You've probably read about SEO (search engine optimisation) and methods of promoting your blog online. In fact, I'm going to post about this soon, but first I want to point out some methods you may not have considered, which are just as important, whether your blog is business related, or simply a personal blog for which you would like to attract a readership: promoting your blog offline.
Before you say: "what's the point in that? Readers need to be online to read my blog!", try to realise that offline promotion can be just as effective at introducing new and regular readers to your blog as online methods. Have you visited a website because you saw it referenced in a magazine, or it was recommended by a friend? Most likely you have, or will in the future. And these are not the only ways you can promote your blog offline. Here are some more examples:
- Word of mouth: Now you've made your blog, taken the time to create well written posts and make it look great, why not tell everyone about it? This is especially effective when speaking with people who have an affinity with your subject matter, be it your work colleagues when discussing your business blog, or parents at the local nursery when mentioning your "mommy blog"! If someone reads your blog and likes it, chances are they will also recommend it to friends and family, which can only attract more readers and page hits.
- Business cards: Print your blog address on your business card to raise awareness of your blog. This works especially well if your blog is in the same field as your line of business. You can also try getting some cheap business cards and printing your own with a brief description of your blog. Hand them out if anyone asks about your online habits; post them on message boards and even leave a couple in libraries/coffee shops/waiting rooms for others to find.
- Letterheads and correspondence: A similar practice to using business cards, and something you can also try with personal correspondence too.
- Stickers and buttons: A friend of mine helped to promote her school website by handing out stickers and buttons at a summer fayre; visitor stats increased tenfold! If such promotion seems too pushy for your blog, you could instead print off some stickers with your blog address and keep them handy for an occasion where you might use them. Sticking to parcels sent for Ebay purchases is a good example (I've had many with the senders website attached). CafePress provide a great selection of stickers and buttons which you can fully customise to suit your requirements.
- Press releases and newsletters: Over at Problogger, I read about PRWeb.com, whose free services can easily be modified to include a blog in a business press release, or even to publicise a blog in it's own right! Press releases are an ideal solution for businesses to promote their services, and also for professional bloggers. But what if you're a personal blogger? Newsletters can be a great alternative: if you blog about a group/school/organisation, or a subject which would be of interest to them, why not ask for your blog to be mentioned in a newsletter?
It's a good idea to recognise your niche in the market, and promote your blog in this area of interest. For example, if you blog about student life, try promoting your blog at local universities; if you blog about fishing, go visit your local pond and talk to others about what you do. You'll be sure to attract some interest!
For more advice about promoting your business blog offline, you should have a look at this article from the ProBlogger archives; and don't forget to read through the comments too: others have pointed out some great ideas about how they've successfully promoted their own blogs offline.