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A Secret to Finding New Subscribers for Your Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 6th of February 2008 Blog Promotion, Featured Posts, RSS 0 Comments

‘How do I find new subscribers for my blog?’

This question hits my inbox so regularly that I that I’d answer it publicly rather than retyping my answer to each person who asks – it’s a topic that is on the mind of many bloggers these days so lets tackle it head on.

I’ve written an extended entry on this topic with 11 practical suggestions at Ways to Find New RSS Subscribers for Your Blog – however there’s one ‘secret’ that I’m increasingly convinced is a key to increasing subscriber numbers on a blog.

I say ‘secret’ because it eluded me for years – although in the end it was staring me in the face.

This ‘secret’ has helped me build both of my blogs into the 40,000 subscriber range (and beyond) and it’s something I see many other bloggers using to build their blogs – sometimes strategically and sometimes intuitively.


Today I want to introduce this secret and then over the next few days I want to follow it up with some practical tips on how to use it in practice.

At the hear of what I want to talk about is a simple question:

Why do People Subscribe to Feeds?

I am sure there are numerous reasons that people subscribe to a blogs feed – however in most cases they simple truth is that they subscribe for one obvious yet powerful reason:

they think that the blog might produce content that they’ll want to know about at some point in the future.

As I say – this is a simple (and very obvious) truth – but it is actually a secret to building RSS subscriber numbers and it’s worth repeating.

People will subscribe to your blog if they think that it will enhance their lives in some way in the foreseeable future.

Ponder that for a few moments before reading on…..

Perhaps instead of asking ‘how can I get people to subscribe to my blog’ a better question to ask is:

‘how can I convince people that I will write something tomorrow, next week or next month that they just can’t miss out on.’

This ‘secret’ of building your subscriber numbers to your blog is to create a sense of anticipation in those who visit your blog. Build this and you’ll find people seek out ways to track with you rather than you having to find ways to shove your means of anticipation down their throats.

How to Create Anticipation on a Blog

My hypothesis is that creating a sense of anticipation among your readers increases the chances that they’ll subscribe to it.

But how do you do it?

This is where I create a little anticipation of my own and let you know that I’m going to unpack this further tomorrow when I’ll give you some practical tips on how to create anticipation on your blog. (update: here’s my next two posts in this series –how to build anticipation on your blog and more on how to build anticipation on your blog).

In the mean time – some questions for discussion:

  • How do you build anticipation on your blog?
  • How have you seen others do it effectively?

Feel free to share specific examples if you’ve got them.

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 and LinkedIn.
  1. i really need to learn this tactics and pay attention to detail.

  2. Terrific post. I completely agree with your thoughts here, and I am really looking forward to your upcoming posts.

  3. In my opinion, a series of posts should be like different chapters in a book… All loosely based on the same topic, but each with their own main theme. Having to wait another day for a continuation of the same idea makes me want to hit the unsubscribe link and be done with it.

  4. I am in the beginning stages of my wifes local real estate blog. It seems most folks in our local area are not RSS feed savy. For the most part blog savy. So email subscriptions seem to be understandable solution. Anybody elses opinion on email vs feeds?

  5. Anticipation comes in many forms and creates quite the buzz. We are by no means a big site with 1000’s of visitors per day. Now in our 9th month of existence we have seen our unique visitor rate climb from 10 per day to now 300 per day all with content. We have found that adding a “contest” with a real prize has now created a surge in the month of march. We have an article writing contest with a case of our Mona Vie juice as the prize. In itself this is a $140 gift and we plan on doing this every month.

    By having an article contest we also create MORE content on our site which enriches our pull on the Net itself. Yes, its a bit more work for us but by the end of this first ever contest we should have some interesting pull stats to review….

  6. Scott, Real Estate is visual. Both in the product you are managing for sale and the person/agent (your wife in this case) looking for prospects that can meet all the requirements to purchase the home or property. We found that email was one level of good communication but clearly not a personal approach. We found a company that provides Video Email but not by sending MB’s to the inbox. They send you a nicely configured (visually) email that is clickable to a site where they host and manage the actual video message. We have quite a few Real Estate and Travel Agents using this service now. We use it to thank our clients and make them aware of anything special like our Monthly Contest but with a visual email that carries our brand. Click on my name above and you will go to the service site. This is a great addition to blogging!

  7. Darren:

    You have some good ideas in your post. as well as several of the comments have hit upon this as well, but I’m not really in a position where I can consistantly follow a posting schedule or know what my next post will be. I find myself to be drowning in all the administrative things (which are all new to me) and searching to find decent information about attacting new readers. For me it is annoying when I find a post that I think will help and then I need try to find the rest of the post or worse find that it is only a teaser. Something to consider. I do hope that I can get into a postion where I can ceate and follow a posting schedule and build anticipation.


  8. I agree with your post. My entire blog is built upon anticipation (I hope) as I tell the story of my real estate investment exploits complete with the actual financial performance of my deals. Just starting and tough getting the name out there. However, your blog has saved me a ton of time trying to figure it out by myself.


  9. Thanks for giving me so much to think about. I’m an old blogger– but just recently have started thinking about it as a much more important tool for me, as a self-employed designer.

    I’m really enjoying trying to find my own ways to put your advice to use, and I’m now checking problogger lately.

    Thanks for sharing all this info.


  10. I look forward to learning about this. In a sense I detect that you used this as a way to make anticipation on this post : p.

  11. Anticipation is a wonderful thing and you’ve shown that anticipation is the driving force that keeps us coming back again and again to a blog that’s exciting and insightful.

    Thanks again Darren for another wonderful article.


  12. I think anticipation is key. Your blog must create urgency so people can feel the importance.

  13. Great article, I’ve recently started a blob on my site and will certainly be taking all your comments on board to make it a success. Many thanks. Gareth

  14. Yes… Anticipation.

    The only problem with this is that you have to publish a series of related articles, you just can’t pick a random subject and go… After all, if you create anticipation, you don’t want to let your readers down.

  15. I didn’t read all the comments but this is definitely a good post for anticipation since we would have to wait to find out the full scoop.

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