Tell me if this sounds familiar: you had a great idea for a blog. You believed that if you produced incredible content, potential customers would come. They would read the blog, subscribe, and as long as your kept writing amazing content, your blog would thrive. I am guessing that if you are reading this, your experience was more similar to the majority of beginner business bloggers and it looked nothing like that. Instead, it probably looked more like this: you had this great idea for a blog, you wrote some great content, no one came and now you want to know why.
The answer is simple – no one came because you built a blog but you didn’t build an audience.
You see, in the blogosphere, great content only gets you so far. Building a thriving blog for your brand is about more than just writing. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet that takes you from 1 to 100,000 subscribers overnight. However, in this blog post I provide you with some real insights you can take to start building a loyal audience.
1. Know Your Niche
Image courtesy of Starburst Magazine
Think about these problems if you don’t know your niche:
- If you don’t know who you are writing for, how can you possibly write content they want to read?
- If you haven’t clearly identified your target niche, how do you know who they are and what other types of content they consume?
- If you don’t know your niche, how can you possible attract the people in it?
Hopefully those three questions hit this point home. The most important thing you need to do in order to attract a better audience for your blog is to know who is in that audience and what they care about so that you can provide the content and experience that attract them, engage them, and keep them coming back.
You can find a ton of information online about how to find your ideal audience and niche, and here are two of my favorites (in order):
- From MOZ – an old blog post (in Internet years), but really good. I always recommend you check MOZ for internet marketing questions. Great actionable items in this post.
- Inc’s article – More of an overview, but still worth checking out.
Once you know who the people in your niche are, you need to ask yourself some questions about your niche:
- What problems are they trying to solve?
- What questions are they trying to answer?
- What do they care about the most?
- What keeps them up at night?
Answering these questions for the different types of people who make up your niche is invaluable to create a content marketing that resonates with them and that keeps them coming back.
2. Plan for Success
Image courtesy of Snappy Pixels
The best blogs don’t happen by accident; they come from a combination of good planning, great content, and a consistent approach. One of the other major mistakes bloggers make is not thinking through and planning out their approach. I recommend creating an editorial calendar. Your editorial calendar should include items such as:
- Who is the ideal reader for the blog?
- How many posts you want to publish per week?
- What kind of on-going features or columns you want to include?
- How you do you tie your blog to other marketing or branding initiatives?
For example, some bloggers pick a theme for each month or produce a couple posts a week featuring news pertinent to their theme for that month. This kind of planning ahead creates the foundation you need to support a consistent posting strategy and overall management of your blog.
Think of each blog post as the opening sentence of a conversation. If you publish the post and then back away, your audience won’t feel engaged and they won’t stay. Keep the conversations going by reading and responding to every comment posted on your blog. Join the conversations happening on other relevant blogs to show potential readers that you have important things to say. Engaging your audience this way provides you with two enormous benefits. First, you begin to create a community and there is nothing that inspires loyalty more quickly than feeling like you belong. Second, if you pay attention to the comments and feedback, your readers will tell you what they like, don’t like, and what they want to hear more about which can be very powerful if you capture it and feed it back into your blog as future content.
4. Adjust Your Expectations
Image courtesy of Funky Downtown
One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is failing to understand what it takes to create, build, and manage a successful blog with a substantial audience. For some reason, people think internet marketing is easy, but it isn’t. It takes effort, discipline, and a constant vigilance to create quality content and stay on top of the latest information. If you think attracting an audience to you business blog is easy, then your first task is to adjust your expectations. Blogging is about more than just writing. Creating great content is not enough to succeed. Bustling blogs are not built overnight. It takes hard work, dedication, and a consistent approach to be successful.
5. Produce Quality Content
Again, this might sound like it is all about the writing but making a quality product goes far beyond that. People follow blogs because the content resonates with them AND because they see it as a trusted source of information. If your content is full of bad grammar and simple spelling errors, people only keep reading long enough to get your point. There are a million other blogs for them to choose from. Create headlines that grab people’s attention because this is the hook that brings new readers to your blog and convinces current subscribers to read more. Make sure your posts are visually interesting and easily to digest. This means using quality photos, short paragraphs, bulleted lists, and bolded text that make reading your blog easy regardless of which device the reader is using.
We use Canva to create our opening graphics. It is free and easy.
6. Spread the Word
Now that you have something worth talking about, it is time to spread the word. Let people know what you are blogging about by posting links and teasers on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. Make it incredibly easy for people to share your content from your blog or across their social media experience. Invite guest bloggers to provide posts for your blog to entice their readers to subscribe. Make sure potential readers can find you by optimizing your blog for search, practicing excellent SEO, and researching the right keywords for every post. Make sure every contact you have includes a link back to your blog. This means including it as part of your email signature, putting it on your business card, and promoting it in any marketing or advertising initiatives. Your blog is your rock.
Make sure that you are not wasting effort. If your audience is not on a social platform, do not waste your time on it.
How are you currently attracting leads to your business blog? What are your tips?