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blogs both are & are not marketing tools

This should be a longer post, but it isn't going to be because classes start back next week and I have to rebuild a website for a client this weekend (somehow). Also at some point I should probably order groceries and do my laundry (I need a house-husband, but I feel like most of them would object to my fascination with Eccentric Artist Guy, who is not himself much more domestic than I am, and so here we are).

Anyway. The (not so) long and short of it is that, no, your blog should not exist primarily to market your products or services. Nobody follows a blog to be sold stuff (actually, SOMEBODY probably does, but I wouldn't count on there being enough of those somebodies to constitute a viable readership or customer base).

HOWEVER. In Wix, and in various other platforms, blog subscribers will get email updates whenever you publish a blog entry. That's quite good for your business if you are actually earning money off your subscriptions, but most bloggers know that already. What you might NOT know is that this scenario is also good for your marketing even if you aren't blogging for income directly, BECAUSE those updates remind people you exist.

wix likes me better when i add a photo, so here you go

Reminding people you exist is only a net positive if they are intrigued instead of aggravated.

Don't post random $h!7 five times a day (there are a few blogs I am annoyed with about this, and no I will never buy anything from them; they're too annoying). But if you are posting the kind of material people might reasonably subscribe to your blog (not to A blog; to YOUR blog) with the intention of seeing regularly, then your appearance in their inbox is itself a "brand awareness" marketing tool.

This is especially nice for people like myself, with very limited email marketing plans, because hosting services like Wix often don't count the blog post notifications they automatically send to subscribers against our monthly email allowance. You can make good marketing use of this ... BUT you also want to be cautious, because it's easy to overshoot your mark (generally bad) and even "jump the shark" (almost always a terrible move).

Play cool. Don't overdo it.

If you include a reminder at the bottom of your post about current offers or relevant deals, then you get a nice bonus marketing boost out of the blog update notifications. DO NOT take this as a sign that you should turn your blog into a glorified vehicle for self-promotion (see above about "annoying"). Your blog posts need to be "real" blog posts in the sense that they really are essays or updates or sets of helpful tips. They need to be actually the kind of stuff that somebody might logically sign up to your site in order to see more often, and the reminder needs to be both logically connected to the content and generally unobtrusive. If you hijack the blog post in order to make it a flimsy fig-leaf over your marketing pitch, you have missed the point.

Let me say that again:

If you hijack the blog post in order to make it a flimsy fig-leaf over your marketing pitch, you have missed the point.

IF you decide to include any specific reminders/pitches, you need to make sure they are proportionally minimal with respect to the content of the post itself. Think footnote, not header. You also need to keep in mind that any marketing reminders you include in the blog post (above and beyond the fact that your blog post itself reminds people of who you are and why they were following you in the first place) should fit with the general content or theme of the post.

It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to write a blog post acknowledging the recent passing of a trailblazer in your field but make your final paragraph a reminder about your upcoming 4th of July sale.

Try not to be tone-deaf or tacky if you can help it.

Remember that blogging is just a form of writing, and all of the general principles that apply to "good" writing elsewhere will probably apply to your blog, too –– regardless of whether people are reading it via their browsers vs. in their inboxes.

Yes, that means you probably should've paid more attention in English Comp.

No, it's never too late to get better at writing ... anything.

Whatever you do, remember that unless you are already Actually Famous (TM), you are rarely "broadcasting" in digital spaces; much more often, you are inhabiting them alongside other people. So in your blog or your Instagram or your LinkedIn or WHEREVER, try to structure your outreach strategy around being a good neighbor.

Do you blog? Have you thought about starting a blog? Do you think blogging is over?

Comment & let me know!

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Jessica Smith
Jessica Smith
Jan 07, 2023

Jumping the shark isn't almost always a terrible move; it's always bad, because only happens when a terrible move ends, well, terribly. If a risky move pays off, or at least is forgettable enough for audiences/consumers to look past it, then the shark remains un-jumped.

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Hey, don't tell me; tell it to the people at TV Tropes:

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