4 (Kind Of) Easy Steps to Building an Audience For Your Blog

There is this guy I’ve been “mentoring” for a while now. I’ve mentioned him a few times on here. He’s pretty young, just started college, but he’s been working to make money online through blogging. He’s very creative and a hard worker so it’s always great to work with him. Recently he started a new blog and we talk a lot about the best ways for him to build an audience, what types of products he could make or promote, and deciding the direction of his website.

Building an audience is something that people make a lot more complicated than it has to be. Sure, eventually you may want to learn more about other ways of helping people find your site, but like with anything it’s best to start with the basics. (And honestly, the basics are still serving me VERY well.)

I’m going to break this down to 4 (kind of) simple steps. I say kind of because they are ridiculously simple concepts and they definitely aren’t secret. In fact, they’re pretty common sense. They do require that you dig in and work though. Building an audience isn’t something you can automate with a tool and anyone who says it is is lying to you.

th1. Figure out who your target audience is.

You’ll notice I didn’t say niche. There are a ton of niches out there and if you’re blogging you probably already have an idea of what your niche is. What you need to do is figure out the type of people you are targeting. If you’re writing about cats are you targeting new cat owners? General cat lovers? Veterinarians? Think about the people reading your blog (or that you hope will read your blog). What kind of people are they?

2. Go where your audience hangs out and hang out there too.

This could be forums, blogs, social media… just figure out where they hang out there, sign up, and join in. If you’re an online marketer you may start  commenting on blogs that resonate with you and posting on a few forums. If your niche is video games you may go to Reddit and Tumblr. If it’s cooking Pinterest could be a good option. Don’t make this too difficult! It’s about getting to know your audience and letting them get to know you.

th (1)3. Figure out what they need and want.

Usually this is going to come in the form of information they are looking for if. Look for questions people ask, where they struggle, and things like that. Listen to them. They are your target audience so knowing what they need is going to be the most important part of running a great blog.

4. Help them find the answers they are looking for!

You know who your audience is, you interact with them, and you know what they need. Go and give it to them! You can do this in a lot of different ways. I suggest not focusing on just one.

  • Answer their questions on forums.
  • Blog about the things they want to know about. Don’t just do skimpy posts to promote products either, really help them.
  • Create a free report or email newsletter dedicated to answering their questions.
  • Create a paid product that will help them meet their goals.

This may seem daunting, especially if your niche is one you enjoy but don’t know everything about. Don’t worry! You can do research, interview experts, and learn while helping others.

Keep repeating these four steps as many times as it takes. That’s really the basics of what blogging is. The rest is just details. I know that when I get too wrapped up in the details the best thing I can do is take a step back and remember these steps and refocus.

What do you do to find and help your audience?

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Comments

  1. Love the way you say “kind of easy…” 🙂

    Sounds easy, but pinning those things down can take a while! You’re right though, we don’t need to know everything about our niche to help others – share what you know.
    Jan Kearney recently posted..Fancy a Challenge (or Two?)My Profile

  2. Generally speaking, it REALLY is all about just going where your people are and interacting with them to a point where they follow you back to your website.

    Forums and Facebook are really 2 great places to get the ball rolling. Eventually, the people who follow you will start telling others about you, too.

    You can’t go wrong following the basics. It has to start somewhere, so you might as well make it a point to start from the basics – they’re tried and true steps that any new entrepreneur can take.

    Sure, it takes work and plenty of it. Nobody says owning a business was easy. If it was, there wouldn’t be a need to have a J.O.B. outside the home. It takes a special kind of person to run a business day in and day out.

    Though, if you really WANT to serve others – nothing should stop you!
    Bonnie Gean recently posted..Dressing for Success in the Home OfficeMy Profile

    • Once you start seeing people coming to your site you can do things like figure out where you are gaining the most readers and focus on there more. You can get more targeted with your audience based on the type of people that seem to sign up for your email list. All of that stuff comes AFTER you’ve started with the basics though.

  3. Well, the first one got me.
    # 1 I hang out with you guys…you know, the writers, PLR and Ghostwriters, Kindle, bloggers, etc. and that’s what I want to do, too. I know that I can write. I do it all the time, every day. Nothing of value ever gets out there.

    # 2 You all know far more than I do. You’re solving MY problems right now. That’s good, I guess.

    #3. Figure out what they need…have to give that some thought. A student? That’s what I feel like right now. Every teacher needs students.

    #4. Help them…guess I’ll start looking at this from a different angle—what does a student give (value) to those who teach?

