18 Ways to Grow Your Blog Audience
Do you know what is the fastest way to grow your blog audience?
Model the successful bloggers that have already achieved success!
We’ll go through 18 of the most effective strategies to build your blog audience.
And I’ll show you examples of bloggers who used those strategies to build a large following.
So let’s get going!
1. Share a Detailed Case Study
Brian Dean runs one of the most successful online marketing blogs out there and he has a very engaged audience.
Each blog post he writes gets hundreds of comments and shares.
The best thing is that he uses a strategy that you can leverage, as well: capitalize on the power of insanely actionable content.
More specifically, Brian recommends building your blog content strategy around case studies.
This is even more important in the beginning, when you don’t have a large audience and a big authority in your market.
Let’s take for example the post “Content Strategy Case Study: 36,282 Readers + 1,000 Email Subscribers”.
The whole article is a giant case study that shows you how someone achieved a very specific and desirable result, right?
So how can you take advantage of this strategy?
Well, publish your own case studies.
You don’t need to be expert at something.
- Just pick a topic that triggers a big interest among your audience.
- Set your objective and the details of your experiment and then
- Share the results with your audience.
This is much more powerful than just sharing assumptions and personal opinions.
Pat Flynn from smartpassiveincome.com is another example of a very successful blogger.
He also built a huge audience via sharing what works and what doesn’t work for him.
In fact, Pat’s unique value proposition is built right around this.
On his homepage, you can grasp within a short elevator pitch what his approach is about:
“I’m the crash test dummy of online business, sharing what works (and what doesn’t) so you know exactly how to build your business better.”
Pat shared for free very in-depth tutorials that many people would have charged for.
However, he gained much more in the long run, as people appreciate when you add huge value to them.
2. Run Giveaways
Have you heard of Noah Kagan?
As a Marketing Director at Mint, he build a 20,000+ pre-beta email list.
Now he leads a community of over 700,000 entrepreneurs at the Appsumo daily deals site.
Of course, getting such stunning results builds on a number of different strategies.
However, the one I’d like to bring forward is running giveaways, as a way to grow your email list (and thus your audience) fast.
Noah lists giveaways as one of the key strategies that enabled Appsumo to grow so quickly.
Of course, this is an extreme example. It doesn’t mean that if you just run a giveaway, your list of email subscribers will grow by 200,000 subscribers, as well.
However, it’s an eye-opener.
There are tons of case studies out there praising giveaways.
And this is because if they are well executed, they simply work.
Here are a few tips on how to run a successful giveaway:
- Pick a prize that pushes your ideal prospect’s hot buttons. You don’t necessarily need to pick something expensive, but something meaningful.
So don’t pick an iPad, or your subscribers will be totally untargeted.
If your market is “business consultants” pick for example a highly desirable tool or service that appeals to them and offer a free one year subscription.
- Build in a virality factor. In other words, give more winning chances to the people who share your giveaway with their list or via social media.
- Promote your giveaway like there’s no tomorrow.
This is super important. Share it with your audience, reach out to prospects, advertise it. Do whatever it takes to put your giveaway in front of relevant people
3. Influencer and Blogger Outreach
Successful bloggers are preaching all the time something many other bloggers miss: influencer marketing is key for building a large audience online.
So how can blogger outreach help?
- Build long term relationships with influencers in your industry.
- Get accepted to guest post on high traffic websites.
- Get your content shared by bloggers with a massive following.
- Get links to your posts from high authority websites and so on.
If you take action consistently and combine epic content creation with blogger outreach, then you can grow your blog exponentially faster.
This holds especially true in the beginning, but it will always be an important element of you content promotion plan.
Let’s take a look at BloggingWizard.com, one of the leading websites that cover blogging.
Adam Connell has always been a proponent of productive blogger outreach.
He used this strategy propel his blog to the top and he shares his approach openly, so you can do the same.
Here are Adam’s top outreach tips to take into account when you plan to initiate your own influencers outreach campaign:
- Initiate contact before sending the email
- Make your email about them
- Generic emails don’t work well
- Personalize your email
- Use a personalized subject line, as well
- Keep your message concise
- Include an incentive
- Try to incorporate social proof or scarcity
- Don’t send too many follow-ups
You can get all the details of this approach here: http://www.bloggingwizard.com/effective-blogger-outreach
4. The Power of Ultimate Guides
Free ultimate guides are another way to build a large blog audience.
