The second most popular question I get after “how do I get more blog traffic?” is “how do I grow my audience?”
Very, very smart questions.
And if you’ve been asking yourself the same things recently, you’re in the right place!
Growing your audience is a key component to growing your blog. I mean, without your audience, your blog is just an online personal diary. Which is totally cool if that’s your intention for it 😉
But for those of you who want to make an impact online and eventually turn your blog into a business, you need to really focus on the audience-building stage of your journey.
In this post, I’m going to share 9 tips to grow your audience by creating a community around your blog.
If you’re ready to take some action and start cultivating genuine connections online while helping people through the power of your blog, keep on reading!
Why Create Community?
If you’re starting this post a little skeptical wondering…”why a community?” allow me to give you the low-down.
I’m sure you’ve read a few posts on Pinterest stressing the idea of “find your tribe!” and yep, I’m preachin’ that too.
When you’re just starting out as a new blogger, the best way to get yourself noticed is to foster relationships with your target audience and other bloggers in a similar niche or focus to you.It's a blogger eat blogger world out there, so we need to band together and lift each other up. Click To Tweet
Competition is OUT, community is where it’s at.
Need more convincing? I have a whole blog post on why you should create community and NOT competition.
Now that you’re convinced, let’s jump into these community-building strategies.9 Ways to Grow Your Blog Audience By Creating a Community Click To Tweet
1. Create a Stand Out Brand
When we think of the big brands like Starbucks, Target, and Apple we know that a certain kind of person shops at those places, right?
Then there are other people that prefer to go to Dunkin Donuts, Walmart, and Microsoft.
And we need to do the same exact thing with our blogs.
Your brand should seek to attract a group of like-minded people who share similar values, beliefs, interests, and goals.
You’re the “leader” and everyone rallies around YOU.The first step to creating a community around your blog is creating your BRAND! Click To Tweet
Beyond the aesthetics, feeling, and similar interests, branding also involves creating a community of loyalists that all band together.
You provide a place for them to go when they want to connect with others. Your target readers are out there SEARCHING for you. Go get them!!
The first key ingredient of building your brand is your mission. You need to know what your blog stands for, who it helps, and how you help them.
From there, you can design a brand that looks, feels, and is 100% YOU.
I met Kristen last summer and we’ve had the privilege of hanging out a few times grabbing coffee, exploring, and doing that whole #bloggerthing
2. Attract the Right People
The right people are also known as your target audience.
When it comes to growing an engaged audience and community, you really need to hone in on who you’re trying to attract.
I’ve said this many times before: If you try to attract everyone, you’re going to attract no one.
Many bloggers who are struggling to grow their blogs 9 times out of 10 do not have a specific idea of who they’re trying to help.
When I ask bloggers who their target audience is, they often tell me it’s both men and women (they don’t want to exclude anyone!) and are between the ages of 18 and late 30s.
Sometimes they have them pinned to a broad geographic area such as the United States.
This is a good starting place…but you need to GO DEEPER.If you want to grow your audience, you need to hone in on who you're trying to attract. Click To Tweet
When I work with my clients I LOVE helping them uncover their target reader.
We spend a lot of time on this because it is a very important step in your growth strategy if you want to succeed in the long run.
When you can get specific about who you’re trying to help, you’ll be able to write content that SPEAKS to them.
It’ll be like you’re reading their mind.
Your blog will stand out to them, they’ll want to learn more, and then they’ll join your community.
Want to take action and work through some exercises to uncover your target reader? Sign up to get a FREE chapter from my eBook below!
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Get your free chapter to learn how to grow a successful blog with or WITHOUT a niche!
3. Position Yourself as an Expert
One of your top priorities should be to position yourself as an expert in an area your target audience is struggling with.
Whatever questions they are asking and trying to find online, you want to lead them to YOU!
You want to become their go-to resource for whatever that thing is.
For me, it’s authentic + actionable blogging tips…with a little sass on the side.
Bloggers come to me for strategies that WORK. They are tired of all the fluffy crap on Pinterest.
They want to learn from someone who is relatable and driven to help them succeed.
They also need a little guidance and the occasional kick in the butt to make sure they’re heading in the right direction.
And that’s what I give them.
The best way to position yourself as an expert (especially when you’re just starting out) is to start with your content.Blogger tip: Strive to become the go-to resource on a specific topic that your target audience is struggling! Click To Tweet
Get intentional with your content and only write IN-DEPTH and incredibly helpful blog posts that your target audience is desperately in search of.
Take it a step further and sprinkle the value into your social media posts and newsletters.
Then be consistent. When you show up and OVERDELIVER on the regular you will really start to stand out and catch people’s attention.
4. Create an Email List
Having an email list for your blog is ESSENTIAL for many reasons, but the biggest one being that it allows you to build a strong relationship with your readers.
And in the blogging world, RELATIONSHIPS = AUDIENCE!
Now, you don’t want to just throw sign up forms on your blog, tell people to “join my email list!” and expect the subscribers to come pouring it.
What you DO want to do is get intentional with your email list and present it as an exclusive community that your target audience NEEDS to be on.
And it all starts with the opt-in freebie.
Lure them in with an exclusive freebie that is the answer to their prayers and they’ll be a loyal fan for life.
