Because I live in San Francisco, I have used Craigslist for almost everything in my life. Searching through the classified ads on the site â€“ or postingÂ ads of my own â€“ was how I got my apartment, my furniture and many of my friends. As a freelancer, Craigslist used to be one of the primary places I found my jobs. And Craigslist was also a tool that I used to drive a surprising amount of traffic to one of my main blogs.
Here are some of the ways that you can use Craigslist as a (free) tool for blog promotion:
â€¢Â Community. The community section of the site, located in the top left corner of the main Craigslist screen, provides many opportunities for publicizing your blog. TheÂ blog that I was promoting was for artists, so I would post about once a week in the â€œartistsâ€ section of the community. I made sure to provide interesting information, usually about a local artist, with a link to the full article on my site. The â€œgeneralâ€ section was good for the same type of promotional posts and â€œlocal newsâ€ worked when I had something on my blog that was particularly newsworthy for the city. I also solicited guest bloggers for the site through the â€œvolunteersâ€ section here.
â€¢Â Classes. This section can be found in the community area of the site but can also be reached through the calendar on the lefthand side of Craigslist. To use this as a blog promotion tool, I held an online class about a topic related to my blog. Using online conferencing tools, I invited people to attend a short twenty minute online class about my topic. I was surprised by the number of people who turned up to the online class and the surge of traffic that came to the site afterwards. I imagine that an in-person class or event would do even better. If you have enough knowledge on a topic to have a blog, you have enough to teach a short class.
â€¢Â Barter. I posted in the barter section on several different occasions. A watered-down version of this post was something like: â€œI have a blog about xyz and am seeking someone to promote it for me in a creative way. Send me an email with your promotional idea and what youâ€™d like in exchange.â€ I received many interesting responses and creative ideas that I would never have come up with on my own, including a musician who offered to host a party with my blog named on the fliers as the sponsor. What I exchanged for thisÂ was a series of blog posts about the event. Other barter posts that worked for me were link exchanges and other more direct blogger-to-blogger trades.
â€¢Â Services. Advertising about my blog in the creative and computer services seemed to drive a moderate amount of traffic to the site. I used posts that offered the service of blog writing and listed my link as an example of my work. I also used posts about the service of my blogâ€™s industry (services for artists that I do as a writing consultant) and pointed to my blog as a way to contact me. There are many services listed in this section so various blogs would be able to use different parts of this section of theÂ site.
â€¢Â Gigs. Writing and creative gigs is the section where I frequently found my initial freelance jobs. Sometimes these jobs included a byline that gave traffic to my blog. On occasion, I also posted asking for guest bloggers in these sections, offering either a byline or moderate pay in exchange for quality posting. The bloggers who were guests on my site always drove traffic my way.
â€¢Â Forums. I never made use of the Craigslist forums myself. However, I am guessing that a creative blogger would have no trouble generating interesting conversations on the forums that could translate to blog traffic.
Craigslist is a staple of San Francisco life so it was easy for a blogger from the area to use the site for traffic. However, the potential for blog promotion through Craigslist isnâ€™t limited to Bay Area bloggers. There are Craigslist sites for many cities throughout the country. And if your blog has nationwide appeal, you can post on one of the major city sites (like San Francisco or New York) to gain a new audience.
Be aware that there are rules that need to be followed on Craigslist to keep the community useful to everyone. You shouldnâ€™t post your promotional materials in sections that donâ€™t suit it. And you should use promotion in conjunction with offering services and information to make yourself useful to the community there. Being helpful and respectful are always the best ways to get good traffic to your blog through any community. Check out the Craigslist â€œhelpâ€ section before posting to better understand the rules of the site.
Question of the Day: Do you have any other Craigslist blog promotion success stories to share?
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