Find New Readers for Your Blog with Todays Blogging Challenge

Today is day 3 in our 31 Day Challenge and today your task is to promote your blog by sharing one of your previously published blog posts (perhaps even your list post from yesterday)!

This is an activity that bloggers really need to be focusing regular attention on so I hope that some of the tips I share in todays episode will become a regular part of your daily blogging workflow.

In this Episode

Building readership for your blog is a question I’m asked about every day and there’s a lot to say about it so I start off talking in slightly more general terms but then give you some specific ways to promote your blog. Here’s what I cover.

  • Why a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality doesn’t work
  • 6 phases of growing readership for your blog
  • 11 ways to promote your blog post

Here’s a graphic of the 6 phases from a talk I gave recently to help you visualise it.

promote blog finding readers

But as I say – today is very much about phase 4 of the process.

Your Challenge for Today

Choose one (or more) of the 11 ways mentioned in todays episode to promote your blog (or try another that wasn’t mentioned) and get off your blog and put some of your recently written pieces of content out there.

Note: Please go a little beyond what you normally do. If you normally push your posts out onto social media – do something a little extra and see what happens.

Tell Us What You Do! – Once you’ve promoted your post please let us know what you did in comments below these notes so we can learn from you. Also let us know what impact your actions have.

Other Links and Resources Mentioned In Todays Episode

I mention a couple of resources in todays episode that would make great further reading (and listening) on this important topic.

I’ve also included a few other relevant articles to the topic for you to check out if you want to dig deeper.

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Welcome to the ProBlogger Podcast episode 3 and day 3 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Today, I’ll challenge you to promote your blog and give you some tips on how to get some traffic to your blog. First, a quick word from our sponsor, 99designs, the best place for new businesses to build their brand. 99designs makes it easy to get your project off the ground with quality, affordable design. To get your logo, business card, mobile app, blog template or more, visit and get a $99 upgrade for free.

Hi, this is Darren Rowse from ProBlogger. Welcome to day 3 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Each day of this series—for a whole month—I’ll be sharing with you some tips on an important aspect of growing your blog, and then challenge you to go away and do something based upon that teaching. Today, we’re going to talk about promoting your blog. Actually getting off your blog, not just focusing upon creating content, and the design, and all the things to think about when it comes to your blog, but to get off it, and go hunting for some readers. Go promote something on your blog to someone else. 

This is really important. I actually see a lot of bloggers who have this mentality that if they build a good-enough blog, readers will just magically show up to it. For 99.9% of us, it just doesn’t work, particularly if you’re just starting out. There is some truth to the fact that if you’ve already got readers, that if you write great content, those readers might share your blog for you. Particularly in the early days when you’re just starting out, you need to be the one that is getting that content in front of people.

That’s what today is about, really getting off your blog and spending a little bit of time putting your blog out there. By putting your blog out there, I’m not just talking about sharing your URL. What I want to encourage you to do today—if you can—is to share a post. To put a post out there, not just your blog. This is one of the mistakes I see some bloggers doing is that they’re just constantly promoting the homepage of their blog, which is fine. It actually can help, but if you’re promoting a post, it’s much more likely to be read and to impact people. Then they might end up on your homepage and see what else you have. I really want to encourage you today in some way to put a post out there.

There’s a whole heap of different things that we could talk about. If you get the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook, there are 11 different ways that I suggest in there that you can promote a post. I want to touch on some of those now, but I also want to talk about six things that are important for bloggers in terms of building readership. Hopefully, this will help you as well. These actually I picked up in a webinar that I created, which I’ll share the link in the show notes for today, but I want to encourage you to just think about these six different phases of growing readership for your blog.

The first one is to think about who you’re trying to reach for your blog. I talk a lot about this. Again, in the show notes, I’ll share with you some links on building a reader profile, a persona, or an avatar of the type of person that you want to reach. For today, just picture in your mind, who is it that I’m trying to get to read my blog? What are their demographics? What is their age? What gender? Perhaps it’s not specific in those things, but go a little bit deeper and think about their needs. What problems do they have? What habits? What motivations do they have? What dreams do they have? What are their fears? What are their challenges? What are they trying to overcome? What experiences have they had?

The more you know about who you’re trying to reach, the better you’ll be in the position to find them. That’s part one, that’s stage one. Really thinking about your reader.

Part two is actually thinking about the content on your blog and the blog itself. That’s what these 31 days are about is helping you to create a blog that’s worth being found. That’s part two, create something that’s worth being found. That includes great content, which we focused on yesterday. It’s about being engaging, and having a community, having a design that’s usable, having an attractive brand. All of these things are important. You really do need to work on your blog. It’s not just getting out there all the time. You do need to focus on working on your blog. That’s part two. 

