Blogging

Where’s the Line Between Blog Promotion and Being Spammy?

Where's the line between blog promotion and being spammy?

We all want people to read our blogs; if we didn’t, we’d probably keep them private.  A lot of bloggers will, at least at some point, look for ways to promote their blog, whether that be to grow community connections or for other reasons.  But there always seems to be a few people who really get really in your face, and cross that line between promotion and being spammy.  But where exactly is that line?

What crossing the line can look like

I got thinking about this after unfollowing someone’s blog and eventually blocking them on social media because their promotion was getting on my nerves.  It was a mental health blog that I was actually interested in reading; however, the blogger’s line-crossing ended up having the opposite of the intended effect.

Rather than engaging on WordPress, this person seemed to be focused on social media for promotion.  For each blog post, they’d tweet it out multiple times and tag multiple different mental health accounts on each tweet.  Presumably, they were fishing for retweets, but I really don’t know.  I kept getting these popping up in my notifications, and for some reasons muting them didn’t seem to be working. 

Then this person tried to send me a pin (promoting one of their blog posts) on Pinterest.  First off, I hadn’t even realized you could do such a thing.  But secondly, that crossed the line from mild annoyance to get the hell out of my face.  So, block, block, unfollow, the end.  And yet, this is a blog I would’ve continued to read had they not been a pain in the ass.

The point of this rather rambling story, though, is that crossing the line from promotion to piss-off isn’t doing anybody any good.  But there is no single, clearly defined line between “ok” and “you’re pissing me off.”  My dividing line might be very different from someone else’s dividing line.  This post is mostly about my dividing line, but I’m certainly not the queen of the blogging world making a royal decree (although perhaps a tiara would make a good toy for the guinea pigs).  I’m just spouting off, and feel free to ignore some or all of what I say, because it’s just one blogger’s opinion.

Promotion strategies

For me, it makes a difference whether the promotion happens where you’ve chosen to hang out, or if it’s reaching out to find you.  If I see multiple tweets in my feed by someone promoting a blog post, no biggie.  There are comment threads created specifically for people to go to town with self-promotion.  But randomly tag me over and over, that’s reaching out to poke me in the nose, and that’s annoying.

I tend to be fussier about what I want to see in my WordPress Reader feed.  The Reader is how I keep up with the blogs I’m following, so I’m on there a lot and am pretty aware of what’s going on.  I do sometimes unfollow ultra-high-frequency posters when it feels like they’re hijacking my Reader feed.  It’s not exactly self-promotion, but if people are taking 25 posts a day to convey a message that could actually be conveyed in 5 posts or less, that still feels like getting in people’s faces unnecessarily.

One promotion strategy some people use is to republish a blog post multiple times to keep bumping it up to the top of the Reader feed.  I understand why people do this, but if the republishing is happening really frequently, that can start to nudge up against the spammy line.  Then again, simply because of how much I use the Reader, I probably see this more than many others would.

Different people have different tolerance thresholds for bloggers doing self-promotion on their own site.  As long as I’m not being smacked in the face too much with newsletter signup requests, I figure people can do whatever they want on their own site since I’m choosing to visit it. I know other people have different views on the subject.

Then we’ve got the blog comment section.  “Great post! Check out my blog doofus.wordpress.com” is spammy.  There’s just no way around that.  The way I look at it, if there’s going to be a link drop or a request to check out the person’s blog, in order for that not to be spammy, there needs to be a legitimate comment on the substance of the blog post, and a direct connection between said legitimate comment and whatever the commenter is asking you to look at.

Creating blog awards can be another form of self-promotion.  I’m sure a lot of people have come across the Mystery Blogger Award, which credits its creator, Okoto Enigma.  Recently, I’ve seen Vincent Ehindero Award making the rounds, which is named after its creator.  Nominating people for blog awards can be used as a means of self-promotion, depending on how it’s done.  It can also be done as a way for a business-oriented blog to get backlinks along with some free advertising.

How to not be spammy

For me, what this all really comes down to is reciprocity.  Blogging is a community, and there’s a steady flow of giving and taking and sharing and all that jazz.  When a blogger just keeps putting their stuff out there without wading in the sharing pool, that conveys a message, whether it’s intended or not, about their priorities.

Here are some ideas for a few non-spammy ways to get your blog out there into the world:

The right form and level of self-promotion is going to vary from one blogger to the next, but I think as long as bloggers treat it like a local community, chances of crossing the line into spamminess are very low.

Have you witnessed things that have crossed the line between self-promotion and spammy?

A new blogger's guide to WordPress from Mental Health @ Home

The New Blogger’s Guide to WordPress page includes tips on topics like blogging etiquette, making the most of your WP experience, and using the block editor.

Up your blogging game from Mental Health @ Home

The Up Your Blogging Game page covers a variety of blogging topics, including using images and implementing SEO strategies.

54 thoughts on “Where’s the Line Between Blog Promotion and Being Spammy?”

  1. Oh my, I had one blog posting 20 times a day, driving me round the bend – unfollowed on every social media site. Who gets time to post that many, let alone typing them up. I thought she must be online 24/7, which is okay, but leave me alone 19 out of those 20 posts ffs.

    Pinterest and pins? I wouldn’t know how to. Blog awards; oops! You know I love them lol. I love reading my new fellow-bloggers’ answers and I try to promote them, get people to take a look at blogs they might otherwise not see.

    And don’t get me started on those damn “Love your blog, check mine out”………. Knowing they haven’t even read a post!

    1. Blog awards are a great way to let readers know about other bloggers who are doing a good job. But naming a blog award after oneself seems a bit over the top.

