Photo from old sears catalog of ice skatesAfter reading Betsy’s post on Passing Thru, “Selling Isn’t Selling Anymore”, I was reminded of how bloggers need to “sell” themselves in order to gain readers.

Let’s face it, with the amount of time we spend on our blog posts, we certainly don’t want it to be all for naught.

Although selling isn’t a favorite of mine, oddly enough, my first full-time job was in sales at a Sears catalog store.

Part of my job was to go through the telephone book and make “cold calls”. I would pick out names, call them, introduce myself and ask them if I could assist them in finding something out of our catalog.  Often we would page through sections of the catalog and I would help them uncover a treasure.

All phone calls didn’t end up in a sale, but fortunately I lived in a small community and held that job before telemarketing became the rage. Instead of my calls being a nuisance, people were actually grateful for my help.

Today’s Lesson

For our blog to succeed, we must sell it. 

And, in selling our blog, we are also selling ourselves.

When building a community on a blog, we need to get our name out there.

This can be done by:

  1. Visiting other blogs and leaving meaningful comments
  2. Linking to other blogs referencing one of their posts
  3. Joining and participating in social networking sites such as Twitter
  4. Offering a free ebook or newsletter
  5. Joining and/or hosting blog carnivals
  6. Entering our names in blog directories
  7. Using our blog URL as part of our email signature
  8. Write a captivating “About Me” page, giving our readers a reason to subscribe

For blogs that are built for search engine traffic, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is required. Using SEO means we are competing against others for the same keywords and/or keyword phrases. Perfecting our use of SEO becomes essential as we’re technically selling ourselves to “Big Brother”, telling him our content is worth rating above others.

It’s one thing to write and boast of the hundreds of posts in our archives, but if we’re not letting others know what we have is worthwhile reading, we may as well be writing a private journal.

Today’s Assignment

How do you sell yourself?  Or, do you?

If you’re not selling yourself, what holds you back?

For those who concentrate on selling themselves and their blogs, what can you share with others that has worked for you?

Care to share?

signature for blog post.

P.S. For more ideas on getting found, stay tuned for a future guest post when Matthew Dryden steps in as substitute teacher and shares what he learned from watching two of his mentors market themselves.


Photo Credit:Wishbook

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  1. Sunil PathakNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Barbara.

    There are some nice advices, people won’t find you if you don’t help them find you,

    One thing that i truly believe in is “don’t be invisible make your self discovered on blogsphere ”

    People want come to you if they dont know you exist. show them your work if you want them to read it, Link out generously. Go out and comment on blogs that share your interest, Communicate with other blog editor.

    Sunil Pathak´s last blog post..18 Blog SEO Tips By 4 SEO Experts

  2. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. I agree with Sunil. I see that I’m practicing all of the items on your list except 6 & 7. Something else important to note is that when “building your brand / blog” is to be patient and to keep making those appearances in comment sections. It takes time before you become a familiar face to the blogger and their readers, and you eventually build a history together.

    Davina´s last blog post..What Have You Done for Your Blog Lately?

  3. Ulla HennigNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,
    Looking at your list I see that I am practicing all your items except offering a free e-book or a newsletter. Not that I haven’t been thinking about doing it, but I want to offer quality, and that keeps me from doing it. I’ve seen too many free e-books which I would not dare to offer.

    Ulla Hennig´s last blog post..Still Standing

  4. […] rest is here:  Gain Readers By Selling Yourself No TweetBacks yet. (Be the first to Tweet this […]

  5. Don’t forget to offer your readers a newsletter, ezine, free 7 day class that showcases your knowledge, etc. as well!

    I offer three free ebooks on my site for folks who sign up for my newsletter, and I wrote them all. The first two, The Dark Side of Making Money Online and 13 Ways You Are Leaving Money on the Table, focus on sharing what I’ve learned from my decade plus of being an entrepreneur online, and the 3rd is my 200+ page book that shows newbies 13 ways of starting to profit online.

    By offering meaty books as well, I’m freely sharing what I know and telling subscribers that *this* is the quality you can expect from me.

    I agree with Ulla about “too many free ebooks she wouldn’t dare to offer” – I’ve seen that too! But if you walk the walk you talk and create material on which you’re proud to put your name…it helps brand you incredibly well.

    Data points, Barbara

    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog post..Profit by goodwill – give freely to your list subscribers

  6. Hi Barbara,

    I’m glad you addressed this topic. I leave comment on some other blogs but don’t have an active strategy to sell myself or my blog. I mentioned once that I found it difficult to sell, and Tom Volkar from Delightful Work made a great point – that when you believe what you have is important, you’ll sell naturally because you just can’t stop talking about it. So I’m working on creating a blog that I truly believe helps others!

