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7 Strategies to Invite More People Into Your Audience

Do you want to grow your blog’s audience? Today Chris Brogan shares some strategies on just how to do that.

It took me years to start figuring out how to grow my blog’s community such that it was steady and sustainable. A few years back, I figured out how to hit the Digg front page from time to time, but that never amounted to anyone sticking around. It was the equivalent of yelling, “Hey! Free beer!” and then the frat boys would show up, drink it all, and leave. Now? I’ve developed some methods by which I’ve grown my community at a steady but respectable pace. Leave the frat boys for the “get rich quick” crowd. I’ve got other plans you can work instead. Here are 7 strategies you can review, and see if any match your blogging goals.

  1. The Outpost Strategy – the simple plan is to locate the various places and ways you can point out your blog across the web. Add your RSS feed to your Facebook profile (and use some of the cool 3rd party apps that let you promote blog posts into the stream- I like Simplaris Blogcast)
  2. The Offering Strategy – provide free resources. Brian Solis builds great offerings all over the place, including ebooks, graphics, and more. Offerings keep people around, if only to add to their arsenal of useful things. See also Chris Pearson and his inexpensive WordPress themes.
  3. The Helpful Strategy – instead of being a consultant and asking “how can I help?” all the time, I like to imagine ways to be helpful, and then build posts that point out some starting point information. This gives me two benefits: it helps me find potential clients, and it grows entire populations of people who linger on my blog waiting for me to write about their vertical again.
  4. The Opinion Strategy – learn what others have to say by cultivating a culture of questions. Okay, I’ll admit that this isn’t as much a strategy of mine as a proclivity. I ask questions of people all the time. I know what I think. I want to know what YOU think. It’s one of the top ways I build audience, however, and I swear by it.
  5. The Media Engine Strategy – my approach for ensuring that you keep coming back isn’t that far off from Darren: make new stuff all the time. One reason this is useful is that it’s harder for people to copy cat. The other reason is that if we pump out decent posts all the time, you trigger other benefits because you bookmark the ones you can’t get to right away. If the bookmark is social (Delicious, StumbleUpon, Ma.gnolia, etc), you’ve just shot up a flare telling others that you think the piece is worthwhile. Either way, the tactics under this strategy are endless.
  6. The Timing Strategy – have you figured out when your best audience days are? Why aren’t you putting a “great” post in reserve for those days? And when you do that, when you get a post that you know is going to kill, write a post that will show up on the blog a few hours later (schedule it) that emphasizes subscribing to your RSS feed. Other tactics in this strategy including putting up an amazing post before attending a conference, so that people will check you out at the event and find some great material there.
  7. The Strategy Strategy – people love strategy, partly because most people get confused with which one is strategy and which are tactics. Strategy is the diet that helps you reach the goal. Tactics are ways to make sure the diet goes well. There, now figure out different ways to share strategy ideas with your audience, and they’ll stick around looking for other ways to feel smart.

As with all things, your mileage may vary. So far, my blog has been up in web-side visitors as well as RSS-side month after month. It’s working for me. If it doesn’t work in a few months or so of traffic, maybe dig into the content a bit and look for some fresh ideas there. Let me know which ones work best for you.

Chris Brogan is as surprised as you that his blog is in the top 20 of the Advertising Age Power150. He’s pleased as punch that he’s in the top 200 on Technorati. But more than anything, Chris wants to meet you in person at a conference, or on his blog at [chrisbrogan.com]

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. David says:

    I’m just starting out so this advice is much appreciated. I’m only in my second week and I’ve got a great deal more to learn, but I’m trying. Thanks. Dave.

  2. I prefer the helpful strategy. Every life is filled with learning literally thousands of concepts; sometimes we simply don’t realize what we’ve learned. All it takes is:

    1. Knowing What You Know
    2. Writing it and Publishing It
    3. Letting Others Know What You Know

    That’s the key to building a successful audience base.

  3. Caruso says:

    I liked this article, is very productive. I am Venezolano and i have still to learn english better for understanding. I am thinking in translate some interesting post that I have seen recently in this blog. I wait you don’t have problem with it.

