1. Write about what you love, not what you think you should love
There have been far too many times than I’d like to admit where I wrote about something in hopes that it would grow my readership because it was the popular thing to do. Not only did it not grow my blog audience, but it also left me feeling like a bit of a failure. My blog, if even for that brief moment that a post was written and then published, was no longer truly my own and I felt as if it came through in my writing. Share what you love with people, whether it’s popular or not. People can sense true passion. Even through neatly planned out and well-written words that make it sound like you’re truly in love with something when you actually aren’t. Write about what you care about and you’re more likely to find yourself around like-minded people instead of just a group of people you have nothing in common with.
2. Forget about the numbers and what you think they should mean
Do you know how many people follow me on Twitter? 1626. How about Bloglovin? 521. Google Reader? 637. I can tell you all of these numbers because I use them for my advertising page and check them on a much more frequent basis than I should. But looking at those numbers, they don’t reflect anything for me. I don’t talk to 1626 people on Twitter. I hardly even talk to 1/8 of the people that follow me on Twitter. And do you see 500+ comments on any of my posts? How about 250? 125? Nope – not even close. These numbers mean SO little when it comes down to it. So don’t let that guide your methods when it comes to growing your blog. Blogs worthy of a large audience are not found within these numbers. They are found by looking at the author(s) of the blog, finding their passion in their writing, and seeing how they bring a similar passion out of their readers. Focus on content and creating a blog that ignites that fire in yourself and your readers, not the rise and fall of your following.
3. Be available to connect with
Don’t close yourself off behind your blog post borders. Connect with people through comments on your blog and network outside of your blog. I do my best to respond to all personal emails that I receive as long as long as it looks like someone actually personalized it to be directed solely at me and not some mass email sent out. I also dedicate time each week to commenting on blogs and network on social media. This has allowed me to get to know the people following me and continue to grow an audience of readers that I can truly relate to. It’s nice knowing that a bulk of my readers that I’ve spoken to in some form are people that have (usually) many things in common with me. This encourages me to write what I want to write and build my blog off of what I enjoy, which I’ve come to find tend to be things others enjoy as well.
4. Seek out your ideal readers
One of the easiest things to do is to seek out your ideal readers yourself. This can be done in a lot of ways, but I normally pick a few of my favorite bloggers a week and browse their blogs. I look at who advertises with them, who they spotlight in their posts, who they mention or converse with on a regular basis on their blog or even on social media networking sites. This allows me to find similar people to them, which generally means they are someone that else that I’d like to get to know. And then I connect with them. Commenting, emails, or social media networking – they all work. This gives them an opportunity to check out my blog and a chance for them to become a reader, or for us to become friends. It’s truly easy work – it just requires getting over any shyness or reservations you have about putting yourself out there.
5. Stay true to yourself in every aspect
This is somewhat talked about through all of these tips, but I cannot stress how important this is. Whether it’s how often you post, what you post about, where you connect with people, how you set up your blog design – whatever it is, make sure it’s 110% YOU. You are not going to find the right audience trying to build your success on a foundation of lies. Set your own rules and decide your own standards. Know that what you decide may not be the fast track to success like it is for others, but it’s the right road to success because in the end, it won’t be where you are that matters. It’ll be the journey that brought you there so make it a good one.
The How-To/5 Tips is a weekly series, dedicated to answering some of the most popular questions I’ve been asked through consulting and on my blog. Want tips on something similar in nature? Or maybe you want more personalized advice? Send me an email at email@example.com.