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Should I have promotional blog, vlog, or podcast content?
We’ve all seen promotional blogs, vlogs, and podcasts that we love. These are the ones that consistently provide amazing, valuable content and just enough promotion without going too far. They’re the blogs, vlogs, and podcasts that we learn a ton from and keep going back to over and over. And we also know that they do promote products and services that we may want or need one day—or not.
But . . .
Some blogs, vlogs, and podcasts go a bit overboard with clickbait headers, a disappointing lack of valuable information that feels like it’s wasted your precious time, and way too many ads, popups, and other promotions that calls us to act in a way that can start to feel a bit obnoxious. Would you agree that those that promote ad nauseum can quickly become a turn-off and makes you want to hit that back button ASAP?
As health pros, we want to be authentic, helpful, and demonstrate our expertise. We want to be known, liked, and trusted (KLT). We want to be seen as thought leaders in our niches. And we also want to ensure that our efforts to publish great information help our audience members, grows our fan base, and also invites some of them to invest in our products, programs, and services. Without some kind of income, we can’t continue to do good in this world indefinitely, right?
So, how do you decide the right balance of informational vs. promotional blog, vlog, and podcast content?
There isn’t a single right or wrong answer, but there are three things to consider when deciding the balance between valuable, free content, and promotions and calls-to-action:
- what you want to promote,
- how you can promote it (and which is the best method), and
- should (just because you can, doesn’t mean you always should) you promote it.
Before we dive into these three, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to the role our blog, vlog, and/or podcast plays in our online business.
Your blog, vlog, or podcast can be the foundation for your content marketing strategy
Your online “digital” or “content” marketing consists of your: blog/vlog/podcast + newsletter + social media + advertising (+ funnel, if you have one).
The free, informational content you publish on your blog, vlog, or podcast is where you share weekly or bi-weekly valuable gifts of your knowledge with people on the internet who are potential ideal clients. This non-promotional content is mostly to help your audience start making their way to their health goals by giving them some helpful information and even sharing a few recommended steps to take. Your blog, vlog, or podcast content demonstrates your generosity and expertise.
Blogging/vlogging/podcasting sets you up to be the go-to expert in your niche!
You can use (as I do) your blog/vlog/podcast as the foundation for your entire content marketing strategy because from one post or episode you then have:
- Many, many social media posts (don’t share your amazing, free content just once!) to get more people to know you and like you
- Newsletter content for your email subscribers to nurture your relationship with them (who already know you and like you)
- The option to SEO-optimize or create online paid ads or boosted posts/promoted pins to reach new people with your valuable content
As you can see, your free, informational blog, vlog, or podcast content can be leveraged in so many ways to market and grow your business without being too promotional!Your blog (or vlog or podcast) is the foundation of your content. #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet
Now let’s dive right into the first question to ask yourself when you’re considering publishing promotional blog, vlog, and podcast content; the “what” . . . .
Consideration #1: What do you want to promote?
The first thing to consider is what are you promoting? In other words, what is the call-to-action (CTA) or next step that you’re inviting your audience members to take? Are you promoting
- A free opt-in incentive to invite your audience to become email subscribers or to join your funnel?
- Low-cost, entry-level item (sometimes known as a “tripwire”) to ask your audience to try out a small paid offer?
- A large investment in a big-ticket program or coaching service?
Consideration #2: How can I best promote my offer?
Now that you’re clear on what you’re promoting, the question is whether your blog, vlog, or podcast is the best place to promote it, or are there other avenues that may work better. And, if your blog, vlog, or podcast is the best place to promote it, how can you do it without the entire post becoming 100 percent promotional.
Example: Free opt-in incentive
Personally, I think that each piece of free, informational content you offer should have a call-to-action (CTA) inviting your audience to subscribe to your email list or funnel. It’s the next logical step for someone who is consuming your free content and getting some value from it. You can start with a free opt-in incentive (or “lead magnet”) where you offer something in exchange for the reader to opt into your email subscriber list or funnel.
