Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Organically Growing Your Audience

I suppose all bloggers by nature, even if they are introverts in person, are people who want to be noticed.  We're all metaphorically screaming with our posts "Look at me!  Aren't I the greatest.  Aren't I special?  Don't you LOVE me?  My opinion is important, dammit!", and that is just those of us who aren't the middle child in our families.  I have never met a blogger who doesn't want their posts read.

I thought maybe since I have been doing this blogging thing for a while I might be able to help other bloggers increase their readership without resorting to any fancy blogging techniques.  Lord knows, I don't know any of those.  Also, I know I am breaking a blogging rule by blogging about blogging.  Didn't you know, blogging is like Fight Club?

The first rule of Fight Club is that you don't talk about Fight Club....


Anyhoo... Here are some of the things I have done over the years...

When I first started blogging, I found a group of bloggers that commented on each others blogs.  This wasn't like a special organized group mind you.  It was just a small group of people who were in a similar stage of blogging as me, who had children near my children's ages, and seemed sort of a natural fit for me.  I left a comment.  I don't mean a comment that said "LOL".  I mean an engaging comment.  A comment that commented about what that person was going through and then left a snippet about myself, so that maybe if they liked my comment they might come visit my blog.  Guess what?  It worked AND I made life long friends.  Some of these friends of mine don't even blog anymore, but we are still friends through emails and Facebook.  Most of them still read my blog.

Then, I started clicking on other commenters they had on their blogs.  I figured if their commenters commented on their blogs, then they might be interesting too.  I left comments.  Good comments.

Take Capcha/Word Varification off your comments system. NOW.

For the most part I avoided blogs that had a huge established audience (like The Bloggess) when I was leaving comments.  Not that I didn't comment there, I just never expected anyone to say "hey I made my way here via The Bloggess", because she is a freakin' legend.  It is too easy to get lost in the comment mix over there.  I leave a comment for my own satisfaction there and hope it puts a smile on her face.

I then found FeedBurner.  If you don't know what FeedBurner is, google it and install it.  Go ahead.  Do it now.  I'll wait.  Enable people to read your blog through RSS and email notification.  Make reading your blog as easy as possible.

The number one tip I have for building an audience is be authentic.  Write in your own voice.  As you are reading this, you are hearing me.  You know, that American chick living in the UK.  That mom who loves her kids, but also pulls her hair out when things start going off the rails.  You know, that woman who loves her husband, but takes the mickey out of him at least once a day to keep him from getting too high in the instep.  You are reading me and really all your readers want to read is you. An authentic you.

So go out there and read and comment.  Keep plugging away.  Don't stress yourself out and most importantly, do it for you.  You are your most important reader.