    I am making absolutely NO sense at all today. But, I love this post.

    I will get there, if I don’t get so old I can’t type…that “ain’t” happening anytime soon.

    I just finished making a Mindmap like DebiJ sent out and I DID IT!

    So, this old dog, ‘scuse me, lady can learn some new tricks. I am saving this post, or printing it, and putting it in from of me (or on a mind map). Thanks, Amanda. You’re tops.
    Ruth Clark recently posted..Fantastic Blog and List Building Challenge – 2nd EditionMy Profile

    • One thing to remember is there is always SOMEONE out there who knows a little less than you do, or at least are on the same page. There are are still a ton of things I don’t know which is why I like showing my adventure.

      You can teach through learning simply by showing the steps you take and sharing where you mess up. Anyone who is struggling through the same thing will understand and can learn from your mistakes.

  4. Clear and to the point. Useful tips both for beginners and old time bloggers who want to up their game. 🙂
    Paula – Buenos Aires recently posted..March 2013 summary / April 2013 plansMy Profile

    • One of the biggest mistakes I see bloggers make is over complicated things. They start looking at tools or complicated traffic strategies. From there they lose touch with what blogging is really about… reaching real people and helping them!

  5. These are simple things but we do tend to forget about the basics. How I am helping out is telling people to ask me questions big or small I will post the question and it’s answer on my FAQ page. I will also be posting about different topics for businesses. I will also post about topics for what do consumers want from a usiness. I hope it helps both ends of the rope.
    Marilyn recently posted..Masterminding For BusinessMy Profile

    • I love getting questions from readers! About half of my posts are inspired by emails I get from readers because if one person asks a question there are likely a ton of other people looking for the answer to that same question.

  6. Aye, after years and years of blogging about various topics, I finally figured all this out a while ago and began crafting my content for my audience, and the people I wanted to attract. Bloggers need to realize that, in the end, your blog isn’t about YOU, it is about the readers and how you can help other people.

    One thing I do religiously is look at what it is people are looking for to get to my blog. I get a lot of ideas for my posts from search queries alone and build posts around giving them the information they are looking for.
    Angie Schaffer-von Scheffelheim recently posted..My Top 4 Red-Hot Jazz DaddiesMy Profile

  7. Hi Amanda,

    We always seem to get caught up in the trappings, like SEO, Trafficbuilding, etc. when we should be concentrating on the basics, like providing answers to our readers’ questions, like you point out so well.

    To me, it’s all about providing a service. If you can do that, they’ll find their way to you. I think #3, finding out what they need and want is very important.

    Thanks, Amanda. – Steve
    Steven Stuart recently posted..A Little Bird Told Me To Get Connected To Social Media (Tweety Bird)My Profile

  8. Hi Amanda,

    I really like this post.

    It’s kinda common sense in places, but people still need to be told that this is what you have to do.

    I should really give thought to who my audience is, and do as you suggest.

    At the moment, I tend to just be grateful for whoever visits my blog, and I AM grateful. But I reckon could get loads more visitors doing the things you suggest. I’m gonna do it in fact and see how I can change things – thanks Amanda 🙂

    Best wishes,

    Paul
    Paul Henderson recently posted..White Listing – And Why You Should Be Doing ItMy Profile

    • Good luck! The biggest thing that changed how I work online is to think of every visitor as an individual person, like they are. What can I do to help PEOPLE and lead PEOPLE to my blog.

  9. Hi Amanda,

    Great blog and reminders, I really enjoyed it! I actually get a lot of my blogging ideas from the topics on the forums that my “peeps” hang out!
    Debra Moser recently posted..A Richard Branson Tribute: Things I Carry: Smart Phone? I Prefer a Brilliant AssistantMy Profile

    • Forums are a great source of inspiration. I just wish I could find some forums I actually enjoy. The ones I used to hang out with seem to be all about SEO now and I’m more about ethical online marketing, building relationships, and serving an audience. I’m about people, not numbers.

  10. These are some good tips right here. I am in the process of doing this as well.

    I would have to say one of the hardest things would have to be is building up your audience but once you have got a good way of doing it, It can be very easy. Just like anything in life.

    Nice Post!
    Cameron Fulton recently posted..[Resource] The Shocking Truth about IFTTT.comMy Profile

    • Once you find what works for you it gets easier. For me it is connecting through blog comments because I can learn and connect with people at the same time. Others might prefer forums and posting on a forum daily just becomes easy.

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