good assumption; you’re right!

Here’s how.

Your audience varies — according to their consumption preferences which simply means, you have to tailor your content to the channel you’re on. Every social channel you deploy brings with it preset audience expectations.

Let’s say you’re a travel-blogger. Your followers on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter all have wanderlust but the people who follow you on Instagram are particularly interested in beautiful images. Instagram is highly visual. Twitter is all about brevity. Facebook is on its way to becoming everyone’s go-to source for news. That last example may be an overstatement, but the point is, you’ll need to cater to your audience’s expectations.

Again, your audience doesn’t vary in interests — they’re obviously interested in your brand — but they do expect you to deliver content to them in a way that suits the channel.

So! The next time you cross-promote a blog post or the same post on different channels, don’t be lazy! When you cross-promote a blog on your own social channels, create unique messages for every post — messages which suit the channel itself and, as a result, your audience.

Remember that the platform you use is your hook. Ultimately you want to convert your followers into visitors, who swing by your site and stay by a while.

BUT DO, PROMOTE OTHER BLOGGERS

We’ve covered the absolute basics: how to cross-promote a blog comprised of your own(ed) content across your own(ed) social channels and the blog swap, an underrated practice whereby your friend posts a blog you’ve written on their site and vice versa. 

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to get creative.

What if you promoted someone else’s blog post on your social channels, just because? In exchange, you could arrange for them to promote one of your own. Or, again, at the very least, you’re playing a long game which has just landed you on their radar.

Here’s an idea. You could also cite an expert within your article and share it with—only them. Let them know you gave them a shout-out and they may entertain the notion of sharing it with their fans.

If you want other people to look at your work and share your insights, it certainly helps if you’ve done them a solid in the past. After all, social media is all about sharing. It was never intended to be used for self-promotion, at least not initially.

Remember the very first blogs? Sometimes the best thing you can do for your brand is to take a break from the explicit marketing and simply engage with your community. Your community, by the way, is not just comprised of potential customers, or fans; its comprised of peers. It’s largely made up of people who do the same thing that you do.

Share their stuff! Share their posts without asking for anything in return; simply because you found it helpful and interesting. After all, that’s the true goal of blogging right (to exchange ideas, to start a dialogue)?  The promotional side-effects come secondary.

For more tips on how to continually drive traffic to your site (plus, how influencer marketing fits in),  check out these posts:

Colleen Patterson is the content marketing manager for Muses, the only digital growth app focused on building long­-term relationships. She’d love you to get involved.