If you have successfully started a blog and already have a handful of followers, it is very likely that you would now be scratching your head, thinking of how to add more readers other than your mother and best friend.
The next move would be to "level up," which takes a lot of planning, virtual socializing and some form of online marketing. This process is called "building a blog community," - or increasing your group of loyal readers.
So how do you do it? You may be surprised to find out how easy some ways may be.
Meet a NEED. If you want an army of followers, your blog must have a purpose - a point. There are too many so-called blogs which are mere ramblings of some bored and disgruntled people, much like an online journal. These are blogs, too, but blogs like these most probably are followed by a writer's own set of friends and relatives. We would much rather refer to blogs which are written to help people out - the ones that give tips and advice, in order to meet a need. Blogs nowadays are seen as reference materials - used as research back up. So it would be wise to fully research your blog material - especially if you write as an expert on a particular subject matter. Try to think which among your topics had the most responses, and use this as basis to determine what to write about. If they followed a blog about marketing, then there is an obvious need for good material on it - so take it as a cue and write about marketing. Take advantage of a need, and be your readers answer to that need. That's how your blog becomes relevant.
Share your expertise. Use your talents to help out your readers. Followers read your blogs in order to get information and knowledge. If you are wary that you are giving away your trade secrets, always remember this - blogging is founded on sharing. The more you share, the more you will get back. The good you do for others will come back in the form of good karma. There are just too many misleading blog titles with top ranking on the search pages which, when clicked on, do not offer any advice at all. A page that forces you to buy access to information or e-books welcomes you - which is truly a turn-off, especially when a reader merely needs a paragraph of information about a subject matter. Don't be selfish with knowledge - especially if you don't want readers to be selfish with their loyalties.
Respond to blog comments - nicely. It would be safe to say that not every reader will probably agree with 100% of your blog content, so be ready for anything. If there's a rule in the internet, it is "for as long as you post it, then you are putting yourself under scrutiny." So any comment, whether good or bad, still proves that your blog has a following. On the other side of the spectrum, when you get comments, respond or even just acknowledge them. Thank the readers for whatever input they wrote, and give additional advice if they have questions. Why is this so important? Because this type of social media interaction strengthens virtual relationships. The fact that you, as the blog writer and our reader can openly ask and converse with each other is that which endears people to you. This is what will make them come back every time you post, and may even be the reason why they are encouraged to refer your blog to friends also.
Join communities and online discussions. There are hundreds of blog communities that you can join - so do it. This not only brings you closer to other people who share the same or similar interests, you also get a chance to get to know other bloggers and the developments in your market or niche. It's almost guaranteed that once you join and other people find you interesting, you'd eventually find them knocking on your site and not the other way around. What may be a planned 30-minute online discussion may turn into a 2-hour habit - easily. Joining in on discussions is highly engaging and quite eye-opening too.
Spread the love. Re-tweet posts, share Facebook shoutouts, and link up with other blogs. When you share other people's posts, you make them feel important and needed, and they subconsciously feel a desire to return the favour. There's plenty of space in cyberspace for kindness - be a steady giver by paying forward. And when readers get wind of this kindness, it's almost guaranteed that their other reader-friends will know about it.
Michael Griffiths is the CEO and Founder of My Small Business Marketing Guru. Helping small business owners generate more leads, clients and increase profits with relationship based marketing strategies. We invite you to get your free black mask marketing resources to help you business grow today, when you visit http://mysmallbusinessmarketingguru.com.au
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