How to Grow a Robust List of Blog Subscribers
Building a following is crucial to the success of any business, and a healthy list of blog subscribers is a great way to communicate to new and existing readers about how awesome you and your content are.
- Want more people to read your blog?
- Want to contribute to people’s lives daily?
- Want your business to make more money?
Of course you want all these things. Marketing your content online helps you reach more people whether or not you’re selling anything. Once you have their attention, however, how do you keep it?
Blog subscribers. People who read your blog posts on a semi-consistent basis are saying “You…you got what I need. But you say I’m just a friend/You say I’m just a friend/OH BABY you…” – so let’s turn those semi-consistent readers into so much more than just a friend.
To learn more about what your business should be blogging about, check out the above-linked post from the always inspirational Stanford at Pushing Social.
Once a reader is in the door, it’s up to you to keep them coming back for more. If blogging is a part of your online content marketing plan, then you need to entice your audience to read your blog every time you publish a new post. They ain’t going to stick around for long if they ain’t enticed.
Here’s a couple easy ways to do that other than using the word ‘ain’t’ as much as humanly possible.
1) Write Helpful Content
I’m not being sarcastic – it’s amazing how often bloggers forget this simple rule.
How does your blog help people? Remember, your blog isn’t about selling your product immediately, so don’t inundate readers with posts that read like an advertisement. People ready to spend money will spend money without you beating them over the head with how great YOU think your products and services are.
Blog subscribers want something helpful and entertaining to read each week, so provide it for them.
2) Combine Your Blog Posts into Series
Combining blog posts into series or guides will create momentum and turn first-time readers into subscribers who don’t want to miss the next post (provided you’ve written a helpful post in part 1 and included a compelling call to action).
Function started with mini-series’ that consisted of 2 or 3 posts each, and as I learned more about the world of blogging and content marketing I was
able compelled to cram more useful information under the umbrella of a specific topic.
Teaching is the best way to learn more about your craft, and compiling your ideas into a logical series of posts will help you nail the small details while considering the big picture at the same time.
(For an incredibly in-depth guide to teaching as a means of learning, subscribe to Copyblogger’s Sonia Simone’s excellent Teaching Sells online course.)
A hidden bonus of guides is that once they’re done, you can easily fire off a random one-time idea (like this post!) that’s been stewing while you’ve been publishing your guide or series. Just make sure you continue to keep track of your ideas while your guide is rolling out (use Evernote to save and organize your ideas).
3) Connect With People Through Social Media
Function’s list of blog subscribers is experiencing healthy growth these days, and a lot of the time when I see a new subscriber it’s someone who I’ve interacted with on Twitter. People don’t offer up their email addresses for just anybody, and in the early days of your blog it’s important you work hard for new readers’ attention.
Once people subscribe or comment on your blog, make sure you thank them with something. Either just posting a comment yourself or offering up something awesome and free.
Once again, no one knows community or social networking better than Pushing Social.
4) Give Away Free Stuff Exclusively to Blog Subscribers
My pals at Paper Leaf Design in Edmonton, Alberta attribute a huge chunk of their blog subscriber growth to their wildly popular Colour Theory Poster, and their recently released Principles of Design Quick Reference Poster.
From Paper Leaf owner/designer Jeff Archibald:
The biggest single thing that increased our subscriber list was the giveaway of the last Principles of Design Poster. Grew the list by over 30% in 2 weeks so far.
Creating something helpful generates internet love and creates trust amongst people looking for handy products.
(Psst, keep your inboxes peeled for some upcoming giveaways from this very blog! Free stuff! Yeah!)
On your new blog subscribers’ list, Archibald also says:
If it’s not growing, the content isn’t good enough.
Getting discouraged by slow (or zero) growth is counter-productive. Function jumped into the blogging world with some pretty basic, rudimentary posts without a ton of blogging experience, but the best way to to gain that experience is to, well, experience it!
I wrote an item awhile back that’s actually incredibly relevant at this point – it’s a fairly run-of-the-mill blog post about dealing with failure, and while I don’t consider that particular post to be a failure, it’s clear when reading it now that I needed to continue to developing my craft.
So I did.
Seriously though, don’t read that post, it’s brutal. I didn’t even have a green SEO light from Yoast’s SEO WordPress Plugin! But the idea was there, and it’s thrilling to see how far Function has come since those lean early days.
Building a robust list of blog subscribers takes skill and expertise; mostly, however, it takes patience. Green-light SEO posts that help people with something – plants, sports, copywriting, marketing – whatever it is you’re blogging about, follow these tips and your list of blog subscribers will not only grow, but those subscribers will be incredibly happy they did so.
PS: Once you have a healthy list of blog subscribers, don’t spam them. Despite what your mom thinks, no one wants to be flooded with a deluge of your every waking thought, so leave some space in between correspondences.