Being a new blogger can be daunting, but fear not: we’re comin’ at you with three ways to build an audience from scratch.
As people who have been doing this blog thang for a few years now, we can say that it is easy to forget what it was like in the very beginning. We’re not going to lie – it’s pretty intimidating when you first start. There is so much to think about, so much room for activities.
One of everyone’s main goals with blogging is to build an audience. Beyond your purpose, your passions, your mission – building an audience is… kind of the point, right? That’s what we all want, frankly. We won’t beat around the bush here, we all want to reach people. Of course, there is much more to it than just numbers, but without an audience, who are you talking to?
Your audience gives you more than an ego boost from your Google Analytics. Your audience gives you inspiration. They are your content. Your audience is the reason you’re doing this. And when you’re just beginning, you have no audience.
As previously mentioned, we’ve been doing this for a few years. However, we launched this BGB Community website in February 2016, and we had to tap into our newbie skills and remember what it was like to start fresh. Of course, we had a few years under our belts, so it was much easier this time around. But because of that, we want to share with you some actionable tips you can use to start building your audience from 0 to 100 real quick. #drizzy
1.) Utilize social media
Social media is the cheapest, easiest way to get exposure for your website. Nowadays, this is pretty much a given when it comes to promotion. Here are our biggest tips for social media promotion:
Harness the Power of Instagram
As healthy living and food bloggers, we believe Instagram is a hugely important platform that should be utilized. Instagram serves as your portfolio, and your first impression to potential followers and readers. For all of our resources for Instagram help, including our Instagram e-course, click here.
Create pinnable graphics
For every single blog post you publish, you should have a shareable graphic included inside. What this means is, create graphics in your posts that can easily be share to Pinterest. Be sure to include the title of your post in the graphic. Pinterest is huge for traffic growth, especially in the food/healthy living space. It’s a big platform for recipe searches! We use Photoshop for our graphics, but if you do not have Photoshop, our favorite design site to use instead (for free) is Canva.com.
Engage with others
Once you’ve created your platforms, start engaging with others. This is the best way to gain exposure for you and your brand, plus – blogging is more fun with friends! The easiest way to do this is on Instagram by liking and commenting on others photos (genuinely!). More on that here.
Not only are Twitter chats a great way for brands to gain exposure, but it’s a fun way for bloggers to gain exposure, as well. This isn’t something that will get you tons of traffic overnight, but simply engaging and being present consistently is a good way to get your name out there. Plus, you can discover like-minded bloggers in the process!
2.) Join a community
For each of us, it wasn’t until we really started to form relationships with other bloggers, connect with others and even create our own communities that we started to really see growth that we hadn’t seen before. Just like building your own business is something you certainly cannot do alone, blogging is the same. In life, you have your family to support you. In blogging, you need your community. A great place to start? The BGB Community! These are a few ways community can help you from the ground up:
We believe in exhausting your resources first (ahem, have ya Googled it?), but if you have a question that you need an opinion on, haven’t been able to find the answer to, or simply want to hear from others with more experience, blog communities are a great place to ask. There’s something special about getting feedback from a human being – in BGB Community, we share our experiences, outcomes, what worked and what didn’t. We’re a family and we’re here to help!
Spread the love
Blog communities are also a great way to discover new sites that you love! We have each discovered so many great blogs that we’ve fallen in love with simply through our community. We wouldn’t be absorbing the amazing content that we do every week if it weren’t for the BGB Community. Blog communities are a great way to discover this content and spread the love on your own platforms, which shows your peers that you care about their success, too!
Connect with your person
Communities are a great way to meet that ‘person’. You know, the person you connect with like you’ve known each other for years… your ‘blog BFF’, if you will. Once you find this person, use each other to bounce ideas off of, audit each other’s sites, collaborate and simply help each other grow and learn. Make each other better.
3.) Create shareable content
As stated earlier, pinnable graphics are highly recommended in each post. But, that’s not what we’re referring to here. What we mean by shareable content is… exactly what it sounds like – content that people want to share with their friends, family, and followers! Here are a few types of shareable content we like to publish:
Tutorials or how-to’s
For any tutorial, we recommend starting out simple. Think about anything that you do that you, yourself had to learn how to do by finding it on the internet or having someone teach you. A few examples: how to make espresso, how to properly chop an onion, how to make almond milk. Sure, there are countless tutorials on the internet, but everybody has a different way of doing things, a different perspective, so don’t be discouraged by quantity: your quality is different than someone else’s.
As we discussed in the Food Entrepreneur Summit, we wholeheartedly believe in using your struggles to help others that may be dealing with the same thing. You’d be surprised as to how many people are dealing with the same issue you’re battling with, even though it may seem like you’re alone. Additionally, people are very likely to share content with others that helps define who they are. It’s important to resonate with your readers and write about what they are about.
One characteristic of shareable content is content that is relevant. Of course, we all know that Christmas cookies are relevant during the holidays, carrot cake is popular during Spring, tacos are favored in May for Cinco de Mayo, but it’s important to look at what people are searching for beyond the obvious. Something simple we like to do is use Pinterest to help us understand what people are looking for on any given day. Simply click on the search bar, and a list will pop up with your most recent searches. Look below that list, and you’ll see popular searches at the moment. We love to use this for content inspiration!
Along with these three main tips, we thought we’d give you some quick, simple actions to take right now that will help get you to where you want to be:
- Take advantage of your email signature and add your blog URL.
- Participate in local community events and come prepared with business cards.
- Give business cards to family and friends so they can help spread the word.
- Add your blog to your LinkedIn and resume.
- Join another blogger’s weekly linkup and comment on at least 10 other blog posts
- Make sure you have a plugin that allows bloggers to share your posts easily
- Collaborate with local businesses for cross-promotions. For instance, a local coffee shop that you often work at – think about how you both could leverage your business to help each other.
There you have it: the three main ways to build an audience from scratch.
But above all, you must be patient, and not get discouraged when it takes a while to pick up momentum. Social media and blogging success is anything but overnight, so try and focus on the big picture: your purpose, your mission, the quality you’re bringing. Avoid repeatedly checking your analytics, as difficult as it may be. Good things come to those who hustle, so put in the effort, work your booty off, and we promise you’ll learn more than you’d ever imagine on this journey!
What do you think?
- New bloggers: what strategies have you tried or want to try?
- Veterans: how did you build your audience when you first started?