Pro tip: When you’re deciding on the best opt-in incentive, consider it to be a bridge between your free content and their first purchase with you. You want each step your audience takes to naturally lead them to the next one. For example, if you help people manage stress, then your opt-in incentive can be a downloadable recipe guide of super-quick “stress-free” highly nutritious smoothies, or maybe it could be access to one of your “stress-busting” workouts or meditations. Then, at the end of that free content, include an invitation for them to take the next step towards a low-cost, entry-level item or free discovery call with you to chat about your program or coaching.
Advanced tip: If you want to and have enough site traffic to justify it, you can take the concept of a free opt-in incentive further and create a specific opt-in incentive for that very post/episode, known as a content upgrade. For example, if you have free content about a very specific stress-busting strategy, and that post is popular, you can consider creating an opt-in incentive that dives deeper into that specific strategy and only offer it to people who consume that post or episode. You can do this by offering the person a download that dives deeper or something to help them implement what they’re learning from your free content—but they need to sign up to your email list or funnel to access it.
Example: Low-cost, entry-level item (“tripwire”)
Instead of sticking to promoting only free items, like your opt-in incentive (which is, BTW, recommended for most blog posts), you can be so bold as to promote a low-cost, entry-level item like a tripwire. Tripwires are generally under $97 and are usually digital products that help people really implement the first step toward solving their problem, but do not include any of your time or coaching. Examples include my Health- and Food-Awareness Dates Calendar, access to a masterclass or short training, or even the shipping costs on a new hardcover book.
This way, you can charge a small bit for an item that can directly help your reader take the first step to success in working with you.
Pro tip: Remember that at the end of this item, you want to invite people to take the next step, which may be to consider working with you at a bigger level, like your bigger-ticket programs or coaching.
Example: Big-ticket program or coaching (larger investment)
If you need to promote higher-priced items, it may be tricky to do this on your blog, vlog, or podcast because most of the people enjoying that free informational content are not ready for a large investment like that. You can do this, however, if you implement a good content strategy. That’s because your blog, vlog, or podcast is public-facing—anyone on the internet can see it—so, not everyone who comes across your posts knows, likes, and trusts (KLT) you enough already to part with that much cash. Until you build up that KLT factor, it’s going to be difficult to sell larger-ticket items without building that relationship with your audience. In order to build up your KLT (know, like, and trust) factor for these more expensive products and services, you need to nurture your relationship with your readers a bit first. For example, create a series of blog, vlog, or podcast content (and corresponding newsletters and social media posts) that, over the course of several weeks, leads your audience closer toward to your large promotion.Three things to consider when using your blog for promotion #ContentMarketing #Blog #Promotion Click To Tweet
Here are some of the how’s, in order of smallest promotion to largest. You can:
- Create 100% valuable, free, informational posts without any promotions at all
- Have a small image, mention, link, or email sign-up form at the very end of your posts, so only those who read to the end see them
- Embed promos or email sign-up forms throughout your blog, vlog, and podcast content
- Have an ad or email sign-up form pop up within a few seconds of people landing on your content and/or when people are about to leave your site (called: exit intent)
- Do an entire post or recipe based on a product you’re an affiliate for, and include those affiliate links right in the post (i.e., a sponsored post)
- Create entire posts/interviews with your most successful clients to showcase studies of the results you’ve helped them achieve (i.e., a case study)
- Create an entire series of posts that promote and pitch your products/services leading up to a launch
But, what if my promotion is time-limited, but my blog, vlog, or podcast content isn’t?
No problem! The most common type of blog, vlog, and podcast content are evergreen. These stand the test of time (kind of like those evergreen trees), and the information you talk about in them won’t expire or change dramatically in the near future.
But, not all posts need to be evergreen! Some can also be temporary that you can take offline when they’re no longer relevant (just be sure to use a 301 redirect so the link isn’t entirely broken).
By the way, do you have an editorial calendar for your blog? If not, you can download mine. It’s a free Google sheet that you can save yourself a copy of. No opt-in is required. It goes step-by-step on how to strategize your blog content to help you meet your business goals.
