When there is traffic, there is opportunity.

An opportunity to engage and gain the trust of your prospects. An opportunity to get leads. An opportunity to convert them into actual paying customers. An opportunity to get referrals.

However, when there is traffic, more often than not, there is also money involved.

It was DigitalMarketer.com’s Ryan Deiss who once said that he who is able and willing to spend more to acquire more customers, wins. Promoting content through paid traffic is — and should be — an integral of any successful content marketing strategy.

However, this doesn’t mean that you need to shell out thousands of dollars and compete with big companies to drive traffic to your blog. There are inexpensive and even free strategies that can be used to generate traffic and get your blog content in front of people who matter to your business.

Here are 50 tactics to promote your blog, without breaking the bank. These tips are organized into categories to make them easier for you to implement. To make it easier to remember these categories, just take note — it’s F.R.E.E.

F – Focus on Social Media

With billions of active users on social media every day, maximizing social media is the most obvious and most strategic way to promote your blog on a limited budget. Arguably, social media to a degree leveled the playing field between big companies and small businesses. With traditional advertising media such as TV, radio, and print, businesses need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to achieve the reach they want. With social media, even with just $5 a day or no ad spend at all, as long as you have great content with an element of virality, you can reach millions worldwide.

Here’s how to promote your blog by focusing on social media:

  1. Spend a little on boosted posts on Facebook to promote one of your pillar blog entries.
  2. Share snippets from one of your evergreen posts to rekindle interests.
  3. Use social sharing widgets or plugins so readers can easily share your content.
  4. Every time you publish new content, do a Facebook Live to give a brief walkthrough.
  5. Join relevant communities and share your content on Facebook groups, if there’s an opportunity.
  6. Re-publish your post on LinkedIn with a link to the original entry in your blog.
  7. Identify relevant and friendly influencers in your niche and Tweet them with a link to a new blog post.
  8. Create a video version of your blog posts and publish them on YouTube.
  9. For blog posts that are heavy on visuals, create a board for them on Pinterest.
  10. Create a short video snippet and add them to your Instagram story.
  11. Create a visual version of your list posts and use it as a carousel Instagram post.
  12. Join relevant Google+ Groups and share relevant content (don’t spam them).
  13. Explore opportunities in other social networks such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Alltop, and Delicious.
  14. Piggyback on trending topics and use appropriate hashtags.
  15. Include a branded link (also known as custom short link) to your blog in your social media profiles. (Extra Tip: You can use a tool like Rebrandly to create custom short links easily.)
  16. Leverage other video sharing platforms such as Vimeo.
  17. Run small-scale contests from time to time to incentivize people for sharing your content.

The great thing with social media is you can go big or go small — and switch from one to the other easily. Once you have a bigger budget, you can increase your spending and get mileage for your content easier.

R – Rally the Community

No content marketer is an island.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in — there’s always a “content community” that you can tap into to promote your content, most of the time, for free. The important thing about community outreach is that you do it to improve the conversation about a certain topic or issue by sharing relevant and valuable information. You’re not selling your products or services. You’re positioning yourself as an expert they can trust.

How do you rally the community to promote your blog? To continue our list:

  1. Compile a list of relevant publications/bloggers and reach out to them for guest blogging opportunities.
  2. Use PR distribution networks for a new blog post that you’re publishing. Just make sure that you take on a “breaking news” angle.
  3. Join forums and answer as many questions as you can consistently, and if relevant, provide a link to your posts to provide substance to your answers.
  4. Participate in aggregate sites and up-vote communities such as Quora and Reddit.
  5. Invite subject matter experts to write guests posts for your blog.
  6. Join “inner circle groups” to share your content (as well as get content ideas).
  7. Partner with key influencers for social content (i.e. Facebook Live interviews, Podcast interviews, etc.).
  8. Join mastermind events and position yourself as a reputable speaker.
  9. Find opportunities for guest blogging in affinity categories (e.g., if you’re in the weight loss industry, there’s an opportunity for you to write guest posts for blogs targeted to moms).
  10. Create exclusive content for the followers of a particular publication or influencer.
  11. Do expert roundup posts to engage multiple influencers at once.
  12. Syndicate your content on other blogs (Tip: even large publications such as Huffington Post accept syndicated content).
  13. Be on the constant lookout for opportunities to be interviewed as a subject matter expert.
  14. Rehash some of your articles and post them on article directories.

