Quick, Easy Ways To Promote Your Underground Film Blog
These days, there are so many social media marketing methods available for bloggers that one can get quickly intimidated and swamped trying to keep up with all of them. Plus, it’s quite easy to feel that one is shouting into the void. The problem with social media is that one tends to share their interests with just a limited circle of friends, acquaintances and colleagues. The trick to running a well-trafficked blog is to keep expanding that circle of contacts.
So, here’s the good news: These days there are a couple of simple tools that any blogger, regardless of technical skill level, can use to quickly, easily and automatically promote one’s blog.
One of the reasons I believe underground film still remains hidden in the dark corners of the Internet is that these easy tools aren’t being utilized to great effect by underground film bloggers. The Underground Film Journal does as well as it does because I’ve been fairly relentless actively promoting the site on different social media sites. And the great thing is that most of these promotions are set up automatically, so I don’t have to kill myself manually posting links all over the web.
The greatest asset all underground film bloggers have — i.e. after their fantastic blogging skills — is their RSS feed. If you don’t know, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and, man, it is really simple to syndicate one’s feed all over the web. It’s so easy, a blogger doesn’t even have to know what his RSS feed even is!
Most RSS marketing tools usually just ask a blogger to input their blog URL and the tool will figure out what the feed is. Although, if you’re feeling adventurous the quickest way to find your feed is to go to your live blog — not your behind-the-scenes dashboard — right or control-click anywhere on the page and hit “View Source.” When the source window pops up, just look around at the top where it says RSS. Your feed should look something like a URL like: http://www.yoursite.com/?feed=rss2 or http://www.yoursite.com/rss2.
Now that you have copied your blog’s URL or it’s feed link, the first and best thing an underground film blogger can do is sign up for Google’s Feedburner service. There you can check out how many people are subscribing to your feed and on what services, e.g. Google Reader.
More importantly, though, Feedburner lets you manipulate and promote your RSS feed in several ways. For example, I’ve added FeedFlare to the Underground Film Journal’s feed, so if you’re reading this in a feed reader, you’ll see a bunch of promotional links at the bottom, such as Share on Facebook, Email This and more.
But, the best promotional tool FeedBurner allows you to do is to sync it with a Twitter account. (This is under FeedBurner’s Socialize tab.) So, every time a new article goes up on the Underground Film Journal, FeedBurner posts up an automatic tweet with a link to that article on my Twitter feed. This comes in handy particularly when I get sick of using Twitter, but I still want to maintain a presence on there.
There’s lots of other handy promotional tools on FeedBurner that I don’t use, but you might find helpful yourself.
Another thing you can do with your FeedBurner RSS feed — or even just your regular RSS feed — is to post links to your main site on a Tumblr blog. (Of course, if your only blog is already on Tumblr, you don’t need to do this.)
I actually also run an Underground Film blog on Tumblr, but I don’t update it very much. Basically, I just wanted to lock down the URL http://undergroundfilm.tumblr.com/ before somebody else jumped on it. However, I do want to promote the Underground Film Journal’s article on the Tumblr site.
So, one thing you can do is after creating a Tumblr blog, go under the Customize tab, then click on Services. There you will see a field where you can import an RSS feed as just links, links with summaries or a couple other options.
That’s a good thing to do, although I don’t do that myself. Why not? Instead, I have Tumblr import my Twitter feed and post those as text articles. So, when my Underground Film Journal RSS feed goes to Twitter, it then bounces over to Tumblr. One caveat: This service seems to break a lot on Tumblr, so you have to keep an eye on it. But, I like to do it so that my regular tweets also appear on Tumblr.
The “problem” with Facebook is that most of it is hidden behind a password-protected wall. So, I highly recommend that if you run an underground film blog, that you create a separate, public page for it, like I do for the Underground Film Journal. I rarely do personal status updates on Facebook, but my Underground Film Journal page has a steady stream of content.
One of the ways I ensure that happens is I installed an app called RSS Graffiti that works really great. I just added the app to my page, configured it to accept my FeedBurner feed and all my Underground Film Journal posts show up on the Facebook page.
You can actually add several feeds to RSS Graffiti, so if I wanted my Twitter and Tumblr feeds to also show up on the Underground Film Journal’s Facebook page, I could. But, I figure they all have too much duplicate content, so I restrict myself to just the main Underground Film Journal feed.
There are some problems with doing this, particularly Facebook doesn’t like the posting of Vimeo videos through a feed, so whenever an article includes one of those, I have to add a link manually. But, that’s a relatively small inconvenience.
Knowing what your feed is and how powerful it is to help promote your underground film blog also lets you take advantage of other services whenever they pop up.
I have a whole page of Social Media Links for the Underground Film Journal that I typically forget what and where they are. While I don’t get much traffic from websites I ignore, I still get something and at this stage in the game, every little bit helps.
There are also lots of other social media management tools that I haven’t taken advantage of, but it’s always good to keep your eye out looking at tech sites, as well as sites that report on social media issues. Take a minute and get out of the film world and see what else is going on across the Internet, i.e. if you’re interested in actively growing your audience.
So, I hope some folks take advantage of this advice. This is the only way all of us in the underground film world get our voices heard and, more importantly, get the films we love seen.