It’s easy to find a blog about just about anything, which means there is a lot of competition for readers—and that makes building an audience extremely tough. You have to establish trust and build a relationship if you want people to return to your blog and share it with others. But you also have to find a way to get them to your blog in the first place.
There are standard, meat-and-potatoes methods for attracting readers, but those techniques are very common, which makes it difficult to stand out. Fortunately, there’s also a fresh crop of unique ways to build your blog audience—and a couple of them even let you get out of the house!Check out these five clever ways to grow your blog audience. Click To Tweet
Not sure where to go from here? Check out these five clever ways to grow your blog audience.
1. Be a guest speaker at a conference
One great way to get attention for your blog is to speak at conferences and other events related to your blog topic. This helps build your authority and introduces your blog to more readers.
Brush up on your public speaking skills to help make your presentation enjoyable for your audience. Be sure to practice to help calm your nerves. Apps like Orai can help you practice by helping you reduce the use of filler words such as “like” or “um,” speak more clearly and help with your pace. Keep your speech to three key points so that the audience will have an easier time remembering them and you’ll be able to devote more time to them. It’s OK to use a slideshow as long as it supplements your speech; a fast way to lose your audience is to read from your slides. Keep the tone conversational, and allow for questions and comments at the end.
Don’t forget to record your presentation so you can post it on your blog and social media later. This also extends the shelf life of your presentation, as you can answer any questions from people who might have seen it later. It also shows off your speaking skills, which could get you invited to another event.
2. Have a launch party
While you’re in the business of being online, it doesn’t hurt to step outside of the house, coffee shop or wherever else you choose to blog from. Have a launch party or some other type of event to introduce your blog to people. This is especially good if your blog is about something local, such as things to do or places to eat—in which case, you could have your event at one of your favorite local establishments.
It also allows you the chance to meet your audience in person. You can get to know them better, which will help you come up with future blog topics; they might even have topic suggestions for you. They’ll also get the chance to ask you questions about some of your posts. Either way, it will help build a stronger relationship with your readers.
You’ll want to plan some other activities for your event apart from just conversing with one another. This could be a game or activity, preferably something related to your blog (such as a beer or wine tasting if you specialize in epicurean interests). Have a raffle for gift cards, and present the prize in a unique gift card holder like this one from Company Folders; the metallic red foil stamped logo stands out against the black background, instilling a sense of excitement. Information you gather from the raffle can be used to start a mailing list. Alternatively, set up a box of props with a cool background for a makeshift photo booth. Don’t forget to share the images on social media and include a special hashtag for your event to help create more buzz.
3. Collaborate with others
One of the best ways to build an audience for your blog is to collaborate with others. Whether it’s an influencer or another reader, working with another person will expose your blog to a new audience when it is shared by those with whom you collaborated.
Some of the ways you can work with others include writing a guest post for a blog (or allowing another writer to create a guest post for you), writing a profile on someone, or creating a roundup. Your roundup might feature influencers answering a common question that faces your audience, or it can feature particularly insightful comments from authoritative readers. Either way, share your posts and be sure to tag those featured to get your blog in front of their followers.
Use your blogroll to link to bloggers who write about the same topics or, just people you respect who are writing cool stuff. They are likely to return the favor and add you to their own blogrolls.
4. Reduce the number of share buttons on your blog
While it sounds counterproductive, you might need to reduce the number of share buttons for social media on your blog. People like choices, but sometimes, they won’t make a choice if they are given too many options.
Instead of triggering your readers’ “analysis paralysis,” research your audience and its demographics to determine which platforms they’re spending their time on and use those buttons for your blog. Experiment with different types of buttons and track the progress. If some aren’t getting used, remove them.
Be sure to place the buttons in a spot where people will see and use them. While it might make sense to put them at the very bottom, most people skim posts and typically don’t make it to the end, so consider putting them at the top of the page. Give them a unique design to make them stand out, too; just make sure people can clearly understand which platform they’ll be sharing to if they click a share button.
5. Use HARO queries to generate mentions
Help a Reporter Out connects journalists to credited sources. Responding to these queries is another awesome way to share your expertise and help establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. Many of the queries also include a mention or a link to your blog, which will get your work in front of people who might have otherwise missed it.
You can sign up for free or, depending on your budget, upgrade to a different package. A basic account sends you emails three times a day with queries from reporters. You can respond to as many or as few as you want; it typically takes less than 10 minutes per email.
Be sure to respond to queries to which you have something valuable to offer. Reporters are likely receiving multiple replies; don’t waste their time trying to sound knowledgeable on a topic you really don’t understand. Chances are that reporters will remember this and ignore a response you submit on a topic when you really know your stuff.
Don’t forget that ultimately, the best way to increase your blog traffic and grow your audience is to produce good content. Check out some of these tools and resources to help your blog in other ways such as writing and design.
It’s not always easy to get started, but once you do and stick to it, blogging can be very rewarding. There are so many tools to build your audience and grow your brand, but they won’t all work for everyone. The key is to track your progress and see what works best for you. Know when it’s time to go in a new direction, and don’t be afraid to axe something if it isn’t working.