You sit at your computer and labor over blog posts. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year.
Where are your loyal followers? Where is your valuable feedback? Where is the love?
You follow all the popular advice.
Your blog is on WordPress for Pete’s sake!
Hey, It was free. You have a good domain name. Right? Well, it was the best you could find at the time.
You should give up. Stick with the safe routine of a nine-to-five job. Accept the facts. Nobody cares about what you write.
But. What if you had a better way?
What if you could get thousands, even tens of thousands of followers? Followers who are willing to READ and SHARE your content. Ready to pay for what you say, and buy what you recommend.
How would that look?
There is a better way.
The beginning of any journey is the first step. Right now, you need to find out who you are traveling with.
1. Stake your claim in the online marketplace
How can you do this? Zero in on your tribe.
Are you familiar with the 1980’s sitcom Cheers? The show’s catchphrase was ‘where everybody knows your name.’
Face the facts. The blogosphere is a huge beast. One huge interconnected community vying for the reader’s attention.
Where is the place you hang out? The spot that gives you a sense of camaraderie? This is where you find your target audience. Your tribe!
You cannot reach everyone. You don’t have the time or mental bandwidth to please everyone.
So, who are you trying to reach? Where will you get the most bang for your buck? Use a razor-sharp focus to hone in on the most profitable group.
Here are critical questions to ask as you refine your target audience.
1. What do you know and like to write about? Finance? Relationships? Marketing? Writing? Your writing will be much more targeted and engaging if you “stay in your lane.” In other words, stick to what you know. Mind your own business.
2. Is your audience large enough to be profitable? A blog serving ‘Octogenarian Vegans’ is definitely too small to benefit your efforts. Find a group large enough to engage with confidence.
3. Do you want to be a trailblazer? Or will you follow in the well-worn footsteps of another? Find a niche where others are well-established.
So, you nailed down your tribe. Congratulations.
Now, let’s see what piques their interest.
2. Uncover the source of your tribe’s content
Can you tell me what your tribe is reading? How else will you enrich them with your writing? Enjoy their active attention. Feed off one another?
You think you have a great blog topic — a subject rich with meaning and purpose.
Or so you hope.
But, how do you truly know what your tribe — your target audience — wants to read?
The answer is research — good, old-fashioned ‘nose to the grindstone’ digging for details. Get your fingers dirty and ‘get inside their heads.’
What is your purpose? How will you capture your reader’s attention? They are reading because you have made an implicit promise with your post.
How have you fleshed out the promise? You must prove that it will be something worth caring about! If not, they will move on or hit the backspace key.
How do you know if your topic answers that promise?
That is the $50,000 question. You must take the time to see what others are writing. Invest in your audience. To get started, here are a couple of suggestions:
- Use a tool like BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, or Feedly to find top-rated content in your niche. As technology improves, your ability to generate killer content will explode.
- Find the leading authorities in your niche and see what they are writing. They have blazed a trail for you. Take advantage of it.
- Keep current and craft a strategy for positioning yourself at the head of the pack. You can never know too much. You can never back off and slow down!
But is great content good enough? Most likely not. Let’s look at how your writing can touch a chord with your readers.
3. Resonate with your audience
Writing programs are full of flowery writers. They craft amazing written prose and narrative.
But, you are not writing a best-selling book or screenplay. You are positioning yourself to be the leader of your niche!
Forget the superfluous words and phrases. You need a completely different set of skills to write for the web.
Turn all your preconceived notions on their head and learn to:
- Write amazing headings and subheadings. Lay them out like pearls in a necklace, interlinked and leading your audience from one thought to another.
- Get inside your audience’s head and have them asking — “how did he/she know what I was thinking?” Keep them guessing.
- Empathize with them. Make your readers know that you understand and care. Give them a desire to read, and a reason to respond immediately!
- Make their next step crystal-clear. Outline a powerful and compelling call to action. Design an action that is dynamic and completely irresistible.
Your writing is sparkling. You know your tribe and what they like to read. Now, where do they go for information? The answer is simpler than you might think.
4. Hang out at the water cooler
Every tribe has a watering hole — an oasis that is familiar and safe. A place where they gather to trade information.
Everyone has a motivation. What is yours? Do you want to build a powerful following? Is it satisfying to see your words in print?
What is your gauge of blogging success?
Do you know who is reading your blog? Is anyone reading your blog?
Your personal blog may reach your family, friends, and a few assorted Facebook fans. But that limited base will never take you to the level of a serious following.
