I read something last night in the ProBlogger Forum that really touched me. Someone wrote,
“Sometimes it seems like you’re just sending these posts out into the void and they just never come in contact with anyone or anything.”
I have enjoyed a lot of success on this blog, and I believe it was more luck than anything else. I do know the feeling of talking to an audience of one. Many, many blogs are slow-starters.
If there is one piece of advice I could give to people who feel like they are blogging in the dark, it’s to pay very close attention to people who have been doing this for a long time, as opposed to soaking in advice of the glorious few who have achieved incredible success overnight.
This blog may be new but I am not new to blogging! I’ve had total failures and moderate successes, and have worked with very popular people who have less than popular blogs, and bookworm types who have well-received blogs.
There are so many things to factor in that producing a 20-page guide on how to be an awesome blogger just isn’t something I could endorse with any degree of seriousness. That said, there is so much advice out there that is very good. Why are there still so many lonely bloggers?
Audience of One?
At least you should know this: you’re not alone! I visited two rather lonely blogs tonight. I know that the bloggers are doing their best. No blog is perfect. I’d say that the ratio of lonely blogs (as in, no one is really listening) to popular blogs has got to be somewhere close to a million to 1. Really. Think about how many blogs are started every single day. There are only so many readers. It takes time to get around.
I’m reminded of the scene from Julie & Julia (the movie) where Julie asks, “Is anyone listening?” or something like that. I’ve asked myself that time and again, even with BCB. I don’t remember when people started reading the blog and retweeting the posts and commenting. I remember that at one point I joined the Lady Bloggers Society, and that was a huge boost of confidence since it brought some active readers (like @ItalianMamaChef), and then when I felt I no longer fit that crowd, I moved on.
The point of this is to say that at some point, you have to try to get readers. Readers are what gives volume to your speakers. Otherwise, it’s just you talking into a muted microphone. Bloggers say that they are trying, but I would guess that they mean that they are reading all of the advice and then going back to their blogs to figure out what is wrong.
The answer is not on your blog. Stop looking for it there.
So what can you do to bring in readers?
Ugh, these answers are just some of the things you can do. There’s no possible way to list everything that works, because it’s always changing. As I said in a post on success on WeBlogBetter, at some point successful people learn to start making decisions for themselves. You can’t follow another person’s advice to the letter. Learn to interpret, to test, and to tweak until you figure out what works for you.
- Join a free club expressly for the purpose of blog promotion, like SITS or the Lady Bloggers Society (sorry guys, don’t know of one for you).
- Join a network like BlogEngage. Be advised, though, you will have to start commenting or doing something that will get you noticed. Submitting a link is not enough.
- Join a premium, paid club that will have your back and show you the ropes, like Third Tribe or A-List Bloggers.
- Join a forum like ProBlogger Forum or v7n Forum and specifically ask for help, or let people know about your blog, what you do, and that you’re looking for new readers and could use some help with networking.
- Make REAL friends on Twitter. The kind you can DM and say, “Will you RT this please?” The kind that won’t ignore you. Obviously, to do this you need to be a reader of theirs, email them, or otherwise get to know them on a personal level. Ask for their help. Those are just some ideas.
- Connect with a blogger you have been reading (and engaging with through comments, Facebook, and/or Twitter) and ask them if you can either guest post or if they would mind writing about you at some point. Make sure it’s a blogger who’s got a following and an active readership. Offer a collaboration – let them know that you’re trying to build your readership and have something to offer them and their readers. Be genuine. This worked really well for a client of mine who is now a contributor of a good blog in their niche, with premium sidebar placement and everything. Reach. Out. Get. Connected. Period. Also – be open to hear any suggestions they may have. After all, you want to be in their spot, so be willing to take constructive criticism if it comes.
The common link in all of these is connection with real people. Actual conversations need to be had. Guest posting and commenting and linking out are important but they are still not the same as the me-you type relationship that comes from a direct connection.
People who’ve been there before, what’s your advice?
Bottom Line: I Get It
The most important thing here is that I get it. It sucks really badly to be blogging away and getting not even so much as an echo coming back to you. Most of the active readership here doesn’t fall in to that bucket… but my educated guess is that those of you who are passive readers here and on other blogs, are probably struggling with the audience-of-one thing and there is a direct correlation there. Do something for yourself – break out of that box you’re in and make a connection. It starts with one.
It will get better!
Image Credit: Max Wolfe