Once upon a time, those who wanted to disseminate information had to set up a printing shop in their hometown. From there, they would cater to a local population in the dozens, hundreds, or possibly even thousands.
In the 21st century, this formula has been revolutionized. Access to digital tools and machine learning has increased the power of even the smallest blog exponentially. And then there’s the internet. Nearly 4.57 billion people were active internet users in April of 2020. That’s almost 60% of the global population.
With powerful tools and a potential audience that makes local customers feel like a grain of sand on the beach, modern editorial entrepreneurs are set up to succeed like never before. The only problem? Figuring out how to beat the very stiff competition in order to cut through the white noise and reach your target audience.
How to Reach Your Audience as a Blogger
According to Statista, there are over 31 million bloggers in the United States alone. In other words, if you manage a blog, you’re likely facing a sea of competition no matter what industry or niche you’re focusing on.
That’s why, even when you’ve already found your audience and your blog is up and running, you always need a solid strategy to continue to cultivate and grow that audience.
Here are a few tips and suggestions for various ways that you can conduct new audience research, expand your reach in existing audiences, and generally boost your website’s traffic, growth, and ultimately, your bottom line.
Adapt to the Market
If you’re like most bloggers, you probably started out a bit wobbly. As you found your target audience, you learned to adjust your writing style, word choices, and even your topics and the focus of the content itself in order to line up with what people were looking for.
Once things are “in-sync” and you find what is effective, though, it’s easy to accidentally set everything on cruise control.
And that’s where the problems begin to arise. While you may feel like you cracked the code — and you very likely did — it’s important to realize that you only did so for a moment in time. The wants, needs, and desires of your audience change all the time. If you want to effectively write for a broad audience, you need to be willing to adapt to their shifting interests.
For example, though the entire world is fully on the internet bandwagon at this point, the rise of younger generations has created a new emphasis on mobile devices. With 93% of Millennials and Generation Z using smartphones for significant amounts of time every day, it’s become imperative that all blogs be presented in a mobile-friendly, mobile-first format.
Fortunately, things like responsive web design have made this easy — but it doesn’t change the fact that you absolutely have to use it if you want to grow your audience. Other methods to “always be adapting” include:
- Studying the competition to see who they’re marketing to and how they’re reaching them.
- Going against the grain by speaking out on topics in unusual and attention-grabbing ways.
- Regularly creating and updating buyer personas to exemplify your current ideal reader.
If you invest in an adaptation mindset, you’ll be able to innovate and adjust your blogging approach whenever it can help you reach more people.
Don’t Slack on SEO
Along with always adapting, it’s important that you build search engine optimization (SEO) into every fiber of your website. This can be difficult, as proper SEO takes time, distracts from creative writing, and can often feel like you’re throwing time and resources into a black hole.
However, proper SEO will help you dominate search engines. A few suggestions for ways to keep your site SEO friendly include:
- Staying up to date with new SEO methods by signing up for SEO email lists like MOZ and Brian Dean.
- Establishing clear site-wide SEO guidelines and checklists that you can follow (even when you’re not in the proper headspace).
- Communicating your SEO guidelines with your team, including writers, editors, and website developers.
- Going over past content that has performed well (you don’t necessarily have to go over everything you’ve ever written) and making sure that it’s up to date on your current SEO standards.
- Regularly conducting competitive keyword research to see what terms your competition is using to reel in search engine users.
If you can keep your SEO up to date, it will perpetually reward you with new search engine traffic.
Embrace Social Media
Finally, it’s important to invest in social media. This isn’t a big surprise to anyone, but once again, that doesn’t change its relevance when it comes to finding new audiences.
While social media marketing is a common topic, specifically identifying new audiences on social media is a bit more nuanced. You can do so by:
- Gathering basic info (like geographic location, engagement patterns, and ages) from your current audience.
- Utilizing social media analytics to find potential consumers on social media that fall in line with your crowd.
- Analyzing the competition to see who they’re reaching on social media and what content they’re using that works best.
If you don’t make the effort to identify potential readers on social media, you’ll end up wasting time. In other words, you can’t trust a “throw it and hope it sticks” mentality with social media. However, if you go in with a plan to research and strategize, you can find a huge source of new audience members.
Expanding Your Blog’s Reach
Whether you’re building up a new audience or reviving an atrophying old publication, as you look for ways to grow your blog, it’s important to remember these three tenets of success:
- Always be willing to adapt to your market.
- Keep up on your SEO.
- Stay active on social media.
These three activities will enable you to reach a continual stream of new readers and can help to revive, bolster, and eventually grow your blog’s readership.