three vital keys to build your blog following

In today’s blog I want to share a story, three ways to boost your blog following and hopefully also charm you into subscribing to my blog.

Here’s the story . . .

A few weeks ago, Bill Baren interviewed my about how blogging can be used to build what he called the Know, Like and Trust factor. Now this was a bit funny for me. I’ve never thought of myself as a blogger. For me, blogging has been the lazy man’s way of keeping track of cool things I find and making them easier for me to share with people.

Anyway, the interview went really well.

And, in the middle of it, he surprised me.

Tad,” he said. “On my iPad I have three blog feeds that I follow. Seth Godin, (some other guy I can’t remember) and yours.”

And then my pal Jaime Almond (who was a big support in all this) told me that she thought my blog was the best blog ever. And others kept saying similar things.

But when I looked at my subscriptions I was only at about 85 people subscribed. And yet I have about 3,400 people on my email list. And I work really hard on my blog. I put a lot of thought and care into it. So, to only have that appreciated by 85 people felt sobering.

And (confession!) I think my blog kicks my email lists ass. Really. Well . . . they are two very different things. More on that in a moment.

Now, I had a plan on how to get more blog subscribers, but this realization of how few people were following it finally got me off my kiester.

Now, I feel like I’m still learning but I thought I’d share the three most important things I know about how to get people to subscribe to your blog.

Blog Subscription Booster #1 – A Way to Subscribe:

This might seem obvious – but if you want to build a following for your blog – there needs to be a WAY for them to follow you. Otherwise you’re left with just ‘hoping’ people find their way back to your blog (unlikely) or ‘hoping’ they notice it when you post it on facebook or twitter (also unlikely).

So, they need a way that they can be updated every time you post something new.

There are two ways to do this.

The first is through what’s called an RSS Feed and the second is via email. The RSS Feeds acts as a container for all the blogs they follow. It’s a bit like TiVo. It records the programs you want so you can watch them later.

The other is via email. The service I most recommend is www.feedburner.com. It’s so good that I wrote a blog post about it. You can read that here: http://marketingforhippies.com/blitz-vs-burn/.

If you go to my blog you’ll see a little box on the side that says, “SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG VIA EMAIL”. If you enter your email in there then, anytime I post something, you’ll be sent an email with that latest blog post.

And if you click here and scroll halfway down you’ll see a little video where I talk about this.

Blog Subscription Booster #2 – A Dedicated Subscription Page:

No one does this – but I’m starting to get how important it might be.

I got very excited when Jaime Almond helped me install the FeedBurner email sign up box. But then I was really sad when so few people subscribed.

And it taught me that ‘hoping’ people will see that email form and volunteer their email to you without any reason is unlikely.

Remember: They’re busy. You’re asking a lot. You’re asking their permission to receive things from you several times a week.

I felt a bit hopeless about it all.

So, I did what so many of us do when we feel hopeless . . . I turned to Google. And I typed in, ‘how to boost blog subscriptions’. And I came across someone who’d created a whole page on their website 100% dedicated to explaining what their blog was about and giving people good reasons to subscribe.

I loved it! So I created my own.

Here are nine things I think you might want to consider putting in yours:

  • A Clear Headline: Where you speak directly to what it’s about and what’s in it for them. In my case, this is what I came up with: “subscribe to my blog and get inspiring and practical ‘conscious marketing’ nuggets in your inbox most mornings“.
  • A Compelling Sub-Headline: Underneath that you might want to let them know what’s in it for them to keep reading. I put, “Give me 9 minutes of your time and I promise you’ll learn some useful things about blogging and get a cool free ebook
    (plus – you might just decide that you’d love to subscribe to my blog too)”
  • A Welcome Video: Just a short 30 second to a minute video at the top of the page where you are welcoming them to the page and telling them what they’ll find when they read below.
  • Why Your Blog is Different Than Your Email List: For me, they’re totally different. So, if you have a blog and an email list, it might be easy for people to think, “Oh. I’m on his email list so I’m sure I get everything.” In my case, that wouldn’t be true. So make sure they understand what each one is about.
  • Give them Clear Reasons They Might Like to Subscribe to Your Blog: In my case, there are two I came up with. First, cool content from the blog. Second, a free ebook. If you can do three clear and compelling reasons, that’s great.
  • Your Blog Promises to Them: This is where you let them know what your standards are going to be for your blog. Why they can count on your blog to be a solid source of useful, quality insight and information.
  • A Screen Capture Video of Your Blog: Why not use programs like ScreenFlow or Camtasia to give people a quick tour of your blog and what they might find there. You can see the one I created halfway down this page.
  • Email Subscription Box: This almost goes without saying – but you’ll want to make sure there is at least ONE place where they can enter their email address to subscribe. Because my page is pretty long I put it in three times near the top, middle and one at the bottom.
  • Nice Things People Have Said About Your Blog: I recently sent out an email inviting people to share any nice words they had about my blog. I took those and put them on the bottom of my subscription page with photos of the people. I asked them to share their favourite posts and linked those in their testimonials.

Blog Subscription Booster #3 – Spread the Word:

So, once you’ve got the email sign up widget in place and a proper subscription page created. You’re going to want to spread the word. I want to suggest a few main avenues.

  • Email your list
  • Post it on social media in your newsfeed
  • Create a facebook event for it and invite everyone you think would want to know.
  • Ask key hubs and colleagues to email their list, invite people to the event or post it on social media.
  • add at tag in at the end of all your old blog posts saying something like: “If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog”

I hope that was useful. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

I have three quick requests of you:

  1. I want to invite you to go and check out this link. If it feels like a fit, please feel free to subscribe: http://marketingforhippies.com/blog/subscribe-to-my-blog/
  2. I’d love to hear your feedback on that page and what you think might make it even better.
  3. If you think my blog is a good thing in the world – would you be willing to share it with your friends on facebook? Just a simple something like, “If you’re a green, holistic or conscious entrepreneur – go check out this blog by Tad Hargrave. http://marketingforhippies.com/blog/subscribe-to-my-blog/ “- It’s a huge help.

About Tad

  • Cymmat

    Tad, your blog is excellent. I refer to it all the time. And, I really loved taking your course in Toronto a few years ago. It changed how I was marketing and your blog continues to do that for me.

  • you’re so kind. thank you!

  • Anf

    I also agree that your blog is useful and good reading Tad. How has the “subscribe to my blog” page affected blog subscriptions? I’m also wondering how to increase blog following. Right now I have 2000+ twitter followers and 500 facebook followers, but my goal is to have those people following the blog. I bet the answers are here somewhere in your blog archive but any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • hey there anfernee, thank you for your kind words. the page and my small campaign has more than doubled my following in ten days from 97 followers to 198 or so. here are all my blog posts about blogging: http://marketingforhippies.com/tag/blogs/

  • Elissa Joy

    Great blog post Tad. I am a bit perplexed how you distinguish between signing up for your blog as opposed to signing up for you email list.
    I did look at your site to see the distinction, but I must be missing seeing something!

    I would love to build my blog readership too! And would love to know how you make the difference between the two.

    Thanks!
    Peace and light
    Elissa Joy

  • Elissa Joy

    Ok.. so here is what I saw when I poked around again..

    The sign up on your website is for your email list… but on you blog, you have the place to sign up on your SIgn up for My Blog page and how to use my blog.
    What about on the side widget.. ( which is where my confusion came in) is that only for your email list?