Many writers begin blogging for one reason: to build an audience. They need a platform to publish books successfully. But to build a blog audience you need to do more than blog. Today, Jay Artale (@BirdsOAFpress), a digital nomad and full-time writer and blogger, offers a three-step strategy to help you attract an audience for your blog and blogged book.
When it comes to building your blog audience, it’s easy to get stuck on the content creation treadmill. You create an endless stream of new blog posts and then cross your fingers, hoping your SEO skills are effective enough to grow and maintain your target audience.
You’re a blogger, after all, so you just need to blog, right?
Although blogging is at the core of establishing yourself as a subject matter expert in your niche, there are two additional components to which you need to allocate time.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the barrage of tips, advice, and strategies for bloggers. So, plan on spreading your time across a triangle of activities, and you’ll become more effective and efficient at growing your blog audience.
1. Create Useful Content
Creating content is integral to building your platform and getting yourself known in your niche. But not all content is created equal.
When I first started blogging, I wrote about topics that interested me and shared techniques and skills I’d mastered. It was valuable and insightful content—just approached from the wrong perspective.
I wrote to share my knowledge and experience rather than crafting empathetic content to help my audience. I focused on what I wanted to write and didn’t have a specific audience in mind. While this made the content creation process easy and fun, it wasn’t sustainable as a long-term growth strategy.
If you’re a hobby blogger, there’s no issue with writing for the love of writing. But if you’re using blogging as a vehicle to establish your brand, then you should put your audience front and center. You need to understand their pain points and what will motivate them to care about your content.
When somebody reads your blog post, they’re thinking about what’s in it for them. “Is this article going to help me solve my problem or achieve my goal?” They arrive at your post full of expectations, and if you don’t meet them, your bounce rate will be high.
2. Grow your Audience
Creating useful content means getting your audience to care about what you write and encouraging them to connect with you.
Sharing your content across social media and communities using descriptive summaries, hashtags, and images help you grow your audience. However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to be everywhere. Only focus on the networks your audience uses and to which you enjoy contributing.
The downside to social media is that it’s a one-to-many relationship that lacks that personal touch. Plus, there is so much content in people’s streams that there is a lot they miss.
The best way to establish a one-to-one connection is via your mailing list. Let’s face it… Even with declining open rates, there’s a higher probability they’ll open your email, especially if it has an enticing subject line.
Be selective about where you spend your efforts, so you have enough time left to write and share your content and nurture the followers who have shown enough confidence in you to make that leap from social follower to a member of your mailing list.
3. Nurture your Mailing List
It’s getting harder and harder to get people to give up their email address, so you’ll have to offer them something of perceived value to get them to sign up to your list. But once they’re on your list, you need to nurture that relationship to keep them connected.
I’m on lots of lists, and too many bloggers only send out a monthly blog post summary. I like getting these blog post updates, so I don’t have to remember to keep visiting my favorite websites. Yet, the senders I pay the most attention to are the ones that go above and beyond to keep me engaged.
They ask me questions; ask for my opinion; share free tools, tips or PDF’s they’ve created; and share free books, content, or tools designed by other thought leaders in my niche. I may not always respond or download their offerings, but I’m more likely to read future emails in case what’s being sent will help me out.
If you can solve my problem, save me time, or save me money, you’ve got my attention. I’m staying on your list.
Even though your long-term strategy is to monetize your mailing list by selling your products or services, the way to nurture your followers and keep them on your list is to provide them with a benefit for being there.
A Balanced Triangle
When you plan out your activities for the month, make sure you’re spending time on all three points of your activity triangle. Write new content, share your content to entice followers to join your mailing list, and nurture that audience by providing them with value.
If you neglect one aspect of this activity equation, you’ll fail to build and retain your audience. So, don’t forget to step off that content creation treadmill to focus on what’s important—your audience.
Do you use all three points of this triangle? If so, what results have you seen? Tell me in the comments section below …and if you enjoyed this post, please share it with others who might benefit!
About the Author
Jay Artale abandoned her corporate career to become a digital nomad and full-time writer. She’s an avid blogger and a nonfiction author helping travel writers and travel bloggers achieve their self-publishing goals. Join her at Birds of a Feather Press where she shares tips, advice, and inspiration to writers with an independent spirit.
Image courtesy of gmast3r