Back in the day, when I was working a restaurant job I hated, I was on my break and scrolling through Instagram, looking at these girls and boys who spend their lives writing about their lives and making a living from it and wondering what I could do to be just like them. Would I be stuck in this dead-end job forever? Would I be able to become an online blogger and influencer?
After sacking off my journalism career to try and find something more creative, I struggled for so long to build a career in the creative writing, applying for jobs in publishing houses, sending off chapters to publishers, speaking to magazines and basically doing anything to ‘get my break’. It was a good year or so before I realised that no one was going to hand me an opportunity, I would have to create them for myself.
So, I went after the blogger game. I dreamed up an idea of being a writer of only the things that I love, so I started researching how to make it in the online writing world. A key part of this was building an audience that wanted to hear what you were saying, and this was actually the hardest part of becoming a modern-day blogger. It was scary putting myself out there, with writing that was my own words being read by anyone in the world on this platform that I had created for myself, but building a loyal following is what will help you become a figure in the community.
Growing your audience needs to be done across all platforms, you can’t neglect any channel that you can speak to the public. They will look for every option to hear what you have to say to see if it is consistent. There’s also the fact that different platforms are generally used for different outlets of creativity. For example, Instagram is great for creative photos and dreamy vibes, Twitter for on the go quips and humour and blogging for a more in-depth look at your life and opinions.
Having a strategy for how to grow your audience is the key to doing so successfully. If there is no plan in place for how to grow on your platform and you’re just hoping and wishing that your follower numbers will go up, then you are pretty much destined to fail. There are a few systems you can put in place for growing your online following and building an audience that wants to listen to what you want to say.
Create Quality, Not Quantity
Anybody can throw out any old crap every day of the week. But the thing is, it will be exactly that: crap. The phrase ‘quality over quantity’ is well used for a reason, so pay attention to it. Come up with a plan for what your aesthetic is going to be if you’re looking to become a social influencer, or work out your blog theme if you’re wanting to become a blogger and create a detailed content plan for at least the next three months.
If you’re a blogger, this means blog titles, imagery ideas, word length and deadlines. Try and post at least once a week and make the blog posts really good. That means researching the topic and taking time to make sure the writing and information are totally relevant and accurate. If you post any old rubbish, people will notice the lack of care and will soon flee to somewhere that takes pride in their work.
Even if you post great content, if you do so too sparingly, followers will start to forget about you. It’s like when you meet someone once and you never hear from them again, you soon forget about them, don’t you? Building an audience online is much of the same thing, if someone finds you and loves you, that’s great, but you’ll soon drop off their radar if they don’t see you popping up on social channels or posting regularly on the blog.
Consistency is key here and you’ll see a natural growth of audience and/or followers if you have good quality, relevant content appearing all the time. New content has an increased likelihood of being liked and shared over content that is weeks or months old. Coe up with a posting frequency plan and stick to it and make it a habit. If you’re passionate about the products or content you’re creating, then this should be easy, as you’ll actually want to be creating content constantly and want to share it with the world.
Interact with Followers
Building relationships with the people who enjoy your content will ensure they keep coming back for more and will help them to see you as a person, rather than an unattainable standard. Make them see that you’re human and be a person that they can talk to and bounce ideas off and when others see this, chances are, they’ll want to get involved too and become part of a community.
Building a community gives your audience a sense of belonging. When someone comments on a blog, reply to them, ask a question at the end of your blogs to encourage people to do so and get the conversation flowing. If someone likes an image on your social channels, check out their page and like one back, this could lead to an extra follower, and every one counts!
Listen to What People Want
The blogging world is a very self-indulgent one, but that model just isn’t working anymore. The market for personal and lifestyle bloggers is hugely over-saturated and it makes it a struggle to break into. Instead of talking about your life, choose a specific niche, do some research on bloggers that are doing the same and go to the comments section and see what people are asking those bloggers to talk about. Going to the comments section can create a good few weeks of content for you!
Once your audience base begins to grow, your community will begin asking for content. LISTEN TO THEM (within reason). They are giving you content ideas about things they actually want to see and will respond to.
Track the Metrics
Collecting data about your audience is the best way to cater for them and to assess which people it is reading the things you create, from this you can tailor your content to the audience that likes you best. Make a note of all the major numbers involved in the blogging world, this can be done through Google Analytics, or there are many other third party trackers that will simplify this for you.
Keep an eye on what people do/visit while on your page, as well as general traffic, demographics, average duration and bounce rate. Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll be able to see what is performing well, who is visiting and their patterns.