Answer by Salil Jha:
This is great question and every serious blogger should read this entire thread.
I blog on and I have built an online business around it. Although, I started The Naked Soul Blog just 8 months ago, I was able to grow my blog readership to over 15,000 unique per month.
There are several important reasons to why and how this could happen. The first key for me was: past experiences with blogging. (I have been blogging since 2006 and have learned a few things in these past 10 years.)
But can you do this?
Yes, anyone can do this. You can do this.
Do I struggle and face challenges with my online business and blog? Absolutely, everyday.
Where there are challenges, there is growth.
Where there are constraints, there is creativity.
Biggest Challenge That You'll Face
As a beginner blogger or starting out, there are many challenges that you'll face. That said, the biggest challenge will be: consistency.
Consistency. Consistency. Consistency.
This is the secret to success. Big success. Rapid success. Consistency is the secret to earn trust from your readers.
You'll need a publishing calendar. Perhaps, a calendar at each place wherever you work. (In your living room, at your work, in your car, anywhere you work).
You want to not only publish great content but you also want to create an expectation in your reader's mind. You want to condition them. You want them to come to your blog again and again.
You want atleast 25% repeat visitors. Repeat visits is a sign of a healthy blog.
Start with a simple plan and then ramp up your publishing schedule. For a beginner (but serious blogger), I would recommend:
- Publish one new blog post every week (M-Th). Do not publish on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. You can promote your post on weekends but do not publish on weekends.
- Publish one new video each month.
- Publish one new podcast each week. If you are solo, go solo. Read from a good book or just tell to your fans (or to-be-found tribe members) what you are doing.
- Post once daily on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+.
Why This Hard Work and How To Do This?
Let me show you a few things that you need to do to be successful at any online business built around a central blog.
1. Blogging 1.0 and 2.0 is over.
Sad but a fact. Read it, research it, accept it, swallow it, and get over it.
Enter Blogging 4.0
Blogging is super competitive. Building a readership from scratch is tough (read: not worth the time investment). Building a large readership who engages with your content is even harder.
Today, you need to think beyond blogging. There are almost 1 billion websites (25% of them active), over 8 million blogs and almost as many vlogs (video blogs on Youtube, etc) but only 115,000 podcasts (audioblogs).
Blogging 4.0 stands for:
1. Blog (for long form content + introducing your product/services)
3. Social Media Platforms (for short form content)
4. Videos (Youtube, Vine, Vimeo, Periscope, etc)
5. Repurpose Your Content (Quora, Medium, LinkedIn)
Here are few tips:
- Blog long form content. Save the short quotes and daily muse for social media. If you want to succeed in blogging, go long and detailed.
- Try to solve a problem. Try explaining a situation from a new perspective. Tell a good story that most people can relate to.
- Write and then offer free eBooks.
- Collect emails so that you can email to your group when a new blog post is up.
- Guest blog and cross promote each other.
- Encourage your blogger friends to leave a comment. Reciprocate the generosity.
- Provide incentives to your readers for commenting. For example, reply to your comment and answer their questions. Or simply just acknowledge them.
2. You need a Podcast.
Podcasts integrates with both blogging and social media. Podcasting is both technical and intense. And that's why you have less competition. You must explore this medium to connect with millions of 9-5 job going workers when they are driving and exercising at gym or taking a long walk.
3. Build Your Tribe.
In the past, your blog was your platform. Not anymore.
You need to build your online tribe on various social media platform as that's where your readers are already gathering. Social media is usually the best free source to send traffic to your blog.
Read my 4000 word long detailed blog post on building your platform:
4. Go Video.
You are writing. You are researching and inserting catchy images in your blog posts.
You are building your social authority and building your platform on each major social media.
Now go full circle. Go video.
Make videos. Make SlideShare out of your blog posts and turn those SlideShare into YouTube videos.
Make video of some of your audio recordings (podcasts) and push it on Youtube.
Make videos out of images and add music to it. Publish them.
Remember, rather than waiting for people to find your blog, you want to find your tribe. You must go where people are already gathering. Then broadcast. Let your lost tribe members find you.
Bring them home (to your blog). Reward them for following you.
5. Repurpose Your Content
Just as if you have a book to offer, you'll most likely sell it on Amazon and through Barnes & Noble rather than your own website, similarly, you must blog on platforms which are already trusted by millions of users.
There are studies done that vast majority of readers prefer (read: trust) to buy a book (or a product) on Amazon than directly from a blog or website. And the reasons are simple.
Return. Refund. Shipping options. Trust. Existing account, etc.
Likewise, rather than publishing your posts just on your blog, be mindful that there are millions of users on Medium and LinkedIn and Quora who would not go to your blog because they spend a vast majority of their online time on these platform. And they do not have any need to go to your blog.
So what can you do?
You repurpose your content. Change a few things and tweak it to the like of the target readerships and re-publish. Leave a link to your blog.
Those who would resonate with your content and find value in your offering would become your reader.
What do you do then? What do you do in the end after all is said?
Publish. Be Original. Be Consistent.
Consistency is the key.
Hope this helps!