You have a blog.
But, you don’t have a thriving base of readers (yet).
You want to accelerate growth and get more readers.
The big question is how?
I’ve been there, frantically trying to figure out how to get more readers and grow my blog to the point that I want it to be.
I felt the same frustration.
That was until I found what worked (and what didn’t).
Today I’m going to show you how you can do the same thing and shatter all of your expectations of what you thought were possible.
Understand your target audience and develop audience personas
Your blog needs to be about your audience.
They are the reason your blog is where it is and they will be the reason why it gets to where you want it to be.
By understanding your audience you can write content that is hyper relevant to not only your audience, but the audience you want to attract.
And that’s important.
What is an audience persona?
Think of it as a fictional profile of your ideal reader and you may have several.
So, for example, Blogging Wizard has several and I give them names:
- The new starter – these are people who haven’t started a blog yet, or they’ve recently launched their blog and they’re looking to cover off the basics. New starters blog part time while having a full time job.
- The fulltime blogger – bloggers that have been doing this for a long time but they’re looking to learn new things or get a refresh.
- The business bloggers – business bloggers come from a professional background (often marketing) and are responsible for running business blogs that they don’t own. They typically have targets to hit so they need highly actionable tactics that will help them get results.
Start off by visualising your ideal visitors, think about the types of people first, then you can get the specifics down.
The important questions you need to consider are:
- What motivates them?
- What challenges are they facing (related to your niche)?
- What questions are they trying to find answers for (niche related, think top level questions)?
- What keeps them awake at night?
Your audience persona(s) will drive everything you do on your blog, from how you write to the channels you use to promote your content.
Get the content right – consistently
Your content is the centre of what you do as a blogger.
It can be your best asset or your Achilles heel.
Your focus needs to be on value and ensuring that your readers get something out of your content, whether you are teaching your readers something or entertaining them.
Identify the problems your audience is facing and solve it using content that is written (or created) for them.
This is where your audience persona(s) come in very useful.
Plan content that gets results
You will get better results when you validate your content ideas and find out what is working for other people.
That’s not to say you should just do the same as everyone else. You shouldn’t.
You should always come from your own unique angle and try to bring something new to the table.
Tips for validating your ideas:
- Use a tool like BuzzSumo (free) to identify which content is getting shared most for a topic (or for your competitor).
- Use SEMrush ($) to identify what keywords your competitors are ranking for.
- Check out relevant forums and communities and find out what questions people are asking.
- Email a survey to your subscribers.
Write content that your audience will love
We talked about audience personas earlier.
They are an incredibly important factor when it comes to writing/creating content and should form the foundation of your content.
- Write clearly so anyone can understand – See this post by Glen Long on how to do this.
- Put a focus on creating engaging headlines – Headlines will be the making (or breaking) of how well your content does.
- Engage your readers – Asking questions is a great way to do this.
- Use eye-catching imagery – It’s easier than ever with free tools like Canva.
- Deliver quality consistently – Always put the time in to make your content the best it can be.
- Have a unique angle – Some topics have been done to death but if you can add a fresh/unique perspective, you can make your content stand out.
Repurpose your content and expand your audience
There is a lot more you can do with your content than just publish blog posts.
You can take your written content (or whichever type of content you’re focusing on) and turn it into another type of content.
This works great because it will enable you to expand your audience and reach people who don’t usually consume the type of content you have been focusing on up till now.
You could create any of the following:
- Interactive infographic
- SlideShare presentation
- Audio recording
- White paper
Grow your email list from day one – don’t miss this opportunity
My biggest regret for a number of blogs I used to run was not building an email list from the very beginning.
The reality is that building an email list and nurturing it is one of the smartest things you can do.
If all other traffic generation tactics (e.g. SEO/Social media) completely stop, you will still have a list of engaged followers that you can notify about new posts.
These are also people that will be most likely to buy products/services from you (be careful with this, if you keep trying to sell without adding value, people will unsubscribe quick).