But be careful. If you create a freebie that isn’t directly aligned with your mission, brand, and target reader, you’ll grow a following, but not a community.
5. Give Your Readers a Name
People want to feel included.
I mean, I’ve wanted to feel included all my life. As that shy girl who always felt left out…I was ALWAYS in search of some inclusion.
The best way to do that is to give your community a name!
For me, you guys are my “squad.”
I know that other popular terms are “tribe” or “fam” so have fun and get a little creative with it!
And if you can’t think of anything…ask your current audience to help you! They will LOVE being part of the process. It makes them feel…included 🙂
6. Create a Facebook Group
To expand on the point about positioning yourself as an expert, creating a Facebook group is a GREAT way to do this!
And if you want to sell products or services down the road…you will most definitely want to start one.
When I rebranded I had a vision for my blog: I wanted to create a positive community for down-to-earth bloggers.
I’m so happy to see how far my In Search of Blog Squad group has come!
We’d love to have you join us. Click here to join the squad!
Here are some awesome Facebook Groups my blogger friends have created (that aren’t just for bloggers!)
- Reroute Lifestyle created by Krista Aoki for goal-getters who want to become their own CEO
- The Brew Crew created by Summer Telban for bloggers & creatives who value authenticity + self-care
- Glittery Go(al) Getters created by Cassie Campbell for millennial entrepreneurs who are ready to start creating a life and business full of glitter!
- Surviving Our Twenties created by Rubi Mancilla for millennials trying to figure out that whole adulting thing
7. Connect On Social Media
Social media is a tool often hyped up for driving traffic to your blog. (Pinterest is the best strategy for that.)
But it is equally powerful for putting yourself out there and forging relationships with your target audience and other bloggers in your niche.
Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook groups are great platforms to
- put yourself out there and
- get noticed by the people you’re trying to attract into your community.
The thing you need to remember though is that you need to be proactive and initiate the conversations.
Don’t wait for people to come to you! Follow other bloggers you want to connect with.
Make sure you’re leaving comments, retweeting, and sending direct messages. Turn this into a daily task.
You must spread the love in order to receive the love!
I met my blogger friend Keri last summer too! We have been internet friends for YEARS and finally met up. We’re both Tauruses and she’s the cutest thing ever AND SO SWEET!
8. Plan a Virtual Coffee Date
Reach out to a few select bloggers you really want to connect with and propose to have a virtual coffee chat!
As bloggers, it can get pretty lonely if we’re not surrounded by other people who know what the #bloglife is like.
Having one short conversation with another blogger, even if it’s via Skype, can really do wonders.
I reached out to Catherine of The Blissful Mind a few months ago with questions about starting my coaching program. I had been following her on social media for a little while and was obsessed with her blog.Don't be scared to email or direct message a blogger you admire! It's a great way to spark a friendship 🙂 Click To Tweet
In a way, I viewed her as someone “higher” up than me on the blogger totem pole, and I was kind of the fangirl.
She responded with the question: “Do you want to have a video chat? I have so much to tell you!”
I was in aw! She wanted to take the time out of her day to just CHAT with me and share her tips and advice on starting a coaching business.
And now we’ve become blogger friends! Too bad she lives all the way on the west coast…Catherine we will meet one day lol!
If you can take away one thing from this little story…don’t be scared to email or direct message a blogger you admire or have a question for.
We’re all humans and want to connect!
9. HAVE AN IN REAL LIFE BLOGGER MEET UP!
It’s easy to get caught up in online marketing strategies, but the truth is that everyone is still in search of REAL LIFE interaction.
Connect with bloggers who live close to you and arrange a meetup! Or try and scope out any in your area and ATTEND THE EVENT.
There are a lot of Facebook groups out there specifically for bloggers in certain geographic areas.
If you’re in the Pennsylvania/New Jersey/Delaware area you can join this group I’m a part of here!
That’s actually how I arranged a trip with three other bloggers last summer. It was a BLAST and hanging out in person took our online friendships to the next level.
Connecting with someone in person will always have such a huger impact than connecting with someone online.
Last summer I was on a mission to meet up with as many bloggers as I could and I met 5!
I can’t wait to meet more of you guys this year and in the future 🙂
9 Tips to Create a Community Around Your Blog
- Create a Stand Out Brand
- Attract the Right People
- Position Yourself as an Expert
- Start an Email List
- Give Your Readers a Name
- Create a Facebook Group
- Connect on Social Media
- Plan a Virtual Coffee Date
- Have an IRL Blogger Meet Up
Now I want you to pick just ONE of these 9 things and commit to working on it in the next few weeks.
Think About Your Next Steps:
- Do you need to work on your brand to set your foundation and figure out how you’ll become an expert in a specific area?
- Do you need to spend some time figuring out your target reader? Download a free chapter from my eBook or book a strategy session with me. Let’s figure it out!
- Maybe you need to finally start that damn email list you keep telling yourself you’ll get to.
- Or maybe it’s as simple as finding the courage to shoot an email to your favorite blogger.
WHATEVER IT IS. Pick one that you think will push you CLOSER to your goals this year and DO IT.
Now go tell me what that one thing is you’re going to commit to down below! I am here to encourage you. You got this babe!
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