Grow your base or you will never earn enough for even an occasional cup of coffee at Starbucks.
So, where do the readers hang out? Where is our online coffee shop? Our public square?
If you have not checked it out, try an introductory membership to Medium. It is a great place to ‘cut your teeth’ without massive outlays of time and money.
Medium taps into the brains of the world’s most insightful writers, thinkers, and storytellers to bring you the smartest takes on topics that matter. So whatever your interest, you can always find fresh thinking and unique perspectives. — Medium
Medium is an alternative to the 140 character limit of Twitter. It is an easy-to-use platform designed to test your writing. You receive immediate feedback and confirmation of your ideas. And there is more — you develop an audience without the hassle and expense of building a blog in advance.
It is a place to sharpen your blogging abilities in a safe setting. Mature your writing until people follow you in droves. Then, and only then, will you build a blog.
But, how do you build a loyal following? You must show a dynamic performance over time. The pattern you set is critical. But how can you accomplish that?
It’s not as hard as you might think.
Who are your influencers? What inspires you to action?
You can be that influencer for someone else.
5. Lead by Example
Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
How do you inspire wonder in others?
People evaluate your performance over time. They want to know that you are more than a one-hit-wonder.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day! But that is not good enough. Spot-on all the time is your goal.
Teddy Roosevelt once said:
“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
What does that have to do with your writing?
The things that you write, to have value, must share three qualities:
- Consistent Content — Don’t get off track with the shiny, attractive topics. They are nice to look at but don’t reflect your niche’s interests.
- Consistent Message — What are you trying to teach your audience? Don’t stray from that theme. Your tribe must trust you to be steady. Always.
- Consistent Schedule — Let your audience know how often they should expect your posts. Anticipation is great, but give them something to look forward to. Make them want more.
Have you cleared the path of obstacles? By now your readers should be anxious for more light along the pathway. Now is the time to lay out your next step for the journey.
6. Provide a clear “next step”
So, what will it take to move your audience from ‘looker’ to ‘raving fan?’
Do you hope to educate, edify, or to illuminate? Wouldn’t it be nice to hook your reader and enrich your own life through your efforts?
This is where your call to action is critical. But a call of action to do what?
Now is the time to get creative.
What will it take to guide your audience along this journey?
Bribes work! What?
Yes, I said bribes. In any other context, a bribe might be unconscionable.
You are not asking for much at this point — well, one thing — an email address (with a name).
In exchange, offer something valuable — a PDF or electronic book. You could pitch an online class or coaching session.
Be creative. Make the offer captivating.
Do it now!
And bring it all together.
7. Knit everything together
You have a plan for success. Pull all of these pieces together and supercharge your future as a blogger.
What is YOUR outcome for writing?
Do you want to be known as an SME (subject matter expert)? Or is your goal recognition as the ‘go-to’ person in your niche?
Many bloggers want to monetize their writing. Why not YOUR blog?
How will you do that? There are many ways you can monetize. And you don’t need to sacrifice ethics, honesty, or transparency.
Your strategy may include Social Media — LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. Decide how one or more of these platforms can work for YOU!
Invest in yourself and your business. Invest your time AND your money.
Find innovators to teach you essential skills and strategies. Master skills to optimize these various platforms.
Keep your content current and lively. Each platform has optimal posting schedules and frequencies of posting. Become familiar with them.
And most important of all. Remember . . .
7.5 Have fun
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. — Confucius
If you are like me, you believe that life is too short. Too short for bad coffee, for bad food, vacations and relationships. Too short to pour thoughts into print that nobody reads.
You spend too much of your day in endeavors related to putting food on the table.
What if your writing was fun and profitable? I can’t think of a better combo.
If you love writing, and I hope you do, then why do anything else?
So, look at yourself in the mirror and ask — “if not now, when.”
Are you ready to change your outcomes?
Now is the time.
You’ve been trying the ‘same old, same old routine’ for too long. The same ‘tried and true’ routines. Wondering why you are not successful.
Isn’t it time you stopped apologizing for being a blogger? copywriter? content marketer?
Change is hard. Beating your head against a wall isn’t fun.
Maybe you heard the story. One man walks up to another man who is repeatedly hitting his head against a wall. The first man says, “Why are you doing that?” and the second man says, “Because it feels so good when I stop.” — Dave Jacobs
It is time to STOP! Stop the pain and suffering.
You can do it — you have these new strategies. Get started today!