Neil Patel is a master at this.
He is driving a significant amount of traffic to his Quicksprouts.com blog, via a number of incredibly comprehensive, high quality content marketing guides.
So why does this work so well?
Because Neil is providing massive value.
He could easily charge a lot for each of these guides.
However, he has chosen to make the guides available for free, in exchange for traffic, personal brand building and an immense good will within the online marketing community.
In addition to the high quality of the content, these guides have a distinctive design.
This makes them even more appealing and shareable.
5. Leverage Online Marketing Tools
Ian Cleary is the founder of Razor Social, a blog dedicated to help you get results on social media via the smart use of tools and technology.
We are all short on time, right?
We need to achieve results and social media can be such a time waster if done manually.
This is where content marketing and social media tools come in handy.
You don’t need to use tools just for the sake of it, of course.
- First determine what are your goals in terms of business, marketing and communication.
- Then you’ll get clarity on what you need to do and finally,
- You can determine which is the best tool for the job.
Ian has built a very successful blog, focusing mainly on tools that can help you achieve better results with your blogging and social media marketing efforts.
6. Guest Blogging
Jon Morrow built a list of 13,000 subscribers before launching BoostBlogTraffic.com.
Can you imagine building this kind of audience even before publishing the first post on your blog?
Jon is a former Copyblogger editor and a master at creating viral content.
But you can replicate his success, as well.
So how’s can you do this?
Well, the answer is guest blogging on top sites.
The premise for this is simple.
If you publish epic content on such a site, then a part of that audience will become your audience.
Jon is an expert at this. He even argues that it’s actually foolish to post great content on your blog in the beginning?
Because there is nobody there to read it.
Focus instead on publishing great content on established sites and built an audience first.
Danny Iny from FirepoleMarketing.com has used this strategy to build a top digital marketing blog, as well.
He has published 80 guest posts during a one year period, driving thousands of comments and tens of thousands of tweets, likes and shares.
Here are a few elements to consider if you plan to capitalize on this strategy to grow blog traffic:
- Identify high quality blogs where your audience resides
- Understand what is the content that performs the best for that blog
- Pitch your blog post idea and then write a top notch post
- In your bio, make sure that you include a link to a landing page optimized to convert visitors into email subscribers.
Neil Patel has published over 300 guest posts and continues to leverage guest blogging, despite getting over 500,000 visitors a month.
So why not “steal” his secrets?
Here’s a guest-posting guide from Neil.
7. Write Content That Is Magnetic for Your Ideal Audience Persona
Kristi Hines runs the successful blog Kikolani and she’s an amazing writer.
She has been published on a ton of industry leading sites, such as Social Media Examiner, Hubspot and Kissmetrics.
So why is she one of the most sought after online marketing, blogging and social media marketing writers?
It’s because she writes content that is magnetic to her audience. Her posts are top quality and trigger a lot of engagement.
So how can you apply this in your business?
First and foremost, do your homework!
- Just head over to Buzz Sumo and enter a representative keyword for the topic you want to cover in your post.
- You’ll get a list of the posts that cover that topic and that are shared the most via social media.
- This will give you a sense of what people are interested in the most.
- Then go ahead and write an in-depth post on the topic, using the most updated information and making it highly actionable.
8. Become A Topic Expert
With so many blogs online, what do you stand for in the mind of your prospects?
Becoming a topic expert is a great way to position yourself, via building on a clear value proposition.
Ana Hoffman is a traffic expert, running the Traffic Generation Cafe blog.
The name of the site is also communicating clearly what the blog focus is: traffic.
If you don’t know by now, growing website traffic is a top concern for every blogger and small business owner out there.
Ana covers both different types of traffic (such as social media traffic, SEO traffic) and the best ways to use the traffic you get (traffic conversion, list building etc).
This approach is great for building credibility via displaying deep expertise and branding yourself as an expert.
Peep Laja from ConversionXL.com is another case in point:
He covers conversion optimization, which is another digital marketing hot topic.
It’s the second step in the progression: traffic -> conversion -> subscribers / leads -> customers.
Via staying laser focused on the conversion optimization topic, Peep is building a very targeted blog audience.
It’s an audience made for people who resonate with the site’s unique selling proposition: “get field-tested and data-driven advice for plugging leaks, and growing faster.”
