“When you write and publish awesome content on your blog, good things will come your way.” – Nicholas Whitmore
Who Are You Writing For?
It always comes back to content, first and foremost.
It's imperative to clearly define your target market from the onset, and then let the content of your blog organically revolve around their needs and tastes. The best way to get people to your blog is to write compelling and relevant material. If you build it, they will come.
Certainly, that may be a little bit of an over-simplification. But, it still remains that determining exactly what your target market of readership resembles is the starting place for promoting your blog. Eventually (or ideally from the get-go), you should think of content creation and promotion as two sides of the same coin. Let your content naturally manifest as a reaction to the type of people you are trying to get involved.
As we'll see in the next paragraphs, promoting your blog must be done so in a sincere manner, no exceptions. So if a conversation about your blog happens, whether in real life or online, it is inevitably going to be among people with whom you have something in common. Therefore, write for those with shared interests. If you accomplish this, your blog will practically promote itself.
Build Your Presence
Let's use an enormous city as a metaphor for the Internet. Out there, among the labyrinth of cyber streets, your perfect community of target readers is just waiting to be found. There are a lot of roads to scour, but scour you must, and you're going to want to pop your head into many an online hangout spot to determine just where these coveted folks may be congregating.
It shouldn't be terribly difficult – Internet culture is all connected, so put yourself in the shoes of your readers, and think about potential shared interests. There are other blogs, and there are also message boards and forums on a myriad of topics that are probably closely related to the core subject of your blog. Go to where the people are talking, and once you find them, join the conversation.
This point cannot be stressed enough. It seems the knee-jerk reaction for most folks trying to build their following is to shove advertisement-style verbiage in the faces of everyone they can. Instead, involve yourself in the discussion by offering worthwhile opinions and useful contributions.
If it's genuine, people will respond.
Then of course, with each contribution you make, leave a link going back to your blog. In this way, you are indirectly promoting yourself while establishing credibility. Explore as many online communities as you see fit, and sew your seeds where it seems appropriate to. Get people's attention with genuine contributions, and the type of readers you're writing for will find you.
And before we move on to the next bullet point, there's a thought that bears reiterating. Always remember, with whatever you do: if your writing sounds even remotely like an advertisement, you are guaranteed to alienate a lot of potential followers. Like I said in Pt. 1: when it comes to your blog, and all things relating, you must keep it real, and say it with feeling!
Being that the practice of blogging is a relatively new innovation, it is quite the hot topic among... Well, a lot of people. From grass-roots entrepreneurial start-ups to philosophers to rock stars, great amounts of people are blogging these days, and what's better, an even greater amount of people are constantly discussing it – in the real world, using their real voices.
Most likely, there are gatherings related to your niche. Industry conferences and networking events are perfect opportunities to incite a conversation about the blogosphere. Perhaps you'll find yourself at a friendly social gathering, or even if you're just talking to your waiter: whenever someone asks you what you do, have the elevator pitch for your blog locked and loaded.
You'll be surprised at the people of today's culture, and just how eager they are to discuss blogging. And if yours is something that you've put a lot of love into, you should have no problem speaking candidly and passionately about your writing.
It suffices to say that the absolute best way to promote your blog is to join the conversation, both online and off. You can talk about blogging, or you can talk about your niche. But when you're done talking, leave some time for listening, and then respond appropriately. Promoting yourself on the Internet is a delicate art form, but one that anyone can master with a little practice. Just remember, in order to capitalize on the almighty community, they must trust you. Sincerity and insight builds trust – advertisements do not.
We've spent a lot of time pacing the metaphorical streets of the enormous Internet, and we've managed to join in more than a few conversations over the years. If you'd like to learn more about this delicate art form, or if you'd like to know how to get started building your blog, we can help. Contact us today.
If you missed it, don't forget to check out the earlier posts in this series on How To Write A Good Blog.
If you have any questions or comments, we look forward to hearing from you. Till then, see you on the blogosphere.