    Daphne @ Joyful Days´s last blog post..Attaining Spiritual Peace

  7. Hi Barbara – Wow, thank you for the link love! And I love that you branched the thoughts about selling in a brand new direction, pertaining to blogs. I know there are people out there who take issue with the concept of selling themselves – as if it were a dirty thing, somehow. It’s my impression that authenticity suffers when we do, though. There’s a missing piece.

    The e-book and newsletter is the next step for PassingThru. Now that I’ve sold my gift franchise, I will have more time to develop this plan. Improvements could be made to our About page, too.

    Self-promotion is hard for just about everyone! I think the key that unlocks our reluctance is total belief in what we have to offer, so much so that it trumps the training we all got in self-deprecation. Thanks.

    Betsy Wuebker´s last blog post..HE IS RISEN

  8. Barbara,
    Guest posting and publishing on high traffic web sites like ezine should promote/sell your blog very well.
    This is what I am to try out next 😉

    Alik Levin | PracticeThis.com´s last blog post..What Your Kid Knows About Creativity

  9. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I am not sure how to do either one. I pretty much do everything except 4,5. I have participated in blog carnivals but not hosted one. So there’s a challenge.

    Linda´s last blog post..How Greenwashed Is My Valley

  10. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    i “sell” myself by visiting and commenting on other blogs. occasionally i will tweet a post. i don’t have as much time as i used to or either i’m not scheduling my time as i have in the past, so i don’t engage in social networking as much now.

    when i visit other blogs, i’ll click on a link from one of their commenters and say hello there. that’s another way to find a new blog or reader.

    Natural´s last blog post..My Two Left Feet

  11. LisaNewtonNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve done several of the above mentioned items, with some success. For me, it’s all about how much time I have and how to get the best bang for my buck, so to say. Commenting on blogs is a joy, a kind of selling my blog while learning experience. Just like this one.

    One thing I might add to your list, is the idea of guest posting. It’s also a way of selling your blog, but using other blogs to do it. I’ve guest posted at Problogger, which did gain a few new readers.

    But, my theme, being travel, is better suited for others to guest post on my blog, featuring places they like to travel right in their own backyard. For example, today Tess of The Bold Life is guest posting about a beautiful garden she took her grandchildren to. It’s a win/win situation. Other bloggers get to do something out of the realm of their regular topic, and my readers get to visit a new location…………………:)

    LisaNewton´s last blog post..Travelin’ Local visits The Desert Botanical Garden in Arizona

  12. Writer DadNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t like selling myself, but doing so has made an immediate difference to my bottom line. Making an online living is hard to start, but certainly worth sustaining. You must be able to spark the fuse to get the fire going. After 8 months of the daily online grind, I have to wonder how anyone does it without selling at least a bit of themselves.

    Writer Dad´s last blog post..Welcome to the Inkwell

  13. I hate it that “selling” is viewed as something “dirty” … which is why I encourage my people to focus on the GDP – people have Goals, Desires and Problems. When you’re blogging, you should be talking about how you can solve those problems, help people quench those desires and achieve their goals.

    When you realize that you offer the SOLUTION to a PROBLEM people are having, it changes the “flavor” of sales! Suddenly, instead of viewing it as “selling” – you can view it as “sharing solutions” and who doesn’t love helping other people?

    The reason telemarketers are so despised is they are given carefully written “scripts” to follow which treat the prospective customer as a dolt who is easily manipulated. When we think of sales as “manipulative” it’s only natural that we would be repelled by it. However, when you start to view your sales as a “mission” to help others – well, then sales becomes a noble path to follow – doesn’t it?

    Kathy | Virtual Impax´s last blog post..Social Media and Communication: How your mindset shapes the mesage.

  14. […] the blog post Gain Readers by Selling Yourself, Barbara Swafford tells the tale of the days when she was employed to reach out and connect with […]

  15. Hi Barbara. The interesting thing about marketing a blog is it often times includes the notion of marketing without marketing. Sounds weird, but you know it’s true. Bloggers have this unwritten code which states, “I don’t want to be marketed to directly.”

    Sometimes I think this notion can be a bit silly, but I can understand because hey, I don’t want to read a bunch of blog articles doing nothing but pushing their products. That’s what static landing pages are for. But I think it’s ok for an article here and there to highlight what your company or business has to offer.

    Like Alik said, guest posting is another great method.

    As for selling myself, I try to show people I’m knowledgeable in my field of work and hopefully find a way to spread the word that I’m a person you can trust with your information, when we live in such an untrustful world.

    John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s last blog post..SEO Q&A: Does It Matter Where My Website’s Server Is Located?

  16. Silly GirlNo Gravatar says:

    I have done some of the things on your list. But for the most part, people have found me through word of mouth and friends. I am going to try to sell myself a little better in the future. Thanks for the suggestions and your visits to my blog.

    Silly Girl´s last blog post..Just another Manic Monday!!!!

  17. Ahh, Teacher do we HAVE to Tweet ??

    I’m going to continue “selling” my blog by popping in at others people’s blogs. But probably (possibly?) I’ll get more traffic by promoting my current songs, writing more songs and winning some Oscars and Grammys for said wonderful songs. Then how will I ever keep up with my millions of fans?

    But actually, I am just pleased as punch with my blog now. I feel very happy and successful because of all you friends who drop by my site.

    Jannie Funster´s last blog post..Twitterpated (not!) (yet)

  18. Barbara – I agree completely. We absolutely have to sell ourselves (sounds funny, I know) in order to achieve anything with our blogs. Love your comment about “commenting,” as comments (Both on our sites and the ones we leave for others) are the life blood of blogging!

    We all need validation and communication stemming from our blog efforts.

    Kevin Sandridge´s last blog post..Florida USDA Rural Development Home Loan Map and Information

  19. Thanks for this post Barbara. I’ve used many of the marketing strategies you talk about on your list, and my sense is that they’ve been very helpful. And, if I wanted to reach more readers, there are probably a few ways I could tweak my content: 1) write more list posts; 2) use more personal anecdotes; 3) focus on more “mainstream” personal development topics. At the moment I’m open to doing #2 🙂 and I’m making a conscious effort to add more about myself.

  20. DotNo Gravatar says:

    Nice list, and useful! If I’d only known all that before I started, I might not have started at all. It’s like writing a novel in the wee hours and then finding out you have to travel all over and go on talk shows to promote it. I just don’t have the time.

    Dot´s last blog post..All About Chocolate

  21. I sell my blog and my writing services by utilizing several of the tools you mentioned. Mostly commenting, participating in social media, and optimizing my content for search engines.

    Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post..Skiing In Lake Tahoe, California

  22. melanieNo Gravatar says:

    I have been doing everything except for the last 2. I will need to work on them.
    The biggest thing that I do is join communities where people are in the same business as me and just keep pushing through the crowds in the hope I get noticed. It is slowly paying off….slowly. The working from home mum pool is enormous and easy to be unnoticed in. Hmmm, reading over my post, I need to look into how I can change that for myself and what I am doing wrong to sell myself. Thanks Barbara. Another thought provoking topic. Cheers!

    melanie´s last blog post..Trash Talk

  23. Good post Matthew.

    I think the best way to sell yourself is to do what Matthew did today: Guest post. Certainly, that gives you a very good shot at showing yourself to many other potentially interested people.

    “# Write a captivating “About Me” page, giving our readers a reason to subscribe”

    This is true. My About section is a little weird right now. But, since me and my brother are going to be relaunching our blog pretty soon – we will have a new and improved about section. They say other than the blog, it’s your most important page.

    Bamboo Forest – PunIntended´s last blog post..How to Make the Choices You Really Want to Make in Life

  24. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t like the idea of having to “sell” but when I first started on my online journey, I was advised that I had to do it. After a series of mistakes, I now try to view it as bringing my energy across. Since I am in a happier state currently, I hope to convey the message of positiveness, joy and love.

    Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..The Masquerade Play Of Life

  25. TracyNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara, I do quite a few of the things on your list but I think the key was, as Davina mentioned, being patient and letting time do it’s work. Give people a chance to know you. Be generous. But don’t try to do so much at once you burn out!

    Tracy´s last blog post..My First Life Coaching Session

  26. TracyNo Gravatar says:

    Oh but I realized I never finished my about me page so thanks for the reminder to do it! When I started, I just assumed everyone reading would know me!

    Tracy´s last blog post..My First Life Coaching Session

  27. TumblemooseNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    I’ve found that I am doing most of these things you list.

    And by the way, I like the list. A LOT. Thanks for just putting it in a bullet and telling us. Sometimes folks wax poetic with umpteen examples and such. Here, you just hit us right between the eyes and I feel like the message is: Now go forth and conquer!

    George

    Tumblemoose´s last blog post..Vanity plates writing prompts

  28. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    There’s so much more I could do.