Part three is creating shareable content. Maybe your post yesterday that we did, creating a list post, that’s the content that might be shared. That’s why I put it on day two because it’s really important. Today might actually be about taking that post that you published hopefully yesterday and putting it out there. Certain types of content are more shareable than others. You don’t want to create shareable list posts every single day. You also want to write other types of content as well, but from time to time, throw that into the mix.

Phase four is getting off your blog, and that’s what really what today is about. It’s about participating in the places where your potential reader is already gathering. Once you’ve identified who you’re trying to reach as part of that process, you might want to start to think about where do they gather? Are they on social media? Are they in forums? Do they read other blogs? Do they go to real-life events in different ways? How can you participate in those places? How can you create value in those places? This part four, this fourth stage is really what we’ll focus on today.

Just to put it in context though phase five is probably the next part. This comes up later in our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. It’s about looking after the readers that you already have, and engaging with them, and building community with them, and making them feel like they have a sense of belonging on your blog. 

The other phase—this is really important as well—is building a sticky blog. Actually building some anticipation. Getting people to come back again. It’s great to have someone arrive on your blog for the first time, but you also want to give them a way to belong, to subscribe, to follow you, to connect with you so that they might come back again. Those are the overarching stages, the phases of growing readership for your blog that is really important to focus upon.

Today, I’m going to focus on this point four that I just talked about actually getting off your blog. I want to challenge you today to do something, to promote content, to take that piece of content and put it out there for people. It might not have a massive impact. You may just find one new reader today, but when you’re just starting out, one extra reader is a big thing. That’s where it starts for all of us. The challenge is to get your content out to someone.

Just a few ways that you might consider doing that today. Probably the easiest way for most of us is to put that content onto social media. That’s probably something that many of you’re already doing. If you don’t have any social media accounts yet, your challenge today might be to start one. If you do have social media accounts, put that content out there. Take the link from yesterday’s post and put it onto your Twitter account or your Facebook page. Whether that be your personal page or whether that be a page that you’ve already got set up.

To go beyond that, actually think about the other content that you’ve already got on your blog. How can you be promoting that? An activity that you might do today to help you find readers is to actually think about developing some editorial strategy for your Facebook page or for your Twitter account. This is something that I’ve done recently for the ProBlogger Twitter account. You might want to spend some time today actually thinking about that neglected social media account that you have.

Another strategy you might want to think about today is guest posting. Guest posting three or four years ago was massive. Everyone was submitting posts on other people’s blogs. A lot of people were doing that for search engine optimization. Google has changed the rules in the way it treats guest posts, so people aren’t doing it so much for those reasons. Guest posting is still really great for getting your name out there, for getting your brand out there.

Perhaps today is a day where you could write a piece of content for someone else’s blog. You may want to try to aim at a big blog, but that can be hard because big blogs get a lot of submissions. I want to encourage you today, think about a blog that’s about the same size as you. Maybe you can write a piece of content for them. Of course, as payment for that, your byline would have a link back to your blog. Don’t just have a link back to your blog, actually have a link back to a post that relates to the guest post that you’ve written. That’s another alternative that you can think about today.

Another thing that you could do to put yourself out there is to find a forum that relates to your blog’s content. For every blog topic, there’s a forum out there on a similar topic. Google it, forum for your keyword that you’re writing about and join that forum. Not with the intent of spamming, but of being useful in those places. You may just find that your potential reader is already gathering on those forums. You could become a member of that forum, answer questions, and be a useful person. In doing so, you build your profile. People want to know who’s behind that useful content that you’re submitting into a forum.

On Digital Photography School we have a forum. I know that a lot of the people there have actually built profiles for themselves among their readers simply by answering questions and by sharing useful information. Any forum owner is going to be more than happy for you to come and be useful.

Another thing that you might want to think about is pitching another blogger or a social media influencer. You need to be a little bit careful about this. You don’t want to be spammy. You want to be genuine. You want to be relevant. You want to be useful to them. I know for myself if someone messages me and says, “Here’s a post that I’ve written that I think might be really interesting to your readers.” More often than not, I’m open to sharing that on my Twitter account. I probably won’t blog about it because not what I use my blog for, but I’ll share that if I think my readers are going to benefit from it.

As long as I’m being pitched and you’re approaching me in a polite way, and as long as the link that you’re sharing is relevant, most people would be open to that. That might be something else that you want to think about today is to politely suggest something that you’ve written that is really relevant for a particular person and their audience.

Another thing that I did in the early days that might be helpful to you is to actually think about how could I speak at an event? How could I speak at a conference? Or how can I run a workshop for people? This might sound like it’s too grand and it’s too big, and you don’t have a profile to get a speaking engagement at a big conference. That may be true, but what I did in the early days, I volunteered at my local library to teach a class on digital cameras. My library was running regular free workshops for the local community on all kinds of topics. Is there somewhere that you could volunteer to speak?

