If you’re like the big brands, you launch your blog and boom! your audience swarms onto it. But you’re not. So how do you start your blog from scratch? Here are 25 tips to help you do so.
Are you wanting to start your own blogging business but just do not know how to start? Take a look at our number one recommendation and find out how to do just that! They can guide you through the process one step at a time!
When blogging you write for a specific audience. That’s why the first couple months of a new blog that has none are usually the hardest and the most frustrating.
You get assailed by questions.
What do you write about when you have absolutely no audience to help you decide? What do people that you don’t know yet like? What problems can you help them solve? How do you reach them?
True, there are lots of tutorials, blog posts and videos suggesting to help you know who your audience is, develop their personas, speak their language, etc.
No doubt, those are great for a blogger. But are they going to be of much help to a newbie one?
Not so sure.
What you need to do is first attain a certain level of confidence in yourself and some competence with your craft before courses like those could be useful.
If not, they will only confuse and frustrate you, just like expecting a young baby to walk without first making the effort to crawl.
Discouraged by your “lack of progress”, you may lapse into lethargy or abandon your dream altogether.
But that shouldn’t be your lot at all.
What should count for you at the beginning of your blogging journey is the topic, subject matter or area of expertise you want to blog about.
You need to be “passionate” about it. You must have a good baseline understanding of it.
This will make it easier for your ideas to flow and keep you going to bring in the readers.
That said, and without further ado, let’s see how you can begin your hazy blogging journey on a good foot into the limelight.
I will start with the following first three methods which I got from Blogging with no audience. I find this the long route which many take for lack of knowledge.
Write for yourself
The author argues that since you must write to find your audience, there is no other way than to just write. For no other person than yourself.
In the beginning he wrote about his experience with personal branding, “what it is, why it’s important. The more I learned, the more I realized if we own our brands, we can become the CEO of ME, Inc.”
This thought process brought him to online reputation management which made him see how to use both to impact one’s career.
He learned while he wrote. The learning made his viewpoint to change and evolve. Something he thought he would not have achieved had he started out writing for a particular audience or persona.
He’s right that when you are not a famous celebrity or someone who brings some type of notoriety to your blog, when you first start blogging there will obviously be no one to read your posts.
No one except of course, your family members. In his case it was his mom whom he thanked.
He advises not to worry about an audience, but to keep on writing to hone your writing skills. While this is like looking for a needle in a haystack, it is true that practice makes perfect, as the more you do something the more you master it.
Where I agree more with him is when he urges to foray into your area of expertise, look for the top influencers and all those who have preceded you in this journey. We will suggest this ourselves.
I’m also with him when he says to profit from the occasion to produce expert and knowledgeable content for your blog.
While it’s true that “As you gain deeper insights into your area of expertise, eventually you will capture the attention of others,” it is not a given that “you will begin to ‘find’ your audience”.
Fortunately he adjusted the fire by adding “Or more appropriately they will begin to find you.”
Even here nothing is so sure. Readers can’t find you if you don’t use SEO strategies to help your content rank.
Build your audience
Here he says that blogging takes a level of commitment he would have difficulty letting newbies see.
I agree fully with him.
Blogging can be very overwhelming, with information and work overload.
But where I differ slightly with him is when he argues that that level of commitment can make it take “a long time to get to the point where others start to take notice or you begin to show up in Google results.”
That people are hesitant to start blogging or give it up after only a few months of effort is a result of the lack of knowledge of the tactics we are going to show you below.
Blogging is a business and it must be approached and appreciated as such. Why should you expect one to be trained and follow procedures to work in any field but think otherwise for blogging?
Sure, there was a time when people simply blogged and managed to build an audience just like that.
A lot has changed since then. The more reason why anyone coming into blogging must follow guidelines to ensure success.
For that reason, let’s see 22 right ways to go about blogging when you have no audience.
Test, test, and test
Since you don’t yet know what your prospective blog visitors like and don’t like, you need to figure it out.
Trial and error will not do. It may finally let you know what you want to find but it may take too long.
The solution lies in trying different kinds of content.
You may post e-books, how-to guides, infographics, interviews, lists, list posts, surveys, and videos.
Check in Google Analytics to see which one(s) get(s) the most traffic, and elsewhere for comments, likes, and social shares. Then create more of those. Your readers will love you for that.