9. Direct Audience Engagement
Matthew Woodward has built an award winning blog, starting exclusively from direct audience engagement.
Many people in online marketing suffer from the shiny object syndrome, chasing each new traffic tactic out there.
The truth is though that fundamentals work and will always work.
Matt completely ignored SEO in the beginning, taking the challenge to grow his blog audience without building any links.
Here is the basic approached he took:
- Define your audience
- Understand your audience
- Find your audience online
- Engage your audience
10. Leverage Inbound Marketing
I love inbound marketing and if you’re interested in growing your audience, this is definitely something I fully recommend to consider.
As opposed to the “push” marketing methods, such as paid advertising and other “interruptive” marketing techniques, inbound marketing “pulls” your ideal prospects via high quality content that speaks to them and helps them solve their problems.
I’m actually a Hubspot Certified Inbound Marketing expert and I put into practice the Hubspot way of doing inbound marketing.
Hubspot is a very successful company that walks the talk, using inbound marketing to grow at fast pace.
As per Hubspot, there are 4 marketing actions that you perform in order to walk your prospect through the consumer’s journey:
- Attract. This means that you drive targeted traffic to your site. It’s not just any traffic, but your ideal audience (the so called buyer personas). They are most likely to turn into leads, and then into customers.
- Convert. Once you’ve attracted visitors to your site, your next mission is to turn them into email subscribers / leads. Then you can nurture them and take the relationship to the next level.
- Close. At this stage you transform the leads into customers.
- Delight. Once someone has become a customer, it doesn’t mean you forget about them. Continue to provide value, additional products and services and turn customers into brand advocates.
Let’s take a look at a blog that illustrates perfectly the inbound marketing model.
Matthew Barby publishes on his blog some of the most comprehensive and practical articles I have ever read.
In this article for example, he goes in a step-by-step fashion through how to grow your social media following for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.
Infographics are the most shareable type of content. BuzzSumo analyzed more than 100 million articles and these are the results:
Blogs sharing infographics were absolutely making a killing in terms of traffic generation in the early days.
KISSmetrics, a great website analytics company started to release infographics in 2010, generating as a direct result 2,512,596 visitors and 41,142 backlinks.
However, nowadays visual content in general and infographics in particular still work very well and can help you grow your audience fast.
Here are the key elements to consider when you plan to develop your own infographic:
- Identify topics that trigger a high interest level among your target audience (evergreen, trending or controversial topics)
- Create an useful and shareable infographic (use reliable data, have a clear layout and structure)
- Create the design (use dribble.com, oDesk.com or fiverr.com to outsource, or do it yourself via using Canva.com, Piktochart.com or Visual.ly)
- Format and publish the infographic on your site
- Distribute your infographic (you can do it yourself or hire someone to do it, for example on Fiverr.com)
You can get the details of the process above in Neil Patel’s post here.
12. Launching a Product
Few people think of digital product launches as an audience building tool.
Shane MeLaugh from IMImpact.com and ThriveThemes.com is a huge proponent of this idea.
Because he has done this successfully.
Take a look at this graph, to see how Shane has doubled his traffic after launching his first product and then kept growing consistently.
Pretty crazy, right?
You can get more details on this approach straight from Shane, in his ProBlogger guest post.
13. Paid Advertising
We can’t talk about growing your audience without mentioning paid traffic.
This is a bit tricky, because you need to know what you’re doing, otherwise you risk loosing a lot of money.
There are a lot of paid traffic sources out there:
- Pay per click, such as Adwords from Google and Facebook Ads.
- Paid email advertising, such as solo ads.
- Banner advertising.
- Retargeting and so on.
It is not my aim to go through all paid traffic sources in this post. The advice given by most experts is to focus on one traffic source first, until you master it and get results.
Then, you can explore new ones.
You have probably heard quite a few people talking in the recent years about Facebook Advertising.
It’s all the rage right now, when it comes to paid traffic.
Before jumping in though, let’s take a moment to thing about the strategy.
What are you trying to achieve?
Francisco from SocialMouths.com has done an amazing job to structure the types of ads you need to review before when rafting your Facebook advertising strategy:
Here are 10 types of ads you should consider:
- Facebook Ads to get page likes: target visitors of your website, your email subscribers, fans of similar pages.
