It’s great to see authors start blogs to help them build robust author platforms. Authors can write articles, create attractive sites, and post all their book and publicity information in one place. But too often this strategy just doesn’t work, because if you want people to visit your blog, you’re going to have to market your blog.

That’s not as daunting as it might sound. It just means sharing your stories and ideas with people who have the same passions. Below are seven ways to market your author blog.

1. Comment on Other Blogs

Comments allow you to write in your own voice, demonstrate your expertise, and introduce yourself to new audiences. Comments are also a great way to connect with other bloggers.

Identify the top five or 10 blogs that speak to the audience that you want to attract. Post meaningful comments that advance the discussions there or respond helpfully to other commenters. Keep leaving comments like this and you’ll soon get on the radar of fellow bloggers. And links in your comments can bring folks back to your blog.

2. Post in Forums

There are plenty of discussion boards and forums online, many with huge readerships focused on specific topics. Sharing your experiences on these sites will enhance your reputation, and your forum signature should include links that lead back to your blog and its resources.

Look for groups with recent activity related to your subject on LinkedIn, Goodreads, Google Plus, or specialty sites with their own social networks. Finding the right groups and contributing valuable content will attract other forum readers who may be curious about what else you have to say on the subject, so link back to your own articles when it’s appropriate.

3. Social Traffic

To find people to connect with on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, identify authors similar to you who already have big followings, and start following the people on their follower lists. It’s likely that you share their interests, and you can quickly grow your own following this way.

4. Guest Posts

Most bloggers are happy to consider articles from legitimate authors within their fields.

If you’ve established a relationship with the blogger beforehand, it’s going to be much easier to get your article considered for publication. When you blog as a guest on someone else’s site, they are “loaning you their microphone,” so make sure you’re familiar with the content on the blog and the kinds of questions readers ask. Make sure you subscribe to the comments on your post and answer questions as they arise. And promote your post through your own network. You’ll be much more likely to be invited back.

5. Blog Carnivals

A blog carnival is a regularly published collection of links to articles submitted by bloggers in a specific field. Bloggers may take turns hosting the carnival, or the carnival may be run by a single blog.

Carnivals are probably the most overlooked form of blog marketing, likely because they aren’t as popular as they once were. But, if you can find a blog carnival with good circulation in your field, start submitting your best articles: it will pay off with new traffic.

If there’s no carnival, consider starting one yourself. Either way, having your article appear in one of these carnivals can bring you a spike in traffic, as all the bloggers included will promote it to their own followers and fans.

6. Video

A series of short informational videos about basics in your field posted to YouTube and other sites can open another traffic stream back to your blog. Book teasers that sell your story or characters, how-to videos, opinion pieces, and product and service reviews all make great video content.

Optimizing your video listings with the right categories and keywords will help bring them to the attention of the people who might most enjoy them. Add links to related articles on your blog in the video’s description field, or embed them in interactive hot spots in the video itself.

7. Contests

Contests can offer free copies of upcoming books, one-on-one time with authors, valuable prizes and freebies, and critiques and evaluations. If there are no book or writing awards for your specific niche, why not create one? You can advertise on social media, bringing entrants to your blog to make their submissions.

Publicizing contests with the appropriate media and press releases when the awards are announced can help attract new readers to a special page you set up for the awards on your blog.

All seven of these techniques are free, and you could grow an incredible site using just one or two of them. Which strategies will work for you? You’ll have to try them to find out what your readers respond to.

Great content, effectively presented, is the foundation of high-traffic blogs. Finding the best way to market that content will mean that you’ve won at blog marketing.