You need a real email provider
Using Feedburner or any type of RSS service to handle email delivery of new posts isn’t good enough here.
You need the ability to send unique emails to your list.
How to build your list faster than you thought possible
List building is a topic that I have written about at great length already.
When you’re ready to take your list building efforts to the next level, read this post.
It covers all the tactics and tools you will need to get the job done.
Just one tactic listed could get you 700% more sign-ups.
Promote every post – you will be glad you did
We all want more people to read our content but some of the best pieces of content end up gathering dust in some neglected corner of the web.
The only reason this happens is because not enough time is spent on promoting our content.
In many cases, less than 5 minutes is spent.
Here’s the thing:
Clicking publish is just the beginning.
When you put the time into promoting your content – that’s when the magic happens.
You can find the exact process that I use to promote my content in this post.
Tap into the influence of authority figures in your niche
I’ve written about the power of influence a lot, but it warrants another mention here because of how well it works.
There are people in your niche that have an established audience, they have influence and they have authority.
You can tap into that audience.
It boils down to finding ways to include these people in your content and letting them know about it.
People are (usually) compelled to share posts where they’re mentioned in a positive way because it increases their audience’s perception of their authority.
There are a number of ways you can do this just from the content that you create, but there are some in particular that have worked well for me:
Create a list of the biggest names in your niche, think of an engaging question that people would love for these experts to answer and ask those experts to take part and contribute.
The important step is letting the participants know that the post is live and encouraging them to share.
The last group interview I published got:
- 3,018 social shares (total).
- 7,435 visitors in 3 days.
- 4,917 saves on Pocket.
- Mentions on Social Media Examiner, The Hootsuite Blog and more.
I’m not saying that you will get exactly the same results, but when you include the right people and encourage them to share, the results may surprise you.
In any niche, there are so many great posts published each week and it can be a challenge to keep track of them all.
Sometimes we miss incredible posts.
Try publishing industry roundups that bring all of these posts together and let the authors know they’ve been featured.
This could be via email, @mentions on Twitter or tagging them on Google+ or Facebook.
Mentions in regular blog posts
You don’t need to write a special blog post to be able to leverage the influence of others.
Just mentioning someone or one of their posts in a regular post can work well.
But, it’s got to make sense and add value to your post.
Once you’ve mentioned people in your post, let them know about it.
How to find niche influencers
There are plenty of tools on the market to help you do this and a lot of them are free (or fairly priced):
Alternatively, check out my post on influencer research tools.
Use Triberr to multiply your reach
Out of all the tools that I have used, Triberr has had the most profound difference to the success of my blog.
Thanks to Triberr, I have been able to get more social shares and traffic while being in a position to connect with other influencers in my niche.
If you haven’t heard about this before; Triberr is a social platform that connects blogs and bloggers.
It’s full of topical tribes of bloggers and makes it easy to find great content to share while putting your own content in front of people who may want to share it.
You can follow tribes which means content will appear in your ‘tribal stream’ and request to be promoted to a full member.
When you are promoted to a full member, your posts will be visible in the tribal stream of all other users.
Here’s what to do now:
- Sign up for an account.
- Head to ‘settings’ then add your blog and RSS feed.
- Search for relevant tribes and start sharing.
- Follow those tribes and request to be promoted.
- Leave a personalised message for the tribe’s owner.
- Create your own tribe and invite other users that are a good fit for the group.
A few things to note about Triberr
It’s a great community full of some awesome people.
It works on the reciprocity principal.
You share my stuff; I’ll share yours but make sure you share content that will be valuable for your audience.
Also, you can pay to promote your posts but there’s also something called ‘affinity’. So, when you share other user’s posts, they’ll be more likely to see your posts in their tribal stream the next time.
Over to you
When you build your blog on a solid foundation, you will get incredible results.
You will get the social shares, traffic and engaged readers that you want. Other awesome opportunities will follow.
Start off by getting your audience persona(s) put together before doing anything else.
What tactics are working well for you on your blog?
We’d love to hear more in the comments below.