There is no doubt that blog writing done properly can be great for business. However, it’s pointless putting in the time and effort if you are bereft of readers. In this post, The Copy Collective’s Andrew Healey explains three simple steps for building your blog audience.
1. Know your audience
Blogging is an integral part of content marketing. And like any marketing, it pays to know whom you are marketing to.
The founder of Copyblogger, Brian Clark, says this about blogging:
“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.”
He’s right on the money, so be clear about who your audience is.
- What do they want to know about your products/services?
- What problems do they face?
- What kind of language do they use?
- How well-educated are they?
This kind of information will guide the content and style of your blog writing.
2. Call to action
Blog posts shouldn’t be ‘salesy’. However, there’s no harm in including a call to action. What do you want your readers to do?
Types of calls to action
- Subscribe — ask readers to subscribe to your blog. This way they’ll receive an email notification every time you publish a post. Another way to gain subscribers is by offering free giveaways, like e-books and white papers.
- Share — ask readers to share on social media if they like your post. There are plenty of plugins available. A personal favourite is Social Warfare, which enables you to include social icons throughout your post.
- Comments — asking for comments encourages engagement and demonstrates to visitors that you have a real audience. Social media maven Mark Schaefer says comments let you know what people think within your community, rather than other places on the internet. Make sure comments add to the conversation. There are still lots of spammers out there.
3. Promote on social media
Creating a post tailored to your audience is just the beginning. The next step for building your blog audience is the promotion.
For most bloggers, social media is highly effective for promoting their posts. Be sure to use the right sites. There are a multitude to choose from, so you can waste a lot of time. Does your audience use LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook? Do they avoid social media altogether? If you know your audience, this should be easy to figure out.
How to use social media
Social media is not a forum to ‘blow your trumpet’. Rather, it’s about sharing and adding value. Don’t be that person at a party who talks only about themselves and never listens. Social media is about a conversation.
- Promote your blog post — on LinkedIn, for example – you can do this by copying your post’s URL and pasting it in ‘update status’. LinkedIn, and Google+ also enable you to publish on their platforms. However, to build your blog audience and your website’s search engine authority, I recommend publishing on your website and using social media as a tool to drive people there. When you get to managing several social media assets to promote your blog, you may need to use a tool like HootSuite or Buffer.
- Read, share and comment — read posts by your connections that are relevant to your business. Then, share and comment. This enables you to start a conversation and encourages your connections to reciprocate with your posts.
- Reply to comments — as I’ve already said, social media is about a conversation. If someone posts a comment or question on something you’ve posted, make sure you reply.
- Make connections — this could be with potential clients. However, connecting with businesses that deal with the same people you are targeting is an effective way to generate referrals.
Keep it up
Neil Patel, co-founder of KISSmetrics, says this about blog writing:
“If you want to continually grow your blog, you need to learn to blog on a consistent basis.” And when you have finished polishing the prose for your blog, read this great post on being a better proof reader of your own work.
So, on a final note, remember that building a blog audience takes time and determination. Keep it up.