Are you a new blogger or writer looking to get started in this industry?
It’s not like you can start a brand new blog and begin reaping the rewards of 100k monthly views.
You’ve got to start somewhere, and while it’s a long road, there are some shortcuts you can take to help you with recognition (audience and social branding) and experience.
I wish I had seen a post like this when I first started blogging.
To have someone map out what I needed to do in order to build an audience is something better taught than learned. While you may be able to figure this out by yourself, it will take both time and failure before you get to where you need to be.
Last week I was thinking of this very thing.
I can help you.
This post will share the exact roadmap you should be taking to further your blogging career, build an audience, and establish yourself as an authority writer.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but failure isn’t a stopping point. It’s a launching pad.
Are you ready to blast off?
How To Build Your Audience
Being a new writer/blogger in a particular industry is like stepping off the bus in a new city. You don’t know anyone, or where anything is.
Building your audience is what you should be focused on. It’s the main goal.
However, ‘building your audience’ is still a pretty general term.
6 years ago, I stepped off the bus just like you. I knew I needed to build my audience but wasn’t for sure how to do it. Sure, I read different articles which described tips which included a truth bomb – I should build my audience.
I knew I needed to but no one was telling me how.
I had to learn it the hard way.
Hopefully, you won’t have to make the same mistakes as I did, nor will you have to wait as long as I did either.
Let’s start from the beginning.
The Blogging Schedule
I am going to assume you have already chosen a niche-specific industry to write about. You have researched your expertise level and what you love to do so you have built a blog around this plan.
It’s very important you do this to get started.
If you haven’t decided what niche or industry you need, or if you’re not sure how to do it, take a look at these articles which can help you out:
- Blogging Wizard – How to choose the perfect niche
- Chris Ducker – How to find your niche
- HubSpot – How to become the best blogger in your niche
Okay, the first thing you need to do is to get some content on your new site.
This is going to be extremely painful if you’re a beginning writer. I remember some of my first articles. They were 350 words and it felt like I was pulling teeth to write much more than that. But I struggled through it.
There’s no magic number to how many posts you publish, but let’s set a goal to have 5 new posts on your blog.
It’s here when you need to sit down and figure out a posting schedule. This is important because sooner or later, you’re going to have people who will be used to seeing your articles on certain days. If they don’t get them, it creates distrust with your audience so you want to make sure whatever posting schedule you figure out in the beginning is what you can stick to consistently.Creating a consistent posting schedule will help build trust within your target audience.Click To Tweet
Most individual bloggers allow for two posts per week.
There are different opinions on how many articles you should publish on your blog. The more quality content you can push out, the quicker your recognition. But it’s a heavy load to carry in the beginning.
When I first started, I began posting three articles each week, but as my audience grew, and my knowledge of the blogging industry along with it, there were other responsibilities I began to take on which made me regret a posting schedule of three articles per week.
Eventually I toned it down to one a week…I’ll share why in a minute.
Building Your Blog – Guest Posting
As a new blogger, you’re not going to capture traffic all by yourself in the beginning.
You need to take advantage of the guest blogging strategy you’ve been hearing so much about.
Sure, getting published on Entrepreneur.com would definitely help your blog traffic out and get you recognized, but if you’re having trouble pulling 350 words out of your head then gigantic sites like these shouldn’t be your first target to guest blog on.
In other words, you need to work up to these sites. Remember, you’re still gaining experience in writing, building your audience and your traffic as well.
But where in the world could you guest blog which would give you traffic and notoriety? There’s a lot of places you can go, but not all of these sites help. Some can even hurt your site because of their affiliation with Google and the type of links they provide.
Having a ‘backlink’ from these sites is why the majority of people guest blog in the first place, however, don’t think of it as gaining a backlink. Think of guest blogging as gaining more traction with your audience.
Don’t get caught up in the link building process just yet.
Where was I?
Oh yeah, where can you go to guest blog? Who would take your articles and still have a good reputation for your site?
There’s tons of great sites you can post on, some of which are right here and will more than likely accept your guest post if you understand how to construct a coherent sentence structure.
Now just build your portfolio.
Write everywhere you can and don’t forget to continue to be consistent on your own blog. But still have a regular guest posting schedule as well. As you develop your writing skills in guest blogging you can graduate to THE BIG SITES who accept guest posts from experienced writers.
Warning – if you don’t want to get shot down stay away from these sites until you can better understand what they need from you and how you should be writing it for their audience.Want to guest blog for the BIG sites? Give the little sites a chance first.Click To Tweet
Building Your Blog – Tools
I’m not a guru on blogging tools, however, I know what works for me. Once again, these were facts I had to figure out on my own and they are useful in building your blog.
First of all, you’ve got to have some tools to help your blog grow.
From WordPress commenting plugins to social sharing tools to post and scheduling, all of these work to help establish your content to your potential audience.
