There’s one thing every blogger wants to do … they want to build their readership.
Building your readership not only helps you build your profile as an artist and connect with your following, it also helps increase the chance you have of connecting with the people that will enable you to make a living doing what you love.
Create Compelling Content
One of the best ways to build your readership is to spend less time trying to promote the few posts you have published and spend more time focusing on publishing more high quality content your existing readers will enjoy.
If you focus on promoting your posts, you risk over-exposing your content and disappointing readers when they discover you don’t have much more to offer.
Make It Easy To Share Your Content
Add social icons to your blog so your readers can share your content painlessly. How many you add and which networks you select is up to you, but it’s always a good idea to make it easy to share your work on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, you may want to consider adding one or two bookmarking networks, such as Reddit and StumbleUpon, as well.
A few plugins that make this easy include the following:
Twitter is essentially an entire network based around one aspect of the social web – the status update. However, it didn’t just catch on because people wanted to know what their friends were doing; it caught on because it made it simple and fun to share content.
The web evolved from a place where you could learn and discover just about anything, into a place where your friends shared interesting stuff you didn’t even know you were interested in.
Make It Easy To Subscribe To Your Blog
People want to keep in touch with people they’re interested in – help your visitors become readers by including subscription options along with social options.
It’s up to you what subscription model you want to make available, but there are two basic methods readers can stay in touch.
1. RSS – This method of subscription sort of became popular, but only within the more tech savvy niches. RSS subscription options enable readers to add your URL to their “reader,” which somewhat resembles your email account, which in turn imports the feed from your blog.
In short, RSS makes it easy to view content from many blogs in one place.
Though you don’t have to do anything in order for readers to subscribe via RSS, you may want to take advantage of the powerful tools available through Feedburner – a site that enables publishers to manage how they present their subscriptions options, view analytics, see what readers subscribers are using, and even manage your list of email subscribers.
Subscribers using this method will automatically see your latest content in their reader. That said, you may want to be careful what you post … even though you may be able to edit or delete it on your end, you might not be able to delete it from their reader.
2. Email Updates – Similar to an RSS subscription, readers subscribed to your blog via email will receive your content as soon as you publish it (unless you opt to delay the email delivery). Because this method simply emails the subscriber the latest content, the method is much more universal, requiring no knowledge of RSS or readers.
Again, it’s important to be careful what you publish, because your readers will most likely receive it even if you delete it. In other words, avoid publishing “Testing: 1,2,3” posts.
3. Email Newsletter – A lot of things have changed about the web since it started shifting toward a more social experience, but one thing that hardly budged is the importance of building your email list.
Whether you’re a pro blogger or creative blogger, your email list is your most powerful tool when it comes to connecting with your readership. It’s the reason why businesses attempt to collect your email address at every opportunity.
It’s a direct connection. And direct connections are the most effective methods when it comes to marketing. For artists, your email list will come handy when you want to tell people about your latest art gallery opening, a new play, or an upcoming concert you’ll be performing.
Your email list is gold.
To start building your email list, you need to make an email subscription option available to your readers. You can do this either using Feedburner or a premium service like Aweber, which enables you to create and manage various lists, schedule and manage email calendars, and create rich newsletters.
Post Compelling Comments Outside Your Community
Thanks to Google’s fight on spam and mission to deliver the best content, comment sections of blogs aren’t so much about landing links from high-ranking blog anymore – they’re about discussing the content and connecting with other readers in the community.
The more you engage with other communities and post compelling comments, the more you’re likely to attract attention – especially if you’re providing interesting content and engaging with other readers.
Every comment form will require a name, email address, and URL before you can submit it, so be sure to you’re sending people to the right blog before hitting the submit button.
Give Other Bloggers Your Best Content
The one thing you need to know about guest posting is this: it’s the most effective way to expose your work to an established readership. This is why it’s so popular among blogger and marketing people online.
The key to success when it comes to guest posts is simple – only submit your best work.
It’s like showing up to a friend’s party or event and being introduced to hundreds of their friends – they’re going to be interested in taking their friend’s word for it and learn a little bit about you … all you have to do is prove you’re worth their time.
You do this by providing exceptional value.
Once you do, they’ll use your promotional byline to check out your blog and learn more about you. If you’ve prepared your blog for this moment, they may even subscribe using one of the methods you’ve provided or share your content with their network of friends on Facebook or Twitter.
Building Your Readership Comes Down to Creating Good Content
The thing that makes the social web so powerful is the level of quality it demands from everyone.
By focusing on the quality of your content – in terms of how interesting, helpful, or entertaining it is – and providing readers with a few social tools, you’ll find that building your readership isn’t as difficult as it seems.
Every blog is different, so be sure to try sharing your content on different networks, including both social and bookmarking. If you’ve already started, share how you’re building your readership at your blog?
photo by ethanhickerson