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Finding Our Blog Audience/Community
For a writer, I’m not sure anything stings more than putting vast amounts of efforts into a piece only to hear crickets. We love what we write and want to share it with others. Preferably a loyal audience.
This isn’t about self-validation. At least not for those of us unconsumed by ego. No friends, it’s about creating a space for like-minded individuals to come together. Share some laughs, stories, and connect in ways they may not otherwise be able.
It’s for teaching and learning from others. For creative streaks and self-growth.
One of the biggest questions I see come up over and over again is how to grow a blog audience. Most of the pins I see have a headline like, “5 Ways to Grow Your Blog’s Audience”. Similar to this post yes, and no.
Small confession. I literally read every single article I pin. If I haven’t read it, I won’t pin it. I’ll save it to my Pinterest Likes Board until I can read it and then move it to the appropriate board later or delete it if it’s garbage. I addressed the reasons why in this excellent article about being selective as a pinner.
Here is what I see when I click on the majority of those types of “grow an audience pins”
- Join Facebook Groups
- Create a Facebook Page
- Join Tailwind Tribes
- Join Blogbooster
- Hire a social media Virtual Assistant
- Join Twitter
- Participate in Twitter Chats
- Automate your social media
- Guest Post for other blogs
- Use Link Parties or Visit Forums related to your topic
- Join StumbleUpon
- Join Tumbler
- Join Linked In
- Join Instagram Pods and Stories
- Join …..
This information has been circulated and rewritten so many times and it’s nothing more than a vague list of sites that people visit. Melyssa Griffin has an amazing article all about why joining every last one of these sites is not going to help you in the long run.
Can they work? Yeah. But they can also be the living nightmare that sabotages the quality of your content.
You, I presume, are a human being. With a life, possibly a day job, family, friends, schedule, you get the idea. You cannot belong to every social media site under the sun and effectively be a member of all of them. People know when everything you put up is automated and they DON’T like it.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t automate some of your tasks. But you cannot automate all of them so you appear to be in all places at once when you’re really not present at all.
So this article is not about that kind of growth.
Genuine Growth of An Audience
Would you rather have your new blog hit 50,000 page views in its first month with only 15 people signing up for your email list or have 1500 views with 150 people signing up for your list?
I hope you answered the second.
When someone visits your blog once that’s great. Every page view counts yeah? But you know what really rocks? Returning readers. People who came back for another look. And another, and another. Those who have shared and forwarded your content to others because it spoke to them in.The reasons we blog are as vast as the topics we blog about.The reasons we blog are as vast as the topics we blog about. Click To Tweet
The ones who comment on posts more than once a year.
We all want that type of audience. No matter if you are a hobby blogger or an all-in going to leave my day job blogger, this is the audience you want.
These people are rarely found by automated tweets and Facebook Ads.
So what is a more effective strategy to gain a loyal following?
Well, I can tell you this. It’s going to take more than signing up for 10 social media sites and throwing your content on automation with a few staggered real time responses.
Growing an audience, at least one that sticks around, engages, or buys anything from you requires you to build and foster trust. Just like you would when you meet a new friend. Only you aren’t meeting someone in person. This can both be good and bad.
It genuinely takes longer to earn someone’s trust without meeting face to face but introverts especially tend to be more honest of their real character through their writing. Meaning it’s easier to get to know them because they share more than they ever would sitting next to you.
I am going to share with you, the five ways that I was taught to grow an audience.
5 Effective Ways to Grow Your Blog Audience
Relationships are absolute garbage without respect. You have to value people. Not collectively. Individually. You can’t make people feel special if you treat them like a nobody. And bloggers, you should want every single reader that comes to your page to feel special.
If they comment, you better respond personally. Until your blog reaches hundreds of comments a day, then you can hire some trusted help who’d better respond and treat them special too. You should be dishing out tons of respect even before it is warranted. Value people and they will eventually see the value in you.Relationships are absolute garbage without respect. You have to value people. Not collectively. Individually Click To Tweet
Share Pieces of Yourself
Respect alone isn’t enough. People need to feel like they can relate to you. I have heard plenty of people say, don’t get too personal, be careful what you share. And to some extent, you should. But your writing has to give people a sense of, “she really does know what I am going through.” (If you’re in the correct niche this shouldn’t be too difficult)
You can’t and shouldn’t make up one story after another trying to relate. Sure you can use the friend analogy a few times because we all have friends we’ve watched go through something. But once in a while, you have to share a personal piece of yourself.
Like respect, relationships are garbage without trust. Some argue that they are the same thing. I disagree, fully. I believe you can have respect without trust but you cannot have trust without respect. Trust usually takes a little longer to build up than respect.
For blogging, trust is built by creating helpful content over and over and answering their emails, comments, and communications. People begin to respect you and eventually trust you as their go-to source for certain information.
A great example I will use is my respect for Melyssa Griffin. Her stats and story are inspiring. She is relatable and her content reliable. Because she has responded to some of my emails privately, some answered by her team, I am currently building trust. She has given me great advice that is helping me to grow and learn as a blogger. In the beginning, when you are serving a much smaller audience, serve them well. Serve the living daylights out of them!
One-sided relationships suck! This again will mean responding to emails, comments, and such but this goes a little deeper than that. This is where your relationships with other bloggers, advertisers, promoters, and such come into play. Especially other bloggers.
You know what really stinks. Following someone, commenting, sharing their work, really going out of your way to let them know you like their stuff and having them give you the silent treatment. No one likes to give and give while others take and take. Eventually, you unfollow and give up because here you have noticed how great their stuff is for months on in, but what happens is disintegration. Because friends, lack of contact shows lack of respect.
I am not saying you have to follow everyone who follows you. Their content or type of niche may be completely irrelevant or something you don’t care all that much to read about. But respond to their comments. At the very least pop over to their site and leave one in return. It could be something as simple as, “Hey I like the layout of your blog. Nice header image too!”Don't ignore people who clearly enjoy and share your content. Click To Tweet
Heck if you see an article that you like, share it on one of your socials. Don’t ignore people who clearly enjoy and share your content. It sends a message that either you are too busy to care about your audience or too conceited. Both of these scenarios suck.
Communication vs Connection
John C. Maxwell writes a book called, “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect“.
This is an all too sad truth. So many writers say they want to communicate something to their audience. What they should be saying is, “I want to connect with my audience.”
Communicating is fairly easy. Connecting a little more difficult.
How many of you had a high school teacher or college professor that really stood out from the rest?
Most teachers stand at the front of the class delivering a lecture, asking you to take notes, reading from a book, or just boring the core right out of you. But that one teacher. The one who jumped on the desk like a raving lunatic, exploding things in science class, sneaking you out for a field trip, or pushing you to believe in yourself more than you thought possible. The one whose class you never wanted to skip. The teacher that could read and take you right into the page of a story. That teacher connected.
This is what you should aim for in blogging. Be that teacher, that blogger, that person! Connect.
P.S A Blogging Friend of mine has a super awesome free e-course designed to help you with some of the foundational building blocks of creating a strong blog base. Click here for all that awesomeness!
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