With over half a billion blogs and newsletters out there, strategy is more important than ever.
That’s, if you want to get people to read your article, if you want folks to engage with your content.
But how does that look like?
Let’s take a closer look at how I develop a growth strategy in 2021.
In order to create an effective strategy to help you grow an audience, you must keep in mind the following aspects:
If you were to drive from point A to point B, but you didn’t know which roads to take to reach your destination, then you’d have to add that destination on your car’s/smartphone’s GPS, right?
It’s equally important to set a deadline for your goal.
If you want to grow your audience from 0 to 5,000 readers, it’s important to figure out within what timeframe do you want to do that.
You cannot hit a target a mile away by throwing a stone at it, even if you keep at it for an entire year.
Your ability to reach your goal within the timeline you set depends on the resources that are available to you.
Once you know what your goal is, and what your timeline is, and what resources are available to you, next you need to figure out how much effort it takes to reach your goal.
The Strategy I Use to Grow a Blog From 0 to 5,000 Readers in 6 Months
This is, in no way, the best strategy. There’s no such thing.
Self-awareness is key when developing an effective strategy.
For instance, I find it easier to adjust my effort (the time I spent both creating content and promoting it). I also lose motivation if I change the goal or the timeline.
So, here’s the strategy I use to grow virtually any blog to over 5,000 readers in six months.
Stage #1. From 0 to 100: Effort (emphasis on growing as fast as possible)
There are a lot of factors that work against a blogger when they don’t have the benefit of social proof, that’s why I always invest a tremendous amount of effort to get out of this no-follow zone.
In fact, most bloggers quit long before reaching their first hundred subscribers.
In order to get from 0 to 100, I do the following:
- I spend an entire day working on a blog post. Write it, edit it, add images, links, further reading, format it properly.
- I spend the rest of the week promoting my article. This means engaging other bloggers, commenting on their content, sharing my content on social media.
This means one article per week, six days spent on promotion. It takes me around 1 month to get from 0 to at least 100–150 followers, or in the case of irevuo, my most recent project, 486 followers.
I have never changed this strategy, and I’ve been using it (even unconsciously) ever since I started my first blog in April 2012.
The main reason I focus more on growing the audience (by any means necessary, really!) early on rather than on content, is because I believe that a blog with absolutely no feedback bruises the ego on a daily basis.
Besides, just like I previously said, the lack of social proof (followers, likes, comments) makes it incredibly difficult to grow an audience just by “building it and waiting for them to come.“
Stage#2. From 100 to 500: Networking
During this second stage, I spend even more time networking, while increasing my posting frequency to 2-3 articles per week.
However, sometimes I post only once a week, in order to focus more on networking.
This is the trick: as a beginner, you can only effectively build momentum if you network and promote your content. Once you have a proper audience, you can only keep momentum if you keep publishing quality content.
That’s why I primarily focus on networking and promoting my content during this second stage.
At the same time, because I start to build relationships early on, I can then leverage them a few months later, either through guest posting opportunities or by mentioning and linking to the content of said bloggers.
Stage #3. From 500 to 1,000: Content is King. Distribution is Queen.
I reach stage three within two and a half months, maybe three months. Now I focus on two things:
- Providing high-quality content, based on an assessment of the feedback I’ve received so far. It’s not complicated in any way. I take a look at my most popular articles and develop a framework I can use to create content of similar quality.
- Distribution. I take a closer look at the social networks I am using to share my content to, and I select 2–3 that are most promising. Now, I no longer just share links to my articles, but also create derivative work from my articles that I can share on social media.
This allows me to leverage the audience I have organically built on social media during the first two stages, and to further entice those followers to check out my blog.
And that’s where derivative works come in handy.
Consider the following:
This is an article I shared on Facebook. It’s not that inspiring.
And these are a couple of social media posts I derived from the article.
They are far more appealing on social media, and they are more likely to get shared around, especially on visual-predominant networks such as Instagram or Pinterest.
Stage#4. From 1,000 to 2,500: Leverage Relationships
If you have a thousand readers, the best kind of promotion you will ever get is by getting them to share your content.
The second best is to build and leverage relationships with other bloggers in your niche. It is at this point that you have something to offer — exposure to an audience.
This means that you can offer them a chance to be featured, to guest blog for you, or to be interviewed by you, or vice versa.
This is when the best way to go about networking is to stop using raw power (effort) and start to strategically nurture relationships with all the other relevant players in your niche.
It may sound like a Robert Greene “This is how you take over the world” type of thing, but I assure you it’s not. Focus on building meaningful relationships with the bloggers you genuinely admire and enjoy interacting with.
Otherwise, it’s difficult to work with them, and it will only hinder your success long term.
Stage #5. From 2,500 to 5,000: Effort (emphasis on content)
One thing I’ve noticed, both in regard to my own blogs and those of the people I’ve worked with, is that once you build a genuine community, and you have at least 2,000–3,000 blog followers, the best way you can grow your audience even further is to produce quality content.
That’s the main reason I have such a relaxed opinion of networking and promoting content. You only have to do it until you build a genuine community around your content.
Once you do that, you need to focus on writing better content and content that is better suited to your audience.
This stage might require an honest assessment of your strengths and weakness in terms of the quality of content you provide. You can also simply ask your readers, run a poll or a survey, and let them know what type of content they prefer reading from you.
It is during this stage that an article might reach towards the blogging stratosphere in terms of engagement, as your most loyal readers share your content on social media.
This article is but a small sample of what you can do with the frameworks I share in my bestselling course, From 0 to 5,000 Readers in 6 Months.
If you want lifetime access to hundreds of frameworks, a growing community of ambitious bloggers, and live workshops and events, enroll today.