Blogging can be a great strategy for a business.
You can start out blogging from scratch and build an audience over time.
That’s what we’ve done with our own website and blog at Ghost Blog Writers.
And we’ve helped others do it as well.
There is another way to go about it too, though.
You can build an audience first and then begin blogging once the audience reaches a certain level.
You can succeed with blogging from scratch, but if you have an audience you have a head start.
Here are some ways to build your audience before you begin blogging.
This is one of my favorites really at any point in your online marketing efforts.
I’ve seen people do this all the time across many industries. In fact, there’s a guy in the golf world (I love golf) that kind of made a niche for himself by guesting on TV shows, podcasts and more. I think he writes guest articles too for various publications.
He also has his own blog and podcast now.
Guesting is a win for all parties involved. You get exposure to audiences that already exist. The person with the audience gets content (your knowledge) to share with their audience and that audience gets your knowledge and learns.
Tip: Start by identifying a channel you enjoy already. Videos, podcasts, blogs. Let’s say you love reading blogs. Go to Google and search for blogs in your industry. See if they have guest authors. See what their popular topics and titles are (look at comments and social shares). Then figure out new titles that each blog would be interested in and send an email presenting a few ideas.
Some people prefer to use their video camera and YouTube to build an audience.
You can obviously do this at any time in your online marketing effort too. But if you’re comfortable with video and prefer it to blogging you can build an audience with your videos.
And then come back to other online marketing efforts like blogging and use your video audience to market your blog posts or whatever you create next.
Tip: Start with a target audience. Identify the questions their asking and answer those questions with your videos. Ask people in person. Look at industry blogs and publications. Look in the comment sections. Follow industry influencers and see what people ask them on social media.
Very similar to videocasting. Some don’t like being on video, but they’re fine podcasting. In fact, it seems that podcasting has really picked up in recent years.
Tip: I would take the same approach as videocasting, but with one caveat. That would be to focus more on having guests come to your podcast. You’d be surprised at the quality of guests that will say yes to you if you ask them. Still focus on questions the target audience is asking, but have your expert guest provide the answers.
Social Media has blown up in the last 5-10 years. It seems like most people in the world are on Facebook. Millions are on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more.
Social media companies have made it very easy (and addictive) to use their sites and apps. Because it’s pretty easy to use and because many like using social media there are large audiences and a low barrier to entry to use the sites.
Social media can be a good way to build an audience. I wont’ say that it’s easy. And if you do build an audience you don’t have much control of the platform. You’re at the mercy of the platform.
But you can build an audience and utilize that audience later with blogging.
Tip: Commit to 1-2 social sites. Quit the others. You’ll get burned out if you try too much. Once you have your site commit to posting 10-20 times per day. Seems like too much? The more you post the larger your audience will be.
Email (Content Curation)
This is kind of old school, but it still works. Many people still do it. They focus on building an email audience before they even have a website in some cases.
Although having a website is suggested in this case.
There are a number of things you can do with your email. You can create content, but if you were doing that you could just be blogging.
You can curate content. This is a great way to provide value to a potential audience.
Tip: Identify 20-50 sources of great information in your industry. Check them every day and find the 5-10 best pieces of content (articles, videos, podcasts, etc.). Send these out in daily, every other day or weekly emails to your list.
Forums & Message Boards
Another old school one, but it also works.
There are usually at least one or two forums for every industry. Many industries have many more and most have established, large audiences.
Tip: You can attract the attention of these audiences by joining the forums and providing answers to questions. Participate in discussions. Build your reputation as someone that helps others and that is a source of good knowledge.
My final tip would be that while you can do any of these, I don’t think you’re best off trying all of them. Or even trying more than 2 or 3 of them.
If you do too much to build an audience you’ll struggle to find time for it all (unless you have people helping you).
Choose 2-3 that you’re most interested in. Maybe even choose one that sticks out the most and go with it. Commit to doing it every day for the long-term (years).
Then you’ll put yourself in position to build an audience that you can use for many things including a future blogging strategy.