Connecting with other bloggers is an excellent way to network, but eventually, you need to make actual connections. You can't keep depending on other bloggers and hoping for the best. To make a dent in the blogging world, you need to create an actual audience filled with people outside the blogging community. Finding an audience can be challenging because you have to figure out where real people hang out. Today on The Happy Arkansan, I am sharing ten ways to reach an actual audience so you can grow your brand and create influence online.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting the brands that make The Happy Arkansan possible.
1. Join Facebook Groups Related To Topics In Your Niche
If you are still on Facebook, consider joining Facebook groups related to topics in your niche. For example, if you create content around money and personal finance, join personal finance groups. In those groups, you can network with potential readers who are growing their wealth and financial wellbeing. Facebook Groups are amazing because they are filled with your people. They are eager to learn tips and tricks related to the topics you post about.
Most new bloggers join blog reciprocation groups, and those can be okay, but you won't find your audience in them. At best, you will find bloggers who happen to be interested in the topics you post about. Reach outside the box and join more tailored groups. Be sure to read all the group rules before you post because you don't want to be spammy. Don't drop your link and run, connect with your potential audience, listen to their pain points, and create content that answers their questions. Even if you don't heavily promote your blogs in these groups, you will begin to learn more about your ideal audience so you can tweak your blog to meet their needs.
2. Invest in Search Engine Optimization
I am a big believer in search engine optimization. Most of my page views are from Google, and I am so proud of how much my Google results have grown over the years.
Did you know that Google handles over 2 trillion searches per year? Yes, trillion. People of all backgrounds utilize Google to search for several things every day, so you can see why it's one of the best ways to reach an audience.
SEO takes time to develop, but there are many tips you can follow today to start bringing in page views from Google. Go check out my article all about SEO tips for beginners to get started.
While I adore Google, it's not the only search engine around. You can also invest some time in learning about Yahoo and Bing. Most search results take place on Google, though.
Search engine users come for a specific task. It's your responsibility to try to convert search engine users into readers. Interlink your content, so readers are more likely to stay on your site. Use an exit intent pop-up to grab your visitor's attention and get them to join your email list. Once someone is on your list, you will have even more access to them.
3. Get Involved In Reddit Communities
Reddit is popular, y'all. It's not some small site anymore, your ideal audience is on Reddit, and you are missing out if you aren't spending time there. Reddit is one of the most visited sites in the United States, and it has over 300 million active monthly users.
One of the best parts of Reddit are the various communities you can join. Yes, there are blogging communities, but like Facebook, join communities related to the topics you blog about. Be sure to give more than you take, provide links to posts only when it's relevant, and spend time observing your ideal audience on Reddit. Learn their language so that you can create content that resonates.
I will occasionally receive page views from Reddit, and it's always exciting when I do. I am going to spend more time on Reddit so that I can bolster my brand there.
4. Interact With Hashtags Your Ideal Audience Uses
Hashtags are great for getting your pictures seen online, but you can do more than link your image and run. Take some time to interact with hashtags of all sizes.
After you post a picture on Instagram, take a few minutes to like and comment on images that used the same hashtags you just did.
When you have some free time, interact with a bunch of random hashtags. Find a hashtag you love and go down a rabbit hole by also checking out any related hashtags Instagram suggests at the top of the hashtag page.
For example, the image below shows the #baking hashtag. I could go through some of the most recent baking pictures, plus try the other hashtags they recommend like #instabaking and #bakersgonnabake.
Make sure you take the time to truly connect here. Don't just double tap, leave a comment. Your comments shouldn't be emoji strings and one-word responses. Take a few seconds to look at the picture, read the caption, and create a comment that will resonate with the owner of the post.
Hashtags are also popular on Twitter and LinkedIn, so use this method there too.
5. Leverage Company Connections By Interacting With People Who Tag Them
Companies need customers to survive like you need readers to survive. One of the best parts about company pages on Instagram is that you can see pictures the company is tagged in. To see tagged posts, go to the section their profile that looks like the outline of a face in a square. You can do something similar on Twitter too. Just search for the brand's Twitter username and navigate to the latest section for what people are saying right now.
If you post about the company frequently or you talk about a similar topic (example: Hotwire and travel bloggers), you can connect with their customers and turn them into blog readers. Let's take a look at some of the tags you might see if you check out Hotwire on Instagram:
Obviously, some of these tags come from other bloggers, but some of these tags come from regular users who used Hotwire to get a great hotel deal. If you talk about budget travel, for instance, these are your people. Go interact with the people who would likely enjoy your content. On the other hand, if you mostly talked about super fancy hotels and other splurge travel, Hotwire wouldn't be a company for you. Instead, you'd want to check out the tagged pictures for expensive hotels on Instagram, you would likely find plenty of potential readers by doing that.
When using this method, follow a similar approach to idea #4. Like their pictures/tweets and leave helpful comments that keep the conversation moving forward.
