“Stalking” to build an audience for your blog

One of the things I try to impress upon our clients and prospective clients is the importance of having a blog on their website. But a blog means little if no one is reading it; ideally, you want to have an audience which is engaged with your blog and shares your ideas across the internet.

Developing that audience was the theme for the Alabama Bloggers meetup on Friday, Feb. 15, at Cantina in Pepper Place. More than 30 current and aspiring bloggers got together at the restaurant to discuss the best ways to attract and maintain an audience for your blog.

Because of the large size of the group, a standard presentation was out of the question; instead, leading bloggers made their way from table to table, sitting with small groups to take questions and discuss ideas.

I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Wade Kwon, chairman of the Alabama Social Media Association and founder of the Birmingham Blogging Academy, and he shared this tip for growing your audience: “Stalk other bloggers.”

In this case, “stalking” doesn’t mean standing underneath someone’s bedroom window late at night or doing anything else which might result in a restraining order.

To Wade, “stalking” bloggers means visiting other blogs that share a focus or audience which is similar to yours, reading the posts on those blogs, and then — most importantly — making comments. However, Wade said, make certain your comments mean something. As you would do for your own blog posts, make these comments relevant by offering a different point of view, or answering a question, he said. Simply making a comment along the lines of “nice post” doesn’t cut it.

So, I imagine you asking, how does that help build the audience for my own blog? It seems that I am simply building an audience for someone else’s blog.

True, you are. But one of the wonderful things about the blogosphere is that it is very often reciprocal. Once you start making relevant comments on other blogs on a regular basis, the owners of those blogs will start to notice you. Soon, they will likely pay a visit to your blog, possibly leaving a comment of their own. It is entirely possible that they will link to a post on your blog. In essence, you are creating a feedback loop, and with time, will generate more followers for your own blog.

Yes, it takes time, and it takes effort to build an audience for your blog. It will be worth it. So get out there and start stalking!

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5 Responses to “Stalking” to build an audience for your blog

  1. Laurl Self says:

    Glad to hear this re-inforced in the bigger blogging community. I received this advice from a successful design bogger, and frankly, it seemed a bit time comsuming. However you get out of anything what you put into it. Perhaps, after receiving this advice twice, I should follow it! Thanks!

  2. Ike Pigott says:

    “Stalking” still sounds kinda creepy. I prefer to think of it as “Working instead of Lurking.”

    90% or more of a blog’s readership just consume and pass right on by. In some instances, they might have something to say, but they encounter two very different barriers:

    1) Many people don’t want to be the First to comment.

    2) Many people will not bother if there are already dozens of comments. (I’m not reading all of those, so why add mine to the end?”)

    When you leave a constructive comment on someone else’s site, you might just be breaking down that first barrier for subsequent readers. As an author, I appreciate when a reader breaks the ice, and starts a real dialogue.

    Glad you got something out of the meeting! Look forward to talking further….

    • Excellent points, Ike. I can’t say I actually “get” why someone would not want to be the first to comment, but I completely understand the “this comments queue is a million miles long.” That’s why I keep the newest first.

  3. Wade Kwon says:

    Thanks, Richard! I “stalk” a lot of bloggers, just to keep up with what’s going on in Birmingham, and in social media and other communication areas. Once in a while, I’ll pause to leave a comment (like this one) just to let the author know that I’m reading and enjoying his work.