Just to reiterate: avoid being salesy when reaching out to communities. When they’re in these respective platforms, they’re not really looking to buy something (although some would be). Do not annoy them with hard sell messages. Deliver content that provides real value to their lives.

E – Engage with Email

One mistake many content marketers make is failing to use their existing email subscribers to get consistent traffic to their blog.

Why do you need to do this? One, your email list is already a captured audience whom you’ve already built some level of rapport with. Second, if people are visiting and engaging with your content, it will signal Google that your content is good. This increases your chances of ranking high in searches.

Here’s how you can engage with email to drive traffic to your blog:

  1. Include a link to your blog in your email signature.
  2. Create an autoresponder promoting your Top 3 or Top 5 blog posts to your new email subscribers.
  3. Create several autoresponder sequences promoting your evergreen posts to your email subscribers.
  4. Send out an email broadcast to your subscribers every time you publish a new post, especially if the post topic involves breaking news that could affect them.
  5. Encourage your email subscribers to forward your emails to their contacts who might be interested in the same information.
  6. Use tools that will enable your email subscribers to share your content directly from their inbox.
  7. Send regular email newsletters.
  8. Give old posts a new angle based on trending news or a topic, and email blast your subscribers.  
  9. Send a link to your best content on the very first email your subscribers receive after signing up for your list.

Sending blog content to your email subscribers is a great way to engage them and generate a constant stream of traffic to your blog.

E – Explore Other Platforms and Opportunities

Going out of one’s comfort zone is not an easy feat. It’s the same thing with content marketing. Staying within the tried and tested success formula should be the go-to strategy for content marketers, however, this doesn’t mean you should be afraid to try other tactics to get more traffic. Especially if you can do it for free or for a few bucks, you really have nothing to lose and a ton of knowledge to be gained.

Here are some unconventional platforms and opportunities that can be used to generate traffic for your blog:

  1. Create slide decks for every blog post you publish and share the slides on SlideShare.
  2. Create an audio version of your post and create a podcast.
  3. Use a messenger chatbot app to send a link of your new post to your Facebook group/page members.
  4. Convert your blogs into PDFs and post them on document sharing sites.
  5. Run a viral giveaway promo within a reasonable budget.
  6. Be a resource on H.A.R.O. (Help A Reporter Out) so you can be quoted on topics that are relevant to your business.
  7. Lock some of your best content — users can read a snippet of your article but for them to access the rest, they need to share it on social media.
  8. Perform your own survey on a hot topic and share the results with major publications and other bloggers.
  9. Apply for inclusion in Google News.
  10. Explore partnerships with local media in your area (especially effective for local geo-specific businesses).

Ponder on this: All the tried and tested content marketing success formulas you see today were once uncharted territories. However, some were brave enough to try something new. If it’s not costing you anything, don’t be afraid to come up with a strategy of your own.

It’s Not All About the Money

While having a big budget opens up new opportunities in terms of advertising and other paid platforms, having limited financial resources shouldn’t paralyze you from promoting your content. Just remember the F.R.E.E. framework above and pick out 10 of the 50 ideas listed that you can start immediately.

Again, this is not to say that you should stick with these low-cost tactics even if you already have the capacity to spend. At some point, you would need to scale to reach an unserved and untapped market, and that would require some financial requirements on your end.

If you want to know what other content marketing strategies would fit into your budget, feel free to reach out to us. In the meantime, do us a favor and share these tips with your friends and colleagues on social media.

Also, if you have more tips on how content marketers can promote their blog on a limited budget, give us a shoutout in the comments section below.