    Congratulation to you for your blog (It Is the first blog in English that I have added to my Google Reader)

    Saludos!

  4. Jarret says:

    Nice tips and post Chris.

    I am always looking for more ways to build up readers instead of visitors.

  5. I think nothing matches the “creating great content” strategy. Every other strategy helps people miss the most important one.

  6. All great strategies, and implementing only a few of them really well is all it should take. Word smarter, not harder.

  7. Sid Savara says:

    I think the helpful strategy is what it comes down to – if you’re providing helpful, informative articles people are going to keep coming back. Although you’re right – you need to get your feed out there everywhere so people see that you’re around and aware that you have content they would be interested in.

    That’s also why I interact on Personal Development forums with my site in my signature – I never promote my site, I just promote myself and answer questions: people see that I’m knowledgeable, and are curious to see what my site is about.

  8. I am an avid reader of Chris. He has many great ideas.

  9. WD Favour says:

    There you go again Darren…! Ok, in the spirit of sharing let me share an idea. Actually, a friend of mine me an email yesterday asking that we set up some sort of online book club. Those of us who can would edit books that we read, then put the summaries online for some others who are not so much into reading… He suggested that the summaries be posted on my site and others contribute to it. Well, I asked that the location be rotated. Others can then subscribe to it and so on…Guess what? I already have 10 subcribers just by placing the idea on my site today…the interest is so high… I guess that’s my contribution to your generous spirit of idea sharing today…

    Happy Blogging!!!

  10. Mike Nichols says:

    This post really hit home, because I have been trying to come up with ways to get more people into my audience.

    My niche is rather specialized, and there are not too many other on-topic blogs or forums to “advertise” myself on. In fact, most of my referral traffic comes from off-topic blogs and forums!

    You can be sure I’ll think of these 7 strategies long and hard!

    Thanks, Chris, for a great post!

  11. joe gelb says:

    thankyou for the article, I’ll work on the timeing for a bettar blog

  12. Ed Shaz says:

    Man Darren! You really let the neighborhood go all to h*ll!

    hehe. J/K

    There are a few blogs I get to everyday without fail,
    no matter how busy.
    I mean on those days when you can’t get online but
    for a few minutes, there are a handful that are ‘home’.

    You two have a community, because people
    can certainly see that you’re there. You care.
    This is big and real, and your integrity goes into
    it everyday.

  13. Sunil Pathak says:

    Hi Chris

    thanks for these strategies

    i particularly like The Helpful Strategy , it works best then any other strategies you discussed today. i some time review my readers blog, and point out things that need update or change, this generosity have brought me reasonable readers and subscriber in this 2 month,

  14. Thanks for the advise Chris. Curious: Do these same principles apply when building an online community that is more geared towards a web app a person may have developed?

  15. Tabs says:

    Thank you for taking a step out of the get rich quick attitude bloggers are now forced to have. Yes, we need traffic, we need people to visit our sites but most so called “probloggers” – present company not included, provide information that puts bloggers in desperation mode. Great tips for anyone trying to grow an organic blog. If you find yourself wanting to get loads and loads of money next week, well there is no straight and narrow way to do it. Even the crooked way requires more time, work and money than most new bloggers can afford.

    Take a hint from the successful bloggers or anyone that is starting a business the right way, hold on to your day job until you can afford to quit.

    -Tabs

  16. Great strategies to live by. Your post made we remember that our blogging is a business and every business needs a business plan or strategy. Thanks again!

  17. SWEET! I was wondering about how to get my blog posts up on Facebook. Worked like a charm. Thanks Chris!

  18. Hi ..Chris,

    hanks a lot for ur advise and article, its great for me who is newbie in blog source. I want to trying those strategy.

  19. @TheAdventurist – very happy that worked.

    @Sunil – I’m glad that worked for you. Congrats on bringing more reasonable readers and subscribers.

    @Mike – excellent. And try out one or two at a time. No need to rush in all over the place. : )

    @the rest of you swell folks – thanks for your feedback, too. Glad to see it was useful.

