Thursday, November 3, 2011

Marketing Your Blog - 7 tips to Increase Readership

I originally wrote this as a guest post for Bloggers Network, but thought it would be good to share here! Enjoy!

These days, blogging has become a common form of communication and social networking. However, like New Year's resolutions, blogs often become obsolete as the owners find themselves distracted by life and/or disappointed by low readership.

While there's not much you can do about life except make a commitment to blog regularly, there is something you can do about low readership - you can market your blog! Just like you have to prove yourself in a job interview or work hard to accomplish a specific goal, you need to work hard to create a popular, well-followed blog.

Here's some tips to market your blog and boost your fan base:
1) Have a target audience. Sure, you could just use your blog as a journal of your everyday life, but let's be honest - most people could care less. Instead, try picking something you are passionate about, and then keep that as the theme of your blog to attract a specific audience. Unless it's something completely obscure, you should be able to find several loyal followers.

2) Be a guest blogger. With the world working longer days and weeks, it's no surprise that even the best bloggers are often too busy to post very often. By offering to do a guest post on someone elses blog, you help them to share new content while you get your own name out there (and they usually allow you to share a link back to your blog, too!).

3) Comment on other similar blogs. If you blog about books (like I do), then find some other book bloggers and comment on a few of their posts. Keep the comments relevant, and the blog authors will often come back and follow you, or even recommend your blog to their current readers.

4) Create a good first impression. If the first thing a potential follower sees on your blog is a blatant ad, or a bunch of offensive language, there's a strong possibility that you won't see that reader again. Keep your blog simple and streamlined, yet interesting, with only a few relevant ads (if any at all). You need to focus on your readers more than how to create a few extra pennies by putting ads all over the place - and perhaps in the future your readers will thank you by purchasing something you are selling through the blog!

5) Keep it interactional. Once again, if all you do is talk about yourself, you probably won't get more than your family to follow you. However, if you encourage debate and discussion, and express interesting new ideas, you encourage readers to come back often and check the progress of the discussion as well as your latest posts.

6) Use Social Media. If you're already on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. take advantage of that by using them to promote your blog each time you write a new post. This will get your blog out there to people you already interact with, and who are more likely to follow you. In turn, they may share your blog with their friends, which can greatly help increase awareness and readership.

7) Add subscription options. Make sure that you include RSS feeds if possible, along with receiving the latest posts by email, etc. This allows current followers to have access whenever you update, and then to forward or share the post if they so desire. Your best friend Sarah may not be interested in the latest post, but she might have a cousin who has a friend whose mom might enjoy it.

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