Most bloggers will tell you that one of their goals for their blog is to reach more people with their content, but getting the clicks over to your site can be hard. Growing your audience doesn’t happen overnight and can take years to build a substantial and loyal following.
1. Spend Time Developing Your Content
I know that what most bloggers want to hear is “you can get 100k readers a month by doing X”, but actually, developing an engaged audience takes time and can’t be done without the quality content in the first place. If you have to choose what to invest in, creating great quality content is where you should be putting your time. I know it feels onerous in amongst the many, many things you have to do in a day, but it is where a developing your readership begins and ends.
In the early part of this year, I took on a huge work project, was running Blogtacular and dealing with a new product launch and creating new blog content took a back seat. While I was still very active on social media, I had nothing to link back to my “home base” of a blog and my traffic declined. The other pieces of work ended or lightened up and when I came back to my blog, I didn’t have the same levels of engagement. Lesson learned: for my business, keeping on top of content creation has to be key.
2. Do What You Love and the Readers Will Follow
Talking about having too much to do…it is so easy to feel pulled in many different directions when you are blogging. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, sponsored posts, adverts, networking–the list of things you feel like you should be doing is enormous. On top of that, everyone has advice on the kinds of posts you should write to get traffic – how tos, lists, links and controversy all scoring high on the “link bait” factor.
Want an easy way to narrow that down AND grow your audience? Focus on what you are great at. If you can be witty and engaging in 140 characters or less, then twitter is a great place for you to find new readers. If you take awesome iphone shots, then spend your time on Instagram. The same goes for content…are you great at telling people what to do, then why not write some how to posts? The tips that are bandied about to get readers only work if you do them well. Continuing down a path you feel you “should” but don’t do very well won’t pay off for you. That said, if there is an area you want to improve on, do it and work hard at getting better at it.
3. Be A Part of the Community You Are Trying to Build
Show your readers that you are listening and that you care. Give away free downloads or host product giveaways, respond to comments and emails, go comment on reader’s sites. Make sure that you are part of the community you are trying to build. And likewise, join other groups, comment on other people’s blogs and Instagram posts. You can’t just sit around and wait for them to come to you!
Without giving away too many of our secrets, we have found our weekly twitter chats a great way to build an audience. It gives us a set time every week to chat to people passionate about the same things we are passionate about and has really helped us get to know our audience. For my own personal work, I have found Facebook groups to be a great way to connect to people and easy for me to respond to questions and chat to readers and customers.
4. Post Frequently
Alongside tip number 1, you need to post great content on a regular basis. Five day a week posting schedules may not be feasible for you, but regular posting (2-3 times a week) is important to engaging an audience. Every post you publish is another opportunity for a reader to find your blog and connect with you. There is no question that this takes work, but its hands down the best way to get people coming back for more.
5. Gradual Growth is Usually Better Than Overnight Success
Its hard not to be disappointed when your blog doesn’t get 30k+ views a month when you first start out. However, blogs that do go viral (or Instagram suggested users, Pinterest accounts that are white listed, etc) often do not have an engaged readership. It is much better to have readers who are really into what you are writing about and who will come back again and again than have people who just pop in and out of your blog for a moment. You want readers who are engaged and with you for the long term growth of your brand. That stable platform will serve you much better in the long run than 100k people who take one look and a post never to return again.
Want to know more about growing your audience? Sign up to our Virtual Conference and watch to our Grow Your Audience panel from this year’s Blogtacular. The talk will be live next week, so get your tickets now!