Grow Your Audience With Blogging
In order to succeed in business, you need to get your message in front of potential customers. Your message needs an audience, and thatâs going to be true regardless of what your business is. So if you want to grow your business, youâre going to need to grow your audience.
In this post, weâre going to talk about how to growÂ your audience by blogging – using the most popular blogging system on the Internet: WordPress. Itâs estimated that WordPress powers fully 25% of all the websites that are on the Internet, so you can be confident that itâs a stable and reliable piece of software. And the price is certainly right. You can sign up for a free website and get started at: https://wordpress.com/start/website.
Of course, if you choose a free site, youâll have a website address that wonât have strong branding elements (something like myblogname.wordpress.com).
In most cases youâll want to purchase a new domain name for yourÂ blog (if you donât already have one) and either:
- Use that address (see: https://en.support.wordpress.com/domains/ for details);
- Or sign up for an account with a web hosting service and run your own WordPress installation using the software available at wordpress.org (see: https://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/ for more information).
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
TheÂ self-hosting option will give you much more control over your blog, although you will have to put in a little more time and energy to keep it up and running.
Okay, now that we have that bit of technical talk out of the way, letâs move on to the best strategies for business growth. Weâve identified the seven most important factors to growing an audience through blogging. Let’s talk about each one.
Have a Voice
Having a voice doesnât just mean the act of talking or writing. It means having a point of view, being distinctive, and maybe even a little opinionated or controversial. There is a lot of noise on the Internet. One of the biggest challenges that people face is sifting through all of that noise in to find the content thatâs both interesting and valuable.
In fact, one of the things that makes blogging such a great opportunity for you — the fact that there are virtually no barriers to entry and that itâs easy to start a blog — means that there are a lot of not-so-great blogs out there.
By having a strong and consistent point of view, youâre already going to be more compelling than most other blogs.
You may already have an idea of how you want to go about building your blog audience, or you may need to take a little time to self-analyze your business and your unique selling proposition.
The voice of your blog should be a good fit for the product or service youâre selling. For example, if you are an affiliate marketer for natural health care products, then a writing voice thatâs positive and nurturing is almost certain to be more appropriate than a voice thatâs âin your faceâ or that uses risquÃ© humor.
Of course, in order to have a strong voice, you also need to know who youâre speaking to and craft your messages specifically for them.
Know Your Audience
Be sure to consider this factor from a couple of different perspectives.
First, take a look at your current customers. On average, how old are they? Where do they live? How much do they spend with you, and how frequently do they purchase? Are there any demographic clues that you can mineÂ from your customer data that might help you come up with a picture of your typical customer or client?
YouÂ should also give some thought to the people you want to be talking to. Who is your ideal audience?
Maybe youâre looking to grow your following with more individuals similar to your current followers. Or maybe youâre looking to branch out into new markets and reach a new groupÂ of individuals.
Relate to Your Audience
Personal doesnât mean unprofessional or overly-familiar. Â âPersonalâ means Â writing to your audience, speaking to them as you would if you were having a face-to-face conversation. Your audience is made up of individual people, not a demographic group or statistic.
Appeal to them as individuals, not a market group. This means that your blog posts should touch them personally and emotionally, with the exact nature of the emotional appeal dependingÂ on what youâre writing about. It might mean writing your posts from a first-person perspective (but not necessarily so).
Even if your business is a large one, and youâre setting out to create a blog that speaks to your customer base, there are always ways to make it personal.
Show that you understand the issues your audienceÂ facesÂ and the problems theyâre looking to solve. Use your blog posts to demonstrate to themÂ that you haveÂ the best solution to those issues and problems.
You might be best for any number of reasons: your solution might be the cheapest, or the easiest to follow, or the most convenient. Use your key selling proposition to relate to your audience.
Provide Value to Your Readers
For someone to want to come back to your blog again and again, they have to feel as if it was worth the time they spent reading your posts. Your blog should leave a reader with something when theyâre done. You need to provide them with some type of value.