I know for a fact that when I did these workshops in my local library that only 20 or 30 people came. I know for a fact that two or three of those people that I’ve met in some of those early workshops still read my blog today. I would bet that some of those people have brought other people along with them: family members, friends, or colleagues. You never know what that one extra reader that you find for your blog, what impact they might have on helping you to grow your blog. Again, that might be something you could do. Is there an event, is there a community space where you could volunteer to run a short workshop?

Another thing that I know has helped a lot of bloggers is to join a Facebook group of bloggers in particular niches. These can be a little hard to find but ask around. If there’s no Facebook group for bloggers in your niche, why don’t you start one? These little alliances of bloggers meeting together, supporting one another, sharing content with one another can be a really powerful thing. I know of a few Facebook groups of the niches that I’m in where bloggers every day they just say, “This is what I posted today. If you think it’s relevant for your audience, share it,” Bloggers will share each other’s updates, or they’ll like each other’s Facebook updates, or they might even link to them on their blogs. These little alliances can be really powerful, particularly if you’re just starting out. Even if all the other bloggers are just small bloggers, gradually, over time, you all continue to grow.

Another little strategy you might consider for your blog is to interview someone. Simply interview someone. It may be a really short interview. I once shot Seth Godin a one-question interview. I said, “Seth, you don’t know me, but here’s a question that I’d love to post your answer to on my blog.” This is years and years and years ago. He responded with three sentences. It wasn’t much, but I published his three sentences on my blog. That was great content. The good thing about doing this is that: (1) you get content, (2) you get to borrow some of their credibility.

I remember the reaction to that post. It was just three sentences, but my readers were like, “Wow, you got Seth Godin to respond to you.” That had a big impact and it built social proof. The other thing is you might find that that person might share that link, that post that you published. Seth didn’t tweet or Facebook update my link, but many times when I’ve interviewed other people, they have shared those posts with their audiences. You may just find that by interviewing someone, you build a bit of credibility, you get a good post, but you might just also get them to share your content as well, and that grows your audience.

Probably the most common piece of advice that I hear people giving in terms of building readership for their blogs is to comment on other blogs. You want to be a little bit careful about this. Just commenting to grow your profile and to get people to come to your blog can be a bit of an empty comment. But if you add value on someone else’s blog and respond in the comments section with something that adds to the conversation and it helps people, that can be a brilliant way of growing your own brand and your own profile.

Find another blog that’s in a relevant niche to you and answer someone else’s question in the comments, or add another point that the blogger might have forgotten. Do it in a gracious way. Just say, “This is my experience. Here’s another idea that I had.” You don’t have to leave a link because you get to leave a link in the field that says leave your link. You don’t have to leave your link in the comment itself. People want to know who’s behind this useful comment. If you do that over time, you actually begin to become known to that other blogger and their readers. Commenting on other blogs can be useful too.

The last thing I’d say that you might want to think about is to think about submitting a story to a mainstream media outlet. This is something you probably don’t want to do every day but from time to time, you might want to think about, “What kind of media outlet might be interested in this piece of content that I’ve written?” I remember in the early days of my blogs doing this a number of times. I didn’t do it regularly, but sometimes I would write a post and I’d think this would be really relevant to our local newspaper or our national newspaper.

You want to think really carefully about the pitch. You want to make it relevant to the piece of media that you’re targeting. You want to find an angle for them. They’re not just interested in writing about another blog, they’re looking for an angle. If you can, save them some work, give them some quotes, give them some pictures, give them the story itself so they can rewrite it. A lot of mainstream media these days are looking for those stories because they’re under a lot of pressure.

Hopefully, something in what I’ve just gone over the last 15 or so minutes today has just sparked an idea that you can do. I want to encourage you to get off your blog today, to take that piece of content that you wrote yesterday or another piece that you’ve written in the last week or two, and to put it out there, to actually put it out there. You never quite know when you put it out there where that piece of content may end up and who else may see it and share it as well. It’s highly unlikely that if you’re just staying on your blog writing content that anyone is going to see it.

Get off your blog today. Spend a little bit of time putting your content out there. This is one of the activities that I’d encourage you to build into your daily rhythm as well. Even just 5, 10, 15 minutes a day tweeting, updating your social media accounts, maybe writing a guest post once a week, engaging in forums, pitching your ideas to other people, thinking about how you can attend or present at events, and submitting comments on other blogs. These types of things, just build them onto your daily rhythm. Over time, the accumulation of putting yourself out there so much can have a massive impact on your blog.

I hope you find today’s podcast useful. I look forward to hearing your stories of putting yourself out there and seeing the impact that might have upon growing your blog. I’ll see you tomorrow on day 4 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

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