How to grow an audience to your blog
Pop quiz: What do the following pairs have in common?
- Comedians Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon.
- The Beatles and TV host Ed Sullivan.
- Or more recently, Kenny G and Katy Perry.
These artists and entertainers are each famous in their own right. But they occasionally collaborate on projects, either by co-producing songs or appearing as hosts/guests on each other’s TV shows. As a result, they gain exposure to a new audience.
In other words, when The Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, thousands of Beatles fans who had never watched Ed Sullivan tuned in to that TV show for the first time.
Likewise, thousands of Ed Sullivan fans who had never paid attention to The Beatles heard their music for the first time.
The result? Mutual cross-promotion.
Why am I sharing this? Because – in our own small way – this is precisely what bloggers do when they want to grow an audience.
This is Paula, writing to you from the third full day of the Costa Rica Travel Blog Workshop. Today, after sailing, swimming, and snorkeling on a catamaran, we met to talk about how to promote your blog.
One of the best ways to grow your readership is by writing articles that appear on other people’s blogs. Just as two famous comedians might appear as guests on each other’s TV shows, so would two bloggers make a “guest appearance” writing articles for each other’s websites.
Of course, this promotion tactic, known as “guest posting,” doesn’t need to be mutual. You might write an article for another blogger who doesn’t offer you one in return – and that’s totally fine, as long as you’re attracting new readers to your own website through your guest appearance.
Let me give you an example. When I launched my blog, I contacted several other bloggers who also wrote about travel and finances – and who had large audiences. I asked if they’d be willing to accept a guest article contribution, and I pitched some topic ideas.
A few of these bloggers said yes, so I wrote articles and sent them to them for publication. At the bottom of the articles, I inserted my bio, with a link that readers could click on to reach my website and read more about me.
Some of these guest articles led several hundred readers to my blog. Other guest articles – the most successful ones – brought several thousand new readers to my blog.
And as we discuss in almost every class this week, growing a readership allows you to start earning money and enjoying the freedom of being able to blog from anywhere on the planet.
Once you have readers, the rest follows.
In today’s workshop, I shared specific details about:
- How to identify blogs on which you should publish guest content
- Word-for-word scripts to help you send a pitch
- How to pitch ideas that are irresistible
- … and much more.
But since you couldn’t be here, here’s your homework for tonight:
Spend one hour online, browsing through other blogs that write about a similar topic as the blog you’d like to write.
If you want to blog about sailing around the world, look for other sailing blogs. If you want to write about learning languages, look for other language blogs.
Not sure how to start looking? Here are a few tips:
- Google “best sailing blogs,” “best language blogs,” etc., and look for articles that list the best blogs in that topic area.
- Once you find a few of those blogs, check to see if the author mentions some of his/her other favorite blogs. Follow those recommendations.
- Look at the readers who are leaving comments on those websites. Are they bloggers? (If so, their names would probably link to their blogs.) Follow those trails and keep a list.
Now that you’ve found other blogs that cover your relevant topic area, check to see whether or not they have engaged audiences. How can you tell? Ask yourself:
- Are people leaving comments on their blog articles?
- Are people sharing their articles on social media (like Facebook or Twitter)?
- Are they publishing new content frequently and recently (at least within the past two to three weeks)?
Whittle your list to about 10 blogs that cover a related topic area. This is your “hit list” – the blogs on which you’d like to publish a guest post.
Then send these blog authors an email (most of them will have a contact page) asking if you can write a guest article on their website. Link back to your blog in the author bio.
Don’t have a blog? Check out my Money-Making Blog Course, which can help you set one up. And then come to next year’s Travel Blogging Expedition!
Speaking of which… between today’s class and our sailing and snorkeling adventures, I’m wiped out. Time to hit the sheets. Tomorrow, we’ll review a step-by-step plan for your first six months as a blogger.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Profit From Your Photos: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]