Don’t expect to build your blog audience without promotion. It will be like standing in the dark and waving to somebody out there. Only you know what you’re doing. Not being in the know at all, the other person ignores all about you.
In that sense, here are useful links from the coschedule blog:
- Social media
- Automated content pushes
- Outreach and partnerships
- Paid promotion
- Search engine optimization
- Blog post optimization
- Repurpose and improve
On the question of social media: use different hashtags, post on different days and at different times, or post with and without images. After 6 months or a year, you’ll have useful data to know what resonates with your audience.
Reach out to find your niche
Instead of depending only on guessing and testing, leverage forums, Q&A sites, Facebook, and LinkedIn groups.
Those are places where your target audience hangs out. There, you’ll find them asking very specific questions about their pain points.
So spend some time every day following conversations at those places.
Copy down all the questions your target audience is asking about your niche into a word document. Then, turn those questions into blog posts.
For example, on Quora.com, look for a handful of questions that relate to your expertise and industry, and answer them in a couple sentences. Then, research and flesh out those short answers into more detailed blog posts.
This particular post you’re reading was triggered by a question I answered on Quora: “Do you need an audience to start a blog?”
After writing an answer and seeing the number of views, upvotes (which is how the site calls likes) and shares, I turned that question into this blog post.
Do this for all the questions you find and you’ll have a list of potential blog posts.
Write great content
Writing great content is a piece of advice often given to those looking to succeed in blogging. Although helpful, great content by itself isn’t enough to help you find and build an audience interested in consuming your content.
In 20 Tips to Build Your Blog Audience From Scratch, the author advises to take a marketer’s approach. “Think of your blog as a media entity you need to promote to create a vibrant community,” she says.
To achieve that, you must know the goal for creating your blog as well as who your potential reader is.
Reach out to influencers to connect you to more people
These highly successful guys in your niche have a very large following who trust very much in their recommendations.
To use their services, start by building relationships with them.
You do so by reading their blogs and commenting, liking and sharing their posts. You get to learn a lot for your own blog just by doing this.
You must also follow influencers on social media, doing the same as above.
Now, when you reach out to them, it wouldn’t be a cold call from a perfect stranger. You’re somebody whom they already know as a contributor to the conversations on their blog.
Ask if you can write a guest blog for them. You may even tweet them a blog post you think they’d find interesting.
Everything you do must provide value to these influencers and their followers. They will help you only when doing so will also help them in some way.
If you manage to get their consent, they can share your content with their teeming followers, exponentially growing your reach.
Get your family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues involved
Your very first fans could just be your immediate social circle. It could be easy to convince them to read, comment on and share your blog posts.
Although a good beginning, don’t trust their inputs too much. These are people who may not want to hurt your feelings and will therefore find everything you do as great.
This doesn’t mean you need bites, scratches and blows to keep going. What will do you good are impartial judgments.
Enlarge your circle of friends on social media
In order not to depend only on friendly pats, create profiles on relevant social media platforms and connect to former classmates, colleagues, and strangers to expand your social circle.
Share your blog posts on your social media accounts. To save time to use on your business, automate those feeds. But don’t forget to handcraft each content with relevant commentary to attract greater readership.
Engage with your readers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and the others.
Another useful social media idea is to link to your blog in your social media profiles. This will let you let people know about your blog and get then interested in visiting it.
Know that social media exists not primarily for business but for social interaction. So try to create relationships with people before trying to sell to them.
Hook up with a blogging buddy
If you want to go far, go with a friend. If you want to go fast, go alone. Yet we know “slow but sure”.
So strike friendship with another blogger in your niche. This person will help you go far in your blog journey by getting you motivated when you lose steam.
You must meet with each other regularly for feedback on your work. You can also share ideas and brainstorm topics.
Join a blog network
Alone we fall, united we stand.
It is therefore a good idea to be part of a tribe where you support each other with ideas, social sharing, and commenting.
12Most is such a blog network with a very friendly and welcoming community.
Participate in Twitter Chats
Twitter Chats is a genial idea I got from 20 Tips to Build Your Blog Audience From Scratch. Heidi Cohen advises to highlight your blog in your introduction by saying something like, “Hi! I’m your first name and I blog at your blog URL.”
She also recommends to participate in blogchat which takes place on Sundays at 9:00 pm east coast time.
It is said to be a very fast chat, but a great place to meet bloggers of like mind and get answers to your questions.
