Two weeks ago, I shared some common frustrations that come up when you’re launching or starting a YouTube channel. Then last week I shared the full recap of my recent program launch, and a big part of that launch was, obviously, promoting it. Today, I wanted to talk to you about my favorite ways to promote content online without feeling sleazy and without using ads, but it still be effective.

These tactics could be used to promote a new blog, a new service, or whatever else you need to get out to more people. It’s not just specifically for only promoting content.

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The first way to promote is with a Pinterest tool called Tailwind.

With Tailwind, you can schedule your pins to your boards and group boards, but they also have a new feature that loops your pins. The way Tailwind works is that you set up time slots for each day. You could have five time slots or 100 time slots or even more than that if you really want. These time slots tell Tailwind how many times you want to pin each day, and this basically acts as your queue. (I talked about this with Erin Judge in a coaching call!)

Then, you select pins that you want to use to promote content. There’s a Chrome extension, actually, that makes it super easy to add pins to your queue. You can add pins to your queue from someone’s blog directly or you can also just go straight to Pinterest and add pins to your account from there. The most effective pinning strategy is to be active in group boards and also not to pin your own content all the time. A lot of group boards have rules about how many times you can pin your own content anyway, so you should have pinnable graphics in each of your blog posts and that makes it great and easy for others to pin your content for you.

You can also make pinnable graphics for videos and podcasts, email opt-ins, anything you want to promote that’s not specifically a blog. Then, you upload that to Tailwind, link it, and then add that to your Tailwind queue as well, but you do have to go back and fill your queue every few days or every few weeks to schedule them out and keep your queue full. The looping feature just constantly keeps looping whichever pins you selected to be looped. I am a Tailwind Plus user, so that means I have 250 looping pins included in my plan for free, but you can pay for more if you want. Each looping pin is actually however many times a pin is sent to a board, so it’s not just 250 separate graphics. It’s like if I pin one graphic to 10 different boards and it’s being looped, that counts as 10 loops, if that makes sense.

If you’d like to try Tailwind, I actually can get you a full month totally free (aff. link). Using Tailwind alone has helped me reach 10,000 views a month on my blog content, which has also brought me many, many clients. It has totally paid for itself tenfold, and it is really effective marketing for my content.

The second way I love to promote content is on Instagram.

And it’s not just a, “Hey, I have a new video,” because, honestly, that doesn’t connect with people. It just seems like another ad. The most effective way to promote anything on Instagram and really, honestly, anywhere is to first connect with people. One of the ways you can do that is to use language that your clients or your followers have used in conversation with you. This is one of the things I did when I was promoting my Content to Clients program. Instead of just saying, “Hey, join my program if you want to create content,” I looked at the more emotional or mental side of it, so instead, I would say, “Are you tired of not seeing results? Are you frustrated by your content process?” Again, this is language that people have used specifically when talking to me.

Instagram is much more of a story-telling platform and less of a place to just shout out announcements. Every time I have gotten new clients, it has been because I engaged with someone in their comments or their stories, and several times. Not just one interaction. It wasn’t me engaging and being like, “Yeah, I can help with that. Oh, I do that.” It was usually something silly like someone doing gymnastics, and me replying and be like, “That’s awesome. I can’t even do a cartwheel.”

As I mentioned before on past episodes, Instagram stories are becoming more and more important, especially to promote content. More people are engaging with and watching stories than would post in the feed. Rather than focusing on posting a photo every single day, which isn’t necessary at all, focus on trying to post to your stories every day or at least more consistently, even if it’s not every day. People love to see behind the scenes, but they also really love stories, actual stories. That’s why it’s called Stories. I’ll be honest, this is not something I’m perfect at doing. It’s something I’m even working on myself. Try to take people through your day.

It doesn’t mean that every day you have to be like, “Hey, I’m up at 5:00. Here’s my breakfast. Now I’m at my desk. Okay, time to eat lunch.” You don’t have to take them step-by-step the same way every day, but give them a look into parts of your day. A lot of times, I see people using stories as a way to share screenshots of quotes they like or posts of things other people are sharing, or they just randomly get on and rant for five minutes and then we don’t hear from them for two days. I’m sorry, but this is not an effective story strategy. It’s not going to help you get more views or get more clients.