Here’s some tools I use which helped me bring more attention to my personal blog: (Some of these are affiliate links and I will get paid for referring you)
- Social Warfare – This is absolutely the best blog sharing plugin for WordPress I’ve ever had the pleasure of putting on my site. Before Social Warfare, I had tons of broken-hearted relationships with other social sharing plugins but they always disappointed me. Social Warfare allows you more control – from placing a pre-loaded image for your tweet when someone clicks the button (go ahead, click it and watch what happens: you don’t have to do anything), to constructing a perfect image for Pinterest. Social Warfare has been designed to make the sharing experience a lot faster and easier for the reader. Any of those social buttons you decide to press after you read this, I did a lot of work on the backend so you don’t have to do any work now. It’s beautiful and my first recommendation for your new blog. I’m also not giving Social Warfare enough credit – the guys over there have really integrated it into a lot of other things which make it more helpful. Click the Social Warfare link to find out more about it.
- Buffer – This tool is great because you don’t have to pay for it if you can’t afford it right away. However, there is a limit for the free version, but it can help you all the same. Up to 10 social posts can be stored in your social accounts to be blasted out throughout the day. If you do decide to go to the next tier level (which is $10/mo and totally worth it), it gives you more freedom with posting and, of course, it allows you up to 100 shares on each social account. An individual blogger can get by with the $10/mo version easily.
- MailChimp – Every new blogger needs to start capturing emails. This was one mistake I made early on because I didn’t know what an autoresponder was. Forget all of that. When I finally did learn I needed to capture emails, I went with the first one I heard about and it was pretty expensive. With MailChimp, everything is free – up to 2,000 subscribers. This is perfect for the new blogger because I understand your need to eat and not spend your money on an autoresponder system which carries 3 subscribers. Grab MailChimp, create a list, build your signup form, and start capturing emails for free. If you want the extra bells and whistles, it’s going to cost you, but the things you can get by with now (like scheduling an email blast) still works on the free plan.
- WPSubscribers – This works with your email autoresponders and it attracts more sign ups. Now, you don’t REALLY need this, but it did increase my opt in rate by 37% when I first put it up. It simply creates a better looking opt in form, pop up, exit pop up, top banner, etc (there’s lot’s of choices) and you can choose to use all or one of these features. If you are really targeting a specific genre of audience this can help drive your point home to them.
- 750words – One of the best things I did was to sign up for this feature. 750 words is a tool you need if you’re a new blogger because it prompts you to write 750 words every day. As you may have guessed, the more you write, the better you become. I’ll talk more about this later.
Building Your Blog – Writing
The last tool I just mentioned is going to help you do a lot of that. 750words.com teaches you to brain dump and simply write everything in your head at the time. Don’t think, just write.
The best practice I did besides 750 words was being consistent in creating quality content on my blog and through guest articles I wrote for other people.
There’s really not much else to say on this topic. No one can teach you this part, you have to get down and do the work yourself if you want to be recognized.
Read other influencers in your industry. What are the popular blogs in your niche? Scour these sites and learn their writing styles and habits. You can begin to understand how your writing style can bloom by watching other great writers.
One of my favorite writers is Demian Farnworth and take a look at this video, there’s a lot of great writing pointers in here from the master himself.
Building Your Blog – Relationships
Relationships are the key to any great blog or business out there. You’ve heard the saying, It’s not what you know, but it’s who you know. There has never been a truer statement.
Relationships can open so many doors to your blogging business.
Most of the time, the people who you want to build relationships with are people who can bridge the gap between your blog and their audience. AKA, influencer marketing, the term can become confused because it can be deemed a selfish marketing act, but you have to look at it in terms of helpfulness.Relationship marketing can bridge your blog with their audience if done correctly.Click To Tweet
Your blog needs a specific audience – “Jim” has a million followers who would definitely love what you have to teach them. So naturally, you want to befriend “Jim”. If Jim would give you a shout out, it’s possible some of his audience could trickle over to your site.
But how do you get Jim to notice you? Out of the noise of all the other bloggers who are trying to do exactly the same exact thing you’re trying to do?
One of the ways I have built relationships with influencers all over the country is because I learned what they needed from me.
Could Jim benefit from you writing a helpful post about his new book release? What if you saw something on Jim’s brand page on social which was wrong and possibly costing him followers?
Take note about how you can help Jim, all while consistently engaging him and his brand on social media and sharing and commenting on his blog at the same time. You see, what you’re doing is creating remembrance of you in his mind. So when the day comes when you finally understand what you can do for Jim, he’s going to say to himself, Hey, I remember them…they’re super engaging and know my brand.
Relationship marketing is when you can do something for someone else with no expectation of anything in return. It doesn’t end up working out like this because psychologically, the law of reciprocity states when you do a favor for someone, and it’s truly helpful, they feel compelled to return the favor to you.
When Jim asks you what he owes you, tell him absolutely nothing. You weren’t doing it for pay, you just wanted a friend.
What do friends do?
They share and promote. They have you guest post. They invite you on their podcasts and other media outlets.
They build your brand.
Relationship marketing is a powerful aspect in which you need to start applying to your blogging brand.
Consistency is your best asset.
Consistency in writing, creating content, engaging with others, guest posting, etc.
There are lots of chainsaws to juggle in the world of blogging. People do it every day, and I am confident you can do it too. All you need to do is follow these short instructions every day, set goals for yourself and go at it.
Do you have some suggestions for newbie bloggers? I’m sure I’ve missed something and I would love to hear your pointers in the comment section!