Every blogger has faced the lack of readership dilemma at one point or another. After all, there’s no point in creating an archive of content if there’s no one there to read it. Contrary to what you may believe, that super star blogger you admire so much didn’t burst into notoriety overnight. Gaining a readership is something that requires consistent effort. Below you will find ten building blocks on which you can build your blogging strategy.
1. Share and Share Often
If you’ve written something great that you’ve put your heart into, then let everyone know about it. Put it on your Facebook wall, tweet about it, bookmark it on StumbleUpon, Digg it, and put it out there for the world to see. Ask your friends to do the same. You can continue to do this long after you originally publish your post. Consider re-sharing your post again at a later time as a “throwback” or a “best of” promotion. You can also compile a list of your most helpful blog posts and share the comprehensive list with your readers.
2. Make List Posts
People like lists. They’re easy to read, and offer a quick way for readers to digest information they find interesting or useful. Make lists that are relevant to your blog, such as top tools to use, best blogs to follow, most helpful Youtube videos, or most influential people in your field.
3. Learn to Write Headlines
The blog post title is the hook that grabs your reader’s attention. You can have a great blog post, but if the title is boring, then you might as well toss it. John Morrow of Copyblogger has a wildly popular post on writing catchy headlines.
4. Blog Commenting
Engaging in communities built around other blogs is a great way to interact with other readers. Leave thoughtful blog comments that help show you’re interested, knowledgeable, and passionate about the subject at hand. Link back to your website in the box provided. Avoid including links directly in your blog comment though, as this could come off as too spammy to the existing readers in the blog community.
5. Make Posts “Scannable”
Have you ever been faced with pages and pages of textbook material that just make your eyes glaze over? You don’t want to do that to your readers. This is why making your posts scannable is so important. Use subheadings, bullet points, lists, and use short paragraphs of three to five sentences when composing your blog post. This will help ensure that your readers can quickly scan over the post and quickly get the gist of what the post is about, before actually having to read the whole thing.
6. Contests and Giveaways
If there’s anything that people love more than lists, it’s free stuff. Give away a free copy of your latest product, or a much-coveted item like a Kindle or iPod. You can also give away copies of books and other items from guest bloggers or other people you deliberately feature in posts.
7. Guest posting
Guest posting is probably the best way to get your name in front of new audiences. A few guest posts a month on other relevant blogs can get you a nice stream of new visitors. This also works in reverse. Have a well-known person guest post on your blog to draw in new visitors. You can also conduct an interview or Q&A session with an industry expert.
8. Blog Carnivals and Link Parties
A blog carnival is a compilation of blog posts that a blogger puts together on a particular subject. Blog Carnivals give bloggers a chance at exposure, and give the blog owner a helpful piece of content to present to their readers. See a good example of this at Kelly the Kitchen Kop. A link party is similar to a blog carnival, except bloggers submit a link directly to the host blog. See the blog of writer Carol Tice as an example.
9. Tell Stories
Telling stories is an art. People have long been captivated by good stories, whether they’re written, spoken, or featured on the silver screen. Engage your readers with a good story related to your topic to really draw them into what you’re saying.
10. Use Visuals
There’s a reason why infographics have sharply risen in popularity in the past couple years. Humans are very visual creatures, and visuals are a very effective way to illustrate what you’re talking about. Graphs, illustrations, photos, and slide shows are great ways to catch a reader’s attention, and can also help break up the monotony of a longer post.
Bonus Tip: Check Your Motives at the Door
You probably already know the number one rule of blogging: Write great content. But why are you writing great content? Is it to offer a helpful resource to your readers, or just to attract attention? Your number one priority must be to help and/or entertain the reader. If your priority is to attract attention, it will show in the quality of your writing. The best bloggers are passionate about what they blog about, and know how to effectively captivate their readers.