Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How-to Organically Grow Your Readership

blogging, blog series, how to grow blog

Let's be real, your blog probably won't be the next biggest multi-million dollar blog. You probably won't get a ticket to Paris or a runway show, but that's okay. Sure, people appreciate good style, but it's not the most "shareable" content. Shareable content is what gets the highest amount of traffic. People aren't going to go nuts pinning your outfit or re-tweeting it. That's generally not what style blogging is about. So, if you have a style blog and want to have viral posts, you might want to refocus your blog. Though these tips are universal for organically growing your readership because at the core all blogs are similar. I just relate it to what I know!

Be realistic & Set goals
Is is possible for you to gain 900 followers on Facebook in six months? No. Unless you're buying them off a guy in Asia. Look at your stats and figure out where your strengths are. Is Twitter where all of your followers are? Do you get consistent traffic from any specific network? This is all situational, so it's important to look at your blog and your blog only in this. For me, I get decent Facebook traffic, strong Twitter traffic, and consistent BlogLovin' traffic. Those are the networks I focus on more than I would say Tumblr or Instagram.

Once you pick a focus, set some goals. Want to get 50 Facebook followers in three months? Okay, that's doable. But what can you do to get there? Link your Facebook in all your posts, tweet links that lead there, do Facebook only giveaways and share more than your posts on Facebook. This will reach more people and will get more attention to this network.

Work towards your goals
Setting goals is one thing, but achieving them is another. If you've started making follower count goals, get active. You must do something beyond wishing them to appear.


Giveaways
Giveaways that require a follow to enter are a surefire way to up your follower count. Why else do you think people do them?! (Just kidding, sort of).

Followers vs. Comments
This is and always will be a huge debate in the blogging world. To me, commenting is more important. If I go to a blog and they have 55650648489238738 followers and zero comments, I think that a) they paid for their followers b) they got them from giveaways. Neither of these are inherently bad, but a huge number count means nothing if your followers do not care enough to interact with you.

Comments show a few things that a number can't. It shows that readers care enough to take time out of their day to say something. It shows that what you are posting is actually interesting and worth talking about. It also shows that you (more than likely) have a great network of loyal readers.

Guest Post + interview
If you're new to blogging, guest posting on your friend's blog is a great way to get exposure to a new set of readers. Usually bloggers reach out to other bloggers when they're on vacation, but feel free to reach out and ask. Never be afraid to ask bloggers you admire to work with you.

I love interviewing other bloggers or people. This is a surefire way for free promotion. The blogger or person you interview will share on their networks their "press". This will lead new people to you. If you do a good job with the interview, you'll probably also gain new followers. This is a win/win for everyone involved.

Network
Networking is about 95% of blogging. You cannot expect followers and engagement without working a little bit at it. Want followers? Follow others. Want comments? Comment on other blogs. If your time is limited, set a time after each post to be specifically for commenting on other blogs. This is a great habit to get into and it builds community, friendship, and potentially exposure.

I have met some of the best people through blogging. We started as casual commenters and are now real life friends. Those people are the ones that will tell their friends, link, and promote you. But more than that, these are the people that you'll have lifelong friendships with.

Engage your readers
Ask questions, do surveys, post interesting content. Use Twitter to engage in conversations. Twitter is a wonderful format for asking questions (related to blogging, life, music, whatever). This engages people that already follow you, allows for re-tweets, and if you use hash tags new users will be able to find you. If a reader emails you, asks a question in the comments (or even on Instagram), answer them. Nobody likes to be ignored. This is a great way to show your readers that you notice them and care.

Be original
There are a billion blogs out there and a billion people are doing exactly what you are. So, what makes you different? Why should we be reading your blog? Just being you is enough, but if you are re-creating and/or copying what others have done it will show. Find what you are passionate about and tell the world.


The Blogging Series @ Midwest Muse will continue on a semi-regular basis. Covering all aspects of blogging. Got a suggestion or question? Email me at jessica@midwest-muse.net. Follow the series here.

Photograph c/o Death of the Stock Photo. Text added by me.