The value you provide can take many forms, and it all starts with being unique. This, perhaps more than anything, will keep your audience coming back for more. Maybe the tone of your blog posts is humorous, or entertaining, or supportive, or informative, or inspirational. Chances are it will be a combination of more than one of these approaches.
After all, if youâre simply making posts with information and a point of view that could be easily found on other blogs, why would someone choose your blog over another? Remember that the value and uniqueness of your blog, and the key to growing your captive audience is you. Your blog is the only one that has YOU making the posts, so put that to your fullest advantage!
Schedule Your Posts
Youâll only achieveÂ the great return on your blogging efforts if your blog has regular updates and fresh posts. Coming up with a schedule for what youâre going to publish on your blog can help you avoid the content droughts that can cause your readership to dwindle.
Once you start thinking into the future, getting into a groove of coming up with new blog post topics, youâll be able to identify a half-dozen, or a dozen, or even more. Keep a list of relevant topics toÂ come up with the answer to the âwhat should I write about?â question. This is often the hardest part of the process!
Don’t think you need to write all of these articles at once. but DOÂ have a schedule for when each post will be published. Try starting with a once-a-week schedule and see if that needs adjusting. Whatever you choose, make sure to be consistent.
Each post in WordPress lets you set a date and time of publication to occur in the future.
When youÂ write some of your content in advance, WordPress makes it easy to schedule blog posts for publication in the future. YouÂ can writeÂ your new content, add your images, and choose exactly when each post will go live.Â Leave yourself free to focus on other aspects of your business until itâs time to draft then publish a new batch of blog posts.
Use Social Media
As you look to grow yourÂ audience on your blog, think aboutÂ what youâre doing to drive new traffic to your site. YouÂ could purchase search engine ads through Googleâs AdWords program, or pay for exposure on other blogs and websites. But your budget might not be ready to pay for advertising quite yet. Fortunately, one of the most powerful ways of drawing in new readers is also one thatâs free.
Does your business have a Facebook presence? This could either be through your personal Facebook profile or a separate Facebook page that youâve set up for your business.
(Note: itâs almost always better to have a separate page for your business. This lets you manage the boundaries between your personal and professional lives in exactly the way you want, by letting you focus on business promotion on your businessâ Facebook page without annoying your friends and family.)
Getting started with creating a Facebook Page for Your Business
Sign in under your personal Facebook profile and go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/ and youâll see this:
Choose a Facebook page type that most closely matches your type of business and the type of people you want to connect with online.Â
Help Your Readers Share Your Posts
Your current customers can be your best promotional tool. Think about the value that comes from someone recommending your products or services to one of their friends or family members. Potential customers and clients trust aÂ recommendation from someone they knowÂ above advertisements or other promotions.Â
OnceÂ you have a Â Facebook page set up for your business, make it easy for your audience to get the word out.
With the rise of Facebook, people have become accustomed to sharing articles and pictures with their friends and colleaguesÂ with a mouse-click or two. To make sure your valuable blog posts are shared, you need to make it easy to share from the each post.
On the WordPress platform, you can extend the core functions of your blog by using what are known as âplugins.â Plugins are small programs that you download and install on your blog. Plugins allow you to transform your blog into a much more powerful promotional tool by making sharing easy.
The âReally Simple Shareâ WordPress Plugin Page
The âWP Social Sharingâ WordPress Plugin Page
Getting your blog posts shared on Facebook is priceless. Itâs the kind of personal recommendation and organic promotion that money canât buy. You can leverage this type of promotional strength with your blog, provided you make it easy for your readers to share.
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Remember –Â blogging for your business is an ongoing process. You need to build an audience, andÂ you also need to keep them. If youâve tried blogging before but were unhappy with the results, scan andÂ read through this post againÂ to see whatÂ you mightÂ change to get better results.
You donât necessarily have to have a blog to build a great business. ThereÂ are other opportunities for you to create a captive audience. But if you start a blog, and put in the time and energy, youâll almost certainly be pleased with the marketing results.
More eyeballs on your business. More customers through your doors. More KACHING! in your till.