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The Lazy (and Free!) Way to Promote Your Articles, Blog, or Website

By Edited Jan 11, 2016 13 14

As writers, we need to promote our articles. And sure, you could promote your article on facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, and everywhere else each time you click "publish," but why? You could be using that time to clean your kitchen, sip wine on the balcony, or write another article. Fortunately, the internet comes to our rescue with a number of clever tools that make article or blog post promotion easy! So keep on reading, and learn how to make everything about article promotion just a little easier.

Background

To begin, there are two simple things you need to know:

  1. Many sites (including your blog, InfoBarrel, and other writing sites) have what is called an RSS feed. You don't have to know anything about this except it gets updated every time you publish an article or blog post.
  2. You can use the RSS feed to let other pieces of software know you have published something new.

Now that you know this, it's time to get working on automating your promotion.

RSS Feed Icon
Credit: Public Domain

Set Up Your Accounts

  1. Set up your social media accounts: Twitter, Google+, facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and anywhere else you want to use for promotion. Connect to other people if you haven't already.
  2. Now, create a free account at Buffer. From Buffer, you can enter a link once, and automatically post to Twitter, LinkedIn, facebook, and Google+. Connect those four accounts to Buffer, following the directions they give you. Set up a schedule that is a bit less often than you write an article. For example, if you write on average two articles a week, then set up your posting schedule for once every five days.
  3. But wait, we're not quite finished. You'll need one more account over at If This Then That, abbreviated IFTTT, and pronounced like "gift" without the initial g.

 

Putting It All Together

Okay, remember that we talked about RSS feeds in the beginning? Now is the time to put that to work.

  1. At IFTTT, search for "feed a RSS through Buffer and spam less." This is what IFTTT calls a "recipe," and this one will put automatic promotion to work. Connect your RSS feed from your blog or Infobarrel account, and then connect your account from Buffer. Once you've done that, your new articles will be automatically posted through Buffer to your accounts that are connected to that service. (How do you find your RSS feed on Infobarrel? That's simple. Go to your profile, and underneath your author toolbar, at the top right of the page, you'll find a link that says "Your article feed" with the RSS logo (the orange square with waves). That's your RSS feed link. You can do the same for your blog, too, although that might be a little harder to find.)
  2. At IFTTT, search for RSS and Tumblr, and use one of the recipes to connect your RSS feed to Tumblr. (You'll have to connect your Tumblr account.)
  3. If you have other social media networks, search to see if other social media accounts that you want to use are available.
  4. Now, go back to Buffer every so often. You should have some posts scheduled, but you don't want your posts to go in the same order every time; you want your followers to have some variety, so use the "Shuffle" feature to change the order in which your posts appear on your different social media accounts. You can use Shuffle as many times as you wish until the order suits you.

And that's all there is to it, unless you're ready to have some real fun experimenting with what else you can do!

You Can Do It!
Credit: Licensed for commercial use from HubSpot

Taking Things a Bit Further

Doing some really cool stuff!

  • If you are waiting for preapproval, on InfoBarrel, you know how frustrating it can be to not know whether your article has been published. However, you can set up a recipe on ifttt to send a text message or iOS notification to your phone when your article goes live. With the right hardware, you can even blink your lights or have them change color when your article is published!
  • If you want to use Pinterest as well, start by using a recipe on IFTTT to use your Pinterest RSS feed to send items to Buffer. You'll still have to pin items to Pinterest manually (for now), but you can use the RSS from Pinterest to do everything else for you, including promoting those articles and blog posts to Buffer and Tumblr.
  • For those articles that are relevant only at certain times of year, you can use the Date/Time function on IFTTT to send those article links to Buffer and Tumblr at the appropriate time—perfect for those evergreen holiday articles. Or you can use the Weather trigger to promote articles that are relevant for certain weather conditions, allowing you to promote articles about cold weather preparation, summer activities, etc. There are plenty of choices; there's even a trigger for Is It Christmas?
  • Remember how you are supposed to inventory all your articles? With hundreds of articles spread across different sites, that used to be a real headache, but not now. Use a recipe like sending your tweets with a certain hashtag to Evernote, Google docs, or Google spreadsheet. Once you're all set up, in a year you'll have all your articles inventoried, with links to the content, with absolutely no work on your part.
  • If you are not sure about a certain IFTTT recipe, you can use a test recipe (like sending yourself an email) to try it out and refine it, and you can turn recipes on or off whenever you like, so don't be afraid to experiment! Rather than being boring about self-promotion, you can have a lot of fun with testing different triggers and seeing the results. Then, once you "set it and forget it," you can use all that extra time to do something more enjoyable!
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You can use IFTTT to automatically blink your lights, turn on an appliance, etc., based on a trigger. For example, when you get close to home, you can turn on your lights, or you can even stack tasks, like when you get up, you can send yourself a tweet with a hashtag, and the tweet with the hashtag will turn on your coffee maker. There are so many interesting things to do that it's hard to imagine them all! This product works with IFTTT, so just imagine an appliance you'd like turned on based on certain conditions, and you're ready to go!
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Comments

Jan 13, 2015 9:01pm
WinterWolf
Ifttt sounds good. Gotta try it. Thanks!
Jan 20, 2015 9:08am
classicalgeek
I find Pinterest RSS -> Buffer and then one of those four channels to Tumblr to be the easiest way. I go in once a week and shuffle the Buffer about three times so that I don't post the same thing all over at once. Using the date/time trigger I remind people about holiday articles, and the weather trigger lets me remind them about things like keeping cool or warm, not letting pipes freeze, etc.
Jan 18, 2015 2:17pm
simplytyped
Great tip. This will save me a lot of time!
Jan 21, 2015 12:33am
Teleranya
Thanks for the tips. Looking forward to trying them out.
Feb 1, 2015 11:04am
maria52gr
A great article. Thank you!
Feb 20, 2015 7:05am
MatthewsCD
I will file this away for when I am more consistent with my writing. Good tips though!
Mar 1, 2015 2:42am
shar-On
You are so clever, I wish my brain still worked like it used to about thirty years ago and I would try it. This should help lots of IB members.
Mar 3, 2015 8:03am
classicalgeek
I think I'm more lazy than clever, or else it's my German ancestry and love of efficiency that is driving me to do these kinds of articles!

There are videos showing off IFTTT on YouTube, but I haven't found one yet that focuses on what we want to do here. Usually the videos are of trivial types of tasks, but watching them may give you the idea. I may try to explain with screenshots in a little while.
Mar 28, 2015 2:13am
JaxAttacks
I just signed up for Buffer a few hours before I read this great article! I will have to check out IFTTT now. Thanks for the tips.
Apr 9, 2015 11:51pm
Toddw38
I'm curious, what if you write articles several times a day, what would the schedule be for posting your articles?
Apr 16, 2015 5:48am
classicalgeek
I would post no more than one per day in any case. Give yourself some slack for when you're sick, taking a vacation, etc., plus you don't want to overwhelm your readers/followers. Other people's opinions may differ.
May 28, 2015 7:48pm
EricTurner
Interesting article. I'll have to try these out once I start publishing more regularly.
Jul 1, 2015 12:31pm
Jay_Angel
Wow! This really makes sense. Thank you for a most useful article
Oct 12, 2015 6:31am
AMorningGlory
Thank you for this article! I found it very helpful and am excited to try out some of these ideas. :D
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