How To Run a Football Blog (Part 3 – Promotion)

29 May

In this section of my “How To Run A Football Blog” guide, I will focus on promoting and marketing your blog. Anybody who says “write great content and they will come” is a liar, as general prodding is needed, here’s some ways that football blogs could get more traffic.

You can read Part 1 (setup) here & Part 2 (writing) here.

Social Media

By far the best tool that football bloggers have to promote their stuff is social media, and by social media, I mean “Twitter and Facebook”. Generally I find that Twitter works so much better at promoting your posts than Facebook, so when you have a twitter account, you should be promoting there first.

Generally I have multiple twitter accounts. I have @ystbah which is solely dedicated to this blog as well as football tweets. I have @rhyswynne which is me swearing about things. I also have ones for my other websites I’ve made (@bloggingdojo & @retrogarden), as well as other projects or just securing the name for other projects (@WPEmailCapture). I use Tweetdeck to manage them all, which handily allows cross posting (so a post about football would probably be posted on my @rhyswynne & @ystbah account, a post about a new version of WordPress would probably be posted on @rhyswynne & @bloggingdojo), as well as notifications, and columns for searches (so you will be notified whenever somebody uses a hashtag or posts about your football club).

That’s the basic of social media. I have seen people automate social media with huge successes, however for this guide I’d recommend just sitting with Twitter open in the background, interacting with the community (for example – say “hi” when you follow people! After part 1 of the guide I had 25 new followers. Not one said hi!).

I am going to share a couple of things which have brought me a bit of traffic over time.

Twitter Tools


Lazy Promotion Tip 1 – Using Twitter Tools To Automatically Post New Posts To Your Twitter Account

From Part 1 you should’ve installed Twitter Tools. This allows (amongst other things) to tweet automatically new posts to your blog. It requires a bit of setup – you need to create an Application on to use this – however the plugin talks you through the process.

When this is done, you want to “Enable option to create a tweet when you post in your blog?” and “Set this on by default?” to yes. Give it a prefix such as “New Blog Post” (without a colon, this is added automatically). And then get ready to post.

In the blog post’s right hand sidebar before you post is a box with #hashtags. This is where you put blog posts hashtags to try and get more followers, or also twitter accounts that may be interested in your post. Be warned though, if your [Prefix] + [Post Title] + [Link] + [hashtags] go over 140 characters, your tweet won’t be posted, and you get no warning.

Tweet Last Post

Lazy Promotion Tip 2 – Using Tweet Old Post To Automatically Post Archived Posts To Your Twitter Account Periodically

The second promotion tip is to use a plugin called Tweet Old Posts to (surprise surprise) tweet old posts on your blog to your twitter account. After authorise your blog (a similar process to Twitter Tools), you can set up the plugin to tweet old post at random, yet regular intervals. I have mine to post a blog post every 17 hours or so.

A good idea is to clearly mark these posts as being archived posts (which you can do using the “Additional Text”. That way you don’t annoy people by constantly regurgitating old content. Also, you may want to exclude certain categories (like “News”) whose content may be irrelevant if you repost it.

My Blog Guest


Using Guest Posting To Build Traffic & Brand Quickly

The easiest way to get a bit of traffic to your site is by guest posting. That is the process of writing posts on blogs other than your own. Many blogs (myself included!) are open to guest posting – and you will always get credit (including links) for guest posting. But how do you get guest posts? Here’s three ways that work:-

  • Find Blogs You Like & Contact Them – By this time in your blogging “career”, you should have other blogs you like. Approach them and ask if you can do a piece in exchange for a couple of links, most **should** say yes.
  • Using My Blog Guest – My Blog Guest is a community that specialises in joining blog owners (who are looking for content) and writers (who are looking for exposure). It can be a bit tricky finding a relevant blog (you’ll probably have to limit yourself to “sport” blogs), but it can expose your content to a brand new audience, away from the usual football crowd.

An example of an Author Bio

After writing the post, you should get a publish date. On the date of publish, share amongst your followers on Twitter. See also if you can get a couple of links at the footer of your post, one to your blog and one to your twitter account.

As An Aside – there are plenty of tumblr’s out there that you can get links and traffic from for just submitting a picture or a review of food at grounds!

Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the art of driving more traffic to your site from search engines by associating your website with relevant keywords, either on page (keywords in the posts), or off page (keyword links pointing to the site).

SEO in itself is largely irrelevant for blogs. Football blogs seem to always get more traffic from social media and general marketing, rather than from search engines (at least in my case). Also, SEO as a discipline is beyond the scope of this guide, but as I am an SEO by trade, I’ll cover a few basics.

Picking Your Main Keywords For Your Blog

To begin with, you need to pick the best keywords that describe your blog. Keywords such as “football”, “football news” or “football blog” will bring in the most traffic, though a lot of the traffic will be irrelevant – if you solely write about Manchester United, for example, any Manchester City fans wouldn’t find your blog interesting. Instead drill down and think of the most relevant phrases.

For You’re Supposed To Be at Home, I decided my main keywords were “Groundhopper Blog”, “Football”, “Sport” and “Travel” as secondary keywords (the blog will never rank for “Football”, “Sport” and “Travel”, but may rank for combinations of the terms along with Groundhopper).

You want this to be a general overview of your blog, so once you have chosen your main keywords, head to the WordPress Administration, and open up SEO > Titles. In the box “Title Template” under Homepage, come up with a title.

A good title will take the form of [Blog Title] | [A Short Keyword Rich Description]. Add a description as well, as this can encourage clickthroughs from search engines.

Yoast's WordPress SEO


Also at this point, add a post title and a page title as per the image above, as it gives a default Post and page title which is good when you forget.

Optimising Individual Posts For Search Engines

First things first – you shouldn’t spend time optimising every post. Some posts aren’t worth optimising, just posts you believe you can get some traffic from search engines. Posts like match reports are good to optimise, whereas rumour posts – that occur and die fairly quickly – aren’t.

The first thing you should do is write your post. Never ever try and write posts for search engines as they’ll read funny 9 times out of 10. Instead write your post and then reread it, seeing if you can fit relevant keywords into places that you have used joining words (things like “it”, “them”, “they”, “he” etc.).

When the post is written, you will need to change the Title Tag of that post.  The title tag is often used in search engine results, as is the meta description.

The post title needs to encourage clicks from social media, and to keep people reading, whereas the title tag needs to be keyword rich and relevant, so interested searchers would click on your listing in Google as they think your site will hold the information they are looking for.

Say, for example I wrote a post with this title:-

 “Why Luke Denson is the best left back Colwyn Bay FC ever had”

A “SEO Friendly” title could be this:-

 “Luke Denson’s Colwyn Bay Stats | You’re Supposed To Be At Home”

(I like putting a “|” followed by a blog name after the keywords, as it helps branding).

To do this, on the post you have written, scroll down until you see the “WordPress SEO By Yoast” box, and in the “SEO Title” box, put in your optimised title. Publish the post.

Yoast's WordPress SEO - on individual posts

If you want to include a description as well, fill in the “Meta Description” box. This may not always be used, and doesn’t affect the rankings of your page, however a well thought out description can encourage clickthroughs.

In All Honesty About SEO

I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

Offline Promotion – Football Programmes & Fanzines

Whilst online is where you should do most of your promotion, you should also look at offline channels. The easiest way to do this is via football programmes. If you are reading this, you’re probably a football fan and support a team somewhere. That team would likely have a programme and – if you’re lucky – a number of fanzines. Many of them are struggling for content. You can quite easily reprint your articles from your blog into the programmes, but make sure you edit and include a by-line (similar to Guest Blogging), but write out any website address, rather than linking to them.

A great service if you’re unable to place anything in your local programme is Non League Notes. Submit a few of your articles there, and non league programme editors can use the articles for free in their programme. This will increase the reach of your blog, and hopefully, traffic.

All Done!

Phew bit of a long one this week! I hope that it has given a few ideas on how to promote a football blog. Any questions please let me know below. Alternatively, next week is Monetisation – if you want it in your inbox next week, sign up to the newsletter below, or join us here next Wednesday (day off due to the Jubilee).


About Rhys Wynne

Rhys Wynne is the editor & creator of You're Supposed To Be At Home. For his sins, he is a Colwyn Bay & Liverpool fan, and a serial blog creator. You can follow Rhys on twitter here.

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