How to grow your blog audience is always a challenge, but in your first year of blogging? It could be a nightmare.
If you are new to blogging, the first year is the most challenging and important phase in a blog’s life.
So, what? Because, when you start blogging nobody is reading you, you don’t have credibility or authority and, because of this, it is very difficult to build a meaningful audience.
I want to do a simple guideline about the best actions that you can do in your first year of blogging, to increase the possibilities of success.
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I know it is difficult to admit it. It feels like Mike Tyson giving you a right hook directly to your ego.
Who would have said it? Your business, your blog, your experience, your clients, your time and effort creating something meaningful, your money, your whole entrepreneurship thing, your blogging; nothing of this is about you!
It's all about your audience.
Come on, repeat this; say it repeatedly like a mantra, the content marketing mantra: It is all about my audience!
I am no the target of my content marketing #blogging #contentmareting
Ok, don't trust me –I don't blame you. Trust Joe Pulizzi, he is just a world reference in content marketing.
Repeat this sentence: I am not the target of my content. Business owners and marketers tend to bend their content to their thinking. Don't fall into this trap.
If you are thinking and acting like media company and publisher, everything you do with your content marketing will begin and end with your audience.
If you don't understand the wants and needs of your audience, there is no way you can be successful with your content.
The thing is, your readers and clients don't care about you, they just want to solve their problems and improve their life, too. Exactly like you and me.
But let's be honest, when we all start a blog, we want to be the rock star of our industry. The first thing you probably did was choosing the theme, create an awesome logo, writing a stunning "about" page telling the world how awesome you are and how many years you are on business helping all kinds of clients.
The problem is, when a new reader ends up on your blog looking for some valuable information that solves her/his problem, “Guess what happen next?” They leave your site 30 seconds later and never come back.
Before you start blogging, you need to define your audience.
Dig into your reader's mind, and become his/her best friend. You need to know all about them. What do they want in life, which goals they have, where they hung out online, what they buy on Amazon?
What series do they watch on TV? Do they watch The Walking Dead or House of Cards? I'm sure you can draw a whole audience persona profile just answering the last question.
Content for your Audience
Content for your Ego
As a newbie blogger, you should be looking forward to finishing every piece of content and click the "publish" button.
Fingers crossed and pray for the big god 'Google,' someday, to pay attention to you and send you a few organic traffic.
Now is their problem, the world has to find you and recognise how awesome you are. They will share your post on any social media, and your post will be full of flattering comments... Yeah, right, this is if you blog in Wonderland, but not here in the real world.
Yeah, right, this is if you blog in Wonderland, but not here in the real world.
Let me tell you something. If you want to survive in your first year of blogging, you need a plan B, which is different from Google promoting your content.
“If you want to survive in your first year of blogging, you need a plan B, which is different from Google promoting your content.”“
Now, seriously, there is a massive noise around the internet that content (good, bad, amazing, and terrible) are everywhere on the web. Social networks are full of posts, and people just don't care about new content.
This is the starting point, and it's the same for everybody, so if nobody reads your blog right now, don't feel depressed. It's totally normal. Blogging is a long-term goal; think about it as if you are building a huge asset for the world – I know it sounds naive, but this is the way.
Most new bloggers spend more time creating content than anything else.
"Hey, wait a moment, Fran! Are you telling me that, as a blogger, my main task should not be blogging?"
Kind of, let me explain with Derek Halpern words:
“Let’s say you have 100 readers. What are the chances that one of those people will love your content so much that they tell ALL of their friends about it?
1%? 2%? If that?
Whatever it is, it’s low, and at that rate, you might get 1 new loyal reader. Going from 100 readers to 101 readers isn’t how you build a blog readership.
To build a blog readership, you’ve got to go from 100 readers… to 500 readers. Then, from 500 readers to 700 readers, and so on.
How do you do it? The secret lies in your ability to promote the content you already have, because if you’ve got something that was only seen by 100 people, chances are there are at least 10,000 or 100,000 other people in the world that can benefit from what you wrote.”
Dereck Halpern socialtriggers.com
This is a huge mistake we all do. We start a blog focused on creating loads of content, posting it on Twitter, Facebook, and so on, then we have a few visits in the first 24 hours, and that's all. Nobody else will see your piece of content, ever.
Most of the people that read your piece will never go back again.
This is why building an email list is the biggest asset you can create with your blog. Even if you have 100 readers a day, or 50, or just 10, you still need to have a strategy to collect their emails and stay in touch.
Creating your email list is not just about placing a few opt-in forms all around your site. You need to give something valuable to your readers in order to receive, on behalf, their email subscription.
Don't be afraid of giving too much for free before making a penny. Remember the other Content Marketing mantra: Serve first, sell later.
Create an amazing lead magnet for your audience persona, something tailor-made for the perfect reader that you want to have on your email list.
Remember that you don't want just any email on your list; you want the audience persona email that you have defined. This is why you need to be so specific with your lead magnet to attract the right people.
For a few reasons:
Let's be honest, brutally honest. Starting a business from zero is overwhelmingly difficult.
There are days when you ask yourself why are you investing a big amount of hours, effort, and money trying to build up a business from scratch rather than finding a day job with a decent salary.
The answer is simple: because you need it. You — like me and so many others — need to be creating something different, something that you care about. It is not just about money; it is not about wearing a suit or the possession of a senior job title.
It's about self-actualisation.
Maslow explains these, very well, in his well-known hierarchy of needs. Your self-fulfilment is on the top of the pyramid, and this is why most people don't feel personal fulfilment — even when they have everything they are supposed to have.
This is why I do business, why I started this blog, and why I kept working on my own projects, even in months when I could not pay myself a decent wage. It's not about the short-term reward; it's about the long-term legacy I am creating.
If I am building this blog, it is because I want to share everything I know and everything I will learn with other people on the same journey as me. I am doing this because this is my way of bringing something good to the world.
This is how and why people are going to build a business in the upcoming years, a business based on the singularity of the entrepreneur, people helping people. Businesses are made to solve people's problems and improve their life in many different ways.
From that perspective, there is no rush, because you are building the business of your life. Literally.