You’ll notice that column J is where you can enter an expiry date. This is where you decide the date to stop promoting, or archive/delete a blog post, if it’s not “evergreen.”
Consideration #3: Ask yourself if you should promote your offer on your blog, vlog, or podcast
Now that we’ve gone over what things you can promote and how you can use your blog, vlog, and podcast to promote them, let’s talk about the should.
Here are two questions to ask yourself before deciding which, if any, of the how’s and what’s are right for you.
Question #1: How does it make you feel?
If one or more of the how’s or what’s mentioned above make you feel “icky,” then simply don’t do it.
But, if something tweaks your interest a bit, it may be worth trying. Don’t forget, as health pros and entrepreneurs, we may need to break out of our shells a bit to try new things to promote our products and services. And, we can start at the beginning by promoting free content as an opt-in incentive or lead magnet.
And, don’t forget: your blog, vlog, or podcast is yours. You can try things, change things, and delete things as you see fit. You can always add a promotion to your blog for a week or two and if you’re not getting the response you hoped for, remove it. Easy peasy.
Speaking of the response you hoped for…
Question #2: How does your audience receive your promotional blog, vlog, or podcast content?
Your blog, vlog, and podcast is a reflection of you and a demonstration of your expertise. But, it’s written for your audience and clients. It’s meant to provide value and build your relationship with them. It’s also meant to attract a larger audience and more people to get to know, like and trust you. So after you try something, pay attention to the feedback you get from your audience:
- Are you getting private comments/replies? If so, what are they saying?
- How is your traffic on that post? If it’s increasing, then double down; if it’s tiny, then try something different.
- Are you getting public likes, comments, retweets, and social shares?
- Are you getting more success with the item you’re promoting? Is it driving your email list, number of discovery calls, or sales?
Look at all of the info to see how your audience is reacting to your changing promotional strategy.
Consider this, and pivot if necessary.
What I personally do
I use a mixture of these strategies, and I change them up from time to time. Right now I:
- Have two pop-ups that promote two different free downloads (opt-in incentives/lead magnets) to help you with health blogging. One of these pops up within several seconds and the other one pops up when someone intends to exit my blog.
- Embed a few free opt-in incentives throughout my blog posts and the odd product promotion. I try to keep them relevant to this week’s topic. So, in this post, I’ve linked to the download of my free content strategy editorial calendar, as well as my low-cost entry-level Health- and Food-Awareness Dates Calendar.
- At the end of my posts, I include a promo for my featured health articles as another “tripwire” for those who consumed the entirety of the free content. These are done-for-you authority-building fully researched health articles. The short “Health Scoops” are shorter articles that are an explainer of a fascinating new study (currently $37 each), and the long-form articles based on health topics are easy to read and broken down into several parts and are currently $117-127 each.
- At the very end of many of my posts, I mention some of my other services and link to my “work with me” page.
On the other hand, sometimes during big promotions or holidays, I create blog posts that are purely promotional, such as the Healthy holiday gift guides–one for entrepreneurs and one for everyone else. They both contained a bunch of affiliate links to products I love. But, I don’t want promotional blog posts to be too frequent for my audience.
There are so many options on what and how promotional you can be with your blog, vlog, or podcast. You can promote free or low-cost items. You can use subtle mentions and sign-up forms. You can embed small promotions or affiliate links, or keep them at the end of your posts. Or you can create a post (or several) that is 100% pure promo. Ultimately with a great strategy, you can plan a full-on multi-week promotional blog series to strategically promote an upcoming large product or service launch.
It’s totally up to you and whatever you decide to do, you can change and adapt to how your audience is taking it.
Signing off and toasting: To finding your perfect balance between informational and promotional blog, vlog, and content.
Over to you
What do you think? Do any of the ways to use promotional content in your blog, vlog, or podcast appeal to you (or repel you) more than others? Have you used any of these strategies? Are you going to try them? What opt-ins, products, or services have you promoted, or plan on promoting on your blog?
And, lastly, and possibly most importantly, how has your audience received them?
I’d love to know (In the comments below)!
Originally published September 2017; updated with even more awesomeness May 2019 and June 2022.
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