- Facebook Ads to grow your email list: turn your fans into email subscribers, promote your free product to Fans of similar pages.
- FB Ads to sell your products: sell your products to Fans, sell your products to email subscribers, sell your products to recent visitors of your sales pages
- Facebook Ads to promote your content: promote your posts to your fans, promote your posts to fans of similar pages.
- Expand your reach via creating and targeting ads at a Custom Audience based on your list of email subscribers.
You can see examples for each type of ad above at: http://socialmouths.com/2014/05/06/10-facebook-ads.
14. Get Massive Free Media (The Drafting Technique)
All bloggers strive to get more traffic and we all know there is no free lunch in life, right?
You need to pay for getting traffic in one way or another, whether it’s money, content or other resources.
Derek Halpern from Social Triggers has shared with the marketing community the so called “drafting technique”.
He used it to get a ton of free media exposure from top venues. Moreover, his students managed to achieve the same results.
So why wouldn’t we do the same?
In a nutshell, this means drafting behind a competitor or a topic that was already shared by an influencer in the past.
The steps you need to follow are as follows:
- Decide what you would like to promote and make sure your content is epic.
- Find journalists and/or bloggers who covered that topic in the past.
- Convince them to cover you.
Additional read: http://socialtriggers.com/the-drafting-technique
15. Leverage Twitter
I must confess that I love Twitter. By the way, let’s stay in-touch: click here to connect with me!
It’s an amazing platform that allows you to build productive relationships and distribute your content.
Kim Garst from Boom Social is a top 10 social media influencer who has built a multi million dollar business, mainly as a result of leveraging Twitter.
Kim has over 360,000 Twitter followers and her audience is growing quickly.
So how is Kim capitalizing on this?
Kim uses Twitter to:
- Drive a significant amount of traffic to her website
- Add to her list over 9,000 email subscribers per month (for free)
- Sell her information products and services
I have started to use Kim’s strategies to increase Twitter traffic and it works great.
You can do it too!
Webinars are a great way to build a list of email subscribers, while growing your profit, as well.
As Frank Kern says, you demonstrate that you can help people, via actually helping them.
Webinars enable you to demonstrate expertise and you add value to members of your ideal audience. It’s a great way to build your brand, your audience and your business.
Take a look at Lewis Howes, who used webinars to build an incredible successful business.
He shares his secrets on how to grow your business with webinars here: 8 Ways to Boost Your Business With Webinars.
17. Leverage Online Communities
People gather together in online communities, based on shared interest. This is a fantastic opportunity for you.
Because you can put yourself out there in front of your ideal audience and add value to the community.
This is the best way to get attention and grow your own audience.
Let’s take a look at Chris Brogan, one of the social media legends out there, who says his biggest competitive advantage is openness and honesty.
When you visit the homepage of his site, you’ll notice his value proposition: “Use media and community to create customers.”
Together with Rob Hatch, Chris has created a Facebook group, called “The Secret Team”. Almost 12,000 people help each other to succeed online.
Another example of valuable community created around a blog is NicheHacks.com Private Mastermind Group.
It was created by Stuart Walker from NicheHacks.com and if you’re into niche marketing and affiliate marketing, this is a cool place to exchange tips and tricks with fellow bloggers.
Whatever market you’re in, find relevant Facebook and LinkedIn Groups, Google Plus Communities, Forums and start adding value.
As long as you help other people solve their problems and get what they want, you’ll definitely grow your own audience, as well.
If you already have a blog, you can extend your reach significantly via your own podcast.
Podcasts are a great way to reach a different audience segment.
John Lee Dumas from EntrepreneurOnFire.com has built a media empire starting from his very successful podcast.
- Here’s a link to John’s podcast. It’s totally awesome.
- And if you consider to start podcasting yourself, here’s John’s free podcast course.
John has built a solid business, generating monthly revenues over $350,000.
Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com, one of the top online marketing sites, has also leveraged podcasts.
By August 2015, his show had over 17,000,000 downloads. Wow!
His survey also revealed that his podcast is the number one way people found out about his site.
You can find Pat’s podcasting guide here.
Here you are! We’ve went through 18 strategies to explode your blog audience. Each of them works well.
You can’t possibly do everything. But if you take consistent and massive action, you’ll definitely be able to grow your own audience effectively.
Here are 2 additional blog posts, full of actionable tips on how to leverage content marketing to grow your blog: