|Building an Audience for Your Blog|
Last month, I reported on my conversations with Ray Sidney-Smith, W3 Consulting
, and Patrick Ross, The Artist's Road
, about building a better blog
Maybe you were inspired to launch or re-launch a blog, or maybe it's still lingering on a to-do list.
No matter the timeline, the reason to devote the time to a blog is because you want others to read it.
How to do that?
Both Sidney-Smith and Ross stressed that it takes a while to build readership--perhaps as long as six months to a year.
Search engines will eventually "find" the content. The good news is that, once they do, they see each blog entry as a separate webpage. Thus, someone may enter your blog because of a search for a specific topic (e.g., "How to Increase Meeting Attendance" or "Best Types of Tomatoes for Dry Climates") and then become a regular reader. Incorporating good keywords
in the headline and text makes the blog more visible through Google or other searches.
Don't Just Wait, Do Something
But you want to do more than just wait until readers happen upon your creation. Here are a few suggestions from Sidney-Smith:
- Go to your readers. Find other blogs related to your topic. Comment on what you read, ask a question, generally participate. Don't blatantly promote your blog, but include the URL in your signature or, if an option, in your profile.
- Ask questions, be provocative. In your posts, ask questions--"What do you think?" "How does this strike you?" "That's my take on it. Do you agree?" If no one is reading or commenting, Sidney-Smith suggests re-assessing the content and tweaking to make the content more interactive.
- "Market the heck out of it." Let people in your existing circles know about the blog. Add a link to your email signature. List the URL on your business cards, in ads, and everyplace else. Gently ask your friends to post a comment to start building up reader contributions.
- Link to social media. Don't just post the URL, let prospective readers know about something interesting they'll find when they go there. Use a subject hashtag in Twitter to go beyond your followers to people who are seeking information on the topic (e.g., #writingtips). Summarize a post in a sentence or two with a link to the full text in an e-newsletter.
You may have already searched to know that blogs abound about how to build blog readership (this can all get a bit circular). A few other tips I've picked up and their sources:
- Contribute as a guest to a blog that seems to attract the types of readers you seek. You help the other blogger; the blogger helps you. As a start, a website called MyBlogGuest connects guests with those looking for them. Source: Seomoz
- Have a "blog buddy" so you get outside feedback and perhaps better adhere to a writing schedule. Source: Heidi Cohen
- Set up your blog so readers automatically receive updated content. Save them a step. Source: Entrepreneur.
One Step at a Time
You've probably heard at least some of this advice already. Start slowly so you don't get overwhelmed. Add a new promotional technique just one or a few at a time. Both Ross and Sidney-Smith have been successful in getting people involved in their blogs, but it took a while.
|Graduations, New Beginnings
We had a high school and a college graduation in my family this spring. Exciting, bittersweet times!Maybe I have been hearing too many commencement addresses, but we can all get inspired by the season. Move forward, keep learning, do your best--and make sure you have all your requirements completed before it's too late.