I have a lot of opinions about why it’s so important to keep writing, even if it feels like “nobody’s reading.”
I’ve also written about why you are a really big deal, regardless of your audience size.
I’ve also written about why blogging isn’t for everyone & what you can do, instead.
All of that being said, there are plenty of perfectly good reasons why you might want to seek out new blog readers — or encourage people to share what you’ve written.
I get that.
And… building an audience does NOT have to be complicated.
Here are 12 simple, unfussy ways to make it happen:
1. Quote someone? Let them know. If you mention someone in a blog post, send them an email and let them know. They might feel inspired to share what you’ve written with their own audience… or not. Either way, it’s a lovely thing to do. You will make that person feel very fancy, notable & quotable. You’ll probably make their day!
“Hey! Just FYI: I quoted you in my latest blog post: [link]. Because your parenting advice is always SO good! Thank you!”
2. Inspired by someone? Let them know that, too. But do NOT demand a response. Just be cool. It’s quite likely that your hero will want to share what you’ve written with others… as long as you don’t crank up the pressure.
“Hey! Your TED Talk on the power of positivity rocked me to the core. I wrote a piece in response, inspired by you: [link]. No need to reply. Just wanted to say: thank you.”
3. Be specific. Give your readers specific, actionable instructions on how to share your work.
“Do you know someone who’s thinking about quitting their job? Email this piece to them & encourage them to consider these 5 questions, first.”
4. Get curated. You can write to bloggers who do “curated posts” or “link round-ups” to give ‘em a heads up about something you’ve written… if you genuinely think that they’ll dig it.
“Hey! I love your weekly round-up of inspirational links — it’s like candy for my soul! I know that you’re obsessed with erotic novels (who isn’t?) so I figured you might be interested in this: [link].”
5. Make it intriguing. “A photo recap of my trip to Italy!” = fun, but not particularly intriguing, unless you’re Beyoncé.
“A photo recap of my trip to Italy — and 5 super-sexy things that Italians do that YOU should do, too.” = fascinating and very shareable.
6. Make it easy to explain. If you glance at the 21 most popular blog posts of all time, you’ll notice a commonality:
Every single post can be easily summarized in a sentence or less.
“Oh, did you see that piece about why smart kids are more likely to grow up to become heavy drinkers? You gotta read it.”
When the “point” of a post can be summed up in a few seconds, people are far more likely to talk about it… and share it with others.
7. Leverage the spotlight. If you’re getting profiled in the media — yes, even Cousin Pete’s Weekly Podcast-o-rama counts! — write a special blog post especially for that particular media audience, and then tell them about it!
“After listening to this interview, you might be thinking, ‘I can’t wait to start training for my first half-marathon!’ Well, you’re in luck: I just wrote a blog post featuring a training plan for total beginners, and that post is on the homepage of my blog, RIGHT NOW. Check it out!”
8. Offer a next step. Once folks get to the bottom of a post, they’re often wondering, “What next?” Invite your readers to pull up a chair & stay awhile, by directing them to another post on your blog.
“Like this post? You might also enjoy: [link].”
9. Get syndicated. There are literally thousands of websites, blogs and online magazines who are desperate for writers who will contribute (free) content.
Getting featured as a “guest writer” can be a great way to raise visibility about your work & draw people back to your own site — and no, you don’t need to be famous to do it. It’s generally just a matter of writing to the editor and saying:
“Hey! I’m in love with [name of site] and I’ve been voraciously devouring your posts.
It looks like you feature guest writers, from time to time, which got me thinking… if I wrote a piece called [title] about [topic] and submitted it to you, does that sound like something you & your readers would be into?
If so, let me know (no rush, whenever you can). And if my guest post sounds like a fit, I’ll whip it up & send it to you — for your consideration. Thank you!”
10. Get personal. From time to time, I’ll send a personal email to a friend or client and say:
“When I wrote this post — [link] — I was thinking about you.”
I’m not doing it because I’m hoping they’ll immediately share that post with their legions of Twitter followers or Facebook friends.
If that happens, well… fine. It’s a pleasant side effect, but it’s not the point.
My main impulse is to simply let that friend know:
“I’m thinking about you & I made this for you.”
Good things — surprising things — tend to happen when you reach out to a friend with care, concern & love.
(Things that are far more meaningful than a couple extra re-tweets on your latest post.)
11. Be dependable. If you create a reliable rhythm — one poem every Friday, an advice column once a month, a short essay every full moon, whatever feels good — then your readers will have something to look forward to. They’ll count on you.
Writing consistently creates an audience that checks in, consistently. You don’t have to be rigid & punish yourself for “missing a post,” occasionally. Just be consistent as often as possible. More often that… not.
12. Just write stuff that’s good. The best “marketing tactic” always has, and always will be… just writing stuff that’s helpful, inspiring, loving and truthful. You know. GOOD.
As I like to say:
“Don’t write blog posts. Creates little miracles for people.”
Focus on that, more than anything else, and your readership will grow to the exact size that it’s meant to be.
Be patient. Keep it simple.
It will happen.
PS. Do you spend a LOT of time & energy thinking about how to increase the size of your readership? How could you let it be… simpler?