6. Live Tweet Your Favorite Shows/Events From Your Blog Account
If you are an entertainment/lifestyle blogger, a fun way to connect with new people is by live tweeting shows. Most shows these days have their own custom Twitter hashtag. If you watch the show live every week, take a few minutes to tweet out your response to what's happening on screen. Your responses may even go mini-viral and get seen by even more people.
You can live tweet things like television shows, award ceremonies, pageants, sporting events, and more. See what's trending on Twitter for entertainment and join the various communities out there.
For example, one of my Twitter friends Kellie, live tweets The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. She recently posted this status update using the hashtag for The Bachelorette to boost the post to fans of the show. It's received over 500 RTs and in the process shared her thoughts on the show to countless other fans of The Bachelorette.
Luke S: watch out for Luke P
All the guys: Luke P isn’t a good dude
— Kellie (@kellieemonahan) June 12, 2019
Doing small things like live-tweeting can help you gain traction as a blogger.
7. Leverage Blogger Connections By Using Tailwind Tribes And Group Boards
Next, let's chat about Tailwind Tribes and group boards on Pinterest. Pinterest marketing is one of the best things you can invest in. Pinterest has millions of monthly active users, and they are ready to purchase products and learn more about your blog.
You don't need a huge Pinterest following to make an impression there. Instead of building your following right away, leverage the audience of other Pinterest users by spending time on Tailwind Tribes and finding Pinterest group boards to join.
I love Tailwind Tribes because they are way easier to join as a new blogger. Finding Pinterest group boards can be a bit frustrating, so I spend my time joining appropriate Tailwind Tribes instead.
8. Guest Post On High-Traffic Websites In Your Niche
Guest posting is a phenomenal way to make a connection with someone else's audience. Getting your writing out there and being introduced to someone's bigger audience will drive traffic to your content and put people on your email list too.
You have to be careful when creating guest posts for other bloggers. Guest posting is an art. You have to pick bloggers who have a similar or bigger following than you do. Once you find the blogger you want to target, you have to send them a targeted pitch with the piece you want to write for them. I usually come up with 2-3 pitches to send their way. I base this on some of the most popular pieces on their website (which I find out by checking out BuzzSumo.) With BuzzSumo, you can check out the top articles in the last year for free. Use that information to pitch articles that will work well on their blog.
For example, these are the most shared pieces for The Happy Arkansan, according to BuzzSumo:
Now that you have this information, you can create ideas that my readers might also like. This is helpful because it would motivate me to accept your pitch while giving your pitch the best chance of success with my readers.
9. Create An Advice Roundup With Some Heavy Hitting Bloggers
Next, let's chat about advice roundups. Advice roundups are a great way to connect with new bloggers and grow your influence in the process.
Advice roundups need to be as easy as possible to participate in. Instead of making them complicated, make it simple for bloggers to join in and share the advice roundup.
Send an email with your question for the roundup. Make sure to bold the question so that the author can scan the question while reading the email and preparing their response.
Once the response is received, and you post the roundup, make it easy for them to share. Other bloggers sharing the roundup with their followers is what makes roundups so beneficial. Your website is the host of all these responses, so when these bloggers share their answers, you get traffic back to your blog.
So, how do you make it easy for them to share your roundup? Once the roundup is live, craft an email with things like shareable images (if you can make them unique to the blogger, even better.) You also want to add a Click To Tweet link, share your social media updates with them so they can easily retweet or share them with their audience, et cetera. Create an email with a few calls to action involving sharing the piece with their followers. You could even create some copy they can steal and tweak to share on social or with their email list.
Bottom line, create a roundup, then make it insanely easy to share.
10. Get In Front Of New Audiences On Podcasts
Everyone and their mother is starting a podcast these days and for a good reason. Podcasts are fun, and getting on a great podcast can be beneficial. Podcast interviews aren't as scary as they seem. It can be challenging the first time, but you'll get better at it.
For example, I've been on my internet friend Samantha's podcast Offbeat Grad like four times already. Most recently, we talked about affiliate marketing on the podcast and my experience with using it to make money online. This episode of her podcast is a great one to listen to if you are interested in a new way to make money with your blog.
Find podcasts in your niche and pitch yourself as a guest. You want to dig deep and make sure that they seem to have an audience who follows what they do online.
Once you find your people via podcasts, you can make a huge difference online. Podcast hosts usually share your blog and social media handles with their readers in the podcast and their show notes. You will have plenty of chances to get new readers from an excellent podcast interview.
Conclusion: Get In Front Of A New Audience
Reaching an actual audience outside of the blogging community can be challenging as a blogger. You know you can't sustain yourself by just reaching bloggers, but you may wonder where non-bloggers hang out online. I hope that these tips and tricks gave you some food for thought and new ideas to try as you are growing your brand online.