Audience. Tribe. Readers. Community.
Whichever name you assign to the readership of your blog, the truth is, we all want to invest in and grow our audience. Whether your blog is focused on increasing your business or building a platform for other speaking or writing opportunities or offering practical tips for daily life, the message you are sharing is one you believe in and want to share with others.
But how do we get those “others” connected to us online? As I’ve worked on my talks for She Speaks, I’ve been asking bloggers what their biggest struggle is in this area. From their answers, I have identified four questions you to ask to help grow your audience, build your tribe, increase your readers, and engage your community.
Where is my target audience already engaged online?
Pay attention to where your audience is right now. For example, is there a group on Goodreads interested in the type of book you are writing? Are there any Twitter hashtags you could begin following to connect? Another great way to connect with your target audience is through guest posting on popular blogs they read. Google is your friend in this! Search for your target audience and make notes about where they are. Start building relationships in existing communities but be careful not to self-promote. Remember, growing your audience and building a community will take time.
What connections do I already have with my target audience?
Take a step back and consider where you are already linked with your audience. Include everything including blogs you have guest posted or are a regular contributor. Are you a part of a Facebook or Google+ group that is part of your target audience? For each item on your list, brainstorm at least one way to connect and then get busy. Give yourself a timeline and start taking action to deeper connections.
What are specific actions I can take to improve my connection with my target audience?
As you consider where your target audience is and what connections you already have with them, it is important to identify specific ways you can build relationships. Laying a solid foundation is vital to the process. All those “old school” methods of growing your blog still have great value. Leave meaningful comments, send an email to an author whose book has influenced you, introduce yourself to that Facebook group you joined. When someone comments on your blog posts, reply! When someone follows you on Twitter, thank them. When someone pins your post on Pinterest, leave a quick comment on their pin. All of these “little” things can make a huge difference in building a loyal audience. How can I use my influence offline to grow my reach online with my target audience?
How can I use my relationships offline to improve my influence online?
Don’t ignore your offline connections — they can help you build online connections! If you are part of a local moms group, write about it and ask other members of the group to share the post as well. When you speak with a local group, be sure to hand out your business cards with your website prominently listed. Make a list of all your connections, online and off, with your target readers. Use the list to brainstorm more ways to connect. Local connections can be one of your most valuable assets. Don’t neglect to invest in them.
Building a tribe takes time. Growing your audience will require intentionality and focus. But you can do this! Set your goals and do the work. Just remember not to lose sight of your biggest motivator: to share your message with people. The very best way to connect with others is to be authentic.