8 Tips to Expand your Blogging Network
Blogs serve a myriad of purposes. They give people a platform to express their views, expand their audiences well beyond their neighborhood, and connect to people with shared views and interests.
There are millions of blogs online today with posts on a wide variety of topics. Chances are you can pretty much find a blog on anything with just a quick search. Anyone can start a blog, but it takes dedication and hard work to make it successful.
You could have the most well written blog on the planet, but if only a few people are reading it, what good does it do? That’s why it’s important to commit to updating your blog regularly and building a large network. Below are eight strategies you can use to generate more exposure for your blog and expand your network.
1. Social media
You can’t simply create a blog post and expect people to find it on their own. It’s vital to engage people on multiple platforms. Use social media to connect with your readers and other bloggers.
In addition to having social media pages for yourself, create one for your blog. This could be helpful for people who can’t remember your name, but remember your blog. Then, they can learn more about you from the blog’s page, too. You could also have Facebook Live sessions as a way to engage with your readers. There’s no shame in asking readers to share your content, so don’t forget to do that.
Speaking of engaging readers, don’t forget to talk to them. Isn’t that the point of social media, to be social? Give a shout out to new followers; this makes you more personable. Try querying your audience for potential blog topics. Readers will appreciate that you asked for their opinions, and will be more likely to share a post if it’s about a topic they suggested. Don’t forget to use plenty of hashtags in your posts, too. This will allow other people to find you and your blog.
Include bold images with your social posts to get people’s attention. Add social media buttons to your blogs so your readers can share them directly. Share your posts, as well as those of other bloggers. This will generate goodwill with them, and they could return the favor.
2. Attend conferences
Leave the comforts of your computer (don’t worry, you can still bring it with you) and attend a conference or convention. You might even be inspired for a new post at the event.
Attending a conference or convention will put you in the same place as may other fellow bloggers. You might have read their blogs, and they might have read yours, but this will allow you to put a name to the face and get to know each other on a different level. Don’t forget to bring business cards to exchange. Like a trading card, only the best designs will be kept when it comes to business cards, so make sure yours stands out. Hire a design expert for that extra edge.
There are other benefits to attending an event in addition to meeting fellow bloggers. Attending any classes or speaking events will update you with the latest on your niche. It’s also a chance to meet potential sponsors for your blog. They could buy ad space or compensate you in some other way to promote their products in your blog. Either way, it’s a connection you wouldn’t have made if you hadn’t attended the event. Lastly, attending the conference or convention gets you out of the house! It’s a change of scenery that could help get your creative juices flowing, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
3. Work with influencers
Remember all of those great bloggers you met at that conference or convention? Why not interview some of them for your next post? They likely will share any post in which you include them. This will put your blog in front of their followers to potentially grow your audience.
Create a roundup featuring several influencers. Ask their advice for a common problem, or ask them to address an issue within your niche. This will be one of your easiest posts, since they’ll be doing all the writing for you when they answer your question! You could also start a series profiling an influencer once a month or so. How did they find success? Be sure to find out everything you can about the influencer by doing your research so that your post can tell people something they didn’t know already.
Another way to work with influencers is to ask them to contribute an original post to your blog. Alternatively, this could be a joint post that they collaborate with you to create. Don’t forget to share the post on your social media profile, tagging the influencer. You might consider doing the same for their blog, too. Regardless of how you collaborated, don’t forget to properly thank the influencers with a personal note when the work is done. Use your blogroll to link to bloggers who write about the same topics or just people who are writing cool stuff. They are likely to return the favor and add you to their blogrolls.
4. Become a guest speaker
Though your biggest talent is obviously writing, becoming a guest speaker is a great way to expand your network. Whether it’s speaking at a convention or conference or at the local community college, each time you are introducing your brand and your blog to new people. In addition, this will continue to build your expertise and credibility. Don’t forget to record your presentations so that you can share them on social media later.
Research your audience prior to the event so you can tailor your speech to their interests. Practice your speech a few times before the event, but not so much that it sounds too rehearsed. Speak with confidence, and treat it more like a conversation. Keep your talk to three key points so that your presentation doesn’t go too long and your audience will remember the topics. Be prepared to answer questions at the end.
