Publicize Your Genealogy News Blog (and your business?)
This is 9th in a series of articles on genealogy news blogging (by locality). Click here to read the 8th part, What do they want to know?
Whether you are a professional genealogist building a business with your blog, or someone who sees a need and wants to create something of value, you want your blog to be found by those who it will help. There are many things you can do to publicize your blog, and many resources out there to help.
Here are a few ways to get started.
Make your blog findable through search engines
Using SEO (search engine optimization) and social media are two of the best ways you can make your blog findable by those searching for genealogy help online. It’s important to spend time learning about these two topics to make sure that you can make the best decisions about how to use the tools available to you. Here are a few of the best resources to get you started:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Share your posts in relevant social media groups
You are probably already a member of Facebook and Google+ groups for research in your chosen area. If not, search for “[locality] genealogy” and join the groups. When you post about news and information for that location, share with them a link to the article. Generally, as long as you’re not selling something, members of those groups will appreciate the updates. When posting about databases, you can also add it to this non-locality-specific Facebook group.
Build a Network Offline
Although your blog is online, and there is an active community of genealogists online, there are so many others out there who have no idea that an active genealogy blogging community exists.
Contact local genealogy societies and organizations to let them know what you do. Offer to write something for their newsletters that would appeal to their members. In the article, or the bio, encourage the readers to find you online.
Mention these organizations in your posts, then be sure to let them know when you mention them, and they will be even more likely to share your blog with their membership. This article explains how valuable this approach can be. (Though it refers more to online “authority figures,” the idea is the same.)
Additionally, if you are building a business, your end goal is to build your business, not just your blog readership. Think about potential clients and how you can reach them. One specific idea comes from Thomas MacEntee. He created a genealogy guide for a small town in upstate NY and sent copies of it to bed and breakfasts in the area to generate leads. Thomas adds:
When marketing a genealogy business, we need to keep in mind that location is no longer our master. With the Internet and social media, potential customers or society members can find us and connect with us in an instant.
So don’t be afraid to ‘go local’ yet still ‘stay global.’ This means having materials available for those visiting a small town where their ancestors lived. Create a ‘freebie’ like a genealogy guide that a local bed & breakfast can place in its library. Or contact a local newspaper and write an article about genealogy. Just because you can’t physically be at that location, doesn’t mean you can’t connect with folks from that area.”
Get listed in directories
Geneabloggers: The GeneaBlogger network, started by Thomas MacEntee many years ago, is the main blogging directory for all genealogy bloggers. He has gathered quite a few resources for bloggers and are definitely worth spending some time with. Click here for guidelines for submitting your blog.
GenVines: GenVines’ goal is to provide a network of bloggers who are regularly posting news and resources about specific localities. As you get going, contact me to be listed in the directory and spotlighted in the blog.
Association of Professional Genealogists: If you are a professional building a business, you likely already have this one covered. Just be sure your listing is up to date and highlights your blog as a resource.
Let readers know about your services
If you are a professional genealogist, using your blog to build leads for your work, it’s ok to do things like adding a footer to your posts that lets your readers know about your services. It’s not intrusive, and because you are doing so much to keep the readers informed, it comes across as being helpful, not annoying. Chris Paton does this well.
Publicity and advertising are not the easiest things for many of us to do. If it doesn’t come naturally, it’s pretty hard to stick our necks out there and let people know about us. Just remember–you’re in it to help others, to create something of value. Share that value with the world, and people who need what you have to offer will find you.
What do you do to get the word out about your blog? Share in the comments!
Coming Next: Be an Advocate
Photo: Unknown, US War Department 1917-1918. National Archives and Records Administration, ARC Identifier 533698. http://research.archives.gov/description/533698. Accessed July 28, 2014.