    Probably the most significant thing I could do is guest post and write E-Zine articles. Meanwhile, I think the key is creating raving fans by writing posts that matter.

    You reminded me that I need to get a better handle on goals and growth rate and metrics. Even a simple goal like 10,000 subscribers within the first year might be useful, so I can more effectively prioritize evangelism techniques. So far, I’m still more focused on cracking the nut on some knowledge areas.

    J.D. Meier´s last blog post..Bloom’s Taxonomy for Learning

  29. Lori -SpaceAgeSageNo Gravatar says:

    After blogging 11 months and then quitting in January, but keeping up with the many folks I met via my blog, I’ve realized how powerful the networking process of commenting, linking, etc., can be. I’ve also realized how draining it can be to try to keep up with it all. The ideas listed are great, but I was never wired to doing that all at the time I was writing my fist blog. Now, as I start to gear up another blog and launch an e-book, I see how following these tips can be energizing because they will be part of a business plan instead of a first-time and not-so-serious venture into the Blogopolis.

    @ Evelyn, I so love this statement of yours about selling yourself, “I now try to view it as bringing my energy across.”

  30. What an extraordinary post! I’m grateful to have found you and your well-written, sensible advice.

    Elaine Garrett´s last blog post..Article Marketing | Promoting Your Content

  31. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sunil – Thank you. It’s true, if we continue to be invisible, we won’t be discovered.

    Hi Davina – Great point. Having patience is definitely key in getting found. Like you said, it takes awhile to be a familiar name/face in blogosphere.

    Hi Ulla – I agree. An ebook should offer value. That often takes an enormous amount of time to produce.

    Hi Barbara – That’s true. Our ebooks are a reflection on us and what our readers can expect from us. Your free ebooks are a perfect example of providing quality content.

    Hi Daphne – That’s fabulous advice Tome gave you. When we believe in ourselves, selling does come natural.

    Hi Betsy – You’re welcome. Yes. Self promotion is often referred to as being selfish, however as we all know, in blogosphere, if we don’t sell ourselves, we may not get found. Once we’re popular, then our evangelists often do the work for us.

    Hi Alik – Another great point. Guest posting can be a superb way for others to find us.

    Hi Linda – I’ve read hosting blog carnivals is a great way to draw attention to ourselves. Might it be something to add to your list?

    Hi Natural – That’s a great idea. Clicking on the link of a blogger we’re not familiar with, and commenting will help spread our name.

    HI Lisa – Your blog is a perfect place for others to share their travels and/or home towns. I read the posts by Tess and Lance on your blog and if I wasn’t already subscribed to their blogs, their guest posts would have given me the incentive to.

    Hi Writer Dad – That’s true. Selling ourselves isn’t easy, but you’re a perfect example of how it pays off with perseverance.

    Hi Kathy – I love your GDP idea. It puts a different spin on “selling” and puts the attention on providing value and helping others. I like that.

    Hi John – I think you nail your mission perfectly. Just reading comments you’ve posted, visiting your site, sharing emails, and knowing other BWABers have used you for their webhosting shows your trustworthiness, which helps in your marketing efforts.

    Hi Silly Girl – You’re welcome. Yes. Often people do find us, however, to gain a further reach, we do need to get “out there”.

    Hi Jannie – Haha. I think Tweeting helps. It gets our names and faces out there and can work to our advantage if we’re trying to expand our audience.

    When you do get those Grammys and Oscars, you will remember us, right? 🙂

    Hi Kevin- That’s true. Commenting does give us validation, and will often spur us to do more, thus giving us more exposure.

    Hi Chris – You’re welcome. Adding more information about ourselves can work to our advantage as it gives our readers a sense of who we are, where we came from and where we’re headed. I think it also builds trust.

    Hi Dot – Thank you. **smiles**. Yes, if we knew what all goes into blogging and getting found, many of us may have thought twice before starting. But, aren’t you glad you did?

    Hi Vered – You’re using three of the most effective tools for promoting your blog/writing services.

    Hi Melanie – You’re welcome. Good point. The stay at home moms and/or mommy/daddy bloggers are a competitive sector of blogging to be a part of. In order to stand out, I’m guessing it does take determination and creative ideas. I wish you well.

    Hi Bamboo – Matthew’s guest post will be published shortly. In it, he will share what he learned from observing others as they climbed up the ranks.

    I agree, the “about me” page does rank high. When I click on them, if they don’t tell me about the author(s), I often don’t subscribe.

