You’ve done it. You’ve started a blog. You’ve dreamed of this moment; start a blog, pound out an article or three every week while leaning back and collecting that sweet banner ad cash. The way you see it, you’ll be telling your boss to shove it in less than a month!
It’s not a bad idea. You’ve found a niche you’re passionate about and one that you know inside and out. You’re honestly a pretty good writer. You make words sizzle and pop and you don’t even have an English degree.
But it doesn’t happen. Two months later, you’re sitting at your desk at 2 AM, frazzled as you try to figure out why you aren’t getting that crucial fuel in making a successful blog run: traffic. You’ve been sharing it to your Facebook and your friends seemed mildly intrigued. Your aunt from Vermont even commented on the actual blog a couple of times!
Go you, right?
There’s plenty going for you. The passion is there. The drive is there. The niche knowledge is there. So what’s going wrong?
If the web is a city, then you’re not leaving your neighborhood. To be blunt, you haven’t really left your house and you’re wondering why you’re still single.
If this tree would just uproot and walk around, he might make some friends. Don’t be this tree. No, the bush doesn’t count. That’s your cat.
How do you fix this?
There are countless blogs on the internet and everyday countless more are created. Most of them will never be seen by anyone outside of a small friends circle.
Don’t let that be you.
The web that we now live in is social.
You have to go out and make friends. There are incredible tools at your disposal and you already use many of them. But you may not be using them to their full potential. Let’s look at a few.
Use Twitter. Every time you make a blog post, have a tweet sent out. But how do you build your followers? Twitter is a very friendly social platform and less personal than say, Facebook. Twitter has a great system for searching keywords that people are tweeting about. Have you ever tweeted about a company and within the hour the company’s official Twitter responds to you? That’s what you need to do. Find your audience and engage them! Massive corporations are now using social media on a very personal level and this should show you how important this kind of connection is.
Instagram your life. Are you a cooking guru or fashionista on a budget? Awesome! Let’s see! Show us the cool swag you scored at the local thrift store. Show us the freshly-baked cookies from that recipe you just improvised. And like Twitter, Instagram has keywords. Go find other people with your interests and connect with them. Like their photos, comment on them, share ideas, make new friends!
Oh, and I wasn’t picking on Facebook earlier; Facebook is an excellent social tool! Just be sure to bust out of your comfort zone. Make a fan page to keep your personal profile separated (and there’s a friend count limit anyway).
Consider how your current (and potential!) fan base is choosing to read your content. More than half of web traffic today is coming from mobile devices. Does your website look cluttered on a smartphone? Probably. Get an app. Put it in the App Store or the Google Play store. Link to it on all of your social media profiles. Let people know that as they try to read content on the go, you’re right there with them.
Apps such as ours give your followers the entire blog experience in a much cleaner mobile environment, complete with all the commenting and social sharing features that they would have on the desktop site.
But amid the excitement of discovering social media’s power, there is an important thing to keep in mind. Don’t be obnoxious. For instance, a popular tactic on Twitter that generally backfires is following thousands of random accounts in the hopes that they follow you back. If they haven’t within a few days, you’ll just unfollow them, right?
Don’t be that guy.
“Read my blog! Read my blog! Read my blog! Why won’t you read my blog?”
Don’t use other people as a means to boost your follower count. Care about and interact with them. Don’t pretend to. Really do it. Talk to your followers on all of your social networks. Ask questions. Engage them. Get their opinions. Come up with creative ways to involve them in your content.
If you ignore people and treat them as nothing more than another notch in your popularity count, they won’t care about what you have to say. And why should they? You haven’t respected them or their thoughts, so why expect the same in return?
The new social web isn’t a one way road anymore. Your blog is no longer a beacon of enlightenment on a hill, basking the dirty peasants in a divine glow. The new social web is now a close-knit village where everyone can interact in an increasing variety of ways.