You know that gut-wrenching feeling of working really hard on something only to see no results from your efforts?
That’s building a blog for you. Or at least I thought it was.
When I first started my blog I quickly became overwhelmed by the strategies involved in building a following. Because let’s be honest, you need readers. People who like and trust you and will follow you anywhere. And the deeper I got into blogging, the more discouraged I felt by the larger pool of resources and enormously bigger budgets of my competitors.
I had no advertising budget. I mean, I could barely afford to buy my own domain name.
I also had no large social media following and no idea how to get my blog seen in what felt like an oversaturated market.
You feel me?
I know you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there right now.
I’m here to tell you – DON’T LOSE HOPE.
By implementing the following five strategies, you’ll be able to grow a following without money, without a large social media following, and without a fancy business education.
1. Define your target audience.
One of the most common reasons I see blogs fail is a lack of content focus. Like it or not, readers don’t really care about you. They care about what you can do for them. Building a following relies heavily on providing content that your readers need (more on this in step 3). And in order to know what they need, you need to know who they are.
Ask yourself the following questions…
What does your ideal reader do for a living? What are their dreams and aspirations? What’s stopping them from getting there? What are daily frustrations they experience?
Answering these questions will help you hone in on a target audience, all possessing similar desires, frustrations, interests and goals. Don’t be afraid to get really specific! The more specific your target audience is, the better you can serve and connect with them.
2. Know where your target audience hangs out.
Knowing where your target audience hangs out is the main difference between reaching them organically and using paid advertising. With paid advertising, followers generally come to you. With an organic approach, you seek them out.
A few reasons why building a following organically is better than using paid advertising…
People want to feel pursued. It’s human nature. By building a following organically, you’re pursuing your target audience. They feel genuinely cared about and listened to. These people are way more likely to stick around for the long haul then with a non-engaging, impersonal Facebook Ad.
Developing organic growth methods will outlast all advertising trends. Advertising trends and outlets change. Facebook changes. Algorithms change. If your blog relies solely on paid advertising for growth, you’ll be in a lot of trouble when those ad methods disappear or change. If you can develop solid organic growth strategies, you’ll continue growing when other blogs stumble because of advertising strategy shifts.
In order to pursue and engage your target audience, you need to know where they hang out. A great place to start is Facebook groups. Find 4-5 Facebook groups that are full of your ideal reader and start interacting! Answer their questions, be a support, offer your expertise for free. Eventually, you’ll have the opportunity to guide them to a helpful blog post you wrote or (better yet) a paid product you offer.
Once you’ve discovered where your target audience is hanging out, I would encourage you to spend at least one hour a day engaging with them on this platform. This will begin to exponentially boost your blog traffic & build a following that trusts and likes you.
3. Be your target audience’s solution.
Remember in step one when I mentioned knowing your audience’s frustrations, questions, and desires? Well, your blog needs to be the solution they’ve been looking for.
One of the biggest marketing secrets is to simply listen. Your words, posts, topics, etc. should echo the exact frustrations, pain points and questions your audience is sharing. When they see your post regarding their specific frustration, they’ll immediately connect and forever be in debt to you for providing them with the answer they needed.
Spend some time researching their pain points and questions by browsing through the Facebook groups you’ve joined, looking at Amazon book reviews on books related to your niche or scrolling through online forums.
4. Commit to above & beyond engagement with your target audience.
A small blog has the massive advantage of time. You think huge blogs have the time to engage and respond to every single email, comment or message coming through? When you’re just starting out, you have the ability to be personal and engaged with your readers. Here are a few ways you can go above and beyond with audience engagement, setting you apart from the rest…
Spend one hour a day on your chosen social media platform, commenting & engaging with your target audience. If you can commit to this, I cannot tell you how quickly you will stand out among others in your niche.
Respond to every single comment, email & message you receive. And I don’t mean a quick “thanks!”. Respond genuinely with interest. You’ll be surprised how many people with appreciate the time you’ve taken to engage with them.
Send a quick, personal email to each person that signs up for your email list. Again, you’ll be surprised how many people are so thankful you took the time to care about them and get to know them. You’ll also start to develop personal relationships with your followers, building your ever evolving know-like-trust factor.
5. Utilize your blog’s analytics.
If you haven’t already, make setting up Google Analytics for your blog at the top of your to-do list. GA (Google Analytics) offers amazing statistics on your top post & pages. Once you’ve identified which post have the most traffic and engagement, you can create more posts like it to better cater to your audience’s interests.
Want to learn more about how to build a blog your readers are OBSESSED with? Head over to my website to take part in my brand new FREE email course, Makeover Your Blog!
This is a FREE 4-day email course to help you finally build the blog of your dreams and exponentially grow your influence & impact online.
I can’t wait to learn more about your and your blog!
Ariel is the owner of Knick + Knack Design Co. and blogging fanatic. Over the past 7 years, she’s dedicated thousands of hours building and growing blogs for herself and others. She loves Silicon Valley, summer night walks & working really hard on the things she’s passionate about.
How do you attract your target audience to your website? Please feel free to let us know down in the comments.