Building Your Blog Audience
Around the Red Sage office, “blog” is a dirty word. There, I admitted it. Our blog is time consuming and has been one of the hardest things for us to commit to doing. So, why do we bother with it? In just the first six months of creating our blog, our web traffic went up about 60% and it has grown ever since. An audience like that makes it all worth the work.
What happens, though, when you don’t have an audience like that? You’ve got a great blog going, but you seem to be talking to an audience of one – yourself. There are certainly some great tips out there on building a blog audience, but I’m going to share what has worked for us at Red Sage.
The majority of blogs that go viral and become overwhelmingly popular have one thing in common – they’re interesting. Many of the blogs in Time’s Top 25 Bloggers, 2013 Edition are focused on a very specific topics that the bloggers (and readers) are clearly passionate about. Make sure that you are writing about things that are interesting to you and that you are writing from your own experiences and expertise. Also, remember blogs are not for direct sales – leave the marketing messaging for your ads and sales calls.
Keep Your Audience
Make it easy for people to keep up with your blog. Do not rely on them to remember to come back to your blog each day or week, but instead, include an RSS feed option, email subscription sign-up form, and social media links on your blog so that your content can be delivered to them. I follow several blogs by email subscriptions and this is probably the only way I remember they exist. Being consistent in when you post new content helps too, because it lets your audience know when to expect new content.
Make Things Shareable
Blogs go viral because they are shared. Make it easy for people to share your blog posts by including social media sharing options with each post. Don’t forget about social sites like Pinterest, Instagram, or YouTube, which rely on photos and videos to share. It takes a little more time to create infographics and videos, but they really can increase the viral nature of a blog post.
Share Them Yourself
Our blog has gained an audience through our own sharing efforts, for the most part. We share our posts on our company Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest accounts, as well as our personal accounts. We are very vocal supporters of our blog and it continues to pay off for us.
Don’t Forget the Search Engines
Showing up in the search engines has changed a lot these days, but many blogs are actually benefiting from the changes. Google and others are seeking out information-rich content and blog posts are perfect for that. With a little strategy, you can actually up your chances of benefitting from some Google love yourself.
Our top blog for 2013 was Five Steps to Naming a Company, and most of the traffic to that blog came from search engines. Here’s why it worked and what you can do for your own blog posts:
Choose a very specific topic: Ellen could have used her post to talk about branding in general, but she chose a very specific thing – the company name. Then she gave five simple instructions for that topic.
Choose your titles wisely: Ellen’s blog title used a very common phrase people would use when searching for how to name their company.
Use Google+ Authorship: Even if you do not actively use a Google+ account for social purposes, it is well worth the time to use Google+ Authorship. This will place your photo next to your blog article in the search results, which has been shown to increase the likelihood of someone clicking on the article link.
Keep At It
In preparing for this blog post, I came across this post: My Blog Went Viral and I Freaked Out. There are a lot of stories like this where one post hits a strong enough cord with a few people or gets picked up in the search engines well and suddenly, the blog takes off. Will it happen like this to your blog? Maybe. At the very least, I hope you find yourself with a steady increase of faithful followers. Keep improving. Keep promoting. Most of all, keep at it.