Growing your audience – it’s the main thing people struggle with when they first start blogging. It’s a struggle, especially, for those starting right now as it seems like the blogging community is moving away from blogs and more towards social media to maintain their audience. However, it’s not impossible. As long as you’re willing to put in the time to grow your audience, it can happen with these five steps –
Participate in the community
It’s more than just writing blogs and responding to the comments you get. Participating in the community looks like commenting on others’ blog posts, sharing them online, and encouraging them outside of just their blog posts. If you’re in Facebook groups for bloggers, be active in them! Reach out with questions, and when others do the same respond with answers! Don’t look at it as just promoting yourself and your blog, but instead as having actual interest in and care for your peers. Although it may start as a blog comment, you’d be surprised as to where your new relationships may go!
Make your content easily shareable
Allyssa talked a while back about how to increase blog shares on Twitter, and these types of things are really great ways to grow your audience. I can speak as a witness to this that when you add share buttons or tweetables to your content, you’re not only encouraging people to share your content, but you’re making it easy to do so. Now, don’t get too carried away – you don’t need a share button for every single social media outlet out there. Instead, pick a few that you feel are popular with your audience or that you’re active on.
Consider how you can help through your content
Think about it – have you gone through something that you learned from and could share on your blog? The issues we face aren’t always unique to us. Did you struggle with how to gain sponsorships but now you run a successful sponsorship program? Share that with your readers! Do you know a lot about photography or maybe you’ve recently uncovered a “secret” to how to do something? Share it! You literally don’t gain anything by hoarding information. Instead, you’ll not only be helpful to your readers, but I’m sure you’ll find these helpful, informative posts will be shared more as well!
Collaborate with other bloggers
It can be intimidating to reach out to another blogger with interest in collaborating with them, but it can be so good for your blog. You could ask them to guest post on your site, or you could pitch a guest post for theirs. You could collaborate on a project together like how Christie and I launched Postmark Society together or how Emily and Kathleen launched the Being Boss podcast together! Not only will this cultivate relationships with others in your community, but it’s a great way to get your name and thus your blog in front of people who might not have heard of it otherwise.
It may seem like you have to blog a certain way, create a certain type of graphic, share specific looking things on Instagram or Pinterest to grow your following, but that’s just not true. Nothing can be gained by copying or trying to recreate someone else’s success in the blogosphere. Instead, really be true to yourself. Write the way you’re comfortable, create graphics that you like, and share what you’re genuinely want to. People can see right through it when you’re just imitating someone else, but people are drawn to those who are as authentic online as they are in person.
Of course there are other ways you can grow your audience and community, like sharing others’ posts on social media, participating in Instagram challenges or Twitter chats, or even starting an email list. However you go about growing your audience, the bottom line is that it’s important to be yourself and do what you’re comfortable with!
Have you found a specific way you’ve grown your audience? Feel free to share in the comments below or let’s chat about it on Twitter!