I’m not saying the ranting specifically. I’m saying the random screenshots and the inconsistency is not going to bring in clients. It doesn’t have to be a post to your stories once every hour, every day, but just show up consistently. It’s also a really good idea to ask for engagement in your story. Utilize the polls and the questions boxes or even be like, “Hey, I have a new e-book that I’m sending to my list. DM me and I’ll send it to you.” Then you can ask them for their email and, boom, they’re more engaged with you outside of Instagram.

The other thing I want to mention when it comes to Instagram, though, is Linktree. Linktree, if you haven’t heard of it, is a service that came out in the last year or two, I think, and it made it easy for you to have multiple links available on Instagram, because it used to be that you just had to switch out the link in your bio to the most recent blog or video. With Linktree, you basically create a landing page with their service that has multiple buttons and links on it so people can find what they’re looking for when you have a new call to action in a Instagram post or on your stories. It’s good, but what’s even better is to create your own Linktree on your own website. This is super easy to do.

First, create a page. It doesn’t need to be linked anywhere on your website. Doesn’t need to be visible to anybody just naturally going on your website. It can be hidden. Then, just add buttons on the page with whatever links you want there. What’s great is if you’re using Squarespace, for example, you can use also instead of just buttons, you can use the summary block and it’ll automatically always show the most recent blog post, so you don’t have to go and change that out every week. You can also do this in WordPress, depending on your theme capabilities. I use the Divi theme and it has similar functionality where you can just add in buttons, but also most recent blog post.

Creating your own Linktree means it’s fully branded to you already, because it’s on your website, and you don’t have to pay Linktree.

People are also then already on your website, so they can easily click over to your services page if they want. Create the page, keep it hidden, add the buttons, and then put that link to that page in your Instagram bio and you don’t ever have to switch it out. You can just add more links and buttons to that page on your website. Mine is, but I’ve also seen people do /hello or welcome.

Last but not least, my third favorite way to promote content is through my email list.

Your list is people who are most engaged and most interested in you. More importantly, it’s a list that you own. Instagram could shut down tomorrow and all those thousands of followers that you have are gone. They have no way to remember you. Now I’m sure that some would be like, “Oh, who’s that girl? I need to go find her blog so I can stay connected,” but I follow 700-some-odd people, and I’m not going to remember all 700 of them if Instagram shuts down.

Anyways, back to the email list. People do not like to give their email address out to just anyone. We all know how many emails we get every week and how often we hit the unsubscribe button in our inbox, so if people are willing to get emails from you, that means you are pretty high priority. Like I said earlier, they’re the most engaged and most interested in you. Every week, I email my list to promote content and let them know about my new podcast and YouTube episodes, which is why maybe you’re listening to this right now. These aren’t just boring emails that are like, “Hey, here’s a new episode. Bye.” I try to connect with the audience with either a recent story or something I’ve been learning. I also try to make the emails themselves valuable, so even if they don’t click a link in the email, they still learn something or have some kind of takeaway.

The thing that is most important when emailing your list is being consistent. Several years ago, it was just a monthly email and then I did every other week, and now it’s every week. I know people who even email their list weekly and there are no links. The content is the email itself and that’s it. Even if you’re not to the point of creating content like blogs and videos, but you want to promote your services or maybe a new product, create valuable content just in the form of an email.

One of the most important things to remember when you’re trying to grow business is that you need to have a growth mindset, which means you acknowledge that it takes effort and sometimes changing things and trying new things to see results. Instead of believing that what you’re doing right now and your skills right now are enough to succeed, you need to know that it’s going to take work. I’m not saying that this means hustle mode or working 80-hour weeks. That’s not what I’m saying at all. But it does take an investment of time and money and putting yourself out there to see results, whether it’s on Pinterest, Instagram, or putting yourself out to your email list.

That’s all I have for today. If you have any thoughts or questions about today’s episode, anything I said today, feel free to DM me on Instagram @jesscreatives, and I will see you in next week’s episode.

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