We totally believe that advertising has its place, especially if you are an online business owner. Knowing how to grow and maintain your audience is very vital to being successful as a content creator. You need to be strategic and intentional about it.
Know Your Niche
It’s important to know what you’re all about and how you want to communicate it. Any brand that is trying to be all things to all people will likely end up feeling watered down and uninteresting. You don’t necessarily have to make your niche super specific, but you want to spend some time exploring the idea of who you are and what you stand for. A good place to start is by forming a mission statement for yourself or your project.
Consistent, Quality Content
Offering consistent, quality content over time is exactly what you want to do to attract new readers as well as keep existing audience members engaged. Let’s break down these three words for a second. First, you want to do this consistently. If I blog every now and again but with no real pattern and never with any consistency, likely I will lose readers fast—like a leaky bucket! You can choose what frequency works best for you, but keep it consistent. Next, let’s talk about quality. You should be putting out quality work and not just fluff—smart audiences (which is the kind you want!) will know the difference. And last, what exactly do I mean by content? Well, it can be a combination of things or you can focus on one area mostly. It could be articles on your site, newsletters, micro posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or a combination of all the above.
Creating good and consistent content
Your content has to be good. I repeat, your content has to be good. If your content’s not good, none of this other stuff matters because it won’t work. You can’t trick somebody into becoming your fan and nobody becomes a fan of things that aren’t good. Keep in mind that your content must not be good to everybody, you just need your target audience to think it’s good.
It’s important to regularly create stuff and put it into the world. If you only put something out once every few months or once a year, your opportunity for audience growth is significantly diminished. Content can take many forms and be as simple as a compelling and high-quality social media update. The point is to create and share valuable content on a consistent basis.
Always optimize your content to ensure you get the most out of it. This includes everything from how the content is posted, to how it’s positioned, to how it’s repurposed. These little things make a big difference in the ultimate performance of the content. One post can be turned into multiple short posts, quotes from it can be turned into compelling images, and more. Most creators don’t get the maximum value out of their creations and as a result, their content reaches fewer people and attracts fewer fans.
Know Your Audience
You can’t grow your audience until you decide who you want to be in your audience. Your initial efforts should be geared toward getting your content into the places where your target audience is likely to see them — after all, they’re the ones you think are most likely to enjoy it. That’s why it’s important to figure out what your target audience consumes and where they consume it — it helps you find them.
Whether on blogs, social platforms, influencers, playlists, or anything else you can come up with — you want to get your creations where people are already looking. Who’s most likely to enjoy what you create? Hone in on a profile of those people. Then, think about what other things those people consume. You’d choose the people most likely to enjoy what you do — that’s your target audience.
This doesn’t mean your target audience are the only people who will ultimately become a part of your audience. What it means is you’re going to target your content and promotion to reach that ideal audience and grow from there.
Use Other Channels To Grow
For bloggers and online businesses alike, this means using social media to point folks back toward your main endeavor and help them keep you in mind. Different people tend to hang out in different social areas, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Meet them where they are and try to find ways to connect with them so they will follow you back to your blog or online business.
Your content is the gas that fuels your audience growth, it’s what attracts people and convinces them to stick around for the long haul.
Promote your content
Once your content’s optimized, it’s ready to be unleashed on the world, this is where your distribution and promotion plan comes in. To grow an audience you have to be strategic about how to get your work seen. The other key to distribution is to recognize there are two ways to get attention for your work:
Earned media is anything you can do to get other people with an audience to share your work with their audience. This includes press, PR, influencers, and leveraging anybody else who has the ability to tell more people about your work.
Paid media is advertising but it’s not the typical commercials and banner ads you likely ignore. Instead, pay to promote your actual content through things like Facebook ads, which are incredibly powerful because they put your content where people will actually engage with it in their feeds.
If you notice a lot of traffic coming to your site from a specific source, think about if it’s possible to encourage more traffic from that area.
Network And Connect
Having an online presence is important as a content creator. You need to be visible to be successful.
- Interact With Your Audience: No matter the size you are at right now, take action to connect with them. Our attention, especially online, is always being pulled in a million different directions, so finding ways to connect with your current audience is important. Don’t wait until you have a “big” audience, however, you define that. Connecting with those who are there now and learning to do this well is an important step toward growth. Loyal readers/customers can be the best evangelists for you.
- Connect & Network With Other Content Creators: Find other blogs that are similar, therefore attracting audiences that may also be interested in what you are doing. Connect with them and see if there are ways you can work together to benefit both parties. If your audience sizes are similar, this is a no-brainer, just mutually agree to promote each other in whatever way feels organic to both of you.
- Join Niche-Friendly Communities: Whatever niche you are in, there is probably a community out there based around it already. Get involved so you can meet other like-minded people. This is not only great for growing your audience, but it may also offer more networking opportunities from within the community you want to be a part of.
Ask Your Loyal Followers for Help
Figure out ways to get your existing audience to consume and share your content as well as develop strategies to get your audience to spread the word about you and your work. The best audiences are the ones with the most engaged and passionate fans. And the most engaged fans are the ones where creators are committed to serving and connecting with them. Finding and utilizing your loyal followers is invaluable to any blogger or small business—so be sure to thank them when you do! Treat your fans like gold and take a personal interest in them, they’re the key to your ultimate success.
Audience growth doesn’t happen overnight and neither do successful careers. Play the long game and concentrate on making steady progress instead of looking for shortcuts and expecting to be an overnight superstar.
Audience growth is hard. It takes time, effort, patience, and resources. If you’re not willing to invest in growing your audience, you shouldn’t expect to have one.