How do you build fans?
Sure, you could pay for them or trick them into coming to your blogs with sneaky headlines.
You could take the long (but most effective route).
While building a blog following doesn’t happen overnight, there are several effective things you can do to gain a strong and long-lasting group of readers who want to engage with your content.
Read on to learn more.
10 Effective Tips to Build a Blog Following
1. Shoot for perfection
First things first – let’s talk about quality. You can’t build a substantial blog following if you aren’t creating quality blogs. Because of this, it’s critical to wait to publish until you have a perfect (or near-perfect) post.
Small things like spelling errors, improper grammar, bad facts and poor construction can damage your blog following in a hurry, so it’s wise to spend the time needed to proof your content adequately.
Before you publish, be sure you read through your content on your own. It pays to have someone else look it over, as well. This prevents simple mistakes from alienating your would-be followers.
2. Write killer guest posts
You’ve heard it before: “Guest posting is the most effective way to build a blog following.” But hey, it’s true. Guest posting does two incredibly important things: first, it gives you a platform to meet new followers and expand your reader base. Second, it allows you to display your authority and inspire other people to think, “Hey! This person is great.”
Sometimes, the only thing standing between you and a larger following is your platform. If you don’t have a large enough following, your posts may not be getting adequate traffic, despite the fact that they’re well-written and intelligent. Because of this, altering your platform (by guest posting on someone else’s site) may be exactly what you need to boost your audience.
3. Write long-form content
Did you know that long-form content converts better than shorter text? Today’s readers are information-hungry, and they want to come to you for valuable material that will help them address their biggest issues and challenges. Because of this, it’s wise to build your blog strategy on a good foundation of long-form content.
In addition to earning you more conversions and traffic, long-form content also gives you an ideal platform to display your industry expertise and provide value to your readers. This, in turn, allows you to appeal more broadly to a more advanced group of readers – one that’s likely to share and interact with your content on a more regular basis.
4. Write toward a goal
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re going to wind up somewhere you don’t want to be.
This is as true in life as it is in blogging. If you forge forward into the blog-o-sphere without a concrete plan, you’re going to waste time, energy and money as you struggle to determine your goals and milestones.
Luckily, there’s a better way.
When you sit down to write, do it with the end goal in mind.
Do you want this post to earn you social followers? Do you want to start a conversation? Are you seeking to engage new readers? Regardless of what your goals may be, understanding the purpose of your blog helps ensure you’ll write a piece that’s worthy of attention and helps you meet your milestones.
5. Know your reader
Just like guest blogging, knowing your reader is an old standby of blog strategy.
You know what they say, though: “It’s an oldie, but a goodie.”
Knowing your reader is critical to your blog’s success. By understanding who you’re speaking to, what you’re doing for them and how you’re going to distribute your content to reach them most effectively, it’s easy to build a viral blog following that’s based on real value rather than trending news and clickbait titles.
Every time you write a post, you should be writing to one member of your target audience. How can you speak directly to this person? What problems do you want to solve for him or her? What can you offer? By knowing the answers to these questions, it’s easier than ever before to build a solid blog following that benefits you as much as it does your readers.
6. Play with your content’s format
While a blog is a fantastic way to distribute information, don’t let yourself get too tied up in the blog format. To compliment your blog and expand your base of fans, you should also be branching out into things like eBooks, podcasts, infographics, videos, and custom visuals.
Think of it this way: the broader the net, the bigger the catch.
While your actual content should be targeted and niche-focused, the way you format your content should be broad, varied and exciting at all turns. In addition to helping you engage your audience, this approach also gives you a level of creative freedom that’s exciting and opportunity-rich.
7. Make it personal
While most people don’t think of auto-responders as things that can help boost blog following, they can be very useful tools. Services like Commun.it allow you to set up a direct message to auto-reply to your new followers on Twitter. As long as you keep this message highly customized (which Commun.it helps you do by adding the person’s name), these messages help followers feel seen and heard, rather than spammed.
This, in turn, can help make your social profiles more personalized and may encourage more people to jump on your blog train. As an added benefit, platforms like Commun.it also cut down on the amount of hands-on time you have to spend in the important task of engaging your new followers.
With this extra time, you can get to work creating more content and earning more followers.
8. Repurpose your content
Blog posts are hard to write. They take a great deal of time, energy and effort and, if you’re not repurposing them into other content forms, you might be missing out on some of the traction therein.
Building a solid blog following is 80 percent talent and 20 percent strategy, and one of the most critical pieces of content strategy is learning to repurpose your content correctly. For example, since 67 percent of people are more convinced by content with visuals than they are text-only content, repurposing a blog post into a visual-rich SlideShare is a fantastic way to boost its reach and make it more useful.
You can also take a fact-dense blog and break it up into tweets, create an infographic to follow-up a popular blog, or create a video series based on a topic you’ve previously covered.
All of these options are fantastic ways to repurpose your content, and they may just help you create more traffic in the long run.
9. Go viral on social
Easier said than done, right?
If you’ve never heard of Twitter chats, now is a great time to learn more about them. In addition to being fun, they’re a fantastic way to add to the conversation and start pulling in new social connections and possibly subsequent fans.
You should also be sure that you’re maintaining a presence on ALL platforms. Instagram and Snapchat are a few often-overlooked ones that can have a major impact. We’ve found that Instagram is a great tool for bringing in new blog followers. Give it a try for your own content.
10. Consider your channels
The channels on which you distribute your content play a major role in its success. If you want to create direct engagement with your audience, blog posts and direct e-mail notifications are the ideal channel.
If you want to draw new readers, though, you’ll need to think outside the box. Moving your content into things like podcasts, Facebook groups, webinars, downloadable formats, and courses is a fantastic way to gain the attention of new readers and can be exactly what you need to expand your reach.
Building a Large Blog Following is Within Your Control
While it may seem like large blog followings are reserved for geniuses and Kardashians, this goal isn’t out of your reach. By following these 10 steps and getting creative with the ways you choose to distribute your content, it’s easy to reach new followers and boost the popularity of your blog – starting today.
Julia McCoy is a bestselling author of So You Think You Can Write, podcaster and an expert content marketer. She’s also the founder and CEO of Express Writers, a leading online content creation agency, with more than 60 content writers and strategists. Julia leads her team to serve hundreds of worldwide businesses with the highest-quality content for their online presence. Follow Julia’s blog.