The Newbie’s Guide to Building an Actual Audience

Your posts are good. You know your niche. You know how to use words to convey ideas in just the right way.

But the bitter truth is that you won’t build the audience you want just by delivering good content. Or great content. Or one-in-a-million type of content.

What else is there, you ask?

Well…

Yes, your audience tends to grow in proportion to the quality of the content you deliver, but there’s so much more to blogging than just brilliant writing.

And, yes, some popular blogs have been built by the blogger dedicating 8 to 10 hours a day on networking with other bloggers, but even though they are winning at the numbers’ game, those readers aren’t worth much.

The truth is that most folks work all their lives in order to become an overnight success.

Audiences don’t just happen. Posts rarely go viral, yet this is what everyone wants.You must build your audience. An actual audience.

Here are some easy-to-follow steps to ensure that you build an audience that gives a damn about your blog:

  1. Know what you’re blogging about: Common sense, right? Well, an awful lot of bloggers aren’t so sure what their blogs are all about. “A bit about everything” is the same as asking someone for money and receiving a dollar.
  2. Know who you’re blogging for: Don’t be vague. Know who your ideal reader is. Be as specific as possible.
  3. Create the type of content that who you’re blogging for would pay actual money to read: Research, ask questions, and be willing to punch those damn keys until your fingers hurt. Over-deliver. Always.
  4. Give something for free: Our Free Tutorials are an excellent example. Or Jordan’s Checklist. Use a free e-book or guide or e-course as an incentive for your ideal reader to subscribe to your blog.
  5. Encourage sharing: Allow reblogging of your posts and sharing on all social media platforms known to man. And you know what they say: if you do not ask, the answer is no. So ask. Ask your readers to share, to comment, to print out your articles and put them up on their walls.
  6. Build relationships with other bloggers in your niche: If you do not know who the top 10 bloggers in your niche are, then… you should know. And they should know you. Use social networking and blog post commenting. Don’t be a suck-up though. Be authentic, smart, and tactical. And patient.
  7. Be willing to learn: Read everything on your niche, on blogging, on social media. Find mentors. Learn the platform. The more you learn, the more you earn. Readers. And money.
  8. Interview the top bloggers in your niche: This proven technique lets you tap into the audience of those who have been doing this for longer than you have.
  9. Guest blog: Writing articulate, interesting, and unique guest posts for other blogs is one of the quickest ways to get known by more people.
  10. Think outside the box: What sets you apart? What is different about your blog? You can offer something no one else has before: webinars, reviews, a podcast, infographics, or video. What would appeal to your audience?
  11. Be authentic and express your unique voice through your blog posts.
  12. Be real: Write with passion, share your stories, and don’t be afraid to get personal. It’s not perfection that we most admire in someone else, but their willingness to better themselves day in and day out.
  13. Invite your audience to engage and interact with you: Ask questions at the end of your blog posts, respond to comments. Add a contact page to your blog, so your readers can reach you.
  14. No name, no face, no number. Also no audience: Your readers would very much like to know you’re an actual human being. A display picture of you would be nice. A funny bio, too. Links to social media? Add those to the mix as well.
  15. Be generous: Share content and promote other people. Don’t save your best ideas for later, or to sell them in the form of an e-book or course. Offer them 95% of your best stuff, and you’d be surprised at what folks will be willing to do (and pay) for the remaining 5%.
  16. Be consistent: If you say you’ll post a blog every day, then you must blog every single day. Break your promises and your audience loses trust for you.
  17. Write about your own experiences: Do not hesitate to use yourself as an example of how to (or how not to) do something.
  18. Don’t write like someone you’re not: Don’t use words that you don’t use in day to day conversation, don’t use 5 words when 3 will do. Keep it simple. After all, I do believe that a somewhat important part of my success as a blogger has to do with the fact that English is not my first language, so I have always used a rather simple writing style.
  19. Brick by brick: Appreciate each and every single one of your readers. And know that it’s going to take a while. It’s called “building” an audience for a reason, you know.
  20. Have fun: This is one of the most underrated aspects of blogging. Enjoy yourself. With or without readers. Do your thing. Write in your own style, experiment, try out all sorts of crazy ideas. Don’t just think outside the box, but think like there is no box.

I’ll be honest with you. Even if you follow all these steps, even religiously so, building an actual audience takes time and effort. You need to put the work in — to fight hard to stand out as a blogger. And you can never give up, never retreat, never surrender.

What do you say? Are you ready to give it your all?

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31 thoughts on “The Newbie’s Guide to Building an Actual Audience

  1. I found this article by accident and I’m really glad I did. As someone who runs two blogs, one of which is very successful and one that isn’t, I can relate to your advice. I’m thinking about reviving the unsuccessful blog, which still on line but has not been updated in about a year.

    I also want to thank you for acknowledging that numbers & site traffic DOES matter. After all, none of us do this just to talk to ourselves. Another blogger I follow once said that “numbers don’t matter”. To put things in context, he runs a hugely successful blog with over 12,000 followers. He’s a super-nice guy and I know he didn’t mean it the way it sounded, but to me it came off a lot like a rich man condescendingly telling a poor man that “money isn’t everything.”

    Lastly, I avoided doing too much networking with other bloggers because when your readership is disproportionately other bloggers you can fall into a negative cycle where you follow them because they follow you and vice-versa, not because the content is compelling or relevant to anyone. The end result is a glorified version of Facebook where a false sense of popularity is created when the same circle of people “like” and “follow” each other’s posts just for the sake of attention, or maybe just out of courtesy.

    I don’t expect anyone to read my blog only because I read theirs and I’m not bothered at all if I don’t get a return “follow”. If you have any thoughts on this trap, I’d be very interested to hear them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. Thank you for constantly giving me a little push. These posts remind me to keep going. As a fairly new regular blogger (once a week right now) it sometimes seems that I’m not getting an audience fast enough. But I will say, every new follow I get feels like a gift. That plus these posts provide fuel.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Regarding #14. I write under a pen name. I don’t want people in my real life (like my mother or people at church) to know my pen name, but if I post a photo of myself on the web (blog, Twitter, etc.), there’s a chance that they might see it and make the connection. What can I do about posting a photo of myself online?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t post one then.

      There are obvious exceptions to these rules. To any rules. Some can be bent, others broken.

      If you do not want to be recognized, do not post pictures of you.

      After all, I took my main blog from 0 to 80K readers with a picture of 7 year old me and (almost) never replying to comments.

      Liked by 1 person

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