Over the last few weeks I’ve been asked many times about creating an audience for your blog—especially when you are just starting out.
This is a vital topic (one that the book “Born to Blog” covers extensively), and below are a few ideas that helped me in the early stages.
What is your approach?
Let me first say a word about how your goals as a blogger may relate to your approach to building an audience.
Some bloggers may be seeking raw traffic for their blogs. This does not necessarily build an engaged audience, but it can result in social proof. (“I had 100,000 page views this week.”) It might also help your cause if you are trying to make money through affiliate advertising.
My approach is to not necessarily build traffic with people who will probably never visit again, but to build an engaged audience who will directly provide some kind of business benefit. That will only come through relationships, and will happen over time with consistent content creation and tireless engagement.
The ideas I present here are focused on building strong-link relationships, not weak-link traffic.
Here are five ideas you can use today:
1. Focus on content.
I know that this sounds like tired advice, but it’s true. Your No. 1 priority must be to create content that adds value so people want to read what you have to say and come back.
If you focus on creating content that is RITE (relevant, interesting, timely and entertaining), over time you will create content that is compelling, conversational and shared.
2. Build a Twitter audience.
This is the fastest way to build a relevant tribe. It’s hard to pull people to your blog, but it’s fairly easy to build a connected Twitter audience in as little as 20 minutes a day. Pepper in links among your daily tweets. If your audience members are interested in you, they will be interested in your blog.
3. Activate LinkedIn groups.
There are more than 1.5 million LinkedIn groups. Find some that are relevant to you. The best way to promote your blog is to show how it’s helpful. When you see an interesting question in a LinkedIn group, answer it in a blog post and paste the link to your post as your helpful answer. Some of these forums get thousands of views.
4. Build a blog network.
When I started out, I found a core group of beginning bloggers. We all supported each other. I knew that whenever I wrote, I could count on a few comments and tweets from my blogging buddies. Not only did this offer valuable emotional support, but their audiences became my audience.
You can often find great new blogging friends in the comment section of your favorite blogs. Or, you might look into a more formal approach through a service like Triberr.
5. Think of your blog URL like your email address.
This is pretty simple, but many people overlook it. Promote your blog URL everywhere you have your email address: business cards, PowerPoint slides, newsletters, email signatures and correspondence. Most of these sources are going to high-potential blog readers, right?
I learned a lot through trial and error when I started out, but these five ideas worked best for me. Any tricks and tips you would like to share?