Flog your blog-Part 1 of 2
Every blogger wonders how they’ll develop a following when they first start blogging. This topic, How to Grow Your Blog Audience, was the subject of Sunday evening’s BlogChat. As Danny Brown pointed out, even Seth Godin, who’s blog is number one on Ad Age’s Top 150 marketing blogs, started with zero readers. Since we all start at the same place, the actions you take have a lot to do with how your following grows.
Sometimes all it takes is an appropriate mindset to get your marketing on track. Here are twelve suggestions to expand your blog following, whether you’re just starting out or have been blogging for a while already.
- Use your own domain and relevant SEO plug-ins. The goal’s to make your blog spider-friendly technically to increase its searchability. To this end, use your own domain. That is use www.example.com, not example.wordpress.com (Note: These domains are for illustrative purposes only.) Utilize available SEO plug-ins,. Plug-ins are a piece of code that’s incorporated into your blog to aide search optimization. They are publicly available. This may require help from your technical support.
- Tweet your posts regularly. While this may not be helpful if you’ve got a limited number of followers on Twitter, it’s good to get into the habit. Use a URL shortener to tweet your post and modify the titles to be Twitter-friendly. Where possible, use a searchable hashtag, such as #BlogChat and #SocialMedia, to broaden your prospective audience. Also remember to link to your blog from your Twitter homepage.
- Post targeted resource lists. To this end, research and organize an inventory of relevant resources on a topic within your niche. Lists are great since they’re a built-in reason to link out to a broad array of sites. Further as useful information, they get lots of tweets and links that in turn supports search optimization.
- Post your blog URL on your different social media profiles. Think broadly beyond Facebook and LinkedIn. Remember you can also share your posts within these forums as well. If you’re posting the same column in more than one arena, create a different, contextually relevant hook for each one. It’s worth the extra effort.
- Offer readers other ways to inform readers of your latest content. Use RSS and email to get your content to prospective followers.
- Distribute content via social sharing. With a widget from a service like “Add This”, make it easy for visitors to broaden your reach by sharing your posts with their friends and colleagues. Remember this helps them look good and intelligent among their peers.
- Comment on other blogs in your niche. Another piece of often repeated advice. Go beyond the unengaging, “Great post.” Put some thought into your responses to make the recipient think and want to find out more about you. Use these tidbits as bait to attract the blogger but don’t put links in to improve your rankings. If the author is interested, he’ll check you out.
- Write great guest posts. This “must” recommendation appears on many lists. Take your best information and share it with on other people’s blogs and media sites to leverage other people’s audiences. Just as you’d be on your best behavior as a guest at someone’s house, do the same with your blogging talents. Remember it may take work to get the attention of the top blogs in your niche. Don’t let this hold you back. Your goal is to build your following.
- Link to your blog from your other online content. Reference and link to your blog in all of your relevant online bios such as business associations and presentations at conferences.
- Link to your blog in your signature file. Include your blog link in every email signature that’s relevant. If your blog is corporate in nature, incorporate the link into every employee’s signature file.
- Leverage existing collateral. This suggestion focuses on corporate blogs, promote your blog using offline marketing vehicles such as catalogs, other collateral, bills and advertising. When sending prospects and customers packages, include a flyer promoting your blog, especially if it give them news and tips about your products. Don’t overlook other online promotion opportunities such as on-going emailings and other online communications.
- Partner with another blogger or company to cross-promote each other’s work. This works best when both blogs have a similar number of readers. You can exchange small blog ads that have the extra benefit of getting readers used to seeing ads on your blog if you intend to monetize it in the future. Alternatively, if you both have email lists, you can swap those.
Remember that the hardest step in building your blog following is writing strong persuasive content, once you have that, think like a publisher and look for readers everywhere. In today’s connected world, there are lots of places to extend your reach.
Do you have any other suggestions that would help readers expand their blog reach? If so, please share your recommendations in the comments section of this post.
Please stay tuned for Part 2 of 2 for additional ways to extend your blog’s readership.
Here are an additional 15 blog audience expanding tactics.
For more information on creating great blog content, please read these posts:
- 7 Points to help you create your blog personality
- 12 Blog Post Ideas to Overcome Blank-Post-Syndrome
Photo credit: emilio labrador via Flickr