Join relevant Facebook and LinkedIn groups
Groups catering to every niche exist on the two platforms. You can join as many as you want.
Participate in the discussions in a meaningful way which will add value to the group. When the members appreciate your contribution, some will be curious about you and go to your blog to see what you’re about.
Some of these visitors may end up as your readers and even customers.
Don’t fail to check other related groups where people know you, such as your university, college, or fraternity.
Create a Facebook Fan Page and Group
Facebook allows you to create a Fan Page for your business. This is where you share updates about your business with your fans. Keep them engaged and they will become your valued customers.
Check out my Facebook Fan Page.
On the giant site, you can also create groups in any niche. You can make it either private or public. People can share their business here and consult yours.
Write guest blog posts
To find appropriate blogs to write for, you may Google “Blog post + your niche.” Variations could be “Write for us + your niche”, “Be a contributor + your niche”, etc.
Make a list of the blogs that appear interesting. Read them to have a feel for their style and readership. Comment on some posts and follow the owners on their social networks. Comment on, like, and share their messages. Then pitch them with a blog post idea.
Being an unknown name in the blogosphere, the more high profile blogs may not be interested in your contribution. So be realistic and approach more modest blogs.
But don’t come down too low. Your aim in guest blogging is to feature on high DA blogs that can bring you readers, useful backlinks, lots of comments, shares, and likes.
The more you guest post the more your blog will gain traction. Then the big bloggers will accept your posts.
Write articles for article directories
Write valuable articles in your niche and publish in high DA articles publishing sites like:
Some of the sites may allow you to link to your blog in the content, but all give you an author bio with a link back to your blog.
When you post articles in a website with high PR, you will get external links which will help your blog rank in Google.
In addition, high PR websites have already established good readership and followers. It is therefore most likely that you will have more people funneled to your website.
Leverage your email signature file
In your email signature file, it is a good idea to include a link to your blog. Use a good call-to-action
See mine in the image below.
Anytime you send out an email message, people have the possibility to click your link and visit your blog.
Blog URL: SecureYourFutureWithUs
Print business cards for your blog
You may also include your blog URL on your business card. You may hand them out in business groups, local social groups, etc.
Generally when people get business cards, they take a good look at it and if they find a link, they may click to learn more about you.
Participate in business groups
Look to join business organizations like your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Lion’s Club, etc.
If you participate actively in their activities, members will get to know you and may visit your blog.
Some may end up as your readers.
Join local social groups
Get involved with your PTA, voluntary club, church or hobby group especially one linked to your niche, charitable organization, etc.
Like above, once you take an active part in the activities, members will notice you and learn what you do.
Participate at work and conferences
You may be a simple participant or a presenter.
Interact with people and share your card containing your blog URL.
Attend relevant events and seminars
Include your blog URL with your registration so that it could feature on your nametag.
Try to interact with a lot of people. The more participants you meet, the more of them will notice your blog URL on your nametag and begin to ask questions about it. Then profit to give them your business card.
Interact with the participants after the event and ask them what they think of your blog.
That will oblige those who haven’t visited your blog to do so.
Sign up for Help a Reporter Out (HARO).
Help a Reporter Out is a very popular sourcing service in English-speaking countries.
It enables journalists and bloggers to be connected with relevant expert sources so that the former can meet their demanding deadlines and brands to tell their stories.
HARO uses a straight-forward pitching process which makes it easy for sources to find topics related to their expertise, industry or experience. Thus journalists and bloggers can spend more time writing and less time sourcing.
Include your blog URL while responding to appropriate press requests.
Hand out promotional items
These could be gadgets such as pens, calendars, bags, key rings, T-shirts, caps, mugs, etc. printed with your logo and blog URL.
You may set the example by using these items as, for example, wearing the T-shirt so people can see it.
If your items are eye-catching enough and the message very irresistible, they will drive people to your blog.
If you don’t know where you want to go, any road will take you there. – The Cheshire Cat in ‘Alice in Wonderland’
Therefore do not approach blogging blindly, in a trial and error manner. Instead, follow methods which have been proven to take you “there”.
I don’t think you will choose to grope in the dark for a tiny object when putting on the light will facilitate the task for you.
Your turn now
What methods have you used for building your blog audience? What has the experience been like? Thanks for contributing to the conversation.
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Your personal guide to securing your future online