Growing your blog is a marathon, not a sprint. And while it can be discouraging at first, you’re not alone! Growing your audience and getting readership is a long process, but the payoff is great. Here’s the rundown on how to build your blog, and how to keep them coming back.
- Network your butt off! Networking isn’t just an in-person skill. Put yourself out there! Connect with other bloggers like you, or those than inspire you. Share their content and respond or leave helpful tips in their comments section. Everybody loves feedback!
- Guest blog at any chance. A great way to get involved is guest blogging, but you have to be strategic about it. To start, create a good relationship with the blogger before you pitch some ideas. A good rule of thumb is to guest blog on those that have a high following and engagement, as those that don’t won’t get you very far. Write the best content you can (even though you might want to save it for yourself). Take initiative and respond to comments if the original blogger does not, and promote promote promote.
- Narrow your content. The first step in refining your content is to know your target audience. Once you’ve seen the content your audience likes, publish that consistently (this will keep them coming back). Make sure you’re staying on top of emerging trends, especially those that are trending well on social media. And remember; the content is always about them, and how you can help solve your readers problems. It has to be beneficial for the reader!
- Don’t neglect the social share buttons. Think about some of your favorite blog posts or articles you’ve read. You want to share it with friends right? Naturally, you look for the Facebook, Twitter or Email buttons. Make sure your blog has these social share buttons, so your fans can be just as excited to share your content as you are! But that being said, don’t overdue it. Sometimes when people have to many choices, they’ll choose nothing at all. And if they see that the content isn’t being shared, they aren’t inclined to. So if you have low shares, make sure it’s not visible.
- Do more than social media. Most people think sharing on social media is enough, when in reality it’s far from it. Try emailing it to your subscribers, share it to bookmarking sites or mention people you think might be interested. If it doesn’t work, just try a different approach!
So now that we know how to grow an audience, how do we keep them coming back for more?
- Being clear and consistent are the biggest keys to getting returning readers. Declutter on your website as much as you can, and get rid of any irrelevant or unnecessary copy.
- Include an about us page. People want to know why they should be reading your content, and how it will benefit them. Having a page to explain why this content is important to the reader will encourage them to come back.
- Make sure you’re optimized for SEO. And we don’t mean just having keywords and fluffy content. We mean really making sure your overall website “health” is up to par. I.e, getting rid of any broken links, including alt text, meta descriptions, etc. It’s tedious, but it’s worth it.
- Email lists. This is a great way to keep track of customers and add more. Make it easy for them to subscribe and offer as much as you can as incentive. It’s easy to manage with tools like MailChimp or Constant Contact.
- Use social media to your advantage. For example, include social links on a confirmation page, include them in your welcome email, etc.
- Include an RSS subscription. Some think RSS is dead, but we promise it’s still alive! If you’re unfamiliar, RSS is button that allows people to save their favorite content to a feed.
- Be accessible. Overall, make sure you’re a human. It sounds dumb, but people want to feel personalization, trust and credibility behind the content. Be easy to reach by including a contact page, respond to comments and involve readers in the content as much as you can.
And there you have it! Do you have additional ways to attract and keep readers that have worked well for you? Share with us!
It’s easy to compare starting a business like moving into a new home. You truly don’t realize how much goes into it until you’re there. Suddenly it’s overwhelming, and you’re walking on eggshells hoping you’re not making any mistakes. But the truth is, mistakes are how we learn, and accepting them is your first step to embracing the new business adventure you’re on. It’s intimidating and scary, but when has trying new things ever been easy? Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of common thoughts you’ll have when starting a business, and steps you can take to overcome them.
- “This is unpredictable, and I don’t know if I can handle the instability and insecurity.” Well, you’re not wrong. Of course working a normal 8:00am-5:00pm is going to have financial and mental stability and security. But this is a risk you have to be willing to take short term, for a better result in the long term. This is your chance to get out of your comfort zone, and be the leader you want to be. So roll with the punches; it’s only temporary.
- “I have a fear of the unknown.” This is genuinely the root of why all decision making is incredibly hard, whether it’s choosing between two cars or two different sandwiches at the deli. It’s fear of missing out. We always want what we can’t have, and the grass will always be greener on the other side. So ask yourself this; is the potential outcome you’re hoping for worth the risk? Or would you rather be complacent, and regret the decision later? If things don’t work out, remember; it’s not the end of the world. You will find your way.
- “Maybe right now isn’t the right time.” Let’s put this into a scenario. Say you’re dating someone, but things aren’t going well, and you don’t know how to break it to them. So you tell yourself “I’ll wait until after that concert we go to next week. Or “his birthday is in a month; I’ll wait until after that.” Truth is, there’s rarely a perfect time for everything. You just have to go for it.
- “I don’t even know where to start.” While everyone hopes there’s an answer to this, sad news is there isn’t. The best tip out there is to find someone that’s achieved the goal you’re working towards, and ask for their advice. If you’re just starting photography and have no idea where to begin, network! Try to get as much information as you can. It will provide a clearer outline and give you some piece of mind.
- “What if I run out of money?” Wouldn’t it be nice if money grew on trees? Only in a perfect world. In most cases our finances are tight, and the biggest risk starting a new business if the financial repercussions. If you’re worried about your personal investment loss, consider crowd funding or seeking business grants from the government. It’s a process, but if you have enough faith in yourself and your ideas; it will all work out the way it should.
What fears did you have while starting your small business, and how did you overcome them? Share your thoughts!
It’s all too easy to get intimidated, especially when your industry seems over saturated. It’s even discouraging at times, as we’re constantly trying to find new ways to stand out and creating something bigger and better than everyone else. But don’t let it get you down! Learning more about your competition and embracing the competitive nature can get you a few steps ahead if you do it right. Here are a few key insights to help turn your competition into your inspiration.
- Everyone is different. Think about it; Facebook wouldn’t be Facebook without Mark Zuckerberg would it? And Vogue wouldn’t be Vogue without Anna Wintour. While brands can take each others concepts and even their products, they’ll never have you, and your specific insight and talent. You will have a unique vision and mission that no one else will. And if you make that clear, your customers will come naturally.
- Make your vision clear. While people can steal your products and concepts, their reason behind it isn’t always the same. So show your authenticity; focus heavily on your branding, and the consumers you’re trying to connect with. To put it simply, copying someone else and not having a genuine reason behind it looks sketchy, and might have your audience questioning your motives. How can you take the same concept, but put your own unique twist on it in a way that your audience understands?
- Focus on yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the competition. But constantly worrying about what someone else is up to will get you nowhere. It’s distracting, overwhelming and quite frankly; disheartening at times. So ask yourself some questions. What if your only competition was your own company? And how about instead of putting your competitor down, you were their cheerleader? Success is measured by trying to outperform yourself from yesterday. Trying to find ways to constantly improve and think outside the box will only bring you success.
- Uncover their flaws. Like all humans, not every company is perfect. So while you shouldn’t spend too much time focusing on it, do some analyzing on various aspects of their business; whether it’s a blog post or a television commercial. If that had been you, what would you have done differently? When looking at our competition, it’s a lot easier to acknowledge what they’re doing right, and not what they’re doing wrong. It’s all about perspective.
- Befriend them. In almost every industry, there’s a stigma that competition = enemies. Yes you’re trying to compete, but why can’t it be in good faith? Businesses do well by connecting with other businesses, and there’s so much you can learn from each other. You’d be surprised at how many companies are actually willing to help out one another. So be friendly! Put yourself out there and take some risks. What do you have to lose?
How have you turned your competition into inspiration? Share your tips and tricks with us!