    Hi Evelyn – That’s a great way to look at selling – “convey the message of positiveness, joy and love.” And, you do just that. 🙂

    Hi Tracy – You’re welcome. Yes. If we try to do too much in the beginning we can experience early burnout. Pacing ourselves and patience are key.

    Hi George – **smiles** Knowing you’re all busy, I do try to get to the point and leave out as much fluff as possible. I’m happy to see it’s working.

    Hi J.D. – You’ve raised a good point. Often our time is spent on providing quality posts and we forget about marketing ourselves. It does take time, however, for us to grow a blog, I think it’s essential.

    Hi Lori – It sounds like you learned a lot from your first blog. Now that you’re gearing up for your next blog, you have all of the tools at your fingertips. I wish you well.

    Hi Elaine – Thank you. I hope to see you here again soon.

  32. @ Barbara: My mistake. I read the entire post but at the end I skimmed the “byline” [P.S. section]… and that is why I thought it was by Matthew.

    Thanks for the heads up and great post.

    Bamboo Forest – PunIntended´s last blog post..How to Make the Choices You Really Want to Make in Life

  33. I think that you should underline and bold “visiting other blogs and leaving meaningful comments” – my own blog has been drowned with “great post, thanks!” “good job”

    I delete all of those, as i’m sure most other bloggers do. If you want to get your name out there, be sincere about it and take the extra effort to contribute to a site. Why should i help you if you’re just turning my blog into a “good job” -a -thon?

    Another suggestion i would make is using articles, its gets your name out there and it creates links!

    Discount Sunglasses´s last blog post..Harley Sunglasses: The New Mens Favorite

  34. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    Another good post and strategies to use. I am not doing any of these things very well – except writing some quality posts (I think) and making lots of comments on other posts…

    Got a couple good pick up lines too!
    Thank you again…I just keep working step by step and reminding myself it is best to go at my own pace.

    Patricia´s last blog post..Kindle 2 and 5 Things I Love About It!

  35. CarolineNo Gravatar says:

    I admit…I hustle! The best selling tactic for my blog has been going to 5 new blogs a day and leaving a comment. It’s work…but I have gained many new readers that way. And visiting 5 new blogs a day is not too much extra work. I also have my blog URL as part of my email signature. And twitter has been a good tool as well. Funny, today I wrote a post dedicated to some of my favorite comments…linking 20 bloggers…

    Caroline´s last blog post..Your wise words…

  36. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi again Bamboo – No problem. That’s an easy mistake to make.

    Hi Discount Sunglasses – Although the short “great posts, etc., is a problem I don’t have to deal with too often, it can be discouraging.

    Yes, writing ezine articles is another great way to get our name out there.

    I do have a question for you (if you happen to come back). You’ve left such a great comment however your link leads me back to a sales site. Do you have a blog you would like to share with me and the others in this community?

    Hi Patricia – You’re welcome. You’re right. Working at our own pace is certainly key. Too often we try to do everything at once only to experience burnout.

    Hi Caroline – ***smiles***. I read that post of yours. That was a wonderful way to showcase those in your community. I’m betting they were are very appreciative.

    I like your idea of adding more new blogs to our list everyday. That is a great way to get our name out there and gain readership. Like you said, it is work, but with the wonderful friends we can meet, it makes it worthwhile, doesn’t it?

  37. Dennis EdellNo Gravatar says:

    I like to consider myself a pretty good white-hat “self pimp”, but I know here’s always more to do; whether it’s continuing what I’m doing, adding more avenues or the best of all worlds, BOTH.

    Awesome article. 🙂

    Dennis Edell´s last blog post..Understanding The New Rules Of SEO

  38. I built up my initial readership with blog commenting and have added to it by guest posting and directly helping people who then recommend me.

    Mostly, however, I find that I sell the blog by being myself on it and word of mouth passes it around. It’s a very slow process and one that I am looking to speed up, but use as a basis my three major strengths: my authenticity, my empathy and my ability to tell a good story.

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog post..Addicted to Downloading: Procrastinating with eBooks

  39. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Dennis – Thank you. I like how you put that – your a “white hat self pimp”. It’s that black hat stuff that gets us in trouble, hey?

    Hi Alex – You’ve nailed your strengths perfectly. You are authentic, have empathy for others, and are a great story teller. Those strengths also make you a fabulous coach.

  40. […] a typical post.  We don’t like to sound like we’re bragging, but on the other hand, it is imperative we sell ourselves and our work in order to grow our […]

  41. […] when we had the discussion on needing to sell ourselves and our blogs in order to get discovered and read? Well, when I landed on this week’s […]