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I’ve been blogging consistently for about two months following a 6 month break and I thought it was a good time to review and hone some of the strategies I’ve been using to try and build readership. I guess my blog still feels a little disjointed to me as I’m trying to reach a wide market beyond friends and family but I’m not really sure of that direction. I have tried a range of approaches to build readership and get an idea about what readers want, however the best advice I have read so far in writing is from Canberra-based writer Jessica Friedmann at this week’s Feminartsy event that women should write what we love and know and then readership will grow from the basis of truth.
I am not sure what my basis of truth is – I like to write about such a scope of things and it seems the posts that I write with more of the in-the-moment happenings, the more popular that they are. So scheduling posts won’t work for me in terms of readership, plus I enjoy writing everyday, as it is showing me how much time I actually have and also it forces me to be reflective even though I may not feel like it at the time.
So I employed a few different ways to see how they worked and if they were worth the time, cost and effort, especially as my time is quite limited and my energy wanes quickly during the windows that I do get. And I really just want to be limited to one for two really fabulous platforms, rather than doing 6 approaches sparsely or not well. I have covered the strategies below, including their $AUD cost and a rating of how effective they were in improving user engagement and growing readership. The ratings work on a Likert scale with 1 being less effective, more effort and 5 being greater engagement and less effort.
I decided to run a giveaway this month with a two week lead time. I originally posted it on my blog and also on my Facebook page then promoted it through some local networks. It cost my about $20AUD to run the giveaway and I got 2 organic followers this method and they started to engage in the Facebook conversation straight away.
Readers: 1/5 rating
Engagement: 2/5 rating
Effort: 2/5 rating includes posting, reposting, posting on forums and organising and sending the giveaway.
Paid advertising through Facebook
As part of the giveaway I ran a short ad campaign through Facebook. I freaked out when I reached 10 new followers in half a day so I froze the advertisement but forgot to reinstate it so wasted some money. Mr A says to do an advertising campaign on a normal post to try and get people whose interests are parenting, mental illness or pregnancy. This ad was pretty successful that next month I might do a boost on a popular generic post and see how the advertising goes. I gained another 10 followers on Facebook through the campaign, with some engagement form them, but only 3 days since it closed and 4 have left the page, so longitudinal engagement is n issue with this type of growth.
Effort: 4/5 Facebook does all the advertising you just need to set the parameters
Following and commenting on other blogs on WordPress
I read on How to Grow Your Blog [like a boss] to ensure that you engage yourself in blogging in order to build your blogging network, and to follow leader blogs, or popular blogs in your area and out of your field. So I followed a swathe of blogs that are related and not, and started to read them everyday and comment. My inbox has been flooded with email updates and I couldn’t keep up with all the stories! So I decided to keep building up the following list but limiting the number that I comment on. I am enjoying reading but the effort reading to getting followers is negligible. I will keep reading and commenting because I enjoy it, but the reciprocity is difficult to obtain through many of the larger accounts.
Following accounts on Twitter, Instagram
In 2016 I was an avid Twitter user and had a really great community. I used to post in blog linkys all the time which is an activity where prominent bloggers host regular ‘parties’ where you post your blog and others read it and you read theirs. I enjoyed the readership it brought as well as reading other’s blogs. I can count on my hands the number of linkys I have joined this year, mainly because I find that only the hosts read the blog posts which kind of defeats the purpose of the linky. I decided this year to try instagram and I get some engagement, but it tends to be just on that platform, rather than interest in the blog, which is my main source of content.
Blog more regularly
I am terrible at continuing blogging for a long time so have set the goal to make blogging a habit by ensuring that I post every day at generally the same times with increased blogging on the weekend. I have noticed significant increase in engagement from key bloggers in mental health parenting and mental health but thinking that every day might be a bit much for some people to have time to comment. And sometimes I blog more than once a day and I find this does boost readership some, although that could be because I usually post multiple times on weekends when people have more time.
Crafted blog posts
How To Grow Your Blog’s Audience (And Keep Them Coming Back) had the following tips (among others);
- craft how your audience experiences the blog
- write what your audience wants to read
I rejigged the site appearance to make it more accessible and to make space for affiliate advertising. I did some research into the type of posts readers enjoyed on my blog based on likes, not on views and also the most popular posts on other sites similar to mine. And so I crafted posts, namely 4 ways to get ready for baby’s arrival, Getting yourself into blogging (and how to gracefully stop), Parenting is not your game and Perinatal care and support options in Canberra. These posts replicated a formula from other blogs and performed really well in terms of getting readers in and also engagement.
So it seems that the most effort tasks produce the best engagement and readership. I am still open to topics, collaborations and the like, but might refine my focus to commenting and crafted blogs in order to ensure that the blog is relevant, and using the social media as just a mouthpiece for this forum.
If you have any ideas on how to improve my blog please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org