How to Attract Blog Readers to Your Tribe
If you're reading the articles here at Renegade Blogger, you're probably hoping to build an audience for your blog. As we've discussed in prior posts, writing is only one element of blogging. Not only do you have to write engaging, relevant content, but you also need to promote it. How did you first hear about Seth Godin? Do you subscribe to any newsletters by bloggers? Have you read any articles on Medium or Inc? Chances are your daily online reading is impacted by bloggers, whether it's from looking for helpful reviews or keeping up with news of your industry. And the way you found that content in the first place is what we'll help you understand - how you can attract blog readers.
We're firm believers in setting small goals and working toward them systematically. For example, if you've just started, set a goal of getting 100 people to read your blog. If you've got 100 readers, go for 500. If you have 500 readers, turn 100 of them into newsletter subscribers. You can't reach a Seth Godin level overnight, but you can work your way up the ladder one rung at a time.
You have friends, relatives, business associates, and network contacts. One of the fastest ways to get your first set of readers is to share your insights, or at least an announcement that you're sharing insights, with your network. Even if the content isn't specifically designed for them, you can ask them to share it with their friends who may be interested. Tell them so in your email.
And here's a funny little secret. If you're paying attention to your traffic (e.g., with Google Analytics), you'll see that you get a bump in visitors, and if you're new, that bump gets you on Google's radar. Google's search algorithm rewards traffic...with MORE traffic. We like to say "no one likes to eat in an empty restaurant" and that's Google's formula for routing traffic too. If no one comes to your site, no one will find your site. The more visitors you attract, the more traffic Google will send your way.
Here are some ideas of things you can say in your first email:
I'm writing to tell you about my new blog. What I'm writing about may not be something you need, but if you know someone who would like it, please share it with them.
If you like what I'm writing about, please subscribe to my newsletter using the form on my site. If you don't, I won't bug you again.
If you have questions or ideas that you think I should write about. please let me know.
It's also helpful to include a teaser (or 3!) that links to one of your posts. When you write your email, be brief, authentic, personal and honest. You'll seed initial traffic and win your first few subscribers.
Using a similar approach with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, you can inform your network that you're blogging. The same approach works - give the news and share a good article you've written. You may need to post more than once on some social media platforms for anyone to see them. If you do, mix up the material so it isn't repetitive. Strongly consider using images in your posts to make them more noticeable. Always use a teaser rather than the complete content. And don't forget to promote your blog in your social media profiles.
For Instagram, consider making a special landing page that showcases your best content in an Instagram friendly format or use on of the "link in bio" tools (e.g., Linktree, Shorby, Later). For LinkedIn, adapt your posting method to leverage the way LinkedIn displays your content (i.e., they don't offer much of a sample like other platforms).
In addition to the free stuff, each social media platform offers advertising which can help get you noticed. Especially in a second wave, after posting to your own network, ads offer a way to attract an audience who doesn't know you. Writing about education? You can target teachers or parents. Blogging about local events? Your ads can easily show up for people in your zip code.
Your social media approach should primarily focus on building your subscriber base. Every landing page should have a subscription form.
If you can tap into industry or personal networks to showcase your blog, you'll probably be delighted with the results. "Backlinks" are created when a site links to your content, and the search engines value such links. The more backlinks you get, the more value to that page. Getting backlinks happens in many ways, like when someone shares your content. You should proactively seek relationships: industry blogs, influencers, and other experts. Use email and social media to develop more relationships too (more on this idea later). In short, follow industry blogs, influencers, and experts, and then engage them. Comment on their posts. Share your posts with them.
How You Can Attract Blog Readers
Building your audience takes time. But a systematic approach, driven by small goals and experiments, will help. Continue writing good content and distributing it on relevant platforms. Use email first. Pick two or three appropriate social media platforms (you can't manage them all well) and experiment with your messaging, frequency, and delivery. And for the most value, build a network around your blog to build backlinks. Each step adds a brick to your house, and the more bricks you add, the better your house...
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