Do you want to enter the blogosphere like a quiet librarian enters a classroom, or do you want to rock the stage? I am definitely one to rock stuff out and in this article I will share a few tips to help you make an attention grabbing launch.
If you want to give your blog an exciting launch, your blog needs to be valuable to your target audience, otherwise your hard work will be in vain.
Ask yourself this simple question “Does my blog provide something that a thousand other blogs don’t?” If you don’t have something special to offer, no one will care when you launch or how you launch.
There will always be a certain category of blogs that will not qualify for a special launch and it is up to you to determine if your blog fits that category. Now let’s look at 10 ways that you can launch your new blog with a ‘bang’.
1. Prepare amazing content in advance
Do you want a guaranteed way to launch with a bang? Prepare amazing content before you launch. I am not talking about a quick general post, I want you to take the time of your life to create the most astounding post you have ever come across.
Get some early feedback on the first article and if you don’t get a positive enthusiastic reply, store your article for later and work on something that would give your audience the ‘wow’ factor.
If your message is not worth spreading then millions in advertising will also fail you. The most true and tried method of creating hype surrounding your blog is by creating some really good content and letting the users do the talking.
If you can successfully amaze ten people and get them excited about your blog, you can expect them to share your blog with a 100 more people and this process would go on until the hype expires.
The idea is to convince your first visitors that they have come across a truly great new blog and they absolutely have to share it. No one will share a blog that has poor content or no content at all. If you want a real head start, you will need some truly refreshing content that urges your readers to share it.
2. Run a viral twitter campaign
@yourblogname is giving away a free iPod Nano at http://is.gd/lvxv — RT this message to participate!
This would be a smart campaign, extremely effective and easy to deploy. Just ensure that the prize you offer is exciting enough for someone to re-tweet your message.
You might think that an iPod is just way too much to give away for a Twitter contest but what you want to create is a viral tweet and an iPod Nano will be enough to grab the attention of a lot of Twitter users. If you don’t have the budget to give away an iPod, don’t dispair. Some cold calling and email and you’d usually be able to find a sponsor who is willing to give something away in exchange for some exposure.
3. Provide incentives to early subscribers
I have seen this work very well on many blogs where bloggers usually give away a digital product like an eBook or an icon set to all the users who subscribe to their blog. This will give your visitor the push needed for them to subscribe.
If you can offer a valuable freebie that is related to your target audience, it can radically improve your subscriber count in a very short time. If you don’t have something worthy to offer your subscribers you might as well not offer anything at all. Make it worthwhile.
4. Hold a contest
Holding a contest gives your blog an interactive element rather than being a one way conversation, you can challenge your users and allow them to be part of your community.
Your contest should challenge a user into participating rather than bribing them into participating. A contest should be exciting to your target audience, it shouldn’t be complicated, but don’t make it too easy either.
If you have a design blog for example, you might consider hosting some sort of design competition and give away a brand new Macbook to the winning entry. This will surely turn some heads and help your branding efforts.
5. Run a brute-force ad campaign
What’s better than one ad on one blog? A lot of ads on a lot of blogs at the same time! A lot of new blogs are coming in with investor backing and have the money to start big. If you are one of them and want a head start, then an advertisement campaign will do just that.
Instead of buying one advertisement for one year on a single blog, buy 10 adverts on several related blogs for the month that you launch.
You cannot expect a surge of visitors just like Gucci doesn’t expect a surge of customers after advertising in a magazine, but you can expect your blog to slowly turn into a brand.
6. Host an event or a party
Show the world that you are not one to sit idle. Call up your friends and take them out for a fancy meal, order a cake and celebrate the birth of your blog. Depending on the scale of your blog, you might want to take this to the next level and invite anyone in your area to your launch party.
Blog about your party, as this shows your readers that you are a real person in the real world establishing a connection with them. It gives your blog a face and makes it easier than ever to create a community around it.
7. Give away prizes
Who doesn’t like giveaways? You’ve probably seen many food companies offering free tasting of their new product at supermarkets.
They usually give you a sample of their product, or offer you a freebie of some sort when you visit their stand. This is a very efficient way of reaching out to customers who might not try their product on their own.
In our case, a blog could give away prizes for commenting, subscribing or becoming a Twitter follower. This is a very common strategy among established blogs and works like a charm.
If you only have a limited amount of prizes and a lot of participants, simply choose a few winners at random to keep things fair. You can use random.org to select a random number.
8. Promote your posts on social media
This should be done from the day you start your blog and for every new post you make. Here is a powerful list of websites where you can submit your posts to gain some initial momentum.
Once you get the first few visitors, it is up to your visitors to take the next step. If your post is capable of convincing the reader that it’s worth sharing, you can expect it to get ‘dugg’, bookmarked in Delicious or retweeted.
9. Guest post on other blogs
Not everyone can afford to purchase an advert on a leading blog to get major exposure. A great alternative is spending some time and create great content for other well known blogs and get paid for it.
Guest posting is a great way to make some money and get some exposure. Write an article for a high profile blog and ask them to publish it in the first week of your launch if possible. You can now introduce your new blog at the end of your guest post.
10. Interact with your user base
Bloggers can get so engulfed in getting new readers that they forget about the readers that they already have.
Interacting with your user base is an excellent way to expand your community as users who like your blog are already on it and these are the same users who will tell their friends about you. So take some time off of analysing your stats and counting your diggs and simply reply to the comments left and emails received.
In addition to replying to their comments, ask your readers what they want and expect from you. If you are a tutorial website, you might want to ask your users what tutorials they want to see next. This makes users feel that they have a say in what you do and makes them feel attached to your website.
Get creative, do something exciting and get people to love you!
Written exclusively for WDD by Kumail.H.T. He is a designer, blogger & entrepreneur. He is also the creator of soon to come InkscapeMag which is a tutorial blog for the vector program Inkscape. Follow him on twitter or subscribe to his blog to be the first to know about the launch.
What techniques have you used to launch your blog? Please share them with us…