I’m the Influence Engagement Director at Jam where I help brands connect with influencers in a meaningful way.
However, I’ve also been a video blogger for 6.5 years – which is how I first got the job at Jam. It’s with my blogger hat on that I’m talking to you today.
So why are you here? You’re writing content, but it’s all fairly new and so now your task is about driving readers to appreciate it. It can be pretty soul destroying when you’re working hard on creating exciting content and nobody is readying it.I’ve learned many lessons along the way and so I thought I’d share some tips with you to help grow your blog’s readership.
The most fundamental change that you need to make is to realise that you’re now writing for an audience rather than for yourself as a hobby. Therefore with everything you do, you should always put yourself in the position of your reader to make sure that you’re creating value for them.
You can’t generate content and expect the crowds to come. First, you need to make connections and friendships with people, establish your reputation and then they will check you out.Choose 5-10 competitor bloggers that attract your target audience or communities where your audience hang out and actively participate to the conversation. By adding relevant discussion points and arguments, you will gradually be noticed and in turn they are likely to check out your other content by visiting your blog.
Stick to what you’re passionate about. Select a niche and try to stick to it.
You need to write because you’re passionate about a subject, not in the hope of getting freebies. Through writing for a passion, you’ll find it much easier to maintain and authenticity is detected by readers, making your content more popular. Be sure to keep writing, don’t give up. When you finally attract more readers, they’re likely to check out your previous content and you’ll want to look established.Stick to a niche. For example, if you’re writing about tech, it makes no sense to also write about restaurants that you’ve recently been to. The reason for this is that you attracted your audience through a particular type of content, if you suddenly post something completely different, it’s likely to have less appeal or to jar with your audience. There are obviously some exceptions to this rule, for example lifestyle bloggers.
There are millions of blogs now available on the internet covering every niche available. Therefore you need to work out what you’re going to do to set yourself apart.
If a product comes out with new features, do what you can to review it in a fresh light. Rather than looking at specs for example, how does this translate to real life? Looking at it from a fresh perspective will encourage better engagement with your posts and will also help with search rankings.You can’t expect readers to comment without being encouraged. If you want them to comment, be sure to ask them a question or to leave a comment.If you’ve spent time creating good content that you’re proud of, don’t be afraid to share with select contacts on your different networks. In return, if they too like your content, they can share amongst their networks and automatically your content is being shared amongst a potential audience that may not have found your site otherwise.
Make sure that you tag every post to increase your visibility on search engines. This is also a great way to help your readers discover other content that is relevant to your interests.Keep your posts punchy and succinct to keep reader interest. However, remember that each post should be at least 250 words in length to be recognised as new content by Google. Don’t be afraid to break a long post into a couple of different posts that can be drip-fed over a matter of days.Lots of people still digest blog posts as RSS feeds. Therefore, think of the title as being the same as an email title. If your readers are receiving your posts as an RSS feed, what would make them want to open it?
Don’t be afraid to share your genius.
Select blogs that are read by your target audience. Contact them to offer them to offer to guest post. Don’t just email though, pitch a story idea to them along with an example of your writing so that they know what they can expect. Make sure that you’ve researched the type of content that they feature on their site, so that your proposal sits well with the type of content that they would want to feature.Whilst it might seem obvious, by listing your blog to directories like Technorati or Reddit, you’ll attract a new audience, with a specific interest in your subject matter that would otherwise never find your site.Make sure that you list your blog on all of your social presences with a link, for example Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn.Select guest posts from larger sites and approach them to write on your site. More often than not, they are accommodating to this. Because they put effort into creating content, they’ll then push to their own networks which provides promotion for your site along with a level of credibility.
Play around testing different channels.
You can measure the responsiveness to each post to establish which media type your audience engage with the most.More importantly, you’ll be driving traffic to your blog from other networks, such as YouTube where this audience may not have discovered your blog otherwise.Ensure that you open and close videos with your blog branding so that you start to generate awareness of your site with your audience. They’re more likely to check it out.
Measure everything. Optimise everything.
Use Google Analytics on your blog to measure EVERYTHING. This will allow you to figure out the most popular days and times for consumption of your content. Once you have discovered this, it’s this time that you should use to push your most premium content, when it’s getting in front of the most eyeballs.Monitor interaction to establish a trend for topics or formats and you should optimise your content moving forwards to ensure you’re providing your readers with what they want. If you detect a theme with the questions or comments in a blog, it’s good to address this as a separate post.
With so many sites covering similar content, you need to make sure that your content is up to scratch and you’re approaching from a fresh angle.
Make sure if you’re doing a review of a product that you’re supporting it with reasoning and rationale. Rather than just talking about features, talk about what this means in real life, what are the benefits? What does it enable you to do? Why is it better than anything else?
Make your readers feel good.
People comment because they want to have a view point, they want to feel informed and they want you to regard their side of the argument. The great thing is when conversation is sparked between your readers and you’re able to just facilitate. It’s your job to pose one side of the debate to spark that conversation – you should actively be encouraging conversation.It’s important that whilst you may not agree with the thoughts of a reader, you are able to take their views on board without becoming defensive or making them feel silly. They should feel safe to comment, knowing their thoughts are being considered and acknowledged.
Be upfront with brand associations. If you’ve been gifted product or are being sponsored by a brand, it is better to be upfront with your readers. Otherwise, if they find out after you have possibly written a favourable review, your credibility will come into question.Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and don’t make any design decisions that will jeapordise the happiness and engagement of your readers. For example, whilst pop-up ads may bring you money, it’s likely to have a knock on effect with your readership if they find it annoying.If you offer email subscriptions, update frequently to stay on their radar, but be sure not to spam. If you email too often, you’ll find that people will unsubscribe. Therefore always monitor the subscription levels to keep a finger on the pulse with how your subscribers are feeling.
That’s it for me, thank you for your time. Feel free to add your own tips in the comments. Thank you.
How to grow your blog's audience
GROWING YOUR BLOG’S AUDIENCE. MEL KIRK VIDEO BLOGGERINFLUENCE ENGAGEMENT DIRECTOR @MELKIRK
MAKEREADERSFEEL GOOD.• THEY WANT TO FEEL SMART.• COMMENTS ARE MADE IN THE HOPE YOU’LL REGARD THEM.• THE MAGIC IS WHEN DEBATEIS SPARKED.• POSE ONE SIDE OF A DEBATE AND OPEN THE CONVERSATION.• DON’T MAKE THEM LOOK SILLY.