This Guest post on the topic of Using MySpace to Build a Blogging Audience was submitted by Kevin Palmer from Buzz Networker.
The preconceived notions that the blogging community has about MySpace and other social networking sites couldn’t be any more wrong. These social networking sites are valuable resources that allow you to target market to your specific niche. When I talk about MySpace with bloggers, most of them look down on the site with disdain. They feel that MySpace is a site designed for teens, sexual predators and that spending any time on there would be a waste to them.
If you look at MySpace’s demographics , you’ll see that the user base isn’t just a bunch of teenagers, with 36% of users being between the ages of 35-54. Each day there are about 500,000 blog posts published on the site covering diverse topic including politics, entertainment, technology, and a plethora of other topics. There is an audience reading these blogs that you can obtain. With a little effort and an understanding of how to target a market on MySpace, you can create word of mouth about your current blog or build a strong audience that you can transition off of MySpace when you are ready to launch a new blog.
Use Original Content to Build an Audience
I have seen a lot of bloggers post a static page on MySpace that acts as giant link to their blog. After having their page up for a few weeks they will complain that they aren’t generating any traffic from it. There are a couple of reasons for that; users are typically reluctant to leave MySpace when they first encounter profiles with all outbound links. To a lot of users, MySpace is a one stop shop. They don’t even realize (or perhaps equally like, care) that there is a blogging community outside of MySpace. You need to take the time to write original content at least once a week and engage your MySpace readers. By doing this you will create a loyal reader base that will follow you to your blog away from MySpace, creating a quality and consistent source of traffic.
Take Advantage of MySpace’s Powerful Search Features
The other reason why bloggers don’t see a return from their MySpace page is that they don’t take the time to target market. MySpace has search features that allow you to target people based on their location, age, gender, keywords, interests, and numerous other demographic information. These powerful search features aren’t limited to individual profiles – you can also scour the site for groups based on various keywords.
Take the keyword “Photography” for example. When searching for Photography groups, the first three groups have a collective 117,000 members. That is the huge audience that MySpace gives you access to! Right there is a large starting group to which you can offer blog invites and friend invites to, as well as posting within the bulletin board of that group.
Target Blogs within Your Niche
Examine the MySpace blog rankings and find blogs that are within your niche. Once you have identified the leaders, target their audience using Technorati as a tool to determine who their subscribers are. This is a little bit of an involved technique which I explained on my social networking blog here.
While this technique takes some time and effort, the success rate (determined by the number of people that will subscribe to your blog) is about 1 in every 3 invites sent. Personally, I have been highly successful using this technique and so have my clients. It is a really powerful technique that is definitely worth the time investment.
Other Things to Consider When Using MySpace to Build Your Blog’s Readership
- MySpace blog readers are not big RSS users. When I moved away from MySpace, close to 75% of my readers chose to sign up to my site via e-mail instead of RSS. Make sure you have that option for them to sign up to e-mail updates and make sure that the instructions are clear.
- Did you know that you can directly invite people to read your MySpace blog? If you go to their blog page on MySpace under their avatar is a link titled “Invite to My Blog”. By clicking this link it will directly invite the writer of that blog to become a reader of yours.
- Once you build up your friends list and blog subscribers to around 2000 users, create word of mouth by asking people to repost links to your posts. Make sure you create a text box for them to cut and paste the link to your blog. Don’t assume they can handle the HTML. If you make it easy, you will be surprised how many people are willing to do this for you.
- Typical blogging practices go a long way on MySpace. Commenting on other people’s blogs is considered a best practice for building a readership on any blogging platform. On MySpace a good profile picture, a witty name, and an entertaining comment go extremely far in drawing traffic to your page. You will notice the results almost immediately.
The growth of MySpace and similar social networking make these sites vital ways to advertise yourself or your website as well as establishing a brand. By spending a few minutes a day using focused techniques, you can build a significant audience. Don’t discount these sites or look down upon them. Like any other community, you can find people with the same interests as you or your company. Knowing how and where to find them is the key.
Read more of Kevin Palmer work at Buzz Networker.