      1. Totally…. I’ve seen one particular blog award named after a fairly new blogger floating around WP recently. Seriously, who names an award after oneself? 🤦‍♀️

  2. I am relatively new at blogging (around March I began). I am not familiar with all the ways to connect through social media. I have never tweeted in my life. I am following a couple of people that post 7 to 10 posts in a day which seems like a lot to get through. But so far the content has been interesting so I keep up with the following.

  3. 🙂 I am one of those guys with lots of patience; so seeing twenty-five blog posts from one person is not going to stress me out. It only becomes annoying when they do not space them out; for example, publishing at a frequency of every ten minutes or less.

    I am also not fond of others leaving a link to their blog in my comments thread and asking me to check out their blog.

    You already know that I hate blogging awards and that I view them as being spammy.

    Unfortunately, there are bloggers who do not know better and wrongfully believe that their spammy behaviour is the best way to grab their fellow bloggers’ attention.

    Little do they know, that their unscrupulous behaviour is going to get them unfollowed.

    1. It’s unfortunate, because if they did actually realize the consequences of that behaviour, it would probably end up making for a more pleasant experience for everyone,.

  4. His name’s Okoto Enigma? 😀 Ooh, I like the idea of naming a blogger award after myself! HA HA HA. I’ll try to refrain from doing so, though! 😀

    I think the best way to be promotional is to have your avatar working (and I still have no clue if mine is… it depends on whether you click my name or the image) and leave comments that could cause the blogger to be curious and look into your blog. I don’t blame you for dropping the person who kept shoving their blog down your throat. That’s quite over the top! And I agree about blogging all day long–it’s silly if you’re not saying something new or interesting. I’d never realized it was blog-promotional to do that, but it makes sense.

    Another thing that peeves me is when I’m following someone’s blog, and they NEVER reply to my comments. Occasionally missing one could happen, but when I get ignored time and time again, I’ll get miffed and give up. I guess that’s sort of the opposite of overpromotion, though!!

  5. I haven’t run into much of a problem yet but I haven’t subscribed to any blogs using my email address and I keep my Twitter account to myself for personal reasons. I did have to unfollow a person’s mental health diary because he was obviously manic and posted about 20 times in 5 hours. While I could sympathize with his situation, it was just too much too keep up. I’m like that on Twitter also. If someone takes over my timeline I have to unfollow.

  6. I don’t it when people post too much at once or multiples times a day. Short posts can be ok, depends on my mood. Otherwise linking your blog or asking to check them out ‘because I’ve worked hard on my blog’ isn’t very appealing either. I mean, other people work hard on their blog too and they don’t spam around.
    I agree that too much of self-promotion can turn around and bite you in the a**!

  7. I agree – I cannot think of many examples myself, but I do absolutely agree. There’s a balance to find…otherwise peeps are going to get sick and tired of you!

  8. Excellent write up. I love the word spammy LoL.. but yes hate the concept. Glad to see I’ve remained in your mainstream of accounts you visit! (And vice versa) please hug those Guinea pigs for me🙃

  9. Yes! I notice now people are complimenting my blog and asking for “feedback” on theirs as a way of not seeming so spammy. And don’t get me started on people who go through your blog and like, like, like while clearly not actually reading the posts!

  10. Thank you for this. I’m pretty new to blogging and I’ve noticed certain spammy behaviour. I tend to do the unfollow thing if it’s blowing up my reader because I’m wanting to make organic bonds and read organic content. While also being inspired.

    It was great reading what I took as great advice, guidance and etiquette. Thank you so much 🙏❤️

      1. Thank you. It’s been a blessing reading and communicating with like minded people. Almost like therapy.

  11. I won’t follow a blogger who posts more than 3 times a day even if their content is fantastic. I will look at previous blog posts and average the number of times they post. I just can’t have people clogging up the Reader.

    It’s the bloggers who send me comments saying “follow me! Check out my blog post!” Rather than leave a genuine comment. If it’s someone I kinda know, I will reply. If it’s a comment I have to approve first (someone I don’t previously know), into the trash bin that comment goes!

  12. I thankfully haven’t had too much of this (I’m just not influential enough) but I have followed people who post 5+ times a day which is too much for me to keep up with.

  13. I have a very low tolerance for blogs popping up on my reader feed. If someone continually reblogged past posts, they’d be gone! Ridiculous amounts of posts in one day (more than 5 for me) … that’s a no no. Then again, I have a limited use for my blog. I read and comment more than I post. I see this as a supportive community. I’m not interested in followers, just a friendly gang who check in and help each other smile!

    1. I also choose to read more than I write. I don’t have a set number of posts that feels like too many for me; it seems to depend of a few other factors as well. For example, people who participate in a lot of prompts might post a lot, but at least in that case it seems to make more sense.

      1. I notice that sometimes people just write a short two word comment and then you see they have done the same on a number of other people’s post. Same comment.
        I love your posts, you have the balance sorted I would say! (And I’m a meanie 😂)

  14. I won’t put up with any of that. There are a few bloggers I follow who repost to get the bump, but it’s usually a couple times, not 10. I don’t spam my blog at all (unless liking posts counts as spamming)… I figure I’m better off staying smallish for now. Bottom line, this is supposed to be fun!

  15. I’m glad I haven’t encountered many spammers. If they’re spammy, I bin their commentd. I don’t think I know how to block people on WordPress though.

    And hurrah, I discovered how to get the WordPress app to notify me when you post! 😄

  16. People republish pieces to create a bump in the feeder? Wow. I republished an old piece on accident once when I was trying to update it a little bit and I felt like an idiot. I have no idea what I actually did, but I do remember hoping no one noticed. 🤣🤦‍♀️

    1. Most people don’t do that, but I know a few people that do it regularly. It makes more sense to me if someone’s only writes a couple of posts a month

  17. The vast majority don’t do that, however I know a couple of individuals that do it consistently. It sounds good to me if somebody’s just composes several posts every month

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