So the last time I checked, there is 1,158 followers of my blog (thanks!) — occasionally I will get a personal message from a reader asking how to build up his own followers, I tell them all the same thing, just blog!
Really, I think people are interested in things they can relate to. Building an audience, like anything else, has to sell. There are many Mary Kay and Avon sales reps out there, but only a few are really successful. (I suppose this is where my Marketing experience comes in handy.) To “sell” your blog, you have to give the consumer (the readers) what they’re interested in. TV programming is built around that whole concept. That is really the best way I can describe blogging, compare it to TV programming.
You have the bloggers that write about the news, bloggers that write fiction, recaps, reviews; bloggers that write about traveling or parenting, or cooking bloggers… and then there’s the most common bloggers — the ones that write about their lives; I’d say those are comparable to Reality TV.
Your audience comes with time. You need to constantly blog, even if you don’t have any followers at the moment! You need to promote yourself. Link your blog to your Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube — any site where you have a profile, add your blog on to that profile.
Put pictures. Really, no one wants to read text after text after text. Use categories and tags on your posts; this will help search engines to link your blog when appropriate keywords are being searched for.
My most important advice — don’t take the bait! A perfect example of this is Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, Arizona. The owners had an epic online meltdown that has gone viral ten times over! You’ll eventually get the nasty comments, but think of it this way… you ever see a Facebook post where there’s someone commenting on it and they just won’t stop? The person thinks they’re right and feels validated somehow, and actually believe that others will view it the same way — yet, the usual reaction from others viewing the comments is that the person lacks complete self control and sounds like a raving lunatic foaming at the mouth; but if you take that bait and engaged in the same back and forth, you end up looking like the aggressor too.
People who can’t control themselves online, where they have the option to actually think before reacting (I mean, after all, you do have to type it out, and even then you still have to press send!), lack any sort of control in their overall life. Don’t lose control! Don’t be the lunatic — as they say in Hollywood, bad press is better than no press!
These negative comments can actually even boost your audience! Why? Because it generates views. People love to see if you’ll engage in it, if you’ll remove it, delete the comment; if you do reply, what will be your reply; maybe you’ll respond in a few hours, maybe next day, did anyone else reply… all of this curiosity generates views. The more views you get, the higher your ranking goes up on a blog host site’s reading list as “most popular posts”, which change by the minutes. This is usually enough for a reader to take a quick scan of your post and your blog as a whole.