Written By Rebecca Savastio

20 Free Ways to Promote Your Articles Online

The world of freelance writing is a bit like the Wild West. There are no hard and fast rules, the climate is constantly changing and evolving, and it’s every man for himself (and woman for herself, of course!) Some clients are happy to pay a set fee for an article, while others pay on a cost-per-thousand impressions basis, also called CPM. This can range from 5 cents to 8.00 dollars per 1,000 views.

Obviously, if you’re getting paid by this method you’re going to need to promote the heck out of your articles. However, even if you are working for set-fee clients, it is still vitally important to market your work because branding yourself as a writer depends on how many eyeballs see your name.

Since we’re being brutally honest here, it’s also important to acknowledge that the more well-known you are as a writer, the more money you can make, no matter what the pay model. To that end, we’ve compiled the top 20 FREE ways you can promote your article online, get more people to see your name, and eventually increase your paycheck.

Use Facebook Groups/Pages: Many writers overlook this incredible tool to promote their writing. The best way to use Facebook groups is to look up pages that focus on a similar interest as your article topic. For example, if the article is about weight loss, you could type “obesity” or “weight loss” into the search box. Then, message the page owner politely asking if he or she would be willing to post your article so all of their members can see it. You will want to focus on pages with the most members to maximize your exposure.

“Old School” email: Go old-school. Create a mailing list and write a letter to all of your contacts. Include a link to your article and, when possible, write a personal note to each recipient as well. This is also a great way to catch up with old friends and let them know what you’ve been up to.

Social media networks: Spend time building up all of your social networks. If you don’t have a Twitter account, get one. A Facebook account is an absolute must. Join LinkedIn, Foursquare and Google Plus. Check out Pinterest and Tumblr, too. Organically gain followers and build relationships by chatting and following others. Social media is a necessity and can pay big dividends for the legwork.

Hootsuite’s free application: During the last few years, in what appears to be somewhat of a monopoly, Hootsuite took over all of the free online applications that allowed you to manage multiple social media accounts. Hootsuite has plans ranging from free to $1,500 per month. Obviously, we’ll stick to the free version. This allows you to manage up to five social media accounts at the same time. You’ll be able to post your article, interact with people and monitor traffic from the same application all at once. It’s a fantastic time saver.

Reddit: Oh, Reddit. Reddit is a bit of a problem, but a necessary problem. It can make your article go “mega viral,” but they also have a lot of pesky rules and regulations that are surprisingly easy to break. If you’re a rather patient sort, it’s worth it to become very familiar with their guidelines, which include the fact that you must interact with other people on the site more than you post. You’re also not allowed to post more than one of your own articles out of every ten you post overall. If you can tolerate these strict laws, you could find your articles being seen by millions.

Stumbleupon: Stumbleupon is much more relaxed than Reddit, but you still need to post other links of interest here, and not just your own articles. You could consider making an arrangement to cross promote with a friend. Stumbleupon is a curator of information, and they recommend content to their users. If you get something picked up there, it can mean your article will be circulating online for a long time.

Digg: This site takes its name from the concept that users “dig up” good information or “bury” useless information online. You can submit your links to Digg and interact with other users. The more social you are the better chance you have of people “voting” for your work. Similar concepts are at play with all of the social media sites.

Discussion Forums: This one is by far the most time-consuming, but it’s time well-spent. Look for online forums that focus on the same areas you’re writing about. You will need to cultivate real relationships before you even attempt to post your articles on any forum. After you’ve invested time building up friends and gaining the trust of other users, you can ask permission to share your work. If you’ve done the job effectively, most folks on the forum will jump at the chance to read your article. You will have to use this technique sparingly, though, or people will feel as though you’re marketing to them. You actually are marketing to them, of course, but from an organic place rather than a spammy place, and that makes all the difference.

Twitter tagging: Use Tweets in your articles. Quote people as much as possible. Many articles can benefit from including a paragraph or two on social media reaction to your article topic. After you finish the article, go back to the site from which you pulled the quote, tag everyone who is quoted, and send them a link to your article. On Twitter, for example, say something like “@kitty123- You’re quoted in my new article about gardening! (link)” The person who is quoted loves having 15 minutes of fame, and more often than not, they will retweet your article to all of their followers, thus greatly increasing your chances of going viral.

“Quid Pro Quo” exchange with other bloggers: Connect with other freelance writers and bloggers on social media. Join Facebook groups and chat with folks on Twitter. After you’ve connected a couple of times, ask the person if they would be willing to have you do a guest post on their blog, and vice versa. This is a fantastic way to gain exposure to new audiences, and to give your audience a fresh perspective.

Go really old fashioned and use the phone: This may sound crazy, but consider picking up the phone, dialing a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, and catching up with them. Most people are very interested in freelance writing and will inevitably ask to see some of your work. Give them the name of your blog or make arrangements to send them links to your articles on Facebook or email.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer: This is an advanced technique for the brave at heart. If you’ve written about a controversial subject of any kind, or even a subject about which people feel passionately, reach out to those with opposing points of view. For example, if you write an anti-gun article, write a very cordial note to pro-gun groups asking them to invite their members to read your article and to “join in the conversation.” This is a real-life example and ended up gaining the author 75,000 page views. Sure, many people will debate in the comments section under the article, but if you’re strong enough to let them debate amongst themselves and not get embroiled in responding too much, it’s one of the best ways to get a lot of views.

Do a Series: Readers love articles that appear in a series. Like a soap opera that never seems to come to a definite rapid conclusion, a series of articles keep them guessing at what’s coming next. This increases reader engagement and encourages them to revisit your blog to read the next post.

Timing is Everything: According to a study published on Mashable.com, the most active Twitter time is Saturday and Sunday between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Plan to spend some weekend time sending out Tweets to your followers with links to your articles, and always ask folks to re-tweet.

LinkedIn: This is another site that is an absolute must. If you don’t have an account, open one right away. Since LinkedIn’s purpose is for career networking, the best articles to promote here are either business-related or otherwise informational.

Add a Link to Pinterest: Be sure to place a direct request on the bottom of your article asking readers to post your link to Pinterest. Make the request as large as possible to encourage maximum sharing. You can also join Pinterest and interact with other users to eventually be invited to place your content on others’ boards.

Join RSS Directories: Submit your link to RSS feeds as often as you can. This will allow your article or blog to be seen on others’ websites. You can Google “RSS Feeds” to find a complete list of feeds.

SEO: Although at first it may seem as though optimizing your article for search engines could degrade the quality of your writing, it does not have to be that way. SEO simply means that certain keywords appear in your article. Since those keywords would organically appear anyway, it is easy to tweak your content to include the relevant keywords and phrases as much as possible. Always read your article back to ensure it still sounds natural and flows well.

Add your article to your signature: Create a signature line that includes a link to your blog or article, and use it with every email you send. Even if this does not generate a lot of clicks right away, the payoff over time is what can boost your traffic. As people see your links more frequently, the chance that they will eventually click one is greatly increased.

Ask people to share: Create a graphic that can be placed under every article asking readers to share. Alternately, you can embed buttons under your article that are connected to the main social media accounts. The easier you make it for people to share, the more they will do so.

In the electronic age, it’s more difficult than ever to make your unique voice heard above the cacophony of “noise” online. By following these steps to promote your articles on the web you can increase the odds that your talent will be noticed and appreciated by the maximum number of readers while also branding your online identity as a writer to watch.


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