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So, I haven’t blogged in six years and boy has the landscape changed. Have you seen it out there? It’s NUTS! WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger make it tough to decide on a starting point…then there’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest….and that’s just scratching the surface!
This makes recreating a blog both a joy and a challenge.
My blog is primarily about politics, with some pop-culture and random argumentative views thrown in there for good measure. I call it Paulitical Satire (obvious joke…). I have openly wondered on my blog if my whole concept sucks and if I’m a terrible blogger. Consider it an early crisis of faith.
Thus, I did a little research, and this is what I’ve learned along the way.
This Brings us to Our Theme
I’ve learned that what really makes a difference in the battle to gain and grow readership is engaging with a community on the Internet and making a unique and valuable contribution. Yes, using Google AdWords and Google Analytics has also made a difference in drawing some new people to my blog, but the difference between 30 daily page views and 200 has been when I’ve connected what I’m writing about to a larger conversation going on in the digital space.
How Do I Best Connect With People?
First off, when I see Twitter trends that jive with my desired topics I make my blog part of the conversation. I do this by following a few lists of particular kinds of journalists and other pundits and seeing what topics they are discussing. I also monitor popular hashtags in my city and country that might also lead me to some inspiration.
When I create video content that makes people laugh, I work through Facebook and let it worm its way around my friends of friends of friends. In this case, I point people to the link for my blog, rather than directly to Youtube. Facebook is a great place for any kind of visual content.
When I’m hitting a controversial topic, I head over to progressive blogger sites and forums and egg people on (and of course, add a linkback).
What does this mean for other new bloggers out there who want to grow their readership?
It means that blogs like mine aren’t just about spewing my thoughts out there in the world and expecting people to be amazed by them. You have to actively and honestly engage with your readership and the broader community to truly be relevant.
Where does this lead? Well, my average daily number of visitors has more than doubled over the past couple of weeks, and I’ve achieved a lower bounce rate, with visitors spending more time on my site. These were all my goals.
3 Key Things to Consider
1) If your goal is to become a trendsetter, then you have to start out by convincing people you know something about trends. Becoming the focal point of Twitter or forum conversations is a good way to start doing this.
2) If your goal is to aggravate people, then you need to get your aggravating messages to as many dark corners of the Internet as you can. Think about poking your favourite journalist or editorial writer and see if you can get them to engage with your point of view.
3) If your goal is to have debate and dialogue, then you better be darn sure you’re watching your inbox, and comments so you never miss an opportunity to communicate with your newly found fans. To gain and keep fans, this has to be a two way conversation.
Paul Bien is a Canadian blogger in Toronto. He focuses on all things politics, pop-culture and contrary views. He loves a good argument and can be found at www.paulbien.com