It’s okay to use a slideshow, but do it with a grain of salt. The slideshow should supplement your presentation, so don’t read directly from it. It should not be a substitute for your notes, either. Instead, use it to help tell your story or highlight facts and figures. Keep it simple, and be creative.
5. Have an event
It’s time for everyone to get out of the house. Host an event for your readers and fellow bloggers to attend. It could be a barbecue potluck or a day at the park. Your event doesn’t have to break the bank. If money is an issue, invite some fellow bloggers to co-host the event. This will broaden your audience and cut costs.
Inviting your readers out will give them a chance to get to know you on a more personal level. It will build a stronger connection. They can ask you questions about your blog and tell you what they liked and didn’t like. You might even come up with ideas for new posts through the conversations. The get together will also allow your readers to meet each other in person and build a stronger community.
Be sure to put up a banner at your event. This will encourage people passing by to stop and expose them to your brand and blog. Offer a free gift (such as a T-shirt, keychain or magnet) to the first 100 attendees. If a free gift isn’t in the budget, have a contest or raffle. Ask your sponsors or local businesses to donate prizes.
6. Create a subscription list
Don’t make people have to remember to check back to see if you’ve updated your blog. Allow them to subscribe. This way, they’ll receive notifications when something new has been posted and they can check it out right away.
If you’re going to start a subscription list, you need to make it easy for people to subscribe. Make sure the opt-in button is clearly displayed at the top of your page. You don’t want the button to get lost among links and ads. Include a chance to subscribe at the end of every post, as well as your about page and all social media pages. You can even include it in your email signatures.
Use a call to action to let readers know what subscribing will get them. Maybe they’ll have access to new material 24 hours before anyone else. You can also offer a more tangible incentive. It can be something small such as a coupon or eBook, or you could send something larger such as a custom T-shirt, making the reader a walking advertisement for your blog. Information you collect from your subscribers will also help you get to know your audience better and change any other marketing strategies accordingly.
7. Host a giveaway
Who doesn’t love free stuff? No one, so organize a contest and give out prizes. Ask sponsors or local businesses to donate prizes, or partner with another blogger. This will get more eyes on the contest and your blog, as your partner will promote it to their audience, too.
Your contest can be about anything, so get creative. Have a random drawing for people who like and share posts on social media. Ask readers to create an image to go with one of your posts, then allow them to vote on the winner. This will generate more traffic to your page because participants will encourage their friends to vote for them.
Be sure to hash out all of the logistics before announcing your contest. Determine your budget, establish a set of rules to publish with your announcement and on your page, and determine how the prize will be delivered. If it needs to be mailed, you’ll have to consider if you want to put any geographical limitations on who can enter, as shipping will need to be factored in your contest budget. Also, be sure to check the area laws and tax guidelines regarding giveaways, depending on the value of the prize.
8. Produce good content
This should go without saying, but the best way to expand your blogging network is to produce great content. Be honest and authentic. Let the readers get to know your personality through your writing. Don’t make fill it with self-promotion.
Make sure there is an audience for your content. Do your research and be original. Give them something that will make their lives easier, and answer their questions in a way no one else can. Be sure to use language most people can understand. Industry jargon could alienate some of your readers. Don’t limit yourself to writing; you can use videos, podcasts and infographics, too. Use custom images to break up text and illustrate key points.
Above all, don’t forget to proofread! Don’t use bad grammar to sound cool and casual; you won’t need it if you are a good writer. There are plenty of great tools available in addition to the basic spellcheck function you’ll find in most word processing programs. Spelling mistakes and poor grammar will only hurt your credibility. Don’t let something that could have easily been avoided injure your reputation.
Blogs play a key role in building your brand. In addition, they can generate leads, build authority in your industry and add a personal touch to your brand. They also give you a different way to connect with your customers.
Creating and maintaining a blog isn’t easy. You must do your due diligence to make sure you are providing quality posts and resources for your readers. If the content is superficial, readers will see right through it. And, if you can’t update it on a regular basis, it might be better to not have a blog at all. A lot goes into having a blog, but if you can use some of these tips, you will watch your audience and your network grow.
Ready to start an online business? Check out my recommended resources.