18 comments on "How-to Organically Grow Your Readership"
  1. Great tips. The engagement tactic is quite important. You want 5 readers that comment & read often rather than 1,000 who do nothing. :] // itsCarmen.com ☼

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    1. THIS, exactly, It's so much more important. All about the community.

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  2. This is some solid advice! I think a lot of people expect readers to just be handed to them. I like that you set them straight! haha

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    1. haha, I wasn't trying to set anyone straight! Did it come off that way? Oh my. I was just giving advice based on some things I've seen people asking lately. Now I am paranoid I sounded rude! Oops!

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  3. Good advice. I agree with what you said about comments. I have a MUCH smaller following than most of bloggers I read, yet I do have good commenters who let me know what they think which is cool! I also think if someone follows you or comments regularly It's nice to pay a visit back-lots of people I follow rarely or never do that.

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    1. Totally agree, Kezzie! Obviously it's about personal preference, but it's nice to have a balance of the two!

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  4. I love this and I totally agree it really bugs me as a fellow blogger when you get ignored especially if you were trying to engage in conversation about something you were excited about. I put the effort and enjoy answering people who comment on my blog so I'm surprised when other bloggers don't feel the same because isn't that what its all for. To find people to connect with and who you have things in common with, to share a slice of your life!

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    1. Me too, Justine! It's kind of the worst when you ask someone a simple question about something they wore or posted and they never answer or even visit your blog. I really don't understand what their blogging objective is...

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  5. Thanks for all the tips! The engagement part is particularly reassuring. I just have a fledgling little blog so far that's been around for a month, but I've gotten a lot more comment traffic than I had expected for just starting out, which is nice.

    And I haven't hosted a giveaway yet, but maybe I'll set the steps in motion to try to do that. I'm just not exactly sure what kinds of things I can give away, or how, unless I find some weird stuff in my junk drawer to raffle off. Lol.

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    1. You are doing great, Kate! The giveaways are more about partnering with companies. Companies love working with bloggers, even the smaller ones! Or you could always work with a group of bloggers for a large blogger giveaway.

      Hope that helps!

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  6. this is such an amazing post! I always wonder how come some blogs have so so many followers but no comments? I used to think that number count, but now I know that the most important thing is to connect with others!


    Saci
    ChocolateFashionCoffee
    ChocolateFashionCoffee Facebook Page
    ChocolateFashionCoffee INSTAGRAM!!!

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    1. Yes! I am so glad I am not alone in this. I often wondered if I was just kind of crazy for thinking this...but now I know I'm not!

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  7. GREAT post! Great tips! I am fairly new to blogging and still learning my way around the blogging world. What is the best approach to obtaining a guest blogger? Would love to hear more! BTW, love seeing your cute dresses! Thank you for this post!!

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    1. Hi Marcy,
      So glad you enjoyed the advice! You seem to be doing a great job with blogging thus far. Are you looking to guest blog or looking for someone to guest blog on your blog? Either way, the best way to obtain a guest blogger or guest spot is by networking! Usually blogger friends ask others for guest bloggers when they are out of town and you can always volunteer or if you have built a relationship with someone they might just ask you. If you want one for your blog, feel free to pitch your blog to a blogger in the same category as you. Let them know how it would benefit them and why you adore them...something along those lines.

      Hope this helps!

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  8. Such a great post! Have people engage and making friends is totally what it's all about! I'd much rather have that than a bunch of followers that don't give a crap :) Love this series!

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  9. Hi Jessica, this post has inspired me to comment more so here I am commenting. I think I always think I'll pop back over somewhere and then never do. I am also an Ohio gal living south of Dayton and a lover of music :) I have been following you for a little while and I really love your blog!

    My name is Darlene and it's nice to meet you!

    http://mymauveshoes.blogspot.com/

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  10. Very helpful post for a new blogger such as myself!

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  11. Once again, very solid advice. I really do look up to you because you are seriously so wise!

    I'm considering starting a Facebook page for my blog because I kind of feel like the annoying Facebook friend who's constantly spamming other people with links to her new posts. Do you think it's beneficial to have a designated Facebook or Twitter for your blog? Why?

    *bows down*

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xoxo

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