  20. I thought the most interesting part of this post was the paragraph at the end where Chris explains who he is. This part drew me in, even though it was obvious self-promotion. Very creative! Much more interesting than the normal guest post mumbo-jumbo.

  21. Webomatik says:

    I like the strategy strategy strategy! I never thought this would make a sentence :) Actually, visitors who feel smart after reading your blog is excellent idea, even feelsmart.net is available…

  22. Julien says:

    Interesting post!!!
    I’m still having trouble promoting my blog (http://mylifeiscrap.com) because I can’t really use the helpful strategy on there. Sure, it might make people feel better but I can’t offer ebooks or anything…I’ve tried the facebook thing…but appart from posting my url anywhere I can to draw audience (facebook is pretty good for that), while also contributing with my comment and not simply spaming I’m getting stuck. If someone can give me an honnest opinion about what I could do to draw more traffic to my “hard to promote” blog I’d appreciate: [email protected]

    Thanks for this post though…I’m going to work through it and see what works!

  23. I like the # 7 The Strategy Strategy. Since to achieve any goals I believe that one has to have a Strategy which will help him to identify his goals and to achieve them as well.

  24. Frode H says:

    Start by writing a xx steps to whatever. And then write a new more in depth post about each step, and do link from one to the other all the time. Works for me so far.

  25. nisha singh says:

    Great article. I can’t wait to try your tips and see the results.

  26. masdhenk says:

    Yes, I agree and the most powerful strategy listed above i think is : Offering stretegy and sharing to others..

  27. timmyjohnboy says:

    Thanks for this post! I’m “newish” to social networks and appreciated the tip about adding my posts to facebook. I was in the process of finding a better option than adding my RSS feed to the notes section! Thanks again!

  28. Ryan McLean says:

    I love how there is a strategy strategy. I love strategies and I am using this to build my blog. Each month I am showing my readers my progress so it encourages them now to stay a part of my blog and to build their own and also so 1-2 years down the track I can look back at the stats for each month and see how far I can come.
    I believe being original and different is a key aspect to building readers and keeping them. Everyone wants to read something a little different to what they can read everywhere else

  29. gout says:

    very good strategy…..not easy to implemented, thanks…

  30. CoolProducts says:

    Hey Chris, thanks for the advice. Would you say it is more effective to try and stick with one strategy and really tailor your site to that one strategy, or to find two or three strategies that work well for you and combine them into some hybrid. Making the hybrid strategy may end up working well, but potentially could really confuse things and make a mess for yourself. What do you think?

  31. Thanks for the great high-level guidance Chris, and the Simplaris Blogcast mention is much appreciated! I always enjoy your content on MarketingProfs (the ‘Social Media Toolkit’ was a great cheat sheet this summer). You’re right on the money, and we’ll certainly put your advice in this post to good use on our Simplaris Launch Blog.

    Although, I couldn’t help but notice one missing point:

    The Seth Godin Endorsement Strategy

    J/k, of course, but congrats on yours today! Never hurts ;)

    Anyway, as the proud sponsors of Simplaris Blogcast, I know that the guys behind it are working very hard every day to continually enhance its value.

    @The Adventurist, @timmyjohnboy and @[anyone else who uses Simplaris Blogcast]: We’re really glad it’s working well for you, and thanks for your support!

  32. Video19 says:

    It’s hard for me since I am a newbie in blogging. But I will learn more, and more .. :) Thanks for this great article.

  33. Tinh says:

    Great tips, I think I totally agree with you in this post. T

  34. dhairaz says:

    For the start, I’ll try # 3 strategy. Thanks.

  35. Helpful Cat says:

    I think the best is to provide free stuff like themes, but people who do it run for large number of posts but for quality! Its hard to find free and nice. Usually later you prefer to by than to download…hope it will change, and will also provide free stuff myself to help beginners on my blog:
    http://www.design-hosting-domain.com

  36. saleel says:

    Hey Chris, The outpost strategy is really meaningfull. worth to do as you said. i didnt ignore your other strategies. Anyways. really want to give more attention on my facebook. thanks

  37. Outlety says:

    Quite nice strategies – I use no. 3. But after this post I will try to use other ones. Thanks.