The longer you blog, the more you learn what works and what just doesn’t cut the mustard. In my years of sharing my writing in the online space, I have learned four things in particular that I want to focus on more as I work to grow my readership and encourage you to do the same.
Blog and promote your work consistently.
As a writer trying to grow your readership, it is essential to consistently create content. Posting consistently helps readers look forward to hearing from you regularly. When I first started blogging in 2014, I did not have a consistent schedule. I simply posted whenever I felt inspired. I strongly urge against doing this because it will be difficult to maintain a good readership. You don’t want readers to read three posts from you this week, and then go months without hearing from you. Posting inconsistently will make it difficult to build a relationship with your readers.
When posting, remember it is perfectly acceptable to not post five times per week. In 2015, I eventually began blogging three times per week; however, I realized this was too much for me to keep up with. I had to learn that the number of posts was not necessarily an issue as long as I posted consistently. So this means that blogging three times per month is fine as long as it is done consistently. You shouldn’t try to keep up with others. Simply find the posting schedule that works best for your situation.
Not only should you post new content to your blog consistently, but you should also have a consistent marketing or promoting schedule. Think about how often you will share your work on various social media platforms. You do not have to post everywhere, but I do highly urge you to pick one or two places where you can consistently market your work. Remember, promoting your work is very helpful to grow your readership.
I have not always promoted my work consistently in the past but noticed growth once I started posting more consistently to platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. Your readers may be on different platforms. Don’t be afraid to use trial and error to see which platform your readers frequent more. Then, develop a marketing or promotion schedule for those platforms. As the year progresses, remember it is okay to adjust how often you post. Nothing is written in stone.
Produce content that is helpful, relatable, and “on brand”.
I am guilty of producing content simply because it was trending or because I wanted to be random. When growing your readership, your content should revolve around a common theme, be helpful and relate to your readers in some way. Give your readers a reason to stop by and post in a manner that readers know what topics to expect from you.
Every post doesn’t have to be a “how to XYZ”, but readers should be able to absorb something helpful from your content. It’s also important to remember you don’t have to have all the answers. An expert doesn’t know everything there is about a particular topic but is capable of sharing her knowledge based on her experiences. Your post could help readers overcome a particular problem or simply let her know she is not alone in her struggles.
Look for professional development opportunities.
As a teacher, I was required to complete professional development to renew my teaching license. This was to ensure I kept up with best practices for my classroom. As a writer, it is equally important that I continue to improve my craft. At some point, readers will want to hear more meaty substance from you. Investing in your craft will certainly help you provide this kind of content.
There are several ways to do this--even if you are on a tight budget. You can read educational blog posts or listen to podcasts regarding areas in which you need improvement. These are free resources! Take advantage of these.
If you are able to, you can also invest in low-cost workshops and books. Check out what others are reading on Amazon or ask family, friends, and co-workers.
There are also a variety of writer conferences you can attend annually, such as Blogalicious (which I hope to attend this year!). Conferences generally have several professionals who can share insights that may help you with your writing, marketing, and more.
You can also choose to invest in a coach who can educate you about important writing and business skills you need to take your craft to the next level. This may be more costly, so make sure you budget accordingly. If you really need help from a coach to improve your writing, but are low on funds, you could find conventional and unconventional ways to generate some cash.
Make genuine connections.
When trying to grow a readership, it is vital to make genuine connections--not just the ones where you want something. Many readers (like me) want to connect with you. You don’t have to share your entire life story, but you can share pieces of yourself that make your readers know you are a real person, and not just some robot sitting behind a computer screen. Find a way to do this that is authentic to you. This could be through video such as the Facebook live feature, Periscope, or whatever medium you desire.